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Senate plan to vote on Internet sales tax bill

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The senate discussed Thursday to incorporate the legislation as an amendment to its budget resolution and plan to vote on Internet sales tax bill as early as Monday, Washington Post reported.

Large Internet retailers, such as Amazon are worried the tax would increase the cost and create surcharges for the business, Reuters reported.

On the other hand, small retailers seek this bill as an opportunity to compete with large Internet retailers, Reuters reported.

The essence of Internet shopping is that the retailers wouldn't have to collect sales tax as long as they don't have a physical store in the state where consumers shop, Washington Post reported.

Few people do or are aware of the fact that they have to track online purchases and may owed taxes in their annual fillings to the IRS.

If the bill passes, consequently, the local government would gain $11 billion per year in added revenue that Internet retailers are legally owed, Washington Post reported.

"I cannot think of an instant where this Congress has legislated that a state can go into another state and enforce taxation laws," Montana Senator Max Baucus, the Democrat who preside the Finance Committee, said. "This is revolutionary."

Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, said the Internet sales tax bill would make possible for small online businesses to compete with extensive retailers across Minnesota and the country, Reuters reported.

Facebook introduced its latest mobile software called the Facebook Home on Thursday, the New York Times reported.

Facebook home is designed to attract users to be more active on the social network with mobile Android device, and may have exploited technology owned by Google, its biggest competitor, according to the New York Times.

However, Facebook might have turned turned the Android device into a Facebook device completely, Forbes reported.

As soon as users turn their phones on, they will get all the new updates from social media through Cover Feed feature as well as Chat heads, which allows users to reply Facebook messages while using other apps, Forbes reported.

"HTC First is the ultimate social phone," HTC's Chief Executive Peter Chou said. "It combines the new Facebook Home and great HTC design."

According to the New York Times, the software's highlight is to turn the cellphone into a unique personal gadget.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg face a tax bill of approximatly $1.1 billion for 2012, Investors Place reported.

Zuckerberg, currently valued at $13 billion, was placed in the billionaires list after Facebook went public last year, Investors Place reported.

His Facebook public offering exercised a stock option with price set at 6 cents each, and he purchased 60 million shares on the first day, CNN Money reported.

The IRS will treat Facebook shares including the unsold amounts same as ordinary income at the time the options are exercised as a form of compensation, CNN Money reported.

Combining Zuckerberg's 35% 2012 federal tax rate with 13.3% that of California, the total tax rate is 48.3%, almost half of his income.

According to CNN Money, Zuckerberg sold 30.2 million Facebook shares during Facebook's IPO, taking in $1.135 billion to put toward his tax bill payment.

A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment on Zuckerberg's taxes, CNN Money reported.

French Troops ready to withdraw Mali

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While France decided to withdraw its troops in April, Western and African officials were concerned with African troops' resources and ability to fight against Al Qaeda on its own, the New York Times reported.

French President Francois Hollande said their campaign in Mali, which began January 11, is in its "ultimate phase," Voice of America News reported.

Hollande will reveal their troops' success, such as the killing of certain "terrorist leaders," on Wednesday, Voice of America News reported.

The Islamic militants of northeastern Mali is the major threat in Africa, and the Jihadist groups has provoked several attacks against France and any allies African countries, Voice of America News reported.

"If the French do withdraw most of their 4,000 troops, you're going to have a relatively weak African force, poorly trained, heading right into the rainy season without the strength of the French forces, facing militants who have gone to ground or gone to the mountains or wherever now, crawling back out and potentially launching asymmetric attacks all throughout the rainy season that could turn the African forces into little more than defending isolated garrisons," J. Peter Pham, a Sahel security experts, said.

The duty of keeping Mali in peace will be left for African troops to maintain, and they are likely to operate under a United Nations mandate, the New York Times reported.

Samsung's new smartphone features "eye scroll"

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Samsung Galaxy S IV will be introduced in March, and it has a feature of "eye scrolling" that involves strong software focus, the New York Times reported.

In February, Samsung filed a trademark called "Samsung Eye Scroll" in the United States, and described its feature of "sensing eye movements and scrolling displays of mobile devices, namely, mobile phones, smartphones and tablet computers according to eye movements; digital cameras; mobile telephones; smartphones; tablet computers."

According to a Samsung employee, there will be a software that scans readers' eyes to scroll up or down when browsing pages, the New York Times reported.

Samsung posted a "teaser ad" on Monday advertising their Galaxy S4/IV and will have a big media conference on March 14, the Washington Post reported.

The screen was expected to be bigger than the current 4.8-inch display and may actually include Samsung's eight-core Exynos processor, CNET reported Monday, according to the Washington Post.

Yahoo updated its homepage for better user experience

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Yahoo has launched its new "intuitive and personal" homepage Wednesday that customize news feed based on individual preferences for better user experience, CNN reported.

Yahoo's new homepage features "infinite scroll" newsfeed, personalized categories that allows users to search information tailored to their interests, and the users could also log into Yahoo! or Facebook to gain recommendation from friends, Fox Business reported.

Yahoo's homepage is the first major redesign under its new leadership, CNN reported.

The company prioritized its new homepage to be compatible for mobile devices, CEO Marissa Mayer said in a blog post.

The company has been struggling to stay competitive against Google's simple search engine, and decided to took a new approach, offering users "new, more modern experience" all on one colorful, interactive page, Fox Business reported.

It is going to take a few days for U.S. users to experience the new Yahoo!, and the company will continue to update and improve its new homepage within the next month, the CEO said in a news post.

Pope Benedict XVI resigned, first in 600 years

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Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation Monday in Vatican City, Vienna and said it will take effect on Feb. 28, Rome time, due to his poor health condition, CNN reported.

Benedict XVI, 85, is the first pope resigned in 600 years after Pope Gregory XII in the 15th century, USA Today reported.

Pope Benedict XVI mentioned he was incapable for the job because his strengths of both mind and body were "no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," said in his resignation statement.

Normally, a pope would hold office until his death, but it is the pope's choice to resign if he is not forced out of fear or fraud under canon law, USA Today reported.

The election for the next pope would be expected in March, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said, CNN reported.

DNA tests confirmed King Richard III was the owner of bones found under a city parking lot in Leicester, England last August, on Monday, CNN reported.

A team of expert historians and archaeologists from the University of Leicester extracted DNA from the human remains, matched it to two of Richard III's modern-day descendents and "beyond reasonable doubt," University of Leicester official Richard Taylor said, the bones belonged to the king, the New York Times reported.

Before the DNA matching, the team members already concluded Richard III suffered from scoliosis disease and dead violently with many injuries and a fatal wound of fractured skull, the New York Times reported.

The scientists confirmed King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485, CNN reported.

The remains of the former king will be reburied in Anglican Cathedral in Leicester, where the bones were found, early next year, the New York Times reported.

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