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South Korea's Samsung Electronics has refuted fresh allegations by a labour protection watchdog that one of its suppliers in China hired child workers. New York-based China Labor Watch (CLW) claimed in a report Thursday that Samsung supplier HEG Technology had hired people under the age of 16 at its facility in Huizhou, China. Samsung, however, insisted that a recent onsite investigation found no underage or student workers at the facility. "The investigation found that there were no child workers nor student workers working in the Samsung Electronics production line at HEG," the company said in a statement e-mailed to AFP on Friday.
Google on Thursday said it is testing using drones to deliver items bought online, putting its own spin on similar efforts by Internet retail titan Amazon.com. Two years of research into what Google referred to as "Project Wing" was capped this month with test flights delivering candy, water, medicine, dog treats and other items to two farmers in Queensland, Australia. "Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods," California-based Google said in a blog post disclosing the project. Project Wing drones were described as having more in common with Google's self-driving car than remote-controlled aircraft used by hobbyists.
Authorities in Brazil this week arrested members of a criminal gang that they described as "the greatest destroyers" of the Amazon rainforest. As the BBC reports, the organization allegedly logged and burned enormous swathes of the rainforest and sold public Amazon lands for farming, resulting in estimated damages worth more than $220 million, according to the Brazilian Federal Police. Most of the Amazon lies within Brazil's borders, and deforestation rates have increased alarmingly in recent months. In 2009, Brazil pledged to reduce deforestation rates by 80 percent by the end of this decade, though its efforts have been hampered by poor enforcement and widespread corruption.
By Yoshiyasu Shida and Reiji Murai TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese wireless operator SoftBank Corp will offer a Sony smartphone for the first time, selling a soon-to-be-launched Xperia in Japan, and in the United States via its unit Sprint, sources with knowledge of the matter said. The deal could give a much-needed boost to Sony's struggling mobile division, which last month cut its outlook and said it did not expect to make a profit in the year to next March. Sony faces stiff competition from low-cost Chinese smartphone makers, and its mobile unit has a limited presence in the key U.S. Four sources told Reuters that a Sony flagship Xperia smartphone would be available from SoftBank in time for Japan's winter holiday shopping season.
Australia's consumer watchdog Friday said it was taking online US video games giant Valve to court for allegedly making "false or misleading representations" and refusing to offer refunds. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Valve Corporation, which operates digital video games distribution platform Steam for more than 65 million customers worldwide, allegedly breached local consumer law. "Valve may be an American-based company with no physical presence in Australia, but it is carrying on business in Australia by selling to Australian consumers, who are protected by the Australian consumer law," the ACCC said in a statement.