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    Indian tax authorities have issued a fresh notice to Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) seeking re-assessment of tax returns for assessment year 2009-2010, news channel ET Now reported on Saturday citing sources familiar with the development.

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    A widely reported Russian cyber-spying campaign against diplomatic targets in the United States and elsewhere has been using two previously unknown flaws in software to penetrate target machines, a security company investigating the matter said on Saturday.

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    With about half a percent of the world's population, Canada may not seem like the most desirable locale for Apple (AAPL) to expand its currently U.S.-only mobile payment system Apple Pay. So why, then, is the company eying the region for a November roll out, as the Wall Street Journal reported Friday? Canada has two big advantages working in its favor, eMarketer analyst Bryan Yeager said.

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    Hackers have managed to penetrate computer networks associated with the Israeli military in an espionage campaign that skillfully packages existing attack software with trick emails, according to security researchers at Blue Coat Systems Inc. The four-month-old effort, most likely by Arabic-speaking programmers, shows how the Middle East continues to be a hotbed for cyber espionage and how wide...

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    New York, NEW YORK - Scientists at Columbia University in New York have successfully built a camera that is capable of producing images using power harvested from the surrounding incident light. The prototype self-powering camera takes an image each second, and in a well-lit scene it can operate indefinitely.

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    Verizon FiOs is moving closer to unraveling the cable bundle with new skinny packages of channels that can be designed based on a customer's interests, a significant departure from the traditional model of selling consumers hundreds of channels at once.FiOs, which serves 5 million customers nationwide, will begin Sunday to offer its new Custom TV service, which includes basic channels and seven small add-on packages grouped by genres including sports, kids, news, entertainment, pop culture and lifestyle.In the basic plan, which will cost $54 per month, customers will get 35 basic channels including all local broadcast networks, CNN (TWX), HGTV, AMC and the Food Network (SSP). The package includes two genre packs. Consumers can add additional genre packs for $10 each.But sports fans won't be able to watch ESPN (DIS) or ESPN2 (DIS) as part of the new bundles, which will turn off many cable customers who hang on to their subscriptions largely to watch sports events that aren't easily available online.“Media reports about Verizon’s new contemplated bundles describe packages that would not be authorized by our existing agreements. Among other issues, our contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN (DIS) nor ESPN2 (DIS) may be distributed in a separate sports package," ESPN (DIS) said in a statement late Friday.Verizon FiOs President Tami Erwin told CNBC in an interview that the decision to shake up their offers was in response to new consumer demands. Subscriptions to cable and telecom television services have steadily declined in recent years. Streaming services such as Netflix (NFLX), Amazon and HBO (TWX) have become fixtures in American homes. Four out of ten homes subscribe to Netflix.The decision also shows an acknowledgement by cable companies that as video migrates more to the Internet, the focus of their businesses will increasingly be on broadband, rather than cable."Customers want choice and increasingly customers have choice on video, and we've said very clearly we expect to be the preeminent broadband provider in the market, but we want to give customers choice on how they acquire and how they buy video," Erwin said.She said some current FiOs customers may migrate to the cheaper plans but she said she also believes the new options will draw new customers.  "I think about millennials and how millennials are viewing video today for example," Erwin told CNBC.It may be hard, though, to attract young consumers who have never paid for cable TV. With Internet included, the Verizon (VZ) package will add up to well over $100 a month for consumers who today only pay for broadband plus a couple subscription streaming services.More reading:In Cable, it's survival of the fittest as channels drop from the bundle




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    Shareholders in Mexico's America Movil on Friday approved a plan to spin off around 10,800 cell towers into a new company, Telesites, that will open up their use to competitors, a person familiar with the matter said.

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    Wall Street consensus' neutral to modestly negative' on IBM (IBM). IBM Corp. is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings after market close on Monday. Last quarter, the company's top-line results fell short of expectations as IBM (IBM) battled yet another slowdown in its software business.

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    The tech incubator 1776 is a collegial place, with offices painted in lively colors, couches to greet visitors, and members who share seats, desks and the fixings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.It’s an atmosphere carefully cultivated by its founders, Evan Burfield and Donna Harris, and it helped position the outfit as a caretaker, connector and capital provider for tomorrow’s big technology companies.But after Thursday’s announcement that 1776 would acquire Disruption Corp., a Crystal City tech hub, there is little doubt that the founders have aspirations to grow one of those big companies themselves. The move raises questions about how its founders will balance their own financial success with support for the companies they’re helping to build.[Related: Tech hubs in D.C. and Arlington combine with 1776 acquisition of Disruption Corp.]In a former life, Harris and Burfield were software entrepreneurs themselves. Harris founded the online educational services firm Kinderstreet, while Burfield started netDecide, which provided wealth management services to financial services firms.They launched 1776 two years ago with $200,000 from the D.C. government and set about creating a local network backed by jurisdictions eager to attract jobs and entrepreneurs. Having already inked partnerships with the District and Montgomery County, 1776’s addition of Disruption’s offices will give it a Crystal City location, which Harris said “completes the circle of the region.”On Thursday, Burfield said the local tech industry needed to “tear down some of these borders between D.C., Maryland and Virginia” to compete with the likes of California’s Silicon Valley.Principals at both companies agreed not to reveal details of the deal. A person familiar with the transaction who didn’t want to publicly violate that agreement said it was an “all-equity” rather than a cash transaction.Frank Bonsal III, director of entrepreneurship at Towson University, who has worked with Harris, Burfield and Disruption founder Paul Singh, said the acquisition “either means they’re extremely aligned and they create cost-efficiencies by working together, or one was starting to compete with the other and they decided to roll it up.”What is more clear is that the 1776 founders have acquired in the Disruption deal two central components to advance their company.The first is venture capital expertise. Singh, 34, has raised eight venture funds in five years and has ties — from living in India, Virginia and Silicon Valley — to investors around the world.Last fall, he announced an expansion of his work backed by Halifax-based Innovacorp, with the support of the Canadian government. Harris and Burfield have invested with him previously and have known him for years.[Related: Disruption Corp. expands in Crystal City]The second is asset is software. At Disruption, Singh developed three products, including Dashboard, a tool to help start-up founders network, raise money and efficiently identify mentors and partners as they grow. Singh made Dashboard available to accelerators and investment communities around the world, creating more than a dozen disparate groups of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who use the program to communicate, plan meetings and track growth.Before the acquisition talks, Bur­field and Harris had begun developing competing software, dubbed George, aimed at providing similar tools to its 270 members and members of affiliates in Chicago, Toronto, Berlin, London and nearly a dozen other cities.Demonstrating George recently, Burfield said, “What we can do is track every interaction our founders made, how frequently they make those interactions and what each interaction meant to them.”Gary Hensley, founder of an education-technology company housed at 1776, said the George platform has become “an everyday tool” for his team.“Without it, there’s no way we could keep up with everything that’s going on here, all the events and speakers and investors who are coming by,” he said.Dashboard and George — which will be combined — seem like a mash-up of communication and scheduling tools from LinkedIn (LNKD), Facebook (FB) and Google Calendar. As Burfield sees it, they are critical time-savers for young entrepreneurs: “If you’re a start-up, you spend 90 to 95 percent of your time with your head down trying to solve a problem.”But the software might have a far more valuable use to 1776. It creates a detailed and proprietary store of information on start-ups and their employees that Harris and Burfield could use to invest or sell to other investors.Burfield said they were still considering how that data would be used. Say MedStar Health, a 1776 sponsor and partner, wanted to know specific information about meetings a health-focused 1776 start-up had taken. Would 1776 sell it to them? “We wouldn’t, but we could aggregate, rank or compile information about our members to our partners,” Burfield said. “There are a lot of possibilities here.”He later added: “We have no interest in selling data to anyone but rather using data and tools to help our community connect and innovate.”Despite 1776’s call for regional co­operation, there are likely to be parochial concerns raised by its expansion. Though the District put up the money to launch 1776, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), speaking beside Bur­field and Harris on a Crystal City rooftop at the announcement, trumpeted Virginia as the future “hub of innovators and start-ups in America.”The building was one owned by Vornado Realty Trust (VNO), a major backer of Disruption’s work in Crystal City. Mitchell N. Schear, president of the firm’s Washington office, has bet on tech growth to fill the company’s many Crystal City office buildings.As he put it, “We hope that they go from start-up mode to speed-up mode to scale-up mode and continue their full life span here.”Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz




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    Buyers of General Motors Co vehicles will increasingly be able to use in-car mobile broadband systems to book hotel rooms, cut deals on driver insurance, pay for data usage and conduct a host of other transactions. And each time they do, GM will get a small cut from the seller.

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    Hackers have managed to penetrate computer networks associated with the Israeli military in an espionage campaign that skillfully packages existing attack software with trick emails, according to security researchers at Blue Coat Systems Inc. The four-month-old effort, most likely by Arabic-speaking programmers, shows how the Middle East continues to be a hotbed for cyber espionage and how wide...

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    Software security and storage provider Symantec (SYMC) is moving ahead with its plans to split into two publicly traded companies by January, a move that it views as more tax-efficient than a sale of one of its units, top executives said this week. "That's the plan, to spin it," Chief Executive Michael Brown said in an interview.

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    The state government of Rio de Janeiro, which is feverishly preparing for next year's Olympic Games, has failed to pay its phone and Internet bills, triggering a cutoff in service, the phone company responsible said on Friday. Brazilian telecoms firm Oi SA said it had cut the lines after the state government racked up debt of 170 million reais in unpaid internet and telephone bills.

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    In a world where technology makes so much possible in an instant, moving money can still be a waiting game. With smartphones, you can send cash to friends in just a few taps — but it can take one to three days before it shows up in the bank.One trusty way to receive money within minutes relies on technology that predated the first text message by more than 100 years: the wire service.Hikmet Ersek, chief executive of Western Union (WU), says the company has advanced considerably since the days of the telegraph. Its mobile business, driven primarily through a smartphone app, is the fastest growing slice of the company’s revenue, which grew 2 percent in the last quarter to $5.74 billion.But Ersek, who has led Western Union (WU) since 2010, said that most people still prefer to send money from one of its retail locations — there are more than 500,000 worldwide, including 50,000 in the United States.Ersek recently chatted with The Washington Post about its core business — immigrants in the United States sending cash abroad to family members. He also spoke about the role women play in household finances and the future of mobile payments. This has been edited for length and clarity.Who is your typical customer?About 60 percent of our customers are migrants. The global immigrants market is more than $500 billion a year, most of them supporting families back home. Is it your mom or uncle, children? The number one reason for sending money back home is supporting their children so that they have a better education.Your company is global, where do you have the biggest reach?Our largest market is the U.S. outbound market, sending money. In the receiving market, the number one country is India, then it’s Mexico, then Philippines, then China.Of the “send” countries, the number one market is definitely the U.S. Saudi Arabia is worldwide second because of the immigrant market. In Europe, places like France and the United Kingdom are the largest countries.A theme of the economy this year has been that the U.S. is doing well while other countries are struggling. How does that affect your business?I’m not sure if the economy is doing very well in the U.S. I think it’s doing better. Obviously the U.S. economy is doing much better and creating more jobs than the European economy, but our business is extremely resilient. Our customers have been very resilient, but we do see a difference sometimes in the dollar amounts. Instead of sending $300, they send $280.As you know, mobile payments are huge abroad and some smaller players are trying to infiltrate the market here for people who want to send money to family members abroad. How many of your customers are sending money on their phones and what is Western Union (WU) doing to compete in this space?Our digital business is 6 percent of our total revenue. It’s the smallest but fastest growing part of our business. In the U.S., more and more customers want to send money digitally.Within the digital business, the fastest growing part is mobile. People use their app while they go  underground in New York and they get a phone call from Bangladesh, from their mom saying she wants $160 and they can use their app and send the money immediately. I believe in the future that people will use mobile devices — it could be a watch, by the way — to send money.On the receive side though, we don’t see our customers using mobile yet. The only country really is Kenya. But we don’t see a lot that people will get money on their mobile phones and then use that phone to go and shop for milk. So the use case on the mobile receive side is less. But on the send side I believe that’s going to be a huge part of Western Union (WU) in the future.Social media companies like SnapChat and Facebook (FB) have partnered with money apps to let people send money to friends and family. How does Western Union (WU) compete with these efforts?It’s easy to send money from New York to San Francisco, but it’s not easy to send money from New York to Sri Lanka. Facebook and Google (GOOG) and others struggle with that. If you want to move money across borders you need a company like Western Union.It’s easier to do it within one country because you don’t need that kind of expertise, that kind of competency, like you do with cross-border. That’s our competitive advantage.Tell me about Western Union’s partnership with Apple Pay.That’s always a part of our strategy. We are opening our network to any way of collecting payments. If people are using Apple Pay, why not use your Apple Pay to send money to Sri Lanka?You have money on your phone. You get a call from your brother, you go with your Apple Pay and send money to your brother who within minutes can pick up $150 in Sri Lanka. It’s the same as collecting money from a MasterCard (MA), Visa or American Express. We can connect people globally and people can send money in a way they want. I think people like that.What do you think mobile payments will look like in the future?It’s my opinion that the mobile device in the future will have a different form than today. It’s changed a lot. Today’s phones are small computers and in the future, the watch could be also a wallet.Security is on everyone’s mind right now. What are some of the things Western Union (WU) is doing to protect customers’ data?Everybody should be concerned because that is the new way of doing crime. In the past you went to a bank and robbed the bank. Now you’re going online to try to get money there. Our system double-checks everything. Let’s say you want to send money, you use your credit card online. But before we pay out the money, we double check: Is it the right person? Who is it on the receive side?For every transaction there are two people involved. We have a money-laundering database and we check every transaction against any crime activities. We have not been seeing any fraud activity online that has majorly affected us.And the person receiving the money has to know certain details about the transaction, correct?Absolutely. There is a [code] that is issued only one time. The receiver has to know the details of the sender, plus this number.Anything else coming from Western Union (WU) that consumers should be aware of?There is always a perception that Western Union (WU) has an old business model, but don’t forget there are 29 transactions every second, and all of these transactions are done electronically. It’s not like we carry it from one location to another location, cash in a suitcase.Now what’s happening is that instead of collecting cash, people are more and more using online or digital phones to carry out the transactions, and I believe in the future also watches and other mobile devices.




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    IBM (IBM) is taking steps to reinvent its business, but the plan to reinvigorate the top line is going to take several quarters, with little progress expected immediately. IBM's (IBM) key strategic areas -- mobile, social, data analytics, security and cloud -- are the future of the company, a point that CEO Ginni Rometty and CFO Martin Schroeter have tried to lay out to investors before.