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Pollution-eating car shown off at goodwood festival

A car that has been designed to strip the air of pollution as it drives along has been shown off at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, it is hoped the Airo will go into production in China in 2023, with plans to make a million of them.

The radical design is intended to address not only the pollution issue, but also help solve the “space crisis”.

Critics are not convinced it can ever be more than a concept car.

Despite designing London’s new version of the iconic Routemaster bus, Mr Heatherwick is better known for architectural projects such as Google’s headquarters in California and London.

The car – which was first unveiled at the Shanghai car show in April – has a large glass roof, and the interior is designed to look like a room, with adjustable chairs that can be turned into beds, and a central table intended for meetings or meals.

Microsoft pays staff $1,500 for work in pandemic

Microsoft is to give its non-executive staff a $1,500 (£1,080) bonus for their work during the pandemic.

The company says it was a symbol of appreciation “during a uniquely challenging year”. It added: “We are proud to recognise our employees with a one-time monetary gift.” In the first quarter of 2021 Microsoft’s profits rose 38% on the same period last year.

The big tech firms have done well during the pandemic and Microsoft is not the only firm to have made bonus payments to staff. In March 2020, Facebook gave employees a $1,000 (£720) bonus to help them with increased expenses caused by the pandemic, such as those associated with setting up a home office.

Google made a similar $1,000 payment in May 2020.

In December, Amazon gave front-line employees a $300 (£216) dollar bonus with part-time workers receiving $150.

Google faces new anti-trust lawsuit over app store

Google is being sued by 37 US states over policies on its Android app store, Google Play. The lawsuit claims that the tech giant has used “monopolistic leverage” to generate large profits from purchases made within its own store.

It also claimed Google had bought off its competitors.

Google said that there are rival app stores for Android devices, and that apps can also be downloaded directly from developers’ own websites.

The 37 states involved in the legal action include New York, Tennessee and North Carolina, as well as Washington DC. It criticises the commission Google takes on purchases made within Google Play, which can be up to 30%, in line with Apple’s App Store policies and the stores of other rivals such as Amazon and Microsoft XBox.

Tencent’s $5.3bn video games merger blocked

China’s market regulator on Saturday said it would block Tencent Holdings Ltd’s plan to merge the country’s top two videogame streaming sites, Huya and DouYu, on antitrust grounds.

Tencent first announced plans to merge Huya and DouYu last year in a tie-up designed to streamline its stakes in the firms, which were estimated by data firm MobTech to have an 80% slice of a market worth more than $3 billion and growing fast. Tencent is Huya’s biggest shareholder with 36.9% and also owns over a third of DouYu, with both firms listed in the United States, and worth a combined $5.3 billion in market value.

Branson set to fly to space aboard virgin galactic rocket plane

Decades after burnishing his reputation as a wealthy daredevil mogul in a series of boating and hot-air balloon expeditions, Richard Branson is poised to promote his burgeoning astro-tourism venture by launching himself to the final frontier.

Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holding Inc is due on Sunday to send the company’s passenger rocket plane, the VSS Unity, on its first fully crewed test flight to the edge of space, with the British billionaire founder among the six individuals strapping in for the ride.

The gleaming white spaceplane will be borne by a twin-fuselage carrier jet dubbed VMS Eve (named for Branson’s mother) to an altitude of 50,000 feet, where Unity will be released and soar by rocket power in an almost vertical climb through the outer fringe of Earth’s atmosphere. At the apex of its flight some 55 miles (89 km) above the New Mexico desert, the crew will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before making a gliding descent back to Earth.

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