Brazil court lifts suspension of Facebook’s WhatsApp service

By Jeb Blount and Marcelo Teixeira RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A Brazilian judge on Thursday ordered the lifting of a 48-hour suspension of the services in Brazil of Facebook Inc's WhatsApp phone-messaging application, overturning an order from a lower court. The interruption of WhatsApp's text message and Internet telephone service caused outrage in Latin America's largest country, where the company estimates it has 100 million personal users, and led to angry exchanges on the floor of Congress

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Freedom of speech reaches ‘new low’ in junta-ruled Thailand

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand's military seized power last year with a promise to eventually restore democracy. On Sunday, a student was taken from hospital by plainclothes agents and charged with defaming Thailand's widely revered royalty.      On Monday, it emerged that a factory worker was charged with sedition and mocking King Bhumibol Adulyadej's dog.

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China calls for Internet front to fight hacking, cyber ‘arms race’

By Paul Carsten WUZHEN, China (Reuters) – China's President Xi Jinping laid out his vision for the Internet on Wednesday, calling for a new status quo where Internet sovereignty rests in the hands of nations controlling the flow of information. “Each country should join hands and together curb the abuse of information technology, oppose network surveillance and hacking, and fight against a cyberspace arms race,” Xi told China's second World Internet Conference. Since Xi took China's helm in early 2013, he has presided over a centralization of domestic Internet governance and broader efforts to control, and often censor, the flow of information online, experts say.

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‘Fintech’ expansion lures foreign banks to Israel

By Tova Cohen TEL AVIV (Reuters) – A five-minute chat with an executive from Israeli start-up MyCheck was enough to spark the interest of Mariano Belinky, managing partner at Banco Santander's venture capital division. After more formal follow-up meetings, the Spanish bank made its first foray into Israel, investing an undisclosed sum in MyCheck, which develops customized mobile payment apps for restaurant chains such as The Cheesecake Factory. With many clients in the hospitality sector, Santander was intrigued by the possibility of providing “a new and better solution for our clients,” Belinky told Reuters at a financial technology (fintech) event hosted by Santander in Tel Aviv last month.

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Australia banks agree Android Pay deal, Apple Pay still frozen out

By Swati Pandey SYDNEY (Reuters) – Big Australian banks have agreed to accept payments made on mobile devices using Google Inc's Android Pay, leaving Apple Inc's rival Apple Pay system out in the cold as the tech giant struggles to coax lenders to accept its terms. Banks including Westpac Banking Corp , ANZ Banking Group and Macquarie will accept contactless payments via Android smartphones when Google rolls out the service in first-half 2016, the tech giant said on Wednesday.

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President Xi says China will guarantee foreign companies’ legal rights

By Paul Carsten WUZHEN, China (Reuters) – China will guarantee foreign companies' legal rights, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday at the country's second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen. “Safeguarding the legal rights of foreign-invested businesses will not change,” said Xi

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California shooter messaged Facebook friends about support for jihad: LA Times

(Reuters) – One of the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre, Tashfeen Malik, sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday. The messages were posted before Malik, 29, entered the United States on a K-1 fiancée visa in July 2014, the Times said, citing two top federal law enforcement officials. Malik's messages were recovered by FBI agents investigating whether she and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, had been in direct contact with foreign militant organizations and were directed to carry out the Dec

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Thai activists urge release of man detained over Facebook post

By Aukkarapon Niyomyat and Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai activists on Monday demanded the release of a man arrested for sharing an infographic on Facebook detailing alleged graft in an army-built park, saying plainclothes security officers took him by force. Since taking power in a military coup in May 2014, Thailand’s ruling junta has issued directives that have largely stifled dissent, including barring political discussions and debate. On Sunday, a 25-year-old student, Thanet Anantawong, was taken from a hospital while he awaited an operation, said prominent anti-junta activist, Siriwat Serithiwat.

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