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Iran in talks with Twitter to resume its service

TEHRAN: Iran has decided to unblock Twitter after the new communications minister started negotiations with the social-networking app to resume its services in the country.

“(Twitter) has announced that it is prepared to negotiate to resolve problems,” Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi said in an interview with the state television.

“Considering the current situation there are grounds for such negotiation and interaction. Twitter is not an immoral environment needing to be blocked,” he added.

However, there was no immediate response from Twitter to his comments.

The minister further said that the ministry of communications was also looking at ways to unblock YouTube while still censoring “immoral content” on the site.

Twitter was banned at the time of mass anti-regime protests in 2009, that followed allegations of massive rigging in the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Technology

Google all set to buy HTC’s assets for $1.1 bn

TAIPEI: Smartphone maker HTC has said that it was selling part of its smartphone business to the search engine giant Google for $1.1 billion.

“The deal includes intellectual property licensing and half of its research staff, or around 2,000 people, and is expected to be completed in early 2018 pending regulatory approval,” HTC said.

“For Google, the deal will further strengthen its investment in and commitment to smartphones and its hardware business… it shows that Google sees Taiwan as a key hub for innovative technology,” HTC spokesman Peter Shen told a press conference in Taipei.

The deal marks Google’s second major foray into smartphone manufacturing. It purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012 and sold it off to China’s Lenovo Group Ltd for less than $3 billion two years later.

Google’s strategy of licensing Android for free and profiting from embedded services such as search and maps has made Android the dominant mobile operating system with some 89 percent of the global market.

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Technology

Twitter 300,000 accounts over ‘promotion of terrorism’

CALIFORNIA: Micro-blogging site Twitter has said that it has removed approximately 300,000 accounts being used for the “promotion of terrorism”.

“299,649 accounts promoting terrorism were removed in the first half of this year,” the company said.

“Less than 1 per cent of account suspensions were due to government requests,” Twitter said and added that the previous 95 per cent were thanks to the company’s internal efforts to combat radical content with “proprietary tools”.

Twitter defines “promotion of terrorism” as actively inciting or promoting violence “associated with internationally recognized terrorist organizations.”

The company further added that it had removed 935,897 accounts for the promotion of terrorism between August 1, 2015, and June 30 this year.

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Crime

Christian man in Lahore sentenced to death for sending blasphemous WhatsApp text

LAHORE: A Christian man living here has been sentenced to death for insulting Islam in his poem, a lawyer said Friday.

Nadeem James wrote a poem that insulted Islam and sent it to his Muslim friends on WhatsApp. One of his friends, Yasir Bashir complained to the police against James.

Taking action, Lahore police arrested the man and produced him before the court. He was charged in July last year.

“James was handed a death sentence by the court on Thursday on blasphemy charges,” defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel said.

“My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend who was annoyed over James’ affair with a Muslim girl,” Wakeel said.

He said the trial was held inside a prison due to security reasons after local Muslim clerics had threatened James and his family. Court officials confirmed the sentence.

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