E-sports pull in more viewers as coronavirus halts live sports matches

(Reuters) – Sports fans and players across the world frustrated by canceled matches because of the coronavirus epidemic are turning to e-sports, with professional real-world athletes joining virtual game tournaments of football, auto racing and basketball.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in viewership” for e-sports broadcasts, said Todd Sitrin, senior vice president of Electronic Arts Inc’s Competitive Gaming Division, adding that the maker of battle-royale sensation “Apex Legends” saw an increase of two to three times its normal viewership in the first quarter of 2020.

“All the traditional sports have suspended their seasons and their broadcasts, so what we’ve seen is that fans are really searching for a way to get their sports fix”, Sitrin said.

E-sports tournaments are largely available on game streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming and Mixer and are also broadcasted on TV channels including ESPN and Fox Sports.

Online streaming platforms recorded a

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Nokia shares surge on report of takeover bid

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Nokia is seen before the company’s news conference in Espoo, Finland March 2, 2020. Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Nokia (NOKIA.HE) declined to comment on Thursday on a media report saying it was working with an investment bank to defend itself from a hostile takeover, news which sent its shares sharply higher.

“Nokia does not comment on market rumours,” said a spokesman for the company.

Earlier on Thursday shares in Nokia surged 12.5%, with traders pointing to a report by online newspaper TMT Finance that said the group was working to defend itself from a hostile takeover bid for parts or all of its business.

The TMT Finance report said Nokia had hired Citi, a regular investment banking partner of the Finnish firm, for the deal which could be worth $17.4 billion.

In February Bloomberg reported Nokia was exploring strategic options and

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EU says coronavirus tracking apps should avoid storing data on servers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Mobile apps to track coronavirus cases in Europe should keep as much data as possible on the user’s device rather than in a central server, to best maintain individual privacy, an EU document says.

European countries hope that rolling out mobile apps to track coronavirus cases will make it easier to lift the lockdown orders that have crushed European and world economies. But the EU, which has some of the strongest data protection rules in the world, is keen to ensure that such systems do not compromise privacy by allowing unauthorised access to sensitive data.

In the document, prepared by European Commission and reviewed by Reuters, the bloc’s executive recommended member states put national health agencies in charge of compliance with data rules, “given the sensitivity of the personal data at hand and the purpose of data processing”.

The document recommended a decentralised approach to storing data,

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DHL struggles to cope as online parcel volumes surge

FILE PHOTO: A DHL logo is seen on a DHL Boeing 757 aircraft during a charity fundraising event at the Safi Aviation Park in Safi, Malta May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

DUESSELDORF (Reuters) – Delivery business DHL (DPWGn.DE) is struggling to cope with a flood of parcels from online purchases due to the coronavirus crisis, forcing it to cut back extra collections from retailers in Germany, parent company Deutsche Post said on Thursday.

A Deutsche Post spokesman said that the extra pick-up trips to retailers had been reduced nationwide, adding that DHL was handling more than 8 million parcels a day, similar to pre-Christmas trade and compared to an annual average of around 5.2 million.

“We are continuously working to synchronise our capacity with demand,” the spokesman said.

The German association of online retailers (BVOH) had earlier highlighted the problem, saying if retailers had known about the

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