Europe fines Google $1.7 billion in antitrust case

BRUSSELS — Europe’s antitrust regulators slapped Google with a big fine Wednesday for the third time in less than two years, ordering the tech giant to pay 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for freezing out rivals in the online advertising business.

The ruling brings to nearly $10 billion the fines imposed against Google by the European Union. And it comes at a time when big tech companies around the world are facing increasing regulatory pressure and fierce political attacks over privacy violations, online misinformation, hate speech and other abuses.

Still, the latest penalty isn’t likely to have much effect on Google’s business. It involves practices the company says it already ended, and the sum is just a fraction of the $31 billion in profit that its parent, Alphabet, made last year.

Alphabet stock rose 2 percent on Wall Street on Wednesday.

The EU ruling applies to a narrow portion of Google’s ad business: when Google sells ads next to Google search results on third-party websites.

Investigators found that Google inserted exclusivity clauses in its contracts that barred these websites from running similarly placed ads sold by Google’s rivals.

As a result, advertisers and website owners “had less choice and likely faced higher prices that would be passed on to consumers,” said the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

Anyone who suffered from Google’s behavior can seek compensation through national courts, she said.

EU regulators opened their investigation in 2016 — seven years after Microsoft filed a complaint — though by that time, Google had already made some changes to give customers more freedom to show competing ads. For that reason, regulators did not require a specific remedy to restore competition.

But Vestager said it appeared rivals haven’t been able to catch up, and some are “quite small.” By contrast, the EU said, Google has more than 70 percent of the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

Harvard profits from early photos of slaves, lawsuit says

BOSTON — Harvard University has “shamelessly” turned a profit from photos of two 19th-century slaves while ignoring requests to turn the photos over to the slaves’ descendants, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Tamara Lanier, of Norwich, Connecticut, is suing the Ivy League school for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of images she says depict two of her ancestors. Her suit, filed in Massachusetts state court, demands that Harvard immediately turn over the photos, acknowledge her ancestry and pay an unspecified sum in damages.

Harvard spokesman Jonathan Swain said the university “has not yet been served, and with that is in no position to comment on this complaint.”

John Shishmanian

This July 17, 2018 copy photo shows a 1850 Daguerreotype of Renty, a South Carolina slave who Tamara Lanier, of Norwich, Conn., said is her family’s patriarch. The portrait was commissioned by Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz, whose ideas were used to support the enslavement of Africans in the United States. Lanier filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Massachusetts state court, demanding that Harvard turn over the photo and pay damages. (Courtesy of Harvard University/The Norwich Bulletin via AP)

At the center of the case is a series of 1850 daguerreotypes, an early type of photo, taken of two South Carolina slaves identified as Renty and his daughter, Delia. Both were posed shirtless and photographed from several angles. The images are believed to be the earliest known photos of American slaves.

They were commissioned by Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz, whose theories on racial difference were used to support slavery in the U.S. The lawsuit says Agassiz came across Renty and Delia while touring plantations in search of racially “pure” slaves born in Africa.

“To Agassiz, Renty and Delia were nothing more than research specimens,” the suit says. “The violence of compelling …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

Conservation group says dead sea lion was found with gunshot wound in B.C.

HORNBY ISLAND — A conservation group says a dead sea lion that washed ashore in British Columbia this week had been shot in the head, amid calls from some fishermen for a cull.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says in a news release that the flippered mammal was found on Hornby Island and alleges its crew has also observed abuse of the animals on the water.

The society says the sea lions depend on herring runs for food and is calling on Ottawa to place a moratorium on commercial roe herring fisheries in the Strait of Georgia to help stocks rebound.

Meanwhile, some commercial fishermen are asking the federal government to approve a seal and sea lion cull to protect declining salmon stocks, arguing pinniped numbers have spiked in recent years.

Several scientists have disputed that claim, saying the mammals’ numbers have only rebounded to natural levels after they were depleted by human activity.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The society’s news release comes two weeks after a video showing an explosive “bear banger” being thrown into waters teeming with sea lions stirred controversy.

The fisherman responsible has said he never intended to harm any animals, only get them away from his boat.

Related
Sea lions feasting on endangered salmon and steelhead fish in Pacific Northwest
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Source:: Vancouver Sun

Alabama editor promoting KKK revival says he’s selling paper

LINDEN, Ala. — An Alabama newspaper owner who promoted a revival of the Ku Klux Klan says he has a deal to sell the business.

Editor Goodloe Sutton tells The Associated Press this week’s issue of The Democrat-Reporter of Linden, Alabama, could be his last.

Sutton wouldn’t go into details about the supposed buyer, and he’s been trying to sell for years. The weekly has few local advertisers.

But Linden Mayor Charles Moore says he was recently contacted by a newspaper company interested in purchasing Sutton’s operation.

The 80-year-old Sutton prompted a firestorm last month with an editorial criticizing Democrats that began: “Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again.”

Sutton turned over the operation to an African-American employee afterward, but she quit weeks later in a dispute with Sutton.

…read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News