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Samsung Wins Approval for Key Merger after Bitter Fight

South Korea's dominant Samsung conglomerate -- run by the country's wealthiest family -- secured shareholder approval Friday for the crucial merger of two affiliates, seeing off a formidable challenge from investor activists led by a combative US hedge fund.

The victory, following a bitterly contested proxy battle, will come as an enormous relief to the Samsung Group's founding Lee family as it seeks to restructure the multi-headed corporation ahead of a generational transfer of power from ailing patriarch Lee Kun-Hee.

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Mobile Search, YouTube Pump up Google Earnings

Google shares soared on Thursday after the Internet titan beat second quarter earnings expectations by riding hot growth of mobile search and advertising on YouTube.

The Silicon Valley-based company said that second-quarter net income climbed two percent to $3.4 billion on an 11 percent rise in revenue to $17.7 billion.

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Italian Surveillance Firm's Breach Puts Spies in Hot Seat

A dramatic breach at an Italian surveillance company has laid bare the details of government cyberattacks worldwide, putting intelligence chiefs in the hot seat from Cyprus to South Korea. The massive leak has already led to one spymaster's resignation — and pulled back the curtain on espionage in the iPhone age.

More than 1 million emails released online in the wake of the July 5 breach show that Hacking Team sold its spy software to the FBI and to Russian intelligence. It worked with authoritarian governments in the Middle East and pitched to police departments in the American suburbs. It even tried to sell to the Vatican — all while devising a malicious Bible app to infect religiously minded targets.

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Apple Updates iPod Touch amid Declining Sales

Although the iPod's popularity has waned, Apple is updating its music player for the first time in nearly three years by giving the flagship Touch model a faster processor and better cameras.

The new iPod Touch also enables Apple Music, a $10-a-month service that offers unlimited playback of millions of songs. Apple Music launched June 30 as music fans increasingly embrace subscriptions over pay-per-song services such as Apple's industry-leading iTunes.

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Drones and Phones to Tackle Indonesian Eid Road Chaos

From drones to smartphone apps, Indonesia is harnessing technology to tackle traffic chaos during the annual mass exodus before the Muslim Eid holiday, when the potholed roads of overpopulated Java become clogged with millions of slow-moving cars and crashes are frequent.

Cities in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country empty every year at the end of the holy month of Ramadan as people head to villages to celebrate Eid with their families. 

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Court Dismisses U.S. Hedge Fund Appeal against Samsung Merger

A South Korean appeals court on Thursday rejected the latest effort by U.S. hedge fund Elliott Associates to block the $8.0 billion merger of two Samsung affiliates.

The ruling by the Seoul High Court clears any final obstacle to the convening of a shareholders' meeting on Friday which will see a vote on the proposed takeover of construction company Samsung C&T by affiliate Cheil Industries.

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Suspected Islamist Hacker Detained in Bulgaria

A man suspected of belonging to a network of Islamist hackers responsible for attacks on more than 3,500 websites worldwide was arrested in Bulgaria, the interior ministry announced Wednesday.

The man, whose identity was not revealed, was part of a group using the acronym MECA (Middle East Cyber Army), the ministry said.

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Twitter Can be Better News Tool, Co-Founder Says

Twitter has the potential to vastly improve as a tool for real-time news and information, according to co-founder and current board member Evan Williams.

Williams said news has been a core mission for the messaging platform for several years, but that it can do better in helping people find relevant stories.

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Dutch Hi-Tech Group ASML Post Small Q2 Income Dip

Dutch company ASML, which makes computer chip-making systems and is seen as a global hi-tech bellwether, announced an 8.1 percent second quarter dip in net income Wednesday, but noted it was on track for the rest of the year.

The company based in Veldhoven, southern Netherlands, said in a statement net income for the second quarter stood at 370 million euros ($407 million) as opposed to 403 million euros in Q1.

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Battle over Samsung Merger Holds Potential for Change

A bitter dispute over the proposed merger of two Samsung affiliates comes to a head Friday with a shareholder vote that could -- whatever the result -- force a shift in corporate governance practice among South Korea's giant, family-run conglomerates.

In a country not known for investor activism, the campaign against the takeover of construction company Samsung C&T by affiliate Cheil Industries has been unusually loud and well organised.

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