Amazon had sales income of €44bn in Europe in 2020 but paid no corporation tax

Found on The Guardian on Monday, 24 May 2021
Browse Various

Accounts for Amazon EU Sarl, through which it sells products to hundreds of millions of households in the UK and across Europe, show that despite collecting record income, the Luxembourg unit made a €1.2bn loss and therefore paid no tax.

In fact the unit was granted €56m in tax credits it can use to offset any future tax bills should it turn a profit. The company has €2.7bn worth of carried forward losses stored up, which can be used against any tax payable on future profits.

Let's see a politician trying to explain how this is supposed to be fair to everybody else.

OVH services still not fully restored as boss rates ongoing recovery efforts a 'real nightmare'

Found on The Register on Saturday, 22 May 2021
Browse Various

OVH is yet to bring all customers affected by its Strasbourg data center fire back online – and the French cloud operator's CFO has described ongoing restoration efforts as a "real nightmare."

The new update said cleaning each rack prior to reinstallation in a new data center takes seven hours, and that OVH staff are getting faster every day.

Having no working emergency plan and no working fire prevention was the real nightmare.

Google used ‘double-Irish’ to shift $75.4bn in profits out of Ireland

Found on Irish Times on Friday, 14 May 2021
Browse Various

Google shifted more than $75.4 billion (€63 billion) in profits out of the Republic using the controversial “double-Irish” tax arrangement in 2019, the last year in which it used the loophole.

The move allowed Google Ireland Holdings to escape corporation tax both in the Republic and in the United States where its ultimate parent, Alphabet, is headquartered. The holding company reported a $13 billion pretax profit for 2019, which was effectively tax-free, the accounts show.

In the end, the people pay the bill so companies which spy on users can profit more.

France is giving citizens $3,000 to get rid of their car and get an ebike

Found on The Next Web on Wednesday, 12 May 2021
Browse Various

Earlier this week, lawmakers in France approved the measure in a preliminary vote. The French Federation of Bicycle Users claims that if France does go ahead with the scheme, it would be the first nation in the world to give people money for old cars to put towards new electric bicycles, Reuters reports.

Discriminating against those who need a car because they live outside bigger cities, have families or need to commute. This only benefits those who already could pay the full price for an e-bike easily.

In One Year a Billion Tons of Food Got Wasted — Mostly at Home

Found on Bloomberg on Saturday, 08 May 2021
Browse Various

There is something that the average person can do to slow down climate change, and it can be accomplished without leaving the house. Don’t waste food.

Some governments are putting in nudges and incentives to change behavior, and this goes beyond creating awareness campaigns. For example, in South Korea, rubbish collectors charge homes based on the weight of their food waste.

Many people are too spoiled, and food is too cheap.

Soviet TV version of Lord of the Rings rediscovered after 30 years

Found on The Guardian on Sunday, 02 May 2021
Browse Various

The 1991 made-for-TV film, Khraniteli, based on Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, is the only adaptation of his Lord of the Rings trilogy believed to have been made in the Soviet Union.

“Fans have been searching the archives but had not able to find this film for decades,” wrote World of Fantasy, a Russian-language publication that has written about adaptations of Tolkien’s work.

It sure is... interesting.

Despite A Decade Of Complaints, US Wireless Carriers Continue To Abuse The Word 'Unlimited'

Found on Techdirt on Friday, 30 April 2021
Browse Various

For much of the last fifteen years numerous other wireless carriers, like AT&T, have also had their wrists gently slapped for selling "unlimited" wireless service that was anything but. Despite this, there remains no clear indication that the industry has learned much of anything from the punishment and experience. Most of the companies whose wrists were slapped have, unsurprisingly, simply continued on with the behavior.

Carriers (including AT&T) have historically tried to claim that a connection is still technically "unlimited" if you slow it to substandard speeds, something regulators and the courts haven't agreed with.

Just hand out a few high fines, and carriers will quickly realize that they better tell customers the truth.

Graffiti can now be removed in minutes without damaging underlying art

Found on New Scientist on Tuesday, 27 April 2021
Browse Various

Michele Baglioni at the University of Florence in Italy and his colleagues have developed a system that allows cleaning agents to remove just the top layer of paint, which is only a few microns thick.

Depending on the thickness of the paint and its age, graffiti may be ready to be removed just a few seconds or a few minutes after the hydrogel is applied. But each removal operation is unique, and the cleaning material must first be tested on a small area of the graffiti to establish the optimal application time.

Hopefully sprayers will get bored enough and quit when their "art" vanishes quickly again.

How product placements may soon be added to classic films

Found on BBC News on Monday, 26 April 2021
Browse Various

Items can be digitally added to almost any movie or TV show. For example, advertisers could put new labels on the champagne bottles in Rick's Cafe in Casablanca, add different background neon advertising signs to Ocean's 11, or get Charlie Chaplin to promote a fizzy drink.

Ryff can do this if you are watching a film on a laptop, smartphone or smart TV, by tracking what you previously bought or looked at online. It works in the same way that online adverts pop up on websites based on your past purchasing or viewing history.

What an ugly new future. You thought you could escape the advertising industry, and then they start to abuse classics to shove their junk down your throat.

Facebook shorted video creators thousands of dollars in ad revenue

Found on The Verge on Tuesday, 20 April 2021
Browse Various

His income varies, although he says he’ll typically make between $2,000 and $3,000 per month through Facebook. But in 2021 so far, that income has unexpectedly dried up. The January payout was only $931, leaving him thousands of dollars short. In February, it was even lower, coming in at just $664.

After The Verge reached out for comment, however, Facebook said it “resolved a technical issue that prevented a small number of video creators on Facebook from receiving their full in-stream ads payouts.”

It’s good news for the creators getting a rebate but still an alarming precedent — holding thousands of dollars back for months with little explanation or guarantee the same problem won’t pop up again in the future.

On the Internet, you can always blame a "technical issue" instead of getting caught red-handed.