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Cyprus says major gas find could boost European supplies

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A drilling ship is seen off the Cypriot coastal city of Larnaca
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A new gas discovery off Cyprus could speed up exploitation of untapped resources and help secure supplies to Europe, Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said Tuesday.

Italian giant Eni and France’s TotalEnergies announced on Monday a “significant gas discovery at the Cronos-1 well, in Block 6, offshore Cyprus”.

Cyprus’s energy ministry said preliminary estimates indicated the reservoir holds about 2.5 trillion cubic feet (70 billion cubic metres) of natural gas.

With Russia threatening to cut off gas supplies to the European Union, Nicosia was in talks with Brussels to become part of the bloc’s energy plan to reduce reliance on Moscow, Pilides told state radio.

The minister said she had contacted Eni and TotalEnergies to “find ways to optimally exploit this discovery”.

The gas find was located 165 kilometres (about 100 miles) off the southwest coast of Cyprus.

In 2018, Eni discovered the large Calypso-1 gas field in the same block, containing an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The Cypriot energy ministry said Monday more drilling had begun in a new well called Zeus-1 in Block 6, where additional quantities of gas could be discovered.

Nicosia has granted drilling licences for seven blocks to the Eni-Total consortium.

The latest discovery adds to three other major gas finds, including at the Aphrodite well in Block 12 of 4.5 trillion cubic feet, licensed to US firm Chevron, Britain’s Shell, as well as Israeli partners.

Pilides estimated it would take about three years to commercially exploit Aphrodite, with the gas likely to be exported to nearby Egypt.

In December, US giant ExxonMobil and Qatar Energy signed a contract for oil and gas exploration and production-sharing off Cyprus, angering Turkey.

Gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean has been a sore spot for the two nations due to competing claims over rights to maritime zones.

In February 2019, ExxonMobil and Qatar Energy discovered a huge natural gas reserve off Cyprus in Block 10, the island’s largest find to date with an estimated five to eight trillion cubic feet.

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Apple wins 728-mn-euro cut to France antitrust fine

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Apple plans to appeal the ruling to quash the entire 1.1-billion-euro fine
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A French court on Thursday slashed more than 700 million euros from a record 1.1-billion-euro fine imposed on US tech giant Apple in 2020, sources close to the case told AFP.

France’s competition authority levied the fine — its biggest ever — after concluding that the firm squeezed independent sellers of Apple products as it tried to push buyers towards its own stores and preferred retailers.

But the Paris appeal court revised the decision and knocked 728 million from the fine, meaning Apple still faces having to pay 370 million euros.

Apple says the fine is unfair and told AFP the whole complaint should be quashed. 

“We consider that the decision should have been annulled in its entirety and plan to appeal to the French supreme court,” the firm told AFP in a statement. 

“The decision concerns practices that go back more than 10 years and that even the French competition authority has recognised as no longer being in force.”

The initial case was made up of three linked complaints — one was dismissed by the appeals court and two were upheld.

Sources close to the case, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed the amounts and the details of the decision.

The Paris appeals court told AFP the ruling would be made public on Friday.

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Former Uber security chief convicted in hack cover-up: reports

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The prosecution of a former head of security at Uber for his handling of a massive hack has others in the industry worried about being held personally accountable for decisions made on the job.
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A jury on Wednesday found Uber’s former security chief guilty of federal crimes for covering up a massive hack that compromised personal information of users and drivers, according to US media reports.

Joseph Sullivan was found guilty of obstructing the work of the Federal Trade Commission and of failing to let authorities know about a crime when he hid a 2016 hack instead of reporting it, according to news outlets.

Sullivan could be sentenced to prison time.

Sullivan sought to pay off the hackers by funneling money through a “bug bounty” program that rewards developers for revealing security vulnerabilities without doing any harm, according to the criminal complaint.

Uber paid the hackers $100,000 in bitcoin cryptocurrency in December 2016, and Sullivan wanted them to sign non-disclosure agreements promising to keep mum about the affair, prosecutors said.

Sullivan was Uber chief security officer from April 2015 to November 2017.

The criminal complaint maintains that Sullivan deceived Uber’s new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, appointed in mid-2017 to replace Travis Kalanick, about the breach.

“Silicon Valley is not the Wild West,” US Attorney David Anderson for the Northern District of California said in a statement when the charges were filed.

“We will not tolerate corporate cover-ups. We will not tolerate illegal hush money payments.”

Two members of the Uber information security team who “led the response” that included not alerting users about the data breach were let go from the San Francisco-based company, according to Khosrowshahi.

The Uber chief said he had learned that outsiders broke into a cloud-based server used by the company for data and downloaded a significant amount of information.

Stolen files included names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers for millions of riders, and the names and driver license information of some 600,000 drivers, according to Uber.

Co-founder and ousted chief Kalanick was advised of the breach shortly after it was discovered, but it was not made public until Khosrowshahi learned of the incident, according to an AFP source.

Uber did not respond to a request for comment on the verdict.

Casey Ellis, founder and CTO at Bugcrowd, a San Francisco-based leader in crowd-sourced cybersecurity, said, “It’s a significant precedent that has already sent shockwaves through the CISO (chief information security officer) community.”

“It highlights the personal liability involved in being a CISO in a dynamic policy, legal, and attacker environment.”

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Musk says Twitter has refused to suspend litigation on buyout

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Elon Musk asked a Delaware judge to halt Twitter's lawsuit against him over their troubled takeover negotiations
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Elon Musk asked a US judge Thursday to suspend Twitter’s lawsuit over their troubled takeover negotiations after the embattled social media company balked at the Tesla’s chief’s demand to freeze the litigation.

Musk’s request comes two days after he revived his takeover plan. The unpredictable billionaire’s July withdrawal from the $44-billion transaction prompted Twitter to sue Musk over breach of contract in a Delaware court. 

A trial is scheduled to start on October 17.

“There is no need for an expedited trial to order Defendants to do what they are already doing and this action is now moot,” said a filing prepared by Musk attorneys that alluded to his latest offer.

“Yet, Twitter will not take yes for an answer. Astonishingly they have insisted on proceeding with this litigation, recklessly putting the deal at risk and gambling with their stockholders interests.”

Musk on Tuesday sent a letter to Twitter reviving the $54.20-per-share offer under the condition that the Delaware court halt action in the lawsuit against him.

Twitter said Tuesday it expects to close the buyout deal at the $54.20 price in a statement that did not address Musk’s demands over freezing the litigation.

On Wednesday, Delaware Judge Kathaleen McCormick said she still planned to go ahead with the trial, noting that neither party had asked for a suspension.

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