Faraday Future shelves electric car factory

Faraday Future's contractor, AECOM, stopped work on the factory last October Image caption Faraday Future's contractor, AECOM, stopped work on the factory last October

Faraday Future, which is developing an electric car it hopes will rival Tesla's, has suspended its plans for a $1bn (£775m) factory in Nevada.

The US start-up held a ceremony when construction began in April last year, but work stopped in October and has now been postponed indefinitely.

Entrepreneur Jia Yueting has backed Faraday, but some of his assets were frozen in China earlier this month.

The firm's financial woes have been acknowledged[1] in the past.

Its first production vehicle, the FF91 - which was unveiled at the CES tech show[2] in January - is currently scheduled for launch next year.

The site of the proposed factory was visited by the BBC in the same month but was apparently deserted.

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Media captionFaraday Future had previously said it hoped to resume the building of its factory for electric cars "very shortly".

In a statement, Faraday Future said was in the process of identifying a manufacturing facility that could speed up the path to production.

"Accordingly, we have decided to put a hold on our factory at the Apex site in North Las Vegas," it said.

"As the land owner, we remain committed to the build-out of the Apex site for long-term vehicle manufacturing and firmly believe North Las Vegas is an ideal place for us to be."

Mr Yueting had $182m in assets tied by a court in China and his firm, LeEco, has faced its own funding problems in recent months....

References

  1. ^ been acknowledged (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ unveiled at the CES tech show (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Mansfield radio station hit by 'winker' song hijacker

Robert "Doc" Cox Image caption Ivor Biggun frontman Robert "Doc" Cox was a regular face on 1980s show That's Life

An adult-themed song has been played on a local radio station in a series of rogue broadcasts.

Mansfield 103.2 has reportedly been targeted eight times in the past month.

Outside broadcasts are being hijacked and replaced with The Winker's Song by comedy band Ivor Biggun.

The station said attempts to catch the culprit had so far failed and some listeners had complained "their children have started humming the song".

Station manager Tony Delahunty said the latest occasion was on Sunday when a live interview from the town's Party in the Market event was interrupted by a male voice shouting, then the song playing.

Mobile transmitter

He said:"We have had calls from people who have found it hilarious, while some have raised their concerns, including our competitors, and a lot of people in the industry are aghast at how difficult it is to stop these people.

"For listeners under the age of 11 travelling to school, it can be a very offensive thing for them to hear, so I just want it to stop.

"But I would also love to see who it is and have them caught."

"There's absolutely nothing we can do," he continued.

"The first time we reported it to the police, but they said they would have to catch him in the act.Our transmitter people can't do anything because the person is using a mobile transmitter."

Ivor Biggun is fronted by Robert "Doc" Cox, best known for his appearances on BBC TV's That's Life programme.The band has released four albums of double-entendre filled songs.

Criminal activity

Mr Delahunty said communications regulator Ofcom had tried to track the offender on three occasions but had so far also been unsuccessful.

A spokesperson said:"Ofcom takes malicious radio interference extremely seriously.

"Our Spectrum Engineering Officers are working closely with Mansfield 103.2 to trace and identify those responsible for these criminal activities."

They added maliciously causing interference was a criminal act that carries a maximum punishment of two years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine....

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Spotify denies promoting 'fake artists'

Spotify Ambient Chill playlistImage copyright Spotify Image caption The unknown artists appear on mood-based playlists such as Ambient Chill.

Music streaming service Spotify has denied that some of its playlists contain music tracks by "fake artists".

A music industry publication listed 50 artists it claimed were not real.

They have racked up millions of streams by appearing on mood-based playlists such as Sleep and Ambient Chill, but many have no other visible profile.

However, one industry expert told the BBC Spotify was "not committing a crime" if it was commissioning tracks or buying production music.

"We do not and have never created 'fake' artists and put them on Spotify playlists.Categorically untrue, full stop," Spotify said in a statement.

"We do not own rights, we're not a label, all our music is licensed from rights holders and we pay them - we don't pay ourselves."

Low profile

Some of the artist names in the list, compiled by Music Business Worldwide (MBW)[1], did appear to have a presence on other platforms - generally rival services such as LastFM and YouTube - when checked by the BBC, but most had no website or social media presence in their own right.

For example Relajar, which has racked up 13.4 million streams, comes up only on Spotify in internet search results.

"We're pretty sure A&R [artist and repertoire] teams from across the globe would love to hear about artists with no online presence who have managed to rack up millions of Spotify plays with their first few tracks," wrote MBW.

Image copyright Google Image caption Some artists do not appear to have a website or social media presence.

Mark Mulligan, from Midia Research, said that Spotify could be commissioning others to produce content which it then pays lower royalties for in return.

"Labels are scared because they suspect this is the thin end of the wedge, but it's not forcing those artists to do it," he said.

It was also possible that Spotify was buying existing production music from other companies, Mr Mulligan said.

Some artists choose not to attach their real names to this sort of material.

"We still don't have the smoking gun - there's no proof of payment," he said.

"This is getting creative about how Spotify might try to not have to pay out for all the music it plays.

"Ten years into the Spotify experiment, it still hasn't made a profit despite being the most successful music-streaming platform on the planet."...

References

  1. ^ in the list, compiled by Music Business Worldwide (MBW) (www.musicbusinessworldwide.com)

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Russia causing 'cyber-space mayhem', says ex-GCHQ boss

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Media captionRobert Hannigan also said security experts must find ways around end-to-end encryption

Russian authorities are a threat to democracy, former GCHQ director Robert Hannigan has said.

There was "a disproportionate amount of mayhem in cyber-space" coming from the country, he told the BBC.

Mr Hannigan urged people to "push back" against the behaviour of the Russian state, adding some form of cyber-retaliation may be necessary in future.

Sanctions could also be imposed to highlight the Russian state's current activity was unacceptable, he added.

"Of course not everything is run by the Russian state," Mr Hannigan told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"There is an overlap of crime and state, and a deeply corrupt system that allows crime to flourish, but the Russian state could do a lot to stop that and it could certainly rein in its own state activity."

Image copyright GCHQ Image caption Robert Hannigan resigned in January 2017,

Mr Hannigan praised French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for "calling out" Russian state activity.

"I think starting to talk about it is good.Macron himself said in front of Putin, at a press conference, in a very striking way, that this was unacceptable," he said.


Analysis:Gordon Correra, BBC Security Correspondent

Russia's cyber-operations became a major issue during Robert Hannigan's' time running GCHQ.

Russian cyber-espionage has been going on for years, but recently Western intelligence agencies watched with alarm as hackers operating out of Russia appeared willing to take more aggressive and risky actions.

One sign of that was the takedown of the French TV5 Monde channel, made to look like the work of hackers related to the so-called Islamic State but traced to Russia[1].

This left British spies wondering whether Moscow had been testing out its disruptive capability.

GCHQ was also the first to spot signs that Russia had penetrated the Democratic Party in the US, and it informed authorities in Washington.

But as Russian operations seemed to become more brazen, the questions have grown over how best to respond and deter such activities.

And that process has been complicated by the controversy in Washington surrounding the investigation of possible links between the US President Donald Trump's election campaign and Russia....

References

  1. ^ traced to Russia (www.bbc.co.uk)

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