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The perpetrator of the on-air shooting in Virginia had a long history of confronting and bullying co-workers at a succession of television and customer-service jobs. Survivors are brought to shore, but an estimated 200 people are still missing and feared dead off the Libyan coast, authorities say.

Foxconn-backed Piq teams with France’s Babolat to roll out tennis wearable

BABOLAT-PIQ-TENNIS-player looking at PIQ sensor

In the latest step toward expanding its sports wearable strategy, Paris-based Piq announced today that it has partnered with Babolat, a major brand in the tennis world.

France’s Babolat will start selling a version of Piq’s wearable multi-sport sensor that is customized for tennis players, and will display the Babolat brand. The deal is part of Piq’s long-term plan to partner with one big brand name in 24 different sports to sell its wearable sport platform.

The deal comes just a few months after Piq landed a $5.5 million investment led by Foxconn to accelerate its growth. PIQ was founded almost two years ago by Cédric Mangaud, a well-known French entrepreneur who sold his last company to HTC and spent several years as an executive at the company before striking out to form his latest venture.

Babolat, which makes some of the world’s most popular tennis rackets and other gear, is no stranger to connected sports gadgets. Last year, the company introduced its own connected tennis racket that contained sensors inside to track play and performance.

Now the company is shifting a bit to work with Piq, which has developed a sensor-based device that can be worn on the wrist or ankle. Since it’s worn on the wrist, the device and also be used with any racket.

“This is really ideal,” Mangaud said. “We bring the techology. They bring the sport.”

Consumers will be able to choose a Babolat-branded version for $89, which doesn’t include a display screen and is customized purely to monitor tennis play. Or, they can get the Piq-branded version which includes a display and can be adapted to use while playing other sports.

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Nokia agrees on China joint venture with Huaxin

The Nokia headquarters is seen in Espoo The Nokia headquarters is seen in Espoo, Finland, July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mikko Stig/Lethikuva

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia <NOKIA.HE> on Friday said it has agreed to create a joint venture in China with state-owned Huaxin, following Nokia’s proposed takeover of Alcatel-Lucent.

Alcatel-Lucent and Huaxin currently share a similar joint venture.

According to a memorandum of understanding, Nokia said it expects to hold 50 percent plus one share in the new joint venture, with Huaxin holding the remaining shares.

The Nokia-Alcatel deal has not yet won approval from Chinese authorities. The transaction is expected to close next year.

(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; editing by Jason Neely)

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ReBoard Is An iOS Keyboard With Third Party App Shortcuts

ReBoard ReBoard is a just launched iOS keyboard app from an indie dev team in India that’s targeting productivity-focused folk, by adding the ability to reach out to other apps right from the keyboard. So instead of having to double tap out of whatever messaging app you’re using to go hunt for that YouTube link, for instance, you can do a look up right from the keyboard. Read More

Uber confirms China police investigating driver over alleged robbery and sexual assault

Reuters / Tyrone Siu

Police in China have opened an investigation after an Uber driver reportedly robbed and sexually assaulted a female passenger in the city of Chengdu on August 5, the company has confirmed to VentureBeat.

Uber previously failed to reply to multiple requests for comment by Reuters on Thursday.

Reports first surfaced Wednesday (link in Chinese) on local state media that a 42-year-old female passenger had hailed an Uber at 2am August 5, only to be robbed of about $800 and sexually assaulted by the male driver.

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The ordeal reportedly lasted for about three hours before the passenger was dropped off. She also claims the male driver, who had a knife, took compromising photographs of her and threatened her not to report the incident to police.

An Uber spokesperson told VentureBeat the company “is in close contact with local authorities” in China, and that police are treating it as a criminal case.

It added that, as with any such safety incident, Uber is conducting its own due diligence on the matter.

“It is our policy to de-activate any driver-partner following any such allegation,” the spokesperson said, “which we did immediately in this instance upon learning of the incident. All Uber driver-partners undergo background checks before being activated on our platform. This driver is no exception and did not have any prior criminal record.”

Uber has previously got itself into hot water over rape claims. In December last year, the service was banned in Delhi following a high-profile rape case. On December 7, Indian police arrested a driver, and Uber went on to issue a public apology.

More recently in June, Chinese police reported the first rape claims against a driver of a car-hailing app, though at the time it didn’t emerge if it was an Uber driver specifically.

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Obama administration announces $171M manufacturing innovation hub in Silicon Valley

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) smiles as he speaks with members of the Team America Rocketry Challenge competitors representing the U.S. Virgin Islands as he plays host to the 2015 White House Science Fair at the White House in Washington, March 23, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTR4UJ3P

The Obama Administration will make an announcement later today that will establish a new flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing innovation hub in Silicon Valley. More than $171 million will be invested into this “manufacturing innovation institute” and marks the first time such an organization is headquartered in the West Coast.

This institution is another extension of the U.S. government’s relationship with the private sector, which is led by the FlexTech Alliance. Included in this arrangement are 162 companies, nonprofits, labs, and universities such as Apple, Hewlett Packard, Boeing, General Motors, Motorola, Stanford, and many others. Both the Department of Defense and this private consortium will look to enhance the U.S.’s standing in “next-generation bendable and wearable electronic devices.”

The West Coast presence is the seventh of nine such institutes established by the Obama Administration, with the first being in Youngstown, Ohio aimed at novel 3D printing technologies, and the most recent focused on photonics in Rochester, New York. These are all part of a larger network to pursue innovation in emerging technologies as a means of getting a head start on advanced manufacturing. This in turn will help the country attract more jobs and investments.

120530-D-NI589-211Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter delivers remarks concerning budget priorities for 21st century defense at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C., on May 30, 2012. DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett. (Released)

Above: 120530-D-NI589-211 Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter delivers remarks concerning budget priorities for 21st century defense at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C., on May 30, 2012. DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett. (Released)

Image Credit: Wikipedia

What teams will be working on here in Silicon Valley involves researching hybrid flexible electronics manufacturing. This involves dealing with “high performance packaging and printing techniques, to integrate multiple silicon circuits, and sensors, on a single stretchable or wearable platform.”

The goal isn’t necessarily to create the next Nike Fuelband or Jawbone Up. However, the government wants to build a better wearable device that can help monitor vital signs and physical states to improve quality of life for all people.

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Other potential use cases include for robotics, embedding sensors into commercial automobiles and aircrafts to better protect against harsh environments, and much more.

The Obama Administration says this manufacturing innovation institute will “work to develop lower-cost, higher-speed, and more efficient manufacturing processes for flexible hybrid electronics.” To accomplish this, there are four objectives being targeted:

  • Develop an end-to-end stretchable electronics “ecosystem” in the U.S. giving teams access to the necessary tools, facilities, and workforce.
  • Create a universal manufacturing platform that will make it easier to scale the technologies across markets to help drive cost, performance, and other requirements.
  • Gather together the best teams from throughout the technology industry including those in manufacturing, silicon and other material suppliers, developers, government, and academic advisors.
  • Pair together tech companies with end users of flexible platforms and top research universities.

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will be in Silicon Valley today to speak at a press conference announcing the news. This initiative comes under the Department of Defense’s (DoD) purview since it will be managed by the U.S. Air Force Research laboratory and the federal agency is also chipping in $75 million in funding over five years. More than $90 million in funding will also be provided from the private sector, bringing the grand total to more than $171 million.

In an April 2015 speech at Stanford University, Secretary Carter made reference to the long history of partnerships between the public and private sector, especially as it relates to securing the U.S.’s future. “Through successes and strains, our ties have broadly endured,” he said. “…but I believe we must renew the bonds of trust and rebuild the bridge between the Pentagon and Silicon Valley.”

He continued on by saying that globalization and commercialization has led to an increase in competition. And while Secretary Carter is focusing on defending the country, he’s also looking at it from a non-militaristic standpoint: the competition for talent.

Amid all of this concern, the Obama Administration has enacted a plan that it thinks will bring the brightest minds from across the country to work on a series of programs aimed at strengthening the country.

It’s perhaps not surprising to see President Obama getting behind technology. He has brought together a pretty technologically savvy administration, led by Chief Technology Officer (and former Google executive) Megan Smith. Earlier this month, The White House also held its first-ever demo day.

This isn’t the first time though that the Pentagon has looked to Silicon Valley. While the manufacturing innovation hub will be headquartered in San Jose, Calif. in the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s going to be part of the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit — Experimental (DIUx). It’s this particular unit that set up a full-time outreach office in July 2015 with an budget of $1.75 million this year. This number is expected to grow to $5 million from 2016 to 2019.

According to reports, the DIUx’s mission is “to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones; scout for breakthrough and emerging technologies; and function as a local interface node for the Department [of Defense].”

Secretary Carter will hold a press conference later today to speak more about this economic initiative.

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