Wednesday, June 22, 2016

IMF warns US over high poverty; Instagram hits half billion users; LG's mosquito-repelling TV

1 IMF warns US over high poverty (BBC) The US has been warned about its high poverty rate in the International Monetary Fund's annual assessment of the economy. The fund said about one in seven people were living in poverty and that it needed to be tackled urgently. It recommended raising the minimum wage and offering paid maternity leave to women to encourage them to work.

The report also cut the country's growth forecast for 2016 to 2.2% from a previous prediction of 2.4%. Slower global growth and weaker consumer spending were blamed. US economic growth slowed to an annual pace of 0.5% during the first three months of the year, down sharply from 1.4% in the last three months of 2015.

But the stronger labour market meant that overall "the US economy is in good shape", said the IMF's managing director Christine Lagarde. May's unemployment figures showed the rate at an eight-year low of 4.7%. The report called on the US to invest more in education, as well as implement better social programmes such as childcare to help poorer Americans get jobs.

2 Instagram hits half billion users (Jill Treanor in The Guardian) The photo-sharing app Instagram now has 500 million users, reaping the benefits from the growth of selfies and the propensity for celebrities such as Kim Kardashian to share images with a wider audience.

Launched in 2010, it was bought by Facebook for $1bn when it had 30 million users. Kevin Systrom, one of its founders, said: “500 million is a milestone very few companies get to. This scale is not a badge on our uniform, but a signal of our ambition. If we can have a billion or a billion and a half on Instagram, we get closer to capturing every experience in the world.”

More than 80% of its half-billion users are outside the US, the company said, and that 300 million used the app every day. Earlier this year, Instagram caused controversy by introducing a system that changed the order in which photographs were posted.

3 LG’s mosquito-repelling TV (Emily Price in San Francisco Chronicle) LG’s newest television will repel mosquitoes for you. Available in India where it was also designed, the TV uses sound to repel mosquitoes from the room. The set broadcasts a noise only hearable by the bug, that is so unpleasant they’d prefer to stay away rather than interrupt your binge-watching session.

Beyond working as a digital form of bug spray, the line of 1080p high definition televisions have built-in 20W sound as well as built-in games. It also offers Bollywood and Cricket modes for an enhanced experience watching those types of programming.

The sets start at 31-inches in size, with pricing beginning at around $400. The same bug-repelling technology is also being used in some other appliances made by LG, including air conditioners and washing machines.

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