U.S. probe into India’s digital tax not a move of aggression, says Indian government source

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The U.S. government’s move to launch a trade investigation into a digital services tax adopted by several countries including India should not be construed as a move of aggression against New Delhi, a senior Indian government source said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office is investigating digital services taxes being adopted or considered by India and other countries such as Italy and Brazil, it said on Tuesday, a move that could lead to new punitive tariffs and heighten trade tensions.

“A number of U.S. allies such as the EU and the UK are mentioned in this list … this USTR action is meant to address the issue of digital taxation and should not be treated as a move of aggression against India,” said the government source, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

India’s federal trade ministry did not immediately respond

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Smartphone shipments in China up 17% in April, signalling likely rebound: government data

FILE PHOTO: A woman uses her smartphone while walking by Beijing’s Central Business District during morning rush hour as the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in China, April 17, 2020, REUTERS/Thomas Peter

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Smartphone shipments from China’s factories to vendors rose 17% in April compared to the same month a year ago, according to government data released on Tuesday.

The numbers suggest an early domestic rebound for smartphone makers such as Apple Inc and Huawei Technolgies [HWT.UL] and a potential return to normalcy in China for the broader consumer hardware market in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

Phone makers shipped 40.8 million handsets in April, up from 34.8 million in April 2019, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a state-backed think tank.

For the first time in years, the organisation did not reveal the percentage of Android devices shipped,

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Indian court seeks government reply over challenge to mandatory coronavirus app

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A court asked the Indian government on Friday to respond to a challenge against its order for compulsory use of a contact tracing app by public and private sector employees returning to work amid the world’s biggest coronavirus lockdown.

FILE PHOTO: The Aarogya Setu app logo is seen on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken May 3, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Illustration

India launched the Aarogya Setu, or “Health Bridge”, app last month. Downloaded to the phones of 94 million Indians, it makes use of Bluetooth and GPS to alert users who may have encountered people who later test positive for the virus.

But mandatory use of the app forces a user to “give away data to a system which he may or may not approve of, thereby attacking his right of informational autonomy,” a member of the opposition Congress party said in a petition to

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Lebanese government to manage mobile networks ahead of new tender

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s government will take back management of the country’s two state-owned mobile phone networks after the latest contracts expired, and plans to prepare a new tender within three months.

Lebanon has only two service providers, Alfa and Touch, which bring in a huge chunk of revenues for the heavily-indebted state. The networks have been run respectively by Egypt’s OTMT since 2009 and Kuwait’s Zain Group since 2004, with the contracts repeatedly renewed.

A tender for new contracts to manage the mobile and data operators will be ready within three months, Telecom Minister Talal Hawat said in a tweet on Tuesday after a cabinet session. The ministry will run the networks in the meantime.

Since it took office in January, Lebanon’s government has grappled with a financial and economic crisis on a scale the country has never seen.

The state, which defaulted on its sovereign debt in March

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