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The Internet

Submission + - Spain Codifies 'The Right to Broadband' (pcmag.com)

adeelarshad82 writes: Country's industry minister announced that Spanish citizens will have a legal right from 2011 to be able to buy broadband internet of at least one megabyte per second at a regulated price wherever they live. The telecoms operator holding the so-called "universal service" contract would have to guarantee it could offer "reasonably" priced broadband throughout Spain.

Submission + - Robots in Japan Face Unemployment 2

Peace Corps Online writes: "The NY Times reports that in Japan the world's largest fleet of over 370,000 mechanized workers is being idled as the country suffers its deepest recession in more than a generation as consumers worldwide cut spending on cars and gadgets and tighter finances inject a dose of reality into some of Japan's more fantastic projects — like pet robots and cyborg receptionists — that could cramp innovation long after the economy recovers. Across the industry, shipments of industrial robots fell 33 percent in the last quarter of 2008, and 59 percent in the first quarter of 2009, according to the Japan Robot Association. "We've taken a huge hammering," said Koji Toshima, president of Yaskawa, Japan's largest maker of industrial robots. At one large Yaskawa factory, where robots once churned out more robots, a lone robotic worker stands with steely arms twisted and turned, testing its motors for the day new orders return while its immobile co-workers stood silent in rows, many with arms frozen in midair. "The recession has set the robot industry back years," says Tetsuaki Ueda, an analyst at the research firm Fuji Keizai, who expects the market to shrink by as much as 40 percent this year. Investment in robots, he said, "has been the first to go as companies protect their human workers.""

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