Loon’s parent company, Alphabet, is planning a commercial launch of the service for later this year. Alphabet Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has recruited some well-known and experienced industry veterans to help get its wireless broadband project Loon to market.On Tuesday Alphabet announced a new advisory board and said one of the founding members will be Craig McCaw, who started McCaw Cellular. McCaw Cellular was one of the first cellular companies in the US and was sold to AT&T in 1994. Also serving on the new board: Marni Walden, a former marketing executive with Verizon, and Ian Small, who worked as chief data officer for Telefonica and is now CEO of Evernote. Project Loon, started in 2016, uses solar-powered balloons as Wi-Fi carriers to deliver signals from high above. In July, Alphabet spun out Loon from X, the division of Alphabet responsible for its most experimental projects, including self-driving cars, internet-connected contact lenses and delivery drones.The company said previously it was planning a commercial launch of Loon later this year. Thus far, the balloons have been used in testing, and deployed for emergency relief, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In preparation for the commercial launch, Loon CEO Alistair Westgarth said in a blog post, the company intends to partner with mobile network operators throughout the world. The idea is that Loon can help these wireless carriers expand internet coverage and attract new customers. To do that, he said, Loon needs to add “some serious expertise to our ranks with a new advisory board that brings together top wireless innovators with decades of experience in the industry.”Loon has already struck at least one partnership deal, with Telekom Kenya, to help the African carrier extend its coverage to hard to reach parts of the country where reliable communications connections are absent. CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition.The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter. Share your voice 0 Google Alphabet Inc. Tags Post a comment Mobile
Samsung Group’s heir-apparent Lee Jae-Yong answering a question during a parliamentary probe into a scandal engulfing President Park Geun-Hye at the National Assembly in Seoul. AFP file photoSamsung heir Lee Jae-Yong has become a criminal suspect in a widening probe into the corruption and influence-peddling scandal engulfing impeached South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, prosecutors said Wednesday.Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the son of the Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-Hee, would be quizzed as a “suspect” in connection to bribery, prosecutors said.“We have decided to question Lee tomorrow morning… as a suspect,” Lee Kyu-Chul, spokesman for the team of special prosecutors investigating the scandal, told reporters.The affair centres on Park’s secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil, who is accused of using her ties to Park to coerce top firms into “donating” tens of millions of dollars to two non-profit foundations which Choi then used as her personal ATMs.Samsung was the biggest contributor to the foundations. It is also accused of separately giving millions of euros to Choi to bankroll her daughter’s equestrian training in Germany in a bid to curry favour.Prosecutors have for months questioned Lee and other senior Samsung officials. The officials reportedly argued that although they were coerced to offer money, they sought no favours in return and thus the payments were not a bribe.Spokesman Lee said prosecutors “left open the possibility” of formally arresting the Samsung scion later.Prosecutors are investigating whether Samsung bribed Choi in order to win state approval for a controversial merger which it sought in 2015.The merger of two Samsung group units—Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T—was seen as a crucial step towards ensuring a smooth third-generation power transfer to Lee Jae-Yong.It was criticised by many, who said it wilfully undervalued Samsung C&T’s stocks. But the National Pension Service (NPS) — a major Samsung shareholder—voted in favour of the deal and it eventually went through.Prosecutors have raided multiple Samsung offices as well as the NPS in connection with the scandal. The fund—the world’s third largest pension fund—is overseen by the welfare ministry.A former welfare minister was arrested last month for allegedly pressuring NPS officials to vote in favour of the Samsung deal.Park, who stands accused of colluding with Choi to extract money from the firms, was impeached by parliament last month but denies any criminal wrongdoing.The Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the validity of her impeachment.Choi is on trial for charges including coercion and abuse of power.
The “sex for repairs” scandal at Gilmor Homes in Baltimore (the public housing project where Freddie Gray lived and was injured before he died) made national headlines when women were coerced into exchanging sexual favors for repairs at their homes. Now, another sex for repairs scandal has been uncovered at Perkins Homes, another Baltimore public housing project, by The Mod Squad, Taya Graham and Stephen Janis of The Real News Network. We’ll discuss the sex for repairs scandal with Graham and Janis.This story today on AFRO’s First Edition with Sean Yoes.