Thursday, February 23, 2006

Google Denies Report on China Operation

BEIJING - Google Inc. denied a report Monday that its Chinese-language search engine, which has been criticized for blocking searches for politically sensitive material, is operating without a required government license.

Quality printer supplies, lowest prices!

Up to 75% off art & craft supplies at MisterArt

Bayberry Gifts

Welcome to The Beer Machine

The newspaper Beijing News reported that the ICP — or Internet content provider — license listed by on its Web site belongs to a Chinese company, It said the situation has "attracted the attention" of Chinese regulators.

"Google has a partnership with through which Google has the required license to operate," said Google spokeswoman Debbie Frost in a written response to questions about the report.

A spokesman for China's Ministry of Information Industry, which regulates Internet use, said it was aware that didn't have its own license. The spokesman, Wang Lijian, wouldn't say whether that was permitted by Chinese rules or give any other information.

Some other foreign Internet companies such as eBay Inc. also operate in China using the licenses of their local partners.

Google and other foreign competitors are eager to gain a share of China's fast-growing online industry, the world's second-largest after the United States, with more than 100 million people online.

Google launched last year in an effort to increase its appeal to Chinese Web surfers. The company has a Chinese-language search site based abroad, but users complain that Chinese government filters slow access to it.

Enter to win new LandRover!

Want a hot deal on a Phone?

Cheap Prepaid Long Distance Calling Latin America

iPod shuffle 512MB was $94 Now  $65.99!

The Chinese government operates what is widely regarded as the world's most sweeping effort to monitor and limit Internet use, with all online traffic passing through state-controlled gateways and filters block access to foreign sites deemed subversive or pornographic.

Web sites in China are required to remove banned content.

Google and other U.S. Internet companies are under criticism from American lawmakers and free-speech advocates for cooperating with such controls. blocks searches for material on human rights, Tibet and other topics banned by the government. Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) has been accused of providing Chinese authorities with information that led to the jailing of two Chinese e-mail users, and Microsoft Corp. shut down the Web log of a Chinese user at the government's request. Network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. also has been accused of cooperating with Beijing.

At a hearing last week in Washington, Rep. Tom Lantos (news, bio, voting record) complained to executives of those companies that their actions were a "disgrace."

Technology companies have defended their actions in China, saying they have to obey Chinese law.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Google has no license for China service: newspaper

BEIJING (Reuters) - Internet search giant Google Inc.'s controversial expansion into China now faces possible trouble with regulators after a Beijing newspaper said its new Chinese-language platform does not have a license.

The Beijing News reported on Tuesday that, the company's recently launched service that accommodates the China's censorship demands, "has not obtained the ICP (Internet content provider) license needed to operate Internet content services in China."

Get Canadian automobile dealer cost prices here!

Click Here for CoffeeCup Website Design Software

American Blinds Logo - Free Shipping

SYSTRAN Office Translator 5.0 - Buy now

Bellacor - Free Shipping

ZapTel Phone Card Superstore Button

The Ministry of Information Industry, which regulates China's Internet, was "concerned" and investigating the problem, the paper said.

Google has weathered criticism from United States lawmakers, international free speech advocates and Chinese dissidents for abiding by Chinese censors' demands that searches on its new Chinese service block links about sensitive topics, such as Tibet and the 1989 anti-government protests in Tiananmen Square.

A spokesperson for Google told the paper that it shared an ICP license with another, local company, -- a practice followed by many international companies in China, including Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) and eBay Inc..

Usually, foreign investors in Chinese internet services must hand over operation of the service itself to a Chinese partner, with the foreign investor receiving payment for technical support.

The paper said's operations appeared to be different and the name Ganji does not appear in reports about the U.S. company's China activities.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Philippines Landslide Death Toll at 1,800

GUINSAUGON, Philippines - Rescue workers held little hope Saturday of finding more survivors from a devastating landslide that killed an estimated 1,800 people, saying this farming village in the eastern Philippines was swallowed whole by a wall of mud and boulders.

Survivors and others blamed persistent rains and illegal logging for Friday's disaster.

The logging "stopped around 10 years ago," Roger Mercado, a member of Congress who represents the area, told Manila radio station DZBB. "But this is the effect of the logging in the past."

Soldiers were being shuttled to the disaster zone in the shovels of bulldozers that carried them across a shallow stream. With the mud estimated to be 30 feet deep at some points, they were given sketches of the village so they could figure out approximately where the houses used to be.

Lt. Col. Raul Farnacio, the highest-ranking military officer at the scene, estimated the death toll at about 1,800 — nearly every man, woman and child who lived in Guinsaugon, about 400 miles east of the capital, Manila.

"Out of a population of 1,857, we have 57 survivors and 19 bodies," a grim Farnacio said as search efforts resumed Saturday in a drenching rain and high winds that made the task even more miserable. "We presume that more or less that 1,800 are feared dead."

Farnacio said the troops were digging only where they saw clear evidence of bodies because of the danger that the soft, unstable mud could shift and claim new victims.

"We can only focus on the surface," he said. "We cannot go too deep."

Low clouds hung over the area, obscuring the mountain that disintegrated Friday morning after two weeks of heavy rains, covering the village's 375 homes and elementary school. Rescue workers trudged slowly through the sludge, stretchers and ambulances waiting for survivors or the bodies of victims.

The landslide left Guinsaugon, which is on the southern part of Leyte island, looking like a giant patch of newly plowed land. Only a few jumbles of corrugated steel sheeting indicate Guinsaugon ever existed.

"Our village is gone, everything was buried in mud," survivor Eugene Pilo, who lost his family, told local media on Friday. "All the people are gone."

"It sounded like the mountain exploded, and the whole thing crumbled," fellow survivor Dario Libatan, who lost his wife and three children, told DZMM. "I could not see any house standing anymore."

A helicopter pilot, Leo Dimaala, estimated that half the mountain had collapsed Friday morning.

Education officials said 250 pupils and teachers were believed to have been at the elementary school at the time. Only one girl and a woman were rescued alive nearby.

Two other villages also were affected, and about 3,000 evacuees huddled at a municipal hall.

"We did not find injured people," said Ricky Estela, a crewman on a helicopter that flew a politician to the scene. "Most of them are dead and beneath the mud."

Aerial TV footage showed a wide swath of mud alongside stretches of green rice paddies at the foothills of the scarred mountain.

Pat Vendetti, a London-based campaigner with the Greenpeace environmental action group, said that that although logging is illegal in the Philippines, a combination of poor governance and corruption has hampered enforcement of the law.

"There were similar landslides at the end of 2004 and the end of 2003, both directly linked to illegal logging on land above villages, and both in the Philippines," said Vendetti.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies blamed a combination of the weather and the type of trees prevalent in the area.

"The remote coastal area of southern Leyte ... is heavily forested with coconut trees," the Red Cross said from Geneva. "They have shallow roots, which can be easily dislodged after heavy rains, causing the land to become unstable."

Southern Leyte province Gov. Rosette Lerias said many residents evacuated the area last week because of the threat of landslides or flooding, but had started returning home during increasingly sunny days, with the rains limited to evening downpours.

Even before the landslide, "trees were sliding down upright with the mud," Lerias said.

On Friday, rescue workers put a child on a stretcher, with little more than the girl's eyes showing through a covering of mud.

Army Capt. Edmund Abella said he and about 30 soldiers were wading through waist-deep mud.

"It's very difficult, we're digging by hand, the place is so vast and the mud is so thick," Abella told The Associated Press by cell phone. "When we try to walk, we get stuck in the mud."

He said the troops had just rescued a 43-year-old woman.

"She was crying and looking for her three nephews, but they were nowhere to be found," Abella said.

"Help is on the way," President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said in televised remarks. "It will come from land, sea and air."

The Philippine Red Cross had 14 people on the ground dealing with rescue efforts and the recovery of bodies. More staff and trained volunteers were being sent to the region, along with dog rescue teams.

A relief plane was flying from Manila carrying 1,000 body bags, emergency trauma kits to help 1,000 people, rubber boots, ropes, clothing, flashlights and medicine.

The international Red Cross launched an emergency appeal for $1.5 million for relief operations. The funds will be used for buying temporary shelter materials and other emergency health and cooking items.

The U.S. military dispatched at least two warships and other forces to the scene to provide medical assistance and other relief.

Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Brian Maka, said that in response to a Philippine government request, the U.S. military was dispatching the USS Essex and the USS Harper's Ferry, and possibly other ships. He said Army and Marine Corps ground forces that happened to be in the Philippines also were available to help.

The United States also is sending money requested by the Philippine government to help pay for search and rescue operations, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said. He did not say how much would be sent.

"We will continue to coordinate our response efforts with the government of the Philippines and look for ways to best support them in this hour of need," Duffy told reporters traveling on Air Force One to Florida with
President Bush.

Last weekend, seven road construction workers died in a landslide after falling into a 150-foot deep ravine in the mountain town of Sogod on Leyte.

In 1991, about 6,000 people were killed on Leyte in floods and landslides triggered by a tropical storm. Another 133 people died in floods and mudslides there in 2003.

In 1944, the waters off Leyte island became the scene of the biggest naval battle in history, when U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his famed vow "I shall return" and routed Japanese forces occupying the Philippines.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Vodafone and Google to work on mobile searches

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Vodafone Group Plc said on Tuesday it and Internet company Google Inc were to develop mobile search services for the mobile phone company's customers.

Subscribe now!

Vodafone said in a statement it would integrate Google's search capability into its consumer service, Vodafone live!.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Google, Skype in Startup to Link Hotspots

NEW YORK - Google Inc. and eBay Inc.'s Skype are investing in a startup that plans to help hotspot owners charge for Wi-Fi access, a plan that could face significant opposition from Internet service providers.

Subscribe to Sports Weekly

Bluehost Web Hosting $6.95

The Internet heavyweights were joined by venture capital firms Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital in making a $22 million investment in FON, the Spanish startup. In its announcement Sunday, FON did not say how much each investor was contributing.

FON's idea, floated just three months ago in a Web posting by founder Martin Varsavsky, is to sign up people who have Wi-Fi hotspots in one of two ways.

"Linus" members, named after
Linus Torvalds, who created the freely distributed
Linux software, will share their hotspot with other Linus members for free.

"Bill" members, named after Microsoft Corp. founder
Bill Gates, will charge for access to their hotspot. FON will get some of that revenue, and share it with Internet service providers, or ISPs.

The network has gained 3,000 Linus members since going live in November. There is no software yet for Bill members, but Varsavsky expects it to be ready within four months. Linus software is so far only available for Wi-Fi routers from Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems Inc.

FON faces a hurdle in that most ISPs prohibit subscribers from sharing internet access with people outside their household. Many broadband subscribers share their access now for free, though, and it's hard for Internet service providers to stop them.

Traffic from a FON-connected hotspot would be easy for an ISP to identify, said Glen Fleishman, editor of the Wi-Fi Networking News site, because users have to authenticate themselves at a FON server.

Two Audiobooks for FREE from Audible

Varsavsky wants to partner with ISPs to get them to allow their subscribers to set up FON hotspots. It has signed up a Swedish ISP, Glocalnet, and is in discussions with U.S. companies.

To win over the ISPs, Varsavsky points out that Linus members need Internet service to be Linus members.

"So in fact, FON is an incentive to become a customer of an ISP," he said.

Mark Harrad, a spokesman at Time Warner Cable, said the company was not aware of FON's plans. Its terms of service prohibit its 4.8 million residential broadband subscribers from sharing their connection outside the household.

Representatives at Google did not return messages seeking comment on the search engine's investment in FON.

Skype's Internet telephone service works over wireless connections, and a cell-phone-like device is in the works to take advantage of that fact.

"FON has a great idea to help people share Wi-Fi with one another to build a global unified broadband network, and were happy to lend support," Skype Chief Executive Niklas Zennstrom said in a statement.

FON's idea is not entirely novel — in fact, several companies and associations have tried to tie together free Wi-Fi hotspots into networks, but none has succeeded on a large scale.

car insurance at

Subscribe to USA TODAY

Rosetta Stone Language Software

"The problem with all these free projects is that they fail because everybody wants to be a freeloader and nobody wants to provide Wi-Fi," said Varsavsky. FON, on the other hand, demands reciprocal sharing from its Linus users.

There are also commercial Wi-Fi networks built by T-Mobile USA and Boingo Wireless Inc. with hotspots in more than 50,000 locations. Varsavsky hopes to have a much larger network by the end of the year because FON doesn't have to create the hotspots by itself.

Fleishman said FON has a chance to reach a critical mass of users, but it will be competing with free or low-cost municipal Wi-Fi networks in several cities. Google has itself offered to build a free Wi-Fi network to cover San Francisco.