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French competition watchdog investigates IT services sector

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PARIS (Reuters) – Several French IT companies have been searched on suspicion of anti-competitive practices, the country’s competition watchdog said on Friday.

The regulator did not name any of the companies that were targeted but said they were active in the fields of IT services, consulting, engineering and software.

“At this point, these searches obviously do not prejudge the guilt of the companies and organizations that are concerned by these suspected practices…”, the regulator said.

France has a number of large IT and consulting groups, including Alten, Altran, Assystem, Atos, Capgemini and Sopra Steria.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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NASA releases sharpest-ever images of distant Kuiper Belt object

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The space agency is keen to brag about the feat. New Horizons got closer to MU69 than it did its main target, Pluto, thanks to “unprecedented precision” in calculations across multiple countries. There was a real chance the camera would miss the object entirely, according to mission team Principal Investigator Alan Stern.

You’re not going to get better pictures than this, unfortunately. However, they’re good enough that they could provide further insights around the object’s formation and the kind of interactions it has roughly 4.1 billion miles from Earth. They’re brief snapshots, but they could provide years of insights.

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Judge says Washington state cyberstalking law violates free speech

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The ruling came after a retired Air Force Major, Richard Rynearson III, sued to have the law overturned. He claimed that Kitsap County threatened to prosecute him under the cyberstalking law for criticizing an activist involved with a memorial to Japanese victims of US internment camps during World War II. While Rynearson would use “invective, ridicule, and harsh language,” the judge said, his language was neither threatening nor obscene.

Officials had contended that the law held up because it targeted conduct, not the speech itself. They also maintained that Rynearson hadn’t shown evidence of a serious threat — just that the prosecutor’s office would see how Rynearson behaved and take action if necessary. A county court had already tossed out the activist’s restraining order against Rynearson over free speech.

It’s not clear whether Washington will appeal the decision. If the ruling stays, though, it could force legislators to significantly narrow the scope if it wants a cyberstalking law to remain in place. This might also set a precedent that could affect legislation elsewhere in the country.

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Steam now supports NextVR’s virtual reality broadcasts

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The Steam version of the software works with the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality devices. NextVR rolled out an iteration of the app for the Rift late last year, and it has supported the Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets longer than that. Its arrival on Steam means users don’t have to download it from the headsets’ app stores, though, such as HTC’s Viveport, which used to be infamously buggy.

David Cole, NextVR CEO, said in a statement:

“NextVR is driven to engage the largest possible audience to experience our content in virtual reality. Steam is a critically important platform to reach active virtual reality users. We’re excited to put our unparalleled live sports and entertainment experiences at the fingertips of the vibrant Steam user-base.”

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