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Musk defamation trial may head to jury after billionaire and diver spar in court

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s defamation trial could be in the hands of jury by the end of Thursday after the billionaire and the diver who is suing him sparred over the meaning and impact of a “pedo guy” tweet at the heart of the case.

Elon Musk walks with his face turned away from cameras as he arrives at court for trial in a defamation case filed by British cave diver Vernon Unsworth who is suing the Tesla Inc chief executive for calling him a “pedo guy” in one of a series of tweets, as the case begins in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 4, 2019. REUTERS/David McNew

British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth testified on Wednesday he felt “branded a pedophile” despite Musk’s assertion that his “pedo guy” tweet was not meant to be taken literally.

Unsworth’s appearance in a packed federal courtroom in Los Angeles came hours after Musk, the chief executive of electric carmaker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and founder of rocket company SpaceX, concluded two days of testimony seeking to minimize his tweets as offhand comments.

But Unsworth, his voice cracking with emotion, said Musk’s remarks about him on Twitter left him feeling “humiliated, ashamed, dirtied.”

“Effectively, from day one, I was given a life sentence without parole. It hurts to talk about it,” said Unsworth, who is seeking unspecified damages in his lawsuit against Musk.

Neither Unsworth or Musk are expected to testify on Thursday. The trial is expected to wrap up on Thursday with video testimony from Unsworth’s wife, with whom he is separated, and an Internet expert on the impact of Musk’s tweets.

Unsworth, 64, who said he began caving as a hobby in 1971, splits his time between Britain and Thailand, where he has a Thai girlfriend.

The spat began after Unsworth helped coordinate last year’s rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand. Afterward, Unsworth in a CNN interview mocked Musk’s offer of a mini-submersible as a “P.R. stunt” and said Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts.”

Musk, 48, who had traveled to the rescue site to deliver the mini-sub that was never used, testified he took to Twitter to lash out at Unsworth after seeing the interview.

Musk said the term “pedo guy” was a common epithet in South Africa, where he grew up and insisted in court he did not believe Unsworth was a pedophile.

Musk capped his two-day appearance by acknowledging under questioning that his net worth, mostly from stock holdings in SpaceX and Tesla, was about $20 billion.

“People think I have a lot of cash. I actually don’t,” he said.

To win his lawsuit, Unsworth needs to show Musk was negligent in publishing a falsehood that clearly identified him and caused him harm.

Although the case does not involve Tesla, Musk’s Twitter habits have long been under close scrutiny, with the company’s investors and regulators expressing concerns about his tweets.

With 29.9 million followers, Musk’s social media account is a major source of publicity for the Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which does not advertise.

Reporting by Nichola Groom and Rachel Parsons; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Writing by Bill Tarrant; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Airlines cut China flights as companies restrict travel on virus fears

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CHICAGO/SHANGHAI/SEOUL (Reuters) – Airlines including United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O) said they were canceling some flights to China as demand fell sharply and global companies told their employees not to travel on deepening fears over the spread of a flu-like virus.

The coronavirus that originated in the city of Wuhan has killed 106 people in China and spread across the world, rattling financial markets.

The United States warned that Americans should reconsider visiting China, while Britain advised against all but essential travel to mainland China. South Korea also advised its citizens to stay away.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) became the first major U.S. company to announce a travel suspension after the U.S. government’s warning, saying it had asked employees to halt non-essential travel to mainland China and to work from home if they had traveled there.

Chicago-based United said it was suspending 24 U.S. flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai between Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 due to a significant drop in demand.

Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.L), banned all staff travel to Chinese-ruled Hong Kong for two weeks and to mainland China until further notice, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The British-based lender, which has the largest presence among foreign banks in China, also asked staff who have recently visited the country to undergo a self-imposed 14-day quarantine. The virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days.

U.S. rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) imposed similar measures, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

In South Korea, home appliances maker LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS) put a complete ban on travel to China and has advised employees on business trips in the country to return home as quickly as possible, a company spokeswoman said.

FILE PHOTO: A passenger arrives at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc (000660.KS) said it was urging employees to avoid all non-essential travel to China, while banking group Standard Chartered PLC (STAN.L) restricted travel to both mainland China and Hong Kong.

In Germany, auto supplier Webasto, which has 11 sites in China, including in Wuhan, has halted all corporate travel to and from China after an employee was infected.

Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) said it recommended employees avoid travel to China, while Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) said it plans to evacuate its Japanese staff and their families in Wuhan via a government-chartered flight.

FALLING TRAVEL DEMAND

Aside from United, other airlines said they were adjusting schedules as companies reassessed the risk of travel to China.

South Korean budget carrier Air Seoul said it will halt all flights to China, while Taiwan’s China Airlines Ltd (2610.TW) rescheduled and canceled some flights to China to Feb. 10.

Taiwan’s Eva Airways Corp (2618.TW) also said some flights to China may be canceled.

Air Canada (AC.TO) said it was cancelling some of its 33 weekly flights to China, and Germany’s Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) pointed to subdued bookings to and from the country.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (0293.HK) said it would be progressively reducing capacity to and from mainland China by 50% or more from Jan. 30 to the end of March, in line with a government directive as well as market demand.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook branding is seen in a workspace at the company’s offices in London, Britain, January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

International SOS, a medical and travel security services firm that advises companies on travel, said its guidance for now was that business travel to China outside Wuhan’s province of Hubei could continue.

But this could be updated if there were major flight cancellations throughout China and more disruptions to ground transport, International SOS Regional Security Director James Robertson said.

Reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai, Heekyong Yang in Seoul and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Additional reporting by Engen Tham in Shanghai, Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong, Jamie Freed in Sydney, Naomi Tatjitsu in Tokyo, Ben Blanchard in Taipei, Joyce Lee in Seoul and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Writing by Jamie Freed and Lawrence White; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Christopher Cushing

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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5G technology debated at ESG event with Gibtelecom

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The Environmental Safety Group and Gibtelecom held an event to discuss 5G – the next generation of mobile broadband.

The well attending two-hour meeting combined presentations followed by a question and answer session.

Katy Docker reports.

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The Best PopSockets of 2020

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Real TBRN winner

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

In terms of affordability, versatility, and convenience, the PopSockets PopGrip: Swappable Grip is easily our favorite.

PopSockets PopMount: Multi-Surface

Credit: PopSockets

The PopSockets PopMount: Multi-Surface works on a variety of surfaces, but we especially love it for the car.

How We Tested

The Tester

I’m Shayna Murphy, a senior staff writer here at Reviewed. I’m also a lifelong klutz and I’ve dropped my phone more times than I can count, resulting in countless jokes and some pretty hefty repair bills over the years. Because I also have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist—and that’s my dominant hand—I’m sensitive and perhaps more susceptible to aches and pains when I hold my phone and scroll for extended periods of time than most. I used my first PopSocket about a year ago and immediately noticed a difference in how easy it felt to use and hold onto my phone. To get a sense of how others felt about them (and since I was already sold on them going into these tests), I also recruited a team of in-office testers, none of whom had used PopSockets before.

The Tests

To find the best PopSockets, I tracked down the most popular models on the market and asked our team of in-office testers to start with the most straightforward test of them all: they stuck them onto their phones and simply started using them.

While some testers quickly decided that PopSockets weren’t for them—among those who didn’t like PopSockets, the common complaint was that they just didn’t care for the feel of them between their fingers—the majority of testers enjoyed them and we collectively looked at how easy these models were to install, remove, and reuse, as well as how much extra weight and bulk they added to phones overall. Additionally, we looked at how resilient they were with continuous daily use.

For models with removable tops, we looked at how easy it was to take off existing ones and add new tops. Because I had experience with PopSockets PopGrips before, I spent the bulk of my testing period examining models that I hadn’t used before, specifically the PopWallet+, PopThirst, and Slide units.

During our testing period, which lasted for approximately three weeks, we looked at two different types of mounts—both of which were exclusively designed to work with PopSockets—and a recently released charger, to determine just how compatible these products actually were with the phone grips themselves.

Lastly, since we were curious about how much weight a single PopSocket could support, our lab tested two different PopSocket PopGrips—one brand new, the other gently used—by hanging bags of sand from each and sticking the adhesive side to the underside of a table, in order to determine how much weight each could hold before falling off.

What Are PopSockets?

what is popsockets

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

PopSockets make it easier to watch videos from your phone.

Made with a circular plastic base, accordion-style stem, and decorative disc top, these expandable grips look just like a knob and stick to the back of your phone the same way a sticker would and “pop” out, so they function as a stand, too.

Since their release in 2014, they’ve risen to near cult-like status, which is no surprise, given that these grips aren’t just super-cute accessories—they also help make everyday things like scrolling, texting, watching videos, and taking selfies from a phone or tablet more comfortable than before.

How Much Weight Can PopSockets Really Hold?

popsockets hanging

Credit: Jonathan Chan / Reviewed

To test how much weight PopSockets can hold, we tested them attached to bags of sand.

In the lab, our testers put bags of sand on two different PopSocket PopGrips, one of which had never been used before and one that had been previously used. We fixed the adhesive side to a wooden table that was coated with plastic. In our findings, the brand new PopSocket was able to hold three pounds of sand overnight. Conversely, the used PopSocket—which our lab determined had 10% less adhesive on it than the brand new one—was only able to hold two pounds of sand for 45 minutes before falling to the ground.

Are PopSockets Actually Reusable?

reusable popsockets

Credit: Jonathan Chan / Reviewed

PopSockets are completely reusable—you just have to know what to do.

Although our lab was unable to determine the exact type of adhesive used with PopSockets—some speculated that it may be similar to a modified acrylic adhesive that historically works best with plastic and doesn’t fare so well with silicone, where it may cause discoloration—we were able to confirm one very important detail about PopSockets: they’re completely reusable.

To test reusability, our lab peeled a freshly applied PopSocket off, then moved it into a different location. They noticed that you can do this up to 4 times before there seems to be any overall degradation in the grip itself. Even then, our lab speculated that it was more likely due to the plastic base bending out of place than the adhesive itself losing any stickiness.

However, some PopSockets seem to contain less adhesive. Of the four PopSockets we tested in the lab, some had about 10% less adhesive, which impacted their overall performance. We couldn’t determine whether this was connected to the price, model, or design, but it was notable, especially during our weight tests.

When it came to reusing PopSockets, we found that you can “revitalize them” by dipping the base into warm water, then using a microfiber cloth to clean off dirt and any other lingering debris. For PopSockets that were extremely dried out—I volunteered one of my own old PopSockets, which had been sitting on my desk for several months—this method didn’t completely restore them good as new, this could make them fine for reuse again, at least until you’re ready to buy a new one.


Other PopSockets We Tested

PopSocket Gif

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

baby yoda

Credit: Shayna Murphy / Reviewed

We’re obsessed with Baby Yoda—and this PopSocket just makes it even better.

PopGrip Lips

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

With its cute design and handy size, PopGrip Lips took us pleasantly by surprise.

popcharger

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

We wanted to love the PopSockets PopPower, but we just couldn’t get behind it.

popwallet

Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

The PopWallet+ seems like a great idea, but we found it to be less spectacular than other options out there.

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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