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Ian Wright: Ex-England striker on troubled childhood and becoming a pro

"That's my secret, Cap. I'm always angry."

Ian Wright can relate to that classic Bruce Banner line, the one uttered by the Marvel character as he's about to turn into the Hulk.

Not because the former England striker is a superhero in the eyes of many Arsenal and Crystal Palace fans, but because, in his words, "for a large part of my life, I was angry. I was always angry".

Wright is aware his story is traditionally told as one of those "never give up on your dreams" tales - not turning professional until he was 21, working as a labourer, spending a month in prison.

In reality, the 55-year-old says his road to professional football was "11 years of failure", crying himself to sleep, getting into fights in Sunday League and trying to deal with his stepfather's cruelty.

In an open and honest piece for The Players' Tribune, Wright explains how he wasn't born with that happy-go-lucky gold-toothed smile you see on Match of the Day on a Saturday night. He earned it the hard way.

Match of the Day - from torture to 'Graceland'

Wright was born in Woolwich, South London, before moving to a house share with his family in Brockley and then on to a home of their own.

But Wright would spend as much time as he could kicking a tennis ball against a wall outside, in part to avoid being bullied by his stepbrother and, in particular, his stepfather.

"He was a weed-smoking, gambling, coming-home-late kind of guy," said Wright.

"I don't know why, but he didn't like me in particular."

One of the things that got to football-mad Wright the most was being forced to stand and look the other way when Match of the Day came on.

"My stepdad used to take that away from us," he added. "Just because he could.

"Depending on what mood he was in, he'd come into the bedroom just before it started and he'd say, 'Turn around. Turn around to the wall'.

"We had to face the wall the whole time Match of the Day was on. And the really cruel thing was that we could still hear everything. It was awful. I would cry myself to sleep whenever he did it."

Wright says that stayed with him for years whenever the Match of the Day theme music would come on.

"I'll be honest with you, it still gets to me every now and again," he added.

"The first time I went on the show as a presenter, Des Lynam walked up to me and said, 'Ian Wright, welcome to Match of the Day'.

"I nearly broke down crying. I told Des, 'This is my Graceland'."

'I spent so much of my life angry and trying to catch up'

In his Players' Tribune piece, Wright talks about being rejected by Brighton after a six-week trial and almost blowing his chance at Crystal Palace, going to prison for not paying his driving fines and adopting Shaun Wright-Phillips after meeting his mother, Sharon, aged 19.

It was two years later the labourer got his professional break at Palace, despite turning the Eagles' first offer down, but when Wright scored twice after coming on as a substitute in the 1990 FA Cup final against Manchester United, it was the advice of former teacher Sydney Pigden that stuck in his mind.

Wright says the teacher was "the one man in particular who helped me through those dark times" as a child who could barely read or write: "He changed my life."

Mr Pigden taught him how to read and write, but also how to deal with his anger, how to have patience, be confident, communicate and take responsibility.

"He was the first man who showed me any kind of love," said Wright.

"When I played for England he called it the proudest moment of his life. Imagine that. This schoolteacher, who'd done stuff like been a pilot in the Second World War, who'd flown over Buckingham Palace… and he says his proudest moment was watching some kid who went to his school play football."

Mr Pigden passed away last year at the age of 95.

"He's still with me. He'll always be with me," said Wright.

Now, as a father and a grandfather, Wright says he is "working on giving back" and wants to see football easily accessible to those who enjoy it, both on and off the pitch.

"The truth is, I spent so much of my life angry and trying to catch up after a bad start," he added.

"Maybe now that you've read my story, you'll see me on the television flashing a smile and you'll really understand that I wasn't born with it. I earned it."

sarah Posted on November 30, 2018 15:45

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A woman lost a third of her bodyweight after surgery to remove a 26kg ovarian cyst - the weight of seven newborn babies.

Despite multiple negative pregnancy tests, doctors insisted Keely Favell must be pregnant as her stomach grew in size.

When asked questions about baby due dates, she spared people's embarrassment by playing along.

But the 28-year-old believed herself to be "just fat".

Ms Favell, from Swansea, started gaining weight in 2014.

"I've always been chunky, but over the course of a couple of years, I gradually got this tummy," she said.

"It crept up so slowly that I didn't know anything was wrong - I just thought I was putting on timber.

"I've been with my partner Jamie Gibbins for 10 years and we did wonder a few times if I was pregnant - but we did home tests and they always ruled it out."

She said it was "so embarrassing" explaining she was not pregnant: "I'd go along with it to spare everyone the blushes."

After blacking out in her office admin job, Ms Favell plucked up the courage to see a GP in 2016, who said she must be pregnant despite blood negative tests.

What is an ovarian cyst?

  • It is a fluid-filled sac that develops on a woman's ovary. They are very common and do not usually cause any symptoms
  • Most ovarian cysts occur naturally and disappear in a few months without needing any treatment
  • Cysts may affect both ovaries at the same time, or they may only affect one
  • They only causes symptoms if it splits (ruptures), is very large, or blocks the blood supply to the ovaries
  • Some of the symptoms can include pelvic pain, pain during sex, needing to go to the toilet regularly, bloating and swollen stomach

"It wasn't the first time I'd been mistaken for an expectant mum... People had seen me waddling around, carrying this lump, and I'd been asked a few times when I was due."

Still believing Ms Favell to be pregnant, her GP referred her for an ultrasound scan in January last year.

"I was lying there with Jamie beside me as the radiologist moved the probe over my tummy. I saw her eyes widen in horror, but the screen was just blank.

"The look on her face said it all - something was wrong, and when she said she had to get a consultant I started to panic. Jamie did his best to reassure me but I felt paralysed with fear."

She was sent for an emergency CT scan which revealed a cyst surrounded by fluid.

"[The consultant] told me I wasn't fat all - I was actually quite thin."

Ms Favell was referred to a high-risk obstetrics consultant and examined in February last year.

"By this time, even walking was a struggle and I had difficulty breathing.

"I'll never forget the look of shock on his face when the consultant examined me. He said I had a large ovarian mass and the only option was surgery. He couldn't say what it was, exactly, or how big."

The cyst was finally removed in March last year, and was revealed to be 26kg the weight of a seven or eight-year-old child - or seven average-sized newborn babies.

"They explained how big this cyst was and showed me the pictures - I couldn't believe I'd been walking around for so long carrying this medical alien.

"It looked like a massive pile of ice cream so I called it Mr Whippy."

Ms Favell has been left with a large scar and stretch marks, but will still be able to have children.

"I lost sight of how difficult even simple things like driving a car or walking up the stairs had become. Losing my lump gave me my life back - I can't thank my surgeon enough."

sarah Posted on November 30, 2018 15:35

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Trump's trade war: Stakes are high at G20 summit

The stakes are high at this week's G20 summit, where President Trump is due to meet China's President Xi Jinping.

Hopes that the meeting could open the way for a deal over trade between the two countries have been undermined by recent threats by the US president.

Only days before the summit in Argentina, President Trump said current tariff levels on $200bn (£157bn) of Chinese imports would rise as planned.

He also threatened tariffs on $267bn of other Chinese exports to the US.

Then, just before taking off for Argentina, President Trump told reporters at the White House that while China was interested in striking a deal, "I don't know if I want to do it" and "I like the deal we have now".

The stage could now be set for a possible escalation of the trade war between the two nations.

What is likely to come out of the meeting?

President Trump started the dispute with China earlier this year, accusing the Chinese of "unfair" trade practices and intellectual property theft.

The US has hit a total $250bn of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110bn of US products.


Media captionSo how does a G20 summit work?

China had already hit the US with $3bn of tariffs in April, in response to US tariffs on global steel and aluminium imports.

President Trump offered a glimmer of hope earlier this month, when he said he thought the US could strike a trade deal with China.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionTrump has long accused the Chinese of unfair trading practices

But only days before the summit, he poured cold water on such optimism.

President Trump told the Wall Street Journal he expected to go ahead with plans to raise tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods - first introduced in September - to 25% (up from 10%) starting in January 2019.

President Trump also said that if talks were unsuccessful, he would carry out a threat to hit the remaining $267bn of annual Chinese exports to the US with tariffs of 10-25%.

The Trump administration also recently accused China of not changing its "unfair" trade practices.

"I think the most likely scenario is that Xi Jinping doesn't offer big enough concessions to Trump, and so nothing much comes of the G20 meeting," says Julian Evans-Pritchard from Capital Economics.

Recent summits also do not bode well for any resolutions at the G20 level.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit recently ended without a formal leaders' statement because of US-China divisions over trade.

And a G7 summit in Canada in June ended in disarray as Trump retracted his endorsement of the joint statement.

"I think unfortunately, the US and China remain quite far apart in the issues behind the trade conflict, so we are not too optimistic," says Valerie Mercer-Blackman, senior economist at the Asia Development Bank.

"Failure to agree on the communique at the Apec meeting... also suggests that there is quite substantial distance between the two sides, and there doesn't seem to be a specific proposal on the table yet to end the impasse."

What's at stake?

The stakes are high.

"If the meeting fails to deliver a truce, then the US will almost certainly hike tariff rates [on $200bn of existing Chinese goods] in January, and a further expansion in tariffs is quite likely," says Mr Evans-Pritchard.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionUS tariffs on $200m worth of Chinese imports could go up from 10% to 25% in January

A rise in those tariffs would see many multinational firms accelerate their plans to move supply chains away from China, while tariffs on additional Chinese imports would pose "a significant political and economic risk for Trump", says Michael Hirson, Asia director at Eurasia Group.

"Remaining US imports from China are more heavily tilted towards consumer items. American households, especially those from lower income brackets, will feel the impact more than they have over tariffs on previous rounds," he adds.

What happens next?

If the US were to impose tariffs on additional Chinese goods, China could seek to retaliate, but would have limited room to do so via trade.

This is because China's existing $113bn tariffs on US goods are not far from the $130bn it imported from the US in 2017.

Instead of fighting back aggressively with more tariffs, China is more likely to defend its economy by easing fiscal and monetary policy, letting its currency fall and forging trade deals with other countries, analysts say.

Image captionChina has also been affected by the US's tariffs on global steel and aluminium imports

"China's strategy towards Trump will favour resilience over retaliation," Mr Hirson says.

If the conflict between China and the US continues to escalate, non-tariff barriers particularly in the technology sector are likely to become increasingly popular.

The US has already made moves in this direction. It recently restricted American firms from selling parts to a Chinese company over national security concerns.

"While tariffs draw most of the attention, non-tariff measures are just as important in this trade war and will probably be in play for much longer," says Mr Hirson.

"On the US side, this includes measures such as recently passed legislation that tightens investment restrictions and export controls... In China, it involves using regulatory tools such as anti-trust investigations to squeeze US tech firms and tip the advantage to domestic competitors."

sarah Posted on November 30, 2018 15:31

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Liberia: Two Die in Nimba Prison

Sanniquellie, Nimba County – Two inmates who were sentenced to life imprisonment have been found dead at the Sanniquellie Center Prison (SCP), in Nimba County.

The two men, 23 and 28, respectively, were convicted for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by presiding Judge Yarmie Gbeisay of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court.

Defendant Josiah Quoi, 28, reportedly contacted his friend Yarlo Dahn, 23, of Duo Gorton town in District # 2, Nimba, to murder Cooper Baymie, who had travelled to Nimba to claim a cash crop farm.

Baymie, 56 lived in Monrovia. He had gone to ask his nephew (Quoi) to release his property but he was murdered on his farm by the two deceased inmates.

According to reports, Quoi contacted his friend Dahn to go after Baymie on the farm in order to kill him. By that means, he would retain ownership of the properties.

The men had been in prison for a year before they were sentenced to life.

Cllr. Robertson Mehn, Public Defender, attributed the death of the inmates to the over crowdedness of the prison.

He told our reporter that the facility was built as a quick impact project by the United National Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for 75 but currently hosts over 200 inmates.

Cllr. Mehn disclosed that the prison facility lacks basic facilities including foods, medicinal drugs, and mattresses for inmates.

Hector Quoiguah, Nimba County Attorney, confirmed the over crowdedness of Sanniquellie Central Prison.

He explained that the government is doing everything to address the problems.

Meanwhile, Prison Director Edward McGill has confirmed the death of the two inmates but told our correspondent that they were ill prior to their death.

He disclosed that they were taken to the G.W. Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie to seek medical treatment where they were pronounced dead.

Sources told FrontPageAfrica that the two men died at the prison but were taken to the hospital for doctor’s confirmation.

sarah Posted on November 30, 2018 15:21

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Ariana Grande: Manchester attack 'seems impossible to fully recover from'

Ariana Grande has described the Manchester Arena terror attack as something "that seems impossible to fully recover from".

The singer had just finished performing in the city for her Dangerous Woman world tour in May 2017 when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device in the arena foyer, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds of others.

Grande, 25, was physically unharmed in the attack but suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder afterwards.

In the fourth episode of her docu-series, Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries, the star shares a letter about the attack.

The letter says: "I'm writing to you this February 22, 2018. It's been eight months since the attack at our show at the Manchester Arena. It's impossible to know where to start or to know what to say about this part. May 22, 2017, will leave me speechless and filled with questions for the rest of my life.

"Music is an escape. Music is the safest thing I've ever known. Music - pop music, stan culture - is something that brings people together, introduces them to some of their best friends, and makes them feel like they can be themselves. It is comfort. It is fun. It is expression. It is happiness. It is the last thing that would ever harm someone. It is safe.

"When something so opposite and so poisonous takes place in your world that is supposed to be everything but that... it is shocking and heartbreaking in a way that seems impossible to fully recover from."

The docu-series gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at her life on tour.

It does not include any footage from the Manchester Arena bombing, but does give viewers a look at the One Love Manchester benefit concert Grande organised to raise money for victims and their families.

ruby Posted on November 30, 2018 11:56

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'It's been well worth it': Face transplant patient reveals incredible transformation

Less than a year after having a 25-hour face transplant operation, a US man is showing remarkable progress.

Cameron Underwood, from Yuba City, California, underwent the surgery in January after attempting to take his own life with a gun in June 2016.

The bullet wound left him without a nose and most of his lower jaw and teeth. It also badly damaged his eye sockets.

He first underwent conventional reconstruction surgery before having the transplant after his mother, Beverly Bailey-Potter, read a magazine article about Dr Eduardo Rodriguez at the New York University Langone Medical Center.


The operation involved a 100-strong team, led by Dr Rodriguez, and since it was carried out, Mr Underwood has had monthly follow-up appointments and has continued with physical, occupational and speech therapy.

He has even gone sky-diving but will remain on anti-rejection drugs throughout his life.

Picture: A series of 10 images of Cameron’s healing progression from January 6, 2018 through November 26, 2018.The 26-year-old man remains positive and focused on his new life and is grateful to his 23-year-old donor Will Fisher and the Fisher family for what they have done for him.

He said: "Will and his family made an incredible sacrifice to give back to me what had been lost.

"I will never forget that. I'm also eternally grateful to Dr Rodriguez and his face transplant team. My family and I could not have made this journey without them.

"We hope my experience inspires others who have severe facial injuries to have hope, as I was inspired by others who came before me. The journey hasn't been easy, but it's been well worth it."

Mr Underwood's physical, emotional and psychological recovery was helped by the relatively short time between his injury and face transplant.

Dr Rodriguez, a professor of reconstructive plastic surgery, said: "Cameron has not lived with his injury for a decade or longer like most other face transplant recipients have.

"As a result, he has not had to deal with many of the long-term psycho-social issues which often lead to issues like severe depression, substance abuse, and other potentially harmful behaviours."

Mr Underwood also experienced one of the shortest wait times for a donor, the hospital said.

Once he was approved for a transplant and put on the list for organ donation, he waited only six months for the call that would change his life.

Mr Fisher was an aspiring filmmaker and writer, who registered as an organ donor when he was a teenager.

He did not just help Mr Underwood. He also gave his heart, kidneys, liver, eyes and other tissues.

ruby Posted on November 30, 2018 11:25

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Taron Egerton: I don't scream 'action hero'

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Taron Egerton insists he isn't a natural born action hero.

Although he's starred in all three instalments of comedy adventure film Kingsman (the next is due out next year), the Welshman says when he decided to become an actor, action roles never crossed his mind.

"I don't think I scream action hero," he tells Sky News.

"I certainly enjoy it, but it's very hard work, and I often think it can be more fun to watch than it is to do, just in the sense that it can be quite gruelling and physical.

"For me I have to alter my body shape because I don't keep myself in incredible shape all year round. Not that I'm in incredible shape now, but I'm okay."

Speaking about his latest role as Robin Hood, the 29-year-old explains that "there was a bit of gym time", before reassessing: "Well, a lot of gym time, actually."

Egerton bagged the part in the latest retelling of the mythical outlaw hero thanks to his casting as secret agent "Eggsy" Unwin in Kingsman.

"When they were considering people, they needed someone who had some experience of being physical as it's a very physical role," he says.

"I certainly felt that walking into this I had had some experience of action and stunt work, and it served me well… I've done my thousand hours of that now."

Action and stunts form a large part of the film, with director Otto Bathurst telling Sky News that the movie strives to "drag the Robin Hood myth into the 21st century".

Bathurst warns fans: "If you're going along to watch a traditional, classic Men In Tights version of Robin Hood you're going to be very disappointed.

"It's historically inaccurate, the clothes and set design are crazy. The point of it is to make a version of the movie that wakes you up and also make a movie that hopefully people relate to."

Like Egerton, he admits it wasn't all fun and games.

"We were in Hungary in the middle of winter and it's tough," Bathurst says.

"Making that kind of movie, it looks fun but actually you've got horses, you've got bows and arrows, you've got stuff going on, and it's a lot of moving pieces and you're always pushing the budget to the max and you're always stretched."

Jamie Foxx plays Little John in the film, alongside Egerton's Robin, and Bathurst credits the two with "creating a real chemistry" which "brought that dynamic alive".

Egerton believes Foxx is "one of the really exciting components (of the film), for me".

"Having had a couple of other on-screen mentors (in the form of Colin Firth and Hugh Jackman, both from the Kingsman franchise) they're hard acts to follow," he says.

"But I knew that Jamie and I would work well together."

And the pair got on well off set as well as on.

"One night we got on the mic in a club and I was not as cool as he was. I think there may even be video evidence... I'm not going to be able to bring myself to watch it," he laughs.

The film has been retold multiple times, with Robin Hood most notably portrayed by Errol Flynn (1938), Kevin Costner (1991) and Russell Crowe (2010).

But Bathurst says now is a timely moment for a remake.

"No matter what era we're in, there's always oppression, there's always governments or religions that are corrupting and oppressing people, and so there's always a call for anybody who's going to stand up and say no against that, stand up for truth.

"In the 21st century we need that more than ever."

Bathurst also says a modern-day Robin Hood would be using Instagram and Twitter to rally his followers.

"Imagine in the 13th century if you're trying to create a revolution, trying to create a buzz and trying to rally the troops, it's pretty hard," the director says.

"You can't tweet: 'Come on guys let's go and rob the rich! Let's burn down the church!'

"Whereas now, we've seen it in history over the last five, 10, 15 years, we've seen individuals cause major ripples in international governments, across religions, across all kinds of world issues."

Having only joined Instagram a week earlier, Egerton is not so sure.

"It's not very covert is it!" he says.

However, he seems to be enjoying his own foray into social media.

"It just seems to be the language now and everyone uses it, it's a great tool," he says.

"It's a business tool and that's how the world goes now in terms of marketing stuff. The reason it works is because it's personal and you're seeing something of the reality of someone's life."

He's certainly using it to effect despite his novice status.

Earlier this month, speculation over Egerton's sexuality was rife after he posted a photo of a male friend with the caption "Cutie. My boy" followed by a heart emoji.

He then "liked" a fan's comment asking: "Does that mean he's got a boyfriend now?"

The actor had recently split with his producer girlfriend of two years, Emily Thomas.

Egerton has since clarified, telling Radio Times: "One of the lads was at my London flat and I Instagrammed a picture of him... I'm not gay but two of my mates came out when I was 15 and it was a joy to support them because, as a group, we are all secure in who we are."

He went on: "I'm certainly not going to stop calling my mates cuties and gorgeous, because they are cuties and they are gorgeous."

Away from speculation about Egerton's sexuality and back to the film; despite it being male-led, Bathurst says it is actually a woman blazing the trail.

"Marian's doing the Robin Hood stuff way before Robin Hood turns up, which I love," he says. "She's actually the DNA of the whole story, she's the one who shows him, 'Get out of your selfish, revengeful space and see what's going on for everybody else here. See the big picture. Wake up and smell the coffee'.

"Maid Marian's always been the damsel in distress and I felt really strongly that it's Robin of Loxley plus Maid Marian equals Robin Hood. Without Marian there is no Robin Hood."

So despite it being a tale about a band of merry men fighting for justice at all costs, it seems a woman is in the driving seat.

A very modern outlook for a 13th century hero.

ruby Posted on November 30, 2018 10:48

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Quentin Tarantino marries Israeli singer Daniella Pick in 'intimate' LA ceremony

Quentin Tarantino has married his fiancee Daniella Pick in an "intimate" ceremony in Los Angeles attended by a "small group of family and friends".

The Reservoir Dogs director, 55, tied the knot with the Israeli singer and model, 35, at a private home on Wednesday, said People magazine, which got an official wedding photograph.

In the snap, the couple posed in front of a wall of white flowers, he wearing a black suit and the bride in a white Dana Harel gown with a sweetheart neckline, tiara and white veil and holding a bouquet of white roses.

Their reception, at Beverly Hills Chinese restaurant Mr Chow, will be followed by another party later on Thursday.

The writer-director met Ms Pick, who is the daughter of Israeli singer and songwriter Tzvika Pick, in 2009 while promoting Inglorious Basterds.

The pair got engaged in June 2017, after dating for about a year.

A few days before the wedding, Tarantino wrapped filming Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, his upcoming drama starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie due for release next June.

Some of his long-time movie collaborators were invited to the ceremony, E! News reported, quoting an insider.

Image:Quentin Tarantino and Daniella Pick at the 'Reservoir Dogs' 25th Anniversary Screening in 2017

"The ceremony was inside in front of a small group of family and friends including Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Eli Roth. There were only about 20 people and it was very intimate and private," the insider said.

The source said the ceremony last "about an hour".

Tarantino has never been married before, claiming he was too busy with work.

ruby Posted on November 30, 2018 10:32

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Here’s What Everyone Wore To Princess Eugenie’s Royal Wedding

Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank on Friday, October 12th, and the whole world stopped to watch their love — and by “their love,” we mean they stopped to watch what everyone was wearing. Let’s face it, weddings are as much about fashion as they are about the feelings. We’re thrilled for Jack and Eugenie, but we’re also thrilled we get to witness these gorgeous dresses and fascinators.

Keep reading to see what everyone wore to the royal wedding. You might even get some ideas about what to wear to your own fall celebrations this year.

Let’s start with this stunning wedding dress, shall we? Princess Eugenie looks like a classic princess in this simple ballgown with shoulder details. And we can’t forget her jaw-dropping tiara. She looks exactly how a princess should look.

Her new husband, Jack Brooksbank, is also looking pretty dapper. We especially love the the blue detailing in his tie and how his boutonnière ties in with his bride’s bouquet.

Queen Elizabeth II

The queen is known for her monochromatic head-to-toe suits. She wore a lime green suit to Meghan and Harry’s wedding, a yellow dress to Kate and William’s wedding, and now this lovely powder blue get-up to Eugenie and Jack’s wedding.

We especially love the off-white flower on her hat, which matches perfectly with the iridescent buttons on her top. How is the Queen so stylish?

Kate Middleton and Prince William

Kate opted for a solid crimson dress with a matching crimson fascinator. This dress is doing wonders for her body, cinching her waist and emphasizing her strong arms. We love the pleated details around the neckline, and that sapphire on her finger on full display.

Prince William isn’t looking too bad himself. He looks as royal as ever.

Meghan Markle

We’re continuing the solid color trend with Megan Markle’s lovely navy blue number. This look is blue on blue on blue, with a pop of black in the heels. Who ever said that black and navy don’t go together? Meghan is proving that when you’re a princess, anything goes.

Alright, Meghan is a duchess, not a princess, but she can still do whatever she wants.

Pippa Middleton

Yet another solid color. Pippa definitely got the jewel tone memo. She looks absolutely stunning in this forest green dress. Also, look at her adorable baby bump. We have to say, we can’t wait for another royal baby.

We know Pippa isn’t technically a royal, but she is the sister of a royal and that’s good enough for us.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and The Rest Of The Kiddos

These kids are just too cute for words. Look at little Charlotte’s royal wave. We can’t. It’s too cute. Prince George is looking spiffy in his white top, and all of the girls look amazing with their multi-colored sashes.

We also love that all the girls are rocking a half up half down hairstyle. Very cohesive.

Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne made headlines when she showed up to the royal wedding wearing tails and a top hat. The majority of people have been obsessing over her androgynous look and Twitter is aflame with users praising her break from tradition. We’re totally here for it.

Cara always looks gorgeous (she is a model after all), but this is how a supermodel shows up to a wedding.

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding’s light blue dress is stunning, yet simple. It looks like something anyone could wear, and that makes us love this relatable queen even more. We mean, she is at a royal wedding, so she isn’t that relatable, but still.

We can pretend that we can relate to Ellie and we can pretend that we’re on the same level.

Demi Moore And Eric Buterbaugh

Demi Moore is in on the whole solid jewel tone thing. We guess it is super autumnal. Her dress is pretty similar to Kate’s, but it’s a bit more form fitting. She showed up to the royal shindig with her florist friend, Eric Buterbaugh.

Eric Buterbaugh holds his own next to the stunning starlet. Considering he’s a florist and perfumer, we wouldn’t expect anything less!

Sarah, Duchess of York and Princess Beatrice

We’re going to have to go out and look for some solid jewel tones to wear. We promise you, everybody is going to be out in the fall weather wearing some kind of solid blue or green or crimson outfit in the coming weeks.

And we’re not mad about it. While love a good pattern, solids are just so classic.

Kate Moss

Finally, someone who feels some kind of way about a pattern. This polka dot dress has a classic look, and is perfectly accented with navy blue detailing. Kate Moss is still on trend, but decided that she was going to do her own thing with her ensemble.

We absolutely love it, and those shoes are to die for.

Poppy Delevingne

Cara’s sister Poppy opted for a much more feminine look. But the real showstopper here is her fascinator, which is the most fascinating one we’ve seen yet — and the tallest one we’ve seen so far.

We’re swooning over this periwinkle blue color and the cutout details on her dress. That long periwinkle trench coat needs to get into our wardrobes ASAP.

Nicola and George Brooksbank

Meet the parents of the groom. Jack’s mom looks amazing in her floral dress and silver shoes, and his dad looks like a true gentleman (that red tie!).

Nicola’s hat looks super chic and we can definitely see where Jack gets his looks from. Do you think these two ever expected a royal wedding in their son’s future?

Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer

Stephen Fry arrived to the royal wedding with his husband, Elliott Spencer. They both look super windswept in this photo, but still stylish in a very effortless kind of way. Both Stephen and Elliott opted for autumnal looking vests.

Yellow and orange may not be this wedding’s exact vibe (based on the other outfits we’ve seen), but it’s definitely this season’s vibe.

Cressida Bonas

Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas arrived to Eugenie and Jack’s wedding in this patterned blue and black dress. Unlike most of the other guests at this wedding, she’s chosen not to wear black shoes or match her shoes to her dress.

That pop of red on her feet really stands out against the rest of her outfit.

Chelsy Davy

Another one of Harry’s ex-lovers, Chelsy Davy, showed up in this sheer navy dress. We can’t see her shoes in this picture, but like Cressida, she’s incorporated some red into her look. Her nail polish is definitely popping.

We do think it’s ironic that Cressida, Chelsy, and Meghan all wore dark blue. It’s a little bit weird, right?

Pixie Geldof

Model Pixie Geldof arrived to the wedding in this caped pink gown. She went for a fascinator that’s not the same color as the rest of her outfit and we think that was a good choice. A pink fascinator with this dress would be too much pink.

Her shoes and her fascinator match, which is a nice touch.

Robbie Williams

Singer Robbie Williams showed up to the wedding in a classic three piece suit. We love that none of the pieces are the same color. It’s a cool way to get a masculine look that still has visual interest.

He came to the ceremony with his wife and his mother in law. Good lad.

ruby Posted on November 30, 2018 10:05

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Train ticket prices to rise by average of 3.1% in January

The price of train tickets will rise by an average of 3.1% in January, the rail industry has announced.

The new fares will come into force on 2 January.

Fares regulated by the government - around 40% - are set at July's RPI, which was 3.2%.

These include season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and flexible tickets for major cities.

Other fares are set by train operators.

The overall rise of 3.1% announced on Friday is just slightly less than the latest wage growth figure of 3.2% for the three months to September.

Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer said: "Nobody wants to pay more to travel, especially those who experienced significant disruption earlier this year.

"Money from fares is underpinning the improvements to the railway that passengers want and which ultimately help boost the wider economy.

"That means more seats, extra services and better connections right across the country."

But the rise comes at a time of increasing dissatisfaction with the country's railways.

Fewer than half (45%) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to a survey by watchdog Transport Focus.

And passengers in some parts of the country experienced weeks of chaos after new timetables were brought in earlier this year.

Train punctuality slipped to a 12-year low in the summer and 14% of services failed to meet the industry's punctuality target in the 12 months to 10 November.

On Thursday, rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road launched formal action against Network Rail, ordering the government-owned company to improve its management of the rail infrastructure or face the possibility of fines and being sued by train companies for lost revenue.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Until day-to-day reliability returns - with fewer significant delays and cancellations - passenger trust won't begin to recover.

"Passengers now pour over £10bn a year into the rail industry alongside significant government investment, so the rail industry cannot be short of funding.

"When will this translate into a more reliable railway and better value for money for passengers?

"It's also time for a fairer, clearer fares formula based on a calculation that uses the Consumer Prices Index, rather than the discredited Retail Prices Index."

ruby Posted on November 30, 2018 09:52

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All eyes on unpredictable Donald Trump at G20 summit

US President Donald Trump's meeting with President Putin was set to be the showstopper event in Buenos Aires.

But he has abruptly cancelled it, blaming Russia's refusal to release Ukraine's Navy ships and sailors.

The news came just hours after his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying about the president's business interests in Moscow.

President Trump tweeted: "Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting... in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!"

The cancellation soothes concerns over more US cosying up with the Kremlin. The US and Russian leaders’ last meeting in Helsinki caused outrage when Mr Trump took Mr Putin's denials of election interference over the findings of his own intelligence agencies.

World leaders began landing in Argentina on the eve of the summit on Thursday night.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced delays after having to switch planes en route when her aircraft was forced to land shortly after taking off from Berlin after experiencing problems with the electronic systems.

French President Emmanuel Macron and President Xi Jinping of China were among some of the first to arrive.

Mr Trump’s working dinner meeting with the Chinese leader is now his priority.

There's little real hope of a trade war ceasefire - with neither Mr Xi nor Mr Trump wanting to blink first.

It's the first time the leaders of the world's two largest economies have met since Mr Trump imposed tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese imports to force concessions on greater access to Chinese markets and intellectual property theft.

Mr Trump is unlikely to bend until there's a decline in US economic numbers, although jittery American markets may add some pressure for an agreement.

These global jamborees are not the natural home of an "America First" president.

As that infamous Canada G7 image of a recalcitrant, arms crossed Mr Trump, shows - the president's isolationist foreign policy is never more stark than at these global summits.

Mr Trump's unpredictability means the US is no longer the steadying force at these events.

Former defence department official Michael Carpenter worked for the Obama administration at previous G20s.

He said: "A lot of the policymakers around Trump are going into these meetings themselves not sure what the president is going to say. Not sure what stance he's going to take on any particular issue and waiting to see what that meeting looks like in person when they are there in the room."

For all the security and months of planning and preparation - in the Trump era there's no great hope for consensus in Buenos Aires.

ruby Posted on November 30, 2018 09:47

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Another blizzard forecast to paste the north-central U.S. this weekend

Another weekend, another blizzard for the northern U.S. 

The storm, which walloped the western U.S. with rain and snow on Thursday, "will produce blizzard conditions over a portion of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest this weekend," AccuWeather warned

The heaviest snow – 6 to 12 inches – is expected from late Friday through Saturday in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. Some spots could pick up as much as 18 inches. Strong winds will blow the snow around and reduce visibility, which will bring the blizzard conditions. 

"Travel may become difficult to impossible Friday night into Sunday morning," the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said. Across the state In Rapid City, the weather service also discouraged travel, adding that "you are safer to stay where you are rather than being stranded in a ditch."

Winter storm watches have been posted from Montana to southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, the Weather Channel said.

More: It's raining in Los Angeles, and people are freaking out!

Unlike last weekend's storm, this one should miss the big travel hubs of Denver and Chicago. The big city most affected will likely be Minneapolis.

Further to the south, heavy rain and severe thunderstorms are forecast to lash portions of the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley late Friday and into early Saturday, the National Weather Service said. Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and northeastern Texas are at the highest risk of severe storms, which will produce large hail, strong winds and a few tornadoes. 

View image on Twitter


States in parts of the northern Plains and upper Midwest can expect a few inches of snow this weekend, thanks to a storm moving across the country: 


5:25 PM - Nov 29, 2018

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Greg Postel?@GregPostel

More snow is on the way this weekend for the nation's midsection. Winter Storm Watches are up, and some of these will go to warnings. *Early* snow estimates shown suggest large accumulations are lurking39


sarah Posted on November 30, 2018 09:40

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It's raining in Los Angeles, and people are freaking out!

It's raining in Los Angeles on Thursday, and people are freaking out. Car accidents due to the rain turned some freeways into parking lots.

Authorities in the car-crazed city had to remind folks how to drive in the rain:

The California Highway Patrol tweeted that "we can’t stress this enough, rain does not cause crashes, how you drive in the rain does.

"Turn your lights on. SLOW DOWN, slow down, slow down. Leave EXTRA SPACE between your car & the car ahead of you," CHP said.

And Los Angeles County's official Twitter account told drivers to "Keep both hands on the wheel" and "Stay focused on the road," among other suggestions.

With 1-2 inches of rain forecast, Thursday will likely end up as the rainiest day in Los Angeles since last winter, the National Weather Service said. Despite the silliness of L.A. rain panic, there is a real threat of floods and mudslides in the region, especially in areas scorched by wildfires earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the hashtag "#LARain" was also trending on Twitter, with people variously describing long commutes, complaining about other drivers and mocking the hysteria that accompanies the rain.

Please drive safely in the #LARain:
1. Slow down
2. Keep both hands on the wheel
3. Leave extra room between cars
4. Wipers on = headlights on
5. Don't brake if your car skids
6. Stay focused on the road

More safety tips & resources: 


5:53 PM - Nov 29, 2018

1,170 people are talking about this

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CHP PIO - LA County?@CHPsouthern

We can’t stress this enough, does not cause crashes, how you drive in the does. Turn your lights on. SLOW DOWN, slow down, slow down. Leave EXTRA SPACE between your & the ahead of you. Drive in the middle lanes, outside lanes tend to flood.NEVERthrough flood waters


5:28 PM - Nov 29, 2018

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Delmy Barillas@DelmyBarillas

I mean, the fact that there’s even a hashtag (#LARain) and that it’s trending worldwide, should give you an idea of how far this goes.


7:29 PM - Nov 29, 2018

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Joel Rivera Schoenbach @JoelSchoenbach

How people in LA drive when it rains. #LARain


7:25 PM - Nov 29, 2018

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Elissa Vallano@ElissaVallano

I could live in Los Angeles for 100 years, and I will never not be shocked that it takes 40 minutes to drive 2 miles because IT'S FUCKING RAINING. #LARain


7:25 PM - Nov 29, 2018

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Occam’s Razor Burn@RtisticFX

Just moved to LA from NYC. People here losing their minds over #LARain I’m keeping my car in the garage. They can’t be trusted.


7:24 PM - Nov 29, 2018

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 LM @shayne571

It's raining!!!!! #LARain


4:08 PM - Nov 29, 2018

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Man I’ve driven thru blizzards, Ice slick roads during below zero weather as a teenager...a little #LARain and out come the stupid drivers

— Matt M. (@ChiTown_Villain) November 29, 2018

sarah Posted on November 30, 2018 09:36

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Doctors eat Lego to discover how long it takes to pass through digestive systems

Researchers have swallowed pieces of Lego to see how long it takes them to pass through their digestive systems.

Despite the best efforts of parents, children are prone to swallowing small plastic toys - usually prompting a visit to the doctor.

Paediatricians are often asked how long it will take for the toys to pass out, because if they get stuck in the child's digestive system it could lead to serious problems.

Therefore, a team of six paediatricians set up an experiment to see how long it would take for a Lego head to pass through their own digestive tracts.

It would not have been acceptable to perform the experiment on children, said the doctors, whose findings have been published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Three women and three men working in paediatrics swallowed Lego heads and then sifted through their bowel movements until they found the toy.

The international team of researchers kept a diary regarding how firm their stools were too, as this could have had an impact on travel time.

In comic fashion, they ranked the softness of their stool samples on a scale they called the Stool Hardness and Transit (SHAT) scale.

They also measured how long it took for the Lego head to pass through to give themselves a Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score.

By the end of the experiment, the team found their FART scores varied between 1.14 and 3.04 days - with the average being 1.71 days for the toy to pass through their systems.

Unfortunately for one of the participants, the little Lego head was never discovered in his stool. The researchers admit they do not know if he simply missed it or if it has got stuck in his bowels.

ruby Posted on November 30, 2018 09:07

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7 Ways to Help Eliminate Knee and Joint Pain Naturally

Joint pain is the worst. When you’re sitting, it throbs. When you’re standing or walking, it throbs and grinds. Our joints are the reason we can move at all, but when they hurt, everything hurts. Joint pain can be caused by overuse, strains or sprains, arthritis, or plain old aging.

But no matter the cause, you need relief. Your doctor will likely prescribe a course of treatment, but if your problem is chronic rather than temporary, you may find yourself on some heavy duty medication for way longer than you’d like.

Or perhaps you’d like to explore natural ways of managing joint pain before taking on the considerable side effects that come with pharmaceuticals.

We’ve got you covered, with 7 totally natural ways to manage knee and joint pain.

Use the RICE method

RICE is an acronym for a series of actions that can help to both manage pain and reduce the inflammation that causes pain. It’s commonly recommended for strains and sprains, but can also help people with chronic conditions like arthritis.

RICE stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

When you have an episode of knee or joint pain, no matter the cause, it is important to rest the area. Avoid using the painful joint for awhile and keep the affected area elevated above your heart as much as possible. This prevents fluid from building up and causing more swelling.

A couple of times a day, apply a cold compress. This can bring down inflammation and numb pain. A compression bandage prevents the swelling from coming back, but it can be a fine line between not tight enough and too tight.

You want to experience a certain amount of compression in the area, but not so much as to cut off circulation.

es, we just told you to rest painful joints, but now we’re going to tell you to exercise them more. Basically, you want to baby the joint through the most intense period of inflammation and pain, but then make sure that you don’t let the entire area degenerate.

Tai chi or yoga

As often as you can manage, engage in a low impact exercise routine to improve flexibility and strengthen the joints themselves as well as the proximal tissues.

Tai chi and yoga are both great options because they focus on the mind-body connection. Both are about mindfulness as well as movement. Not only are these practices helpful for increasing range of motion, the meditation aspect may even help you cope with chronic pain.

 Weight loss


If you are already at or below your ideal weight, feel free to skip ahead. But if you know you could lose a few pounds to be healthier, your painful joints are one more reason to start now. The more weight your joints must bear, the more strain and damage they will receive.

It’s never easy to lose weight. Our dietary habits are so ingrained, and food can be a great comfort in times of pain and stress. But certain foods can also make your joint pain worse, especially if it is caused by arthritis.

 Herbal ointment


Pain relief creams you can buy over the counter include salicylate for pain relief.

The creams are relatively safe to use unless you have a sensitivity to salicylate (also found in various forms in treatments for warts and dandruff). However, they may be completely unnecessary in light of a discovery made by a group of researchers in Pakistan.

The study was published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences and showed that an herbal ointment made with cinnamon, ginger, Arabic gum (mastic), and sesame oil worked just as well as salicylate creams to control joint pain topically.



sarah Posted on November 29, 2018 13:58

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3 American service members killed in Afghanistan roadside bombing

Three American service members died Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded in central Afghanistan, the worst tragedy yet in a deadly month for U.S. forces in the war-torn country.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in the Shahbaz neighborhood just outside Ghazni, a city of more than 250,000 in a region where Taliban militants stepped up attacks in recent months.

Lt. Ubon Mendie, a spokesman for U.S. forces, said in a statement that three other service members and one American civilian contractor were injured in the blast. The wounded were evacuated and provided with medical care, Mendie said.

Mohammad Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor, told Reuters that an armored vehicle carrying U.S. troops hit a large roadside bomb. Identities of the victims will be released 24 hours after family members are notified, Mendie said.

At least 11 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan this year, putting 2018 on a pace similar to the past few years. As recently as 2013, the United States had more than 100 military casualties – and the total was almost 500 in 2010. 

The war began weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, and the American death toll has exceeded 2,200. President Donald Trump decided last year to remain committed to Afghanistan, and about 15,000 U.S. troops serve largely in a support role for Afghan security forces.


James Piazza, a professor at Penn State specializing in the region, said it is not clear whether the United States is being drawn deeper into the Afghan conflict – and whether the U.S. public should be prepared for an increase in casualties.  

"President Trump has stated that he intends to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan, focused on both stabilizing the Afghan government and on fighting militant groups in Afghanistan," Piazza said.

He said, "An increase in military casualties might prompt questions about the end game for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan."

This month, there have been five U.S. deaths. Saturday, Army Sgt. Leandro Jasso, 25, was killed farther south in Helmand province. Jasso was wounded by small-arms fire and evacuated to the nearest medical treatment facility, where he died, the Army said.

An initial review indicates Jasso was probably accidentally shot by "our Afghan partner force," the Army said. There were no indications he was shot intentionally. Jasso's body arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Monday night.

sarah Posted on November 29, 2018 13:42

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A school child left this note on a man's car explaining what happened in a hit-and-run. It's incredible

If you are a driver and have been the victim of a hit-and-run that wasn't witnessed, there is no doubt that the one thing you wish is that somehow it was recorded, so that you could know for sure what happened. 

Well, that's exactly what happened to 21-year-old college senior at Canisius College, Andrew Sipowicz, when he realised his car had been hit - but not in the way you'd expect. 

Sipowicz was returning to his car which was parked up near his home in Buffalo, New York, on Monday evening, when he discovered the front of his bright red Ford Mustang had been badly damaged. 

Speaking to Buzzfeed News about the discovery, he said: 

I was like, 'You gotta be kidding'.

[I was] kind of in a panic.

And that’s when I saw the note.

The handwritten and illustrated note by a 6th grade student explained exactly what happened: 

If your wondering what happen to your car. 

Bus: 449 hit your car. It stops here everyday to drop me off. At 5:00pm. 

What Happened? She was trying to pull off and hit the car. She hit and run. She tried to vear over and squeeze threw but couldn’t. She actually squeezed threw. She made a dent and I saw what happened. 


Driver seat left door. A lady in the bus driver seat 999.

Buffalo Public School Bus. A 6th grader at Houghten Academy 


Taking to Twitter to share the discovery, Sipowicz wrote: 

Shoutout to the anonymous 6th grader for saving me a couple thousand (Bus not drawn to scale).

The tweet quickly went viral, and has now been re-tweeted over 200,000 times. 

He then followed it up with an update to say the kind student had been found. 

Many social media users were blown away by the note. 

One compared the child to 'Picasso'. 

Some praised the 6th grader's character. 

In a statement to Buzzfeed News, First Student, which owns the buses and employs the drivers for Buffalo Public Schools said: 

The actions of our former driver are completely contrary to First Student’s training and what we stand for as a company.

We have initiated the process to terminate the driver.

It added: 

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that we are very impressed by this exceptional sixth grader.

We commend her for her actions.

ruby Posted on November 29, 2018 13:31

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This man drunk ordered an enormous Pokémon and then had to ship it thousands of miles from the US to the UK

Some people buy a greasy kebab when they’re drunk. Others, they buy a Snorlax.

Callum Underwood bought the giant Snorlax online while drinking with colleagues in San Francisco, which is where he had been at the time for work.

Originally from Newcastle, Underwood was sent a link to a cute plush cushion that was going for £200.

He bought the Pokémon, which was approximately as tall as he was.

Underwood told i News:

I definitely remember ordering it. I wasn’t black out drunk, just tipsy enough to have no impulse control.

The next day he realised that he would have to take it back to Newcastle with him, and asked his boss Anna if he could ship it to her place in San Francisco, and then she can ship it across the pond. “Lol ok,” she said.

It was going to cost around £800 to get it back to him, and that was when he asked Twitter for help.

Please help me twitter, I ordered this large boi when I was drunk, and had it delivered to my friend in America. It's going to cost $1000 to ship here to the UK. The box is fucking massive, and weighs 16.80 lbs. Any creative solutions for getting it back from San Francisco to UK?



Flight number 1 SFO to Atlanta for Dreamhack... wish me luck getting this big boi on the plane

His tweet went viral, and what followed was a month in which the Snorlax travelled from state to state, airport to airport, before making his way to Underwood’s home.

First, he wanted to cut the cushion open and remove the stuffing, and then have it stuffed again in the UK. He axed that idea and decided to try and take it home as luggage.

He packed it super tightly in a box, and called airlines ahead of time to warn them of the impending Snorlax.

Friendly TSA lady gave him a good look over and admired his size: “absolute unit” she said as she tried to squeeze the air out to repack

Though Snorlax briefly got stuck in Dallas, and the box was opened and checked by a TSA in transit, he eventually got home.

Over a month after Callum drunk bought Snorlax, it finally arrived.

“O m f g HE MADE IT EVERYONE!!! Look at the state of the box,” Callum tweeted. “I will e x p a n d him when I get home!”

ruby Posted on November 29, 2018 13:17

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Marvel novel hints that there could be other villains apart from Thanos in Avengers 4

If you saw Avengers: Infinity War, you'll realise that Thanos is one mean dude and pretty much defeated the Earth's Mightiest Heroes single-handedly - or at least with a click of his fingers.

Presumably, the plot for the as-yet-unnamed Avengers 4 will revolve around the remaining Avengers attempting to stop the Mad Titan and bring those that were slain back to life. 

While that's bound to happen in some capacity, it has also been hinted that there might be other, more powerful villains joining the fray in the next movie.

A tie-in but not necessarily canon Marvel novel named Thanos: Titan Consumed, written by Barry Lyga, is intended to serve as an origin story for Thanos and how he became obsessed with the Infinity Stones.

Screenrant report that Lyga did work closely with Marvel Studios when writing the book and made sure that it was completed well in advance of the release of Infinity War so there could be something to this, even if it isn't 'canon'

Towards the end of the book, Thanos encounters a character known as 'the Lorespeaker', who informs him about a powerful race of aliens known as the Celestials and an even more powerful group that they fear.

The passage accordingly goes as follows:

'They are hidden, Thanos,' the Lorespeaker said, as though badgering a child, 'because they are too powerful. And because the Celestials and the others, the ones whom the Celestials fear, keep close watch on the Stones from afar.'

In comics, the Celestials aren't good guys or bad guys - they are just neutral. But they might make for villains if tested by the Avengers in their quest for justice.

It's worth noting the Ego the Living Planet from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was considered to a Celestial, while other members of the race have popped up in other Marvel movies but haven't been directly referenced.

As for 'whom the Celestials fear', your guess is as good as ours, but the villain Annihilus has been hinted as being the next major villain for the franchise going forward, so it could be him.

Of course, this could all be absolute nonsense and hearsay spread by Marvel fans on the internet, who are tired about not having a synopsis or a trailer for a movie that is supposed to be released in less than six months!

Still, it's fun to speculate which is just what folks on social media love to do.

ruby Posted on November 29, 2018 12:57

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Trump supporters vandalise library honouring Michelle Obama

A library dedicated to former first lady Michelle Obama has been vandalised with pro-Trump graffiti.

The Washington library, located close to the White House, was set up following the election of president Trump.

It features a plaque reading:

In Honor of Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama. Lawyer, writer, and First Lady of the United States.

Library founder Dolan Galaviz told the Washington Post that the library had been attacked numerous times, with vandals breaking its window and damaging the plaque. The vandals even scrawled “Trump” over Obama’s name on the building. She told the newspaper:

Who would do that?

If there is one thing that should be off limits it’s the idea that we all deserve access to books.

Residents also expressed shock at the frequent attacks. Local resident Debby Hanrahan told the Post:

I’ve never seen the vandal. None of us have time to stand guard and protect it.

We are a neighbourhood of writers and readers. For somebody to have something out for a little library, I just can’t fathom it.

Dolan Galaviz said that she named the library after Obama as an act of resistance to Trump.

I think the whole city was reeling from the realisation that the Obamas were going to be out

This was a way of saying, ‘We are still here.’ It was a little act of, not rebellion, but standing our ground.

ruby Posted on November 29, 2018 08:55

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The Weddings And Gowns Of The U.S. Presidents And First Ladies

You might expect the U.S. Presidents’ and First Ladies’ weddings to be lavish and over-the-top, but before they lived in the White House, many of these couples were simply young and in love. You’ll be amazed at how low-key some of these weddings were, including a woman who selected her wedding dress the day before and two future first ladies who didn’t wear white.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Wedding Dress

In 1905, Eleanor Roosevelt, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt’s brother, married Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president’s fifth cousin. They first met when she was 14-years-old and he was 18-years-old. After losing touch they reconnected four years later when they crossed paths at a horse show in Madison Square Garden.

The event was attended by Roosevelts from both sides of the family. F.D.R. proposed to Eleanor when he was 22 and she was 19. A Roosevelt-Roosevelt marriage was not uncommon. Her high collared gown had puffy fabric shoulders, and she wore an elegant hat.

Jackie Kennedy’s Last-Minute Wedding Gown

Bettmann / Contributor

In 1953, Jackie Bouvier tasked fashion designer Anne Lowe with making her wedding dress, but tragedy struck. Ten days before the wedding, a water pipe broke and caused havoc at Lowe’s studio on Madison Avenue. It ruined 10 of the dresses for the wedding, including Jackie’s gown, which had taken two months to construct.

In a panic, Lowe ordered additional ivory French taffeta and pink silk faille to remake the dress. She and her team of seamstresses were able to do it in the nick of time. The gown, with a classic neckline and bouffant skirt, is one of history’s most iconic wedding gowns.


Barbara Bush Wore Her Mother-In-Law’s Veil

CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

George H.W. Bush met his future wife, Barbara Pierce when they were teenagers in 1941. The former president talked about their first meeting in the documentary titled 41. He said,“They called it a holiday dance at Christmas time and here she was in this red and green dress. I said, ‘Who is this good-looking girl, that beautiful girl over there?’ ‘That’s Barbara Pierce from Rye, New York.’ So then a guy named Wozencraft introduced us. And the rest is history.”

The couple got married in 1945 at First Presbyterian Church in Rye, N.Y. Barbara wore the wedding veil that George’s mother donned in her own ceremony.

Laura Bush Wore A Simple Tan Dress For Her Wedding


Laura Lane Welch married George Bush on Nov. 5, 1977, at her childhood church in Midland, Texas. The newlyweds posed with the future president’s parents, George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. Unlike her mother in law, Laura did not opt for the traditional, fancy wedding gown. Instead, she wore a simple tan dress she bought off the rack to the ceremony.

She met George at a backyard barbecue in July, and they became engaged just three months later. He was the Governor of Texas from 1995-2000 and became the President of the United States in 2001.

Hillary Clinton Got Her Wedding Dress At The Mall


Hillary Diane Rodham met the future president, Bill Clinton, while they were both attending Yale Law School in 1971. He was staring at her in the library, so she went up to him and introduced herself. They fell in love and he proposed three years later. Bill wanted a big wedding while she didn’t even care about an engagement ring. (He gave her one anyway.)

The wedding was intimate, but she didn’t even have a dress until the day before. Hillary’s mother went to Dillard’s in the Fayetteville Mall and bought her daughter a Jessica McClintock Victorian lace gown. They wed in their living room.

Michelle Obama’s ’90s Wedding Gown


Like Hillary and Bill Clinton, future president Barack Obama met Michelle Robinson through their love of law. They connected while working at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago. Michelle originally opposed dating a colleague, but he convinced her to go on a date with him in 1989. Three years later, they tied the knot.

They got married at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Michelle’s brother walked her down the aisle, and they danced to “You and I” by Stevie Wonder. Michelle opted for a pretty white dress with pointed sleeves on her shoulders and a veil.

Rosalynn Carter’s Wedding Dress Brought 70 Years Of Good Luck


Rosalynn Carter was just a teenager when she walked down the aisle to marry Jimmy Carter, who would end up becoming the 39th president of the United States. She was 18 and he was 21 when they tied the knot on July 7, 1946, in Plains, Georgia, where they both grew up. At first, Rosalynn turned down Jimmy’s proposal. But she changed her mind after he graduated from a wartime class at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The groom wore his Navy uniform, and Rosalynn opted for knee-length dress accessorized with gloves, a hat, and a corsage. The couple celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2016.

Mamie Eisenhower Was Another Teen Bride

Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty ImagesMamie Geneva Doud married future president Dwight Eisenhower on July 1, 1916, when she was just 19 years old. She had just graduated from the finishing school Miss Wolcott’s. Dwight was 25 and an Army lieutenant. They tied the knot at Mamie’s parents’ home in Denver, Colorado, and later honeymooned at a nearby resort.

The couple had an adventurous beginning as newlyweds and moved around the world to accommodate Dwight’s various postings. They traveled everywhere from the Philippines to Panama. Once “Ike” was elected president, Mamie spent much of her time entertaining foreign dignitaries, who enjoyed her style and fashion.

ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 16:04

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John Malkovich to play English version of Poirot in BBC Christmas special The ABC Murders: 'People may hate it'

John Malkovich is predicting that Hercule Poirot fans “may hate” his English take on the Agatha Christie detective will air on television this Christmas.

The actor will head up the BBC‘s three-part festive adaptation of Christie’s The ABC Murders, but will offer a rather different version of the character.

He will bypass the Belgian accent and waxed moustache in favour of an English diction and goatee beard, something he believes purists could detest.

Malkovich told Radio Times: “There was a certain amount of convincing the Agatha Christie estate about this version, and I was involved in some of those conversations. There was never anything unpleasant or difficult.“

He continued: “But obviously this is a very known and loved character, and there may have been some worries that we weren’t, as it were, saluting that. Poirot and Christie fans may just hate all this, I have no idea.”

According to Malkovich, it was the decision of director Alex Gabassi who he claims wanted this version of Poirot to match the Oscar-nominated actor’s own look of bald head and beard.

“I said ‘sure, that’s the way I normally look, if that’s what you want, then fine’,” Malkovich said.

The adaptation comes from Sarah Phelps, who is behind all three of the channel's previous Christie projects Ordeal By InnocenceAnd Then There Were None and last year's The Witness for the Prosecution. This one will co-star Rupert Grint, Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch) and Skins star Freya Major.

It will air as part of the BBC’s bustling Christmas lineup which also includes Doctor WhoWatership Down and a new series of Luther. Outside of the UK, it'll launch on Amazon Prime.

ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 14:39

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Irishman dies after 'punch in the head' in New York's Queens

An Irishman has died after being punched outside a bar in the Queens borough of New York.

The 21-year-old was found with a head injury in the early hours of Thursday morning outside the Gaslight Bar.

Emergency services took him to Elmhurst Hospital Centre, where he was confirmed dead.

An investigation has been launched into the suspected assault.

Police say he had been "punched in the head by an unknown male".

The attacker fled the location and has not been found.

Irish authorities are helping the family of the man, who has not been named but who is understood to have been living on 41st Street in Queens.

ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 14:18

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Great Barrier Reef to be restored by 'coral IVF'

Scientists in Australia are attempting to restore the Great Barrier Reef by using IVF-style techniques on coral.

Experts will try to capture millions of coral eggs and sperm during the annual coral spawning in the Larval Restoration Project, dubbed "IVF for the Great Barrier Reef".

The tiny corals will then be grown in floating booms for around a week and when the larvae are ready they will be reintroduced to the most damaged parts of the reef.

Professor Peter Harrison, from Southern Cross University in New South Wales, one of the project leaders, called it "the largest larval restoration project that's ever been attempted not only on the Great Barrier Reef but anywhere in the world".

He said: "For the first time we are going to try on a large scale to capture literally millions of eggs and sperm during the coral spawning event. We're building spawn catchers floating off Moore Reef off Cairns.

"Our team will be restoring hundreds of square metres with the goal of getting to square kilometres in the future, a scale not attempted previously."

The annual coral spawning reportedly began earlier this week and lasts between 48 and 72 hours as many millions of coral eggs and sperm are released into the waters off Cairns, northern Queensland.

Rising sea temperatures linked to climate change, have damaged the 2,300km (1,429 miles) length of the reef, a World Heritage Area, leaving behind skeletal coral remains - known as mass bleaching.

Professor Harrison said their aim was to fix the damage done by the coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017, which some fear may be irreparable.

"On the Great Barrier Reef we've lost more than half of the corals in those recent two bleaching events," he said.

"We've lost so many corals that fewer corals are able to spawn and rates of fertilisation are going to be lower and the billions of larvae the reef needs to be replenished naturally [won't be produced]."

ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 12:38

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Storm Diana batters UK with heavy rain and 70mph winds

Roads have been closed and trees have fallen as Storm Diana brings 70mph winds to Britain.

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for wind and rain in western parts of the country which remain in place until 3am on Thursday.

Forecasters also warn of potential power failures and loss of life from flying debris as high winds continue into Thursday afternoon across most of England and Wales.

Thursday's wind warning will be in place until 2pm and also affects the east coast of Scotland.

The strong winds are already affecting travel in several areas, with the Britannia Bridge on the A55 closed to all vehicles except cars and car-sided vans, and the Corran ferry off until further notice.

AA Roadwatch reported fallen trees on roads in Ireland.

Engineers from Network Rail on are standby to attend any incidents on Britain's railways as winds and rains pick up.

Network Rail explained: "Floods, high winds and landslips can destroy railway infrastructure and block lines, so our teams repair damage and clear debris to ensure trains can continue to run.

"Flood water in particular can pose problems on the railway. Water blocking the lines, as well as debris, silt and mud making its way onto the track, are only part of it.

"The lasting damage that flood water can cause to infrastructure can lead to ongoing repair work that takes days, weeks or even months."

The storm could bring between 60mm and 80mm of rain to some areas. A yellow warning is in place for southern and eastern Highlands from 12pm until 11pm.

The Met Office's wind warning covers the west coastline of Britain, including Cornwall, until midnight tonight.

From 12pm until 3am on Thursday morning, the far east coasts of Scotland will also need to be ready for strong winds.

Storm Diana is expected to move through relatively quickly, although showers are likely to persist into Thursday.

Temperatures are predicted to be mild, with highs of 15C (59F) possible in the South East today and tomorrow - around 5C (9F) above average for the time of year.

ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 12:23

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Lion Air plane not airworthy before fatal crash, investigators say

The Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea last month - killing all 189 on board - was not airworthy on its previous flight, investigators have found.

Pilots of the Boeing 737 struggled to control the aircraft after takeoff, according to a report from Indonesia's national transport safety committee.

On 28 October, the day before the fatal crash, the same plane experienced technical difficulties as it flew from Bali to Jakarta.

The pilot should have discontinued the flight, the National Transport Safety Committee found. Instead he carried on to Jakarta.

The findings come from a preliminary report into the crash by Indonesian authorities. The report details the initial investigation but does not include analysis or a conclusion.

Authorities have recovered the flight data recorder but are still looking for the other black box - the cockpit voice recorder, which should shed more light on the cause of the accident.

The report describes the difficulties encountered by the pilots of Lion Air Flight 610 shortly after takeoff.

They repeatedly told air traffic control they had a flight control problem. They also advised that they could not determine their altitude because all their instruments were giving different readings.

The flight data recorder stopped recording 31 seconds after the pilots' last communication with control.

Based on the wreckage recovered from the crash site "the damage to the aircraft suggested a high energy impact", according to the report.

The black box data indicates irregularities in altitudes, with the aircraft rising and sinking throughout the flight.

The data also shows that the aircraft automatically tried to push the plane of the nose down, then the flight crew tried to push the nose back up. This continued during the whole the flight.

Boeing 737-MAXs contain automated systems to prevent an aircraft stalling if its nose is too high.

Investigators are exploring whether faulty sensor data might have caused the automatic system to kick in and force the plane's nose down.

The pilot of the same Boeing 737 reported similar issues the day before the Lion Air crash.

ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 12:17

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Rising From the Desert: Luxury Living Near California's Joshua Tree

Novelist and interior designer Kristopher Dukes and her husband, Matt Jacobson, Facebook’s head of market development, live in a modern 1980s-era, Ray Kappe–designed home in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles. But when they want to get away from it all, they head east and keep going past Palm Springs, where many of the Los Angeles elite have weekend homes, to the high desert by Joshua Tree National Park. There, Ms. Dukes says, she can truly disconnect and unwind.

"I feel like Palm Springs is more of an extension of L.A.," she says, "but the desert just has a completely different vibe that is art-driven, international, and very far away from it all."

Until a few years ago, getting away from it all for the couple meant staying in a prefab prototype home designed by the famed Marmol Radziner architectural firm, which Jacobson picked up for about US$650,000 during the home-sales slump of 2011. "You can see the horizon from this home, and the beautiful way that the nearby mountains are framed," says Ms. Dukes of the two-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot space that’s modular, sparse, and located off an unpaved road in Desert Hot Springs. "There’s a sense of expansiveness about it that I really, really love."

Then, in 2013, after a weekend spent at the Marmol Radziner home with Mr. Kappe and his wife, Shelly, the two couples decided to take a look at a second architecturally significant home in the area. This one was designed by organic architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg and constructed over the course of two decades, beginning in 1987.

Ms. Dukes had found the property listed for sale on a real estate website and was intrigued by the otherworldly landscape and fascinating design, as the home is built into one of the boulder-strewn hillsides for which the neighboring 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park is known. "The online photos made it look like a rendering," Ms. Dukes says. "It didn’t seem like you could build a house that looked like that."

While her original intention was to just see the place, something else transpired after they stepped inside. "It was even more stunning in person," Ms. Dukes says. And while Mr. Jacobson originally stayed in the car, stating that he didn’t want another desert house, he was persuaded to change his mind when Mr. Kappe unequivocally told him, ‘You have to buy this house,’ " Ms. Dukes says, noting that this was totally out of character for the architect, who is typically quiet and understated. The couple bought the property for US$2.95 million in 2014.

An ‘Experimental Culture’

Featured in advertising campaigns for high-end lifestyle brands, including Calvin Klein Home and Louis Vuitton, the Kellogg house is part of a larger story about the freedom that the desert provides to architects, designers, and artists who want to create without being confined by the landscape around them. And just as Marmol Radziner and Kellogg built homes that are considered architecturally significant, others have done the same, and plan to do the same in the years ahead.

Meanwhile, buyers who are looking to buy or build a second home that’s close to nature and away from the bustle of Palm Springs still have the opportunity to do so in Joshua Tree, which has a population of about 9,000; in the hipper Pipes Canyon or nearby Pioneertown, where you can find famed music venue and barbecue spot Pappy + Harriet’s; or in other places near the national park, which attracted a record-breaking 2.8 million visitors in 2017.

"I built architecture in Joshua Tree because it has a more open landscape, and a more open experimental culture," says Los Angeles–based architect Robert Stone, who built two houses in Joshua Tree, known as the gold house (Acido Dorado) and the black house (Rosa Muerta), almost a decade ago. Today, both regularly serve as the backdrop for high-end photos featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines, and for the Saint Laurent fashion brand. "I wanted to build something truly new that redirects the history of architecture," Mr. Stone continues, "and I needed a blank canvas to do that. You can still find that blank canvas in Joshua Tree."

To explain how we got to where we are now, Mr. Stone, who grew up in Palm Springs, offered an abbreviated history. "If you looked at Palm Springs in the 1940s, when the very first real modern houses were built," he says, "you would see a lot of open land, a mix of run-down shacks, and just a few far-flung houses that we now consider iconic." One of those is the Richard Neutra–designed Kaufmann house, which introduced the classic Southern California indoor/outdoor living and a more reductive new style of architecture when it was built in 1946. Interestingly in the early aughts, Marmol Radziner completed a painstaking renovation of the home, which had fallen into disrepair after Barry Manilow and others owned it.

Today, Mr. Stone continues, the shacks have all since been replaced by condominiums, and the open landscape, by subdivisions. The Southern California modernism that was popular through the 1960s became watered down over the years, he says. What’s left is a playground where the wealthy can bask in the sun, but where there's no land to build on or any space where architects can try new concepts and play.

"In the past two years, there have been a lot of people priced out of Palm Springs," says Rich Nolan, a real estate agent who heads up the Coachella Valley offices for The Agency, noting that the US$649,125 median sales price in June 2018 for a single-family home in Palm Springs is 8% above the previous all-time high median price from 2006. And there’s plenty of inventory that’s much more expensive, like the 14 ultramodern units he is currently selling in a new development called Linea Palm Springs, which start at US$2.7 million.

When would-be buyers can’t get into Palm Springs—or the nearby Indian Wells, with a median sales price of US$1.07 million, or Rancho Mirage, with a median sales price of US$710,000— their natural next step is to look to Joshua Tree, Mr. Nolan says, where there is still a good deal of land available, although fewer resale properties.

One Joshua Tree resale property that is available is Mojave Rock Ranch—a one-of-a-kind dwelling on a huge piece of land that tells a story of both the area’s past and its potential for the future.

A ‘Piece of Art’ for Sale

Like the Kellogg house and Mr. Stone’s homes, Mojave Rock Ranch, which is listed for US$1.95 million, after recent price cuts (and a reduction in acreage) from US$2.9 million, and earlier, US$4.5 million, has appeared in fashion campaigns and photo shoots. But in this case, it’s not because of the home’s architecture, but because of the property’s environment, design, and landscaping, which offers panoramic views of 225 acres of mostly undeveloped desert; trinkets and treasures from around the world cemented into the walls of the many indoor and outdoor spaces; and thousands of cacti, flowers, and sculptures—sometimes esoteric, obscure, or strange—placed throughout the grounds.

The result, which was created by owners Gino Dreese, 61, and Troy Williams, 56, over the past 25 years, is meant to evoke a sense of wonder in guests, who in the past have included Hollywood insiders and other movie and music luminaries, such as the Coppolas, Ridley Scott’s family, and the Beastie Boys.

"The ranch is our pride and joy," Mr. Dreese says, noting that it started with the purchase of just an 800-square-foot homestead cabin on some 40 acres, which they added to and made their own over the years. They picked up more land and more of the cabins, originally built around the 1950s, to rent out to the Hollywood set who wanted to experience the desert. "We were kind of the forerunners in the area," he continues. "There were no rentals at all in Joshua Tree before we got here."

They sold some cabins in the early 2000s but kept their original purchase, and after an around-the-world trip in 2004, incorporated much of what they had seen, experienced, and purchased. "We used whatever we could to make it look funky and interesting," Mr. Dreese says.

This included adding colored-glass bottles in the walls and constructing a stylized branch enclosure, called an African boma, around a circular clearing meant to be used for bonfires and open-air meals.

The couple now lives in Palm Springs, where they own and run a high-end landscape-design business. They’re selling because they’re ready to slow down a little bit, Mr. Dreese says, and hope to hand off the property to someone who’s younger and can bring it to the next level. "It’s like you’re buying a piece of art," he says, adding that the property is totally secluded and could be turned into a high-end rental, or converted into some sort of artists’ residence or resort.

Preserving Art and Architecture

Ms. Dukes and Mr. Jacobson purchased the Marmol Radziner home in Desert Hot Springs and the Kellogg house in Joshua Tree in an effort to preserve the homes as works of art. But what Ms. Dukes found is that the Kellogg house, despite appearances, is also incredibly cozy and warm to live in. On trips to Joshua Tree, which they make about every other month, Ms. Dukes says they find themselves relaxing a lot of the time on the built-in, custom-made couches, or on the decks overlooking the park.

"In pictures, it can look so Gaudi-esque," Ms. Dukes says. "But when you’re there, you can just hang out and enjoy the space. There are no right angles, and it’s comfortable. The walls almost hug you when you’re inside."

And then there is the intricate design, which includes golden spirals and shell-like, nautical patterns, to discover and enjoy. Ms. Dukes says her favorite thing about the home is how the ceiling in the master bedroom is made up of what looks like fingers, with glass in between where they’d touch. "When you’re in bed at night, you can look up and see the planes and the stars," she says. "Everything is moving, and it’s really magical."

This, of course, is just a small sampling of the significant architecture and design work you can find in the region, or will be able to find soon. Currently, there’s the Lloyd Wright and Frank Lloyd Wright Joshua Tree Retreat Center, which was built in 1946 and is also known as the Institute of Mentalphysics.

Then there's the work of interior designers and artists from Joshua Tree who have gained thousands of followers on Instagram, including Cosmic American and Casa Joshua Tree. And there are several ambitious projects planned by architects for the high desert, including the Whitaker Studio Joshua Tree Residence, which will feature interconnected, stark white shipping containers rising from the boulders.

Mr. Stone’s hope is that this is just the beginning, and that there will be more homes with artistic and architectural value yet to come.

"I hope somebody will read this article and decide to build property in the area," he says. "We should use the blank canvas of Joshua Tree and make architecture that’s as ambitious and relevant to our time as the first modern architecture was to its time." This story first appeared in Mansion Global magazine, published on November 19th, 2018.

ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 12:03

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The stars we have said goodbye to in 2018

The Queen of Soul, the man who first broke the four-minute mile, a Hollywood legend, children's TV favourites and one of the greatest scientists of all time - here's remembering the stars we have said goodbye to in 2018.


'Fast' Eddie Clarke

Former Motorhead guitarist Fast Eddie (pictured left) was the last surviving original member of the band, after the deaths of frontman Lemmy and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor in 2015.

He passed away peacefully in hospital after being treated for pneumonia.

"Keep roaring, rocking and rollin' up there as goddamit man, your Motorfamily would expect nothing less!" his remaining band members said in their tribute.

Dolores O'Riordan

The Cranberries singer, who joined the Irish rock band in 1990, helped them become a household name, with hits including Dreams, Linger and Zombie.

She was found dead at a hotel in central London, aged 46, having drowned as a result of alcohol intoxication.

Her boyfriend Ole Koretsky paid tribute to the love of his life, saying: "The energy she continues to radiate is undeniable."

Mark E Smith

Born in Salford in March 1957, Mark E Smith wrote music in his lunch breaks while working on the Manchester docks as a shipping clerk.

After attending a Sex Pistols gig in 1976, he quit the docks for The Fall, and their first two albums were released three years later.

He said he decided to pursue music because "whatever I did would have to be better than most of the so-called punk s***e I was hearing at the time".

He died aged 60, after The Fall were forced to cancel a string of shows in 2017 because of his health.


Emma Chambers

The British actress was best known for her roles in TV comedy The Vicar Of Dibley, starring alongside Dawn French, and the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts film Notting Hill.

"I loved her. A lot," said French following her death.

John Mahoney

The actor played one of TV show Frasier's most beloved characters, portraying Frasier and Nile Crane's cranky father Martin for 11 years.

The role earned him legions of fans and a Screen Actors Guild award, as well as two Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe nominations.

Title star Kelsey Grammar led the tributes to his co-star, saying: "He was my father. I loved him."


Stephen Hawking

Given just two years to live when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, Stephen Hawking went on to become one of the most renowned scientists of all time, and lived until he was 76.

As well as his incredible mind, he was known for his humour and wit, using his illness to help others believe that anything is possible. Read some of his best quotes here.

Bill Maynard

He played small parts in several Carry On films, and took on the title role in Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt! in the 1970s, but Bill Maynard was best known as Heartbeat's lovable rogue Claude Greengrass.

The actor, whose real name was Walter Williams (his stage name a reference to the makers of Wine Gums) died in hospital at the age of 89, after breaking his hip in a fall from his mobility scooter.

Jim Bowen

"You can't beat a bit of bully!" Jim Bowen, presenter of cult darts gameshow Bullseye, was known for his catchphrases.

The show, which ran between 1981 and 1995, was watched by more than 12 million viewers, and made him a household name.

He died with his wife Phyllis by his side after being ill for several weeks. Read Bullseye commentator Tony Green's tribute here.

Sir Ken Dodd

Master of tickling sticks Ken Dodd died just days after leaving hospital and marrying his partner of 40 years, Anne Jones. The comedy legend, who was 90, died in the same house in Liverpool that he grew up in.

Famed for his quickfire one-liners, you can read some of his best here.

Sir Roger Bannister

The record-breaking Roger Bannister ran the world's first ever sub-four minute mile in Oxford in May 1954.

When announcer Norris McWhirter declared "the time was three..." the crowd cheered so loudly his exact time was not heard.

He died peacefully, surrounded by his family, after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.


Verne Troyer

Best known for his role as the evil Mini Me in the Austin Powers series, Verne Troyer also featured in films such as Harry Potter, and Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus.

His cause of death was not disclosed at the time, but the star struggled with alcoholism and had been admitted to hospital and placed on "involuntary psychiatric hold" in the days before he passed away.


Swedish DJ Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, was best known for singles Wake Me Up, Hey Brother and Levels. He scored two UK number one singles and worked with the likes of Coldplay, Madonna and Rita Ora.

Paying tribute, his family said he was "not made for the business machine he found himself in", and that he was a "sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight".

He was just 28.

Dale Winton

Most famous for presenting daytime TV gameshow Supermarket Sweep from 1993 to 2000, Dale Winton, 62, also hosted Touch The Truck, Hole In The Wall and the National Lottery game show In It To Win It.

His body was found at his north London home, with his agent later confirming he died of natural causes.

TV presenter Davina McCall, chat show host Graham Norton and theatre star Michael Ball were among those who paid tribute to "a lovely, warm, kind, sensitive, generous soul with a touch of naughty".

Eric Bristow

Eric Bristow was the "Crafty Cockney" who was one of darts' first superstar players, winning five world championships and dominating the sport in the 1980s.

He was at the Premier League Darts event at Liverpool's Echo Arena when he suffered a heart attack, aged 60.

Fans burst into a rendition of "There's only one Eric Bristow" after being told of his death.

Fellow darts player and close friend Keith Deller pays tribute here.


ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 09:51

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Explosion near Chinese chemical plant kills at least 22 and destroys dozens of vehicles

At least 22 people have died and another 22 been injured in an explosion near a chemical factory in northern China.

The blast in the city of Zhangjiakou, 124 miles northwest of Beijing also destroyed 50 trucks and cars.

It is not yet clear whether it happened inside grounds of the Hebei Shenghua Chemical Company, or on the road outside.

The charred and smoking remains of trucks and cars were scattered on a road as firefighters worked at the scene, according to photos posted on Twitter by state broadcaster CGTN.

In a statement local officals said: "On-site search and rescue work and investigation of the cause of the accident are still under way."

Zhangjiakou is due to host the alpine skiing events at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Industrial accidents are not uncommon in China, where safety regulations are not always rigorously enforced.

in July 19 people died in a chemical plant explosion in Sichuan province.

The company had undertaken illegal construction that had not passed safety checks, according to local authorities.

ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 08:51

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Sydney floods: One dead as month's worth of rain falls in single morning

A motorist has died and flights have been cancelled as a month's worth of rain fell on Sydney on Wednesday morning.

Severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall have lashed Australia's biggest city, deluging railway stations and leaving more than 8,000 people without power.

The storm struck only hours before the city's morning rush hour, causing chaos on the city's roads.

Several stranded motorists were plucked from rising floodwaters. One person was killed in a car crash.

Two police officers were seriously injured when a tree fell on them as they assisted a stranded driver.

Police called on motorists to stay off the roads due to the "horrendous weather".

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said Sydney received more than 10cm of rain within a few hours, with the city usually experiencing an average of 8.4cm for the whole of November.

"That's the sort of rainfall you'd expect to see once every 100 years," said Ann Farrell, the bureau's state manager.

The rains have offered a welcomed respite to farmers who have suffered through a sustained drought in recent months, but the weather caused major disruptions to the Sydney's infrastructure.

The city's airport, the country's busiest, said it cancelled at least 20 flights after closing two of its three runways.

Cait Kyann, a spokeswoman from Sydney Airport, said: "The storm is pretty intense in and around the airport.

"We are operating from a single runway so that means that there are delays and likely some flights will be cancelled."

Ausgrid, the nation's biggest electricity network, said the storm had left 8,100 customers without power around Sydney and the Central Coast area to its north.

Forecasters said the storms would last through most of the day before easing, with gale force winds whipping up four metre waves which were expected to pound Sydney's beaches.

The weather is in stark contrast to soaring temperatures nearing 40C in Queensland.

Strong winds in the northern state have exacerbated major bushfires.

Firefighters have been battling for nearly a week to contain more than 80 fires across Queensland.


ruby Posted on November 28, 2018 08:49

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US border agents fire tear gas as some migrants protesting slow asylum process try to breach fence

As thousands of migrants from Central America wait in makeshift Tijuana shelters for a chance to apply for asylum in the U.S., a process that could take months, some have organized protests to pressure U.S. officials to devote more resources to speed up the process.

On Sunday, one of those protests, peaceful at first, turned chaotic when several hundred migrants broke away, overwhelming Mexican federal police officers before rushing a border fence and attempting to illegally enter the U.S.

In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers shut down both south and northbound traffic at the San Ysidro border crossing south of San Diego for nearly six hours. The closure disrupted one of the busiest border crossings in the world at the tail end of a holiday weekend when border crossings are typically packed with travelers.

CBP officers also fired tear gas after some migrants threw projectiles at them, U.S. officials said.

Several CBP officers were hit by the projectiles, the agency said on Twitter.

"After being prevented from entering the Port of Entry, some of these migrants attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them," Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement. "As I have continually stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons."

Photos posted on social media showed migrants running from the scene, some of them women with small children.

It was unclear if there were any injuries.

Al Otro Lado, a binational advocacy group that provides legal assistance to migrants seeking asylum, said the migrants were protesting peacefully when CBP fired tear gas.

"Women and children refugees who were peacefully demonstrating in Mexico injured by tear gas launched by US authorities," the group said on Twitter. "No one was trying to breach the border. All they wanted was an explanation as to why they were being forced to wait so long to ask for asylum."

About 500 migrants who took part in Sunday's protest and attempted to "violently" enter the U.S. were contained by Mexican authorities, Mexico's Secretary of the Interior said in a statement.

Migrants who took part in the protests and attempted to illegally enter the U.S. face deportation, the statement said, adding that they were hurting their objectives of seeking refuge in the U.S.

"These acts of provocation, far from helping achieve their objectives, are in violation of legal migration and could result in a grave incident at the border," the statement said.

CBP announced around 6 p.m. that southbound lanes at the San Ysidro port had reopened. A short while later, CBP announced that officials had begun processing travelers in the northbound lanes. 

Sunday's unrest underlined the growing tension in Tijuana, where thousands of migrants have arrived in the past week hoping to seek refuge in the U.S. but could face months of waiting to apply for asylum at legal ports. No more than 50 asylum seekers are being processed at the San Ysidro port daily. 

Sunday's protest follows a smaller protest that happened on Thursday when migrants demonstrated what they called the slow processing of asylum applications outside the El Chaparral border crossing gate in Tijuana. The gate leading into the U.S. is where migrants line up daily to apply for asylum.

Over the past week and a half, more than 5,000 migrants, mostly from Central America, have been pouring into the city, overwhelming local authorities, who have converted a sports complex into a temporary shelter to house most of the migrants, after several other local shelters filled to capacity. 

The surge of migrants has been arriving after traveling through Mexico as part of a series of caravans that began during the second week of October in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

President Donald Trump has promised to stop any migrants from entering the U.S. illegally after several thousand migrants stormed a gate on an international bridge between Guatemala and Mexico in October, raising concerns that migrants would attempt to do the same once they reached the U.S. border.

Trump has deployed over 5,000 active-duty military troops to the southern border, where they have fortified ports of entry and fencing between ports with razor wire, in addition to installing additional barriers. 

On Monday, a federal judge in San Francisco blocked the Trump administration's attempt to prevent migrants who enter illegally from applying for asylum.

Also, the Trump administration is trying to reach a deal with the incoming Mexican government to make migrants wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the U.S.

On Thanksgiving, the mayor of Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastelum, declared an international crisis over the arrival of the migrants, pleading with international groups for humanitarian assistance. 

In a tweet on Sunday, Gastelum criticized migrants for taking actions "outside the law" that threatened to disrupt cross-border traffic and trade.

"I will not allow our bi-national relationship to be fractured by bad actions of the migrant caravan. They are doing things outside of the law," Gastelum said in a statement posted on his official Facebook page.  "They are affecting border traffic. Many #Tijuanenses!! work, study and visit the United States safely and peacefully."

Municipal police on Sunday arrested 39 members of the migrant caravan accused of "causing riots, quarrels, disrupting public order and assaulting citizens," the mayor's office said in a statement.

The arrests occurred as migrants marched from a sports complex that has been converted into a shelter, toward the international border crossing at San Ysidro, the statement said.

sarah Posted on November 27, 2018 16:02

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New invention gives hope to all those suffering from chronic snoring

Millions of people are familiar with it - snoring. The number one annoyance in the bedroom at night. About one in two men and one in four women of middle age or older snores in their sleep. Previously dismissed as just an annoying disturbance of the peace, snoring is now recognized as a serious sleep and health disorder. These nightly lapses in sleep can even be life-threatening!

Let’s start from the beginning. When snoring, loud breathing noises occur in the upper airways during sleep. A full 70 decibels — as loud as a passing truck. That’s the sound many Germans fall asleep to. The causes of snoring are based on anatomical bottlenecks such as swollen tonsils, polyps, a curved nasal septum, or an excessively long uvula. Men over 50 years old, especially, snore. As many as 60 to 80 percent in this age group are affected.

Now there’s a revolutionary helper that immediately improves nasal breathing and can thereby prevent snoring.


It is called the Slumber, and it’s the first small and easy-to-use device for combating bothersome snoring noises. The innovative aid consists of a soft silicone ring that’s pushed into the nose; integrated magnets prevent it from falling out during sleep.

Tens of thousands of people have already used this little wonder to sleep better and more peacefully at night. And indeed - snoring can easily be combated with this method!


The Slumber gently widens the nostrils to reduce respiratory resistance in the nose; in other words, air can flow better into the lungs through the nose. As soon as the body registers that nasal breathing is working without restriction again, it unconsciously switches to (much healthier) nasal breathing. In contrast to things like chinstraps, Slumber does not disturb you while you sleep.

The Slumber is pushed into the nasal opening before going to sleep.

Breathe deeply again - Slumber promotes nasal breathing and combats disagreeable snoringAn effective tool against snoring for only €14.95, instead of 19,95€

sarah Posted on November 27, 2018 15:52

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Property Wars: Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West Vs. Taylor Swift

The feud between Taylor Swift and Kanye West took a nasty turn last night when his wife, Kim Kardashian West, posted video clips of the rapper speaking to Ms. Swift on the phone about his song "Famous."

In the clips, she appears to approve of provocative lyrics about herself in the song, but Ms. Swift responded on social media that she had not approved of the lyrics and didn’t know the conversation was being recorded.

While it appears that Ms. Kardashian-West has the upper hand in this latest salvo in their ongoing feud, we looked at who is winning the property wars and Ms. Swift is in the lead when it comes to quantity at least, owning around five homes.

The singer owns a four-bedroom home in Beverly Hills, which set her back just under $4 million in 2011. The 2,826-square-foot Cape Cod-style home dates to 1941 and boasts a one-bedroom, one-bath guesthouse on the grounds.

Westerly, Rhode Island

Ms. Swift’s Rhode Island mansion, for which she reportedly paid $17 million in 2013, recently played host to Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid and Blake Lively, among others, for Fourth of July celebrations. Tom Hiddleston, Ms. Swift’s boyfriend, was also there, sporting an "I love T.S." T-shirt.


She is currently renting a $40,000-per-month pad in Manhattan’s West Village while her Tribeca penthouse, which she purchased in 2014 for close to $20 million, undergoes a lavish interior design transformation. She bought the Tribeca loft from "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is where Ms. Swift’s music career took off, so it’s only fitting that she has not one, but two homes in the city. Ms. Swift, who grew up in Pennsylvania before moving to the home of country music, has a penthouse downtown as well as a large estate where her parents currently reside.

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 15:39

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Former soldier jailed for 5,160 years over massacre in Guatemala

A former soldier has been sentenced to more than 5,000 years in jail for his part in a massacre by the army in Guatemala.

Santos Lopez Alonzo was accused of belonging to the Kaibiles, an elite squad of troops which murdered residents in the northern town of Dos Erres in 1982.

The 66-year-old was deported from the US in 2016 to face the Guatemalan court where he was found "responsible as author" of 171 of the killings.

He was sentenced to 30 years for crimes against humanity and another 30 years for each of the 171 people, although the sentences are symbolic as the maximum someone can serve in Guatemala is 50 years.

He had also kidnapped and adopted a five-year-old boy, Ramiro Osorio Cristales, after the boy's family had been killed in the massacre. Mr Osorio Cristales was one of those who testified at Lopez Alonzo's trial.

According to a report of the trial from the International Justice Monitor, a forensic expert told the court that 171 human remains were recovered from a well in the village, where the military had thrown many of their victims.

Forty percent of the bodies in the well had been children aged under 12, the expert said.

Prosecutors said most of the victims were killed with sledgehammers.

Former Peruvian general Rodolfo Robles testified as an expert on military doctrine and structure and he told the court that the army unit, which consisted of 60 men, had acted in a planned and coordinated manner.

There was no evidence that any of the unit's members opposed or tried to stop the killings, he said in testimony reported by the monitor.

Lopez Alonzo also testified, saying he had been at the massacre but did not take part in the killings or other crimes that took place.

The unit had been trying to find members of a guerrilla group that had ambushed a military convoy but they failed to find the guerrillas or the weapons.

The Dos Erres massacre took place during the rule of dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt, who was indicted on charges of genocide and died in April this year.

Around 200,000 people were killed and another 45,000 disappeared during Guatemala's civil war between 1960 and 1996.

Lopez is not the first member of the unit to have been convicted over the massacre: a handful of others have received prison sentences of more than 6,000 years.

Some others are in US jails for immigration-related offences and many others are believed to be living free in the US.

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 13:20

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Bus firm fined £2.3m over Coventry supermarket crash which killed two people

A bus company has been fined £2.3m after a "fatigued" driver ploughed into a supermarket and killed a seven-year-old passenger and a 76-year-old pedestrian despite "repeated" warnings about his driving.

Midland Red (South) pleaded guilty last year to two offences contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act after allowing Kailash Chander, 80, to continue working.

The firm, based in Stockport and part of the Stagecoach Group, apologised to the families of those killed and injured ahead of the sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court for its "significant" health and safety failings.

Chander, who was previously mayor of Leamington Spa, was handed a two-year supervision order after being ruled mentally unfit to stand trial due to dementia.

A trial of facts which ended in September heard the bus driver mistook the accelerator for the brake before the deadly crash in Coventry in October 2015.

A jury ruled Chander, who was 77 at the time of the incident, was driving dangerously in the lead up to the deaths of schoolboy Rowan Fitzgerald, who was on the bus, and pedestrian Dora Hancox.

Jurors heard how the driver had been warned about his "erratic" driving by his bosses after four crashes in the previous three years.

Chander may have been suffering from undiagnosed dementia and was not showing symptoms to colleagues, an expert told the court.

During the sentencing on Tuesday, the bus driver was not present as he is now suffering from a variety of health issues.

Judge Paul Farrer QC, said the bus firm "failed to follow policy" in the run up to the crash after a driving assessment in April 2015 suggested Chander "may have been capable of driving to the satisfactory standard, if properly rested".

But the warning to maintain limited hours of work was "not enforced" and "almost immediately ignored".

The judge said: "The failings of the company were a significant cause of the events of October 3 2015.

"Over the course of a six-month period, Mr Chander was driving a bus in circumstances where he was permitted to drive while fatigued, inevitably involving a high risk of death or serious injury to the public and Mr Chander himself."

In victim impact statements read to court, Rowan's mother Natasha Wilson said her son had a "heart of gold" and "made life full of laughter".

"The pain is indescribable, some days we feel paralysed," she added. "Some days we don't want to live any more."

Ms Hancox's daughter Katrina said: "I'm heartbroken that my mother's life was taken away from us. I feel cheated as I never got to say goodbye to her."

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 13:17

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Pogues singer Shane MacGowan marries partner of 32 years - serenaded by Johnny Depp on guitar

Pogues singer Shane MacGowan and his partner of 32 years have tied the knot - with Johnny Depp playing guitar at their wedding.

The 60-year-old frontman wed journalist Victoria Mary Clarke, 52, at a small ceremony in Copenhagen on Monday, surrounded by a few close friends and family.

MacGowan, who has been using a wheelchair since a fall damaged his back several years ago, met Clarke in London when she was 16, and both felt they were "destined to be together".

He has known Depp for many years, with the Hollywood star featuring on MacGowan's 1994 album The Snake - his first record as a solo artist.

Ahead of the wedding ceremony, Clarke explained in the Irish Independent why the couple have taken their time to tie the knot.

"Marriage is a scary business, a big commitment," she said. "You might know that you have met 'The One', the minute you lay eyes on them across a crowded bar. You might have been mesmerised, enchanted, and entirely convinced that you couldn't live without them. But you have to be certain."

Writing about the first time she met MacGowan, Clarke said she was "awe-struck", before going on to detail a complicated relationship that "makes the Fairytale Of New York couple from Shane's Christmas song seem tame and orderly".

She said: "When you meet 'The One', you have a choice. You can dive in, marry them while you are infatuated with each other and hope for the best. Or you can wait until you are sure that the honeymoon phase has worn off and you are seeing each other in the light of having lived, no longer young, beautiful and indestructible."

Clarke said they had chosen to get married in an "anonymous City Hall" as both she and MacGowan are introverts and did not want any fuss.

She finished by saying the nuptials would be "weird" but "lovely".

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 13:09

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What are the US sanctions on Iran?

The US has reimposed a series of sanctions on Iran that it relaxed after the 2015 nuclear deal.

Here, we list those sanctions and explain the decades of diplomatic disagreement that led to how they came about.

By Philip Whiteside, international news reporter

The US has reimposed a series of sanctions on Iran that it relaxed after the 2015 nuclear deal.

Here, we list those sanctions and explain the decades of diplomatic disagreement that led to how they came about.


On Monday 5 November, sanctions were imposed by the US government on:

:: A list of over 700 individuals, organisations, aircraft and vessels - 300 more than were named before the sanctions were lifted in 2015 - bringing the total number to 900.

:: Some 250 people designated as "Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Person"

:: The operators of Iran's ports, ship building sector and shipping firms, with some 200 people and vessels targeted.

:: Buying from or selling to Iranian oil firms and the sale of any petrol-based products from Iran

:: Transactions by foreign finance organisations with 50 Iranian banks, including the Central Bank of Iran

:: Insuring Iranian organisations or individuals

:: Iran's energy and aviation sectors, with 67 aircraft named under the ban and sanctions on 23 people and organisations linked to the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

:: And anyone found to "engage in certain transactions" with any of the above.



In 1979, the Iranian Islamic revolution replaced Iran's monarchy with a system of government that was partly based on the values of Shia Islam.

Those behind the revolution say that before the fall of Iran's king, the Shah, the US provided support to the previous regime.

This was done, Iran claims, to ensure the West could continue have some control over the supply of oil from Iran's wells.

Iran maintains that the CIA was involved in helping prop up the Shah and his corrupt regime, which was accused of using violence to maintain control.

After the revolution, thousands of Iranians who had been involved in the Shah's administration and the oil companies had to flee to the West, in fear of their lives.

About nine months after the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, students seized the US embassy in Tehran, took 52 people hostage and held them for 444 days.

The US has accused Iran of, in the years afterwards, supporting terrorist groups around the Middle East, responsible for a series of atrocities.

It also says Iran supports the governments of countries it regards as enemies - like Syria - or groups who are enemies of its allies, like Hamas and Hezbollah.

More recently it has backed the Houthi militia in Yemen, which has been accused of firing Iranian rockets into Saudi Arabia - another US ally.

Over the years, the US has broken off diplomatic contact and imposed increasing amounts of sanctions upon Tehran in response.


For many years, the UN was the main country imposing sanctions against Iran.

In 2006, a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency raised concerns that Iran was enriching uranium in a way that suggested it was making a nuclear bomb.

The US Security Council called on Iran to stop and threatened to step up sanctions unless it did.

In the following years, as the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refused to comply, a series of resolutions were passed that imposed UN-wide embargoes on arms, travel, funding, shipping and banking, among others.


In 2015, a group of world powers, including the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany struck a deal with Iran, in an attempt to quell its nuclear ambitions.

The effort to strike a deal was a response to the UN concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The deal was called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran agreed to limit the amount of Uranium it would turn into the kind of fuel that could be used to make a bomb and allow inspectors into its facilities.

In response, the UN, US and EU agreed to lift sanctions which had been slowly crippling its economy, allowing it to trade in oil and access money on the international markets.


Donald Trump said in his presidential election campaign that he did not approve of the 2015 nuclear deal - which had been struck by the Obama administration.

In May this year, Mr Trump announced at the White House: "A constructive deal could have easily been struck at the time, but it wasn't. At the heart of the deal was a giant fiction."

He claimed that he had evidence Iran was continuing to build a nuclear programme, in contravention of the deal, and said the US would be exiting the accord.

"It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying, rotten structure of the current agreement," he said.

In the following days, the US said it would be reimposing the sanctions that were in place before the deal was struck and imposing extra restrictions.

Some would be reinstated after a 90-day "wind-down" period, to give companies time to make the necessary business arrangements, with others coming into place after 180 days.

The 90-day sanctions came into place on 6 August and the 180-day sanctions were imposed at midnight (US time) on 5 November.


On 6 August, sanctions were imposed by the US government on:

:: The acquisition of dollars by the government of Iran

:: Iranian trade in gold and other precious metals

:: The sale or supply to or from Iran of graphite, raw or semi-finished metals, or coal for use in industrial processes, vehicles, or automotive components

:: The purchase or sale of Iranian rials outside of Iran

:: The sale of Iranian sovereign debt

:: Importing carpets and food from Iran into the US


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, when the latest sanctions were outlined, eight countries would be excluded from the sanctions on oil exports, but only because those countries were making efforts to reduce their imports of Iranian oil to zero. He didn't name the countries.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin added that, while financial messaging services would be included: "There are exceptions for humanitarian sanctions, but I want to very clear, people need to be careful that those are real humanitarian transactions".


Because the sanctions target anyone or any organisation that has been found to break them, many European and UK firms and banks have also had to take steps to make sure they do not fall foul of the new restrictions.


ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 12:51

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Andy Farrell to succeed Joe Schmidt as Ireland coach after 2019 World Cup

Andy Farrell will succeed Joe Schmidt as Ireland head coach after next year's World Cup, the Irish Rugby Football Union has announced.

New Zealander Schmidt had been regarded as a future All Blacks coach, but he has announced that he will end his coaching career following next autumn's tournament in Japan.

"I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the Rugby World Cup in 2019," Schmidt told the official Irish Rugby Football Union website.

"I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands. The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but wherever we have travelled has been uplifting."

Schmidt was appointed as head coach in 2013 and has overseen the most successful period in the national team's history.

During his tenure Ireland have won three Six Nations titles (2014, 2015) including a Grand Slam (2018), a first win on South African soil (2016), a first win over New Zealand (2016) and a series win in Australia (2018).

"Thank you to the IRFU for their support and patience and thanks also to so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community here in Ireland," Schmidt added.

"There are some inspiring challenges over the next 11 months so there's plenty of motivation for me to continue working hard, alongside the other management staff so that the team can be as competitive as possible."

Farrell, who will step up from his current role as defence coach, said: "It is a privilege to be considered for such a prestigious role.

"I have learned a lot from Joe over the past few seasons and I will continue to learn from him over the next year as the coaching group and players focus on competing in two huge tournaments in 2019."

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said: "Andy has world class coaching credentials and we are pleased to have a roadmap for an orderly transition post-Rugby World Cup to the 2020 Six Nations."

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 10:03

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NASA's InSight spacecraft successfully lands on Mars and sends back a picture of itself

NASA's InSight rover has sent back a "selfie" of itself after successfully landing on the surface of Mars.

The spacecraft took the snap of the Red planet using a camera fixed on its robotic arm.

The rocky surface of Mars can be clearly seen with the Insight rover in the foreground.

It had touched down after seven months and more than 300 million miles and at a cost of a billion dollars.

InSight had a six-minute window in which to decelerate from just under 13,000mph to 5mph - landing entirely based on autonomous and pre-programmed systems.

It withstood temperatures up to 1,500C (2,700F) - hot enough to melt steel - before deploying its parachute and 12 retro-rockets to gently touch down in an area known as Elysium Planitia.

InSight will need to wait for the dust from landing to settle before it can really get on with business.

The craft's solar array motors will warm up and prepare to unfurl the solar panels - an important activity that ensures the lander, which is completely solar-powered, has all the power it needs.

The first picture from InSight, taken with a fish-eye lens and through a dust cover, shows the planet's horizon, which NASA said suggests the landing was a success.

Congratulations flooded into the space agency following the success, including from Mike Pence, the US vice president, who celebrated the "incredible milestone" of the country's eighth successful landing on Mars.

An exuberant handshake by mission control staff was caught on camera and has gone viral on social media.

The UK Space Agency also tweeted its celebration and noted that a British-made instrument was on board.

A seismometer - which will "listen" for tremors - was designed by a team at Imperial College London.

It is so sensitive that when the engineers tested it at a lab in Oxford they were able to detect the vibrations from church bells being rung on a Sunday morning.

If the instrument establishes that Mars has the remains of a liquid core it will suggest the planet once had a magnetic field that could have shielded early life - before dramatically and mysteriously weakening.

InSight - which stands for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport - will help scientists understand what is happening around the core of Mars.

It will help explain how all rocky planets, including the Earth, evolved.

There are significant mysteries here, because while both Mars and the Earth were formed from the same stuff more than 4.5 billion years ago, they are now very different planets.

NASA scientists have seen a lot of evidence that Mars has quakes - known as marsquakes. Unlike Earth, where quakes are caused by tectonic plates, Mars has very quiet tectonic processes.

This means marsquakes are more likely to be caused by other forms of tectonic activity, including volcanism and cracks forming in the planet's crust.

NASA said: "Each marsquake would be like a flashbulb that illuminates the structure of the planet's interior.

"By studying how seismic waves pass through the different layers of the planet (the crust, mantle and core), scientists can deduce the depths of these layers and what they're made of.

"In this way, seismology is like taking an X-ray of the interior of Mars."

Professor Tom Pike, who led the Imperial team, told Sky News: "On Earth our magnetic field is important for protecting us from radiation and also protecting our atmosphere from being swept away by solar winds.

"Mars, although it may have started off in a similar place, is now certainly very different.

"It's drier, it's lost almost all of its atmosphere and there's very little water.

"If life did ever establish itself early on, Mars has been a difficult place for it to hang on.",

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 09:31

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Drug lord 'El Chapo' Guzman paid millions to bribe top police

Drug lord Joaquin Guzman paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to a top police officer during his reign in Mexico, a court has heard.

Guzman, known as El Chapo, became so rich from the massive cocaine shipments arriving from Colombia that he could afford to keep the powerful police commander on side, a witness said.

Miguel Angel Martinez said he had worked for Guzman as a manager in the Sinaloa drug cartel in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He told the jury that he had seen the Sinaloa cartel pay at least two bribes of $10m (£7.8m) to Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni, a top law enforcement official in Mexico City.

For his part of the deal, Calderoni would feed information to the cartel "every day" and protect Guzman from getting caught.

But Calderoni was later accused of corruption and torture and escaped to Texas, where he was shot dead in a suspected hit in 2003.

Image:Security is tight outside the courthouse, as Guzman has escaped from prison twice

Mr Martinez said Guzman had been the cartel's boss and would "give all of us orders".

He described for the jury the scale of drug shipments that Guzman was involved in, saying that the largest he saw involved 10 planes, each carrying hundreds of kilograms of the drug.

He said that the shipment, which landed on a hidden airstrip, had made Guzman "very happy".

Mr Martinez said he and Guzman became so close that the drug lord became godfather to his son.

He told the court that Guzman had been born into a poor family and had gone into the drug trade because "he didn't have anything to eat".

Mr Martinez was testifying under an agreement with prosecutors and sketch artists in court were ordered by the judge not to draw him accurately for his own safety.

The trial, in its third week, has already heard that he paid many millions of dollars in bribes to other top officials.

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 09:27

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Donald Trump tells Mexico to send migrants home, claiming 'many' are 'stone cold criminals'

Donald Trump has insisted migrants heading towards the US are "not coming in" as he demanded Mexico be responsible for sending those seeking asylum in America back to their home countries.

The US president's threat comes a day after American authorities closed the country's busiest southern border crossing and fired tear gas into crowds.

Officials reopened the crossing at the San Ysidro port of entry between San Diego and Tijuana on Sunday after shutting it down for several hours. It is the most heavily trafficked land border in the western hemisphere.

President Trump threatened to shut the 2,000-mile (3,200km) US-Mexico border down once more this morning.

He tweeted: "Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries.

"Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!"

The tweet comes as 42 migrants were arrested on the US side of the Mexico border, according to a San Diego Sector Border Patrol official.

Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott told CNN "numerous" people had made it across the border on Sunday, adding that most of those who were detained were men.

Sunday's confrontation at the border occurred where there is already a physical barrier.

Hundreds of people - including women and children - had been protesting and chanting "we aren't criminals! We are hard workers".

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 09:24

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Racing driver Sophia Floersch flies home after 170mph horror crash

Sophia Floersch has flown home to Germany after undergoing surgery on her fractured spine following a serious crash at the Macau Grand Prix.

The 17-year-old German racing driver said she "can't wait" for a new chapter to begin following the successful operation.

In the race on 18 November, Floersch appeared to lose control of her car as she approached a tight right-hand corner at 170mph.

The vehicle went airborne before crashing into fences, leaving Floersch with a spinal fracture.

In a statement on social media, she said: "Today I am flying back home. Really happy to see all my family and friends in the next days again.

"I am still overwhelmed by all the support I got from you fans all around the world.

"A big thank you goes to all people in Macau especially the guys in the hospital, Dr. Lau, Dr. Chan, Mr. Lei Wai Seng, Maria Elisa Goncalves, angel Sulanir Goncalves Pacheco and all wonderful nurses.

"The complete Macau GP organisation, Patrick, Dr. Ceccarelli, @hwaag_official and @mercedesamgf1 did a perfect job just by helping so friendly in every kind of way.

"I celebrated my 2nd birthday on the 18.11.2018 in Macau.......Now a new chapter starts and I can't wait for it to begin.
Let's focus on 2019."

Ensuring fans she will be making a racing comeback, Floersch signed off the message with the hashtags #poweredbypassion #racegirl, #season2019 and #bestteamVAR.

Floersch is expected to return to the sport after the successful operation, according to her Van Amersfoot racing team principal.

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 09:17

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Controversy as researcher claims to have created world's first 'gene-edited' babies

A researcher who claims to have helped create the world's first genetically edited babies has been placed under investigation by health authorities.

He Jiankui released five videos on Monday saying he had used a gene-editing technology to alter the DNA of embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one woman giving birth this month.

The claim could not be independently verified and was met with scepticism across the scientific community.

Mr He, a researcher at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in the city of Shenzhen, said the woman had given birth to twin girls, known as Lulu and Nana.

The girls had their genes edited so they can resist being infected with HIV, the AIDS virus, said Mr He, who studied at Stanford and Rice universities in the US.

The couples involved in the gene-editing technology, known as CRISPR-Cas9, refused to be identified.

If the claim, first reported by the Associated Press news agency, is found to be true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics.

US scientist Michael Deem, who was Mr He's adviser at Rice in Houston, said he worked with him on the controversial project but there has been no independent verification yet, with no peer-reviewed journal published on his claims.

After Mr He posted the videos on YouTube, SUSTech said it had been unaware of the research project and Mr He has been on leave without pay for a number of years and will be until 2021.

The work is a "serious violation of academic ethics and standards", it said, adding that the research had been carried out outside the university.

Shenzhen's health and planning commission said they were investigating the claims; if found to be true, it would mean Mr He has broken the law.

Mr He said the babies were born through regular IVF but using an egg which was modified before being inserted into the womb.

The scientific community has engaged in a heated debate over his revelation as the controversial practice means the changes would be passed down to future generations and could eventually affect the entire gene pool.

An article published by industry journal The MIT Technology Review, referencing medical documents posted online by Mr He's research team to recruit couples, warned that "the technology is ethically charged".

A group of 100 scientists in China have released a joint statement criticising the findings and calling for better state legislation.

"It is a great blow to the global reputation and development of biomedical research in China," said the statement posted on China's version of Twitter, Weibo.

"It is extremely unfair to the vast majority of Chinese scholars who are diligent in scientific research and innovation."

Scientists from around the world backed up their indignation.

Professor Joyce Harper, professor in genetics and human embryology at London's UCL, called the case "premature, dangerous and irresponsible".

British geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford said that, even aside from the ethical implications, he was "extremely sceptical" about Mr He's claim.

Editing DNA is highly controversial and is only allowed in the US and UK in laboratory research.

In September 2017 the practice of altering human embryos' blueprint for life was successfully carried out in the UK for the first time.

Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London modified 41 embryos, donated by couples who no longer needed them for IVF, to help them explain what goes wrong in infertility.

Instead of altering a gene, they turned off a genetic instruction essential for early embryo development to see how that affected growth.

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 09:14

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Elon Musk: Tesla was within weeks of going bust this year over Model 3 production target

Elon Musk has admitted Tesla was within weeks of going bust earlier this year as it attempted to increase its electric car production.

Tesla's chief executive said the company was "bleeding money like crazy" after he promised to produce 5,000 Model 3 vehicles a week by the end of June this year.

"Essentially, the company was bleeding money like crazy, and if we didn't solve these problems in a very short period of time, we would die," the 47-year-old entrepreneur told HBO.

"And it was extremely difficult to solve them."

At the time the billionaire revealed he was at the factory 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and only sleeping for two hours to ensure his self-imposed target was met.

"People should not work this hard. This is very painful," the South African-born tech industry leader said.

"It hurts my brain and my heart.

"It hurts. It is not recommended for anyone. I just did it because if I didn't do it... there was a good chance Tesla would die."

In the same interview Mr Musk said there was a 70% chance he will go to Mars - and expects that he would "move there".

Tesla eventually reached its 5,000 a week target for the cheaper mass market model in June, but at a cost of $739.5m (£565.2m) in cash.

Mr Musk was forced to step down as Tesla's chairman, but remains as chief executive, after he was accused by US regulators of writing "false and misleading" tweets about potentially taking the company private.

The US securities and exchange commission (SEC) fined him and his company $20m (£15m) each after he told his 22m Twitter followers in August that he might take Tesla private at $420 per share and that there was "funding secured".

But the SEC said Mr Musk had not discussed or confirmed key deal terms, including price, with any funding source.

Mr Musk's tweets caused Tesla's stock price to jump by more than 7% on 7 August and led to "significant market disruption", the regulator said.

ruby Posted on November 27, 2018 09:11

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How to earn Bitcoin (BTC) and different ways to make cryptocurrency online without buying into it or mining!

How to start earning a Bitcoin income online

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency was never meant to be something for rich people and miners to hoard and profit off of.

Bitcoin is a currency for the world that anyone should be able to have access to.

Follow my steemit blog and I will show you how ANYONE can earn Bitcoin and Crypto online, from your phone, or even the public library.

Here is one option that I suggest trying out if you have a few minutes a day and don't want to spend any money to get started earning your crypto income.

Stay tuned to learn how to re-invest your earnings into something called masternodes, learn how to trade effectively, and how to mine crypto without having expensive equipment.

Cryptocurrency was not meant to be something that only miners and people with a lot of money have access to and that is why I am even talking about this.

In this video we show you how -anyone- can earn Bitcoin (BTC) on the Cointiply platform.

We will be documenting our progress and started this mine about 3 days ago.

If you discovered about cointiply through my video or found my video helpful then please use my link to sign up so that we can get rich, together :P

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Decryp70 Posted on November 26, 2018 22:27

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Former Swansea City defender Kevin Austin dies aged 45

Former Swansea City defender Kevin Austin has died at the age of 45 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Austin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and passed away on Friday night.

The Scunthorpe United youth coach, who played as a central defender or at left-back, was a rock in the Swans defence when he played for them between 2004 and 2008.

In a statement on the club website, it read: "The Swans have been in touch with Kevin's family, who wished to convey that the club always had a special place in his heart.

"They wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and support, but have requested that their privacy is respected at this sad time."

Austin helped the club win promotion from League Two in their final year at Vetch Field during the 2004/05 season.

He was also part of the squad that lifted the League One title under Roberto Martinez in 2007/08 as well as the 2006 Football League Trophy.

Austin helped the club win promotion from League Two in their final year at Vetch Field during the 2004/05 season.

He was also part of the squad that lifted the League One title under Roberto Martinez in 2007/08 as well as the 2006 Football League Trophy.

In total, Austin made 150 appearances during his four-year spell with Swansea and also gained seven international caps for Trinidad and Tobago.

The London-born player also played for Leyton Orient, Lincoln City, Barnsley, Brentford, Cambridge United, Bristol Rovers and Darlington.

ruby Posted on November 26, 2018 15:58

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Ex-Chelsea star Gianluca Vialli reveals year-long battle with cancer

Former Chelsea star Gianluca Vialli has revealed a year-long battle with cancer, but says he is now doing "very well".

The Italian, 54, said he had undergone eight months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy.

He said he initially tried to hide his illness, even wearing a sweater under his shirt so nobody would notice the weight loss.

Eventually, he chose to reveal it in a new book, hoping his experience might inspire others to fight.

"I'm fine now, very well indeed," Vialli told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

"It's been a year and I'm back to having a strong physique. But I still have no certainty of how this match will end."

Vialli, who now works for Sky Sport Italia as a pundit, was one of the biggest stars of his generation.

He won the Serie A and the Champions League with the Italian powerhouse Juventus before signing for Chelsea in 1996.

Vialli won the FA Cup as a player at Stamford Bridge and was named player-manager following the sacking of Ruud Gullit in February 1998 - leading the Blues to victory in the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup the same year.

Chelsea sent Vialli well-wishes in a tweet, saying; "We love this guy. Best wishes from all of us at Chelsea to Gianluca Vialli. We're all thinking of you, Luca."

In the interview, Vialli said the disease initially gave him a sense of shame.

"I knew it was going to be hard to have to tell others, to tell my family. You would never want to hurt the people who love you", he said.

"If gives you a sense of shame, as if it is your fault. I would wear a sweater under my shirt so others did not notice anything, that I would still be the Vialli they knew."

Eventually, he said, he came to consider it "a phase of my life that had to be lived with courage and from which to learn something".

He added: "Life is 10% what happens to us, 90% how we face up to it.

"I hope my story can inspire other people at difficult times in their life."

ruby Posted on November 26, 2018 15:07

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What is palm oil and why is it damaging?

As the petition to release Iceland's TV Christmas advert tops a million signatures, we look at why palm oil is so controversial.

Last week, it was announced the supermarket's main Christmas advert would not make it to air.

The Greenpeace-made advert chronicles the plight of the critically endangered orangutan, whose habitat is being destroyed by the production of palm oil.

It was blocked by Clearcast - the body responsible for clearing ads before broadcast - for being too political.

Clearcast says on its website: "An advertisement contravenes the prohibition on political advertising if it is:

"An advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature."

Voiced by actress Emma Thompson, the animated short film talks about the destruction of the rainforest.

Earlier this year, Iceland committed to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods by the end of 2018.

Claire Bass, UK executive director of Humane Society International, told Sky News: "Orangutans not only have their forest homes destroyed, but they can also be directly killed by palm oil workers in efforts to clear the land.

"We're losing these great apes at the rate of 25 every single day, so we either act now or lose them forever."

The story touched millions of people who took the time to sign the petition, started by Mark Topps.

Mr Topps told Sky News: "I first watched the advert with my five-year-old daughter and it sparked a conversation about the rainforest.

"The petition has raised awareness and spreading the message of sustainability within the palm oil trade and ensuring that companies are held accountable and that we can protect and preserve our environment and the wildlife within it."

Despite palm oil being in most of the products we use every day, not everyone is aware of what exactly it is, what the problem with it is, and why it's used so much.

What is palm oil?

It is the most popular type of vegetable oil derived from palm oil fruit.

About half of all the products you can buy in a supermarket contain palm oil.

It's in shampoos, cosmetics, chocolate, crisps, cleaning products, cereals, protein bars - to name a few.

Palm oil is not always listed as such on a product's ingredients.

A lot of products contain derivatives of the oil itself, but it's still palm oil.

Alternative names include azelaic acid, cocoa butter equivalent, glycerin and anything that contains the word "palm".

What does it have to do with the orangutan?

The mass production of palm oil is linked to deforestation, habitat loss, climate change and animal cruelty.

Orangutans have become critically endangered, as forests are bulldozed to make way for palm oil plantations.

After palm oil plantations are established, scores of orangutans are displaced.

Hungry and out of their natural habitat, they try to find food in plantation areas.

They are often killed in order to protect the plantation sites.

More than 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years.

Ms Bass says: "Most palm oil is produced in Indonesia, home to critically endangered orangutans, as well as rhinos, tigers and their unique ecosystems.

"There is a also growing concern that palm oil production will soon expand to Africa and threaten the habitats and primate species there."

If it's so bad, why is it so popular?

It's popular because it's high yield, so it's cheap to produce.

About 80% of the world's supply of palm oil is produced by Indonesia and Malaysia.

Most of the world's palm oil is produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia, but to devastating effects.

It is Indonesia's third largest export earner.

So should consumers boycott products containing palm oil?

No. Palm oil can be grown without destroying rainforests, so if you opt for products which contain sustainable palm oil there is no need to boycott anything, just alter your choices.

As long as the product is certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which has become the globally recognised standard for sustainable palm oil, it means it has been produced according to a specific criteria.

Why can't a less harmful vegetable oil be mass produced instead?

It would basically be replacing one problem with another.


ruby Posted on November 26, 2018 15:01

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Matthew Hedges released after being pardoned by UAE

British academic Matthew Hedges has been released from prison despite the United Arab Emirates claiming he was a member of MI6 and was spying on military systems.

Mr Hedges' whereabouts is not yet known but a UAE official confirmed his release following a news conference announcing that he had been pardoned earlier on Monday.

At the news conference, an official showed a video - seen by Sky News - purporting to show Mr Hedges confessing to the charges against him, in which he said he was a member of MI6.

The UAE claimed it had evidence he was collecting sensitive economic data and information on its military.

The official said the Durham University researcher was approaching sources as a PhD student to gain access to information but maintained that he was "100% a full-time secret service operative".

He said the data Mr Hedges collected went "far beyond" academic research.

Despite the claims, Mr Hedges, who was arrested at Dubai Airport as he tried to leave the country on 5 May, was issued a "presidential pardon" with immediate effect.

He is to be released alongside 784 other prisoners as part of the UAE's 47th National Day. Officials said he would leave the country after relevant procedures had been completed.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the pardon was "fantastic news" but said the UK did not agree with the charges lodged against the 31-year-old, who is from Exeter.

He wrote: "Fantastic news about Matthew Hedges. Although we didn't agree with charges we are grateful to UAE govt for resolving issue speedily.

"But also a bittersweet moment as we remember Nazanin & other innocent ppl detained in Iran. Justice won't be truly done until they too are safely home."

Mr Hedges' wife Daniela Tejada welcomed the news and said she "cannot wait to have Matt back home".

In a statement, she said: "The presidential pardon for Matt is the best news we could have received. Our six plus months of nightmare are finally over and to say we are elated is an understatement.

"That he is returning home to me and the rest of his family is much more than I was ever expecting to happen this week.

"I thank you all for your support. Without the involvement of the media, the overwhelming support of academics, the public worldwide, the work of the British diplomatic body in the UAE and Secretary Hunt's intervention, this would have never happened."

The presidential pardon for Matt is the best news we could’ve received. Thank you friends, family, media, academics, and the wider public for your undivided support - I’ve been brought back to life.

The release comes after Ms Tejada told Sky News she was "hopeful" a plea for clemency to the United Arab Emirates would secure his release, even though he had been handed a life sentence.

She previously spoke after the UAE's ambassador to the UK, Sulaiman Almazroui, revealed it was considering an appeal from Mr Hedges' family as he expressed the hope that an "amicable solution" could be reached.

He insisted the conviction of Mr Hedges for spying in the UAE was not the result of a show trial and argued the evidence in the case had been "compelling".

Following the pardon, the country's foreign minister, Dr Anwar Gargash, said the move would allow the UK and UAE to "return our focus to the underlying fundamental strength of the UAE-UK bilateral relationship".

According to the WAM Emirates news agency, he added: "It was always a UAE hope that this matter would be resolved through the common channels of our long-standing partnership. This was a straightforward matter that became unnecessarily complex despite the UAE's best efforts."

Professor Stuart Corbridge, vice chancellor of Durham University, said he was "absolutely delighted" at the development.

"We will continue to offer Matt's family our full support in the aftermath of this traumatic ordeal and we will be thrilled to welcome him back to the Durham University community," he added.

University of Durham's Professor John Williams told Sky News of his "great relief" and "delight" at the release of Mr Hedges.

ruby Posted on November 26, 2018 14:58

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Bernardo Bertolucci: Last Tango In Paris director dies aged 77

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, who won nine Oscars for The Last Emperor and shocked the world with Last Tango In Paris, has died aged 77.

Bertolucci passed away at his home in Rome after illness, surrounded by his family, Italian state media agency RAI said.

His press office confirmed his death in an email to The Associated Press.

His 1987 masterpiece The Last Emperor, the story of Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China, won all nine Oscars it had been nominated for, including best movie and best director.

Bertolucci's films often explored the sexual relations of characters stuck in a psychological crisis, such as the controversial Last Tango In Paris.

He was born in the northern Italian town of Parma in 1941, the son of poet Attilio Bertolucci, and studied at Rome University and, despite winning an award for his own poetry aged 21, he decided to become a film-maker.

After working as assistant director to Pier Paolo Pasolini on the film Accattone in 1961, he directed his first movie, La Commare Secca, a year later.

Before The Revolution, which was released in 1971, received an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay.

The following year, Bertolucci earned an Oscar nomination for best director for Last Tango In Paris, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. The movie was banned in Italy and only released 15 years later.

In the film, a sexual drama, Brando's character famously uses butter as a lubricant before forcing himself on her.

Schneider, who was just 19 during filming, later said she was traumatised by the movie and that the butter scene had not been in the script and had been included without warning.

"Marlon said to me: 'Maria, don't worry, it's just a movie,' but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn't real, I was crying real tears," she told the Daily Mail in 2007.

"I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci."

A self-professed Marxist, Bertolucci did not shy away from politics and ideology and some critics consider 1970's The Conformist his best work.

The story of a sexually confused would-be fascist trying to fit in in 1938 Rome inspired many film-makers, including modern cinema giants such as Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.

He in turn was inspired by Italian predecessors Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini, and his releases also bore the imprint of his own experiences in psychoanalysis.

His other credits include The Sheltering Sky, featuring Debra Winger and John Malkovich; Little Buddha, with Keanu Reeves as Siddharta; Stealing Beauty starring Liv Tyler.

Bertolucci's work was famous for its lush and vivid visuals, thanks in no small part to his regular director of photography, Vittorio Storaro, who also worked on Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Warren Beatty's Reds.

Bertolucci often described movie-making as his way of communicating with the audience. It was his personal language.

"Maybe I'm an idealist, but I still think of the movie theatre as a cathedral where we all go together to dream the dream together," he said.

Unusually for his chosen field, he enjoyed critical success for most of his career and in 2011 he was honoured for lifetime achievement at the Cannes Film Festival.

ruby Posted on November 26, 2018 14:47

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