Internet firm in China stops using Google services

HONG KONG – An Internet company run by one of Asia's richest men said Tuesday it has ended its affiliation with Google Inc. as the American search giant stopped censoring the Internet in violation of Chinese regulations.

Making good on threats made more than two months ago, Google began shifting its Chinese-based search functions to Hong Kong, a Chinese territory where companies are not legally required to censor Internet search results.

TOM Online, a mainland Chinese Internet firm controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, said Tuesday it was stopping use of Google's search services after "the expiry of agreement."

"TOM reiterated that as a Chinese company, we adhere to rules and regulations in China where we operate our businesses," the company's parent, Hong Kong-based TOM Group, said in a statement Tuesday.

TOM Online, which runs online and mobile Internet services in mainland China, did not say when it stopped using Google or provide any details of its agreement with the company.

TOM likely used Google's search box feature, allowing visitors to its Web site to search the Internet with the U.S. company's technology.

It's still unclear whether other Chinese companies that partner with Google will follow suit. Representatives for heavyweight Internet portal operator Sina Corp. did not answer calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Companies, however, are liable to think twice about maintaining a partnership with a company that has been condemned by Beijing for running afoul of its censorship rules. From a business perspective, there are also uncertainties and risks for mainland Internet users relying on a Hong Kong service that could end up blocked.

China Mobile, the world's largest phone company by subscribers, with more than 500 million accounts, could find its partnership with Google for mobile search services in danger, analysts at brokerage CLSA said in a recent report.

"Some of the Chinese companies may want to play it safe and look at other options," said Elinor Leung, CLSA's head of Asia Internet and telecommunications research in Hong Kong.

Google's action did not translate into unfiltered results for millions of Chinese, but shifted responsibility for restricting content to the central government and its formidable Web filters.

Hong Kong, a former British colony with a separate government and civil liberties denied mainland Chinese, maintains open Internet policies.

The territory's government "does not censor the content of Web sites hosted in Hong Kong" and "places no restrictions on access to Hong Kong based Web sites from anywhere in the world," the government said in a statement.

Source: Yahoo! News

Prius with stuck accelerator glides to safe stop

EL CAJON, Calif. – A California Highway Patrol officer helped slow a runaway Toyota Prius from 94 mph to a safe stop on Monday after the car's accelerator became stuck on a San Diego County freeway, the CHP said.

2005  Toyota Prius 2005 Toyota Prius Interior 2005 Prius Aerodynamics Revealed

Prius driver James Sikes called 911 about 1:30 p.m. after accelerating to pass another vehicle on Interstate 8 near La Posta and finding that he could not control his car, the CHP said.

"I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny... it jumped and it just stuck there," the 61-year-old driver said at a news conference. "As it was going, I was trying the wasn't stopping, it wasn't doing anything and it just kept speeding up," Sikes said, adding he could smell the brakes burning he was pressing the pedal so hard.

A patrol car pulled alongside the Prius and officers told Sikes over a loudspeaker to push the brake pedal to the floor and apply the emergency brake.

"They also got it going on a steep upgrade," said Officer Jesse Udovich. "Between those three things, they got it to slow down."

After the car decelerated to about 50 mph, Sikes turned off the engine and coasted to a halt.

The officer then maneuvered his car in front of the Prius as a precautionary block, Udovich said.

In a statement, Toyota said it has dispatched a field technical specialist to San Diego to investigate the incident.

Toyota has recalled some 8.5 million vehicles worldwide — more than 6 million in the United States — since last fall because of acceleration problems in multiple models and braking issues in the Prius.

Toyota owners have complained of their vehicles speeding out of control despite efforts to slow down, sometimes resulting in deadly crashes. The government has received complaints of 34 deaths linked to sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles since 2000.

One of the crashes claimed the life of a CHP officer last August.

Off-duty CHP Officer Mark Saylor was killed along with his wife, her brother and the couple's daughter after their Lexus' accelerator got stuck in La Mesa.

The Toyota-manufactured loaner vehicle slammed into a sport utility vehicle at about 100 mph, careened off the freeway, hit an embankment, overturned and burst into flames.

Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune,

Video shows jet crash-landing into the Hudson River.

An US Airways jetliner that landed on the Hudson River Thursday was successfully hoisted out of the water late Saturday, following several hours of work by crews in frigid conditions.

Investigators planned to tow the plane on a barge to an undisclosed location for their examination.Searchers using sonar believe the left engine of the aircraft lies on the river bottom. Divers will try to confirm the finding. The flight data and cockpit voice recorders -- both critical to determining exactly what happened during the brief flight Thursday -- remained on the aircraft.

Earlier on Saturday, a National Transportation Safety Board official provided a detailed narrative, saying the pilot who landed the plane on the river thought that if he tried for a nearby airport in a densely populated area, there could have been "catastrophic consequences."

NTSB board member Kitty Higgins, relaying the first public comments from the two pilots who were in the cockpit during the emergency landing Thursday, said at a news conference that both the pilot and the first officer saw a flock of birds seconds before the plane was rocked by loud thuds and both engines failed.

City officials, passengers and others lauded pilot C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger, 58, and other crew members for their handling of the landing and also praised first responders who acted quickly to minimize passengers' injuries in below-freezing temperatures. All 155 people on board the plane survived.

Higgins said the first officer -- identified by US Airways as Jeffrey B. Skiles, 49 -- was flying the aircraft on takeoff from New York's LaGuardia airport when he noticed a flock of birds as the plane climbed between 3,000 and 5,000 feet.

"He commented (to Sullenberger) on the formation, and he said the next thing he knew the windscreen was filled with birds. There was no time to take evasive action," Higgins said.When both engines went out following thudding impacts, Sullenberger took control of the aircraft and Skiles began complicated procedures to try to restart the engines, Higgins said. She added that interviews with the two indicated there was limited conversation between them as the aircraft began losing altitude.


"These are both very experienced pilots. They knew what they had to do," Higgins said. Neither Sullenberger nor Skiles attended the news conference.Also Saturday, authorities released audio and transcripts of two 911 calls from people who said they saw that the plane was in trouble.

One caller said he saw the plane descend and reported hearing a loud noise shortly after the aircraft took off.

"Oh, my God! It was a big plane, I heard a big boom just now. We looked up, and the plane came straight over us, and it was turning. Oh, my God!" a man calling from the Bronx told a 911 operator at 3:29 p.m., three minutes after the plane left LaGuardia.Minutes later, at 3:33 p.m., a woman called 911 and reported seeing the plane in the water.

"A plane has just crashed into the Hudson River," she told an operator. "A US Air big DC-9 or -10 has crashed into the Hudson River. ... Oh, my gosh!"

Source: CNN