Huawei operating system coming to smartphones in Asia

An update of HarmonyOS, the operating system developed by Huawei, means it will now be installed in a wider range of products, including its smartphones. It is due to roll out across Asia following a launch event on 2 June. There is no date for a global launch yet. A trade ban imposed by the US last year effectively prevented Huawei devices from working fully with Google’s Android platform because it blocked access to essential apps like Gmail. However, Huawei said it did not consider Harmony to be a replacement…

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India May Set up New Panel to Study Crypto Regulations

The central government may form a fresh panel of experts to study the possibility of regulating cryptocurrency in India, three sources privy of the discussions told FT. This comes amid the prevailing view that the recommendations by a committee headed by former finance secretary Subhash Garg in 2019 for a blanket ban on these assets had become outdated. The new committee’s ambit could be to explore the use of blockchain for technological enhancement and suggest ways to regulate cryptos as digital assets instead of a currency. The committee may also…

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PhonePe to Acquire Content Discovery Platform Indus OS for $60 million

Digital payments major PhonePe is in talks to acquire homegrown content and app discovery platform Indus OS in a deal valued around $60 million, sources aware of the matter said. Bengaluru-based PhonePe’s rationale for acquiring Indus OS is to boost its ‘super app’ Switch, where it hosts apps across categories such as food, travel, shopping and lifestyle. A super app is simply a platform that offers a wide range of services under one umbrella. Local developers use Indus OS to reach non-English speakers beyond India’s tier 1 cities and allow…

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India Gives WhatsApp 7 Days to Roll Back New Privacy Policy

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Wednesday has directed Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp to take back its contentious new privacy policy, according to government sources quoted by ANI. According to MeitY, deferral of the privacy policy beyond May 15, 2021, does not absolve WhatsApp from respecting the values of informational privacy, data security and user choice for Indian users, sources told ANI. MeitY has reportedly given WhatsApp seven days to reply to its notice. If WhatsApp’s response isn’t deemed satisfactory, the Indian government may take legal action…

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Google Leads US Business Push to Preserve Work Permits for H-1B Spouses

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Friday it was leading about 30 companies and trade groups in opposing a lawsuit that seeks to stop over 90,000 spouses of highly skilled U.S. visa workers from having jobs in the country. The organizations contend undoing employment authorization for spouses would cause financial havoc for families, because most made life choices such as having children or buying homes based on the expectation of two incomes. A federal judge in Washington is expected to decide in the coming months on the lawsuit challenging the work permits tied…

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Samsung Expands Blockchain Support on Galaxy Smartphones Amid Crypto Boom

Samsung Electronics said on Friday it has expanded support for blockchain users trading virtual assets on its Galaxy smartphones amid rising interest in cryptocurrencies. The South Korean tech said its latest update will allow users to easily manage their transactions by importing their virtual assets stored on select cold hardware wallets to the Samsung Blockchain Wallet available on most Galaxy smartphones. “Support for hardware wallets provides Galaxy blockchain with a consistent user experience of managing crypto assets from one convenient location,” Samsung said. A hardware wallet refers to a cryptocurrency…

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E-Commerce Firms Face More Hurdles in Maharashtra, Assam

New rules from the governments of Maharashtra and Assam have created additional hurdles for e-commerce and transport operators, including those delivering food, groceries and other essential supplies. The Maharashtra government, in a notification on Wednesday, said drivers and helpers of all goods carriers entering the state must carry a negative RT-PCR certificate that is less than 48 hours old, and that it will be valid for only seven days. The new rules also say that a cargo carrier cannot have more than two people. Meanwhile in Assam, though the government…

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Elon Musk says Tesla will Stop Accepting Bitcoin for Car Purchases, Citing Environmental Concerns

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday on Twitter that Tesla has “suspended vehicle purchases using bitcoin,” out of concern over “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining.” The price of bitcoin dropped about 5% in the first minutes after Musk’s announcement. In an SEC filing in February, Tesla revealed that it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and it may invest in more of bitcoin or other crypto currencies in the future. At that time, the company said it would start accepting bitcoin as a payment method for…

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RBI grants PPI authorisation to Eroute Technologies

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted authorisation to Eroute Technologies to operate as a prepaid payment instruments (PPI) company. The RBI issued authorisation on May 10, 2021, to Eroute Technologies Pvt Ltd with perpetual validity to commence issuance and operations of semi-closed pre-paid instruments in the country, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. The Noida-based firm said the RBI authorisation will enable it to launch its payment solutions at scale independently unlike neo banks and other bank-led fintech companies. PPIs are instruments that facilitate purchase of…

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