LG, Philips loses appeal against EU’s price-fixing fine.

LG Electronics lost its final appeal against the ruling of European Union and has been asked to pay more than EUR 540 million.

The European Commission (EC) in 2012 had slapped seven top electronics companies with total EUR 1.5 billion for running up a price-fixing cartel for cathode ray tubes (CRTs).

Philips took the harshest penalty of €313.3 million, followed by a €295.6 million fine for LG. The companies were also hit with an additional €391.9 million penalty for the conduct of their joint venture.

Samsung was penalized €150.8 million, Panasonic got hit for €157.5 million and the other offending companies received smaller fines ranging from €7.8 million to €86.7 million.

The commission stated the fact that the companies had fixed prices, shared markets, allocated customers and restricted the output of color display tubes used in computer monitors and color picture tubes used in television sets.

Between 1996 and 2006, the EC said, the companies manipulated the market for cathode ray tubes, the central component in most older televisions and monitors.

CRT-based displays have largely been replaced by monitors using liquid crystal display and plasma technology in recent years, and the decline of the technology was one of the driving forces behind the cartel.

Source: NDTV , Law 360

Image Source: The IPKat

Skype and WhatsApp set to come under the new EU security rules

User security and data confidentiality is one of the major concerns in the online space today. In view of this, European Union is all set to propose stricter rules for the widely used messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype pertaining to how they handle user data.

The EU is aiming to extend these rules even to web companies and not just telecom operators. For this the web services will have to guarantee the confidentiality of user data and obtain consent before accessing user location and similar information.

The phone companies want these EU rules which are specific to only Telecom firms, either extend to all or be repealed, “This creates a void of protection of confidentiality for the users of these services,” the draft said, referring to web companies or OTT (Over-the-Top) services.

According to this draft telecom companies that were earlier barred from using customer data, will now have access to consumer data with their consent.

In addition to this, the draft also said that it would remove the obligation for websites to seek permission from users to place cookies on their browsers through a banner, if the user has already consented through the privacy settings of their browser.

A spokesperson from the European Union refused to comment on this matter, but confirmed that the aim of the review is to regulate and revise data protection and simplify the provisions for cookies with effect from 2018.

Sources: Reuters, IB Times

Image Source: Snopes.com

Extended State of Emergency Declared in Mali

Nampala, Mali: The Republic of Mali has declared a state of emergency for 10 days on Thursday, July 21st, 2016. This comes after a deadly attack at an army base by gunmen that left 12 soldiers dead, and 35 injured. The declaration was made just a week after a three-month emergency period was lifted by the State.

The Republic also declared a three-day period of mourning, till July 24th, 2016, as a way of paying respect to the slain. The previous emergency period lasted from April, 2016 to July, 2016 and now renewed, is expected to last 10 days, pending further deliberations. The government stated that it was a “coordinated terrorist attack”.

Mali has been at the centre of violence due to conflicts between various ethnic groups. Two militant organisations have claimed culpability for the army base raid – the ethnic Peul tribe that calls itself ANSIPRJ, or the National Alliance for the Protection of Peul Identity and Restoration of Justice, and an Islamic extremist group, the Macina Liberation Front, that is said to be a part of Jihadist group, the Ansar Dine.

The continuous violence initiated in 2012, started when the Tuareg tribe’s rebels took control of Mali. In 2013, the French launched a military operation to drive out Islamic rebels who were wreaking havoc in the state. The European Union and the United Nations spoke out against the attack, condemning such violence. Despite deployment of 11000 soldiers from the UN Peacekeeping Force, attacks and raids continue in Mali and at its borders.

Source: ABC news

Financial Express

Brexit vote leads to surge in hate crime by 42%

Ever since England voted out of the European Union on June 23, the country has witnessed an unprecedented rise in hate crimes and racial attacks on ethnic minorities and immigrant families. A staggering 289 incidents were reported on June 25 alone, a day after the results were announced.

According to The National Police Chief’s Council, a total of 3,076 incidents were reported between June 16 and June 30, as compared to 915 cases during the same period in 2015. The 42% increase in such crimes has become a cause of concern for the government and its people. The majority of offences are related to physical assault, racial slur and other violence committed against immigrant communities.

A Polish community centre, in Hammersmith, West London, was covered in racial graffiti and placards reading “Leave the EU- no more Polish vermin” were hung in Huntingdon, directed towards the Polish community. The Polish embassy expressed its concern saying that it was “deeply shocked and concerned” at the brazen incidents of abuse towards the Poles and other Eastern Europeans living in England.

Newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan has condemned these acts, calling upon Londoners to remain united against racism. He said he took seriously his “responsibility to defend London’s fantastic mix of diversity and tolerance.”

Khan has ordered the city’s police force to be extra vigilant in the wake of such incidents and has urged citizens to come forward and report any such hate crime that they might witness on public transport or otherwise.

Read more at: NDTV, Independent