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Black women vote. Now it's time to vote for black women. Even as the Mothers of the Movement are speaking truth to power, they are ready to be in power.

Mothers of the Movement, from left, Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Annette Nance-Holt, mother of Blair Holt; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; and Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Mike Brown and Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant; and Lezley McSpadden, mother of Mike Brown stand on stage prior to delivering remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

Nov. 6, 2018 / 2:31 PM GMT

By Ben Crump

After her son Michael Brown was tragically gunned down by police in Ferguson, Mo., Lesley McSpadden could have crumbled. Instead she refused to let that devastating personal tragedy — and a national flashpoint on racial violence — destroy her.

Emboldened and unbowed, McSpadden is making her voice heard by running for the Ferguson City Council in 2019. In doing so, McSpadden joins other black mothers striving to make a big impact on racial justice by taking matters into their own hands, politically and spiritually.

She is joined in her political aspirations by, among others, Lucia “Lucy” McBath, whose son was fatally shot in 2012; she was moved to run after her teenage son Jordan Davis, who is black, was shot and killed in Jacksonville, Florida, by a white man who said the teen’s music was too loud.. She handily won the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s 6th congressional district in July and is now neck-and-neck with Rep. Karen Hendel, who only took the seat after the most expensive House race in history (against Jon Ossoff) in June 2017. The district is considered 14.7 percent more Republican than the national average.

And, though she is not runnings for office, Sybrina Fulton — whose son, Trayvon Martin, was confronted, shot and killed while walking home — has dedicated her life to social change after her son became a powerful symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement. Her work includes advocacy for gun control and a retreat for other mothers whose lives have been touched by the violent deaths of their children.

At the Million Hoodie March on March 21, 2012, in New York City, I held the microphone up to Sybrina as she spoke from the heart, as only a mother can. “Our son was not committing any crime. Our son is your son. I want you guys to stand up for justice and stand up for what’s right,’’ she told the crowd.

Being a black woman in America means realizing that doing everything right may not be enough

Women like Sybrina, Lucy and Lesley endured with dignity and poise, despite being thrust into the glare of a national spotlight while grieving for their devastating losses. They are truly the unsung heroes in the struggle against racial violence and police brutality. They are determined to make sure no other black mothers and children suffer the same sorrowful fate.

And even as they are speaking truth to power, they are also ready to be in power. They want to change the dynamics of government by taking their rightful seats at the table where laws are hammered out and critical decisions affecting their underrepresented communities are debated.

If Lesley wins a seat on the Ferguson City Council, she will become another recent member of color on a formerly majority-white council, helping to oversee the police department responsible for her son’s death four years ago this month.

 

A win for either would be a real, and not just a symbolic, win for all black members of their communities, giving them hope that their voices are heard and their lives do matter. What could be more effective, more gut-wrenchingly honest, than the wise, experienced thoughts of a City Council member whose young son died at the hands of the law? What could be more symbolic than a woman whose son was killed by a racist taking a seat in a newly-Democratic House to provide a strong, passionate voice for gun control on Capitol Hill and a leader on racial equity issues?

I’ve stood with McSpadden and Fulton — as well as too many other moms and grandmothers — as they told the world what it was like to have their young sons shot dead. I’ve seen both Lesley and Sybrina behind closed doors in their personal anguish.

Luke Posted on November 06, 2018 15:37

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New virus could help destroy cancer

A new study examines the behavior of a cancer-killing virus that fits tumor cells perfectly and leaves healthy cells intact.

Can we tame viruses to use them as a treatment for cancer?

Cancer is a chronic disease that kills millions of people worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and is likely to be responsible for more than 9 million deaths in 2018.

Globally, medical professionals will diagnose cancer in around 18 million people in 2018, and the number of new cases per year will reach more than 23 million by 2030.

The most common cancers globally are lung cancerbreast cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Virotherapy in cancer

Researchers around the world have been working tirelessly to find new cancer therapies. In recent years, virotherapy has captured the interest of scientists.

Virotherapy is a treatment that uses biotechnology to transform certain viruses into anti-disease agents. These viruses include oncolytic viruses, which infect and destroy cancer cells.

Oncolytic viruses possess unique qualities that make them different than any other cancer treatment. The advantages of virotherapy include a lack of cross-resistance with other therapies and the ability to destroy the tumor using a variety of mechanisms.

Scientists have been focusing their attention on oncolytic viruses with the aim of finding a new way to kill cancer cells selectively.

 

Seneca Valley virus

Seneca Valley virus (SVV) is an oncolytic virus that could be the next breakthrough cancer therapy. Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in Japan and the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, described the behavior of this virus in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study explains how SVV interacts with tumors while sparing healthy cells.

To examine the behavior of the virus, scientists used cryo-electron microscopy to capture images of thousands of particles and view their structure in high resolution. Understanding the structure of these particles is key to creating an effective cancer-killing virus that scientists can use to develop new drugs and therapies.

SVV is unusual because it targets a specific receptor in tumor cells. This receptor is called anthrax toxin receptor 1 (ANTXR1), and it is only present in tumors. The cousin of this receptor, called ANTXR2, only appears on healthy tissues.

SVV binds to the receptor in tumors but not the one in healthy cells. The behavior of this virus could potentially make it a suitable therapy for many types of cancer, as the ANTXR1 receptor is present on the tumor cells of over 60 percent of human cancers.

"The differences between the two receptors are subtle, but, nonetheless, these subtle differences make one bind the virus with high affinity while the other doesn't," says co-senior study author Prof. Matthias Wolf, principal investigator of the Molecular Cryo-Electron Microscopy Unit at OIST.

"The components must fit together like a key in a lock — this is a highly evolved system where everything fits perfectly."

 

A virus that evades the immune system

Researchers have used SVV in early-phase clinical trials in pediatric solid tumors and small-cell lung cancer, and the virus demonstrated cancer-fighting qualities in both types of the disease. However, the immune system is programmed to fight viruses, and it destroys the perceived threat within 3 weeks.

Researchers believe that analyzing the structure of SVV can help them find ways to outsmart the immune system, allowing the virus to replicate and kill cancer cells.

"[...] [W]e can learn what part of the virus is essential for binding to the receptor and which is not. [...] we can try to change the nonessential parts in order to escape the action of the immune system while leaving the essential part intact," says co-senior study author Prof. Mihnea Bostina, the academic director of the Otago Centre for Electron Microscopy at the University of Otago.

Although scientists are still looking for an effective way to evade the immune system, Prof. Wolf's team believe that it could be possible to modify SVV so that it can recognize different receptors. This would turn the virus into an excellent weapon to use against different types of cancer.

First study author Nadishka Jayawardena, a graduate student at the University of Otago, believes that this research will one day result in effective and powerful cancer treatments,

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323552.php

sarah Posted on November 06, 2018 08:50

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Melanoma: More evidence that antioxidants speed up tumor spread

New research evidence backs up previous findings that taking antioxidant supplements can speed up the spread of the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Antioxidants either have no effect or hasten the spread of melanoma tumors, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have added new data to a study of the effects of antioxidants on malignant tumordevelopment.

In earlier work with human cancer tissue and mouse models, the researchers demonstrated that antioxidants could hasten the development of lung cancer and accelerate the spread of malignant melanoma, an uncommon but invasive form of skin cancer.

Now, after investigating certain antioxidants that bind to mitochondria, the team has produced further evidence that the substances either do not affect tumor growth or speed it up. Mitochondria are tiny power plants inside cells that provide them with energy.

Many people believe that because antioxidants neutralize a class of compounds called free radicals that can harm cells, they can protect against cancer. This study, however, further indicates that this might not be the case.

Antioxidants protect cancer cells

Although it may be true that antioxidants protect healthy cells, a growing body of research shows that they also protect cancer cells.

"This is not the way to treat cancer," says Dr. Kristell Le Gal Beneroso, of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, whose recently published doctoral thesis includes a detailed account of the new findings.

"In the best case, the treatment makes no difference, but it can also exacerbate the disease," she adds.

Of the cancers that start in the skin, melanoma is the "most dangerous." It is one of the least common types of skin cancer, but it accounts for the most deaths. Official estimates for the United States suggest that 91,270 people will discover that they have melanoma in 2018 and 9,320 will die of the disease.

Mitochondria-targeting antioxidants

In nearly all cases where doctors diagnose melanoma in the early stages, surgery can cure the disease.

      The outlook is not so positive, however, once the cancer is metastatic. This means it has become invasive and spread to other parts of the body.The most common destinations of metastatic melanoma are the brain, lungs, bones, and liver.

     In their previous work, the researchers had found that the addition of some types of antioxidants sped up metastasis in lung cancer and malignant melanoma. This process leads to more secondary tumors, or metastases, in new sites elsewhere in the body.

The recent work took this research a step further and looked at how adding specific antioxidant compounds that bind to mitochondria affected the two cancers.

Mitochondria are the primary source of free radicals in cells. Free radicals can harm cells by damaging their DNA. This kind of damage can give rise to cancer.

As before, the investigation used human cancer cells and mouse models.

'Tumors grew significantly faster'

Dr. Le Gal Beneroso explains that they wanted to test the theory that reducing free radical production in cells by binding antioxidants to their mitochondria might protect against cancer.

The results, however, did not support the theory. On the contrary, the antioxidants "either had no effect or they made the situation worse," Dr. Le Gal Beneroso notes.

In mice with malignant melanoma, she continues, "tumors grew significantly faster than in the control animals that received no treatment."

The researchers conclude that their findings "show that dietary antioxidant supplementation increases metastasis in malignant melanoma," and that "mitochondria-targeted antioxidants do not inhibit cancer progression."

The team reaffirms the previous recommendation that people with cancer or who have a high risk of developing it "should avoid the use of antioxidant supplements."

'Not always healthful'

They suggest that further research into the mechanisms through which antioxidants influence tumor growth and spread is required.

One avenue that they think needs exploring is the idea that low levels of free radicals might spur the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors.

This could clarify, for instance, whether the "accelerated growth kinetics" that they observed in the treated mice was a result of "better vascularization" of the new tumor tissue rather than a consequence of "tumor cell proliferation."

In the meantime, Dr. Le Gal Beneroso urges people not to assume that taking antioxidant supplements is "always healthy for the body."

"Hypothetically, you might be helping your healthy cells, but there is no strong evidence that this is the case," she adds.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323574.php

sarah Posted on November 06, 2018 08:47

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Bitcoin news: How bitcoin mining makes global warming WORSE - temperatures to rise by 2C

BITCOIN could push global temperatures up by 2C as soon as 2033, according to new analysis.

The farms of computers used to mine bitcoin produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as every car in the UK combined.

Purchasing with bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies requires large amounts of electricity, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Its environmental impact has not been addressed by miners, researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa warned.

Lead author of the paper associate professor Camila Mora said: “We cannot predict the future of Bitcoin, but if implemented at a rate even close to the slowest pace at which other technologies have been incorporated, it will spell very bad news for climate change and the people and species impacted by it.

“With the ever-growing devastation created by hazardous climate conditions, humanity is coming to terms with the fact that climate change is as real and personal as it can be.

“Clearly, any further development of cryptocurrencies should critically aim to reduce electricity demand, if the potentially devastating consequences of global warming are to be avoided.”

Researches estimated the use of Bitcoins in the year 2017 emitted 69 million metric tonnes of CO2.

The team found the cumulative emissions from bitcoin would be enough to push global warming beyond 2C in 22 years.

Bitcoin news: The research paper claims Bitcoin mining could push temperatures up by 2C (Image: Getty )

If the average rate of technology uptake is used instead, this number is closer to 16 years.

Creating bitcoins require huge computer power and energy, with heavy hardware requirements, but the nature of the process means that determining its carbon footprint can prove complicated.

The researchers analysed information such as the power efficiency of computers used by bitcoin mining, the geographic location of the miners who likely computed the bitcoin, and the CO2 emissions of producing electricity in those countries.

They also studied how other technologies have been adopted by society, and created scenarios to estimate the cumulative emissions of Bitcoin should it grow at the rate that other technologies have been incorporated.

Bitcoin news: The mines produce the same amount of carbon dioxide as every car in the UK combined (Image: Getty )

If Bitcoin is incorporated, even at the slowest rate at which other technologies have been incorporated, its cumulative emissions will be enough to warm the planet above 2C in just 22 years.

Co-author master’s student Katie Taladay said: “Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change.

“This research illustrates that Bitcoin should be added to this list.”

Bitcoin purchases create transactions that are recorded and processed by a group of individuals referred to as miners.

Bitcoin news: Bitcoins emitted 69 million metric tonnes of CO2 in 2017 (Image: Getty)

They group every Bitcoin transaction made during a specific timeframe into a block. Blocks are then added to the chain, which is the public ledger.

The verification process by miners, who compete to decipher a computationally demanding proof-of-work in exchange forbitcoins, requires large amounts of electricity.

Read more from link below

https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/1038556/Bitcoin-news-mining-global-warming-temperatures-2-C-by-2033-study

Prynx Posted on November 06, 2018 00:39

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Mysterious interstellar object could be 'lightsail' sent from another civilization

By Chris Ciaccia | Fox News

NASA may have ruled that Oumuamua, the first interstellar object ever spotted in our system is a "metallic or rocky object" approximately 400 meters (1,312 feet) in length and 40 meters (131 feet) wide, but a new study from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics says it could be something much more exciting – it could be "a lightsail of artificial origin" sent from another civilization.

The study, which was posted online earlier this month, suggests that Oumuamua's strange "excess acceleration" could be artificial in nature, as it has been implied that it is not an active comet.

"Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that ‘Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment," researchers wrote in the paper.

 

The paper continues: "Lightsails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative. The lightsail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargos between planets or between stars."

They even theorized that Oumuamua "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization," though that scenario was called "exotic."

The paper was written by postdoctoral researcher Shmuel Bialy and professor Abraham Loeb, the director at the CfA's Institute for Theory and Computation.

Other studies have suggested that other "Oumuamua-like objects" will potentially enter our solar system, with some potentially carrying life.

"The likelihood of Galactic panspermia is strongly dependent upon the survival lifetime of the putative organisms as well as the velocity of the transporter," according to a paper published in The Astronomical Journal by Manasvi Lingam and the aforementioned Loeb.

They added: "Velocities between 10−100 km s−1 result in the highest probabilities. However, given large enough survival lifetimes, even hypervelocity objects traveling at over 1000 km s−1 have a significant chance of capture, thereby increasing the likelihood of panspermia."

INTERSTELLAR VISITOR 'OUMUAMUA' NEVER SHOULD HAVE LEFT HOME, THEORIES SAY

Panspermia is the hypothesis that life on Earth originated from microorganisms in outer space that were carried here unintentionally by objects such as space dust, meteoroids and asteroids, according to an article on NASA's website.

Oumuamua, which is the Hawaiian name for "pathfinder" or "scout," was discovered in October 2017 by the PanSTARRS1 telescope after it spotted a new spot of light coming from a strange direction at an unusually fast speed.

Since its discovery, researchers have debated whether it is a comet or an asteroid, though it was eventually determined to be a comet.

Oumuamua is traveling away from the Sun at a rate of approximately 70,000 mph, towards the outer part of the solar system. In approximately four years, it will whiz past Neptune's orbit, on its way to interstellar space.

https://www.foxnews.com/science/mysterious-interstellar-object-could-be-lightsail-sent-from-another-civilization

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:24

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High school students find 6,000-year-old stone ax at Mount Vernon

By James Rogers | Fox News

High school students on an archaeology field trip helped discover a 6,000-year-old stone ax head at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

Roughly 7 inches long and 3 inches wide, the ax would have been an important part of the Native American tool kit in the fourth millennia B.C, according to experts. Famous as the home of one of America’s founding fathers, the Virginia estate also offers a fascinating glimpse into the nation’s earlier history.

“The ax provides a window onto the lives of individuals who lived here nearly 6,000 years ago,” said Sean Devlin, Mount Vernon’s curator of archaeological collections, in a statement. “Artifacts, such as this, are a vital resource for helping us learn about the diverse communities who shaped this landscape throughout its long history.”

ANCIENT NATIVE AMERICAN VILLAGE IN LOUISIANA REVEALS ITS SECRETS

The ax head was found by Dominic Anderson and Jared Phillips, seniors at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio. The teens were helping map out the dimensions of what's believed to be a cemetery for slaves and their descendants.

The discovery was made on Oct. 12., alongside the ridgeline where Mount Vernon’s African American cemetery is located. According to historians, the area was used by communities of Virginia Indians up to 8,000 years ago. “While the site appears to have been continually occupied over this period, it was not necessarily a ‘village’ site,” said the estate, in its statement. “Rather, the location was probably one of many temporary stopping over points for a community as they traveled along the river or exploited the resources of the area.”

Some 50,000 artifacts have been cataloged from the Mount Vernon site.

'LOST CITY' DISCOVERY: KANSAS SITE SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

In a separate project, new research has revealed the secrets of an ancient Native American village in Louisiana. The study of ancient mound builders who lived in the Mississippi River Delta near present-day New Orleans offers fresh insight into how the settlements emerged and why they were abandoned.

Experts studied a site known as Grand Caillou, one of the hundreds of ancient mounds in coastal Louisiana that were built near waterways. Radiocarbon dating, carbon-isotope analysis and sediment analysis were used to date the site, along with ceramics found at Grand Caillou.

'UNPRECEDENTED' NATIVE AMERICAN BURIAL SITE DISCOVERED IN GULF OF MEXICO OFF FLORIDA

In recent years, experts have been unearthing new details of centuries-old sites in the U.S. In another project, for example, archaeologists discovered incredible evidence of a huge Wichita Indian town in Kansas that was once home to 20,000 people.

In another recent project, archaeologists discovered an “unprecedented” 7,000-year-old Native American burial site beneath the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

The ancient people of North America started building mounds as early as 4,500 B.C., Mehta explained.

In 2016, researchers at the Cahokia Mounds near Collinsville, Ill., released a study that sheds new light on the ancient city’s power structure.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Travis Fedschun contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

https://www.foxnews.com/science/high-school-students-find-6000-year-old-stone-axe-at-mount-vernon

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:18

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Don’t get ripped off, check your internet speed

We know what “slow” internet is like: videos buffer, downloads lag, and a single page can take forever to appear in its entirety. We wonder whether it’s our browser, our device, or the website we’re visiting.

You may suspect your Wi-Fi signal. Wireless networks are notorious for connection problems. Tap or click here for a way to diagnose and fix troublesome Wi-Fi.

How can you pinpoint the issue? Your first step is to check your connection speed. Afterward, compare the results of the test to the speed advertised by your internet provider.

Note: Make sure no one in your home network is doing bandwidth-hogging tasks like file downloads, file sharing, video streaming, video chats, etc. You don’t want any activity within your control to be skewing results.

Measuring internet speed

Internet speed typically is measured in “megabytes per second,” or Mbps. t know what this number means, or even that this measurement exists. Every provider promises different tiers of internet speed rates; usually the pricier the plan, the faster your internet should be.

1 - 3 Mbps - Good enough for web surfing, email, social, casual online gaming (if you don’t mind some latency) and email. However, this is not ideal for video streaming.

3-4 Mbps - This is the minimum speed for standard video streaming from services like Netflix. This speed may be enough for a one-computer household, but with all the HD content that’s available on the web right now, this will lead to constant video buffering.

5-10 Mbps - Netflix recommends at least 5 Mbps for a single HD stream, and you’ll double that for two simultaneous HD streams. Although this is the baseline speed that is required for HD content, it could still lead to buffering especially if you have multiple connected gadgets at home.

10 - 20 Mbps - This is the minimum speed for a consistent and reliable internet experience. If you continuously download files from the web and cloud storage services, get a plan with this advertised speed at the very least.

20 Mbps and higher - Now we’re talking. Households with multiple computers and gadgets, video streaming services, smart appliances, and simultaneous users should aim for at least a 20 Mbps plan.

Services that test internet speed

Now that you have an idea what internet speed is required for certain activities, test your actual bandwidth and compare it to your provider’s advertised speed. Here is a list of the most popular sites to use. It’s a good idea to conduct the test at more than one site. Your mileage may vary.

Ookla Speedtest

One of the most well-known internet speed test services available is Ookla Speedtest. This service can measure your connection’s ping response, download and upload speeds from a remote server.

As for download and upload speeds, measurements are given in bits per second. Higher numbers are better. Download speeds will typically be much faster than upload speeds.

You can also compare these numbers against the speeds that your internet service provider promises you. Be sure to run multiple tests over several days at different times. This will give you an overall picture of your connection speed. You also might find specific periods when it’s slow, depending on your area’s network congestion.

Tap or click here to try Ookla Speedtest now.

Fast.com

Interestingly, Netflix has its internet speed test called Fast.com.

Fast.com is entirely browser-based, so you don’t have to download an app or program. Just point your web-based or mobile browser to Fast.com and the test will automatically run and show your download speed when it’s done.

For more details about your connection, tap or click the “Show more info” box. This will show your latency, upload speeds and the servers used for the test.

SpeedOf.Me

Another excellent web-based speed test is SpeedOf.Me. What’s great about this tool is the real-time graph that tracks the fluctuations in the speeds while the test is running. It can also provide you with a graphical history of all the tests you’ve run for comparison. Click here to try SpeedOf.Me now.

Other tests you can try

Other alternative speed tests can be accessed straight on the search engine of your choice. For example, search for the keywords “speed test” on Google and the first hit will show Google’s very own speed test tool.

The same service is available from Bing. Just search for “speed test” via Bing and the first result is a handy speedometer-style internet speed tool that measures ping response plus download and upload speeds.

Tips for more accurate results

Whenever available, always use a wired connection for more accurate and consistent results. Why? The culprit of your slower speeds may lie on your Wi-Fi connection and not on your ISP connection itself.

Do multiple tests and if the average of the results is only about 5-10 Mbps off, then that should be tolerable. Factors like congestion during peak times and your distance from the relay hardware will contribute to slight variations on your speed. (For more accuracy, you could turn your Wi-Fi radios off during the wired tests.)

If your wired results are way lower than advertised, a consistent 20 to 30 Mbps difference, perhaps, then there might be something else going on.

Check your hardware first and see if it’s compatible with your provider’s recommendations. For example, older DOCSIS 2.0 modems can’t go beyond 38 Mbps. If you have a rate plan of 50 Mbps and above, better upgrade your modem to DOCSIS 3.0.

What if you already have newer hardware and you’re still seeing less-than-advertised speeds? Then check your network for unauthorized devices that may be stealing your bandwidth.

If you do find Wi-Fi thieves, better kick them off then change your network password quick! Click here to make sure that no one’s stealing your Wi-Fi.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:09

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Model asked for God's help getting a spot on the Victoria Secret Fashion Show

By Christian Gollayan | New York Post

Model Kelsey Meritt said she asked God to help her get a spot on the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. (Getty Images)

When Kelsey Merritt moved to New York City from the Philippines in 2017 to pursue modeling, she had big dreams. But she exceeded them by booking the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show out of the gate.

“I can’t believe I’m making my runway debut there!” Merritt, now 21, said during her photo shoot for The Post. “I feel like I won a beauty pageant.”

 

She will strut her stuff on the catwalk alongside runway legends such as Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo and Taylor Hill at the annual Victoria’s Secret show this Sunday in Manhattan. (The event will air Dec. 2 on ABC.)

Merritt has come along way from her humble beginnings. Born and raised in Pampanga, a province northwest of Manila, she grew up in a tightly-knit household with three siblings. Her father works in real estate, while her mother is a housewife. Merritt’s first job was working at a local coffee shop when she was 15. Around that time, she saw some of her friends going to open casting calls for models and decided to give it a shot.

“I wasn’t even with a signed agency, I’d just go to open calls and I’d book runway jobs, then I started doing editorials and it just grew from there,” she said. “At 15 [years old], that was a pretty big deal.”

But modeling didn’t stop her from pursuing her education. Merritt studied advertising at Ateneo University, one of the most prestigious schools in the Philippines. Because her first language was Filipino, she was nervous about speaking English with her classmates.

“I was insecure because [my classmates] were so posh,” Merritt said. “I was never comfortable. Whenever I spoke Filipino, they’d talk back to me in English . . . I was a little embarrassed about my English because of my accent, but [now I know] there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

In 2015 she was scouted via Instagram by a Wilhelmina executive who asked her to fly out to New York for four months. She ended up booking gigs like Vera Wang and was photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, all while also juggling her studies.

“I had no idea how big of a deal [Demarchelier] was” at first, she admitted of the then-regular Vogue contributor. (Earlier this year, publisher Condé Nast said it would no longer work with the photographer after he was accused by several models of sexual misconduct.)

But once she found out, “that put it in perspective,” she said — essentially, that’s when she realized she could make a full-time career out of modeling.

???????

Upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2017, Merritt moved to New York full time. Soon, she caught the eye of Victoria’s Secret, where she was cast for two catalog shoots and asked to audition for the big fashion show.

Merritt admitted she was all nerves after the tryout — but she left it up to a higher power.

“I went to church and prayed,” she recalled. “I said, ‘This is all in your hands now.’ ”

When the model got word that she made the cut, she was over the moon. “Victoria’s Secret is such a big deal in the Philippines,” she said. “So I feel like this was something I could give back to [Filipinos].”

And Merritt, who now lives in Chelsea, also found love in the States. She’s currently dating two-time Olympic swimmer Conor Dwyer, 29. While she is coy about sharing too many details of their relationship, the stunner said she is “happy.”

Right now, she’s busy preparing for the show. For the past two months, Merritt has cut sugar from her diet and works out seven days a week, often twice a day.

“Every single model will tell you it’s their dream job,” she said of the Victoria’s Secret show. “The roster of girls is just the best of the best, and to be part of that is just — you feel like you made it.”

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/model-asked-for-gods-help-getting-a-spot-on-the-victoria-secret-fashion-show

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 15:51

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Builders on Wall Street: Bitcoin Devs Host Lightning Hack Day

It was described as "not a normal conference."

Sure, speakers took to the podium to present their futuristic ideas – a staple at the cryptocurrency space's many, many conferences. But the Lightning Hackday, which took place in the heart of Wall Street on October 27th and 28th, was all-in-all more of a community-led endeavor with a heavy coding twist.

Throughout the two-day event, a hackathon whirred in the background. Tiny computers called Raspberry Pis dotted the tables and developers murmured amongst themselves about how to tweak the rules of the system while also not disrupting the incentive schemes.

This eclectic setup is maybe to be expected from a group of hackers building what they hope is the future of money.

 

Bitcoin's lightning network is still in its early stages, but many hope it will fix bitcoin's biggest underlying problems – that it's simply too slow and clunky, and so doesn't scale well for a future of mass adoption – at least, that is, without the help of a second layer.

"For those of you who don't know, blockchains suck," Chris Stewart, an engineer at blockchain data provider SuredBits, said when kicking off his talk.

That said, he and other developers hope the lightning network will change that.

Passions were so high, in fact, that it was hard to keep track of all the different projects on the floor. But one thing tied them all together – the interest in building for the technology's potential as a payment mechanism for everyday purchases.

Indeed, Lightning Labs engineer Alex Bosworth admitted that lightning's "killer app" – what takes it mainstream – might be as simple as that.

"I don't know what the killer app is, maybe buying a cupcake is," Bosworth told attendees during his talk.

Ideas, man

Bosworth, though suspects that the best ideas for using lightning haven't even been created yet.

For comparison, he argued that the early developers behind Linux, the popular open-source operating system, could never have guessed how far the code would go.

"Were they thinking 'Oh this will be deployed in a billion phones?" he said, implying that they probably didn't – and couldn't – have that kind of foresight when it was first deployed.

As such, Bosworth told the developers to not keep their big ideas a secret. And he took his own advice, sharing his many ideas for how lightning could be used in unique ways. For instance, he believes lightning could be used as a "monetized data layer," with some retouching of the underlying software.

Right now, lightning works by passing around "little proofs" that are essentially "meaningless, random data," Bosworth said. "But we could turn it into meaningful data," added.

One idea: use lightning for passing around little pieces of a file, so that when they're brought together they recreate the full file.

Bosworth also argued that lightning could be used to pay for enhanced payment privacy and to fuel a wave of "self-organizing" games, although, as Bosworth rattled off idea after idea, it was hard to keep up with just how these features would work in practice.

Still, he was only one developer sharing ideas at the event.

Hailing from Japan, Nayuta CEO Kenichi Kurimoto presented a lightning implementation that's optimized for the "internet of things," or the vast array of devices – from cars to TVs – that have enhanced capabilities thanks to being connected to the internet.

He sees great potential in this use case, arguing these connected machines might one day send payments between each other. And with that, he envisions that a "money owned by nobody" (i.e. bitcoin) will play a key role, since payments can be so cheap and various devices can execute them without the need for a third party.

Back to the basics

But with all of the futuristic, look-past-the-horizon ideas aside, another key focus of the Lightning Hackday was simply making lightning easier to use.

"There's a lot going on, but there's also not," bitcoin enthusiast Toby Algya said, laughing about how difficult lightning is to set up. "I'm just trying to get lightning working. That's my personal challenge for the day."

In this regard, developers are still thinking about the bottom layer, which might someday help with these kinds of problems. For example, a tool called "lightning autopilot" could make things easier by automating the step where users have to set up a "channel" to use the network.

For one, Rene Pickhardt, a lightning developer and data science consultant, is working in this area and argues that these kinds of design questions are important to answer early.

"Why is it important to think about it early? If we grow lightning for a couple of years, we might find out topology is not that great," he contended.

While Pickhardt offered some ideas at the Lightning Hackday, he noted that no solution is perfect since there's a "tradeoff between privacy and the quality of recommendations."

On a related note, a few key lightning developers are meeting in Australia next week to discuss the future of the project's specifications. Pickhardt noted that the future of autopilot, including his implementation, is something high on their list to discuss.

Bosworth echoed that sentiment, saying that these kinds of technical tweaks are so vital that he's going to hit pause on his big ideas – for now, at least – to focus on them. Case in point: he recently joined Lightning Labs on a full-time basis in order to work on the nuts-and-bolts aspect of the software.

"There are so many cool things that can be built on lightning, it's important for the underlying protocol to work well," he said, concluding: https://blog.cofredcoin.com/2018/11/05/builders-on-wall…ghtning-hack-day/ 

Dominic Solomon Posted on November 05, 2018 14:04

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Six Presidential Properties for Sale

We’ve rounded up homes with presidential links currently for sale in the U.S.

As President Obama finishes up his second term and makes way for Donald Trump, whose inauguration is on Friday, we’re taking a look at six homes for sale around the U.S. with links to past, present and future presidents, as well as their close families.

JOHN F. KENNEDY AND JACKIE KENNEDY’S WEEKEND RETREAT:

CREDIT: JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM; THOMAS & TALBOT REAL ESTATE

A modest ranch near Middleburg, Virginia, which John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, built in the early 1960s is decidedly less known than the glitzy Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. The former first lady designed it herself as a weekend retreat away from the White House, but sadly the family only spent three weekends there before JFK was assassinated in 1963. The property was sold a few months later.

The four-bedroom property, which she named Wexford after the Irish county where her husband’s ancestors lived, is currently back on the market for $5.95 million. This is down from $7.95 million in September 2015 and $10.99 million when it first was put up for sale in 2013.

 

JACKIE KENNEDY ONASSIS’S CHILDHOOD SUMMER HOUSE:

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/THE CORCORAN GROUP

Another Kennedy-linked property for sale is the "Lasata" estate in the Hamptons, designed by architect Arthur C. Jackson and built in 1917. It’s famous for being the Bouvier family’s summer home during the 1920s and 1930s and was where future first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (simply known as Jacqueline Bouvier in those days), spent her childhood vacations. Set on more than seven acres of land in posh East Hampton Village near the ocean, it includes a 10-bedroom house that was restored in 2007, a one-bedroom guest house, a two-bedroom pool house and a three-car garage building.

It’s currently owned by fashion designer and ex-Coach creative director Reed Krakoff and is on the market for $38.995 million. Adjacent land can be purchased for $14.995 million.

CHESTER A. ARTHUR’S SUMMER WHITE HOUSE:

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE

The Hamptons was not only a favorite vacation haunt with the Bouviers. Chester A. Arthur, who became the 21st president in 1881 after his predecessor James Garfield was assassinated, spent some of his down time in a property dubbed the "Summer White House" in Sag Harbor, according to listing agent Michaela Keszler of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. That was long before the Hamptons became the trendy vacation spot it is today.

The three-story, six bedroom Victorian mansion, which was built in 1796 and has been recently renovated, is for sale with a $14.2 millionprice tag. Features include a library with fireplace, a formal dining and living room and a family room overlooking the garden and swimming pool.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S MARTHA’S VINEYARD SUMMER RENTAL:

CREDIT: WALLACE & CO. SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL REALTY

This Martha’s Vineyard home served as the summer White House to President Obama, his wife Michelle and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, back in 2013. Known as Chilmark House, it boasts panoramic ocean views of the South Shore and Chilmark Pond and is currently for sale for $19.125 million, down from $22.5 million when it was first listed in July 2015.

More: Here’s the House Obama Will Live in After He Moves Out of the White House

Set on nine-and-a-half acres of land and with its own private road, this property no doubt acted as a perfect summer hideaway for a president who didn’t want his every movement seen by the press. In addition to privacy, other features include a heated infinity pool, half-basketball court, a large-screened porch, outdoor terraces and a two-bedroom guest cottage.

DONALD TRUMP’S CHILDHOOD HOME:

CREDIT: LAFFEY FINE HOMES; DON EMMERT / GETTY IMAGES

Donald Trump’s childhood home in New York City’s borough of Queens may have justbeen scooped up by a property developer buyer for $1.39 million (about $140,000 above its asking price), but it’s already available again. No doubt hoping to make a profit on Mr. Trump’s newfound position, the new owner is putting the five-bedroom brick-and-stucco Tudor house up for auction through auctioneers Paramount Realty USA. The auction is already open remotely and closes at 4 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 17).

Mr. Trump’s father built the house in the well-to-do neighborhood of Jamaica Estates in 1940, and the address is listed on Mr. Trump’s birth certificate. The family later moved into a grander house around the corner when he was 4 years old.

IVANKA TRUMP’S UPPER EAST SIDE CONDO:

CREDIT: ALEX PROMOIS; CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES; TRUMPINTERNATIONALREALTY.COM

Ivanka Trump, who is widely rumored to be taking on a First Lady-like role during her father’s tenure as President—and whose husband, Jared Kushner, will bea senior adviser to Mr. Trump—recently put one of her Manhattan apartments up for sale with a $4.1 million price tag. City property records show that the future first daughter paid $1.52 million for the condo at Trump Park Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 2004 and transferred ownership to an LLC that reportedly belongs to her in 2015.

More: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner Reportedly Buy $5.6 Million House in D.C.

However, while she is rumored to be moving to a Kalorama mansion in a Washington, D.C., she won’t have to stay in a hotel when she visits New York, either, as the home that’s now on the market isn’t believed to be the family’s main residence.They live in a four-bedroom penthouse in the same building, according to numerous media reports.

majsdesaint Posted on November 05, 2018 13:13

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Prison suicide epidemic: 43 inmates take own life in six months

A SUICIDE crisis is gripping Britain’s struggling jails.

In the first six months of this year, 43 inmates took their own lives in prisons in England and Wales, 41 of them men.  Our investigation found two-thirds were in their 20s or 30s.  The youngest was 19-year-old Aron Kuc, who had mental health problems.  He took his own life at Brinsford prison in Staffordshire on March 25.  In the space of just 20 days after Christmas, five prisoners were found dead in their cells. 

The grim toll began on January 4. Ben Kelbie, 32, was waiting to be sentenced for crimes including assault and harassment when he killed himself in Manchester’s notorious Strangeways jail.  Paedophile Daniel Davey, 22, was found dead in his cell at HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire’ on January 12, just weeks into a six-and-half year sentence for abusing a five-year-old boy. On the same day, rapist Louis Thomas, 38, took his own life at HMP Isle of Wight.  A day later Joseph Hause, 38, was high on zombie-drug Spice when he killed himself at HMP Chelmsford despite being on suicide watch. 

On January 14, Lee Evans hanged himself after just three nights at a prison accused by the prisons watchdog of “inexcusable failures”.  He was due to serve a six-week stretch in Swansea jail for petty crime but officers found him hanged in his cell using bedsheets he had tied to the bars.  There was one more death in January before a further eight in February.  Anthony Paine, 35, was just weeks from being released when hanged himself in HMP Liverpool. Weeks before his death, Paine had sent his mother Janet a letter stating that “nobody was doing anything to help [him]” and pleading: “Help me.” His sister Chelsea said despite her brother’s “long history of self-harm” the prison appeared to have no care plan in place for him and accused the justice system of giving him a “death sentence”. 

On February 25, Simon Mellors, 56, who was supposed to be on suicide watch in Strangeways was found hanged while on remand accused of murdering his lover. 

A total of 12 suicides came in March and April.  They included 26-year-old Lee Thrumble who was serving time for violent offences at Rochester young offenders and adult institution in Kent. Days later Marcus McGuire, 35, was found dead in his cell at crisis-hit Birmingham prison’s D-wing.  Sources claimed the prisoner may have been dead for some time before he was discovered at the former G4S-run jail. 

CELL: In the space of 20 days after Christmas, five prisoners were found dead in their cells (Pic: Mike Abrahams / Alamy Stock Photo)

Kieron Simpson, 29, became the third prisoner to kill himself at Strangeways during the first six months of this year.  His was one of seven suicides in May that included that of sadistic murderer Michael Humphries, 54.  He was serving life at Long Lartin in Worcestershire for strangling and butchering an Oxford academic in 2006.  There were eight suicides in June including that of Ricky Coombs, 25, who died at HMP Lewes in East Sussex.  A report by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in 2016 said more than a quarter of prisoners at the jail reported feeling depressed or suicidal.

Campaigners have warned of a “system in crisis” as self-harm in UK prisons reaches record highs. 

In the 12 months to June there were 49,565 incidents of self-harm, up 20% from the previous year.

Deborah Coles, director of the campaign group Inquest, said: “Self-inflicted deaths, homicides, self-harm, drugs and assaults are endemic in the prison system. 

“This reflects a system in crisis, failing in its duty of care to staff and prisoners. 

“Short-term fixes are not working. Ministerial focus on violence ignores the shocking death toll and the need for a radical overhaul. We need to tackle sentencing policy, reduce the prison population and redirect resources to community services.”

TRAGEDY: Lee Evans was found hanged in his cell just three nights after arriving (Pic: NC)

HOW COULD MY SON HANG HIMSELF IN A MODERN JAIL?

MENTAL health nurse Angie Evans’ son Lee was found hanged in his cell just three nights after arriving at overcrowded Swansea prison. Here she shares his story…

"FROM when he went in to when he was found dead his mood had changed very quickly.

“He wasn’t being looked after properly. How on earth could Lee – or all the others before him – be allowed to hang themselves in their cells in a modern-day prison?

“Surely with the number of suicides the place has had, they would have learned and put measures in place to stop young men from taking their own lives. The bottom line is it’s not fit for purpose.

SAD: Angie Evans, Lee's mum (Pic: NC)

“And I was the one who had to take a knock on the door to be told my son had hanged himself. It’s devastating and it beggars belief.

“I always had it in the back of my mind that a knock on the door might come – but never in a million years did I think it would come from prison officers.

 “None of the reports into suicides have addressed the one thing that needs addressing – the environment. I’m a mental health nurse with a background in secure facilities so I know that the one thing you have to do is take away the opportunity for self-harm.

“Yet when I arrived in my son’s cell there was a mirror with breakable glass and glass shutters for the bars. Not to mention the bars themselves and the sheets. It was a self-harm paradise.

“Something has to be done or more young men will kill themselves – and that is as unacceptable as it gets.”

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 11:30

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British Airways passengers 'stranded in US for 3 DAYS and slept on airport floor'

BRITISH Airways has been slammed after passengers were reportedly stranded in the US and forced to sleep on the floor at New York's JFK airport

Passengers on the British Airways Flight 2036 were scheduled to fly from Orland Airport to Gatwick on Thursday evening but were delayed for 24 hours due to mechanical issues. It is understood customers were given a hotel on Friday night in Florida. But travellers hit out at the airline over Twitter for their lack of communication to passengers over the situation.

CROWDED: Travellers wait around for flight (Pic: TWITTER/@JENFLITCH)

Passenger John Chapman tweeted on Friday: "What's happening with flight BA 2036 , it's nice having extra time in Orlando BA , but you lack of information is appalling, apparently we are not flying till gone midnight, info please, my family and I would like to get home."

After finally making it out of Orlando on Saturday passengers were then hit with further delays after the flight had to be diverted to JFK Airport in New York when the plane experienced complications and its wheels were released at high altitude.

The 200 passengers were then forced to sleep on the floor at JFK airport before a plane finally took them to Gatwick at 9.30pm.

HORRENDOUS: Travellers faced severe delays in US (Pic: TWITTER/@JENFLITCH)

Wendy Murphy posted a picture of her daughter on sleeping on the floor, captioning the picture. 

She said: “Over 30 hours without any sleep, 13 hours without a single meal, stuck at JFK after emergency landing from Orlando. No promised hotels booked (only for staff). No food, no drinks, no seats, no info, no organisation.”

Passenger Mike Clark tweeted: “Is there anyone in British Airways that will communicate with the hundreds of passengers on the delayed for 30 hours BA 2036 from Orland - Silence is not a customer service strategy!”

SHOCKING: Delayed flights forces passengers to sleep on floor (Pic: TWITTER/@wendywoobear)

The delays also meant one little girl had to spend her second birthday stranded at JFK. Her dad, Lee Sullivan tweeted: “Finally back at LGW after the worst 3 days. I can’t think of strong enough words to describe the disgusting @British_Airways customer service we received. Daughter also had to spend her 2nd birthday in JFK airport. Exhausted and angry. #ba2036.”

And Lee’s daughter wasn’t the only young child who was affected by the delays. Passenger Nick Williams tweeted: “Well done @British_Airways for keeping my wife and two kids (7&4) sat on the runway for 4 hours and now waiting in Orlando airport for a minibus… useless useless useless.”

Tired passengers finally arrived at Gatwick Airport at 6.35am on Sunday morning - after 48 hours of delays.

ANGRY: Young child spent birthday stranded in airport (Pic: Twitter)

It is understood that hotel rooms in New York were limited at the weekend due to the New York City marathon taking place. A spokesperson for BA told Daily Star Online: “Our aircraft diverted to New York on Saturday morning as a precaution, following a minor technical issue. We are sorry to our customers for the delay to their travel plans. "We sent a relief aircraft out to New York on Saturday morning to get customers back to London Gatwick as quickly as possible. Customers were re-booked on to other flights where possible and our teams on the ground cared for customers, booked hotel rooms and blocked of our first class long.

"The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.”

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 11:20

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‘Princess Camilla’ Duchess snatches Diana’s title in royal tour blunder in Ghana

CAMILLA has been labelled a “Princess” in a royal blunder while on tour with Prince Charles in West Africa.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who raised questions after failing to be by her husband’s side this morning, was given the title awarded to Princess Diana in what appears to be a gaffe by Ghanaian officials, pictures show.

Prince Charles stepped out to attend a church service in Ghana this morning, but Camilla was not at his side for the engagement on the fifth day of their royal tour. Charles looked in good spirits as he attended the service at Accra Ridge Church despite his wife being absent. Camilla, 71, joined the Prince for engagements later on.

The pair arrived to meet with King Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II at a Durbar and Tea with the Asantehene at Manhiya Palace.

The Centre for National Culture at the Kumasi palace mistakenly called the Duchess “Princess Camilla” while welcoming the royal couple.

A sign read: “The Centre for National Culture, Kumasi welcomes Your Royal Highnesses Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Princess Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.”

Traditionally, when a woman marries into the British royal family, she gets the female version of her husband's title.

GHANA: Camilla and Prince Charles are on a tour or west Africa (Pic: GETTY)

BLUNDER: The Duchess was referred to as "Princess Camilla" (Pic: REX)

PRINCESS: Lady Diana was given the title when she married Prince Charles (Pic: GETTY)

So when Lady Diana Spencer married the Prince of Wales —Prince Charles— she became the Princess of Wales. As Prince Charles is now married to Camilla, it's Camilla who should be referred to as HRH (Her Royal Highness) The Princess of Wales. But instead, she goes by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, which is the feminine version of one of Charles's other titles.

Experts say Camilla was “styled” as a duchess so not to stir up tension in the British public who did not like Charles’ new wife. Today is the third day of Charles and Camilla’s trip to Ghana. It is the second leg of their tour of West Africa, which has already seen them visit The Gambia. And the pair will travel to Nigeria on November 6 for the final part of their overseas trip.

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 11:15

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Leicester City funeral: Jamie Vardy and teammates arrive to pay tribute to chairman

LEICESTER City’s finest have arrived in Bangkok for the funeral of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who was killed in a freak helicopter crash last week.

Vichai, 60, founder of Thai duty-free giant King Power International, was killed last Saturday along with four others when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium. Striker Jamie Vardy and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel are among those who have made the trip to Thailand to pay their final respects. The funeral, closed to the public and media, was attended by Vichai's relatives, friends and senior Thai politicians and soccer officials. It began yesterday with a bathing ritual using royally-bestowed water and an eight-sided urn lent as an honour by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and was followed by recitation ceremonies which will last for seven days.

Following his death last week tributes have poured out from all corners of the sporting world and beyond. A sport psychologist who worked with Leicester City during their Premier League winning season has said people do not know 10% of what Vichai did for charity. Ken Way admitted he shed a tear after hearing the news of the Leicester owner's death in a helicopter crash after the team's 1-1 draw with West Ham on October 27.

He told reporters the decision to postpone the Southampton match was the correct decision but the outpouring of grief from the players and the city meant there was a case for "getting back on the horse" against Cardiff on Saturday.

TRIBUTE: Players and staff arrive at Leicester City chairman's funeral (Pic: EPA)

FUNERAL: A picture of the Leicester chairman is placed next to his urn at Wat Thepsirin temple(Pic: AFP)

Mr Way said players such as Schmeichel would have taken the news of Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's death hard as they had "a great deal of time for each other". Speaking of how he reacted to the news of Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's death, Mr Way said: "I knew Vichai and I have to say I have shed a few tears. He's such a phenomenal guy.

"That's a tough one. I would find that really really hard to talk about someone I knew personally. "I always remember as a psychotherapist having a student come in who lost her dad about a year ago. I said to her, he lives in the synaptic gaps between the neurons, he lives here. We both shed a tear." Vichai, who bought Leicester City in 2010, was adored by fans after the club stunned the soccer world by beating odds of 5,000/1 to win the Premier League title in 2016 in what amounted to a sporting fairy tale.

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 10:59

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Strictly curse strikes again! ANOTHER couple announce shock split

STRICTLY Come Dancing has claimed yet another relationship.

Strictly Come Dancing dancer Dianne Buswell, 29, has split with her boyfriend Anthony Quinlan, 31, who stars in Emmerdale as Pete Barton. The Strictly 2018 star reportedly called time on their ten-month relationship after Anthony became suspicious about how close she was to her partner Joe Sugg, 27. According to the Sun, Anthony began to notice Dianne and YouTuber Joe were becoming close, as a source told them: "Everyone on set’s been discussing how close they’d become. It did not go unnoticed by Anthony. "A couple of weeks ago they just decided enough was enough and ended things.

"It was only a few days after the Katya and Seann pictures emerged. They continued: "[Dianne] is having a lot of fun with the show at the moment and is enjoying spending time with her dance partner Joe."

Dianne and Anthony's split was confirmed by a spokesman for Dianne to Daily Star Online in a statement, reading: "Due to their busy schedules and distance they have split, but still remain really close friends."

CLOSE: Anthony was reportedly suspicious about how close Dianne and Joe Sugg were (Pic: INSTAGRAM)

This series of Strictly has been one of the most dramatic yet, after contestant Seann Walsh and dancer Katya Jones were spotted kissing in London earlier this month.

Katya has been married to fellow dancer Neil since 2013, while Seann was in a five-year relationship with actress Rebecca Humphries. Rebecca has confirmed they have since split in an online statement, and Katya and Seann both released apologies on social media.

END OF THE ROAD: Dianne and Anthony had been dating for ten months (Pic: INSTAGRAM )

Viewers of the BBC competition insisted the pair be dropped from the competition for being unprofessional, but the pair made it through to the next round on the show last weekend. Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez were the couple to leave the show, as they went to head-to-head with Casualty's Charles Venn and Karen Clifton. Strictly continues on Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC.

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 10:54

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Exclusive: Khashoggi sons issue emotional appeal for the return of their father's body

Washington (CNN)The sons of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi issued an emotional appeal for the return of their father's body, in their first interview since he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a month ago.

Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi, who called their father "courageous, generous and very brave," said they have endured weeks of anguish and uncertainty following his disappearance and death.

"I really hope that whatever happened wasn't painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death," Abdullah Khashoggi, 33, told CNN during a sit-down interview in Washington with his brother, Salah, 35.

Authorities in Turkey -- who say Khashoggi was murdered by a hit squad sent from Riyadh -- are still searching for the journalist's remains. Earlier this week, the chief prosecutor's office said Khashoggi's body was dismembered after he was strangled, while the Washington Post reported investigators were looking into the theory that the body was dissolved in acid. A source close to the Saudi Royal Palace has denied any knowledge of the body's whereabouts.

Without their father's body, the brothers say their family is unable to grieve or find closure.

"All what we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi (cemetery) in Medina (Saudi Arabia) with the rest of his family," Salah said.

"I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon."

 

Saudi Arabia has presented an evolving narrative about what happened to Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen, when he entered the consulate to get papers for his wedding; the journalist was preparing to get married for a third time. Authorities initially denied all knowledge of his fate before later admitting that a group of rogue operators, many part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inner circle, were responsible. Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor his father, King Salman, knew of the operation to target Khashoggi.

But what has really come to trouble his two sons, their two sisters and their mother are the lies, they say, that have sprung up since Khashoggi's death.

Abdullah and Salah say their father has been misunderstood and intentionally misrepresented for political reasons.

"Jamal was a moderate person. He was liked by everybody. He had differences and common values with everyone," Salah said, describing Khashoggi as a genuine, happy person and an "amazing" father.

"I see a lot of people coming out right now and trying to claim his legacy and unfortunately some of them are using that in a political way that we totally don't agree with."

"Public opinion is important... but my fear is that it's being over politicized. People are throwing analysis that may direct us away from the truth."

Jamal Khashoggi, looks on during a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama, on December 15, 2014.

Khashoggi was labeled as a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer and a dangerous Islamist in phone calls the Saudi crown prince had with Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and Middle East adviser, and John Bolton, national security adviser, according to reports in both the Washington Post and New York Times. The Muslim Brotherhood, considered a terror group in many Arab nations, but not the US or Europe, has long been seen as an existential threat by the desert kingdom's leaders.

"It's just labels and people not doing their homework properly, and reading his article and going in depth. It's easier to stick a label on him," Abdullah said, when asked about the Muslim Brotherhood claim.

Asked how Khashoggi should be remembered, Salah replied, "as a moderate man who has common values with everyone... a man who loved his country, who believed so much in it and its potential."

"Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through."

Reflecting on their father's career as a journalist, they say Khashoggi was "like a rock and roll star" when they were out with him in Saudi Arabia.

"He was a public figure that was liked by everyone else," Salah said. "You don't see that much in media, in print media."

Abdullah Khashoggi (left) beside his brother, Salah Khashoggi (right) during an interview with CNN on Sunday.

If there is a frailty that comes with suddenly losing a parent, Salah and Abdullah, who is two years his junior, don't show it, but Salah's sunken, shadowed eyes show the strain.

Salah, the eldest sibling, has been made the principal family point of contact by the Saudi government, meaning all of Khashoggi's relatives call him. It's a large family and a large emotional burden not eased by the absence of facts. He says he relies on news reports for updates about the investigation into his father's death.

"Our source is the same source that you have. It is a mystery. This is putting a lot of burden on us -- all of us. That everybody is seeking for information just as we do. They think that we have answers, and unfortunately we don't," Salah said.

Abdullah, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, says he was the last of Khashoggi's children to see him alive. When he heard the journalist was going to be in Turkey he went to visit him and spent time with him and his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. He saw their blossoming relationship and his father's happiness.

"He was happy. It was a very good opportunity for me to see him. We hung out in Istanbul, we had fun," Abdullah said. "I was really lucky to have last moment with him. I feel very grateful."

Following the murder, Abdullah was the first family member to visit Khashoggi's apartment in Virginia. There, he said, he found that his father had placed a photograph of his grandchildren, Abdullah's two children and Salah's daughter, by his bed.

Abdullah says he realized how much his father loved his family, placing a photograph where he would see them last thing at night.

"That shocked me," Abdullah said. "It put an emphasis on his gentle, tender side of loving his family, his grandkids. It's just something huge and it touched me personally and all the family when they knew about it."

 

 

The brothers say their father was planning to leave the Washington area and move to Turkey so he could be closer to his children and grandchildren.

"The main reason behind him choosing to live in Turkey is to be closer to his family. He has a very special relationship with all of his sisters. It's been hard for all of us to hear the tragic news," Salah said.

Salah and Abdullah are suffering, but they are not lathered in self-pity. They're speaking publicly now to restore the part of Khashoggi's narrative that belongs to the family. But they say each day is tough, scouring the news for even the smallest detail about their father's murder.

"It's difficult, it's not easy. Especially when the story gets this big. It's not easy, it's confusing. Even the way we grieve, it's a bit confusing," Abdullah said. "At the same time, we're looking at the media and the misinformation. There's a lot of ups and downs. We're trying to be emotional and at the same time we're trying to get the story -- bits and pieces of the story to complete the whole picture. It's confusing and difficult. It's not a normal situation and not a normal death."

Salah, Abdullah and their sisters Noha, 27 and Razan, 25, all want to get on with their lives, they still live and work in the Middle East and have been put under an unenviable spotlight.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father King Salman pictured shaking hands with Salah bin Jamal Khashoggi.

Salah is due to go back to his banking job in Jeddah very soon, and fears how commentators on social media will react. He says his handshake with the Crown Prince shortly before he left Saudi Arabia two weeks ago was widely misinterpreted.

"I mean there was nothing, they were just over analyzing the whole situation," Salah said. "I understand why they're trying to do that. They're trying to get as much information as they can out of anything, which is something that we're also doing. Sometimes they're just baseless claims, sometimes they just don't make any sense."

Salah says he is waiting for the investigation to be over and for the facts to come out.

"The King has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice. And I have faith in that. This will happen. Otherwise Saudi wouldn't have started an internal investigation," Salah said.

Asked if he was placing his faith in the King, Salah replied: "yes."

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/04/middleeast/salah-khashoggi-abdullah-khashoggi-intl/index.html

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 06:05

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U.S. warns its citizens in Tanzania before anti-gay crackdown

By Reuters

DAR ES SALAAM — The United States has warned its citizens in Tanzania to be cautious after the commercial capital Dar es Salaam announced a crackdown on homosexuality, a criminal offense in the country.

In an alert on its website late on Saturday, the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania advised Americans to review their social media profiles and internet footprints.

"Remove or protect images and language that may run afoul of Tanzanian laws regarding homosexual practices and explicit sexual activity," it said.

The alert said any U.S. citizen who was detained or arrested should ensure the Tanzanian authorities informed the embassy.

Dar es Salaam's administrative chief Paul Makonda said on Wednesday that a special committee would seek to identify and punish homosexuals, prostitutes and online fraudsters in the city from this week.

The foreign ministry said Makonda was voicing his own opinion and the planned crackdown did not have national government support.

"The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to clarify that those are his own views and not the government position," the ministry said in a statement.

'Report them to me': Tanzanian official asks residents to help hunt gays

Last October, at least 12 men were arrested at a Dar es Salaam hotel in a raid on a gathering which authorities said was to promote same-sex relationships.

President John Magufuli has cracked down on homosexuality since winning power in 2015, and a conviction for having "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" could lead to a sentence of up to 30 years in jail.

Homosexuality remains taboo across much of Africa and gay people face discrimination or persecution, with rights groups often reluctant to speak publicly in defense of gay rights.

In 2016, Tanzania banned non-governmental organizations from distributing free lubricants to gays as part of efforts to control the spread of HIV/AIDS, even though some health experts warn that shutting down such outreach programs could put the wider population at higher risk of infection.

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/u-s-warns-its-citizens-tanzania-anti-gay-crackdown-n931066

 

 

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 05:57

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Utah mayor Brent Taylor killed while serving in Afghanistan

By Daniella Silva and Alex Johnson

The mayor of a Utah city who was serving in Afghanistan was killed and another service member was wounded in an apparent "insider attack," officials said Sunday.

North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, 39, a major in the Utah National Guard, was killed Saturday while serving with his unit in Kabul, which is helping to train Afghan defense forces. The Utah National Guard said Taylor appeared to have been shot by a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, who was then shot and killed by other Afghan forces.

An undated photo of Brent Taylor on foot patrol while training Afghan border police in Afghanistan.North Ogden City

The incident was the second such insider attack in less than two weeks, after an Afghan commando killed one person and wounded two other people on Oct. 22.

Taylor leaves behind a wife and seven children ages 11 months to 13 years. A GoFundMe page that was set up to support his family had reached almost 80 percent of its goal of $250,000 by Sunday night.

Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton, Utah's adjutant general, said Taylor, 39, was "a man of excellence" and an "amazing human being" who was killed while serving his fourth deployment. He served in Iraq in 2006 and again in 2007 and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service, and he was sent to Afghanistan in 2012 and again this year.

Burton characterized Taylor's death as a "betrayal," saying at a news conference that the region is still considered a combat zone where the Taliban remains active.

"It's bitter. He was with folks he was helping and training," Burton said. "That's what's so, ultimately, painful about this."

Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden, Utah.North Ogden City

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert called Taylor a "great mayor of North Ogden," a city of about 19,000 people about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City.

"Maj. Brent Taylor was the personification of love of God, family and country," he said.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said on Twitter on Saturday that he was "struggling for words" after having learned of Taylor's death.oll

 

 

"I love Mayor Taylor, his amazing wife Jennie and his 7 sweet kids. Utah weeps for them today," he wrote. "This war has once again cost us the best blood of a generation."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in a statement that Taylor was a "dear friend" whose "service will always be remembered."

Taylor became mayor of North Ogden in 2013 after having served on the City Council. In January, he announced on Facebook that he was embarking on a one-year deployment to Afghanistan as part of an advisory team training the staff of an Afghan commando battalion.

"Serving as mayor of North Ogden city has been one of the greatest honors of my life and the highlight of my civilian professional career," he said. "Service is what leadership is all about."

"There are three great loyalties that have guided my life and everything in it, God, family, and country," he added.

Daniella Silva

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/utah-mayor-brent-taylor-killed-while-serving-afghanistan-n931096

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 05:48

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Alaska Airlines pilot accused of rape sues co-pilot, carrier amid 'false #MeToo claims'

A former senior Alaska Airlines pilot who was fired earlier this year after a female co-pilot sued the airline, alleging that the captain drugged and raped her during a June 2017 work trip, has filed a lawsuit of his own against his accuser and the carrier. The aviator, who flew for Alaska for 22 years, claims he was wrongly terminated amid “false #MeToo claims” in a “negligent, flawed investigation.”

Paul Engelien filed the lawsuit against former First Officer Betty Pina after the 40-year-old woman claimed the captain, 51, drugged and raped her during a layover on a work trip to Minnesota in June 2017, the Seattle Times reported on Nov. 2.

According to Engelien’s litigation, Pina falsely invented the claims of sexual assault in order to avoid “workplace discipline” given her status as a probationary employee. The former military pilots were subjected to a “routine, internal” alcohol-consumption violation investigation by Alaska regarding their actions on the trip.

Officials at Alaska believed that the pair may have violated the airline’s ten-hour alcohol rule during the work trip, which prohibits pilots from consuming alcohol within ten hours of duty. (Reuters/LinkedIn)

AMERICAN AIRLINES SERVED TOO MUCH ALCOHOL TO PASSENGER WHO SEXUALLY ASSAULTED WOMAN, LAWSUIT CLAIMS

Officials at Alaska believed that the pair may have violated the airline’s ten-hour alcohol rule during layover, which prohibits pilots from consuming alcohol within ten hours of duty.

“Pina’s false claims defamed Engelien, invaded his privacy, decimated his life and career, and caused him severe distress,” Engelien's lawsuit states, arguing that Alaska’s human resources advisor lead a “negligent, flawed and pretextual [internal] investigation” regarding the claims.

The lawsuit also states that Pina was previously involved in a similar incident during her time working for Alaska in May 2017, during which she reportedly “drank too much, blacked out, then later blamed others,” the Times reports.

According to Pina’s LinkedIn profile, she now flies for a Hawaii-based carrier.

Engelien was grounded by Alaska almost immediately after news of Pina’s lawsuit broke in March 2018, before his employment with the airline was terminated. (iStock)

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Engelien was grounded by Alaska almost immediately after news of Pina’s lawsuit broke in March 2018, before his employment with the airline was eventually terminated.

Though Pina’s lawsuit against Alaska was settled out of court in September of this year, Engelien claims that he has suffered “devastating economic, emotional and reputations injuries and damages” as caused by accuser’s “false #MeToo” claims" in the lawsuit.

Representatives for Alaska Airlines did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment on the story.

Luke Posted on November 03, 2018 16:04

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South Carolina mother-of-3 shoots home invader: ‘I would’ve killed him if I had to’

By Kathleen Joyce | Fox News

close

 

South Carolina mom shoots home intruder

A South Carolina mother-of-three took action after she heard a man attempting to break into her home – and shot him.

Ashley Jones of Anderson County told FOX Carolina she heard someone banging at her door early on Thursday. The mother said she called 911 and got her gun. She said she saw a man banging at her door when she peered out the window.

“I yelled, 'I have a gun, I will shoot you, get away from my house,'” Jones said.

She said she used her gun after the intruder kicked her door in to come inside the home. Video surveillance outside her home captured the incident.

SOUTH CAROLINA FAMILY ASKS HUNTERS NOT TO KILL PET DEER

“So then he kicks the door in as soon as he kicks the door in and tries to take a step in my house that’s when I shot him and he ran off, she recalled. “Something just came over me, I got calm and my heart slowed down.”

The mother said she “would’ve killed him if I had to” if the intruder tried to come inside her home. She said she was thankful she had protection because she didn’t think she could fight off the man.

“Because if I didn’t have any kind of weapons I don’t know what I would have did. That guy was kind of big,” she said.

WOMAN WHO ESCAPED FROM KIDNAPPERS NOW PURSUING LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER

“I wouldn’t have been able to fight him off. I never thought I would have to shoot that gun, ever,” she continued.

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect was later identified as Cecil Charles Parnell, 42, of Anderson, was charged with first-degree burglary and was booked in the Anderson County Detention Center, FOX Carolina reported. The woman who was with the suspect during the incident was not charged, the Anderson Independent Mail reported.

"Any mother is going to protect her kid any way she can. And that's what I did," Jones told WSPA.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

Luke Posted on November 03, 2018 15:59

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The Spice Girls to finally REUNITE – with huge stadium tour planned

THE SPICE Girls are finally getting back together, according to reports. Rumours of the iconic girlband reforming have been circulating for the last two years. However, according to The Sun, The Spice Girls are announcing their comeback on Monday, as well as a huge British stadium summer tour. The only catch is that Victoria Beckham won't be returning. It's claimed David Beckham's Mrs is too busy working on her fashion empire to re-join Mel B, Geri Horner, Emma Bunton and Melanie C.

The Wannabe singers, who first got together in 1994, have apparently secretly recorded a video message to the world that will be broadcast on Bonfire Night.They are then set to appear on Jonathan Ross’ ITV chat show for their first live TV appearance next Saturday. The band haven't performed since the London Olympics closing ceremony in 2012. And their last tour was back in January 2008 for their only other reunion.

TOUR: The girlband are reportedly set to go on a huge UK stadium tour next summer (Pic: GETTY IMAGES)

It's claimed the comeback is being managed by Simon Fuller and Modest Management, the firm behind the success of One Direction. The Spice Girls were a four-piece for two years after Geri quit the band back in 1998. The remaining four then went ahead with their North American tour and recorded their third album, Forever, before going on hiatus in 2000.

MISSING: Victoria Beckham won't be joining the girls though as she focuses on her fashion brand (Pic: GETTY IMAGES)

EXCITING: The band haven't performed together since 2008 (Pic: GETTY IMAGES)

As well as Wannabe, the girls are known for hits such as Spice Up Your Life, Stop and Who Do You Think You Are. They are also known for their "girl power" movement. We are certainly ready to get out our 90s gear and get ourselves a ticket.

jmparker Posted on November 03, 2018 15:55

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Panama: How a country of chaos became a bridge across the Americas

CNN) — Mention Panama and most people will probably think about its eponymous canal. Maybe they'll be reminded of 1980s dictator Manuel Noriega. Perhaps the more recent scandal of the Panama Papers leak of financial documents.

Or even wide-brimmed Panama straw hats (even though they originate from Ecuador).

But the southernmost Central American country's true identity is largely centered on its location. And, according to those who live there, on the chaos and exploitation that defined its past.

Being "used" is key to Panama's history, says filmmaker Abner Benaim, whose documentaries have explored the complex DNA of the country's capital, Panama City.

"Panama is a country that's been used by everyone," Benaim tells CNN. "It does have its own identity, but that identity is made of chaos.

"It's made up of people from all over the world who came here for different reasons. This is all to do with our location on the map. We're that span that's very easy to point out."

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The Isthmus of Panama is a bridge that connects North and South America as well as the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

As a result, Panama, which covers an area of roughly 75,000 square kilometers, is right in the middle.

It's become the hub of the Americas in terms of connectivity, with principal airport Tocumen International offering nonstop flights to 81 different cities.

A former colony of Spain, Panama became a part of the Republic of Columbia in 1821.

It separated from Colombia in 1903, but was infamously invaded by the United States in 1989 in an attempt to overthrow Noriega.

Today, Panamanian culture is a blend of indigenous (native Panamanians make up around 12.3% of the overall population,) European and African cultures, with the United States also proving a significant influence.

"What makes Panama interesting, to me at least, is that mix. The mix of history, coming from the north and the south," adds Benaim. "If you ask people here about Latin American culture, they'll probably know more about US culture."

Modern wonder

The Panama Canal is used by more than 15,000 vessels each year.

RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Image

The Panama Canal, labeled one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers, has played a huge role in Panama's evolution.

Before it existed, ships were forced to navigate around Cape Horn, a hazardous journey near the tip of South America.

Although France began the building process back in the late 1800s, the canal was eventually completed in 1914 by the United States, which had been granted control of the 10-mile-wide Canal Zone in exchange for $10 million, as well as annual payments.

The project wasn't without its costs, both human and financial.

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Berlin: The city where anything goes

More than $375 million, equivalent to about $8.6 billion today, was spent by the United States to finish it. The bigger price was the five thousand lives lost as a result of diseases or accidents during the US construction period.

With the canal subsequently owned and operated by America for 70 years, it wasn't until December 1999 that Panama gained complete control of this vital waterway that split the country in half.

Today, more than 15,000 vessels travel through the 82-kilometer canal each year.

It makes a contribution of up to 40% of Panama's economy, registering a total of $2.238 million in toll revenues during fiscal year 2017 alone.

New identity

Benaim believes that Panama experienced a rebirth when it was granted free control of the canal.

"Historically Panama is just over a hundred years old, but it's really only been independent since the Americans left," he says.

Abner Benaim: "Panama is a very young country."

CNN

"That's the first time that Panama stood on its own. It's a very young country in that sense. Growing up is hard. Being left alone and being independent is very hard."

However, Panama has been carving out an identity of its own in the nearly two decades since then.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in Panama City, which is home to around half of the country's residents and the only capital city in the world that holds a rainforest within its city limits.

Related content

Washington DC: The master plan that created the world's most powerful city

While its old town has been lovingly restored, a gleaming skyline of tower blocks and skyscrapers has emerged victoriously.

The latter has become a defining point of Panama City.

Panamanian real estate developer Octavio Vallarino played a significant role in modernizing the city and has five buildings under construction.

"Even though I'm a Panamanian, it impresses me to see the skyline," says Vallarino. "I think it's a reflection of prosperity, a reflection of confidence."

The capital city is also home to Central America's first urban rail system -- the Panama Metro -- which launched in 2014.

Happy place

Vallarino is extremely proud of the progress Panama has made, but holds a somewhat controversial viewpoint on the reasons behind this.

"The invasion by the US gave Panama a good housekeeping seal that makes us one of the safest places in the world," he says. "If the Americans had not been here, Panama would not be what it is today.

"It's why we have a lot of foreigners that come to live here and do business. Some of them become residents, some become citizens of Panama.

Roberto Durán: Panama is "more beautiful" than ever.

CNN

"Somehow there's a magic here that means people don't want to leave."

Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán, who's a four-weight world champion as well as a national treasure, has also felt the shift.

"In the last 15 years, Panama has grown a lot," he tells CNN.

"There's been a lot of investment in hotels, in buildings -- they have made Panama more beautiful than it was before."

These developments are doing wonders for the spirits of Panamanians -- if the Happy Place index is anything to go by.

The annual list, which measures how well nations are doing at achieving "long, happy, sustainable lives," ranked Panama as the sixth-happiest place in the world in 2017.

It also came in sixth place on International Living magazine's 2018 list of the top 10 places to retire abroad.

So what's next for this "young" country?

"The picture is being drawn at the moment," declares Benaim. "History with a capital 'H' hasn't really been written here yet. Now people are understanding that we have to take responsibility. We have do things on our own -- and make it good."

CNN's Holly Brown contributed to this story

Luke Posted on November 03, 2018 15:45

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Democrat women launch naked 'Grab Them By The Ballot' campaign to try and get people to vote

Ten women took part in a naked photoshoot in the hope that the pictures could be part of a much wider push to get people going to the polls on the 6 November.

Dawn Robertson, 48, organised the shoot with women of different sizes, sexualities and colours following the Me Too revelations and Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and subsequential appointment as Supreme Court judge.

The models, who the Harvard Law graduate found on social media, include a Latina, a trans woman, an abduction survivor and a pregnant woman

"I went up to a woman in a market and asked her to pose for me and she said yes," she said.

People in real life were actually far more receptive to the idea than communities online.

Melodi Blackbird, 44, Susan Lipkin, 65, Gina Carerra, 56, Tara Beach, 34, Alexandra Martin, 31, Nyla Smith, 22, Gina Higgins, 37, Courtney Blasius, 31, a transgender woman who goes by the initial Z, 28, and Robertson all posed nude with ballots placed in front of their genitals.

With the Kavanagh nomination and Me Too and Trump, women are rising everywhere.

Robertson added that the attack on women’s reproductive rights and trans rights also prompted her to launch the campaign, naming it after President Trump’s infamous comments made during an interview with Access Hollywood aboard a bus.

What the Republicans are doing to transgender rights, the way they are attacking women's reproductive rights and the collective trauma means that women are really coming to the forefront now.

I hope that the pictures encourage women and marginalised communities to vote. I want them to know that their voice matters and this is serious s***.

Robertson said she faced a lot of backlash resulting from the nude photoshoot.

I was told I was objectifying women, that nudity equals promiscuity and even that I was playing the part of a white saviour. But I don't think that the pictures over-sexualise the women.

Nudity is fine, being naked is a natural expression. Men have sexualised and monetised women's bodies but these pictures give the power back to the woman.

Z, a Jewish transgender woman decided to take part in order to point out the mistreatment of the trans community under Trump, whilst Latina artist Gina Carerra, 56, wanted to highlight the administration’s mistreatment of minorities.

https://www.indy100.com/article/grab-them-by-the-ballot-midterm-elections-2018-campaign-naked-women-vote-democrat-8614716

ruby Posted on November 03, 2018 15:27

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Asia's meth boom

How a war on drugs went continent-wide

By Joshua Berlinger, CNN

 
 
 

Hong Kong (CNN)From the jungles of Myanmar to the streets of Hong Kong, police throughout Asia are fighting a war against methamphetamine.

By many indications, they're losing.

Demand for both crystal meth and yaba, tablets that typically contain a mixture of meth and caffeine, is skyrocketing. Production is increasing at an unprecedented clip, and so is the body count. Leaders in places like Bangladesh and the Philippines are waging deadly drug wars that have cost thousands of lives.

But this isn't "Breaking Bad" -- meth isn't just used by the poor and the downtrodden.

Meth no longer discriminates in Asia; it has become the dominant drug of choice across the region, irrespective of class, age or gender, according to Jeremy Douglas, who is in charge of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) southeast Asia operations.

In a career spanning 16 years, Douglas said he's never seen demand like this.

"No situation is exactly comparable, but this is off the charts," he said.

Experts say the boom is due to a serendipitous combination of domestic and geopolitical issues that have aligned to the benefit of the region's drug gangs.

The majority of meth production is happening deep inside the jungles of the Golden Triangle, a lawless area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. Experts say it's easy to conceal drug production there and move it on at short notice.

Drug runners, meanwhile, are exploiting new roads and infrastructure being built as part of an ambitious, trillion-dollar Chinese initiative to connect markets across the globe, using the flow of people and licit goods to mask drug trafficking.

And the profits, likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars, are being laundered via intricate international schemes, often using front companies in countries where lax oversight makes it easy to hide money.

"It's a perfect storm in terms of the production of methamphetamine," says John Coyne, a former head of strategic intelligence at the Australian Federal Police who now works on border security issues at the Australia Strategic Policy Institute.

"It's pushing Southeast Asia into what could be in time a methamphetamine epidemic."

Production

A large portion of meth seized throughout the Asia Pacific region has been traced to Myanmar's northern Shan State, where militias and warlords reign supreme.

Perhaps the most prominent is the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and its political wing, the United Wa State Party (UWSP).

 

The two have waged a years-long struggle for autonomy for the ethnic Wa population, people who share a common language as well as cultural and historic ties with their neighbors in China's southern Yunnan province.

Shan State boasts a compelling combination of a good poppy-growing climate and a dearth of law enforcement. For years, the Golden Triangle was the source of the majority of the world's illegal heroin and opium.

Authorities in the West have long accused the UWSA and UWSP of funding their armed struggle against the Myanmar central government with the profits from drug production. The UWSA is believed to boast around 30,000 fighters.

A United Wa State Army soldier in a poppy field in 1995.

Verifying either claim is incredibly difficult. Northern Shan State is one of the hardest places in the world to access; some joke it's easier to get into North Korea. The UWSA granted journalists a rare visit to the region in 2016, during which time they denied allegations of narcotics trafficking.

Official numbers appeared to lend credence to the claim that the UWSA is no longer producing heroin, at least at first glance. Golden Triangle heroin production and distribution has been on the decline, according to numbers from the United Nations.

Authorities warn that's likely because the big players have ditched heroin in favor of a new, cheaper to produce alternative: methamphetamine.

"There's a lot of evidence coming together from across the region pointing back to the same groups, pointing back to the same locations," said Douglas with the UNODC.

This photo taken on June 26, 2017 shows a Wa ethnic woman with a buffalo seen next to members of the United Wa State Army in the Poung Par Khem region, near the Thai-Myanmar border.

 

The UWSA's decision to get into the meth game, experts say, is partly a response to market forces, but it's also motivated by profit and ease of production.

Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug. It's made in a lab using chemicals and doesn't require drug makers to cultivate organic crops, such as poppies, as is the case with heroin.

These labs can be covered by a tarp or moved on short notice. You can't do that with a poppy field.

A photograph shared by the Myanmar Ministry of Defense shows a meth lab seized in Northern Shan State in February 2018.

Distribution

Once the meth is made, the next challenge is transportation. The Golden Triangle was for years one of the most impoverished and underdeveloped places on the planet, but that's changing thanks to China's One Belt One Road initiative -- a massive infrastructure development project intended to help connect global, predominately developing economies.

Beijing has big plans in Myanmar, where it has spent billions to connect China's landlocked Yunnan province to port cities in South and Southeast Asia. Laos and Thailand have seen similar investments.

An unintended side affect of these infrastructure improvements is that they've made it easier for meth traffickers to transport product from deep inside Shan State to the rest of Southeast Asia, Coyne said.

"What you've got is a large, legitimate trade of people, goods, etc., flowing out of Myanmar and Laos in which you can hide your drugs," said Coyne.

 

Meth from northern Shan State in both crystal and pill form has been found as far away as Japan, New Zealand and Australia. A record 1.04 billion Australian dollars ($800 million) worth of meth, believed to have originated in Shan State, was found by police in Western Australia in December.

This year, authorities have conducted dozens of meth seizures in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia.

 

Data supplied by the United Nations shows major cyrstal meth trafficking flows in the Mekong River Delta region and beyond.

Shockingly, it only took five months for seizures in Malaysia and Myanmar to surpass the 2017 totals, according to Douglas.

While those busts could mean law enforcement is winning its fight against traffickers, it also shows the sheer quantity of meth being moved.

Coyne warns of another possibility -- that meth producers have gone into overproduction, which drives down the per unit cost of making drugs, which in turn makes it easier for dealers to live with these massive busts.

"They can afford to lose larger quantities and still make profits," he said.

Thai national police chief general Chaktip Chaijinda (second from the right) watches police department chemists inspect seized drugs during a press conference in Bangkok on May 11. Ten million yaba pills made in Myanmar and nearly half a tonne of crystal meth hidden in tea packages was seized from a convoy in downtown Bangkok, Thai police said.

Laundering

All that money has to go somewhere, and law enforcement say drug dealers are using intricate financial networks to hide their ill-gotten gains.

The most prominent -- at least publicly -- is the case of the Zhao Wei, a gambling magnate accused by the US government of using his casino in Laos to help the UWSA launder proceeds from the sale of meth.

Casinos are used for laundering because they involve so much cash trading hands, but Zhao has the added benefit of operating inside what Douglas at the UNODC calls a "criminal mini-state."

"It operates like his personal fiefdom," Douglas said.

Zhao has reportedly negotiated a 99-year lease with the Lao government to operate what's known as the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone. The zone lies along the Mekong River that flows between Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. At its center sits the Kings Romans casino.

 

Kings Romans Casino

 

Zhao's agreement with the Lao government allows his business to operate under its own set of unique laws, rules and regulations.

The only areas in which Zhao defers to the central government are on matters related to the military, the judiciary, and Lao foreign policy, Zhao told Chinese state media in 2011.

The system is ostensibly designed to help attract foreign investors into the special economic zone. However, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Zhao and the casino in January, alleging that Zhao uses the lax regulation to help facilitate "the storage and distribution of heroin, methamphetamine, and other narcotics for illicit networks, including the United Wa State Army, operating in neighboring Burma."

 

The exterior of the Kings Romans casino.

Zhao has persistently maintained that the accusations leveled against him are "groundless."

"The US government's unilateral sanctions on other countries and regions is unreasonable and ridiculous behavior and for other purposes. Such behavior has created profound misunderstanding for the world community thus causing unnecessary concern for a number of investors and visitors," he said in February, shortly after the Treasury Department ruling, according to Lao state media.

"The Kings Romans Group's investment and development strictly complies with the law and signed agreements. There are neither reasons nor motivations for us to run illegal businesses. On the contrary, we have cooperated with the government of Laos to prevent and combat strictly illegal acts."

The Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment did not respond to CNN's request for comment, and the US Drug Enforcement Agency declined CNN's request for an interview for this story "due to some ongoing activity related to the case."

 

The entrance of the Kings Romans casino.

Cashflow

The US Treasury Department, which did not respond to CNN's request for comment for this story, alleges that a key cog in Zhao's operation sits thousands of miles away from his casino in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.

That cog is a company called Kings Romans International (HK) Co., Limited. It and Zhao were both sanctioned by the Treasury Department in January of this year.

According to records from the US Treasury Department and the Hong Kong Corporate Registry, the business is housed in a spartan office tower called Wu Chung House nestled in a commercial part of the city's busy Wan Chai district, a fast gentrifying red light district still famous for its seedy bars.

The Treasury did not specify what exactly goes on in the office. Hong Kong, however, maintains a reputation as a notorious hub for moving dirty money, with authorities in the city openly acknowledging the problem.

"Our competitive advantages here -- namely, free flows of capital, people, goods and information; well established legal system; sophisticated market infrastructure; and advanced professional services -- also make our market attractive for criminals seeking to hide or move funds or evade financial sanctions," Arthur Yuen, the deputy chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), said in April, during a speech at a conference sponsored by the Association of Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialists.

An entrance to Wu Chung House in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district.

The Kings Romans office is supposed to be located at the end of a dimly lit hallway on the 36th floor of Wu Chung House, according to public records, but there was no sign of it when CNN visited.

The building's directory shows that a company called Shuen Wai Holding Limited uses the office space. Real estate records confirm that Shuen Wai is the property's owner.

Shuen Wai and Kings Romans share more than just an address, however. Shuen Wai and one of its two company directors were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in 2008 amid allegations that the office was a key part of the financial network used by the UWSA to launder profits from drug sales.

"It makes total sense that the UWSA would be operating out of Hong Kong. They have a long history of mixing illicit with legal activities ... and Hong Kong is the perfect place to do that for them," said Evan Rees, an analyst at the intelligence firm Stratfor.

Photos:

Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Hong Pang Gems & Jewellry (HK) Co. Limited -- sanctioned in 2008 -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House.

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Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Ting Shing Tai Jewellery (HK) Co. Limited -- sanctioned in 2008 -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House.

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Photos:

Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Kings Romans International (HK) Co., Limited -- sanctioned in January -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House. Choi Wai is a possible alias for Zhao Wei -- the Treasury Department listed a number of aliases for Zhao, including Chio Wai and Wai Chio.

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Photos:

This 2008 chart from the US Treasury Department outlines the entities sanctioned that were allegedly part of the United Wa State Army's Financial Network.

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Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Shuen Wai Holding Limited -- sanctioned in 2008 -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House. Hong Kong real estate records show Shuen Wai Holding Limited owns the office space at 3605 Wu Chung House. It was the only company advertised at the office when CNN visited.

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Photos:

Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Hong Pang Gems & Jewellry (HK) Co. Limited -- sanctioned in 2008 -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House.

Hide Caption

3 of 5

Photos:

Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Ting Shing Tai Jewellery (HK) Co. Limited -- sanctioned in 2008 -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House.

Hide Caption

4 of 5

Photos:

Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Kings Romans International (HK) Co., Limited -- sanctioned in January -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House. Choi Wai is a possible alias for Zhao Wei -- the Treasury Department listed a number of aliases for Zhao, including Chio Wai and Wai Chio.

Hide Caption

5 of 5

Photos:

This 2008 chart from the US Treasury Department outlines the entities sanctioned that were allegedly part of the United Wa State Army's Financial Network.

Hide Caption

1 of 5

Photos:

Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Shuen Wai Holding Limited -- sanctioned in 2008 -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House. Hong Kong real estate records show Shuen Wai Holding Limited owns the office space at 3605 Wu Chung House. It was the only company advertised at the office when CNN visited.

Hide Caption

2 of 5

Photos:

Records pulled from the Hong Kong Corporate Registry for Hong Pang Gems & Jewellry (HK) Co. Limited -- sanctioned in 2008 -- show the company is still active and is located at 3605 Wu Chung House.

Hide Caption

3 of 5

Down the dark hallway at the office's entrance, Shuen Wai is the only business that's visible. Its name is displayed in shiny block letters above an empty secretary's desk. It was decorated with ornate wooden sculptures and marble floors, but with half the lights off and no one in sight.

The fact that the business was highly visible was a surprise to some of the sanctions experts CNN spoke with about the case.

"They usually at least make an effort to repaint the sign, even if it is the same address and same cast of characters in front of you," said Peter Harrell, a sanctions expert at the Center for New American Security who previously served as deputy assistant secretary for counter threat finance and sanctions in the State Department's Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

"Operating 10 years without changing the name, that's pretty brazen."

When CNN rang the doorbell at the office, a middle-aged, bespectacled man answered. He said the company was previously involved in the jade trade but now works in funeral services.

He refused to give CNN his name, but said he had been an account manager at the company for 20 years, during which time he has known the two individuals currently listed as Shuen Wai's co-directors. He said the duo are based in mainland China and only come to Hong Kong a few times a year, a couple days at a time. He agreed to pass on a message to them from CNN -- which they did not respond to -- and then retreated back into the office. When CNN called back a couple days later, the individual said the couple was not willing to speak to CNN.

When asked about the Wu Chung House connections, the UN's Douglas stressed that each case is different and the age of a specific holding company was not something he could comment on.

"That said, if the holding company has been a front for drug trafficking for 10 years it is pretty serious and concerning, and authorities should be investigating," said Douglas.

"If links are found and organized crime activities are confirmed then there should be some serious actions taken, and questions will need to be asked about how a front company has been able to run for so long in the open in Hong Kong."

Hong Kong authorities declined to comment when asked about the case.

Luke Posted on November 03, 2018 15:02

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BREAKING: Woman dies after falling from busy shopping centre in Manchester

A WOMAN has died after falling from a busy shopping centre in Manchester in front of horrified shoppers.

Emergency services were scrambled to the horrifying scenes at Arndale Centre in the heart of the city this morning.

Paramedics desperately tried to save the woman, who had fallen from the roof of the centre's car park onto a street below. But the ambulance service soon confirmed the woman, whose age is not yet known, had died at the scene.

(Pic: MEN MEDIA)

Police have also confimed another member of the public was treated for minor injuries believed to be caused by the fall.

A Greater Manchester Police statement reads: "Shortly after 11.10am on Saturday, police were called to Market Street in the city centre to reports that a woman was believed to have fallen from a building.

"Emergency services attended, but the woman sadly died at the scene.

"A number of road closures are in place in the nearby area. This will also impact the tram services.

"High Street is currently closed in both directions at the junction of Church Street to Shudehill."

The incident forced the busy High Street at the side of the Arndale Centre to be closed in both directions.

(Pic: GETTY)

Tram services which run through the busy area were also having to divert around the scene before resuming at 1pm.

jmparker Posted on November 03, 2018 13:32

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WWE Crown Jewel results: Brock Lesnar WINS after showing off DRAMATIC weight loss

BROCK Lesnar has been crowned Universal Champion once again after beating Braun Strowman at the WWE Crown Jewel. Brock took home the title after hitting five F-5’s and receiving some welcome assistance from RAW General Manager Baron Corbin. This is Brock’s second time winning the Ultimate Champion crown, having won at Wrestlemania 33. But as well as the wrestling legend’s skills in the ring, fans were also left stunned at his new physique. WWE watchers immediately took to Twitter to discuss how much weight the UFC fighter has lost.

One wrote: “What are your thoughts on Brock Lesnar's dramatic weight loss?”

Another commented there was an “incredible” 100-pound weight difference between Brock and Braun.

The WWE show in Saudi Arabia has been dogged with controversy, including organisers going ahead with it in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

And there was also the return of Hulk Hogan, who made his first appearance for the company since being embroiled in a racism row.

VICTORY: Brock Lesnar was crowned the Ultimate Champion (Pic: GETTY)

In a leaked video, Hulk, real name Terry Bollea, was caught using the term n******.

He was shortly fired by WWE and all references to him were removed.

But fans had clearly forgiven the Hulkster over the incident.

jmparker Posted on November 03, 2018 13:30

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FASHION 10 MOST EXPENSIVE DESIGNER SUNGLASSES IN THE WORLD

Curious to know what the most expensive sunglasses are in the world? At the top of the list, you’ll find designer sunglasses that cost more than a Ferrari FF. Take a look at 2018’s most expensive sunglasses in the world:

1. Chopard Sunglasses $400,000 – Designer De Rigo Vision created these luxury sunglasses made from the finest materials with a sophisticated design in mind. They were showcased in Dubai in 2012 and feature close setting diamonds, Chopard’s branded ‘C’ logo engraved on the frames and are made of 60 grams of 24 carat gold and are decorated with 51 full-carat River diamonds. Make a bold (and expensive) statement wearing the most expensive sunglasses in the world with these Chopard Sunglasses. (€339,000) (£305,00000)..

2. Dolce and Gabbana DG2027B $383,000 – Dolce and Gabbana, an Italian luxury fashion house was founded in 1985. They first started showcasing their collections in Milan, and then later started exporting their designer products to the US and Japan. These sunglasses feature pure gold frames with a brown tint and also have the Dolce and Gabbana symbol encrusted in the arms in small diamonds. (€318,000) (£292,000)

3. Shiels Jewellers Emerald Sunglasses $200,000 – The inspiration from these luxury designer shades comes from a Roman emperor who used emerald to protect his eyes from the sun so that he could watch the gladiator fights better. These sunglasses feature pure gold frames with diamonds attached and emerald lenses that took over five years to source, shape and cut. (€166,000) (£153,000)

4. Cartier Panthere Sunglasses $159,000 – Cartier is a luxury goods maker founded in France in 1847 and is famous for its exclusive jewelry and watches. This unique piece of art features a little panther figure on the arms of the glasses, a frame made of 18K white gold and formed with 645 sapphires and 561 diamonds. (€132,000) (£121,000)

5. CliC Gold 18K Gold Sports Sunglasses $71,000 – These are the only sports sunglasses topping the list with every piece made of pure 18K gold. There are only 100 of these extravagant eyewear sports glasses produced and each one required approximately 50 hours of work. (€62,000) (£54,000)

6. Luxuriator Canary Diamond Sunglasses $65,000 – These luxury brand sunglasses by Luxuriator Collection features handcrafted pave or micro pave VSGF diamonds set in gun metal gold, yellow, rose or white frames. They are constructed with exotic leathers, high quality optics and solid buffalo horn arms. With these sunglasses, you are able to customize them to fit your needs with your choice of frame style, tint, lens shape and prescription. (€57,000) (£50,000)

zv7. Bulgari Flora Sunglasses $59,000 – The Italian luxury goods and jewelry brand, Bulgari has quite a range of product lines including accessories, fragrances, watches, jewelry and even hotels. The frames of these high-fashion sunglasses are made from 18K white gold and in the frames you’ll find diamonds and blue sapphires. On the arms, you’ll find a series of small aquamarine accents completing the look of these high-end designer shades. (€51,000) (£45,000)

8. Gold and Wood 253 Diamond Sunglasses $55,000 – Paris-based designer Gold and Wood created a masterpiece with this prestige design featuring diamond studded bridge and temple hinges, hand-shaped horn temple stems and solid platinum accents. These sunglasses contain 253 high grade diamonds, 22 of which are princess-cut, which enhances the steep price tag. (€48,000) (£42,000)

9. Gold and Wood 119 Diamond Sunglasses $30,000 – Yet another masterpiece from Gold and Wood, these sunglasses are a collector’s item. Featuring a unique combination of valuable timber in the frames and noble material, these sunglasses are exceptionally elegant. The placement and craftsmanship creating this eyewear is what makes these so valuable, not to mention the 119 brilliant diamonds in the frames. (€26,000) (£23,000)

10. Lugano Diamonds Sunglasses $27,000 – Ending our list of the 10 most expensive sunglasses in the world are these Barton Perriera, Lugano Diamonds Sunglasses. These luxury shades come in different options, with the gold and pink frame lenses having 2.85 carats of pink diamonds and the leopard print and yellow and black diamonds sporting 3.59 carats. The ideal-cut diamonds, custom design, unparalleled stones make these one-of-a-kind craftsmanship glasses worth the high price tag. (€24,000) (£21,000)

https://bleubloom.com/10-most-expensive-designer-sunglasses-in-the-world/10/

ruby Posted on November 03, 2018 13:28

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NASA Parker Solar Probe begins FIRST ever flyby of the sun in historic mission

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has completed its first flyby of the Sun as part of its historic and monumental mission.

The satellite began its passing of the Sun yesterday, and by November 5, it will be at its closest point.

The Parker Solar Probe will be just 15 million miles from the surface of the sun at that point.

While that distance may seem massive, Earth is 93 million miles from the Sun and the Parker Solar Probe will be battling temperatures of around 1,000 degrees Celsius – hotter than a working blast furnace which run at 900 degrees Celsius.

However, this mission is just one of 24 manoeuvres towards the Sun, and at its closest point, the probe will be just four million miles from the sun where temperatures exceed 1,400 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough to turn steel to liquid.

Related articles

But scientists will have to wait weeks to receive the data from the Parker Solar Probe as the Sun emits so many radio waves that they simply block out signals from the satellite.

NASA spent 15 years of painstaking trial and error to develop a material which is both lightweight and super heat resistant.

The final result sees the front and back of the heat shield made of carbon-carbon – a material designed for scorching temperatures.

The two carbon-carbon sheets are just a tenth of an inch thick, meaning they are quite malleable.

NASA Parker Solar Probe begins FIRST ever flyby of the sun in historic mission (Image: NASA)

Between the heat shields are 4.5 inches of carbon foam which is 97 percent air.

This allows for the shields, place on the back and front of the Parker Solar Probe, to be light while also meaning that there is not much material for heat to travel through allowing it to cool of quickly.

Then a layer of white coating was added to the heat shield as to reflect some of the heat and light.

The mission will gather data about the sun’s outermost atmosphere known as the corona.

The Parker Solar Probe before lift-off (Image: NASA)

Temperatures in the corona are up to 500,000 degrees celsius and, for an unknown reason, far exceeds the heat of the sun’s core.

It will also help scientists understand the history of the sun and solar winds.

NASA said in a statement: “Parker Solar Probe, protected by a first-of-its-kind heat shield and other innovative technologies, will provide unprecedented information about our Sun, where changing conditions can spread out into the solar system to affect Earth and other worlds.”

 

Read More,,,,,

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1039446/nasa-announcement-parker-solar-probe-flyby-space-news

Prynx Posted on November 03, 2018 10:29

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Girl Missing

For Phoenix Coldon, Dec. 18, 2011 should have been like any other Sunday — except the 23-year-old vanished and hasn’t been seen since.

And now one law enforcement veteran is hoping a new documentary will encourage those who may know what exactly happened to come forward.

 

Oxygen is launching a two-part docu-series titled “The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon,” which explores new theories as to what may have happened to the Spanish Lake, Mo. resident.

Retired police officer Joe Delia participated in the documentary alongside investigative reporter Shawndrea Thomas.

Joe Delia (Oxigen)

Delia, who served as a task force agent for over 10 years and was previously assigned to the FBI and DEA, received national recognition for directing an investigation into the largest child prostitution ring ever prosecuted in the U.S. He retired in 2017, but says he was stunned by Coldon’s story.

“Truthfully, I want to help bring some closure to the family,” he told Fox News. “I was a policeman for almost 28 years and I thought I saw everything at some time or another in my career. And then [the network] contacted me. They told me what the family had gone through. So I did some research. And my gut feeling was I wanted to bring them some closure. As a parent, I just [can’t] imagine what her mother and father are going through.”

Back in 2012, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Coldon’s parents described Phoenix as “deeply religious, quiet, inquisitive and talented.” Coldon, who was a local junior fencing champion, excelled in music and played guitar, violin and piano.

Coldon’s parents and friends participated in this documentary and provide insight into the young woman’s life before her disappearance.

On the day that she went missing, her mother Goldia Coldon said she saw her go outside in the early afternoon after attending church. Goldia said Coldon would often sit in the vehicle and make phone calls, which she thought was strange. Her father Lawrence said he saw Coldon leave around 2:20 p.m. and assumed she was going to a convenience store or a friend’s house. She never returned.

Phoenix Coldon in fencing gear. (Courtesy of Oxygen)

Hours after Coldon disappeared, her 1998 black Chevy Blazer was reportedly discovered abandoned in a crime-ridden section of East St. Louis. Her glasses, purse and ID were inside.

“The area where Phoenix’s car was found was East St. Louis, which has one of the highest crime rates in the country,” said Delia. “Could Phoenix had been a victim of foul play? Absolutely. That was one of the theories we went on. But there’s no record of Phoenix or her body ever being recovered.  And when you look at the time frame of what happened from when Phoenix left her house to the time her car was found was a pretty short time frame.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch added it wouldn’t be until Jan. 2 that a relative found the truck at an East St. Louis tow yard.

Coldon’s parents insisted their daughter’s disappearance wasn’t treated with urgency by law enforcement and the media because of their daughter’s race. In the documentary, Goldia declared, “The news media wouldn’t give us the time of day. If Phoenix had looked like Natalee Holloway, we would not have had this problem.”

Delia said police tried everything possible to locate Coldon.

(Courtesy of Oxygen)

“The St. Louis County Police Department did an extensive investigation looking for Phoenix,” he explained. “They brought cadaver dogs to the scene, they spent countless man hours trying to figure out what happened. In all honesty to them, I don’t know what they could have done any differently than what they’ve done.”

The Huffington Post previously reported that family members, desperate to find answers, even visited exotic dance clubs and interviewed local prostitutes based on the possibility that Coldon could have been forced to work in the sex trade. Delia said that’s one theory he didn’t rule out in the documentary.

“Could she had been forced into human trafficking? Absolutely,” said Delia. “… The way pimps work in human trafficking is they look for vulnerable girls. And what they’ll do is they’ll shower her with gifts and attention. Get them to go out of town, tell them that they’ve got a modeling contract in a different city, luring them out of town.

“And once they get them out of town, then that’s where the violence erupts and they’re controlled. And a lot of these girls, once they take that step and become involved in prostitution, there’s so much shame they may never want to come home. That’s clearly one of the theories we looked at.”

(Courtesy of Oxygen)

However, Delia added there were many sides to Coldon, which could have played a major factor during the last moments she was seen.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed authorities eventually learned that Coldon had not enrolled for the upcoming semester in college and had previously lived with a boyfriend before moving back in with her parents. However, Goldia told the publication in 2012 she didn’t believe the man was involved in her daughter’s disappearance. Still, she feared his influenced may have gotten Coldon involved with the wrong people.

“Phoenix was a person who had many different facets of a personality,” said Delia. “There was a side of Phoenix who was the church-going, bell-swinging girl. And then there was this other side of Phoenix who was experimenting in rap music and drugs.

“And we talked to multiple friends,” added Delia. “The picture they depicted was one of a very complicated girl. There were two sides to Phoenix, by everyone’s account. Some people knew one side and some people knew the other side to her… She was struggling between home life and boyfriends. She was using some drugs. School wasn’t going [well] towards the end. So those kinds of things, I think, had an impact on her.”

(Oxygen)

Delia also shared law enforcement interviewed “countless” people, including friends and former boyfriends.

“They interviewed many people extensively,” he said. “I didn’t find anybody that I thought… should have been interviewed.”

Still, Delia has faith Coldon’s family will finally learn what happened to their daughter.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think this television miniseries offers a very real possibility that it will generate leads to finding Phoenix Coldon.”

A young Phoenix Coldon.

majsdesaint Posted on November 02, 2018 15:55

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Flesh-eating 'ZOMBIE' drug 10 times stronger than HEROIN hits UK

A HORRIFYINGLY addictive heroin substitute known as the deadliest drug in the world has arrived in the UK, experts have warned. Krokodil, which is 10 times stronger than heroin, causes the addict's flesh to rot while they are still alive and leaves them with gruesome "scaly" skin. Desomorphine, the medical name for Krokodil, has already killed hundreds of users in Russia and Ukraine. A woman in Gloucester was recently unable to attend court because she was covered in open sores caused by injecting the deadly drug, her barrister said. Gloucestershire Live reported the woman in her 40s was being treated for "horrific" sores at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Krokodil is used by hundreds of thousands in Russia and Ukraine because it can be made cheaply using over-the-counter ingredients such as paint thinner. Hydrochloric acid and red phosphorous scraped from the sides of matchboxes are also used by desperate addicts to make the incredibly harmful synthetic heroin substitute. Police in Gloucestershire haven't confirmed the case. A police spokesman said: "We remain alert to new drugs being used in the county and have a well-established process in place to alert all necessary agencies should the picture change."

)

EPIDEMIC: The drug has already cost hundreds of lives in Russia and Ukraine (Pic: GETTY)

This isn't the first reported instance of the drug in the county. Gloucester has had warning signs of a Krokodil epidemic in the past, as it is one of the only places in the UK to report cases of the disease before. Speaking to Vice in 2013, Gloucester GP Dr Allan Harris said one of his patients had lost a "huge crater" from his forearm after injecting the drug just once. Dr Harris said: "He took out the area of about 12cm by 8cm of tissue, and quite deep as well — skin down to bone."

ADDICT: Desomorphine, or 'Krokodil', is 10 times more addictive and far cheaper than heroin (Pic: GETTY)

ARRIVED: The first case was reported in Gloucester, southwest England (Pic: GETTY)

It gets its name from the Russian word for crocodile, after the scaly scars and sores it leaves on addicts' bodies.

The drug — which is much cheaper than heroin — spread like wildfire in Russia and Ukraine, leaving thousands looking like the walking dead.

Russian drugs expert Sergey Agakalov said: "A person becomes a zombie with their body rotting, the rancid smell of which is detected a few steps away."

In 2016, Daily Star Online reported drug experts were warning of a Krokodil global epidemic.

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 11:42

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Britain’s UNHEALTHIEST high streets REVEALED – where life expectancy is 3 YEARS shorter

THE UK’S most unhealthiest town and city centres have been revealed – where life expectancy is nearly three years shorter. A shock list of high streets that are flooding with empty shops, bookies, kebab houses and tanning salons has been exposed. The top 10 unhealthy areas published by The Royal Society for Public Health are also rammed with payday lenders and off licenses. Another list of the healthiest areas have also been revealed – where points are given for coffee shops, museums and galleries. Points are also given for town or city centres with dentists, opticians, libraries, leisure centres and pharmacies.

And bizarrely pubs, bars and vape shops are also considered as “healthy” boosts for high streets. The unhealthiest town was judged to be Grimsby in the north east, followed by Walsall in the West Midlands and Blackpool in north-west England. Also ranked in the top 10 were Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Northampton, Bolton, Wolverhampton, Huddersfield and Bradford. These areas are among many in Britain struggling amid the high street crisis, with the number of empty shops going from less than 7% in 2007 to 11% in 2017.

TABLE TOPPER: Grimsby has been named the unhealthiest area in the UK (Pic: GETTY)

As major retailers leave behind empty outlets, 4,000 new fast food outlets have opened up the past five years. And the number of vape shops has doubled to 2,000 in the last three years. Meanwhile the healthiest high street in Britain has been revealed as Edinburgh in Scotland, followed by Canterbury and Taunton in south-east England. Also included in the healthiest list were Cheltenham, York, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne, Exeter and Cambridge.

HIGH STREET CRISIS: Towns and cites all over the UK are struggling with store closures (Pic: GETTY)

SHUT: This is becoming a common scene up and down the country (Pic: GETTY)

The top 10 "unhealthiest" high streets:

  • Grimsby
  • Walsall
  • Blackpool
  • Stoke-On-Trent
  • Sunderland
  • Northampton
  • Bolton
  • Wolverhampton
  • Huddersfield
  • Bradford

The top 10 "healthiest" high streets:

  • Edinburgh
  • Canterbury
  • Taunton
  • Shrewsbury
  • Cheltenham
  • York
  • Brighton & Hove
  • Eastbourne
  • Exeter
  • Cambridge

London high streets were given separate rankings in the RSPH list - with Muswell Hill in Haringey, Hornchurch in Havering and Pinner in Harrow deemed the healthiest high streets in the capital.

Seven Sisters Road in Haringey, Roman Road West in Bow and Thornton Heath in Croydon were the unhealthiest.

UNHEALTHY: High streets are rated down if they have a large number of fast food outlets (Pic: GETTY)

HEALTHIEST: Canterbury tops the list for the healthiest high street (Pic: GETTY)

High street retailers are currently struggling due to a combination of higher costs, weaker consumer spending, and rise in online shopping.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the budget that 500,000 small retailers will knock a third off their business rates, while tech companies with global revenues over £500m will get a digital services tax.

A £650million fund was also announced to improve transport into town centres and to re-use empty shops.

Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of the RSPH, said the rankings "illustrate how unhealthy businesses concentrate in areas which already experience higher levels of deprivation, obesity and lower life expectancy".

She added: "While the face of the British high street continues to change, the environmental and economic factors that influence inequalities in health outcomes across the country remain stubbornly intractable.

"Reshaping these high streets to be more health-promoting could serve as a tool to help redress this imbalance."

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 11:32

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Wayne Rooney SLAMMED after penalty shootout miss: 'Most ENGLISH thing he could do'

The former Manchester United, Everton and England forward was in action for his new MLS side DC United in the play-offs. As a thrilling contest against Columbus Crew ended 2-2 after extra time, Rooney, 33, stepped confidently up to take the first kick. But after a stuttered run-up, the star — who signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Washington-based club in the summer — fluffed his lines. Scuffing the kick low to the left-hand side of the goal, it was comfortably parried by Columbus keeper Zackary Steffen.

Columbus Crew went on to win the shootout 3-2 thanks to penalties from Higuain, Trapp and Hansen. Fans quickly took to social media to slam the footballing legend. Many referred to the England national team's woeful record in World Cup and European penalty shootouts. DC fan and blogger Pablo Maurer tweeted: "Wait Rooney is English this is going to penalties, get him off the field, get him off the Field.

THRILLING: The MLS Cup Playoff clash with Columbus Crew ended 2-2 after extra time (Pic: USA SPORTS TODAY)

Caleb Reeve wrote after the miss: "The most English thing Rooney could do." DC United's official Twitter account wrote simply: "Heartbreak." Argentine midfielder Luciano Acosta, 24, who along with Rooney has been one of United's stand-out players in their playoff run, also missed his penalty. Rooney is Man United's top-ever goalscorer, netting a remarkable 251 goals in 552 games in all competitions.

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 11:27

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Drunk pilot ARRESTED at Heathrow Airport 10 TIMES over limit MINUTES before flight

A DRUNK pilot of a passenger plane that was minutes away from leaving Heathrow Airport was reportedly caught almost 10 times over the alcohol limit. Japan Airlines first officer Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was due to fly up to 244 passengers from London to Tokyo when he was arrested by police. The driver of a crew bus had alerted cops after smelling alcohol on the Japanese pilot, NHK reports. The 42-year-old, who was set to fly a Boeing 777 aircraft, was then given a breath test by officers which he failed.

He was found to be nearly 10 times over the limit with 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system – the legal limit for a pilot is 20mg. He was arrested on October 28 just 50 minutes before the plane was due to leave, with the flight finally taking off after a 69-minute delay. Yesterday the pilot pleaded guilty at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court to exceeding the alcohol limit.

CLOSE ONE: The flight was 50 minutes away from taking off when the pilot was arrested (Pic: GETTY)

REPORTED: The driver of a crew bus tipped the police off to the drunk pilot (Pic: GETTY)

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on November 29. Japan Airlines issued an apology and pledged to "implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence", adding that "safety remains our utmost priority" The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg per 100ml of blood, compared to 20mg for pilots.

LATE: The flight the pilot was due to fly was delayed by more than an hour as back-up crew came (Pic: GETTY)

BUSY: The plane was scheduled to depart Heathrow Airport on October 28 (Pic: GETTY)

In June a British Airways pilot was jailed for eight months for being caught on duty with 86mg of alcohol in his system. Julian Monaghan had turned up for work at Gatwick Airport after drinking three double vodkas on an empty stomach in his hotel room. He had been due to fly passengers from Gatwick Airport to Mauritius on January 18.

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 11:16

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BREAKING: Massive fire erupts near Saudi Arabian embassy in London

A LARGE blaze has broken out in a building next door to the Saudi Arabian embassy in London, sending plumes of black smoke shooting into the sky. More than 40 firefighters have been deployed to tackle the blaze at a restaurant next to the diplomatic building in Curzon Street, Mayfair.Dramatic pictures show a large column of flames streaking up the building and black smoke pouring into the sky while fire crew battle to bring the flames under control. Six fire engines are at the scene after the London Fire Brigade (LFB) received 999 calls at 9:17am this morning.  Eyewitnesses have reported hearing explosions, but this is yet to be commented on by the fire service. LFB stressed that the fire is not at the Saudi embassy. 

ENGULFED: Pictures show a column of flames streaking up the building (Pic: @HappyHumanistUK)

The cause of the fire has not been confirmed, but extraction system of a restaurant is understood to be affected.

The fire is thought to have started on the ground floor of the restaurant and spread through the building.

One picture shows a fire engine inside the grounds of the embassy with fire fighters in protective suits tackling the flames from various vantage points. 

One eyewitness said: "Trying to get to my office but there’s a fire at the Saudi Embassy...Curzon St blocked off."

FLAMES: More than 40 firefighters are tackling the blaze (Pic: @HappyHumanistUK)

LARGE PRESENCE: Six fire engines have been sent to the building in Mayfair (Pic: @HappyHumanistUK)

In a statement, the London Fire Brigade said: "Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters have been called to a fire at a restaurant with flats above in Curzon Street in Mayfair.

"The restaurants extraction system from ground to third floor is alight. 

"The Brigade’s 999 control officers have taken 15 calls to the fire.

"The Brigade was called at 9:17am. Fire crews from Soho, Lambeth, Chelsea and other surrounding fire stations are at the scene.

"The cause of the fire is not known at this stage."

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 10:59

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The Walking Dead season 9: The reason why Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln quit the series

There's no two ways about it: Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead.

Next week, the actor will finally call time on the series' long-time leader Rick Grimes, having played the hero since the very first episode aired in 2010.

While it may be considered an ensemble piece, there’s no denying that The Walking Dead without Rick is going to be a very different show – and whether he’ll die or walk off into the sunset remains to be seen.

Regardless of how the character jumps ship, the furore surrounding his impending exit has overshadowed one of the most important questions of all: whyexactly is Andrew Lincoln leaving?

News first surfaced of Lincoln’s departure in May, with Colliderreporting that his character - along with Lauren Cohan's Maggie Rhee - was to be phased out of the show during its current ninth season.

Lincoln confirmed the news three months later, showing up to Comic-Con in San Diego to say goodbye to the show’s most dedicated fans. This is what he had to say:

“This will be my last season playing the role of Rick Grimes. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I’m particularly fond of the people who watch this show. My relationship with Mr Rick Grimes is far from over.

The British actor explained that his decision stemmed from wanting to spend more time with his family back in the UK, having been forced to continually relocate to Georgia for filming since the show began. 

Speaking to EW Radio, he said: “I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older. It was that simple. It was time for me to come home.”

The British actor explained that his decision stemmed from wanting to spend more time with his family back in the UK, having been forced to continually relocate to Georgia for filming since the show began. 

Speaking to EW Radio, he said: “I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older. It was that simple. It was time for me to come home.”

Other sources, however, have suggested that Lincoln’s decision to leave runs deeper – and may have been a consequence of former showrunner Scott Gimple unexpectedly writing his on-screen son Chandler Riggs out of the show during its eighth season.

Tom Payne, who plays Jesus, told Digital Spy: “I think when Carl died last year and Chandler left, I think that was a moment for him of: ‘OK, where does this leave Rick? And how does he move forward?’ I think that was a pause for thought.”

Riggs refuted this, however, while speaking to Metro, revealing that Lincoln had been planning to quit for some time.

He said: “When I heard [the news], I honestly wasn’t too surprised because we talked about him leaving for a while. He had brainstormed a lot of really cool ideas behind it.

“He misses his family,” Riggs continued. “He leaves every single year for like seven months to go do this show. After a while, you want to raise your kids and spend time with your wife. It was definitely really hard on him and I’m super, super happy for him to be able to raise his family, and do more cool things that he’d always talked about doing that he was never really able to do.”

Rick’s faced his fair share of trauma over the past nine seasons (AMC)

Payne stated he wouldn’t be surprised if Lincoln was simply tired of being put through the emotional ringer. Across its nine seasons, the character has lost his closest friends and family in traumatic ways and has faced constant distress.

“If you look at all of the work that Andy’s done – [he] has been in floods of tears, with snot hanging out of his nose, and he’s exhausted and covered in blood. Psychologically and physically, that’s got to take its toll on you.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/the-walking-dead-season-9-episode-5-rick-grimes-leaving-andrew-lincoln-why-quit-a861

ruby Posted on November 02, 2018 10:37

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Discover the rich and expansive world of Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

In 1892, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conjured dreams of roaring fires, Christmas trees, and a feast of sweets. He had been commissioned to write the score to a two-act ballet adapting ETA Hoffmann’s festive story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and the later tale it inspired, Alexandre Dumas’s The Story of a Nutcracker.

The music he wrote – enchanting and delicate, with notes that fall like flurries of snow – has since become a Christmas tradition. Indeed, it's now performed annually by ballet companies across the world, and has been retold and reinterpreted by the generations it has enchanted.

The latest to pick up the baton is Disney – The Nutcracker and the Four Realms not only revisits the fantastical worlds created by Tchaikovsky, Dumas and Hoffmann, but also expands on them in a way never seen before.

Mackenzie Foy is Clara in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

In this new version, directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is bestowed with a mysterious gift from her late mother that leads her to a new land, filled with wondrous sights, but plagued by growing disharmony between its four realms: the Land of Snowflakes, the Land of Flowers, the Land of Sweets and the mysterious Fourth Realm.

Although these lands draw from the Nutcracker story’s rich history, it was crucial that they had a sense of life to them. They needed to feel tangible and believable.

 

 

That meant an emphasis on real locations over CG wizardry, with vast sets being built at Pinewood Studios and a detailed approach to worldbuilding, as production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas looked to create what could function as a real society, with the realms all having their own part to play. They also needed their own distinctive looks, from homes made out of real sweets to a twisted-looking carousel. Here’s how the fantastic appearance of each of the four realms was achieved.

 

 

The Land of Sweets

 

Cotton candy, nougat, gumdrops, marzipan, chocolate, gingerbread – it’s the land anyone with a sweet tooth will find hard to resist. And it was all the harder for the film’s own cast and crew, since the set was actually created using real confectionery: chocolate for the roof tiles, nougat for the walls, and boiled sweets for the windows.

 

 

Keira Knightley is the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mackenzie Foy is Clara in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

Framed by the steam rising from its factories, the Land of Sweets is a hub of production, kept busy under the guidance of its regent, the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley). As sweet as the creations all around, her dress is designed to emulate crystallised sugar, inspired by the hard candy she takes her name from.

 

 

A voluminous skirt of almost 200 pleated fans layers metallic organza fabric in pink, purple, silver and gold, all combined with netting, satin, beads, pearls, and sequins. And, to top it all off, there’s a bouffant of pink hair made to resemble candy floss, thanks to a wig made out of yak hair and a makeup look that uses strategic highlights to give the character a doll-like sheen.

 

 

The Land of Flowers

 

With more than two million individual CG flowers used in its creation, this land is bursting with colour. However, on set, Dyas insisted on the use of real flowers, so that the actors could stay immersed in a cloud of their fragrance. The Land of Flowers is home to wheat farmers, perfume-makers, and beekeepers, with a landscape inspired by the villages of the south of England, although littered with Dutch-style windmills – all covered in flowers, of course.

 

 

Richard E. Grant is Shiver, Keira Knightley is The Sugar Plum Fairy, Eugenio Derbrez is Hawthorne and Mackenzie Foy is Clara in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

As regent, the excitable Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez) is similarly drenched in florals. He wears an extravagant wig, based on men’s hairstyles from the 1750s, with curls that carefully mimic a bouquet of rosebuds. Costume designer Jenny Beavan took delight in the details: the buttons on Hawthorne’s clothes are made to look like small flowers, while his stockings feature a hand-painted floral design that winds up each leg.

The Land of Snowflakes

Clara (Mackenzie Foy) and Phillip (JaydenFowara-Knight) visit the Fourth Realm in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

At some point in history, a large glacier travelled down from the north and wedged itself between the Land of Flowers and the Land of Sweets. It’s here that the inhabitants of the Land of Snowflakes have made their home, in mountainous settlements that mimic 16th-century German villages, albeit crafted entirely from ice. Its people are largely aristocratic, although others also work as miners, fishermen and ice-producers.

Shiver (Richard E Grant), the regent of this land, may initially come off as frosty as his name implies, but he’s a true gentleman at heart. His appearance, however, leaves no room for such warmth, as his hair, complexion and outfit are all strictly cool-toned, including a 19th-century wig dripping with icicles, created by makeup and hair designer Jenny Shircore, and stockings that were hand-glittered every time Grant put them on.

The Fourth Realm

All does not seem well in the Fourth Realm. It was once known as the Land of Amusements, a carnival for all, but something has turned it as dark and twisted as its forest. Dyas took inspiration from the work of Arthur Rackham – famous for his illustrations of Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales – for the sea of old, rope-like trees and their spindly branches. Three separate forests were created at Pinewood, with painted backdrops used to create the illusion of depth.

 

 

Helen Mirren is Mother Ginger in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

A carousel was specially created to fit the sinister look, with 25 vintage-styled animals – including giraffes, dragons and ostriches – carved out of foam, all with terrified looks on their faces. The land’s regent, Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), meanwhile, has shut herself away in a giant marionette – in a direct nod to the ballet, its skirt is a big top circus tent where several polichinelles (clowns) perform.

Mother Ginger is dressed more like a ragtag pirate, in a tattered jacket and boots, her face cracked like a porcelain doll. Her hairstyle is a pile of voluminous curls that draws its basis from Thomas Gainsborough’s portraits of the 1750s, although with a much more dishevelled appearance. While the ballet’s Mother Ginger is a comical character, who parades around on stage wearing a giant hoop skirt, only for an army of her children to emerge and start dancing, the film has reimagined the character and given her new life.

In creating such a rich and expansive world, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will inspire a whole new generation to fall in love with a classic story.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/the-nutcracker-four-realms-making-of-disney-behind-the-scenes-cast-costumes-s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1892, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conjured dreams of roaring fires, Christmas trees, and a feast of sweets. He had been commissioned to write the score to a two-act ballet adapting ETA Hoffmann’s festive story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and the later tale it inspired, Alexandre Dumas’s The Story of a Nutcracker.

The music he wrote – enchanting and delicate, with notes that fall like flurries of snow – has since become a Christmas tradition. Indeed, it's now performed annually by ballet companies across the world, and has been retold and reinterpreted by the generations it has enchanted.

The latest to pick up the baton is Disney – The Nutcracker and the Four Realms not only revisits the fantastical worlds created by Tchaikovsky, Dumas and Hoffmann, but also expands on them in a way never seen before.

Mackenzie Foy is Clara in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

In this new version, directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is bestowed with a mysterious gift from her late mother that leads her to a new land, filled with wondrous sights, but plagued by growing disharmony between its four realms: the Land of Snowflakes, the Land of Flowers, the Land of Sweets and the mysterious Fourth Realm.

Although these lands draw from the Nutcracker story’s rich history, it was crucial that they had a sense of life to them. They needed to feel tangible and believable.

That meant an emphasis on real locations over CG wizardry, with vast sets being built at Pinewood Studios and a detailed approach to worldbuilding, as production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas looked to create what could function as a real society, with the realms all having their own part to play. They also needed their own distinctive looks, from homes made out of real sweets to a twisted-looking carousel. Here’s how the fantastic appearance of each of the four realms was achieved.

The Land of Sweets

Cotton candy, nougat, gumdrops, marzipan, chocolate, gingerbread – it’s the land anyone with a sweet tooth will find hard to resist. And it was all the harder for the film’s own cast and crew, since the set was actually created using real confectionery: chocolate for the roof tiles, nougat for the walls, and boiled sweets for the windows.

Keira Knightley is the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mackenzie Foy is Clara in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

Framed by the steam rising from its factories, the Land of Sweets is a hub of production, kept busy under the guidance of its regent, the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley). As sweet as the creations all around, her dress is designed to emulate crystallised sugar, inspired by the hard candy she takes her name from.

A voluminous skirt of almost 200 pleated fans layers metallic organza fabric in pink, purple, silver and gold, all combined with netting, satin, beads, pearls, and sequins. And, to top it all off, there’s a bouffant of pink hair made to resemble candy floss, thanks to a wig made out of yak hair and a makeup look that uses strategic highlights to give the character a doll-like sheen.

The Land of Flowers

With more than two million individual CG flowers used in its creation, this land is bursting with colour. However, on set, Dyas insisted on the use of real flowers, so that the actors could stay immersed in a cloud of their fragrance. The Land of Flowers is home to wheat farmers, perfume-makers, and beekeepers, with a landscape inspired by the villages of the south of England, although littered with Dutch-style windmills – all covered in flowers, of course.

Richard E. Grant is Shiver, Keira Knightley is The Sugar Plum Fairy, Eugenio Derbrez is Hawthorne and Mackenzie Foy is Clara in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

As regent, the excitable Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez) is similarly drenched in florals. He wears an extravagant wig, based on men’s hairstyles from the 1750s, with curls that carefully mimic a bouquet of rosebuds. Costume designer Jenny Beavan took delight in the details: the buttons on Hawthorne’s clothes are made to look like small flowers, while his stockings feature a hand-painted floral design that winds up each leg.

The Land of Snowflakes

Clara (Mackenzie Foy) and Phillip (JaydenFowara-Knight) visit the Fourth Realm in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

At some point in history, a large glacier travelled down from the north and wedged itself between the Land of Flowers and the Land of Sweets. It’s here that the inhabitants of the Land of Snowflakes have made their home, in mountainous settlements that mimic 16th-century German villages, albeit crafted entirely from ice. Its people are largely aristocratic, although others also work as miners, fishermen and ice-producers.

Shiver (Richard E Grant), the regent of this land, may initially come off as frosty as his name implies, but he’s a true gentleman at heart. His appearance, however, leaves no room for such warmth, as his hair, complexion and outfit are all strictly cool-toned, including a 19th-century wig dripping with icicles, created by makeup and hair designer Jenny Shircore, and stockings that were hand-glittered every time Grant put them on.

The Fourth Realm

All does not seem well in the Fourth Realm. It was once known as the Land of Amusements, a carnival for all, but something has turned it as dark and twisted as its forest. Dyas took inspiration from the work of Arthur Rackham – famous for his illustrations of Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales – for the sea of old, rope-like trees and their spindly branches. Three separate forests were created at Pinewood, with painted backdrops used to create the illusion of depth.

Helen Mirren is Mother Ginger in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Laurie Sparham)

A carousel was specially created to fit the sinister look, with 25 vintage-styled animals – including giraffes, dragons and ostriches – carved out of foam, all with terrified looks on their faces. The land’s regent, Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), meanwhile, has shut herself away in a giant marionette – in a direct nod to the ballet, its skirt is a big top circus tent where several polichinelles (clowns) perform.

Mother Ginger is dressed more like a ragtag pirate, in a tattered jacket and boots, her face cracked like a porcelain doll. Her hairstyle is a pile of voluminous curls that draws its basis from Thomas Gainsborough’s portraits of the 1750s, although with a much more dishevelled appearance. While the ballet’s Mother Ginger is a comical character, who parades around on stage wearing a giant hoop skirt, only for an army of her children to emerge and start dancing, the film has reimagined the character and given her new life.

In creating such a rich and expansive world, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will inspire a whole new generation to fall in love with a classic story.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/the-nutcracker-four-realms-making-of-disney-behind-the-scenes-cast-costumes-set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ruby Posted on November 02, 2018 10:26

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How to setup your Paxex masternode for free!

Get a free $100 VPS credit

In light of the scandal regarding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, more and more people are realizing that the content they put on the internet has value. A LOT of value. Online advertising is going to be a 200 BILLION dollar industry by the year 2019 in the United States alone. 

Shouldn't Facebook be paying us for our content since it makes Mr. Marky Boi Zuckerberg so much money?

Platforms like Paxexlive.com are the future of the internet because more and more people will eventually realize that they do deserve to get something in return for the content they create on the internet.

Paxexlive.com lets the users determine the value of the content posted, not advertisers, or big corperations. On the Paxex platform, users reward each other with upvotes worth 1 Paxex coin each to the content creators.

If we want Paxex to suceed in the world of Facebook and Google then it is up to us to insure that the Paxex blockchain is successful by setting up what is known as a masternode.

Masternodes help keep the blockchain running smoothly and securely. One of the drawbacks to masternodes is that they cost money to run because you either need a computer with a 24/7 high speed internet connection, unlimited bandwidth, and a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection to keep your IP address and crypto wallet secure. Or you need to pay cash out of pocket for a VPS (Virtual Private Server).

Fortunately, there is a solution for those of us who want to contribute towards the decentralization of the internet by helping to bring back the power to the people.

Digital Ocean is a hosting platform that provides Virtual Private Servers from multiple data centers across the world. Normally the cheapest option runs at $10 a month for a light VPS "droplet" but by taking advantage of the affiliate program you can use my personal link to get a free $100 credit that is good for 2 months. There is also an affiliate program that allows you to the chance to add an extra $25 credit for each person that you get to sign up.

Each VPS can have up to 3 static IP addresses, meaning, you could run 3 different masternodes from 3 different cryptocurrencies on each "Droplet" that you rent. Each droplet can run from $10 to $960 per month depending on your computing needs (lets just say they have something for everyone).

Click here to take advantage of the offer and help Paxex fullfill it's potential:

(https://m.do.co/c/67b15b93ecf0)

Keep reading to learn how to set up your Paxex masternode.

1.) Create your droplet. The $10 option is fine. Don't worry, you will not be billed until your $100 credit is up or your 2 months is up, which ever comes first. Select Unbuntu 16.04 and select what data center location you want to host from.

2.) Once your droplet is created then you can simply head on over to here to finish setting it up!

Thank you for reading!

If you like are interested in things like cryptocurrency, privacy, cybersecurity and hacking then please consider throwing me an upvote and then comment with a link to your cryptastic content so that I may to the same!

Donate to my research and journalism content by donating privately and anonymously using bitcoin, Paxex or zcash, no donation is too small and anything is greatly appreciated!

BTC: 1FQ6rJZHToV5ZUPJCxtBHLBjdoTwkXk78g

PAXEX: PW9B1GnjR1y5kdKj6Xm3KqqqPvfvrADa8z

ZEC: t1bpF18s3q7hMM9fjWwXbbGKpUj55ocb48Z(Get more cryptocurrency related news at dailycryptonews.org)

 

Decryp70 Posted on November 02, 2018 07:59

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The Paris park where Nigerian women are forced into prostitution

By Frank Andrews, for CNN

Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT) October 5, 2018

 
 
 

Paris (CNN)A row of dirty vans is parked on a broad, tree-lined avenue in the outskirts of Paris. In the dark of night, fluttering candles light up the faces of the women in the front seats. None of them wear more than their underwear.

Others, wearing miniskirts, stand outside underneath street lamps, facing out onto the empty road.

Nadège was one of these women before she managed to escape.

She is softly spoken. "Even now I don't have hope for myself," she says. "My past already destroyed my future."

Related: Raped, beaten and forced into prostitution in Italy

The Bois de Vincennes, a sprawling park on the outskirts of eastern Paris, is home to horse riding schools and a zoo. It has also been part-commandeered by human traffickers.

The park's central road is yet another point on the map of a massive cross-continental trafficking network that has channeled tens of thousands of Nigerian women and children throughout Europe and as far as Malaysia.

Like them, Nadège says she was trafficked from Nigeria to France and forced into sexual slavery, at €20 ($23) per client, to pay off a colossal debt to a female Nigerian pimp known as a "madam."

'I was told it was like a paradise'

Nadège, who could not give her real name for safety reasons, grew up in southern Nigeria. She says that when she was just six, she was raped by a group of neighbors. Her parents sent her to live with an aunt.

The sex trafficking trail from Nigeria to Europe

But Nadège says her aunt was murdered after refusing a local gangster's marriage proposal for her niece. Nadège discovered her aunt's dead body.

At 15, Nadège says, she was raped once again and had her first abortion.

Alone, she was easy prey for traffickers. A madam she met in Lagos promised her a better life in Europe, working as a waitress.

"I was told it was like a paradise," Nadège tells CNN. "But getting here, it was like from frying pan to fire."

Related: Human trafficking survivor: I was raped 43,200 times

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) says that recruitment for trafficking to Europe is strongly concentrated in Edo State, in southern Nigeria, the region where Nadège was born.

A terrifying oath

Before leaving, the madam made Nadège swear an oath at a "juju" temple with a native doctor of Ayelala -- a traditional belief system from southern Nigeria.

Nadège swore to repay her madam for sending her to Europe, and to never speak of her oath, or her debt, to anyone. It's the same for so many Nigerian women trafficked for sex.

Read: Tafficking survivor wants to end 'The Game'

Yehudi Pelosi, a lawyer who specializes in asylum law and human trafficking, said that as part of the ceremony the women are often forced to eat a kola nut and a chicken heart, and drink a concoction of gin and blood. Some of their pubic hair is taken, and their head, breasts and shoulders are often ritually scarred.

 

 

 

Related video: Traffickers use 'Juju' to lure Nigerian women 04:50

Charities working closely with the women say they are petrified of the oath's power. Nadège was convinced that breaking it meant going mad or dying.

Families suffer, too. Charities say madams pay "cultists" -- military-style gangs -- to threaten and sometimes kill girls' relatives back home.

"Your parents are not safe... I love my mum, I don't want anything to happen to her," said Nadège.

No passport, no money

Nadège described her journey to France. She flew on a commercial flight, with a fake passport her madam gave her. She was sent to work in the Bois a week after she arrived. She was 20 years old.

Her debt, she was told, was €50,000 ($57,690). Others pay €60,000 ($69,226).

Her madam gave her a €100 daily target and took away her passport and all her earnings, except money for food and rent.

"Sometimes you work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the morning, maybe get home by 8 a.m.," she says.

By day, the Bois de Vincennes is popular with joggers and boules players.

She would start work again, elsewhere, from 3 p.m., she says. "Until 6 p.m., then you have to go to your normal place of work."

Most of the Nigerian women working in the park are "slaves," she says. "Some are free, but the prostitution has eaten deep into them."

Nadège once asked a man why he came to the street, she says, wiping away a tear. "He said, 'I'm a divorced man, so I have to make myself happy.'"

She says she is sure that he and the rest of the clients understood the Nigerian women's situation.

By night, prostitutes work from vans parked at the roadside in the park.

Victims become 'madams'

According to a lawyer who represents a charity that works with sex trafficking victims, senior prostitutes are often entrusted with new arrivals and may be given a cut of their earnings.

A migrant's journey: raped, beaten and forced into prostitution in Italy

Some of these women may in time buy trafficked girls of their own to pimp out. They become madams to free themselves from prostitution and earn the European riches they were initially promised.

The madams form clubs -- sometimes with Facebook pages -- and throw big parties where they charge for entry, using the profits to buy more girls. Nadège says her madam had young women throughout Europe -- from Spain to Russia.

Les Amis du Bus des Femmes (LABF), a charity that works with prostitutes in Paris, says the sex trafficking route from Nigeria to Paris has existed for 20 years. But since 2015 the charity has noticed increasing numbers of under-age Nigerians. It recently found girls as young as 12 working as prostitutes on the streets of Paris.

Not all the park's prostitutes have been trafficked, but police believe most of them have.

"There are brains and talent wasting in Vincennes," Nadège says. "So many can sing, so many can dance... But the prostitution, the oath, the fear, just overshadowed everything."

When she was younger, Nadège wanted to act in Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry.

"Sometimes when you get home," she says, "you have to sit in hot water for hours before you can get yourself back."

'Waiting for death or madness'

After nearly a year of relentless work, the turning point came when Nadège became pregnant. She and her boyfriend decided to keep the baby, which meant escaping the vise-like grip of the network.

Pelosi says women often try to flee when they are pregnant, desperate to find a better life for their baby elsewhere. They have to choose: keep the child or cling to the hope of one day returning home to their family. Most choose the baby.

Old mark of slavery is being used on sex trafficking victims

Nadège continued working as a prostitute briefly while she was pregnant, but stopped making payments to her madam.

"I was waiting patiently for the death or the madness," she says. "I was like... 'Should I go over to the street and start working? Should I abort my baby?'"

She has escaped harm, for now; the networks have less of a physical presence in France. And with the help of a lawyer, she has been able to gain asylum there.

I'm no longer beautiful. My glory's been taken.

Nadège, sex trafficking survivor

Women like her are eligible for asylum on grounds of persecution if they can prove they have been trafficked and have distanced themselves from the network. Pelosi says that judges and lawyers are "often overwhelmed" with asylum requests.

But Nadège's family members in Nigeria are threatened every day, she says, and she can never return home: "This is the only place that is safe for me."

Read: Migrants targeted by human traffickers

Breaking away from the network, she says, was "the best decision of my life." But Nadège is profoundly traumatized.

"I'm no longer beautiful," she says, "my glory's been taken."

"I complained I was raped when I was 15. Imagine me coming to Europe to sleep with 10 men per night."

A history of suffering

The trafficking of Nigerian women for prostitution began in the late 1980s, according to the UN, when women were sent to Italy and forced into sex work. Returning home, they became the first generation of madams. They, in turn, made other young women suffer as they did.

Aurélie Jeannerod, who works with NGO Aux Captifs, la Liberation, which visits and supports prostitutes in the Bois de Vincennes and other parts of Paris, says there are also men involved with the networks.

See more from the CNN Freedom Project

Happy Iyenoma, aka "Mama Alicia," the head of a Paris-based network called the Authentic Sisters, was jailed along with her husband Hilary in May.

They were both sentenced to 10 years in prison for charges including human trafficking. In total, 15 members of the network were found guilty of trafficking roughly 50 women.

Young Indian girls sold to sex tourists for sham marriages

A charity that was a civil party in the case said one of the victims claimed the network assaulted her parents in Nigeria in 2015. She claimed her father died of his injuries.

In France, the maximum sentence for human trafficking is life imprisonment. But their juju oath forbids the women from speaking to authorities, making it more difficult for police to take down the networks.

And some of the women on the streets have asylum documents, says Jeannerod. Being a prostitute isn't illegal in France, only paying for sex is. "What do you want [the police] to do with the girls?" she says.

'They use black men as slaves': Migrants tell of brutality in Libya

Besides, says Nadège, "the people who are doing the real business, the real human traffickers, they are in Africa."

The head of the Paris police department in charge of prostitution and trafficking described the difficulties in fighting the crime. "As soon as you dismantle a network, you see the effect in the street," he told CNN, "but that only lasts, at most, 24 hours, because we create a vacuum for another network to set up."

A curse on traffickers

A 2015 EASO report says it is often family members that recruit the victims: "Sending daughters abroad has become a sort of status symbol for families."

People for sale: Where lives are auctioned for $400

"Sometimes poverty pushes them into it," says Nadège. "Most times, parents push them... Their parents in Nigeria want to be the mum of a super-rich girl."

Jeannerod says, "it is known in Nigeria that the girls... in Europe are prostitutes," but the oath and their shame prevent them from telling their families about their day-to-day reality.

While Nadège flew to Paris from Lagos, traffickers increasingly send the women overland through largely ungoverned Libya to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.

Read: 'Tortured and held for ransom,' a child migrant's story

The International Organization for Migration says the number of potential victims of sex trafficking arriving by boat in Italy has increased by almost 600% in the past three years, and 80% of them are Nigerian.

Main migration routes from Nigeria to Europe

In March, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional leader of the Edo people, declared a curse on human traffickers and removed the curses on those that had been trafficked under a juju oath.

Vanessa Simoni, of LABF, says the women now "feel less guilty to break the oath" as "they have the approval of their community."

But Nadège says "it doesn't make any difference." She says immediately after Ewuare's declaration, men linked to her madam went to "bother" her family once again.

'Sometimes, I forget my past'

Nadège says she is speaking out to warn other girls against falling into the hands of the traffickers.

"It's not easy to be transported to Europe just like a bag of fruit and sold for men to eat," she says, her voice trembling with emotion. "Don't even think of it."

Nigeria launches app to fight human trafficking

Though she has refugee status and a full-time job and has begun learning French, Nadège still feels her life is ruined. The birth of her son, however, has given her a new purpose.

"No matter what I am tomorrow, I'm still going to be useless. Because I can't proudly say my story. I can't proudly tell the world who I am." Her voice falters. "Whatever I'm doing right now, I'm doing it for my son."

"When I had my documents the first thing that came to my mind was: 'Thank God I can now give my son a good life,'" she says.

"He's already teaching me... he speaks French now. And he's so super smart. When I see him sometimes, I forget my past -- I forget myself."

Melissa Bell and Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

Luke Posted on November 02, 2018 07:20

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The Outpost': The horror of Afghanistan brought to Hollywood

Near Sofia, Bulgaria (CNN)"Why are you here?" That was the question that echoed when I visited COP Keating in 2009.

Back then, it was just another American outpost stuck between two Taliban-infested hills in the middle of nowhere strategically important.

Now, it's the subject of Hollywood movies, books, two Medals of Honor (the highest award the US military can give) and a history lesson the United States is teaching itself about a war that it's still fighting.

At the time, the war in Afghanistan was reaching a climax as the Obama administration's surge began to get underway. During the few days I was on the base, it was repeatedly attacked by the Taliban, who would crawl down the hills in the shrubbery to fire through the fence.

The set for the movie is located close to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.

On one patrol, only meters outside the base's gates, I remember seeing Taliban bullets literally landing as puffs of dust, slowly moving toward me. Fifty-two days after I filmed a report, back then for the UK's Channel Four News, the base experienced a 13-hour long, almost overwhelming attack. Seven Americans died defending the the base, and another succumbed to his injuries later.

A massive internal military review was launched. Why put a base there, in the Pakistani border regions, in the first place? Who overlooked the burned-out shells of Soviet-era tanks that lined the base -- a dark message from the valley's previous occupants that things did not end well?

Why did the US seem to value a display of its reach over what its fist could actually punch that far away?

It turned out all these questions, as COP Keating (Combat Outpost Keating -- named after a soldier, Ben Keating, who died when his vehicle overturned nearby) had already been addressed. Keating was scheduled to close six days after it was attacked.

CNN was on set during filming for the movie.

Exactly nine years later, I find myself standing in COP Keating again. Yet this time it's in Bulgaria. A short drive from Sofia, Millennium Films has painstakingly recreated the base. It is larger in scale, which at first bewilders me, and without the deadly hills -- they would have to be added later by CGI.

The tiny place that had seemed so forlorn in person now comes across as the stuff of painful legend. Orlando Bloom, Scott Eastwood and Caleb Landry Jones lead a cast that contains actual survivors from the battle: some playing themselves, others their platoon colleagues. A West Point graduate, Rod Lurie, is even directing the film.

It is more than a little jarring to see it all again. At one point, fake Taliban pop up from behind rocks and pretend to opened fire on us. It's difficult to resist the instinct to duck down.

In truth, I had put the entire COP Keating episode in a box and dropped it deep in my subconscious. You can't linger over every story you cover or you will lose yourself. And after Keating was hit, I had been told the unit we had spent time with had left before the attack.

That was wrong. Our Channel Four News report, I discovered only recently, contained some of the last pictures of some of the eight who died.

The set of the COP Keating base has been constructed in Bulgaria.

There is a scene where I ask 1st Lt. Andrew Bundermann, who led the unit in the base's defense and survived, why they are there. He says: "We don't ask questions." He turns to Staff Sgt. Joshua Hardt: "Right, Hardt? You don't ask the question why are we here?"

Hardt replies: "F**k no. We don't ask any questions, we get in trouble for asking questions."

Hardt was found dead on the base after the battle, with three bullet wounds in his skull.

The battle -- its aftermath and the errors that preceded it -- were the topic of a book by CNN's Jake Tapper, who accompanies us on the visit to the set. "This battle happened in October 2009," he says, "and here we are at the end of 2018 and I am sure the average American still has no idea how many troops we have in Afghanistan, why they are there, what they are accomplishing, what they are doing."

He describes writing "The Outpost" as the most intense work he has ever done, stemming from the obligation to get the facts right for the families of those killed.

That same sense of duty hangs over the set. In the words of producer Jonathan Yunger: "The weight of telling this story is insane. I feel it every day".

Ty Carter (left) and Caleb Landry Jones (smoking) on set in Bulgaria.

Scott Eastwood, who plays Clint Romesha, one of the two recipients of the Medal of Honor for his valiant acts during the fight for Keating, says: "It's a lot of responsibility to try and make sure everything's right ... Definitely more pressure. We're still in Afghanistan."

The other Medal of Honor recipient, Ty Carter, who made five selflessly brave runs across the base during the battle to help others, is played by Caleb Landry Jones.

The night before, we trawled Sofia's bars with Jones and Carter, who make an odd couple, one trying still to absorb the battle he survived, and the other trying to absorb that Keating survivor.

The set of "The Outpost" near the Bulgarian capital.

But during the long night in Sofia, Jones doesn't mention one fact: that his brother, Staff Sgt. John Jones, lost both legs in Iraq as a Marine. The role seems intensely personal to him, further burdened by the need to get Carter right on screen. It is likely to be a startling performance.

"When I received the script," says Jones, "my older brother was visiting for Thanksgiving and I asked him to read it. He read it and said 'you are doing this.' I got to meet Ty..." he sighs. "And now we are here. But..." Much of what Jones says is punctuated by him rubbing his palm over his shaven head, and exhaling hard.

I ask what the movie means to him. "I don't want to talk about that ... We are halfway done, there's a lot more to do. It feels like we have shot a week even though it's really been four. It's hard to talk about it in that kind of way. I don't know if I'll understand how to answer that question [of whether their role has been hard work] maybe two years from now."

For Carter, who plays another soldier, but also technically advises on set to bolster authenticity, being here may be part of the recovery process. "I got so uncomfortable when I first came on the COP or set," he says, "and I think that's a good feeling. It's going to make me stronger."

 

 

 

 

 

'The Outpost' book becoming a movie, starring Eastwood 00:31

The set is a bewildering mix of Hollywood's ridiculous priorities -- the fake smoke, special chairs, walkie-talkies and trailers -- and fragments of the tiny part of an American generation that has been at war for about 17 years, and is still recovering. Two Hollywood movies will address the battle next year -- the other with Casey Affleck -- as America teaches itself a history lesson, about valor and love, from a war that's still raging, arguably at its most violent peak.

"You think, in a battle like COP Keating," says Tapper, "that they'd be motivated by their hatred of the enemy, their anger. And the truth of the matter is they are motivated by the love they have for their brothers in arms. The desire to save each other. There's such a chasm between the 1% of the country who serve and the 99% who don't -- of which I am in the latter group -- there's such an inability to understand why they do what they do. But every one of the eight guys who was killed was killed in a mission of trying to help somebody else."

The film crew attend to an army tank on set.

The war in Afghanistan is the only part of President Trump's foreign policy he has devoted a singular and lengthy speech to -- pledging victory.

Yet it remains far from most America TV screens. And so, when the movie is released -- likely on the 10th anniversary of the Keating assault, October 3, 2019 -- it's likely the war will still be going on then, and that the movie becomes how many Americans learn that's the case.

The last word goes to Daniel Rodriguez, who is a Keating survivor and plays himself in the movie. "If you think of the Vietnam-era films and the WWII films, you do them after the war has already been done. But we live in a here-and-now generation. Let's show the world how horrific it is, yet still leave our people over there at the same time."

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report.

Luke Posted on November 02, 2018 07:08

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Hilton to open world's first underwater villa in the Maldives

Wanderlusters, your #travelgoals are sure to hit new (sea)levels, once you catch a glimpse of Hilton’s new, otherworldly underwater villa in the Maldives.

Hilton's Conrad Hotels & Resorts group have announced that The Muraka at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is ready to open to the public this month.

Heralded as “the first of its kind” by Architectural Digest, the suite features a two-part structure — half of it above the Indian Ocean, half of it below.

Hilton's Conrad Hotels & Resorts group have announced that The Muraka at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is ready to open to the public this month. (Conrad Hotels & Resorts)

SWISS TOURIST SUING GRACELAND HOTEL FOR $75,000, CLAIMS FIRE ALARM CAUSED MARRIAGE ISSUES

Lucky guests can enter the main attraction – an all-glass hotel room, 16.5 feet below sea level – via an elevator or spiral staircase that the outlet likens to “Alice’s rabbit hole” into a “watery wonderland.” (Conrad Hotels & Resorts)

According to the Digest, the ritzy upper level features “glass walls that offer views of the waves, a private jetty, infinity pool and secluded decks.” Lucky guests can enter the main attraction – an all-glass hotel room, 16.5 feet below sea level – via an elevator or spiral staircase that the outlet likens to “Alice’s rabbit hole” into a “watery wonderland.”

Below the waves, a “curved ceiling, wide windows and fish peep show bathroom” will surely make for an once-in-a-lifetime experience — thought it may be a bit difficult to fall asleep, as fish, turtles, stingrays and sharks swim by your beside. (Conrad Hotels & Resorts)

Below the waves, a “curved ceiling, wide windows and fish peep show bathroom” will surely make for an once-in-a-lifetime experience — thought it may be a bit difficult to fall asleep, as fish, turtles, stingrays and sharks swim by your beside.

Unsurprisingly, a stay at the dreamy destination will cost you a pretty penny. (Conrad Hotels & Resorts)

“With dynamic accommodations both above and below the surface of the water, The Muraka is an extraordinary vehicle for a truly immersive journey into nature which cannot be found anywhere else in the world,” Stefano Ruzza, the destination’s general manager, said in a press release. “Through a variety of curated and captivating offerings, we will maximize the potential of this incredible residence to bring unique travel experiences to our valued guests.”

Though a few swanky undersea restaurants can be found around the globe from Dubai to Norway, The Muraka is believed to be the first hotel suite of such design. (Conrad Hotels & Resorts)

Though a few swanky undersea restaurants can be found around the globe from Dubai to Norway, The Muraka is believed to be the first hotel suite of such design.

Unsurprisingly, a stay at the dreamy destination will cost you a pretty penny, with a four-night vacation package costing a cool $200,000, Architectural Digest reports. A “dedicated staff,” including a butler and chef, are on-site for 24-hour service, and specialists from massage therapists to personal trainers can be brought in by appointment.

Guests can opt to jet to the The Muraka on a private seaplane, or be picked up from the main Conrad resort in a speedboat that’s theirs for the keeping during their undersea stay. (Conrad Hotels & Resorts)

Nevertheless, a stay at the luxe, ultra-private spot will have you feeling like royalty – or James Bond – from your arrival to departure. Guests can opt to jet to the The Muraka on a private seaplane, or be picked up from the main Conrad resort in a speedboat that’s theirs for the keeping during their undersea stay.

Luke Posted on November 01, 2018 20:53

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Children will be brought to Australia from Nauru, but they won't be allowed to stay

(CNN)Dozens of refugee children and their families set to be transferred from the tiny island of Nauru won't be allowed to permanently settle in Australia, the country's Home Minister Peter Dutton said Thursday.

Dutton's comments came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that his government is working "quietly" to remove the remaining children on Nauru, where they were sent as part of Australia's strict immigration policies.

Australia reintroduced offshore detention centers in 2012 after a surge in the number of asylum seekers trying to reach the country by boat.

"Our policy hasn't changed, we have said very clearly that we don't want boats to restart. People are not going to settle here permanently," Dutton said during an interview with Sky News Australia's David Speers.

Children on Nauru in desperate need of help, activists tell Australia

While the government has declared its policy a success after a sharp drop in boat arrivals, human rights activists say hundreds of refugees -- including children -- have been traumatized by the ordeal.

In recent months, pressure has been building on the government to allow the refugees to move to Australia or New Zealand, but Dutton said Thursday repeated the country had no desire to offer the refugees a permanent home.

"Our desire is to remove people from Manus and Nauru, return them back to their countries of origin," he said referring to Australia's two offshore migrant processing centers. "We have been very clear that people won't settle permanently in Australia and we want the people smugglers to hear that loud and clear."

In Australia by Christmas?

Australia's top diplomat in the United Kingdom, High Commissioner George Brandis, said earlier in a radio interview that the government expects the remaining children to be transferred by Christmas.

Refugee advocate groups said they welcome moves by the government to transfer the children, but stressed that they need to be removed immediately.

"On the one had we are ecstatic that publicly the government has committed to getting children off Nauru, but on other hand, we still have concerns about whether or not that will happen, and how quickly that will happen," said Jana Favero, Director of Advocacy & Campaigns for the Asylum Seeker Resource Center.

Thirty-eight children remain in offshore detention on Nauru, including six toddlers, according to group.

Favero said that 15 children are in critical need of medical attention, five of whom have either attempted suicide or have suicidal thoughts. There are also young teenagers who are attempting to self harm.

Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The Australian government says the number of children in immigration detention centers dropped steadily between 2013 and 2015. However, numbers have leveled off since February 2015.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

On average, detainees spend 445 days in detention facilities while their claims are processed, according to government figures.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The conditions endured by children at the Nauru detention facility have been the subject of a government inquiry, which investigated claims of sexual and physical abuse.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The Moss Review found that many asylum seekers in the detention center were apprehensive about their personal safety. It found that some instances of sexual and physical assault were not being reported.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The Australian government accepted all 19 recommendations made in the report. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton vowed to tighten security at the center, saying "I find the thought of anybody, in particular children, being sexually assaulted
completely abhorrent."

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

An image on the Facebook site "Free the Children NAURU," uploaded in November, 2015, shows a small child with a tally of how long they have been on the island.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

At the end of 2015, 537 people were being held in the Nauru detention center. Of those, 68 were children.

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At the end of 2015, of the 1,792 people being held in Australian immigration facilities, 23.2% had been held for more than 730 days, or more than two years.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The children are being held on Nauru while their families' claims for asylum are processed. Many fled war-torn countries and entered Australian waters by boat. The Australian government says they'll never be resettled in the country.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

Australia reopened its controversial offshore processing centers in 2012, after a surge in arrivals of unseaworthy boats. In 2013, families with children were transferred to Nauru until their claims could be processed.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The Australian government says the number of children in immigration detention centers dropped steadily between 2013 and 2015. However, numbers have leveled off since February 2015.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

On average, detainees spend 445 days in detention facilities while their claims are processed, according to government figures.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The conditions endured by children at the Nauru detention facility have been the subject of a government inquiry, which investigated claims of sexual and physical abuse.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The Moss Review found that many asylum seekers in the detention center were apprehensive about their personal safety. It found that some instances of sexual and physical assault were not being reported.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The Australian government accepted all 19 recommendations made in the report. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton vowed to tighten security at the center, saying "I find the thought of anybody, in particular children, being sexually assaulted
completely abhorrent."

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

An image on the Facebook site "Free the Children NAURU," uploaded in November, 2015, shows a small child with a tally of how long they have been on the island.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

At the end of 2015, 537 people were being held in the Nauru detention center. Of those, 68 were children.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

At the end of 2015, of the 1,792 people being held in Australian immigration facilities, 23.2% had been held for more than 730 days, or more than two years.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

The children are being held on Nauru while their families' claims for asylum are processed. Many fled war-torn countries and entered Australian waters by boat. The Australian government says they'll never be resettled in the country.

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Photos: Growing up in detention: The children of Nauru

Australia reopened its controversial offshore processing centers in 2012, after a surge in arrivals of unseaworthy boats. In 2013, families with children were transferred to Nauru until their claims could be processed.

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"It's absolutely not what you would think is normal behavior in children," she said. "We absolutely cannot wait until Christmas to get them off."

The move comes after months of pressure by refugee advocate groups, medical professionals and lawmakers on the government to transfer the remaining children from Nauru.

On Saturday, more than 1,000 people marched through the streets of Sydney and 500 in Melbourne protesting the Australian government's offshore detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island and its treatment of asylum seekers living there, according to CNN affiliate 9 News.

Calls for release

In August, more than 30 non-government organizations launched a campaign using the hashtag #KidsOffNauru, calling on the government to transfer the remaining children off Nauru by November 20, Universal Children's Day.

"These children are innocent victims and should not, under any circumstances, be held for one day longer. This sinister chapter of indefinite offshore refugee detention is a black mark on Australia's record as a civil society and should never be repeated," World Vision Australia's Head of Policy and Advocacy, Susan Anderson, said in a statement.

Since the Kids Off Nauru campaign started, children on Nauru have been transferred to Australia in stages.

Refugees held by Australia languish in a world beyond suffering and suicide

Over the past week 41 families have been transferred off the island. Since October 15, 135 people have transferred from Nauru, according to the Asylum Seeker Resource Center.

Favero said the majority of those cases have been successful because of a court order or legal intervention, "not because [the government] has had a change in heart." She said that right now, going through the courts is the only pathway to bring children who need medical attention off Nauru.

'Beyond desperate'

Pressure has been growing on the Australian government to help the increasingly distressed children held on the island, after a 12-year-old boy was evacuated to hospital in Australia after refusing to eat for weeks.

At the time, Doctors for Refugees President Barri Phatarfod told CNN that the boy was one of several young children on Nauru whose health was progressively deteriorating.

Earlier this month, Doctors without Borders (MSF) said the situation on Nauru was "beyond desperate."

In a video posted to the group's website, MSF psychologist Natalia Hverta Perez said, "Now the children, some of them, they are not eating, they are not drinking, anything, they are just lying on the bed, doing nothing... sometimes their parents have to take them to the hospital to feed them, by needle."

The medical aid agency was ordered to cease operations on the island in early October.

Shortly after, a senior doctor who was caring for asylum seekers on Nauru was removed from the island, amid reports she was deported by the local government.

Dr Nicole Montana, Australia's senior medical officer on Nauru, tasked with overseeing the detainee's health, left the island in mid-October. Her employer, International Health and Medical Services, said she had been removed from her duties "for a breach of Regional Processing Center rules."

According to Australian government statistics from July, almost 200 men and women, as well as a dozen children, are being detained on the tiny island nation.

However in early October MSF said there could be as many as 900 refugees and asylum seekers still left on the Pacific island, which is almost 2,800 miles from the Australian mainland.

A 2016 UN report found many cases of "attempted suicide, self-immolation, acts of self-harm and depression" among children detained on Nauru.

Luke Posted on November 01, 2018 20:13

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We are at the mercy of men': Reports of rape and sexual abuse in North Korea

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)Harrowing accounts of widespread sexual abuse allegedly carried out by North Korean officials against ordinary women have been laid out in a new report, that details evidence of a culture where officials commit acts with near total impunity.

The extensive 98-page report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which was released Thursday and took more than two years to compile, is based on dozens of interviews with sexual abuse victims who have fled from North Korea. It reveals an oppressive world where officials -- from police officers and prison guards to market supervisors -- faced virtually no consequences for their routine abuse of women.

"Unwanted sexual contact and violence that is so common in North Korea it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life," the report alleges.

Sexual violence in the country is "an open, unaddressed, and widely tolerated secret," said Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director. "North Korean woman would probably say 'Me Too' if they thought there was any way to obtain justice, but their voices are silenced in Kim Jong Un's dictatorship."

Women in the sitting position in a pre-trial detention facility run by the police. The report alleges that detainees are commonly forced to assume this position in pre-trial detention and temporary holding facilities.

Harrowing accounts

Of all the sexual assault survivors interviewed for the report, only one said she had tried to report it. None of the others report the assault they suffered because "they did not trust the police and did not believe police would be willing to take action," the report says.

"On the days they felt like it, market guards or police officials could ask me to follow them to an empty room outside the market, or some other place they'd pick," the report quoted a former trader in her 40s who fled North Korea in 2014 (HRW uses an alias). She says she had been sexually assaulted many times.

"They consider us (sex) toys. We are at the mercy of men." She said that the climate of sexual abuse was so pervasive that it had been normalized -- both by the perpetrators and their victims, but nonetheless, "sometimes, out of nowhere, you cry at night and don't know why."

Medical professionals who fled the repressive country said that "there are no protocols for medical treatment and examination of victims of sexual violence to provide therapeutic care or secure medical evidence," the report adds.

The rights organization interviewed a total of 106 North Koreans, comprised of 72 women, four girls, and 30 men. All were interviewed outside the country.

Male government officials and female traders sit in a railway carriage, while a railroad officer checks a female trader's ticket. The report alleges that in railway carriages, women often face harassment by male government officials and railroad officers.

Former police officer: Nine out of ten women assaulted

A former police officer from North Korea, herself a victim of sexual abuse, Heo Jong-hae told CNN that 90% of the women she knew had been sexually assaulted.

She said that one of her friends contemplated suicide after being attacked at age 17.

"She said she cried and wanted to die. Her parents told her to come home before dark to avoid rape but things like this happens in broad daylight. She tried to kill herself. It was worse in Pyongyang where everyone was forced to go to work every day."

Heo said that in order to advance, many women join the military, but "the officials in charge will demand sexual favors. To join the (worker's) party, one must comply."

She added that, in her experience, in the rare event of a case being reported to the police, there is pressure to drop the investigation. "When the perpetrator is an official, even if the case comes to the police, it will be ignored," she said.

"Even if I or others in the station try to investigate, someone higher up like the chief will tell us to drop it. They are untouchable."

Heo said that her personal experience of assault largely informed her decision to defect.

"I couldn't live in that environment with stress. When I share my story, (I hope) other women share theirs too."

A female trader gives a bribe to a market supervisor in an alley near the market. The report describes how female traders offer bribes in order to avoid potential harassment.

'No sense of right and wrong'

Even when men who sexually abuse women are held to account, their victims also suffer.

Director of New Korea Women's Union Lee So-yeon, a North Korean living in Seoul, told CNN that while she was serving in the North Korean military, a commander of her company sexually assaulted female soldiers. He faced a forced discharge, while his vice commander was assigned to a different unit. The commander's female victims were dishonorably discharged.

"The perpetrators are usually not punished if the victims number one or two. There is also less chance of being punished the higher the ranking of the perpetrator. In this case, he assaulted about 30 women.

"The victims were dishonorably discharged because it was considered that they simply had sexual relations with the commander while on duty. That they had actively taken part."

Even after the incident is over, the women continue to suffer its consequences.

"Once the word gets out that a woman had been victimized, the society doesn't look kindly at her. Instead, she is blamed for her reckless and seductive behavior," Lee said.

"There is no sense of right and wrong. The party officials must see these as a problem in order for the situation to change but they do not. They are the perpetrators themselves."

A police officer checks to see if a trader has hidden "anti-socialist" material in her belongings. The report alleges that police officers use searches of female traders' belongings, to justify full body searches.

Nonexistent conviction rates

While Pyongyang has laws criminalizing rape, trafficking and having sexual relations with subordinates, the report notes that the North Korean government barely acknowledges the existence of rape in the country.

Last July, the North Korean government told the UN's Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that only nine people in all of North Korea were convicted of rape in 2008, seven in 2011, and five in 2015.

A 2014 UN report on human rights found that human rights violations -- including murder, enslavement and torture -- were prevalent in the country.

It added that sexual and gender-based violence was common throughout North Korean society, including in dealing with officials. Some of the incidences of sexual violence, including forced abortions, and rape committed against detained and imprisoned women, qualified as crimes against humanity.

Luke Posted on November 01, 2018 20:03

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Google employees stage walkout over handling of sexual misconduct by executives

Photos of walkouts at a variety of Google offices were posted to social media, including London and Dublin.

Google employees participate in a walkout at the company's U.K. headquarters in London on Nov. 1, 2018 during a global campaign over the tech giant's handling of sexual harassment.Tolga Akmen / AFP - Getty Images

Nov. 1, 2018 / 12:20 PM GMT / Updated 2:04 PM GMT

By Jason Abbruzzese, Alex Holmes and Didi Martinez

Employees in Google offices around the world began staging a walkout on Thursday to protest the company's handling of senior executives accused of sexual misconduct.

The demonstration was scheduled by organizers to begin at 11:10 a.m. local time for each office, with a Twitter account set up by protest organizers featuring walkout photos from Singapore, Tokyo, London, Dublin and other locations.

 

The walkout was organized in response to a report by The New York Times last week that found two senior Google executives had been paid tens of millions of dollars in exit packages despite being accused of sexual misconduct.

A third senior executive named in the Times article had been allowed to stay at the company but resigned on Tuesday.

In New York, Google employees streamed out of the company's office in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and walked to Hudson River Park, many carrying signs pointing to the company's payouts and still wearing their Google employee badges and company gear.

Most employees declined to talk to journalists, saying that they appreciate the coverage but did not want to comment about their involvement. Instead, they wanted their physical presence at the day's protest to speak for itself.

Elissa Brown, a Google employee in New York, said she was surprised by how many staffers participated in the walkout and believed the company was listening.

"I think they’re taking it very seriously and recognizing that this is a problem to be addressed," Brown said. "I don’t think it’s being taken lightly by anybody.”

Brown said she did not believe issues with how companies handle sexual misconduct were particular to Google.

"I don’t think it’s unique to Google at all, unfortunately," Brown said. "In fact, in general I’ve found Google to be very respectful place to work, and I think that situations like this, you can see looking around you the amount of people that feel empowered."

 

The Times report drew a swift response from Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive. That same day, Pichai and Eileen Naughton, the company's vice president of people operations, sent an email to employees saying that the company was "dead serious" about making sure the company provides "a safe and inclusive workplace." Pichai and Naughton said that the company had fired 48 people without pay for sexual misconduct over the past two years.

 

Pichai also supported the employees' protest.

"Earlier this week, we let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for today and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate," Pichai said in an email. "Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward. We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action."

Pichai's support did little to quell growing employee resentment.

"Hundreds of people are demanding structural change, not just inclusive sounding PR," tweeted Meredith Whittaker on Tuesday, confirming that employees were planning a walkout.

The Times reported on Wednesday that protest organizers expected more than 1,500 employees to participate in the walkout.

Google employees, who walked off the job to protest the internet company's lenient treatment of executives accused of sexual misconduct, listen to speakers during a protest rally on Nov. 1, 2018, in New York.Bebeto Matthews / AP

A Twitter account, @GoogleWalkout, said that employees were demanding five changes: an end to forced arbitration on cases of harassment and discrimination; a commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity; a publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report; a new process for reporting sexual misconduct; and elevating the company's chief diversity officer to report to the company's CEO and have that officer make recommendations to the company's board of directors.

The group that organized the protest also called for an employee representative to be added to the company's board.

In London, Google employees said on Twitter that weather forced employees to remain inside, but that people filled the biggest room in the office with more in overflow areas.

Marc Cohen, an employee in Google's London office, said he was participating to send a message to the company's leadership.

 

"I'm disappointed by some of the things I’ve been reading about and hearing about how complaints have been handled by Google, and I wanted to share my support for people who have to deal with those kind of situations and also as a sign for my own personal dissatisfaction for how Google has handled some of these situations in the past," Cohen said.

Sam Dutton, who also works in Google's London office, said he hoped the walkout would inspire change within Google as well as other companies.

"I think there is a change in mood across the world in many different companies, and I hope this will have a positive effect," Dutton said.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Luke Posted on November 01, 2018 19:49

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Bitcoin Price May Break Three-Month Losing Streak in November

Bitcoin ended October on a weak note, confirming its first three-month losing streak since 2015, but things may be looking up for November.

The leading cryptocurrency closed yesterday at $6,320 – down 4.32 percent from the Oct. 1 opening price of $6,606, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). Over August and September, prices had dropped 9.22 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.

The last time BTC suffered losses for three consecutive months was in the first half of 2015. Back then, BTC was averaging $250 and prices dropped 4 percent, 2.8 percent and 2.7 percent in March, April and May, respectively.

 

 

As seen in the chart above, however, October's 4 percent drop is the lowest in three months. Furthermore, BTC rallied 14 percent in June 2015 after posting losses in the previous three months.

So, it's possible bitcoin will repeat that pattern and snap its three-month losing streak in November, according to seasonality analysis and technical studies.

The historical data shows that BTC has always reported gains in November, except in 2011, when it dropped 8.6 percent.

It's also worth noting that BTC's best-ever monthly performance was a 467 percent price rise seen in November 2013.

Sellers may have run dry

BTC has defended the 21-month exponential moving average (EMA) for the fifth month running, signaling that a bottom could be in place close to $6,000.

That argument is bolstered if we take into account the fact that the cryptocurrency avoided a bearish monthly close yesterday, despite a negative crossover between the 5- and 10-month EMAs.

The outlook as per the monthly chart remains neutral as long as prices are trapped between the September high of $7,402 and the 21-day EMA of $6,130.

It is worth noting that the longer the narrow trading range persists, the lower price volatility will go. A number of volatility measures have already hit yearly lows in the last two months. Notably, daily price volatility remained below $100 for seven consecutive days last month – the longest at such levels since April 2017.

View

  • Bitcoin may see a rise in November if seasonal patterns repeat.
  • The long-term technical charts indicate bearish exhaustion and a bottom was likely reached around $6,000.
  • A bullish reversal would be confirmed only if BTC invalidates the series of lower highs with a move above the September high of $7,400.https://blog.cofredcoin.com/2018/11/01/bitcoin-price-ma…reak-in-november/

Dominic Solomon Posted on November 01, 2018 16:26

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Little Mix and Cardi B beef as they leak WhatsApps over Nicki Minaj

LITTLE Mix have hit back at Cardi B after Nicki Minaj slam video. In a war on Nicki Minaj, Cardi B posted a series of videos slamming the infamous rapper. Out of the multiple videos, the one that shocked floods of fans was Cardi's claims that Little Mixwanted Cardi before Nicki on their latest track, Woman Like Me. As she presented her followers with a lengthy rant following her ongoing feud with Nicki Minaj, she said: "That Woman Like Me record? "Yeah I had to decline it because I'm doing a lot of pop records and I can't over exaggerate myself.

"But yeah, that came to me first, and then they gave it to you."Cardi showed the demo track on her phone without Nicki's verse, proving that it was brought to her. Meanwhile, Little Mix were quick to address the claims, slamming it immediately.Taking to Instagram, they wrote: "We just want to clarify… Nick was approached first."

They added: "Sorry Cardi hun but this is the tea, we've always wanted the Queen."Posting a group chat dating back to July 24, the girls discussed their plans for the track. They wrote: "Work on lyrics, change drop, confirm Nick, and then we're good to go. "If none of those things happen, then it's not going to be released."

PROOF: Little Mix proved that it was Nicki or nothing (Pic: INSTAGRAM)

In their third response, they'd put together a compilation video of them repeating multiple times who they would like to collaborate with. Each video saw the girls admitting that Nicki was the one person that they wanted to work with. Their support of Nicki dates back to one of their earlier performances on The X Factor, with the girls singing Super Bass at the live shows.

jmparker Posted on November 01, 2018 15:17

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5 of TV and film's most iconic double acts

Thelma and Louise’s recent arrival on Netflix has got us thinking about TV and film’s greatest double acts. From comic duos with impeccable on-screen chemistry to charismatic anti-heroines taking on the world, the power of the twosome on the big and small screen alike is undeniable. Here, we revisit some of the very best…

Despite first airing in 1992, Absolutely Fabulous’ knack for ridiculing the upper-class self-absorption of the fashion industry with disarming hilarity remains quotable today. And that’s thanks to Eddy (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley), the co-dependent and dysfunctional friends whose debauched antics  take them from a rubbish barge on the Thames to a Marilyn Manson concert in full goth regalia. That’s fashion, darling!

Despite first airing in 1992, Absolutely Fabulous’ knack for ridiculing the upper-class self-absorption of the fashion industry with disarming hilarity remains quotable today. And that’s thanks to Eddy (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley), the co-dependent and dysfunctional friends whose debauched antics  take them from a rubbish barge on the Thames to a Marilyn Manson concert in full goth regalia. That’s fashion, darling!

At the heart of the Bafta-nominated horror-comedy Shaun Of The Dead is the titular character’s relationship with his best friend, Ed – played by longtime collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Most of the brilliant one-liners come from their friendship: the private jokes, shared dislikes and childishness in the face of actual apocalypse has everybody rooting for the pair, despite their incompetence.

It’s not just Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s ability to find absurd humour in the more mundane aspects of navigating life in your twenties that makes Broad City so addictive. The show, which first gained cult acclaim as a web series, captures female friendship in a way that television so rarely does. Refreshingly honest and unconcerned with romantic interest, the hilarious pair are a pleasure to watch.

Clarence and Alabama, True Romance

In Tarantino’s world of highly-stylised violent crime, the love story that stands out is the ride-or-die romance of Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama Worley (Patricia Arquette). Thrown into a high stakes cat-and-mouse chase by accident (bedecked in a wardrobe of kitschy Americana, of course), the duo’s frenetic tale of star-crossed love is one of cinema’s most iconic.

Thelma and Louise, Thelma and Louise

And finally, the ultimate twosome. No list of double acts can be complete without a mention of Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon). Not only has the iconic Ridley Scott road movie left behind a feminist legacy thanks to its empowering tale of female friendship, but two female leads and a female screenwriter brought a fresh perspective to the silver screen that still feels relevant today. Double trouble.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/proper-tv-guide/5-of-tv-and-films-most-iconic-double-acts-a8573991.html?mvt=i&mvn=dcdab

ruby Posted on November 01, 2018 13:23

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1969 FORD MUSTANG MACH 1 OVERVIEW

The 1969 model year was the first that saw drastic changes to the Mustang’s design enter production.

Although the original wheelbase was the same, the car grew wider with longer overhangs while lowering the roofline in a bid to make the car that much more aggressive. The nose became sharper and quad headlights were the norm, with the ones on the outside of the grille sitting deep within rectangular cavities for a meaner look.

The Mach 1 also gave its prospective owners a wide variety of choices in terms of not only engines, but also axles, transmissions, exterior trims and add-ons, interior and exterior colors. It was heaven for those who like to fiddle with forms in the dealership stuffing their cars with extras.

The car was only offered in Fastback form, now known as SportsRoof, so any hardtop or convertible 1969 Mustang you see with Mach 1 visual cues was not purchased that way from the factory.

The offering was the same for 1970 with the Mach 1 only available as a SportsRoof although, by then, the car had gone through yet another visual refreshment procedure. This means that the 72,458 units built of the 1969 model year are the only ones with the quad headlight, low-slung allure.

The Mach 1 was popular enough to stay in production until the dawn of the Foxbody which is when Ford returned to the GT moniker. The company then revived the Mach 1 during the lifespan of the SN-95 as a mid-range model that sat above the GT but below the SVT Cobra. Since then, many rumors emerged hinting towards the return of the Mach 1 as a trim level for the sixth-gen Mustang. As we’ve reported back in May, it’s far more likely that the Mach 1 will be resurrected as a model of its own right and an electric one no less. Until then, let’s take a closer look at the original.

1969 FORD MUSTANG MACH 1 EXTERIOR

The 1969 evolution of the Mustang shows the emerging trend at the time of increasing the size of what were once rather compact coupes.

The Mustang did not escape this dreaded fate but, before it became an unrecognizable land yacht of sorts, they hit the sweet spot with the 1969 styling upgrades. Even without the let’s-hit-the-track upgrades of the Mach 1, the Mustang looked meaner than ever and for good reason: its core rivals were growing and looking like they meant business so Ford Motor Company couldn’t let their golden child fall behind.

Ford extended the front and rear overhangs to make the Mustang bigger by 3.8 inches. Thus the wheelbase staying put at 108 inches. The roofline was also lowered by almost 1 inch. The lines of the car are punctuated by reflective stripes on the sides and across the upper edge of the rear end, just above the Mustang lettering where you’ll find “Mach 1” written on the stripe itself.

The nose is dominated by the massive grille, big enough to house two extra headlight units on either side with the logo moved from its former center position to the right-hand side with the red-white-and-blue stripes serving as a backdrop.

 

The car was available with an aggressive-looking lower lip that drastically minimized ground clearance, but it worked alongside other racing-inspired elements on the car such as the scoop on the matte-black hood or the pins that held the hood in place. There was also an optional “Shaker” air scoop which was slightly bigger and attached directly to the air filter for obvious shaking effect.

The swage line on the side extends from the upper edge of the headlight crease all the way back to the edge of the rear quarter panel where it met a C-shaped air intake. That intake, positioned just aft of the door in line with the door handle, is the only one on the car’s profile replacing the double side scoops that used to sit under the swage line on the earlier models. Gone are also the louvers behind the side windows, but Ford thought its customers might still want a dose of louvers, so they offered optional louvers – dubbed “Sport Splats” – to be placed over the back window. Again, it is a feature that hampered usability all the while improving the sporty look the car was going for. The rear spoiler, another optional extra, was the final piece of the puzzle, but it’s not really known if it actually aided the handling.

The back of the car features three individual vertically-mounted taillights at the extremities, with the rear bumper acting as the lower edge with the reflective stripe marking the upper one. The car came with dual exhausts regardless of the engine choice and a fancy, chromed pop-open gas cap with all the necessary branding on it. All the inches added to the body plus all of the bits and pieces meant to show the Mach 1 could reach Mach 1 speeds took their toll on what was once the most compact of the pony cars. Thus, the 1969 Mach 1 weighs in at a respectable 3,254 pounds.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 108 in
Length 187.5 in
Width 71.7 in
Height 50.5 in

1969 FORD MUSTANG MACH 1 INTERIOR

The interior of the Mach 1 is packed with amenities as if to congratulate you on your choice of a higher-trim model.

You have two-tone vinyl upholstery, high-back seats and teakwood-grained trim on the interior door panels and the dash.

The three-spoke rim-blow steering wheel is as large as you’d imagine it to be with three circular holes drilled in each spoke. You’ve got four gauges looking at you with the tachometer and speedometer in the middle and the fuel and temperature gauges on the sides. The passenger also has something to look at as he can examine the passing of time on the analog clock.

If, somehow, the sound of the array of V-8s available for the Mach 1 wasn’t pleasing to you, you could roll the windows up and enjoy some level of tranquility due to the improved sound deadening. All this meant that you could actually hear the music being played on the radio located towards the bottom of the center console – also covered in wood trim.

With all the sportiness, the Mach 1 kept the rear seats intact and, although the wheelbase is the same, they aren’t particularly cramped.

There was also a version available where the rear seats would fold for extra storage space.

1969 FORD MUSTANG MACH 1 DRIVETRAIN

This is the fun part with cars from the ‘60s. You could choose between four engine options and three transmission options. Depending on your choice of powertrain, you also got stiffer springs and shocks to cope with the added power.

The entry-level option was the Windsor 5.8-liter V-8 which produced 250 horsepower at 4,600 rpm and 355 pound-feet of torque at 2,600 rpm.

With the same bore and stroke came the Cleveland V-8 which was a bit less elastic (max torque at 3,400 rpm and max power at 5,400 rpm), had less bulkhead strength, a lower deck, and a different crankshaft. The Cleveland V8, which debuted in 1969, had the timing chain chamber integrated into the block as well as very different cylinder heads when compared to the old Windsor.

The standard Windsor came with a 3-speed manual transmission although the car in the pictures has its Windsor mated to a 4-speed Toploader gearbox. There was also a 3-speed automatic for those who loved cruising around. Besides the two-barrel standard Windsor, there was also a four-barrel that put out 290 ponies. The 6.4-liter FE V8 was beefier still producing 320 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque.

The top of the line engine was the Cobra Jet 7.0-liter V8 which you could option with a Ramair intake. That four-barrel mammoth produced 335 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. The “drag pack” was offered with the Super Cobra Jet engine which came with cast iron tail shaft in place of the usual aluminum one. It also came with a “traction lok” rear axle with a 3.91 or 4.30 ratio.

In its most brutal setup, with a Cobra Jet V8 under the hood, the Mach 1 reached 62 mph in under 6 seconds and did the standing quarter-mile in just 14 seconds with a gate speed of 103 mph.

All that power did not mean that the Mach 1 was only good in straight line – although it excelled in drag racing – for the tweaked out suspension and rear shock absorbers made oversteering out of a bend something less scary to do, actually enjoyable for the trained driver. The original Goodyear rubber helped the matter too, but the Mustang wasn’t yet as supple as the Camaro Z-28.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Specifications For 5.8-Liter Windsor V8

Power 250 horsepower at 4,600 rpm
Torque 355 pound-feet at 2,600 rpm
Top Speed 128 mph
0-62 mph 8 seconds
Weight 3,254 pounds

PRICES

With so many options in terms of both styling and running gear, the prices vary a lot in the Mach 1 market.

You can find a neat ’69 example with a smaller engine for as little as $40,000, but prices tend to go up, and you need to look out for Mustangs with added Mach 1 parts that aren’t real Mach 1s.

If your pockets allow you, there are Mach 1s out there with a $75,000 price tag with some breaking the psychological barrier of $100,000, but those have all the goodies and are in excellent condition – almost too good to drive them.

1969 FORD MUSTANG MACH 1 COMPETITION

Similarly to the Mustang, the 1969 model year Camaro is substantially different from the ’68 iteration with a redesigned front grille, new quarter panels and door profiles that gave the car a more chiseled appearance. This belies the fact that the Camaro was heavier than the Ford rival with a weight of 3,385 pounds.

The Z-28 version could be purchased with disk brakes all around and came with the 4.9-liter small block V8 that was enough for 290 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 290 pounds-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. The engine was mated to a 4-speed gearbox with a 3.73 rear axle. This package could compete with a Mach 1 with the smaller engine, while GM had the bigger 6.5-liter Vs producing anywhere between 325 horsepower and 375 horsepower to tackle the Super Cobra Jet and even the Boss V8.

At the end of 1969, the Ford Mustang still outsold the Camaro with 300,000 Fords against almost 250,000 Chevrolets shipped. 1970 would be, however, a not-so-memorable year for Ford with sales dropping below 200,000 models.

Read our full review on the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28

The 1969 Charger features probably the most recognizable design element on all of the Chargers, namely the divider in the front grille, which also encapsulated the headlights hidden behind. The basic two-barrel 6.3-liter V8 produced 290 horsepower while the four-barrel one had 40 more horsepower and was only sold in ’69. You could also have this engine with a deliciously-loud air filter. The 6.3-liter came with AVS carburetion and larger exhaust manifolds shared with the heavy-duty 7.2-liter Magnum engine.

The Charger was a bit of a different animal to the Mustang, looking already like a land-barge rather than a muscle car, but it built its reputation on the track a bit later on with the aerodynamic Charger Daytona race car. Also, as anyone knows, a 1969 model was used in the original Dukes Of Hazard series and many reboots and movies since.

Read our full review on the 1969 Dodge Charger.

CONCLUSION

The 1969 Mustang Mach 1 has lived long enough to become a classic and for good reasons too. Its body is maybe the nicest of the first generation, and it also has the performance to match. Details such as the louvers, hood scoop, and a multitude of stripes make it synonymous with the era, and that’s not said in a bad way.

Obviously, there are cheaper ’69 Mustangs out there that share some of the show but not much of the go. I mean, after all, the 70,000 people who bought it nearly 50 years ago had a point, that this is the next best thing to a Boss.

  • Love it

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    • Large variety of engine transmission options, as well as exterior styling elements and colors
    • Benefits from probably the best redesign that befell the first generation Mustang
    • Better handling than most muscle cars of its day and manageable with the lower-tier engines that can even get you to 16 mpg on the highway
  • Leave it

    •  
    • The Boss Mustang is the most famous Mustang of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and this isn’t one
    • The chrome 12-spoke rims on this particular Mach 1 aren’t as appealing as the Magnum 500 variety

FURTHER READING

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429.

2003 - 2004 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra.

1964 - 2006 Ford Mustang History.

2007 Shelby Cobra GT500.

 

majsdesaint Posted on November 01, 2018 13:02

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Man Utd star Marcus Rashford hailed for 'legendary' gesture to trick-or-treaters

MANCHESTER United star Marcus Rashford has been hailed "legendary" for a gesture he made to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.he star was pictured today celebrating his 21st birthday. But according to sports journalist Simon Austin, the forward also took the time to make the night of youngsters out on Halloween. He and a woman he was with in his car stopped to hand out £20 notes after they sang him happy birthday, Austin said. Austin tweeted: "My eight-year-old has just been trick-or-treating with four other friends in Sale. "Nice man pulled up in his car. Lady in passenger seat said 'sing happy birthday, he's 21 today', so they did."And he gave each of them a £20 note. Thank you Marcus Rashford." Austin's story sparked a heart-warming reaction among some on Twitter who praised the England international. One wrote: "That's brilliant, nice gesture from Marcus, bet your kid is very happy."Another said: "Nice to hear, thanks for sharing."And one wished Rashford a happy birthday, saying: "Top man Marcus Rashford, happy 21st."

)

GIFT: Marcus Rashford was sent a new pair of shoes by Nike on his birthday (Pic: INSTAGRAM/@MARCUSRASHFORD)

BIRTHDAY: Nike's gift to Marcus Rashford (Pic: INSTAGRAM/MARCUSRASHFORD)

Meanwhile another described him as a "legendary human being".

Earlier today, Rashford took to Instagram to show off a present sent to him by sportswear giant Nike.

The company sent him a pair of white trainers with 'Mr 21' written on them.

Close pal Jesse Lingard also took to his Instagram account, posting various snaps of the duo over the years.

jmparker Posted on November 01, 2018 12:14

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Steven Seagal walks out of BBC Newsnight interview when Me Too allegations are raised

Actor Steven Seagal gave a short-lived video interview to Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark on Thursday night.

Wark asked the Under Siege star: “You’ve been very much caught up in all the allegations of sexual harassment, you had a rape allegation against you and I wonder how you deal with all that?” 

Without saying a word, Seagal promptly removed his earpiece and walked off the set.

Wrapping up the interview, Wark told viewers: “Steven Seagal, there, and of course, though he didn’t respond there, he has said previously he denies any allegations that have been made against him.”

The actor was on the show to discuss his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and was given the title “Special Representative for Russia-US Cultural Links”.

The activist was accused in January 2018 by actor Rachel Grant of sexual assault. Grant alleges that during a rehearsal in a hotel suite for 2003 film Out for a Kill, Seagal forcibly exposed her breasts before pushing her onto a bed.

Amid a wave of #MeToo allegations against Hollywood actors this year, another was made against Seagal in March. Regina Simons claimed that in 1993, when she was 18, Seagal raped her at his home after inviting her over for what she believed to be a wrap party.

Seagal denies all allegations made against him.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/steven-seagal-me-too-rape-allegation-sexual-assault-bbc-newsnight-interview-a8569

ruby Posted on November 01, 2018 11:39

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Medicinal cannabis is LEGAL in UK on NHS prescription from TODAY

BRIT doctors can now prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients for the first time ever in the UK. The drug is available to patients across England, Wales and Scotland after a major law change. Products that can now be prescribed contain cannabis, cannabis resin or cannabinol. But patients will only be prescribed it if their doctors feel they could benefit from it. The government made the major change to the law after facing pressure from campaigners.

High-profile cases included Charlotte Caldwell, whose son Billy suffers from severe epilepsy. Politicians heard how she went to Canada to purchase the cannabis oil which she says controls Billy’s seizures. But after landing back at Heathrow Airport, her supply was confiscated, sparking fury. Her son then fell ill before the government was forced to step in after doctors made clear it was a “medical emergency”.

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CONDITION: Doctors have to prescribe the medicinal cannabis if it benefits their patients (Pic: GETTY)

LANDMARK: A string of high profile cases and campaigns have forced the law change (Pic: GETTY)

After the supply was returned, home secretary Sajid Javid launched a policy review into the benefits of legalising medicinal cannabis. The initial review by chief medical officer Dame Sally Davis confirmed that there was enough evidence to suggest it can be of therapeutic use. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which carried out the second part of the review, also confirmed that doctors should be able to prescribe infused products so long as safety standards are met.

PRESCRIPTION: Doctors can only prescribe the medicinal cannabis to patients it will benefit (Pic: GETTY)

DECISION MAKER: Only doctors can prescribe the drug, it cannot be bought from shops (Pic: GETTY)

The discoveries resulted in a landmark law change that now sees medicinal cannabis become legal in Britain. "For me what started off as a journey which was about the needs of my little boy actually turned into something, proved to be something, a lot bigger. It proved to be the needs of a nation," Charlotte told Sky News."Medicinal cannabis gave me back my right as a mummy to hope, but the most important thing medicinal cannabis has done is given Billy back his right to life."

jmparker Posted on November 01, 2018 11:25

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