248w ago - Something like this could only happen at Sony's "DAX" Technology Center... Sacked workers at a French Sony factory have freed two executives they had been holding hostage in an attempt to win a better severance deal.
To quote: Sony France chief executive Serge Foucher and human resources boss Roland Bentz were held overnight by the workers at the Pontonx-sur-l'Adour plant in southwest France.
The workers are trying to force the Japanese electronics giant to give them a payout in line with other French Sony plants that have shut.
"I am happy to be free and to see the light of day again," Mr Foucher said, before travelling with his former captors for a meeting with state and union representatives.
On Thursday the bosses had travelled to meet its 311 workers one last time before the closure of the factory on April 17.
But the workers, who say their payoff is less generous than that offered at other French Sony plants that have closed, decided to launch a strike.
They barricaded the entry to the site with tree trunks and stopped them leaving, then held them overnight in a meeting room.
CGT union official Patrick Hachaguer said worker had been asked to let Mr Foucher out of the factory earlier this morning to meet the regional state...
295w ago - Super-fast broadband could be delivered via the underground pipes of the UK's water and electricity companies, regulator Ofcom has said.
It is conducting a survey of the UK's ducting network to see its suitability for carrying fibre networks.
Some companies in the UK and France already offer fast broadband via the sewers.
Ofcom also wants to see the three million homes earmarked to be built in the UK by 2020, fibre-enabled.
It has opened a consultation - which will run until June 25 - to see how best to regulate next-generation networks.
Critics have warned that the regulator is not doing enough and that the UK is in real danger of falling behind with the rollout of superfast broadband access.
"The fact that this is just a consultation is another indication that the UK is lagging behind," said Ian Fogg, an analyst with Jupiter Research.
In France, for example, there are already three operators providing superfast broadband to homes at speeds of between 50 and 100 megabits per second. One of these offers an IPTV service and Voice-over IP telephone line alongside its fibre service, for 29.99 euros per month.
In a speech delivered to the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Ofcom...
314w ago - Mobile phone company Orange has said 20% of customers who have bought iPhones from it in France have opted for unlocked ones. Orange sold the popular Apple product for 399 euros (£288) with a two-year contract, or 749 euros without one.
Elsewhere, mobile companies only sell iPhones to customers who take out network contracts with them. Orange sold 30,000 iPhones in the first five days, 20% of which were unlocked so they could be used on any network.
Orange says that 48% of people buying the phones were new customers for the network.
On Tuesday, a German court overturned an injunction that had forced T-Mobile to sell unlocked phones.
In the two weeks that the injunction was in place, T-Mobile sold unlocked iPhones for 999 euros, compared with 399 euros for a phone with a two-year contract. The company has not revealed how many unlocked phones it sold at that price but says it did sell some.
The exclusive agreements between Apple and mobile operators have caused controversy outside France, with software circulating online that claims to unlock the iPhone.
Apple has warned that hacking into the phone's software could render the phones "permanently inoperable" if software updates are downloaded.
316w ago - French web users caught pirating movies or music could soon be thrown offline.
Those illegally sharing files will face the loss of their net access thanks to a newly-created anti-piracy body granted the wide-ranging powers.
The anti-piracy body comes out of a deal agreed by France's music and movie makers and its net firms.
The group who brokered the deal said the measures were intended to curb casual piracy rather than tackle large scale pirate groups.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the deal was a "decisive moment for the future of a civilised internet".
Net firms will monitor what their customers are doing and pass on information about persistent pirates to the new independent body. Those identified will get a warning and then be threatened with either being cut off or suspended if they do not stop illegal file-sharing.
The agreement between net firms, record companies, film-makers and government was drawn up by a special committee created to look at the problem of the net and cultural protection.
Denis Olivennes, head of the French chain store FNAC, who chaired the committee said current penalties for piracy - large fines and years in jail - were "totally disproportionate" for those young people who do file-share illegally.