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Tesla Debuts Long-awaited $35,000 Model 3.

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Tesla has long promised a pared-down version of its Model 3 sedan that would be $35,000.

The electric car company announced Thursday, more than a year after Tesla began delivering Model 3s, that price point is finally available — but CEO Elon Musk said the company will have to close stores and lay off workers in order to make it financially sustainable to produce the cheaper car.

The Model 3 is “excruciatingly difficult” to make at the reduced price, Musk told reporters on a conference call.

The base model will have 220 miles of range, a top speed of 130mph, the company said in a blog post.

“This is an important milestone for Tesla,” Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds, said in statement. But she also cautioned it “might be too little too late,” considering federal tax credits for Tesla-made EVs were slashed from $7,500 to $3,750 at the beginning of the year.

“If this model had come out when the Model 3 first launched and passion for Tesla was at its peak, shoppers might have given more latitude,” Caldwell said. “But the expectations have been set and it’s likely going to be a tough sell moving forward.”

Tesla (TSLA) also said that it’s introducing a new version, called the “Model 3 Standard Range Plus,” which will give an extra 20 miles of range and an additional 10 mph to the top speed. Its price will be $37,000 before incentives.

The cheapest Model 3 on sale before Thursday was $42,900.
Tesla’s website on Thursday briefly halted online orders for its Model X, Model S and Model 3 vehicles. Those order pages were automatically redirected to a landing page that referenced the upcoming announcement, saying “Great things are launching.”

To achieve the $35,000 price tag, Tesla said it was closing stores and shifting sales worldwide to online only. It was also changing its return policy, allowing customer to bring back a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund.

Tesla declined to say how many of its stores will close or how many jobs will be affected. Musk said a “small number of stores in high-traffic locations” will remain open as galleries and information centers.

When asked by a reporter whether he anticipated Tesla will turn a profit during the first quarter of 2019, Musk said it isn’t likely — but Tesla could be in the black by Q2.

Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, said in an emailed statement that the lower price “along with the new flexible online ordering process, should substantially widen the Model 3’s appeal.”

“Tesla’s biggest challenge going forward will be meeting production volumes and demand while maintaining timely service for a rapidly-expanding customer fleet,” Brauer said. “If Tesla can do this it will have successfully transitioned from a boutique automaker with a niche audience to mainstream brand serving mainstream consumers.”

Tesla had a rough 2018 after months of manufacturing hangups and delays rolling out the Model 3. But the company surprised investors by posting back-to-back quarterly profits at the end of 2018.

But it hasn’t all been good news: Tesla announced it was laying off about 7% of its full-time workers in January.

Last week, Consumer Reports also pulled its recommendation of Tesla Model 3, citing reliability issues with the car.

Tesla pointed to its overall customer satisfaction rating from the magazine and said it has corrected many of the problems found in the survey.
“We take feedback from our customers very seriously and quickly implement improvements any time we hear about issues,” the company said, adding “we are already seeing a significant improvement in our field data.”

Musk teased the Model 3 announcement on Twitter on Wednesday as regulators continued to scrutinize his use of the social media platform.

He caused a stir by posting a cryptic message about the impending announcement, which caused Tesla’s stock to jump about 5% on Thursday.

The company’s shares were down about 3.6% after hours.

Musk is in hot water with the SEC about his tweeting habits.

Regulators on Monday had asked a federal judge to hold Musk in contempt for violating a settlement deal reached last year that involved criticism of Musk’s Twitter use.

CNN Business’ Paul La Monica and Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed.

Source: CNN.com

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Huawei Responds To Android Ban

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Fresh off the sledgehammer blow of having its Android license revoked by Google in response to US government demands, Huawei has issued its first, limited response, which leaves more questions open than it answers. In a statement emailed to The Verge, Huawei underscores its contributions to the growth of Android globally — which most recently saw the company’s Android phone sales growing by double digits while every other leading smartphone vendor was shrinking or stagnant — and reassures current owners of Huawei and (subsidiary brand) Honor phones that they will continue to receive security updates and after-sales service. That promise also covers phones that are already shipped and in stock at stores globally, but no additional promises are made beyond that.

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry.

Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.

We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

Google has already said that owners of Huawei phones will retain their access to the Play Store and continue being able to update their apps. The big thing that’s being written out of their future, however, are further Android OS updates from Google. To get those back, Huawei phone owners and fans will have to hope for a resolution in the US-China trade dispute, which has been the trigger for Huawei’s current blacklisting by the US government.

For its part, Huawei has been making preparations for an eventuality of losing access to software from US companies like Google and Microsoft, and it has been developing an in-house operating system alternative to Android. That may be what the company hints at in the final paragraph of its statement when it says it will “continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem.” Sustainable being the key word.

Source: The Verge.

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NCA Unveils Plan To Ban All Fake Phones.

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Mobile devices that enter the country will now be tested for their authenticity before being released onto the market.

This follows the completion of a state of the art laboratory by the National Communications Authority to test such devices.

The NCA, together with other stakeholders in the telecommunications industry, has on a number of occasions lamented the effect of substandard mobile devices have on service delivery.

Speaking at the celebration of World Telecoms Day in Accra, Deputy Minister of Communications George Andah said the Ministry will do all it can to maintain high standards within the country’s telecommunication industry.

“The NCA has acquired the state of the art type approval laboratory capable of testing all electronic communication devices to ensure that they are up to standard”

“To the NCA, I request that you kindly liaise with mobile network operators to determine the level of potential risk with regards to the prevalent substandard mobile devices on the market”.

Ghana joined the rest of the world on Friday, May 19, 2019 to observe the 2019 World Telecommunications and Information Society Day under the theme “Bridging the standardization gap”. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the celebration since its inception in 1969.

The day was observed to raise awareness on the importance of the theme as well as encourage the implementation of international standards in Ghana’s communications sector in the bid to bridge the digital divide

Source: CitiBusinessNews.

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Google And Android System Start To Cut Ties With Huawei.

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US internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world's smartphones, said Sunday it was beginning to cut ties with China's Huawei, which Washington considers a national security threat.

In the midst of a trade war with Beijing, President Donald Trump has barred US companies from engaging in telecommunications trade with foreign companies said to threaten American national security.

The measure targets Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant in Washington's sights that is listed by the Commerce Department among firms with which American companies can only engage in trade after obtaining the green light from the authorities.

The ban includes technology sharing.

"We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications," a Google spokesperson told AFP.

The move could have dramatic implications since Google, like all tech companies, must collaborate with smartphone makers to ensure its systems are compatible with their devices.

Google will have to halt business activities with Huawei that involve transfer of hardware, software and technical services that are not publicly available -- meaning Huawei will only be able to use the open source version of Android, a source close to the matter told AFP.

Huawei will no longer have access to Google's proprietary apps and services, such as the Gmail email service.

Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers.

It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.

Huawei is the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said Saturday that "We have not done anything which violates the law," adding the US measures would have a limited impact.

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Rigworld, Maritime University Partner To Train Students On IMO Regulations.

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Rigworld Training Centre (RTC), an indigenous Ghanaian company has signed an accreditation partnership with the Regional Maritime University (RMU) to train personnel on International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations.

Under the accreditation partnership the two parties will collaborate for the training of people on IMO mandatory short courses hence issue two certificates; one jointly signed by RTC and RMU and secondly solely signed by the Ghana Maritime Authority, certificate of competency from Ghana Maritime Authority.

The partnership, which was signed by Prof. Elvis Nyarko, Vice Chancellor of the RMU and Kofi Amoa-Abban, Director of the RTC.

Among some of the courses that would be offered as part of the training program include Elementary First Aid, Personal Survival Techniques, Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities as well as Basic Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting.

Others are International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, Oil/Chemical Tanker Familiarization, Efficient Deck Hand, Lifeboat, Proficiency in Survival Craft Rescue Boat, Radar/ARPA Simulator Training as well as International Safety Management.

The RMU is an international institution owned by the Republics of Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone under the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA). The overall objective of the RMU is to promote regional co-operation in the maritime industry focusing on the training to ensure sustained growth and development in the industry.

The RTC on the other hand is an indigenous Ghanaian company accredited by various international bodies to train people and students in safety and survival skills in the oil and gas industry here. Enditem

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