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Humanity is ‘cutting down the tree of life’, warn scientists

Humanity’s ongoing annihilation of wildlife is cutting down the tree of life, including the branch we are sitting on, according to a stark new analysis.

More than 300 different mammal species have been eradicated by human activities. The new research calculates the total unique evolutionary history that has been lost as a result at a startling 2.5bn years.

Red panda / lesser panda (Ailurus fulgens) native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. (Photo by: Arterra/UIG via Getty Images) Furthermore, even if the destruction of wild areas, poaching and pollution were ended within 50 years and extinction rates fell back to natural levels, it would still take 5-7 million years for the natural world to recover.

Many scientists think a sixth mass extinction of life on Earth has begun, propelled by human destruction of wildlife, and 83% of wild mammals have already gone. The new work puts this in the context of the evolution and extinction of species that occurred for billions of years before modern humans arrived.

“We are doing something that will last millions of years beyond us,” said Matt Davis at Aarhus University in Denmark, who led the new research. “It shows the severity of what we are in right now. We’re entering what could be an extinction on the scale of what killed the dinosaurs.

Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) endangered species, Atlantic Forest, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by: Kike Calvo/UIG via Getty Images) “That is pretty scary. We are starting to cut down the whole tree [of life], including the branch we are sitting on right now.” Ecosystems around the world have already been significantly affected by the extermination of big animals such as mammoths, he said.

The new research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, did not simply add up the number of lost species, as this fails to capture how unique each species is in evolutionary terms.

Instead, the researchers added up the amount of time each lost species had spent evolving since it emerged, a measure called phylogenetic diversity. There are hundreds of species of shrew, for example, but just two species of elephant. Losing elephants would therefore be like chopping a large branch off the tree of life, said Davis, whereas losing a shrew species would be like trimming off a small twig.

© 2017 Wolfgang Kaehler MONGOLIA - 2017/09/21: A group of Przewalski's horses (Takhi), an endangered species, in Hustain Nuruu National Park, Mongolia. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images) From the rise of modern humans to the year 1500,2bn years of evolutionary history was lost due to mammal extinctions, the researchers calculated. Since 1500, another 500m years has been lost. If the current high rate of extinctions continues for 50 years, a further 1.8bn years of phylogenetic diversity will disappear, the scientists found.

There are still many mammal species left, but all of these would have to evolve for 5-7m years into the future to get back to the level of diversity present before modern humans arrived, the researchers estimated.

Davis said each lost species had its own intrinsic value, but the loss of the most distinct creatures was most damaging: “Typically, if you have something that is off by itself, it does some job that no other species is doing.”

The losses are already affecting ecosystems, he said, particularly the vanishing of “megafauna”. These huge creatures roamed much of Earth until humans arrived and included giant cats, deer, beavers and armadillos.

“We are now living in a world without giants,” said Davis. “So the seeds of big fruit are not dispersed any more because we don’t have mammoths or gomphotheres or giant ground sloths eating those fruits.” Another example, he said, is the widespread loss of wolves. This means smaller predators like coyotes thrive and more birds are killed, radically changing food chains.

Davis said the estimated recovery times for phylogenetic diversity are conservative: “We have no reason to assume we will ever be able to bring extinction rates back down to normal background levels.” The team only looked at mammals, as they are well studied, but extinctions in other animals are just as high.

The new work did allow the researchers to identify highly endangered species with long evolutionary histories, Davis said: “This highlights species we should try to save and could help us prioritise conservation.” The black rhino, the red panda and the indri – a large lemur – are among those highlighted.

© JOUAN/RIUS/GAMMA-RAPHO Pour signaler son territoire au groupe voisin, l'indri lance une longue plainte qui s'entend ? plusieurs kilom?tres. (Photo by JOUAN/RIUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Prof Douglas Futuyma at Stony Brook University in the US, who was not part of the research team, said: “They have made a dramatic and convincing statement of how much evolutionary diversity has already been lost. The most important point is one that I believe is already widely recognised: humans are extinguishing not only many species, but many kinds of species.” He said that while overall evolutionary distinctiveness can be recovered over time, particular species – such as elephants – would never re-evolve if lost.

“We are not merely trimming the terminal twigs of the tree of life, we are lopping off entire limbs,” said Prof Stuart Pimm at Duke University, also in the US, who said the research used better data than earlier work. However, he said prioritising distinctive species was hard in practice, as it is usually overall habitats that are protected. “There’s a lot of armchair conservationists out there,” he said.

Gallery: Species that have gone extinct in our lifetime (Provided by Photo Services)

khojho Posted on October 16, 2018 07:48

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There's a good chance you're a victim of credit card scams and you don't even know it — here's what to do

Credit card fraud is on the rise — and so are the different types of credit card scams. Credit card scammers are getting smarter, employing all sorts of tricks to obtain your personal information. Here's what to do to protect yourself.


Are you a victim of a credit card scam?

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)


  • Credit card fraud is on the rise — and so are the different types of credit card scams.
  • Credit card scammers are getting smarter — they use all sorts of tricks, from phony phone calls and emails to credit card skimmers and Wi-Fi hotspots— to obtain your personal information.
  • You could be a victim of a credit card scam and not even know it.
  • If you find a fraudulent charge on your credit card, the first thing you should do is contact your credit card company immediately.

Credit card criminals are getting smarter, and you could be at risk.

Last year, found that credit card fraud was on the rise. But it's not just the number of fraud cases occurring — the types of credit card scams are increasingly varied.

Traditionally, criminals steal credit cards or use a lost or stolen one. Now, thieves can sell authentication information like ZIP codes along with stolen card numbers on the web, according to And they're becoming more clever about how they obtain that information.

"[There is] the constant stream of phishing attacks we receive where someone is trying to lure us into providing passwords so they can steal funds or commit identity theft," Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at BankRate, the parent company of, told Business Insider.

"This includes the seemingly endless number of robocalls that we get over cell phones, fraudulently urging us to call to lower our credit card rate or answer in response to a problem with the IRS that doesn't actually exist," he said.

Other credit card scam calls, according to, can involve scammers notifying you of "suspicious charges" on your account or acting as your utility company, pretending that you're behind on your bills. You should also be wary when you're on vacation — scammers can call your hotel phone pretending that there was a problem with the hotel's computer system, asking you to provide your credit card information again.

But scams aren't just restricted to phone calls. With the rise of EMV chip-enabled credit cards, scammers are now sending emails asking you to update your information before receiving your EMV Card.

Providing your credit card details in any of these scenarios is all a scammer needs to commit credit card fraud. But they can also carry out scams without any effort on your part, unbeknownst to you.

Wi-Fi hot spots are common these days, but beware: scammers can create a free Wi-Fi hot spot without a password — if you connect to one and access your credit card online, they can steal your login details and possibly your credit card information if you make a purchase. They can also counterfeit credit cards by obtaining your credit card information with a skimmer, which often go undetected by consumers.

Once they have your personal info, fraudsters can do everything from calling your credit card company or bank posing as you and claiming the card was lost or stolen to filling out fraudulent credit card applications (a form of identity theft) and making purchases.

There's also been a rise in card-not-present fraud, according to This is when fraudsters make purchases with your name and card number, but not your actual card — think online orders. When you have your credit card in your possession, you can be completely unaware of this.

Here's what to do if you unknowingly find yourself to be a victim of a credit card scam.

1. Practice vigilance


1. Practice vigilance

(Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)


First things first, you should try to protect yourself from being scammed — or at least set yourself up with the proper tools to detect a scam early on. Vigilance is key, Hamrick says.

"One painless strategy is to download your bank's mobile apps that help us keep track of all credit and debit card transactions," Hamrick said, adding that you should avoid third-party apps. Set up mobile alerts for your transactions: "The best game plan to is to know when transactions are hitting your accounts."

He also suggests having an emergency savings account through a separate debit card or credit card. "[It] helps bridge the time gap that it takes to get a replacement card mailed if and when you have a problem with fraud on the account you use to conduct most of your personal purchases," he said.



2. Contact your credit card company


2. Contact your credit card company

(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)


As soon as you notice something's off, take action. "If you see something that doesn't look right, get in touch with your provider or financial services firm right away," Hamrick said.

Many credit card companies also have zero-liability policies, meaning you won't be responsible for fraudulent charges.

Credit cards also have great federal protection. Legally, credit-card users are only liable for up to $50 of unauthorized or fraudulent charges if the activity occurs before you report it missing, Business Insider previously reported. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if you report a lost or stolen card before it's used, the card company can't hold you responsible.

And even if your credit card isn't linked to your bank, you should still alert them — they can help you monitor your accounts and report suspicious activity.



3. Contact the credit bureaus and FTC


3. Contact the credit bureaus and FTC

(Daniel M Ernst/Shutterstock)


If you're a victim of identity theft, in which a criminal is using your personal information to commit fraud (such as applying for a credit card in your name), you need to alert the credit bureaus and place a "fraud alert" on your credit reports before contacting your credit card company, recommends

"Fraud alerts can stop a thief from opening additional accounts in your name, and also contact you before any new account is opened or an existing account is changed," according to "Note that one call to any of the three credit bureaus will be enough to place your fraud alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two. Within twenty-four hours, all three of the bureaus will be alerted."

You should also file a police report as well as a report with the Federal Trade Commission, who "can assist you in developing a 'recovery plan' to prevent further loss and get things squared away with the police and credit bureaus as necessary," according to



4. Change online passwords and PIN numbers


4. Change online passwords and PIN numbers

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


To prevent further fraudulent transactions, try to control the ways criminals can use your credit card by changing your online passwords and pin numbers.

This isn't limited to your bank account and the vulnerable credit card in question — you should also unlink it from any online websites (think Amazon) or bill pay sites (think PayPal) that it's currently linked to and change all online shopping passwords.

And don't forget to check and see if those shopping accounts have been compromised.



5. Monitor activity


5. Monitor activity

(WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock)


The first sign of credit fraud may not be your last — you'll need to monitor your bank and credit card statements for a while.

"Fraudulent charges can keep appearing on your card statements months after your card information is stolen if there was any additional information, such as login credentials, that may have been compromised," according to

You can also sign up for a credit card monitoring service that will help you track credit card reports, notifying you of suspicious activity (but don't choose one without a bit of background research).

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 12:38

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Khabib calls out FLOYD MAYWEATHER in boasting clip: 'There's only one king'

Khabib forced the Irishman into submission last weekend.

The contest was marred by a wild post-fight brawl, with Khabib climbing over the Octagon to attack a member of McGregor's team.

Now the Russian wants to fight the undefeated Mayweather, who himself pummelled McGregor with a 10th round stoppage last year.

He hasn't fought since, and Khabib has demanded a mega showdown between them.

In footage, Khabib is heard saying: "Let's go Floyd we have to fight now – 50-0 vs 27-0 – two guys who never lose. Let's go, why not?

"Because in the jungle there is only one king. Only one king.

"Of course I am the king because he could not drop McGregor and I dropped him easily. Let's go."

Standing next to him is Mayweather's promoter Leonard Ellerbe, who shakes his hand and says: "You'll get some of that work, baby."


CHALLENGE: Khabib calls out Floyd Mayweather


BRUTAL: Khabib beats Floyd Mayweather

It is not clear if he was asking for a fight in the form of boxing or UFC.

Both Khabib and McGregor will await their fate from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who have temporarily suspended both fighters.

Mayweather retired after the McGregor fight with a stellar 50-0 record, after a stunning career that spanned five weight divisions.

Rumours have swirled that he may fancy giving UFC a go, but talk has so far come to no avail.


jmparker Posted on October 15, 2018 11:33

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McDonald's lad killed by Storm Callum landslide after getting off bus to work

Corey Sharpling, 21, died when a landslide hit the A484 road in Cwmduad near Carmarthen, Wales on Saturday.

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed his identity today.

His family said: “We are heartbroken at the tragic loss of our beautiful son.”

Corey was reported to have been watching a rescue operation during the height of Storm Callum on his way to his job at McDonald's.


FREAK ACCIDENT: Corey was hit by falling rocks and rubble in a landslide caused by Storm Callum

It comes as this month is predicted to be the wettest October ever

A woman who lived nearby said: "There was a loud rumble as some of the valley side slipped down the hill.

"This poor lad was hit by the full force of it, he didn't stand a chance.

"It was a freak accident, if he'd stayed on the bus he would have been fine."

The bus was stuck in a queue of traffic waiting for council workers to cut the fallen tree up and clear the road.


HORRENDOUS: Witnesses said there was a 'loud rumble' when part of the valley collapsed

He got off the bus after a tree came down blocking the road and causing a lorry to be swept into a nearby river.

He was watching the drama unfold when he was hit by a huge landslide of rocks and earth falling onto the road.

Corey's heartbroken girlfriend Marsha Spittle, 18, said on Facebook: "Today I lost the love of my life – he was everything I always wanted.

"You have sadly been taken from me and your family by a terrible accident earlier tonight.


SORELY MISSED: Corey has been mourned by his heartbroken girlfriend

"I want you to know that I will always love you forever and always."

The branch of McDonald's in Carmarthen confirmed a much-loved member of staff had been killed in the tragedy.

Council workers were chopping up the tree blocking the A484 at Cwmduad, Carmarthenshire, when the accident happened.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: "Officers continue to deal with a landslide where tragically a man has died.

"His family are being supported by specially trained officers."


UNDERWATER: Fields covered in flood water after Storm Callum hit the town of Carmarthen

Storm Callum brought the worst flooding to the region in 30 years.

A search was launched yesterday afternoon after reports that a man had fallen into the swollen waters of the River Taff in Cardiff.

A helicopter, police and coastguards were at the scene.

Large parts of South and West Wales were under water and police to stay off the road unless their journeys were absolutely necessary.

The picturesque town of Crickhowell, Powys, was turned into an island as all access roads were under several feet of water when the River Usk burst its banks.

More than 100 sheep were killed in Carmarthen when the flock was swept away by torrential flood water.


jmparker Posted on October 15, 2018 11:12

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What began as a tongue-in-cheek April Fools’ Day joke has evolved into one of the smallest republics in the world, with its own government, constitution and currency.

Residents say that if you stare into the eyes of the Užupis Mermaid as you cross the bridge into the tiny, self-declared Republic of Užupis from the surrounding Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, you’ll never want to leave. Created in 2002 by sculptor Romas Vil?iauskas, the bronze figure welcomes visitors to the tiny republic – and locals claim that it is she who lures them here from all over the globe.


The Republic of Užupis covers less than 1 sq km within the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius (Credit: Leonard Saw)


You may also be interested in:
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• Are Lithuanians obsessed with bees?

Located within the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, Užupis is one of the smallest republics in the world, covering less than 1 sq km. But don’t be fooled by its size – it boasts its own president, government, constitution and currency, and even has a navy consisting of three or four small boats (used mainly for ceremonial purposes). Until recently, it also had an army of around 10 men, but given the republic’s peace-loving attitude, it has been retired.

Užupis is an eclectic juxtaposition of Soviet Bloc architecture and artistic flair. Following the fall of the USSR in the early 1990s, many plinths that had held statues of Soviet icons stood empty across Vilnius. In 1995, a group of local artists used one of them to erect a statue of US rock icon Frank Zappa (despite the fact he had never been there) as a symbol of freedom and a call to democracy. Two years later, on 1 April 1997, they went a step further, declaring their neighbourhood of Užupis independent from the rest of Lithuania. Although Užupis is not recognised by foreign governments as an official nation, the micro-nation has become a source of pride in Vilnius and throughout Lithuania.

Meaning ‘beyond the river’ in Lithuanian, Užupis is separated from the rest of the city by the Vilnele River. The republic celebrates its independence annually on 1 April, known locally as Užupis Day. On this day, travellers can get their passports stamped as they cross the bridge into the republic (every other day, the border is not guarded), use the local (unofficial) currency and treat themselves to the beer that flows from the water spout in the main square (yes, really).


Residents say that if you stare into the eyes of the Užupis Mermaid as you enter the republic, you’ll never want to leave (Credit: mauritius images GmbH/Alamy)


What essentially began as a tongue-in-cheek April Fools’ Day joke for a small group of creatives is now a serious endeavour. Today, the Republic of Užupis has a constitution that has been translated into multiple languages. 

Užupis’ Foreign Minister Tomas ?epaitis, one of the micro-nation’s founding fathers, explained that the republic was born from Aristotle’s philosophy that any great city should have a limited number of inhabitants. “We wanted to create our new little country based on the old thought that a good country can have no more than 5,000 citizens, because the human mind can’t remember more faces [than that],” he said. “Everybody knows everybody, so it’s hard to cheat and hard to manipulate each other.”

The republic’s flag sports what’s known as the ‘Holy Hand’: a blue hand with a hole in the middle, making it unable to accept bribes.

“The main thing is we have nothing to hide in our hands,” Užupis’ Tourism Minister Kestas Lukoskinas, who has lived in the area for 18 years, told me.


Although it began as an April Fools’ Day joke, Užupis now has its own government, constitution and currency (Credit: Ana Flašker/Alamy)


?epaitis said he and his fellow co-founders wanted to create a place where people could disconnect from the distractions of modern life and reconnect with what’s important. “If you cross the bridge, you can become yourself. You don’t play any social role, you don’t belong to anyone, you belong to yourself. You can think about who you are and you can live without being part of that mad race that all of humanity is involved in.”

Lukoskinas agrees. “The atmosphere in Užupis is completely different,” he said. “You feel happier and more relaxed. You can go into the pub and meet the mayor of the city, or a famous basketball player or a famous artist, and everybody is just chilling. Anywhere else you go to posh bars and to posh restaurants, [and] there are restrictions, there’s a protocol, which is absent in Užupis.”

While the republic’s conception story is a light-hearted affair, the area’s history is not. During the mid-20th Century when the region was under Soviet rule, the district was derelict; a dangerous part of town for the brave or the foolish. One of neighbourhood’s main thoroughfares, Užupis Street, was once nicknamed ‘the Street of Death’, not only due to the high crime rate but also in recognition of the neighbourhood’s Jewish population, which was decimated during the Holocaust. Today, however, the winding cobbled streets feature quirky art installations and a renewed sense of life.


The symbol of Užupis is the Holy Hand, a blue hand with a hole in the middle, making it unable to accept bribes (Credit: Hemis/Alamy)


Once independence was secured in 1997, a constitution soon followed. The creed was penned by ?epaitis and Užupis President Romas Lileikis in just three hours one summer afternoon in 1998.

“We had just declared a republic, and then he [Lileikis] visited me because he had no hot water, which is why there is a clause about hot water,” said ?epaitis, referring to the second article of the constitution, which states that everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof. “After he had a bath, we thought we now have a republic so we need some document, so we sat and wrote it.”

If you cross the bridge, you can become yourself

The constitution’s 41 clauses encapsulate the essence of Užupis’ ideals of free thought, with points such as ‘Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation’ and ‘Everyone has the right to understand’, as well as, confusingly, ‘Everyone has the right to understand nothing’. Even the republic’s pets are mentioned, with clauses such as ‘a dog has a right to be a dog’, and ‘a cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in times of need’.

“I wrote about the cats, because I am a cat man. [Lileikis] wrote about the dogs, because he is a dog man,” ?epaitis explained. It is a poetic balance.

The charter, printed on large mirrored rectangles, hangs along the road known locally as the Avenue of Constitutions. More than 30 of these metal plates now line the wall, with Latin being the latest language to be hung – it was blessed by the Pope himself during his visit to the Baltics in September. The Avenue of Constitutions leads to the centre of the republic, where a statue of Archangel Gabriel, ‘The Angel of Užupis’, was erected in 2002 as a symbol of growth and rebirth, his trumpet heralding a new free-thinking age for the nation. 


Once a year, on April 1, travellers can get their passports stamped as they cross the bridge into Užupis (Credit: Luis Dafos/Alamy)


As with most things in Užupis, the government structure and the appointment of officials is a somewhat relaxed affair, with their parliament house also functioning as the local cafe-cum-pub. A core group of about a dozen ministers oversees the running of the micro-nation, but for those who want to get involved in Užupis’ politics, being an active member of the local community is key.

“The main thing is to be recognised. You can say I’m a Minister of Soccer or a Minister of Frisbee, and that’s OK, you can be. But you need to be recognised,” Lukoskinas said, adding that he understands the attractiveness of this freestyle kind of politics.

“It releases the tension of everyday life and the diplomatic protocol. You can relax and have a pint with the prime minister or the president. [But] it’s a serious game we play,” he said with a smile.

As unusual as it sounds, it is a system that works, and has done for the past 21 years. The president has held his position for that entire time (despite jokingly admitting on the odd occasion that he would like a break), as have many of his ministers, with the group meeting most Mondays. Together they’re making political waves, actively working to build ties with other countries, albeit unofficially. Užupis even houses a park known as Tibet Square. China angrily interpreted Užupis’ decision to make the Dalai Lama an honourary citizen as political rather than cultural (the citizens of Užupis neither agree nor disagree with this statement).


Translations of Užupis’ constitution are engraved on mirrored panels that line the Avenue of Constitutions (Credit: Christian Harberts/Alamy)


The Republic of Užupis has piqued tourists’ interest since its inception in 1997. The unintended consequence is that the republic has experienced some gentrification and development, which has prompted a spike in property prices.

This mixture of dream and reality is the best I could’ve hoped for when we began all this

“Right now this is the second most expensive part of Vilnius, after Old Town. No artist could allow themselves to buy an apartment now – you’d have to be famous and rich.” Lukoskinas said.

This has caused concern for some ministers, who fear the loss of their culture and way of life as tourist numbers grow and the population swells. However, ?epaitis hopes it will help Užupis’ ideals spread further afield.

“I [am] very excited to meet people who dreamed that there was such a country in the world. This mixture of dream and reality is the best I could’ve hoped for when we began all this,” he said. “They found their country, here in reality. That’s their ultimate goal and I’m very happy.”

It is no wonder the mermaid has led them here.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 11:01

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BREAKING: Man Utd chairman flying to Saudi Arabia amid TAKEOVER talk

Qatar owns French giants Paris St Germain and is hosting the 2022 World Cup.

Manchester City are owned by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour.

United have long-term links with Saudi Arabia.

Last year the club agreed a "memorandum of understanding" with the Arab country's General Sports Authority to help a “sustainable and thriving football” sector.

But the Glazer family’s public stance is always that they have no interest in selling United.

The event which Manchester United Avram Glazer is due to attend next week is nicknamed “Davos in the Desert”.

Davos is the Swiss location for the annual World Economic Forum, and the Future Investment Initiative conference is being held in Riyadh for the second time as Saudi Arabia bids to make itself an outward-looking financial and political powerhouse.

Glazer’s presence there, following other visits to the oil-rich country, has been noted with interest.

The event which Manchester United Avram Glazer is due to attend next week is nicknamed “Davos in the Desert”.


Davos is the Swiss location for the annual World Economic Forum, and the Future Investment Initiative conference is being held in Riyadh for the second time as Saudi Arabia bids to make itself an outward-looking financial and political powerhouse.

Glazer’s presence there, following other visits to the oil-rich country, has been noted with interest.


The United co-chairman is due to speak on the second day of the event, Wednesday October 24, in a forum about the power of sport and future trends for investment.

But experts believe that, behind the official agenda, the Saudis want to talk about buying into United.


Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s 2030 Vision is all about transforming Saudi Arabia and its image abroad.


CONTROVERSIAL: The Glazer family owns Manchester United

The United co-chairman is due to speak on the second day of the event, Wednesday October 24, in a forum about the power of sport and future trends for investment.

But experts believe that, behind the official agenda, the Saudis want to talk about buying into United.

Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s 2030 Vision is all about transforming Saudi Arabia and its image abroad.

It comes after the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.


WELCOME: Manchester United last visited Saudia Arabia 10 years ago


jmparker Posted on October 15, 2018 10:58

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Intermittent fasting may help fight type 2 diabetes


        Lifestyle changes are key in the management of type 2 diabetes. Scientists believe that intermittent fasting could play an essential role.

Lately, intermittent fasting has become incredibly popular.

   Type 2 diabetes is the most common type. The condition affects the body's ability to produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels.

       Diabetes is widespread in both Canada and the United States, and in the U.S., it is one of the leading causes of death. The American Diabetes Association report that the total estimated cost of treating diabetes is now over $200 billion per year.

         Lifestyle changes are crucial to managing the disease, and eating habits play a key role. Doctors normally recommend that people with diabetes follow specific diets. The effects of a specific diet may differ from person to person, but in general, those with diabetes should avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and refined carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting could be a way to manage diabetes through diet.

What is intermittent fasting?

   Intermittent fasting is a type of diet in which people cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It does not specify the foods that are allowed during the eating window.

             The most common type of fasting is known as the 16:8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours and reducing the eating window to just 8 hours. For example, a person can have dinner at approximately 7 p.m., skip breakfast the day after, and eat lunch at around 11 a.m.

          Other forms involve fasting for 2 days per week, 24-hour fasting once or twice each week, and fasting every other day.

Researchers used intermittent fasting as a method to reduce the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in a new observational study conducted in Canada and published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

      The study included three men, aged 40–67, who were taking both drugs and daily doses of insulin to manage the disease. They all had high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

"The use of a therapeutic fasting regimen for treatment of [type 2 diabetes] is virtually unheard of," the authors of the study write.

Intermittent fasting's effects on diabetes

Before the study, the men attended nutrition seminars, which gave them information regarding the development of the condition, its effects on the body, and how to use diet to manage diabetes.

Then, scientists asked two of them to fast for 24 hours every other day, while the third fasted for 3 days each week. During fasting days, the men could drink low-calorie beverages such as water, tea, or coffee. In addition, they could eat a low-calorie meal in the evening.

The trial lasted 10 months in total, and the three men stuck to their schedule without encountering any difficulties. After the fasting period, the team measured their weight and blood glucose.

The results revealed significant improvement: all three lost weight, blood glucose was lower, and they were able to stop using insulin after a month from the beginning of the trial. In one case, the person stopped after only 5 days.

Two of the men also discontinued all diabetic drugs, while the third participant stopped 3 out of 4 drugs.

The authors concluded that intermittent fasting may help people with diabetes, but the study was limited to three participants. More research is needed to confirm these findings, but they are encouraging.

"This present case series showed that 24-hour fasting regimens can significantly reverse or eliminate the need for diabetic medication," conclude the authors.

sarah Posted on October 15, 2018 10:10

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Three injured after kangaroo attacks family

An aggressive kangaroo attacked the Australian family, leaving a woman with serious injuries after she fought back with a broom.

A woman is seriously injured after trying to protect her husband from a six-foot kangaroo in Australia.

Linda Smith, 64, suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, cuts and other internal injuries after the male kangaroo attacked her husband Jim on Saturday evening.

The couple have been feeding kangaroos and wallabies from their home in Millmerran, about 125 miles west of Brisbane, Queensland, to help them survive the region's drought.

Mrs Smith grabbed a broom to fight the six-foot kangaroo off her husband - who suffered cuts and bruises - but the animal knocked the broom out of her hand and turned on her.

She said: "Jim was on the ground and the kangaroo just kept at him.

"I went outside to try and help him and took a broom and a piece of bread but he knocked the broom out of my hand then attacked me."


Video: Jim Smith reveals his injuries after the attack

The woman's 40-year-old son, Sonny, "came out to try and help me and hit him over the head with a shovel", she said.

He also suffered minor injuries.

There are more than 46 million kangaroos in Australia, according to government figures, but Stephen Jones, senior operations supervisor at Queensland Ambulance Service, said it was rare for them to attack humans.

He added: "They are known to attack and can be quite vicious, particularly the large males but it is something that is uncommon, something that I haven't come across in my 30-odd years in the service."

Brisbane's Courier-Mail reported that Mrs Smith was in a stable condition at Toowoomba Hospital.

Mr Jones said that, had she not intervened to save her husband, he might have suffered more serious injuries.

"The outcome may have even been death," he said.

The kangaroo jumped away before paramedics arrived at the scene but Mrs Smith said she did not want it to be hunted and killed.

"I am always careful, especially of the males," she said. "It's breeding time so they can be more aggressive.

"I don't want this kangaroo to be hunted down and killed, I love animals.

"I do understand what happened but I have never seen one that aggressive - it was in there for a fight and it wouldn't back off."

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 09:40

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UK-built spacecraft BepiColombo set to explore Mercury's mysteries

Europe's first mission to Mercury will deploy two orbiters packed with sophisticated technology to unravel the planet's mysteries.

A British-built spacecraft is set to blast off from Earth bound for Mercury, the scorching planet closest to the sun.

BepiColombo, the European Space Agency's (Esa) first mission to Mercury, will send two probes to explore the planet where surface temperatures reach 450C.

The four-tonne spacecraft will be launched into orbit by Esa's rocket Ariane 5 from the European spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, on 20 October.

It will then make a 5.2bn mile (8.5bn km) journey over seven years to reach its destination by 2025.

Image: NASA's Messenger probe orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015, taking photos of the surface

The spacecraft will then deploy the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), built by satellite-maker Airbus Space and Defence at its assembly centre in Stevenage, Herts, to study Mercury's surface and composition.

The second probe, the Japanese Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), constructed in Japan, will focus on the electromagnetic environment surrounding the planet.

A key instrument on the MPO, the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (Mixs), was developed and built at Leicester University.

The 13kg (28lb) metre-long device consists of two X-ray telescopes, one designed to capture images of the surface and the other to analyse its composition.

Image: How BepiColombo is expected to look in 'cruise mode' on its way to Mercury

Mercury is bombarded by high energy sub-atomic particles from the sun, causing the surface to "fluoresce" and emit X-rays. Analysing the rays provides information about what the planet is made of.

Mixs scientist Professor Emma Bunce said: "We want to understand how the solar system works and how it was formed.

"Mercury is a place of extremes; a small planet and the planet closest to the sun. Knowing how it has survived will help us piece together a bigger picture of the solar system and our place in it."

Unlike any other interplanetary spacecraft in history, BepiColombo carries a futuristic ion electric propulsion drive, also designed and built in the UK.

Four ion engines supplied by British defence and technology company QinetiQ have been fitted to the craft's power unit, the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM).

They work by "ionising" inert xenon gas - knocking an electron off the gas atoms to give them a positive charge.

The resulting "plasma" is attracted by electrostatic forces to a grid with an opposite negative charge and fired out of the thruster at 90,000mph.

Image: Mission controllers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, prepare for BepiColombo's launch

Unusually, the spacecraft will use energy not to speed up but to put the brakes on as it "falls" towards the sun.

It will achieve this both by firing the ion thrusters in the direction of travel, and by means of a complex series of "gravity-assist" fly-bys past Earth, Venus and Mercury.

Dr Jerry Bolter, project manager at Airbus Defence and Space where the MTM was assembled, said: "We recognised very early on that for BepiColumbo to do what we wanted it to do and get from here to Mercury we needed to have a very efficient propulsion system. If we relied on chemical propulsion then we'd need 17 tonnes of propellant.

"The ion drive needs just 581 kilograms of propellant and does the equivalent of 17.8 million miles to the gallon."

Only two spacecraft have previously visited Mercury. NASA's Mariner 10 flew past the planet three times in 1974-75, and the American space agency's Messenger probe orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015, taking photos of the surface.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 09:34

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Near miss involving Air Canada jet in San Francisco 'could have killed over 1,000 people,' report finds

Near miss involving Air Canada jet in San Francisco 'could have killed over 1,000 people,' report finds

Sophie Williams

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A near miss involving an Air Canada jet at San Francisco airport could have killed “over 1,000 people”, according to a report.

The Air Canada jet swooped to just 60 feet above the ground, passing over four other planes waiting to take off shortly before midnight on July 7, 2017.

National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg said: “Only a few feet of separation prevented this from possibly becoming the worst aviation accident in history.”

Shocking video footage from the incident shows the plane coming in to land passing over at least four planes before making a go-around.

According to the report by NTSB, other pilots turned on their lights to warn the Air Canada jet.

Another board member, Earl Weener said the plane came within feet of hitting another aircraft and colliding with several others.

© Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB aircanada1-0.jpg

He added: “Over 1,000 people were at imminent risk of serious injury or death.”

Related: Miraculous stories of plane crash survivors ( Provided by Photo Services)




On Thursday, the NTSB issued a final report on the incident.

It found that the pilots were slow to report the incident to superiors. By the time they did, the plane was already on another flight and the cockpit voice recording of the incident had been recorded over.

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited SanFranciscoairport1410.jpg

The pilot of the Air Canada flight said that he did not report the incident as he was “very tired” and it was late. He reported the incident the following day.

It also determined that the incident was caused by the pilots of the jet being confused as one of the two parallel runways had closed that night.

The NTSB also criticised the Federal Aviation Administration as only one air traffic controller was on duty at the time of the incident.

A spokesperson for Air Canada said: “It is noteworthy that the NTSSB’s recommendations were not directed at Air Canada specifically and address many areas for improvement.”

Air Canada has given pilots specific training to familiarise pilots with San Francisco airport and has emphasised proper procedures for landing approaches.

khojho Posted on October 15, 2018 09:05

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Saudis to 'retaliate' if sanctions imposed over missing journalist

The oil-rich kingdom's response comes after President Trump said he would unearth the truth about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.

By Sanya Burgess and Alix Culbertson, news reporters

Saudi Arabia has said it will retaliate for any sanctions imposed against it over the disappearance and suspected murder of a journalist.

The threat was in response to US President Donald Trump saying the oil-rich kingdom deserves "severe punishment" if it is responsible for Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.

It came after a turbulent day on the Saudi stock exchange, which plunged as much as 7% at one point as international concern grew over the writer who vanished on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.


Video: UK 'extremely concerned' for Saudi reporter

In a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the kingdom warned if it "receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy".

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations," the statement said.

Image: Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since 2 October

It gave no more details, but a column in English published shortly after by the general manager of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news network, said Saudi could use its oil production as a weapon.

International business leaders have steadily been pulling out of the country's upcoming investment forum, known as "Davos in the Desert".

They include the CEO of Uber - which Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars in - Richard Branson, JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon, and Ford Motor Co executive chairman Bill Ford.

Britain, France and Germany have jointly called for a "credible investigation to establish the truth".

A statement encouraged a Saudi-Turkish effort to find out what happened, and, if relevant, to identify those responsible for the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Mr Khashoggi, and ensure they are held to account.

Turkish officials say he was killed and dismembered inside the building by a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" and say they have evidence to support their claims.

They have not made any of the information they are basing their claims on public, although pro-government Turkish press reported that audio of the killing was recorded on Mr Khashoggi's Apple watch.

On Friday, it was reported that a delegation from Saudi Arabia had arrived in Turkey as part of a joint investigation.

On Sunday Saudi King Salman thanked Turkish President Recep Erdogan in a phone call for forming a joint team, saying no-one could undermine the relationship between the two countries.


Video: Mr Trump: Saudis would be 'severely punished'

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and their German counterpart Heiko Maas said: "Defending freedom of expression and a free press and ensuring the protection of journalists are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

"There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and - if relevant - to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account.

"We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi government to provide a complete and detailed response."

The statement has also been delivered directly to the Saudi authorities.

Image: Mr Khashoggi had been critical of the Saudi de facto ruler

Mr Hunt later added that the UK would react if Saudi Arabia was behind the disappearance.

He said: "I don't want to get drawn into hypotheticals because we don't know the facts yet, but we have been very, very clear that if these stories are true, that would be totally appalling and we would have to think about the appropriate way to react in that situation."

Egypt has also called for a transparent investigation, but warned against the political exploitation of the case against Saudi Arabia.

Image: Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Mr Trump promised to get "to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment".

However, Mr Trump added the US would be "punishing itself" if it cancelled military sales to Riyadh over the disappearance of the Saudi journalist.

Turkey's Sabah newspaper, which claims Turkish officials now have the audio of the alleged killing, reports the recording was uploaded to a phone he had left with his fiancee and his iCloud, a storage facility.

It also reported that Saudi intelligence agents realised after he died that the watch was recording and tried to delete the file, first by incorrectly guessing Mr Khashoggi's PIN on the watch, then later using the journalist's finger.

However, unlike iPhones, Apple watches do not have a fingerprint ID unlock function.

Image: Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate to get papers he needed to marry his fiance

The newspaper's account also did not elaborate on how the Apple Watch synced the information to both the phone and iCloud account.

Saudi officials call all the allegations "baseless", but have offered no evidence Mr Khashoggi left the consulate.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, is pushing for Saudi Arabia to become a destination for foreign investment.

Mr Khashoggi's disappearance, and suspicions he may have been targeted over his criticism of the royal, have led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of an upcoming high-profile investment conference in Riyadh.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 09:01

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Newsflash: Bitcoin Surges to $7,500 on Bitfinex Due to Tether Implosion, Real Price $6,700

The price of Bitcoin has surged from $6,300 to $7,500 on Bitfinex, a major cryptocurrency exchange that reportedly operates Tether LLC, a firm that oversees the development of stablecoin Tether (USDT).

Bitcoin is being traded with a significant premium on exchanges that have integrated USDT such as OKEx and Huobi, because traders have initiated the biggest sell-off of USDT to date.

The sudden dump of USDT led the price of the stablecoin to drop to $0.94, by around 6 percent from its peg at $1. The drop in the value of USDT formed a premium on Tether-integrated cryptocurrency exchanges.

Real Price of Bitcoin is $6,700

Still, on major fiat-to-crypto exchanges, the price of BTC surpassed the $6,700 mark, eyeing a breakout above $6,800, a resistance level which billionaire investor Mike Novogratz has observed since early August.

Given the premium on TrueUSD (TUSD), a regulated, audited, and Ethereum-based stablecoin against Tether, it is evident that traders are selling massive amounts of USDT to purchase cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and invest in other stablecoins such as TUSD, Gemini Dollar (GUSD), and PAX.

On Coinbase, Bitstamp, and Kraken, the price of Bitcoin against the US dollar is at around $6,700, up by more than $400 in the past 24 hours. It is possible that the unexpected decline in the price of Tether had an impact on fiat-to-crypto exchanges.

But, many analysts in the cryptocurrency market believe that algorithms in Asia have started to inject large amounts of cash into major cryptocurrencies, and the drop in the price of Tether is merely a coincidence.

At this point, whether the rise in the price of Bitcoin was initiated by the sell-off of Tether or an influx of capital from Asia is of less significance. Over the past 12 hours, the volume of Bitcoin has increased from $3 billion to $4.8 billion, escaping its yearly low mark.

More importantly, fiat-to-crypto exchanges have begun to see a surge in volume, which proves that the short-term rally of BTC is not wholly attributable to the imposion of Tether.

Throughout the past week, CCN emphasized that BTC needs a major catalyst to breakout of the $6,000 region due to its low volume.

“The volume of the cryptocurrency exchange market, which increased from $10 billion to $13 billion throughout the past two days amidst a sell-off, has declined back to $10 billion, which could likely lead BTC to approach its yearly low volume at $3.2 billion,” CCN’s report read.

Bitcoin’s Trajectory

If BTC can surpass the $6,800 resistance level in the short-term, it will be possible for the crypto market to initiate a long-waited rally to the upside. However, if BTC fails to breakout of a major resistance level, then there exists a possibility that the dominant cryptocurrency struggles to maintain momentum and falls back to the $6,000 support level.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 08:26

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As Petro Launch Looms, Venezuela’s Bol ivar Eyes 1.4 Million Percent Inflation

Based on findings from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the annual inflation rate for Venezuela could reach as high as 1.37 million percent by the end of 2018. Inflation estimates for the country have risen several times this year as Venezuela struggles with policies and production — and prepares to launch its Petro cryptocurrency

No Stranger To The Headlines

Venezuela has made headlines many times throughout 2018 in its current struggle with inflation. CNN reports the cause of such inflation as the result of “years of excessive government spending on welfare programs, poorly managed facilities and dilapidated farms.”

This marks the third time the IMF has increased its inflation estimates this year, with estimates from January of 13,000 percent, and from July at 1,000,000 percent. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to decrease by 18 percent for 2018. This is bad news for a country that has such a promising amount of oil reserves.

Adding to the inflation problem is the dramatic increase of minimum wage, brought on by Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president. Maduro has raised minimum wage an astounding 24 times since 2013, leading in part to many business closings.

Petro Cryptocurrency Nears Public Sale

U.S. Dollar/Bolivar

Led by Maduro, Venezuela’s government has sought a cure for its economic woes in the “Petro,” a state-issued cryptocurrency allegedly backed by barrels of oil.

In further efforts to combat the problem of inflation, Maduro has said that the government will create a fiat currency that’s pegged to the Petro, which is itself pegged to oil — as confusing as that sounds. This double-pegged fiat currency is called the Bolivar Soberano — or, in English, the Sovereign Bolivar.

Maduro explained:

“I ask for your confidence, I ask for your support, beyond ideologies and political positions, because Venezuela needs this change, the mafias are over!… We have the correct vision of what the economic future in Venezuela should be, above all, we will achieve it.”

Logically, it would be difficult to trust these statements based on previous track record.

Pushing On

Amidst skepticism, Maduro continues to be adamant about the idea of the Petro. He announced in late August that, “Venezuela will have a second accounting unit based on the price, the value of the Petro. It will be a second accounting unit of the Republic and will begin operations as a mandatory accounting unit of our PDVSA oil industry.”

Several doubts have also come to light that the Petro (and its oil backing) may not even exist at all. Additionally, no shops or stores were reportedly using the Petro, and the only buyers that could be found were anonymous online persons.

Based on recent reports, it appears that Petro adoption has been low, though this may change following the public sale in November. Meanwhile, Citizens continue to leave the country in droves.

Most recently, on Oct. 8, it was announced that Venezuelan “salary bonuses would be paid in Petros,” with Maduro explaining that he wants money made by salaried workers to have more impact.

Hopefully, the public will see a brighter future for Venezuela in the days ahead.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 08:23

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Museveni visits site of deadly Uganda landslide

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni visited eastern Bududa Sunday after 43 people died when a landslide caused a river to burst its banks, sending water and boulders cascading downhill.

Wearing military uniform and carrying a cleft stick Museveni looked across the Sume river at the remains of Wanjenwa village which was wrecked by a torrent of rocks carried down river by Thursday's deluge.

"Who allowed them to build a market here?" he asked officials.

Related: News in pictures (Provided by photo services)

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"Building on the flood plain of the river is very dangerous. Local government have failed to implement regulations," Museveni told journalists.

After touring the site of devastation Museveni is set to address a crowd of several hundred residents, local dignitaries and Red Cross volunteers in Bukalasi village where many casualties were taken for treatment at the health centre.

Over 850 people were displaced in the disaster, caused by heavy rains.

© Provided by AFP Bududa district sits in the foothills of Mount Elgon, a high risk area for landslides

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on Sunday updated a previous death toll by one person.

"We can confirm that 43 people have lost their lives but we are continuing to search for others," he said.

In March 2010, at least 100 people were killed in the same mountainous region, which lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya and is a high-risk area for landslides.

Questioned about delays to a resettlement program which was initially announced in 2010, Rugunda blamed "minor administrative issues".

Although there may be "delays here and there they do not change the principle that these people must be resettled," he added.

khojho Posted on October 15, 2018 07:54

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PAXEXcoin, the Best Crypto Coin Ever built to have abundant Projects

Paxex, the crypto coin with the heaviest PROJECT

Join PAXEX on discord

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Paxexcoin is used for ecommerce (paying of bills and bundles and airtime) in africa

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Archimedeskay Posted on October 14, 2018 13:36

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Nepal says it has blocked 25,000 websites in pornography ban

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Nepalese internet providers have begun blocking thousands of pornographic websites as part of a government directive aimed at stopping sexual violence, officials said Sunday.


The government issued new criminal and civil codes this year that include regulations against the use, broadcast and publication of pornographic materials with punishment for violators of up to one year in prison.


Min Prasad Aryal of the Nepal Telecom Authority said Sunday that more than 25,000 websites have been blocked under the campaign.


"This is only the start, but a very good start," Aryal said, adding that a team of officials are monitoring internet service providers to ensure the order is followed.


He said those providers who refuse or fail to comply face a fine of up to $4,200 and risk losing their operating license.

Internet service providers say they are complying with the government order but say it would be impossible to weed out and block all such sites.


"We are following the government order and have blocked the list of websites that was provided. However, it is not practical and technically not possible to block every pornographic website," said Binay Bohra of Vianet Communications.


Bohra said they feared that with the new law service providers could easily be punished.


Media rights groups have also expressed concern at the blanket ban of websites.


"This opens up the path for the government to block any websites in the future, saying they have obscene content. This order was issued without clarifying what is obscene and why or without doing any proper study," said Taranath Dahal, who heads the Freedom Forum, a Nepal-based media rights group.


Dahal said there should be clear regulations from the government on what content is considered obscene and pornographic and what aged users should be barred.


The government issued a similar ban in 2011, but this time there are more serious punishments for violations.

AlbertaU Posted on October 14, 2018 11:43

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Italy: Migrants must leave 'friendly' town

Italy's interior ministry says all migrants in the southern town of Riace, famous for welcoming them, must be transferred away.


The migrants will be moved to other migrant centres next week.


The move comes days after the arrest of the town's mayor, Domenico Lucano, over his alleged role organising "marriages of convenience" for immigration purposes.


He has been put under house arrest amid a national debate about integration.


His arrest follows months of tougher migration enforcement from Italy's populist government.


The mayor, known as Mimmo, made headlines around the world for his unusual programme that welcomed migrants to the sparsely-populated town in Calabria, giving them abandoned homes and on-the-job training, in the hope that the new arrivals would rejuvenate the economy.


He started the system in 1998 under a previous government, and since then hundreds of migrants have joined the small town of about 2,000 people.


The success of the programme, lauded by many as a model of integration, led to Mayor Lucano being named one of the world's 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine in 2016.



© Getty Images Many of the resettled refugees have been trained by local craftspeople

His arrest earlier this month sparked protests and a national debate about the project.


Interior minister Mattei Salvini and his right-wing League party said his arrest showed their government had "declared war on the immigration business".


Mr Salvini's efforts to quash migration to Italy have won praise and criticism since the new coalition government came to power in June.


But Mr Lucano said his lawyers were to appeal against his detention, claiming the government "want to destroy us".


"How is it possible to think of destroying the 'Riace model', which has been described by innumerable people, politicians, intellectuals and artists, as an extraordinary experience?", he is quoted as saying on AFP. 


What are the charges?


The first charge against Mayor Lucano involved the arrangement of marriages of convenience to get around immigration regulations.


Prosecutors said they had wire-tapped Mr Lucano's phone and recorded at least one exchange in which the mayor appeared to suggest marriage as a solution to a woman's immigration problems, in a way they said could not be misunderstood.


One excerpt concerned a Nigerian migrant who had been denied residence three times, the statement said. Mr Lucano is reported to have said that marrying an Italian citizen was "the only way forward".



© Getty Images Mayor Domenico Lucano has defended the "Riace model"

As mayor, Domenico Lucano was in charge of the town's civil registry.


In the excerpts he is said to refer to a similar wedding in the past, and his ability to arrange a ceremony quickly. He is also quoted offering to acquire an ID card to say the woman was a resident of Riace.


Prosecutors said he was also charged with allocating rubbish collection services to two companies without going through the required public tender process.


That charge may also have a connection to the town's migrant programme. The two companies were community co-operatives established "to provide work for the people of Riace and migrants", according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.


Some government critics said the mayor's only crime had been one of humanity.

AlbertaU Posted on October 14, 2018 11:37

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Missing journalist 'recorded his killing on Apple watch'

Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi recorded audio on his Apple watch of the moments he was allegedly interrogated, tortured and then killed, according to reports. 


He has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul over a week ago after apparently giving his fiancee his iPhone, which the watch was synced with.


Turkish officials have said they believe a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" killed Mr Khashoggi there.


President Trump warned the US would inflict "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia was behind his disappearance.


He told CBS: "We're going to get to the bottom of it."


The Saudi journalist, who has been critical of the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is believed to have turned on the recording feature before he went inside the building on 2 October to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.


The new revelations by a Turkish newspaper, which have not yet been verified, put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Mr Khashoggi.


The pro-government Sabah paper, which claims Turkish officials now have the audio, reported that Saudi intelligence agents realised after he died that the phone was recording.


They apparently then tried to delete the recording, first by incorrectly guessing Mr Khashoggi's pin number on the watch, then later using the journalist's finger.


However unlike iPhones, Apple watches do not have a fingerprint ID unlock function.



© Getty Jamal Khashoggi is feared to be dead

Authorities recovered the audio from Mr Khashoggi's iPhone and his iCloud account, the newspaper said.


"The moments when Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and murdered were recorded in the Apple watch's memory," it added.


Turkish officials have alleged they also have video of him being killed, but have not explained how they obtained it, nor have they published any evidence he was murdered.


However, footage around the consulate showed a convoy of vehicles with diplomatic license plates leaving for the consul's home in Istanbul around two hours after Mr Khashoggi's arrival.


A delegation from Saudi Arabia has arrived in Turkey as part of a joint investigation.


The kingdom has said it had nothing to do with Mr Khashoggi's disappearance, without explaining or offering evidence of how the writer might have left the consulate and disappeared with his fiancee waiting outside.


Saudi interior minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif has condemned the "lies and baseless allegations" against the kingdom, although he praised the joint investigation with Turkey.


Donald Trump is demanding answers over the disappearance, and Sir Richard Branson and Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi are among the business leaders to have suspended ties with Saudi Arabia as pressure grows on the Gulf state.


A Saudi-owned satellite news channel has begun referring to the 15-man team as "tourists," without providing evidence to support the claim.


It echoes how Russia has described the men who allegedly carried out the novichok nerve agent poisonings in Salisbury in March.

AlbertaU Posted on October 14, 2018 11:32

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Snail 99 million years old stunningly preserved in amber

Even 100 million years ago, snails slimed their way across the Earth. 


An international team is investigating a remarkable juvenile snail trapped in amber. They estimate the creature to be about 99 million years old. 


The shell is easy to see, but what's truly remarkable are the preserved soft tissues, including the head, tentacle, and eyespot. 


"It is absolutely extraordinary for the fossil record to produce such stunning preservation, which is exceedingly rare for any fossil of this age, especially snails and many other animals," said paleontologist Jeffrey Stilwell with Monash University in Australia.


The university calls the discovery "the first and oldest preserved soft tissue of a snail in the fossil record from the mid-Cretaceous of Myanmar." The Cretaceous period is known for its iconic dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus rex.

The researchers described their findings in a paper for the journal Cretaceous Research. The scientists say the snail may be related to modern and fossil snails in the Cyclophoroidea family.


Stilwell says most snails would retract their delicate parts into their shells for protection when threatened. The researchers suggest a possible scenario where the resin flowed around the snail's shell in a way that prevented it from hiding inside its shell. 


The snail may have suffered a grim fate all those years ago, but it's now one of a group of remarkable amber fossils from around the same time period, including a tick encased in a spider web and a nightmare-inducing arachnid with a tail.

AlbertaU Posted on October 14, 2018 11:27

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Melania Trump says infamous ‘I really don’t care’ jacket was message for media, not separated migrant children

Melania Trump has said the infamous jacket she wore while en route to a children’s immigration detention centre was meant as a message to the media.


The first lady said it was “obvious” the coat’s slogan, which read “I really don't care, do you?”, was not aimed at the youngsters – who had been separated from their parents under the President's hard-line immigration policy.


She claimed the wardrobe choice was “for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticising me.”


Speaking during an interview with ABC News, she said: “I want to show them that I don't care. You could criticise whatever you want to say, but it will not stop me to do what I feel is right."


Ms Trump was pictured wearing the Zara coat – which caused a social media storm – while flying to and from a Texas detention centre in June.

Critics slammed the item as insensitive amid heightened tensions along the US-Mexico border following the implementation of husband Donald Trump’s immigration policy, which separated hundreds of children from their parents.


The new comments on Friday echoed what the president said at the time. He tweeted how the jacket’s message “refers to the Fake News Media", adding: "Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"


But they appeared to contradict what Ms Trump’s own spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, who said on the day: “There was no hidden message – after today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe."


In portions of the new interview released earlier, Ms Trump called herself the "most bullied person" in the world.


The 48-year-old also said women who accuse men of sexual misconduct "need to show evidence”, and claimed her husband's alleged infidelities are "not concern and focus of mine."


The first lady criticised the media's speculation on their marriage, and said "we are fine" when asked if she loves her husband.


The interview was recorded during a trip to Africa – Ms Trump’s first solo sojourn abroad since Mr Trump took office last year.

AlbertaU Posted on October 13, 2018 16:51

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What’s the difference between a comet and an asteroid?

In our solar system, there are a lot of things that circle, or orbit, around our Sun. Earth orbits the Sun about every 365 days. Seven other planets also orbit the Sun, along with their moons (which orbit planets) and lots of other items, including asteroids and comets.


But what are asteroids and comets, really?


An asteroid is just a rock orbiting the Sun. Asteroids are smaller than planets, but some of them can be really big. The largest, NASA says, is Vesta, 329 miles around. The smallest one that scientists have ever studied is just six feet around.


There are 780,290 asteroids in the solar system, but not all of them are made of the same material. Scientists sort them into three different groups based on what they are made of—they can be metallic, stony, or composed of rocks that are more clay-like or that contain silica.


We’re still trying to learn more about asteroids. Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft just arrived at the Asteroid Ryugu, and NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is en route to a different asteroid named Bennu. Each mission plans to take a sample of its asteroid’s surface and bring the dust and rocks back to Earth.


For the first time ever, astronomers have observed both gravitational waves and light (electromagnetic radiation) from the same event, thanks to a global collaborative effort and the quick reactions of both ESO’s facilities and others around the world.


This artist’s impression shows two tiny but very dense neutron stars at the point at which they merge and explode as a kilonova. Such a very rare event is expected to produce both gravitational waves and a short gamma-ray burst, both of which were observed on Aug. 17, 2017 by LIGO–Virgo and Fer