COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

19 January 2021 | Business

Twitter locks account of Marjorie Greene

Twitter Inc, on Sunday, locked the account of Republican US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a political newcomer known for promoting the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.

The social media platform suspended her account after the newly elected Georgia congresswoman sparred with a state election official over baseless voter fraud allegations.

Greene's account "has been temporarily locked out for multiple violations" of Twitter's 'civic integrity policy', a company representative said in an emailed statement.

Greene accused Twitter of suppressing conservative political voices. "The borderline monopolistic stranglehold a few Big Tech companies have on the American political discourse is out of control," she said in a statement.

Greene promoted online conspiracy theory QAnon in a 2017 video but later backtracked, saying it was not part of her campaign. She won a House seat in conservative rural northwest Georgia after her Democratic opponent dropped out. - Nampa/Reuters

BT faces 600 mln-pound compensation claim

British telecoms operator BT is facing a claim for almost 600 million pounds (US$800 million) lodged by a consumer campaign group, which says the company failed to compensate fixed-line customers, many of them elderly, for overcharging.

The group, Collective Action on Land Lines (CALL), says the former monopoly failed to make up for increasing prices for customers over several years even though costs for providing the service were falling.

In 2017, telecoms regulator Ofcom raised concerns about the price BT had charged landline-only customers, and the company agreed to reduce its landline prices by 7 pounds a month.

However, CALL said BT had not properly addressed past overcharging. Its 589 million-pound claim, filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, sought payments of up to 500 pounds for each of 2.3 million BT customers.

The group said it was also seeking compensation for customers who took both a broadband service and a BT landline, but not as a package, and were excluded from BT's 2017 price cut. - Nampa/Reuters

Valneva vaccine to be used in Britian

French drug maker Valneva hopes its Covid-19 vaccine can start to be used in Britain between July and September, the company's chief executive was quoted as saying.

Valneva has agreed to provide Britain with 60 million doses of its vaccine, compared with 100 million doses of the shot from AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

"We are days away from starting the commercial manufacturing," Thomas Lingelbach told The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"We cannot release it without regulatory approval so we're in a little bit of a Catch-22 situation and there are certainly scenarios that we are currently discussing with the regulators," he added.

Valneva said in September that its vaccine would be available for use in Britain in the second half of 2021.

Britain has launched Europe's fastest rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and its foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday the government hoped to ease some lockdown restrictions in March. - Nampa/Reuters

UK's Deliveroo raises US$180 million

British food-delivery company Deliveroo said on Sunday it had raised a further US$180 million from existing investors, including minority shareholder Amazon, in a move that values the business at more than US$7 billion.

Deliveroo is set to hold an initial public offering in the coming months, in what would be the biggest new share issue in London for three years.

“This investment will help us to continue to innovate, developing new tech tools to support restaurants, to provide riders with more work and to extend choice for customers,” Deliveroo founder and chief executive Will Shu said.

Britain’s competition regulator approved Amazon’s May 2019 purchase of a 16% stake in Deliveroo in August, overruling objections from local competitors Just Eat Takeaway and Domino’s Pizza.

The internet giant’s stake is not expected to increase as a result of its participation in the latest round of fundraising, which was led by US investors Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity Management & Research. - Nampa/Reuters

Trump admin slams China's Huawei

The Trump administration notified Huawei suppliers, including chipmaker Intel, that it is revoking certain licenses to sell to the Chinese company and intends to reject dozens of other applications to supply the telecommunications firm, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The action likely the last against Huawei Technologies under Republican President Donald Trump is the latest in a long-running effort to weaken the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, which Washington sees as a national security threat.

The notices came amid a flurry of US efforts against China in the final days of Trump’s administration. Democrat Joe Biden will take the oath of office as president on Wednesday.

Huawei and Intel Corp declined to comment. Commerce said it could not comment on specific licensing decisions, but said the department continues to work with other agencies to “consistently” apply licensing policies in a way that “protects US national security and foreign policy interests.”

In an email seen by Reuters documenting the actions, the Semiconductor Industry Association said on Friday the Commerce Department had issued “intents to deny a significant number of license requests for exports to Huawei and a revocation of at least one previously issued license.” – Nampa/Reuters

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