NAIROBI: Alphabet Inc’s Google is investing in its first ever Africa product development center in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, it said, as it positions itself to serve a growing base of Internet users on the continent.
By the end of this decade, the continent will host 800 million Internet users, the California-based firm said, and a third of the world’s youth population, making it an attractive investment destination.
Google is hiring engineers, product managers, user experience designers and researchers to staff the new center, said Suzanne Frey, vice president for products, and Nitin Gajria, the head of Google Africa, in a joint blog post on Tuesday.
The company is investing $1 billion in various projects on the continent over five years, its CEO Sundar Pichai said last October, to help economies accelerate their digital transformation.
It has already opened an artificial intelligence center in Accra, Ghana, focusing on innovations that can be applied to various challenges.
Microsoft has also been investing in technology development hubs in Kenya and Nigeria, investing $100 million and hiring hundreds of engineers in both countries.
ISTANBUL: Turkish authorities jailed a journalist on Tuesday pending trial after he announced hackers had stolen personal information from government websites and shared some of it with him, including President Tayyip Erdogan’s ID card, as proof, his lawyer said.
The independent journalist, Ibrahim Haskologlu, posted the announcement on Twitter, illustrating it with a partially obscured photo of what he said was Erdogan’s ID.
His lawyer, Emrah Karatay, said his client was arrested on a charge of illegally obtaining and disseminating personal information due to his social media posts.
In his Twitter posts last week, Haskologlu said that a group of hackers had contacted him two months ago and told him that they had obtained Turks’ personal information from government websites.
As well as sharing the purported photo of Erdogan’s ID, Haskologlu also published an image of what he said was the ID card of Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency. Most of the information on the cards was concealed.
“The reason for his formal arrest was that he did not notify prosecutors,” Karatay said, adding that Haskologlu had warned various authorities but no action was taken.
“He thought he had to warn people as a journalist and posted these. Now he’s arrested — that’s all,” Karatay said, adding that police had searched Haskologlu’s house when they detained him last night.
Istanbul police was not immediately available for comment.
Broadcaster NTV said the interior ministry had filed a complaint about Haskologlu after his posts, prompting an investigation by the Istanbul prosecutor’s office.
Turkey is one of the world’s top jailers of journalists and mainstream media is controlled by those close to Erdogan’s government. Turkey’s government denies accusations by human rights groups that it muzzles the media.
RIYADH: Arab News, the leading multilingual pan-Arab daily, celebrated its 47th anniversary with a commitment to continue to be the platform of choice for voices that matter to its audiences worldwide.
Since its establishment in 1975, the Riyadh-based newspaper has sought to be an international voice for Saudi Arabia and the Arab world.
In September 2016, Arab News announced a global expansion and digital transformation plan that saw it relaunch with an award-winning design as a digital-first, 24/7 platform. It also maintained its print edition, which continues to be the English-language newspaper of record for government entities, embassies and the business community within the Kingdom.
In 2018, it launched its Pakistan digital edition. This was followed by Arab News Japan, which was launched in Tokyo in October 2019 to coincide with Emperor Naruhito’s accession ceremony. The Japanese edition was officially inaugurated by Taro Kono, the country’s defense minister at the time, as well as Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.
In 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic, Arab News launched its digital French edition via a Zoom webinar which saw President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti give the keynote speech, while both acting Saudi Media Minister Majid Qasabi and (now former) French Ambassador Francois Gouyette inaugurated the new edition.
Arab News has also launched several digital products, such as “Frankly Speaking,” the HardTalk-style talkshow streamed on its main website and YouTube. The show’s many influential guests have included Saudi Investment Minister Khaled Al-Falih, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Princess Lamia bint Majed, former crown prince of Iran Reza Pahlavi, founder of Pfizer/BioNTech Dr. Ugur Sahin, and business mogul-turned fugitive Carlos Ghosn, as well as French Sen. Nathalie Goulet.
In the US, Arab News launched the “Ray Hanania Radio Show,” which broadcasts every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on the US Arab Radio Network. Every episode sees Arab News special correspondent in Chicago Ray Hanania discuss issues that matter to Arab-Americans.
The newspaper also boasts its own research and studies unit, with an exclusive media partnership with YouGov to carry out political polling in the Middle East.
Arab News is renowned for its award-winning design team, and has received over 75 awards since the relaunch and more than 40 million page views every month.
“We can talk extensively about relaunches, digital transformation or strategy, but the reality is these are just means to an end, and the end is providing our audiences worldwide with quality content on a daily basis,” said Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News.
“This is why we opted for our annual anniversary video to focus on what matters most: Our commitment to our readers to continue being the regional platform of choice for thought leaders and decision-makers.”
He added: “With the best team in Arab journalism today, a growing reach and endless possibilities, Arab News is a real-life example that life starts after 40.”
Arab News is part of the Saudi Research and Media Group, with offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai, Islamabad, Tokyo, Paris, London and the US.
LONDON: Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted a series of dashes for a missing word followed by “is the Night,” days after he offered to buy Twitter Inc. for $43 billion.
The offer from Musk, who has hinted at the possibility of a hostile bid, has prompted the social media company to adopt a “poison pill” to protect itself.
Musk, who is also the chief executive of electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc, on Monday tweeted “Love Me Tender,” an Elvis Presley song, after Twitter opted for a plan to sell shares at a discount to prevent any attempt by shareholders to amass a stake of more than 15 percent. Musk currently has a 9.1 percent stake.
The New York Post on Tuesday reported Musk was willing to invest between $10 billion and $15 billion of his own money to take Twitter private, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
The billionaire, who is Twitter’s second-biggest shareholder, is planning to launch a tender offer in about 10 days and has tapped Morgan Stanley to raise another $10 billion in debt, according to the report.
Musk may also be willing to borrow against his current stake if necessary, a move that could possibly raise several billion additional dollars, according to the New York Post report.
Twitter declined to comment. Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment from Musk.
More private-equity firms have expressed interest in participating in a deal for Twitter, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday without naming the firm.
The interest emerged after Thoma Bravo, a technology-focused private-equity firm, contacted the social media platform last week to explore a buyout that would challenge Musk’s offer.
Apollo Global Management Inc. is considering ways it can provide financing to any deal and is open to working with Musk or any other bidder, the sources told Reuters.
Many investors, analysts and investment bankers expect Twitter’s board to reject Musk’s offer in the coming days, saying it is inadequate.
CASABLANCA: Several high-profile Russian influencers have accused Chanel of discriminating against them based on their nationality by refusing to sell them products, with some cutting up the company’s merchandise in protest.
However, while wealthy influencers thought nothing of chopping up a $7,000 (minimum) luxury bag, much of the world was confused and angered by the misdirected outrage toward the fashion brand.
“Meet @VictoriaBonya, a Russian influencer living in Monaco. Victoria is irate. Not because of rape, torture & killings inflicted on Ukrainians by Russian soldiers, but because Chanel is closing shop in Russia. She’s cutting up her Chanel bag in protest!” tweeted one social media user.
Meet @VictoriaBonya, a Russian influencer living in Monaco. Victoria is irate. Not because of rape, torture & killings inflicted on Ukrainians by Russian soldiers, but because Chanel is closing shop in Russia. She’s cutting up her Chanel bag in protest! pic.twitter.com/2Emcmq7r9A
Anna Kalashnikova, a Russian influencer with 2.4 million followers, reportedly claimed that a Chanel store in Dubai had refused to serve her.
“Since I often travel to Dubai as a host for Fashion Week, Chanel managers recognized and approached me saying, we know you are a celebrity in Russia. We know you’ll be going there, so we can’t sell you our branded items,” she said.
“Western shops ask for identification data, and when you (give them) a Russian number, sellers tell you: Now, we can only sell items to Russians if they promise that they won’t take them to Russia and that they won’t wear them there,” said Kalashnikova.
“Russophobia in action. I experienced it myself,” she added.
Russian DJ Katya Guseva said that she now realizes she can live without owning a luxury handbag. “Without Chanel we will continue to live perfectly,” she said in a WhatsApp message.
It appears that Russian influencers finally understand how the rest of the world survives without owning a Chanel product. Nevertheless their approach to protest remains far removed from ordinary people’s reality.
A post shared by Екатерина Гусева (@djkatyaguseva)
Meanwhile, Chanel stores in Russia were vandalized, with many covered in Hitler stickers.
Following Chanel’s decision to leave Russia, its store in Moscow has been covered in Hitler stickers.
Is this ‘denazifiation’? https://t.co/kp5kqww4vZ pic.twitter.com/wAzEo4DkcP
Russian influencer Liza Litvin claimed in an online story that the Chanel store in Dubai had asked her to sign a document stating that she did not live in Russia and would not wear her bag on Russian soil.
“I went to a Chanel store in the Mall of the Emirates. They did not sell me their bag because I come from Russia,” she wrote.
Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “Many bloggers reported that official Chanel stores abroad refused to sell their products to Russian citizens.”
To protest at what they consider to be discrimination, Russian models, including Victoria Bonya, have filmed themselves cutting their Chanel bags with scissors. Her actions were quickly followed by other Russian women.
A post shared by VICTORIA BONYA (@victoriabonya)
Russian TV presenter Marina Ermoshkina also posted an online video of herself cutting her Chanel bag in half with a pair of garden scissors.
She said that while withdrawing from Russia was the company’s choice, its policy against customers bringing products into the country is discriminatory and humiliating.
Ermoshkina said that nothing is worth her love for her “motherland,” not even a bag that she has always dreamed of owning.
A post shared by Marina Ermoshkina (@amazing_marina)
Chanel did not respond to requests for comments from Arab News. However, the luxury brand said in a public statement: “Chanel is an international company. For that, it complies with all laws applicable to its operations and employees worldwide, including trade sanction laws.
“With regard to the various sanctions issued by the EU, the UK, the US and Switzerland regarding Russia and Belarus, Chanel is therefore prohibited from trading with certain designated natural and legal people.
“Chanel is not authorized to carry out transactions with certain natural and legal people designated/listed by these sanctions regimes.
“Furthermore, the most recent EU and Swiss sanctions laws include a ban on the sale, supply, transfer or export, of luxury goods directly or indirectly, to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia, or for their use in Russia.”
Chanel said that it has been forced to implement EU sanctions which prohibit the export of luxury goods worth more than €300 ($326.15) to Russia.
“We are aware that this process of interpreting the law has disappointed some of our clients. We are currently working on improving this approach and we apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused. Welcoming all our clients, wherever they come from, is a priority for Chanel.”
Several other Western brands have terminated their activities in Russia. In early March, luxury retailers LVMH, Hermes and Kering announced they were temporarily shutting down their stores in the country.