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China: We’ve Got the Goods on Qualcomm

China has “substantial evidence” on Qualcomm in an antitrust probe, according to a report in the state-run China Daily that quotes Xu Kunlin, the head of the National Development and Reform Commission’s anti-price-fixing bureau. The Daily didn’t divulge any specific details — just Xu’s confident assertion that Qualcomm is squarely in the crosshairs.

Qualcomm released a statement saying it believes its business practices are lawful.

China launched an antitrust probe into Qualcomm, the world’s top maker of cellphone chips, in late November.

Though it could merely be a coincidence, the announcement of the investigation came just days after Qualcomm ‘s CEO waxed poetic about business in China in a Wall Street Journal interview.

The NDRC has been busy of late. In August, it levied record fines against a half-dozen milk powder companies. Xu said that the agency planned to add more than 150 people to its price-fixing units.

[Source: China Daily via Reuters]

China to Require Smog-Certified Pilots

China will require crews piloting planes into Beijing to be certified to land their crafts even in the smoggiest conditions.

The new regulation, which goes into effect Jan. 1, applies to flights originating in China’s 10 busiest airports. Specifically, it calls for crews to be certified to execute instrument-only landings when visibility is at roughly 450 yards or less.

Beijing’s Capital International Airport has a paltry 18 percent on-time rate, a number presumably depressed by the visibility-eroding smog that has taken up residence over the city.

[Sources: China Daily and The Associated Press via The Register]

Kosovo Sees Facebook as Sign of Sovereignty

Officials in the eastern European territory/region/ambiguously defined area of Kosovo have invoked Facebook as a sign that it is indeed a sovereign land.

Facebook recently began allowing users to register as being citizens of Kosovo, which is in the Balkan Peninsula. Previously, the next-best option was Serbia, which, for historical reasons, wasn’t an ideal option.

Kosovo is recognized by neither the United Nations nor the European Union. Perhaps because of this lack of official clout, the nation’s deputy foreign minister, Petrit Selimi, said that having Kosovo incorporated into Facebook was a priority.

The next step is getting to compete in soccer’s European Champions League.

“Being recognized on the soccer pitch and online has far greater resonance than some back room in Brussels,” he said, referring to the heart of the European Union.

Many people from Kosovo had refused to identify themselves as being from Serbia on Facebook. The prime minister, for instance, said he was from Albania; others ticked the box next to Antigua, a tiny Caribbean island.

Rep. Eliot L. Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee and a longtime supporter of Kosovo — Kosovo named a street named after him — lobbied Facebook to make the change.

“It was not a hard sell,” he said.

[Source: The New York Times]

Intel Buys Space Inside FC Barcelona Jersey

Intel has struck a deal with Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid to place an advertisement inside the club’s jerseys. Intel inside, indeed.

The “Intel Inside” logo will be hidden unless a player decides to flip up the bottom portion of his shirt. Intel also has partnered with Real Madrid to equip its massive stadium with computer devices.

Intel reportedly agreed to pay US$5 million per year over the next five years for its deal with Madrid.

Last month, reports surfaced that Microsoft was in talks with Real Madrid about purchasing naming rights to the famed “Bernabeu” stadium.

[Source: The Verge]

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author ofThe Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out hisECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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