Facebook settles lawsuit
Facebook Inc has agreed to pay US$10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit that accused the site of violating users’ rights to control the use of their own names, photographs and likenesses, according to court documents made public over the weekend. The lawsuit, brought by five Facebook members, alleged the social networking site violated California law by publicizing users’ “likes” of certain advertisers on its “Sponsored Stories” feature without paying them or giving them a way to opt out, the documents said. A “Sponsored Story” is an advertisement that appears on a member’s Facebook page and generally consists of another friend’s name, profile picture and an assertion that the person “likes” the advertiser.
Mining expenditure booms
Mineral exploration spending in the country, the world’s biggest iron ore exporter, reached a record in March and has risen 35 percent since a new policy to tax carbon was unveiled last year, the government said. Spending rose 12 percent to a record A$1.086 billion (US$1.09 billion) in the March quarter and the investment pipeline in the resources industry reached an estimated A$500 billion on demand from Asia, Treasurer Wayne Swan said in his weekly economic note yesterday. The tax on carbon emissions, starting on July 1, will reap about A$6.5 billion over two years from the country’s biggest mining companies, including BHP Billiton Ltd. Canberra expects to raise A$24.7 billion in four years from the tax as the government tries to reduce emissions and spur investment in cleaner energy. While a resources boom has made the nation one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world, the policy has not helping Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s approval ratings.
Omnibus raises Japan stake
OD05 Omnibus, an investment fund widely believed to be a Chinese government investment vehicle, has been increasing its stakes in Japanese companies, including Toyota and Honda, a report said yesterday. By the end of March, the OD05 Omnibus fund was the largest shareholder in 174 Japanese firms, the highest level ever recorded, the business daily Nikkei Shimbun reported, citing its own survey of listed companies. It estimated the total market value of the fund’s stock holdings in Japan at about ￥3.58 trillion (US$45 billion), also a record. The report, which highlights growing China-Japan economic ties, comes after China’s sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp reportedly said it would no longer buy European government debt.
Google unveils cultural map
Google on Saturday unveiled a cultural map of Brazil’s Surui indigenous people, a digital tool that will help the Amazonian tribe share its vast knowledge of the forest and fight illegal logging. The map, the result of a five-year partnership between Surui chief Almir and the US technology giant, was released online for the first time at a business forum held on the sidelines of the UN Rio+20 conference on sustainable development. The map, a collection of picture and videos mapping historical sites and offering 3-D visualization of Surui territory in the northwestern Brazilian state of Rondonia, is available on the site www.paiter.org as well as on Google Earth. Google Earth Outreach leader Rebecca Moore described it as the company’s first such project with an indigenous people.