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Many of us held down a summer job during our school days to earn a bit of cash. Some, such as those who attended the fictional Scumbag College, did everything they could to avoid work.

Things look a bit more draconian over in Zhengzhou where, as my colleague Yuan Yang has revealed, thousands of students have been working 11-hour shifts to assemble the iPhone X. 

There is nothing wrong with a bit of hard work but this situation constitutes illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law. Six students told the Financial Times that they were among a group of 3,000 from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School sent in September to work at the local facility run by Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn. The mandatory three-month stint was called “work experience”. 

Apple and Foxconn have admitted that they have found instances of students working over time and have taken remedial action.

Coming so soon after the launch of the iPhone X, the news is somewhat uncool and heavy as The Young Ones used to say. 

Flag as Important

DOJ warns on Time Warner The US Department of Justice has moved to block AT&T’s $85.4bn takeover of Time Warner, prompting the telecoms group’s chief executive to warn that the Trump administration’s decision would have a chilling effect on deal making. 

Tencent’s time Tencent’s stock market capitalisation rose above that of Facebook on Tuesday, the day after it became the first Chinese company to break through the $500bn mark.

Not fake news! British politicians are stepping up their inquiry into fake news in an effort to extract answers from Facebook and Twitter about the extent of Russian interference in last year’s EU referendum and this year’s UK general election. Damian Collins, the Conservative MP, has written to Mark Zuckerberg requesting evidence.


How evil is tech? Most people working in the Valley did not sign up to work for Skynet but instead to make the world a better place. Yet technology stands accused of destroying young people’s lives, deliberately creating addictive products and being run by a raft of monopoly players. Should technology revert to its roots in providing devices to improve efficiency? (New York Times)

Warehouse robots in vogue Amazon’s acquisition of warehouse robotics company Kiva has quietly kicked off an arms race in the sector. Investors are flocking to bankroll a number of obscure robotics companies – Locus, Geek+ and RightHand – as the owners of warehouses rush to compete with Amazon’s gains in logistics. (Bloomberg)

Tech tools you can use – Toyota’s latest robot

Toyota’s latest version of “humanoid robot bears” come with a “master manoeuvring system” that lets the user virtually inhabit the machine. The system will be useful in a variety of settings according to Toyota including care homes, construction sites and even in outer space. There is a video available here in what could be a glimpse of the future, if science fiction films like Pacific Rim are any measure. That said, the control unit does appear to make the human look a bit like Davros from Doctor Who. 

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