Sunday January 26, 2020

Mysterious Health Incidents Affect 1 More American in Cuba

In all, 25 Americans have been affected by the mystery ailment in Cuba

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A view of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on Sept.18, 2017.
A view of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on Sept.18, 2017. VOA

One more U.S. Embassy employee in Havana, Cuba, has been affected by mysterious health incidents, the State Department said.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said one of two Americans recently evacuated from Cuba was “medically confirmed” to have been affected, while the other was “still being evaluated” by doctors.

25 Americans affected

In all, 25 Americans have been affected by the mystery ailment in Cuba.

“We still don’t know, to this day, what is causing it and who is responsible,” Nauert said, noting that investigations were underway in Havana as well as Guangzhou, China, where one employee experienced similar symptoms recently.

The United States has said that the Cuba incidents started in late 2016. The State Department calls them “specific attacks” but has not said what caused them or who was behind them. Cuba has adamantly denied involvement or knowledge.

Initial speculation centered on some type of sonic attack owing to strange sounds heard by those affected, but an interim FBI report in January found no evidence that sound waves could have caused the damage, The Associated Press has reported.

Secretary Kerry Touts Virtues of 10-Year U.S.-China Business and Tourism Visas Before Presenting First Documents in Beijing
Secretary Kerry Touts Virtues of 10-Year U.S.-China Business and Tourism Visas Before Presenting First Documents in Beijing, flickr

Warning issued in China

The State Department issued a health warning after the employee in China reported experiencing “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure” and was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as a “serious medical incident.”

Also read: Cuba Invites United Nations human rights Investigator for first time in decade regarding Human Trafficking

The new confirmation came less than a week after the U.S. renewed demands on Cuba to determine the source of the “attacks” on U.S. diplomats. Cuba responded by again denying any involvement in or knowledge of any such attacks. (VOA)

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Chinese Behemoth BBK Group Dominates Xiaomi in Smartphone Market

This year, the group has infused another brand called iQOO in the competitive Indian market that will be the first

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Xiaomi
In comparison, Xiaomi grew 5 per cent year-over-year in 2019 driven by expansion in the offline and strong performance of its Redmi Note series. Wikimedia Commons

Chinese behemoth BBK Group, the parent company of OPPO, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus brands, dominated the India smartphone market with 37 per cent share for the full year 2019, compared to 28 per cent of Xiaomi, reveals latest data from Counterpoint Research.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, the BBK Group captured a mammoth 43 per cent share in the India smartphone market while Xiaomi had 27 per cent share.

While Vivo’s market share grew to 16 per cent in the calendar year 2019 from 10 per cent in 2018, realme’s share grew to 10 per cent in 2019 from 3 per cent in 2018, OPPO’s share grew to 9 per cent in 2019 from 8 per cent in 2018. With 29 per cent growth in market share, OnePlus also became one of the fastest growing smartphone brands in India in 2019.

While Realme grew a massive 255 per cent in 2019, Vivo registered 76 per cent growth and OPPO 28 per cent, In comparison, Xiaomi grew 5 per cent year-over-year in 2019 driven by expansion in the offline and strong performance of its Redmi Note series.

“India now has emerged as the biggest market for Xiaomi, surpassing its home market China in 2019. However, the growth rate has declined to single-digit as Xiaomi is now serving a much larger installed base in India,” according to the data.

Vivo’s stunning growth in 2019 was driven by good performance of its budget-segment series. “Also, by successfully pivoting to online and aggressively positioning the S series in the offline segment with new features, it managed to make a dent in Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 segment,” said Counterpoint.

Overall, in the fourth quarter of 2019, the BBK group captured a mammoth 43 per cent share in the India smartphone market. Interesting here to note is that the BBK Group does not seem to be resting on its laurels.

This year, the group has infused another brand called iQOO in the competitive Indian market that will be the first, 5G-ready premium device in the country and would take on Xiaomi’s new sub-brand POCO.

Xiaomi
In the fourth quarter of 2019, the BBK Group captured a mammoth 43 per cent share in the India smartphone market while Xiaomi had 27 per cent share. Wikimedia Commons

The iQOO brand — which already has six devices in its portfolio in China with the most recent one being the iQOO Neo 855 Racing — would work as a separate legal entity in the country. With this brand, the BBK Group will now have five brands — OnePlus, Vivo, OPPO, Realme and now iQOO — to take on its rivals in India in 2020.

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“We aim to sell 10 lakh iQOO devices next month in India. It will be 100 per cent ‘make in India’ premium device focused on strong performance, design innovation and 5G-ready,” Gagan Arora, Director-Marketing, iQOO India, recently told IANS. (IANS)