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Authorities probe whether Samsung hired students to give HTC bad online reviews

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Taiwanese authorities said Monday they had launched an investigation into allegations that South Korean tech giant Samsung hired students to post malicious comments about local rival HTC online.

“The case was set up last week after we received complaints,” Fair Trade Commission spokesman Sun Lih-chyun told AFP.

He said the probe would look into allegations that Samsung engaged in false advertising and that if the allegations were upheld, Samsung and its local advertising agent could face a fine of up to Tw$25 million ($835,000).

Complaints emerged this month, with Internet users alleging that Samsung, through its local agent, had hired students to write online articles attacking HTC and recommending Samsung cellphones, the United Evening News said.

When asked about the allegations, an official at Samsung Taiwan said the company had not been informed of the investigation by the Fair Trade Commission.

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But in a statement on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SamsungTaiwan, Samsung Taiwan said it regretted “any inconvenience and confusion from the Internet event”.

“Samsung Taiwan has halted all Internet marketing such as posting articles on websites,” it said.

Samsung was fined Tw$300,000 by the commission earlier this year for a misleading advertisement about the camera functions on Samsung’s Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102, according to Taiwan’s state Central News Agency.

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According to research firm IDC, Samsung held a 30.3 percent share of the global smartphone market in 2012, while Apple had 19.1 percent and HTC 4.6 percent.

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Ivanka bashed by CNN guest for jumping into Trump racist furor late and trying to make herself look good

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Appearing on CNN, the author of a piece in The Atlantic on Ivanka Trump's disappearing act whenever her father, President Donald Trump, does something offensive, said the first daughter likes to pick her spots when she can be "part of the show."

Speaking with CNN host Ana Cabrera, journalist Elaina Plott said Ivanka's influence on her father has been overstated since the beginning of his presidency and only she moves into the public eye when it benefits her.

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House GOP group wants to pressure Amazon into selling gay conversion therapy books written by long-debunked quack

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A key bloc of House Republicans is planning to put pressure on Amazon to once again start selling "gay conversion therapy" books that the website had previously removed for peddling a dangerous, pseudo-scientific procedure that has been linked to suicide and mental health problems.

Vice News reports that the Republican Study Group issued a handout to its members this week encouraging them to raise concerns about "Amazon censorship" of books written by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the late clinical psychologist who has been credited with pioneering so-called gay conversion therapy techniques.

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American Islamic State ‘sniper’ charged in New York: Justice Dept

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A naturalized American who was a sniper for the Islamic State group has been charged in New York with material support for a terror group after being captured in Syria and repatriated to the United States, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Kazakhstan-born Ruslan Maratovich Asainov fought for the Islamic State in Syria for five years before he was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces and handed over to US custody, the department said.

Asainov, 43, was brought back to the United States on Thursday and was to be arraigned Friday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn.

He fought for IS in Syria from 2013 to 2018 as a sniper and a weapons trainer for other combatants.

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