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WhatsApp's existence in China has been hanging by a thread ever since its government blocked users from sending photos and videos in July.

Now, it appears that the app no longer works in the country at all.

According to Symbolic Software, a Paris-based research firm monitoring WhatsApp's situation in China, the nation has squashed its ability to send text-based messages within its borders.

Some people might still be able to use it -- for now, that is -- but the country's blocking efforts that began last week have reached most people by Monday.

Symbolic Software's Nadim Kobeissi told The Verge that it likely took a while for the Chinese government to figure out how to configure its infamous firewall to detect and block the heavily encrypted protocol WhatsApp uses to send text messages.

Since the country's efforts paid off, that could mean that it now has the capability to take on similarly secure protocols. engadget.com
A sex robot named Samantha which "has a brain and can interact with you" has gone on sale in the UK for £3,500.

Erotic retailers Vibez Adult Boutique in Aylesford, Kent, is just one of two sex shops in Britain selling the sex bot, which featured on This Morning earlier this month.

Vibez owner Tracey Whitmore said the latest addition to her stock can switch between a family mode and a sex mode setting.

She said: "Sex dolls have always been a problem in terms of getting a realistic one.

"You have your blow-up ones that look comical and cost between £20 and £100.

The company, headed by Spanish creator Serge Santos, has sold 30 dolls worldwide and is believed to be working on a male model. mirror.co.uk
A robot just implanted two 3D-printed teeth into a woman's mouth all on its own.

The procedure took place recently in China and the researchers who developed it hope it can help the country's dentist shortage problem, reports the South China Morning Post.

Prior to the surgery, the robot was oriented to the patient's head and mouth and researchers then programmed the device with all of the necessary information for it to complete the procedure – that included the angles and depth required for accurate placement of the implants.

After testing the programmed movements, the operation was carried out.

It took about an hour and though medical staff were present during the procedure, none of them assisted the robot while it worked.

Afterwards, the staff determined that the robot had implanted the teeth with high precision. engadget.com
Equifax Inc. learned about a major breach of its computer systems in March -- almost five months before the date it has publicly disclosed, according to three people familiar with the situation.

In a statement, the company said the March breach was not related to the hack that exposed the personal and financial data on 143 million U.S. consumers, but one of the people said the breaches involve the same intruders.

Either way, the revelation that the 118-year-old credit-reporting agency suffered two major incidents in the span of a few months adds to a mounting crisis at the company, which is the subject of multiple investigations and announced the retirement of two of its top security executives on Friday.

Equifax hired the security firm Mandiant on both occasions and may have believed it had the initial breach under control, only to have to bring the investigators back when it detected suspicious activity again on July 29, two of the people said.

Equifax’s hiring of Mandiant the first time was unrelated to the July 29 incident, the company spokesperson said.

Vitor De Souza, senior vice president for global marketing at FireEye Inc., Mandiant’s parent company, declined to comment. bloomberg.com
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has launched work to build India's first high-speed train in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat. 

Mostly funded by a $17bn (£12.78bn) loan from Japan, the bullet train will run between Ahmedabad city and Mumbai.

When the service starts operating in five years' time, the 500km (310-mile) journey time is expected to be cut to three hours from the current eight.

Mr Abe is making a two-day visit to India, a close ally of Japan.

"My good friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a far-sighted leader. He took a decision two years ago to bring high-speed train in India and to create a new India," he said, after laying the foundation stone on Thursday.

"I hope to enjoy the beautiful scenery of India through the windows of the bullet train when I come back here in a few years."

The 750-seat train is scheduled to run from August 2022. bbc.com
Volkswagen updated its plans for electric cars with a complete overhaul of its investment strategy.

After announcing an initial investment of $10 billion in EVs earlier this year, which was still smaller than the German automaker’s investments in gas-powered cars, they now promise to spend up to 70 billion euros (~$84 billion USD) in order to bring 300 electric vehicle models to market by 2030.

More interestingly, most of the investment 50 billion euros (~$60 billion) will be in battery production in order to support their electric car ambitions for the next decade.

A slide that leaked from a VW presentation about its upcoming electric vehicles showed that they have 4 new models coming under the VW brand within the next few years, but also several more under Audi, Porsche, and the automaker’s other brands.

While it’s still more talk than action, this move is significant because it would mean that the board has approved an investment schedule for electric vehicles and an investment of this size should get things going. electrek.co
A small town in the remote north of the Arctic Circle is set to be home to the world's largest data center.

The Kolos facility is being developed by a US-Norwegian partnership, also called Kolos, who say the site will eventually draw on a record-setting 1000 megawatts of power.

On their website, Kolos claim Ballangen's cold climate and access to hydropower will help trim energy costs by as much as 60 percent.

The company added that Kolos will be a "fortress for data".

The firm said the center will directly create 2,000 to 3,000 new jobs and support 10,000 to 15,000 jobs in the area.

Scandinavia is no stranger to large data centers with Facebook's own version located about 240 miles away in Sweden. cnbc.com
Cyber criminals have accessed sensitive information - including names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver's licenses.

Additionally, Equifax said that credit card numbers for about 209,000 U.S. customers were exposed, as was "personal identifying information" on roughly 182,000 U.S. customers involved in credit report disputes.

Residents in the U.K. and Canada were also impacted.

The breach occurred between mid-May and July, Equifax said.

The company said it discovered the hack on July 29.

The data breach is one of the worst ever, by its reach and by the kind of information exposed to the public. cnn.com
If you listen to Apple’s inflationary marketing spiel, every time the company launches a new iPhone, it “changes everything.

The prosaic truth, however, is that most iPhone releases aren’t all that revolutionary.

Apple, like everyone else, sometimes takes multiple iterations to complete its most ambitious goals.

ut as we face up to the culmination of another year of hyped-up iPhone speculation, I do see three particular ways in which the iPhone 8 (or whatever Apple calls its new flagship) will indeed be the harbinger of massive and irrevocable change.

Most Verge readers will by now be fully habituated to seeing phones like the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, LG G6 and V30, or the Mi Mix and Essential Phone showing off a modern phone design with negligible bezels around the screen.

But while geeks can already take them for granted, the vast majority of people still haven’t seen one of these bezel-deprived screens in person, and their first encounter with one will be — prepare to feign surprise — on the iPhone 8. theverge.com
Elon Musk has made an ominous warning about artificial intelligence (AI), suggesting it could be the cause of a third world war.

His comment was in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin who said Friday that the first global leader in AI would "become the ruler of the world."

"Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo," the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted Monday.

Putin said that the development of AI raises both "colossal opportunities" and "threats that are difficult to predict."

The United States is generally considered to be the nation leading the charge towards AI currently, with tech giants like Google and Microsoft pouring large amounts of cash into research and development projects, but last week, a report by Goldman Sachs found that China could have the AI capability to catch up with the U.S.

"We believe AI technology will become a priority on the government's agenda, and we expect further national/regional policy and funding support on AI to follow," the investment bank said. cnbc.com