Military eyes adaptive camouflage, self-repairing clothing for future troops
News/Canada/Nova Scotia: From chameleon-inspired camouflage to clothing that mends itself when damaged, the Department of National Defence is looking to outfit Canadian troops with next-wave gear that provides better protection — and less detection — on the battlefield.
WHO experts in Wuhan leave quarantine to start virus origins study
News/World: A World Health Organization team emerged from quarantine in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to start field work in a fact-finding mission on the origins of the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch: Singapore launches new self-driving bus trial
Technology|Asia|: Singapore has moved a step closer to a driverless public transport network with the launch of a new trial of self-driving buses. Orderly and high-tech, the Asian city-state has become a testbed for self-driving vehicles and has developed home-grown technology while inviting foreign companies to trial their own. In a three-month trial launched this week, passengers can book a bus ride through an app that takes them around Singapore's Science Park, a high-tech business hub, during off-peak hours. The charge is just Sg$0.20 ($0.15). It is not the first self-driving bus trial in the city but is the first to charge a fee. Singapore's first trial of self-driving buses came in 2015, while a trial of driverless road sweepers was launched earlier this year. Despite the technology on the buses, a driver is still at the wheel to take control if necessary and must drive the bus manually along part of the route. Khor Jing Qian, a 23-year-old student who took the bus to attend a scholarship interview on Wednesday, said the journey, which took about 10 minutes, was "convenient and easy". "It was unnatural to see the bus driver not driving, but I've heard of these kinds of technologies, I've seen them before, so I think this is quite an innovative thing and definitely the way forward," he told AFP. The shuttles are also operating in another area of the city on a fixed schedule as part of the same trial, according to a statement from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Why Reddit pumped GameStop shares up 1,000% on a lark to make short sellers lose their shirts
News/Business: Shares in an obscure video game retailer have gained more than 1,000 per cent in recent weeks as an army of online investors are waging war against Wall Street behemoths they resent for their power, money and influence.
As the U.S. leads the way on green growth Canada must make better bets
News/Business: In a post-Trump era, U.S. business and government action this week show Canada's economic growth can't depend on fossil fuel growth. A new report makes a case the government should be taking risks instead on green innovation.
Samsung profit spikes on pandemic-driven demand
Companies|Business|: Seoul: Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, on Thursday reported a 26-per cent rise in fourth-quarter net profits year-on-year, with pandemic-driven working from home boosting demand for devices powered by its chips. The firm said profits in October to December rose 26.4 per cent year-on-year to 6.61 trillion won ($5.97 billion). Operating profit rose 26.4 per cent to 9.05 trillion won, while sales were also up 2.8 per cent at 61.55 trillion won. The coronavirus has wreaked havoc with the world economy, with intensive lockdowns and travel bans imposed around the globe for many months. But the pandemic — which has killed more than two million people worldwide — has also seen many tech companies boom, including Samsung. Samsung Electronics is crucial to the South’s economic health — its overall turnover is equivalent to a fifth of the national gross domestic product. It is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung group, by far the largest of the family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate business in the world’s 12th-largest economy. “With consumers spending more time at home, it led the growth of premium appliances such as large TVs and fridges,” said James Kang, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International. The figures come just days after the firm’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to two and a half years in jail in a retrial over a sprawling corruption scandal brought down former president Park Geun-hye. That ruling cast further uncertainty over Samsung after the burial of late chairman Lee Kun-hee, who turned Samsung Electronics into a global powerhouse, in October. For the full year, net profit jumped 21.5 per cent to 26.41 trillion won, on sales of 236.81 trillion won, up 2.8 per cent.
Facebook profit jumped 53% amid growing scrutiny
Facebook's business continues to fire on all cylinders even as the company faces growing scrutiny from regulators over its acquisitions and from critics for the role its platform may have played in spreading lies about the US presidential election.
Facebook beats revenue estimates, users rise 12%
Companies|Business|: Facebook Inc soundly beat quarterly revenue estimates on Wednesday after heavy holiday advertising by e-commerce retailers, but it warned Apple’s impending privacy changes could hurt revenue by interfering with ad targeting. The world’s biggest social media company said in its outlook that it expected to face “significant ad targeting headwinds in 2021.” Facebook forecast that Apple’s update of its iPhone operating system to iOS 14 could start biting into revenues as early as the end of the first quarter. Shares were flat after hours following an initial drop. The fourth-quarter results validated the company’s focus on making it easier for retailers to sell to Facebook users, who frequently were stuck at home last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Facebook launched tools like Facebook Pay and Facebook Shops that enable consumers to make purchases from stores without leaving the company’s apps. The coronavirus surge in e-commerce buoyed revenue growth for Facebook, which has been cooling steadily as its business matures. Analysts said Facebook was less likely to feel the pinch from Apple’s privacy updates than other ad-supported companies with less access to first-party user data. “In the end, I don’t think Facebook will be impacted as much as others as Facebook can provide workarounds for ad targeting,” said analyst Jonathan Kees of Summit Insights Group. Monthly active users rose 12 per cent to 2.80 billion, above the 2.75 billion expected by analysts. Total revenue, which consists primarily of advertising revenue, rose to $28.07 billion in the fourth quarter ended December 31 from $21.08 billion, a year earlier. Analysts on average estimated quarterly revenue of $26.44 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Net income came in at $11.22 billion, or $3.88 per share, compared with $7.35 billion, or $2.56 per share, a year earlier.
Tesla reports first-ever annual profit, of $721m
New York: Tesla Motors reported its first annual profit Wednesday, but shares fell after Elon Musk’s electric car company scored lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings. Tesla, a soaring stock for much of the last year, reported 2020 profits of $721 million (Dh2.6 billion), reflecting the company’s strong ramp-up in production and deliveries despite a hit from COVID-19. Tesla had reported a 2019 loss of $862 million. But shares fell nearly five per cent in after-hours trading after fourth-quarter earnings missed estimates.
Apple profit soars as revenue tops $100b for first time
Companies|Business|: San Francisco: Apple said Wednesday that profits surged in the final three months of the year on growing sales of iPhones and services, which lifted revenues to an all-time record. Profit in the period ended December 26 rose 29 per cent from a year ago to $28.7 billion (Dh105.4 billion), while revenues grew 21 per cent to $111.4 billion, with international sales accounting for nearly two-thirds of sales. Sales topped the $100 billion mark for the first time as Apple won over pandemic-hit consumers with new gadgets and services. “We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season,” chief executive Tim Cook said. Apple said iPhone sales accounted for nearly $66 billion, leading all other products and growing some 18 per cent. But the tech giant also saw strong growth in wearables, including its Apple Watch, delivering $12.9 billion in sales for that category in the company’s fiscal first quarter. Services accounted for $15.7 billion as Apple grew sales of music, digital content, cloud computing and subscriptions.
Biden pauses oil and gas leases, cuts subsidies to act on climate
News/Technology & Science: U.S. President Joe Biden signed a raft of executive actions on Wednesday to combat climate change, including pausing new oil and gas leases on federal land and cutting fossil fuel subsidies, as he pursues green policies he billed as a boon to the economy.
How well is Apple's first 5G iPhone really selling? Investors will find out Wednesday
Analysts have talked for at least a year about the potential for Apple's first 5G iPhone to drive a "supercycle" of device sales. On Wednesday, Apple's first earnings report since the iPhone 12 went on sale will provide a look at whether that projection is coming true.
Doomsday Clock hovers dangerously close to midnight, as experts warn of 'crossroads' on climate change
News/Technology & Science: The Doomsday Clock, introduced in 1947 as a symbolic representation of how close humanity is to destroying civilization, remains at 100 seconds to midnight, as experts warn the world is at a 'crossroads' on climate change, but see some positive developments.
Research shows oceanic shark populations have dropped 71% since 1970
News/Technology & Science: Globally, the abundance of oceanic sharks and rays dropped more than 70 per cent between 1970 and 2018, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Of the 31 species of sharks and rays, 24 are threatened with extinction.
Canadian Space Agency using satellite data to track endangered right whales
News/Technology & Science: Through the smartWhales initiative, the federal government is investing $5.3 million to enhance Canada’s ability to detect and monitor the presence of North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters.