Kevin Spacey seeks treatment as more stars face harassment claims

Kevin Spacey at the 2000 Oscars

Kevin Spacey has said he is seeking treatment after facing allegations of sexual misconduct from a string of men.

A representative for the actor said he “is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment”.

They did not give any information about what kind of treatment he wants.

He is one of several Hollywood figures who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Dustin Hoffman has issued an apology while director Brett Ratner has been accused by six women.

A lawyer for Ratner, the director of the Rush Hour films and X-Men: The Last Stand, has “categorically” denied all of the accusations.

The allegations have been sparked by multiple women speaking out against the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and a subsequent campaign encouraging victims to share their stories of sexual harassment under the #metoo hashtag.

So who has been accused of misconduct?

Kevin SpaceyImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Kevin Spacey

New allegations have emerged from a number of men accusing Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct.

US filmmaker Tony Montana claims he was groped by the actor in a Los Angeles bar in 2003. He says he was left with PTSD for six months after Spacey “forcefully” grabbed his crotch.

Mr Montana told Radar Online that he was in his 30s when the incident took place at the Coronet Bar in LA.

It follows an allegation made by Anthony Rapp that the House of Cards actor tried to “seduce” him when he was 14 years old.

Kevin Spacey says he has no recollection of that encounter, and was “beyond horrified”.

  • Netflix halts House of Cards production

Incidents regarding Spacey are also alleged to have taken place in the UK while the two-time Oscar winner was the artistic director at the Old Vic in London between 2004 and 2015.

Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos, who acted in several plays at the theatre, claims Spacey “routinely preyed” on young male actors.

One man told the BBC about his experience of being invited to spend the weekend with Spacey in New York when he was a teenager in the 1980s.

The Old Vic has set up a confidential complaints process for anyone connected to the theatre, and said on Thursday that it is “already seeing the great benefits of the new policy of openness and the safe sharing of information”.

Read more about the allegations against Kevin Spacey here.

Brett RatnerImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Brett Ratner

Six women have accused Hollywood filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct.

The women, including The Newsroom actress Olivia Munn, made the allegations in the Los Angeles Times.

Natasha Henstridge, who appeared in Species and The Whole Ten Yards, claimed she had been forced into a sex act with Ratner as a teenager.

The actress, now 43, was a 19-year-old model at the time she alleges Ratner stopped her from leaving a room at his New York apartment and then made her perform a sex act on him.

“He strong-armed me in a real way,” she told the LA Times. “He physically forced himself onto me.”

Ratner’s lawyer “categorically” denied all of the accusations on his behalf in response to the article.

Separately, Ratner has filed a libel case in Hawaii against a woman who accused him on Facebook of rape more than 10 years ago.

Ratner says he has stepped away from dealings with movie studio Warner Bros since the allegations came to light.

North Korea defector urges US to use soft power

Thae Yong-ho

A high-level defector has told the US Congress that spreading outside information in North Korea is the best way to deal with the regime.

Thae Yong-ho said undermining Kim Jong-un’s God-like status among his people could be key to weakening his rule.

North Koreans “don’t care about state propaganda but increasingly watch illegally imported South Korean movies and dramas,” he added.

Mr Thae was deputy ambassador to the UK before he defected last year.

He is one of the highest-ranking officials ever to defect from North Korea.

Mr Thae’s speech before US lawmakers comes as President Trump is due to embark on a trip to Asia, including South Korea.

Tensions between North Korea and the West have risen over the past months as Pyongyang has conducted several missile tests and claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb.

In his first ever visit to Washington, Mr Thae told Congress: “We can educate (the) North Korean population to stand up by disseminating outside information.”

He also urged officials to meet at least once with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, to understand his thinking and convince him that his nuclear programme is risking mass destruction.

“It is necessary to reconsider whether we have tried all non-military options before we decide that military action against North Korea is all that is left,” he said.

Changes in North Korea meant that “contrary to the official policy and wish of the regime, the free markets are flourishing”, he said.

People were getting more access to outside information, including through micro SD cards which were small enough to be easily smuggled into the country, he added.

Young North Koreans have begun calling said devices “nose cards” because they can be smuggled even inside one’s nostrils, he cited as an example.

These developments “make it increasingly possible to think about civilian uprising in North Korea as more and more people gradually become informed about the reality of their living conditions,” he argued.

Kim Jong-unImage copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Thae urged US officials to meet Kim Jong-un at least once

“The US is spending billions of dollars to cope with the military threat and yet how much does the US spend each year on information activities involving North Korea in a year? Unfortunately, it may be a tiny fraction,” he said.

The rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have seen US President refer to Kim as “little rocket man,” while the North Korean leader called Trump a “mentally deranged dotard”.

North Korean defectors are one of the few sources of information about life in North Korea – yet critics caution that defector’s testimonies might not always be credible, and that some defectors have changed their stories in the past.

Trump aide Sam Clovis pulls out of consideration for job

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) listens as Sam Clovis speaks in Dubuque, Iowa, on 25 August 2015

An ex-Trump aide has withdrawn from consideration for an administration post amid scrutiny of his credentials and connection to the Russian inquiry.

Sam Clovis was a candidate to become chief scientist of the Department of Agriculture, but critics said he was devoid of experience for the job.

Mr Clovis has been linked to another former Trump adviser who lied to the FBI about his Russian interactions.

US justice officials are probing claims Trump aides colluded with Moscow.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Thursday: “We respect Mr Clovis’ decision to withdraw his nomination.”

In a letter sent to the president, Mr Clovis wrote: “The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position.

“The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day.”

A congressional hearing had been scheduled on his appointment next month.

Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and member of the Agriculture Committee, said in a statement on Thursday that Mr Clovis was “a comically bad nominee, even for this administration”.

The former Trump campaign co-chair and Iowa radio host had admitted in a questionnaire from the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in October that he had no background in hard sciences.

US nominees to be chief scientist typically have an academic background in science or medicine.

Mr Clovis, who has a background in political science, told senators his career in Iowa politics had required a knowledge of agricultural science.

Mr Clovis has previously been criticised for rejecting the scientific consensus that human-made greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change as “not proven”, and for arguing that gay marriage could lead to the legalisation of paedophilia.

This week he was referred to in a criminal indictment against a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators about his conversations with Russian nationals.

That news came on the same day former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was charged with tax fraud by a Department of Justice investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections.

“Make the trip, if it is feasible,” Mr Clovis said in an email to Mr Papadopoulos after the aide asked about travelling to Russia to meet officials, according to a grand jury indictment.

A lawyer for Mr Clovis said earlier this week her client had “always vigorously opposed any Russian trip for Donald Trump and/or the campaign”.

The attorney, Victoria Toensing, added that Mr Clovis was only “being polite” in his response to Papadopoulos.

She maintained the Trump team had a “strict rule that no person could travel abroad as a representative of the campaign”.

New York truck attack: Trump urges death penalty for Sayfullo Saipov

US President Donald Trump has repeated calls for the suspect in the New York truck attack to get the death penalty.

But Mr Trump backed away from his call a day earlier to send Sayfullo Saipov to Guantanamo Bay, saying “that process takes much longer”.

The suspect told police he “felt good” about Tuesday’s Halloween attack and wanted to kill as many as possible.

The 29-year-old allegedly drove a rented pick-up along a Manhattan bike path, killing eight people.

The victims were five Argentines who had travelled to New York to celebrate 30 years since their high school graduation, a young mother from Belgium and two Americans.

Mr Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, was shot at the scene by police, according to officials. Investigators say he told them he was inspired by the Islamic State militant group (IS).

Could Trump’s remarks jeopardise a fair trial?

Mr Saipov, who appeared in court on Wednesday in a wheelchair, faces federal terrorism charges, which means the government could override New York state’s ban on capital punishment.

“There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed,” tweeted the Republican president, a native New Yorker, on Thursday morning.

Repeating his initial call tweeted overnight for Mr Saipov to be executed, Mr Trump added: “Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!”

However, some legal commentators suggest that Mr Trump’s comments could be seen as prejudicial to a trial.

Earlier this week, a military judge said he would consider a lighter sentence for Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier who deserted his Afghan base, because of Mr Trump’s previous urging for that defendant to face the death penalty.

Is there a precedent for this?

It is unusual for US presidents to hold forth on pending criminal cases, but not unheard of.
Image captionMr Saipov, who was shot and injured by police, appeared in court in a wheelchair

In 1970, lawyers for mass murderer Charles Manson called for a mistrial after President Richard Nixon declared the cult leader guilty – in the middle of his trial.

Nixon backtracked and the judge allowed the case to go ahead.

Mr Trump has previously called for capital punishment to be applied in high-profile cases.

In 1989, when a group of five black and Latino men were charged with a particularly brutal rape of a woman in New York City, Mr Trump paid $85,000 for an ad in city newspapers with the headline “Bring Back the Death Penalty!”

The five defendants were later cleared by DNA evidence.

What did the New York suspect say?

Prosecutors say Mr Saipov spoke freely to them, waiving his right to avoid self-incrimination while in custody.

According to federal court papers, he said:

  • The attack was a year in the planning and he carried out a trial run with a rental truck last month
  • He originally planned to target the Brooklyn Bridge as well
  • He wanted to display IS flags on the truck, but decided not to draw attention to himself
  • He was inspired by 90 graphic and violent propaganda videos found on his phone – in particular, one in which IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asks what Muslims are doing to avenge deaths in Iraq.

Mr Saipov was charged with one count of providing material support and resources to IS and another count of violence and destruction of motor vehicles.

  • Read more on the suspect
  • Why Uzbek migrants are radicalised

What has Islamic State’s response been?

Analysis by Mina Al-Lami, BBC Monitoring

So far IS has not claimed responsibility for the New York truck attack despite the perpetrator declaring he was inspired by the jihadist group’s messaging.

Usually an inspiration claim is a golden opportunity for IS to attach itself to violent action.

But IS’s silence is not surprising.

The group has typically refrained from claiming attacks in the West in which the assailant has been apprehended.

This is in contrast to the group’s speed in associating itself with attacks in which the perpetrator is dead and cannot contest the claim nor be further harmed by it.

IS has, however, claimed association with attackers who were at large, some who were later arrested.

IS has strongly urged its followers to avoid being caught alive. It even dedicated a lengthy series to this topic in the August and September 2017 editions of its weekly newspaper al-Naba.

Under the title “Warning the pious against the danger of captivity”, IS stressed that its militants in conflict zones as well as in the West must avoid at all cost being caught, saying it was best to fight until they died or managed to escape.

Captivity, IS said in the series, compromised the Muslim’s religion and subjected him to humiliation.

Was suspect on law enforcement’s radar?

CBS News quotes an intelligence source as saying Mr Saipov was known to US authorities after his name was associated with the subjects of FBI counter-terrorism investigations in 2015.

The source says the suspect had some contact with individuals who were considered radicalised extremists, at least one of whom was Uzbek. It is unclear whether those being investigated were in the US or overseas.

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Media captionBabtunde Ogunnyi describes the moment a truck hit people on a cycle path in Lower Manhattan

It is not known if Mr Saipov, who was not the main focus of the investigation, was interviewed at that time by the FBI.

The FBI meanwhile says they have located a second Uzbek man, 32-year-old Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, who was wanted for questioning in connection with Tuesday’s attack.

Women won’t have equality for 100 years – World Economic Forum

Girls in Yemen classroom take an exam in image taken in 2016

The equality gap between men and women would take 100 years to close at its current rate, an economic monitoring group has suggested.

It is the first time that data from the World Economic Forum (WEF) has shown a year-on-year worsening of the gender gap since it began charting it in 2006.

The report ranks 144 countries by economic opportunities, education, political participation and health.

Women are measured as having 68% of the chances and outcomes that men have.

This is slightly down from the 68.3% measured last year.

The group predicts that it would a century to close all areas of equality it monitors globally, well up from the 83 years predicted in 2016.

Graphic on gender gap

Gender parity is closest in areas of health and education, it says, but significant gaps in economic participation and political empowerment continue to endure across the world.

Women will have to wait 217 years before they earn as much as men and are equally represented in the workplace, the figures suggest.

income gender gap graphic

Nordic countries remain among some of the world’s best for overall equality. Iceland tops the list with a 12% gender gap across all the WEF’s measures. Norway, Finland ands Sweden are all in the top five.

Rwanda came fourth in the list for overall gender equality with a gap of 18%. The country has the highest share of women in parliament in the world – they occupy three in every five seats.

Nicaragua, Slovenia, Ireland, New Zealand and the Philippines also made the top 10 on the Global Gender Gap rankings.

Women in the Middle East and North Africa fared the worst, with war-torn Yemen coming last on the list with a gender equality score of just 52%.

Graphic of top and bottom 10 countries on gender equality ranking

The report shows women in the world earn less not just because of gendered salary differences, but because women are more likely to do unpaid or part-time work than men.

Women also generally tend to work in lower-paid professions and are less likely to be in highly-paid senior roles in companies.

Slovenia has the smallest gap in gender earnings – with women there on average earning 80.5% of the male national average.

The report says that if the economic gender gap was totally closed:

  • China could add $2.5tn to its GDP
  • The United States could add $1.75bn
  • France and Germany could add more than $300bn each
  • The UK could add $250bn

New world leaders’ impact

Both Canada and France saw improvements to their political empowerment measures after Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron added more women in ministerial positions within their governments.

The US saw a marked drop in this area, with female political empowerment at its lowest rate in 10 years. It came 96th in this area.

The report blames a significant decrease in female ministerial positions for the fall – a Freedom of Information request in March revealed that only 27% of all jobs within the Trump administration were taken by women.

Overall the US fell four places to take 49th position.

women in politics graphic

The UK climbed five places, taking 15th spot this year. Its rank is largely due to high levels of female education, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has helped the UK to improve its political score. A record number of female MPs were elected to the country’s parliament in June.

But it continues to lag behind in economic participation and opportunities for women in particular. The UK ranks 95th in the world for income equality, with women in the UK earning on average 45% less per year than men.

Other countries that improved overall included Bangladesh, which now ranks 47th in the world and the highest in South Asia after increasing female employment in professions.

Sub-Saharan African countries made marked improvements in women’s health. Nine countries from the region are in the world’s top 20 for high female labour force participation.

Catalonia crisis: Sacked ministers held by Madrid court

Dismissed Catalan cabinet members (L-R): Interior Minister Joaquim Forn, Foreign Affairs Minister Raul Romeva, Labour Minister Dolors Bassa, Government Presidency Councillor Jordi Turull, Justice Minister Carles Mundo, Sustainable Development Minister Josep Rull and Culture Minister Meritxell Borras arrive at Spain's High Court

Eight sacked Catalan ministers have been remanded in custody by a Spanish high court judge over the region’s push for independence.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to detain eight of the nine former regional government members who turned up for questioning in Madrid.

They are accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

The prosecutor asked the judge to issue a European Arrest Warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

The request also covers four other dismissed Catalan ministers who did not show up in court in Madrid as requested, but have been in Belgium since Monday.

  • Catalonia crisis in 300 words
  • What next for Spain?

Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since a referendum on independence from Spain was held in Catalonia on 1 October in defiance of a constitutional court ruling that had declared it illegal.

Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament and calling local elections for 21 December.

This came after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare the independence of the affluent north-eastern region. The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence.

Those detained are:

  • Former Deputy Vice President Oriol Junqueras
  • Former Interior Minister Joaquim Forn
  • Former Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva
  • Former Justice Minister Carles Mundó
  • Former Labour Minister Dolors Bassa
  • Former Government Presidency Councillor Jordi Turull
  • Former Sustainable Development Minister Josep Rull
  • Former Culture Minister Meritxell Borras

Mr Junqueras’s lawyer, Andreu Van den Eynde, criticised the decision to jail “people of peace” who he said had never participated in acts of violence.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau took to Twitter to condemn a “black day for Catalonia”.

A ninth official, ex-Business Minister Santi Vila, was granted bail at the request of prosecutors. He resigned before the Catalan parliament voted for independence last Friday.

Five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court.

Their hearings have been postponed until 9 November.

Screengrab with watermark shows Carles Puigdemont in a Belgian cafe on the day he is due in MadridImage copyrightRADIO TELEVISION ESPANOLA
Image captionCarles Puigdemont was pictured in a Belgian cafe

Mr Puigdemont, who was spotted in a Brussels cafe on Thursday, has said he will not return to Spain unless he and four of his fellow sacked colleagues receive guarantees of a fair trial. He did not specify his exact demands.

Belgium’s federal prosecutor has said the law will be applied once an arrest warrant is received, according to Efe news agency.

Mr Puigdemont’s lawyer said the climate was “not good” for him to appear in court, but he also said his client would co-operate with the authorities in Spain and Belgium.

  • The man who wants to break up Spain

In addition to Mr Puigdemont, prosecutors have asked Spain’s high court judge to issue European arrest warrants for the following Catalan officials:

  • Meritxell Serret, former agriculture minister
  • Antoni Comín, former health minister
  • Lluís Puig, former culture minister
  • Clara Ponsatí, former education minister
Presentational grey line

EU arrest warrant: What happens next?

If Spain’s high court judge issues a warrant, a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) will be sent to Belgian prosecutors, who have 24 hours to decide whether the paperwork is correct. If they do, they then have 15 days to arrest Mr Puigdemont and the four others. If one or all of them appeals against it, that process could last another 15 days.

Belgium then has a maximum of 60 days to return the suspects to Spain after arrest. But if the suspects do not raise legal objections, a transfer could happen within a few days.

A country can reject an EU arrest warrant if it fears that extradition would violate the suspect’s human rights. Discrimination based on politics, religion or race is also grounds for refusal. So are fears that the suspect would not get a fair trial.

There is an agreed EU list of 32 offences – in Article Two of the EAW law – for which there is no requirement for the offence to be a crime in both countries. In other words, any of those offences can be a justification for extradition, provided the penalty is at least three years in jail.

However, neither “sedition” nor “rebellion” – two of the Spanish accusations against the Catalan leaders – are on that list.

Presentational grey line

Mr Puigdemont’s handling of the crisis has drawn criticism among some other Catalan politicians, with left-wing parliamentary deputy Joan Josep Nuet criticising him for creating “yet more bewilderment”.

Spain’s central bank warned on Thursday of the “significant risks and economic costs” resulting from the crisis, and that Catalonia’s economy could fall into recession.

Early numbers suggest that the vital tourism sector of the region has already been affected by the ongoing uncertainty.

A protester holds a pro-independence Catalan Estelada flag next to journalists as members of the deposed Catalan regional government arrive at the National CourtImage copyrightAFP
Image captionProtesters in support of – but also against – the Catalan leaders gathered outside the high court

Microsoft’s Surface Pro gets LTE Advanced option this December

Microsoft’s business customers will be able to get their hands on theSurface Pro with LTE Advanced from December, as rumored earlier this year. In a blog post outlining the company’s vision for workplace technology, the company says the release is designed to bring even greater mobility to its Surface Pro line, supporting half of the global workforce which will be mobile by 2020. Boasting a Cat 9 modem, it’s the fastest LTE-enabled laptop in its class, supporting 20 cellular bands for global connectivity. There’s no specifics on battery life yet, but this year’s earlier Surface release promised 13.5 hours while watching video. It’s not clear how LTE support will affect that, but if Microsoft’s dream of a totally-mobile workplace is anything to go by, it’ll have enough juice to let you work comfortably away from the office. The Surface Pro with LTE will ship on December 1 to business customers, with a base model price tag of $1,149.

HP’s Spectre Laptops Might Just Be the Prettiest You Can Buy

About a month ago, Intel announced its new 8th-gen CPUs, so we put together a little roundup of all the coolest notebooks getting new Core i silicon. But one company was notably left off the list, because it didn’t have anything to share at that time. Now, HP is finally ready to show off its new Spectre and Spectre x360, and even though the saying goes beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think its HP—not Apple, Dell or Microsoft—that’s now making the best looking laptops on the market.

From almost every angle, the Spectre grabs your attention, partly because it measures just 10.4mm thick, but also thanks to its new ceramic white paint job. Paired with those pale gold accents, the Spectre doesn’t look like any other notebook out right now. And not only is that ceramic white paint pretty, the special process used to give it that look also lends it an enameled coating that HP claims increases its scratch-resistance.

A closer look at the Spectre also reveals the new model has much smaller bezels around the screen (down from 15mm to almost 5mm), slightly smaller overall dimensions (12.13 x 8.86 x 0.41-inches), and the option to upgrade to a touchscreen with 4K resolution. And unlike a lot of other super slim laptops, HP has kept the Spectre’s web cam in the right spot (above the display), while also adding in Windows Hello support—which means you can log in with your face.

The Spectre’s new speakers are much louder and richer than last year’s model.

On the performance side, despite the Spectre’s extra svelte profile, you still get an 8th-gen quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU that HP claims offers almost 50 percent better performance compared to last year’s model. And in back, you get three USB-C ports (two of which support Thunderbolt 3) along with a standard headphone jack. However, people looking for USB Type-A slots will have to opt for a dongle. The Spectre is so thin, those boxy old school ports don’t fit.

My one concern is Spectre’s battery life, as longevity on the previous model was mediocre at best. And even though HP says the new Spectre could last up to an hour and half longer than before, I won’t be convinced until I can test it out for myself. Oh, and if you aren’t as taken with the new white and gold color scheme as I am, the Spectre will still be available in copper and charcoal (or Ash Silver if you buy into HP’s incomprehensible color naming scheme).

As for the new Spectre x360, changes aren’t as extreme, though HP smartly didn’t mess with its flagship 2-in-1’s design. As before, it’ll come in your choice of silver or copper and black color, with new Intel 8th-gen CPUs, 1080p or 4K touchscreens and built-in stylus support; all held together by a sharper, more aggressive 360-degree hinge. New additions include a webcam with Windows Hello support, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and for the first time on one of HP’s non-business oriented machines, an optional built-in privacy screen.

The image on the left is the normal view you see when looking straight on, while the image on the right is what HP’s privacy screen looks like the further you move away from the center of the screen.

Unlike the privacy screens on older HP laptops that blacked out the display when viewed from more than 35 degrees to the sides, the HP’s new technique involves boosting white backlight so that unless you’re in the screens sweet spot, all you see is white. It’s a nice cross-over from HP’s enterprise machines, and while it might be a little overkill for most, it could make keeping up with the latest memes in public a little less embarrassing.

Either way, I think both of these laptops look fantastic, and in some ways, the Spectre is the MacBook Air replacement that many people have been searching for, since apparently Apple can’t be bothered. Its appears to be a traditional laptop with tiny dimensions and good design, but I’m going to have to wait for a full review to make a final judgement.

Both systems will be available on October 29 with the the Spectre x360 starting at $1,150 and the super thin Spectre starting at 1,300 (the white and gold model will cost you extra since it also includes that 4K display). Do the laptops perform as good as they look? We’ll have to wait and see.

Lenovo buys a controlling stake in Fujitsu’s PC business

Lenovo has posted the biggest quarterly rise in revenue since 2015, and it has marked the occasion with the revelation that it’s buying 51 percent of Fujitsu’s PC biz. Fujitsu spun out its laptop and desktop division two years ago to get rid of parts of the company that weren’t making money. Now, the Chinese PC-maker is snapping up over half that division for $157 million in cash. It will add between $22 million and $112 million based on performance until 2020 on top of that.

Lenovo likely saw buying the 51 percent stake as a chance to grow its own PC division. According to Bloomberg, Lenovo Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing is taking costs out of the company’s mobile business, which still hasn’t gone anywhere despite acquiring Motorola from Google in 2014. The Chinese tech titan is more known for its computers than its phones, after all. And even though PC shipments have grown by 17 percent from the past quarter, the market is still struggling in the era of smartphones.

Earlier this year, HP overtook the Beijing-based corporation to become the biggest PC maker in the world, thanks to its excellent performance in North America. Depending on how Lenovo plays its cards, this purchase could help it retake the throne it sat on for years.

Lenovo’s Yoga 920 Is Proof: The Boring Old Clamshell Must Die

People have been forecasting the death of the PC for years, and while all that noise is clearly overblown, there is one segment of the computing world that should probably go away: the traditional clamshell laptop. Now I’m not saying we should do away with notebooks PCs as we know them or more specialized notebooks like mobile workstations or gaming laptops, I just think it’s past time we replaced all the boring old notebooks with 2-in-1s.

There’s not a single thing a normal clamshell can do that a 2-in-1 can’t, and it’s been 15 years since the first convertible came out, so it’s not like you have to shell out a big premium for that added flexibility either. And for years, Lenovo’s line of Yoga 2-in-1s have been among the best thanks to flexible hybrids with solid (and pretty sleek) builds and top-notch specs that were held together by the best hinge in the business.

On the new Yoga 920, that package is getting even better thanks to the addition of full Windows Pen and Ink support and new far-field microphones that in a number of ways have turned the Lenovo’s new high-end Yoga into the computer the Surface Laptop wishes it could be. Starting at $1,300, the Yoga 920 costs $300 less than a comparable Surface Laptop despite having the same 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. And for all that extra money, the Surface Laptop’s biggest advantage is really just its 13.5-inch screen which has a slightly higher 2256 x 1504
resolution when compared to the Yoga 920’s slightly larger 13.9-inch touchscreen at 1920 x 1080.

A quick flip and the Yoga 920 turns into a great web browsing device.

Meanwhile, the Yoga 920 has a screen that bends back all the way, transforming it into a presentation device or a big ‘ole tablet depending on your needs, more ports thanks to a healthy mix of two USB-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 3 and a USB 3.0 Type-A port, and even a built-in fingerprint reader with support for Windows Hello as part of its standard kit. But more importantly, the Yoga 920 also comes equipped with one of Intel’s latest 8th-gen CPUs, which offers a pretty meaningful improvement in performance over systems still saddled with last year’s processors.

On our photo editing test, the Yoga 920’s Core i7-8550U CPU resized 22 20-megapixel photos in just 50 seconds, which is 25 percent faster than laptops with 7th-gen Core i7 CPUs including Dell’s XPS 13 (69.6 seconds), HP’s Spectre x360(67.9 seconds) and the LG Gram 14 (69.1 seconds). Results from Geekbench 4 back up our real-world tests too, as the Yoga 920 posted noticeably higher CPU benchmarks for both single and multi-core performance, especially on the latter which scored almost twice as high thanks to the 8th-gen chip’s higher core count (four cores for 8th-gen, two cores for 7th-gen).

I would have liked to see Lenovo also offer a model with an 8th-gen Core i5 CPU, in hopes of knocking down the system’s starting price to something closer to $1,000, however it seems that’s not the cards. What’s even more important though, is that all this speed doesn’t really affect the Yoga 920’s endurance.

Sure, if you feel like editing videos all day, you can still kill this system pretty fast. But on our battery rundown test, the Yoga 920 lasted 9 hours and 42 minutes, which is about the same as its competitors which posted an average battery life of 9:51.

Then there are other nice little touches such as Lenovo’s decision to include a USB-C charging brick, which means the same cord used to charge the Yoga 920 can also be used to refill other devices like a smartphone or a Nintendo Switch. That means you’ll have less cables to carry around. There are also new far-field mics so Cortana can understand you better even when you’re standing on the other side of the room, and while there’s not much to say about the Yoga 920’s touchpad and keyboard besides that they work, having multiple levels of backlighting can be helpful at times.

Really, my biggest gripes with the Yoga 920 are that it doesn’t come with an on board microSD or SD card reader, which is the one thing that might stop me from bringing it around to meetings or conventions where I’m constantly transferring photos from my camera to my laptop. It also seems a little strange that Lenovo included a fingerprint sensor that works with Windows Hello, but didn’t give its 720p webcam the same treatment. On top of that, the Yoga 920’s webcam is in the wrong damn place (below the screen), which means anyone on the other side of video call is going to get a great look at the bottom of your chin. I’m also a little annoyed Lenovo got rid of its signature orange color option, because our chocolatey bronze review unit feels like Lenovo is playing it safe. People who want boring can always opt for the silver one.

Lenovo even takes care to color match some of the metal on the watchband hinge, which is nice.

But even at $1,300, the Yoga 920 is close to being my ideal portable PC. Now I will admit, when decked out with similar specs including an 8th-gen CPU, Dell’s XPS 13 does have an SD card slot and costs just $1,150. But for that price, you don’t get a touchscreen, which once again, gives the edge back the Yoga 920. Look, I’m not trying say that you need to toss your current system in the trash right this second, but if your only objection to 2-in-1s is that you don’t think you need that kind of flexibility, give one a chance, because you might realize what you’ve been sleeping on. Change is a good thing, and thanks to hybrids like the Yoga 920, there aren’t really any good reasons to hate on 2-in-1s anymore.

README

  • Lenovo’s 2-in-1 watchband hinge is still the best business.
  • New 8th-gen Intel CPU offers noticeably better performance than previous chips without really degrading battery life.
  • Features two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 in addition to an USB 3.0 Type-A port, but there’s no SD card slot,
  • New features for the Yoga 920 include far-field microphones for use with Cortana, and stylus support with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. (Lenovo’s Active Pen is still a $50 optional extra though)
  • The fingerprint reader support Windows Hello, but the webcam doesn’t and it’s in the wrong spot.

SPEC DUMP

Windows 10 Home • 8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU • 8GB of RAM • 256GB SSD • Intel UHD Graphics 620 • 13.9=inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen • 2 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-A port • 720p webcam • 802.11ac wi-fi • Windows Ink and Lenovo Active Pen support • far-field microphones for use with Cortana • 70 Wh battery • 12.72 x 8.8 x 0.55-inches • 3.02 pounds • available in platinum or bronze