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YouTube blocks Russian state-funded media channels globally

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(Last Updated On: March 12, 2022)

YouTube is immediately blocking access around the world to channels associated with Russian state-funded media, it said on Friday, citing a policy barring content that denies, minimizes or trivializes well-documented violent events.

The world’s most used streaming video service, which is owned by Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now fell under its violent events policy and violating material would be removed, Reuters reported.

YouTube spokesman Farshad Shadloo said the blocking of the Russian outlets was in line with that policy.

Previously, YouTube had blocked leading Russia state-backed channels RT and Sputnik across Europe.

Russian state media have called restrictions placed on them by distributors, which include app stores and other social media services, unjustified censorship.

“The blocking by YouTube is nothing but a new turn of an atrocious attack on one of the fundamental principles of a democratic society – that is freedom of the press,” Sputnik said in a statement on Friday.

YouTube declined to specify which and how many channels had been blocked globally, or whether they ever would be restored.

Its policy states channels may be permanently blocked for repeated violations, a single case of severe abuse, or when they are dedicated to violating content.

Workers across Google had been urging YouTube to take additional punitive measures against Russian channels, accusing them of spreading false narratives about the Ukrainian leadership and civilian deaths during the war, according to three employees at the company, Reuters reported.

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Jupiter’s moon count jumps to 92, most in solar system

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(Last Updated On: February 4, 2023)

Astronomers have discovered 12 new moons around Jupiter, putting the total count at a record-breaking 92.

That’s more than any other planet in our solar system. Saturn, the one-time leader, comes in a close second with 83 confirmed moons, AP reported. 

The Jupiter moons were added recently to a list kept by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, said Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution, who was part of the team.

They were discovered using telescopes in Hawaii and Chile in 2021 and 2022, and their orbits were confirmed with follow-up observations.

These newest moons range in size from 0.6 miles to 2 miles (1 kilometer to 3 kilometers), according to Sheppard.

“I hope we can image one of these outer moons close-up in the near future to better determine their origins,” he said in an email Friday.

In April, the European Space Agency is sending a spacecraft to Jupiter to study the planet and some of its biggest, icy moons. And next year, NASA will launch the Europa Clipper to explore Jupiter’s moon of the same name, which could harbor an ocean beneath its frozen crust.

Sheppard — who discovered a slew of moons around Saturn a few years ago and has taken part in 70 moon discoveries so far around Jupiter — expects to keep adding to the lunar tally of both gas giants.

Jupiter and Saturn are loaded with small moons, believed to be fragments of once bigger moons that collided with one another or with comets or asteroids, Sheppard said. The same goes for Uranus and Neptune, but they’re so distant that it makes moon-spotting even harder.

For the record, Uranus has 27 confirmed moons, Neptune 14, Mars two and Earth one. Venus and Mercury come up empty.

Jupiter’s newly discovered moons have yet to be named. Sheppard said only half of them are big enough — at least 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) or so — to warrant a name.

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Apple forecasts another drop in revenue, proclaims iPhone production problems over

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(Last Updated On: February 3, 2023)

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Thursday forecast that revenue would fall for a second quarter in a row but that iPhone sales were likely to improve as production had returned to normal in China after COVID-related shutdowns.

While striking an optimistic tone on sales of services and iPhones, CEO Tim Cook said an uncertain economy is expected to hurt categories like gaming and digital advertising, Reuters reported on Friday.

Overall, Apple’s leaders tried to reassure investors that despite the firm being buffeted by up-and-down sales cycles for its flagship device and vulnerable to supply chain shocks, the world’s largest listed company remains on a steady – if somewhat slower – rise. And in the immediate aftermath of some of the company’s worst financial results in years, at least some investors seemed to give Cook the benefit of the doubt, imposing only modest share price declines.

For the just-ended quarter, Apple’s profits missed Wall Street expectations for the first time since 2016, dragged down by iPhone sales falling for the first time since 2020.

The stock was down about 2% after Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said that iPhone sales were likely to improve compared with the quarter ended Dec. 31. That did not quite erase a 3.7% gain during regular trade.

Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) also fell about 4% after reporting results. They also had gained during regular trade.

Apple sales fell 5% to $117.2 billion and were down in every part of the world in the quarter. Sales from each product category dropped, except for gains in services and iPads. Earnings per share were $1.88.

Analysts had expected sales of $121.1 billion and profits of $1.94 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. In an interview, Cook told Reuters that the production disruptions that plagued Apple’s key quarter were now over.

“Production is now back where we want it to be,” he said.

During its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, Apple faced a wave of challenges that left Wall Street expecting lower sales. Chief among those were supply chain pressures when COVID lockdowns at a production facility in Zhengzhou, China, slowed production of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max devices, both premium priced models that would traditionally help drive Apple’s margins higher.

Cook said the lockdowns in China created a dual challenge where both supply and demand were constrained, with greater China sales falling 7% to $23.9 billion.

But product snags are behind Apple now. “They still feel demand will be soft, but they’ve rectified production, which means that if demand does go up unexpectedly, they can ramp” to meet it, said Ben Bajarin of analyst firm Creative Strategies.

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Instagram co-founders launch news app called Artifact

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger this week launched their new venture, Artifact – an app touted as a tailored news feed powered by artificial intelligence.

The co-founders, who left Facebook in 2018 amid tensions with their parent company, shared the roll out on Instagram. Krieger wrote, “Excited to announce what @kevin and I have been working on with a talented team the past year+ — Artifact, a personalized news feed driven by the latest in artificial intelligence.”

He added that while they are gradually letting people onto the app as the company scales up, people can also join a waitlist.

Working in a similar way to TikTok, according to Platformer, Artifact provides users with an initial feed of popular articles chosen from a range of publications big and small. Tapping on articles of interest will prompt Artifact to deliver similar stories in the future, in the same way that watching TikTok videos fine tunes the algorithm with each user session.

Artifact beta users are currently testing two features: One is a feed with articles posted by people you follow, along with their comments on each post; the second is a direct-message inbox where you can privately discuss articles.

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