Facebook to launch first mobile phone


HTC will unveil two new Facebook branded mobile phones next month, City A.M. has learned.

The Taiwanese manufacturer will launch an official tie-up with Mark Zuckerberg’s $50bn (£31.6bn) social network at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.

The high-end smartphones will be the first to bear the Facebook branding and colours. It could look similar to the mock-up pictured right, also created by HTC.

It is understood the phones will run on a tweaked version of Google’s Android operating system and will prominently display users’ Facebook messages and news feed on the home screen.

Other areas of integration expected include being able to call or email friends from information stored on their Facebook page.

Facebook has aggressively pushed mobile versions of its social network and industry insiders see this as an attempt to consolidate its position as the world’s leading social network.

Facebook’s Joe Hewitt (who worked on the Firefox web browser) and Matthew Papakipos (a leading member of the Google Chrome browser team) are thought to be behind the launch.

It is unclear if the phone will be tied to a single carrier in the UK.

The phone will draw comparisons to Google’s Nexus range, also manufactured by HTC. City A.M. exclusively revealed the new version of the phone, the Nexus S, would be sold in the UK through an exclusive deal with Carphone Warehouse.

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Houston Marathon 2011 Live Coverage and Winners

Houston Marathon 2011 Live Coverage and Winners - The much awaited Houston Marathon 2011 happened this morning and the United States Running Circuit (USARC) begins Saturday with the race of the Half Marathon Championship 2011 presented by the Aramco Service Company.

Thousand of runners across the country are said to gathered this Sunday moring at Houston for the 39th Annual Chevron Houston Marathon 2011.

Apparently, Ryan Hall, the American record-holder for the 13.1 miles with a 59:43 he delivered in Houston in 2007, got out-kicked down the stretch to finish three seconds slower than the Moroccan-born Mo Trafeh’s 1:02:17, but he was beaming afterward.

The roaster list of Houston Marathon 2011 will be Jorge Torres (Boulder, Colo.), an Olympian in 2008 to 10,000 meters, Patrick Smyth (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), the 2010 half-marathon runner-up, 2004 Olympic Games Dan Browne (Chula Vista, Calif.), Jason Lehmkuhl (Minneapolis, Minn.), 2008 Half-Marathon runner-up, and Sergio Reyes (Los Osos, Calif.) 2010 USA Marathon Champion.

On the other hand, the women’s race will face 2009 champion Boulet in a deep field that includes 2010 USA Running Circuit champion Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park, Minn.), three-time Olympian Jen Rhines (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon champion Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo.); 2010 runner-up Serena Burla (Ellisville, MO), and Zoila Gomez (Alamosa, Colo.) and Tera Moody (Colorado Springs, Colorado), the finishing fourth and fifth women’s 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon.

Per history, three-time Olympian Jen Rhines won the women’s circuit, finishing in a 1:11.14 personal best. Serena Burla was second (1:11.38) for the second consecutive year and Nan Kennard finished third (1:12.03). A field of 63 men and 41 women began the race on Saturday under cloudy skies and a temperature of 60 degrees. Hall set the record on a different course in 2007. Mostly flat road Saturday included some hairpin turns that slowed the riders.

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U.S. not discussing halting aid to Egypt: Clinton

- Egypt's military appears to be showing restraint with peaceful anti-government protesters so far and there is no talk at this time about halting U.S. aid to Egypt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday.

Clinton, speaking on ABC television network's "This Week," added that President Hosni Mubarak's appointment of a vice president on Saturday was only the "bare beginning" of a long-list of needed reforms in Egypt.

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Pakistan says law must take its course in U.S. diplomat case


(Reuters) - Pakistan on Saturday said its legal process should be respected after the U.S. embassy called for the immediate release of an American diplomat who was arrested after he killed two Pakistanis this week.

The American, identified by Pakistani police as Raymond Davis, told a court on Friday he had acted in self-defense after fleeing what he said was a robbery attempt in the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday.

Davis has been remanded in police custody for six days for questioning.

"This matter is sub judice in a court of law and the legal process should be respected," a Pakistani foreign office spokesman said in a statement.

The U.S. embassy said in a statement on Friday only that a staff member of the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore was involved in an incident involving "loss of life."

In a statement on Saturday, the embassy identified him as a U.S. diplomat who it said had been unlawfully detained by authorities in Lahore, where the shooting took place.

It said the diplomat acted in self-defense when confronted by two armed men and had every reason to believe they meant to harm him, and said arresting the diplomat was a violation of international norms and the Vienna Convention.

In his initial statement, Davis told police that he was chased by the two men soon after he withdrew money from a cash machine. The men approached him when he pulled over at a traffic signal and they pointed a gun at him.

Davis then fired at the men, a police official said. Armed robberies and carjackings are becoming more common in Pakistan, but Westerners are rarely targeted.

The killings are likely to fuel anger against the United States in the mainly Muslim nation where anti-American sentiment runs high and anger at the U.S.-allied government is also growing due to its perceived ineptitude.

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BIS outage across multiple North American Carriers

BIS Outage

It's been quite a while since we had an outage across multiple carriers and regions in North America, but it looks like BIS email is down for most carriers across the US and parts of Canada. No one is receiving email, but it appears that browser, BlackBerry Messenger, voice and SMS are still working however. It looks like the outage started in the wee hours of the morning today, but there is no word on when they'll be up and running. Keep it here and we'll report anything as it pops up. Jump into the forums for more discussion.

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Egypt Mubarak picks vice-president for first time

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 82, picked his intelligence chief and confidante Omar Suleiman as vice president, a post Mubarak occupied before taking the top job and which has never been filled in 30 years of his rule.

The step indicates for the first time a possible succession plan and also suggests Mubarak's son, who has long rumoured to be a potential leader, has been pushed out of the picture.

The moves comes after five days of protests that have shattered the image of a country that had long been able to crush dissent and opposition through its vast military and security forces.

It may also indicate Mubarak, 82, will not run again in the planned September presidential elections, when officials had suggested he would stand.

Omar Suleiman, 74, has long taken a close role in key policy areas, including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, an issue seen as vital to Egypt's relationship with its key ally and aid donor the United States.

State TV showed Suleiman being sworn in as the vice-president.

The official state news agency carried a brief item that said: "Minister Omar Suleiman has been sworn in this evening as vice president for the president of the republic."

It was not clear if protesters would welcome a move that keeps control in the hands of the military and security institutions.

"He is just like Mubarak, there is no change," a protester told Reuters outside the Interior Ministry, where thousands were protesting, moments after the appointment.

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Egypt Shuts Down Internet, Cellphone Services

In the face of mounting political unrest, Egypt took the unprecedented step of severing all Internet connections and shutting down its cellphone services—with the cooperation of international firms.

Egyptian authorities asked mobile operators to "turn down the network totally," said Vittorio Colao, chief executive of U.K.-based Vodafone Group PLC, which owns 55% of Egypt's largest carrier, Vodafone Egypt

Mr. Colao, speaking Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said the request was legitimate under Egyptian law, but he hoped the government would reverse course soon.

Protests Wrack Cairo

See where key events took place in Cairo Friday.

Regional Upheaval

A succession of rallies and demonstrations, in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Algeria have been inspired directly by the popular outpouring of anger that toppled Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. See how these uprising progressed.

Many of the mobile operators in Egypt, including Vodafone, rely on Telecom Egypt, the incumbent national fixed-line provider, to carry parts of their service. Telecom Egypt is majority owned by the government.

Egypt has dozens of Internet providers, but they rely primarily on five large carriers, including Telecom Egypt, for Internet connectivity.

Starting at 10:12 p.m. local time on Thursday night, Telecom Egypt went dark, followed by the four remaining main carriers over the next 13 minutes, said Jim Cowie, chief technology officer of Renesys Corp., a network security firm in Manchester, N.H. By 10:25 p.m., the country no longer existed on the Internet, he said.

Other countries attempting to undermine or contain political uprisings in recent years—from Myanmar in 2007 to Iran and China in 2009—have also clamped down on Internet access and cellphone use.

But Egypt's crackdown appears unique in both scale and synchronization, particularly for a country with such an advanced infrastructure with so many providers, according to Internet security experts.

"What's shocking about this is that they didn't just take down a certain domain name or block a website—they took the whole Internet down," said Mr. Cowie.

France Telecom SA, which operates a venture in Egypt with its local partner Orascom Telecom, said Egyptian authorities "had taken measures" to cut off its mobile and Internet services in the country, provided through its subsidiary called Mobinil.

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Off-road motorcycle racer killed

A top off-road motorcycle racer died Friday from injuries suffered in a crash during practice at Honolulu Hills Raceway in Taft, Calif., according to published reports.


Sports has lost many athletes way too soon. We list a few.

Nathan Woods, 32, was preparing for the opening round of the World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS) this weekend. He was airlifted to a hospital and pronounced dead after crashing on the motocross portion of the track, the Taft Midway Driller reported.

“Today off-road Racing lost one of the greatest off-road champions ever to throw a leg over a dirtbike,” WORCS announced on its website.

Woods, from Paso Robles, Calif., was the winningest rider in the history of WORCS, and had won two championships.
He is survived by his wife, Amanda, and sons, Nate and Braxton.


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Official App Store account on Twitter


Apple has an official Twitter account for the App Store, appropriately named @appstore, which promises "official App Store tweets including our featured apps, exclusive offers, and more."

The first post from the account came only a few hours ago, but there are already 50,000 followers signed up.
One of the questions that people have had with the Mac App Store was the question of "discoverability" of apps on the store that aren't "featured" or on the "top" lists; hopefully this account will be one more way for Apple to get the word out about new apps that you might not otherwise hear about.

If you aren't a Twitter user, you can always follow the RSS feed for the account. If you're on Facebook, App Store is there, too.

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Twitter worm leads users to fake and malicious site


A nasty worm on Twitter preys on users who click on a shortened link that takes them to a fake anti-virus site for "Security Shield" software. Once there, the aim is to get users to download what is billed as anti-virus protection, but is really malicious code.
If this seems like deja vu, it is: the same worm appeared early last month on Twitter, the short-messaging blog where posts are limited to 140 characters, and website URLs are often shortened to help reduce character count. The worm is using Google's URL shortener, "goo.gl" to entrap users.
"If you make the mistake of clicking on one of the malicious goo.gl links you are ultimately taken to a website which attempts to scare you into believing that you have a virus problem on your computer," writes Sophos' Graham Clueley on the security software company's blog.  "You are then frightened into installing malicious code on your PC, and asked to pay money to disinfect your systems."
Clueley wrote that it "isn't yet clear is how the Twitter users found their accounts compromised in this way. The natural suspicion would be that their usernames and passwords have been stolen.
"It certainly would be a sensible precaution for users who have found their Twitter accounts unexpectedly posting goo.gl links to change their passwords immediately," the same advice Twitter itself is offering.

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