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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Fox News tried to shame the youngest congresswoman ever for being unable to afford DC rent

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made history in the midterm elections by becoming the youngest woman elected to the US House of Representatives. 

The 29-year-old political newcomer shot to fame earlier this year when she unexpectedly defeated ten-term representative Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for New York's 14th district, and she looks set to help shape for course of US politics for years to come. 

But before she can do that, she revealed to The New York Times that she won't be able to relocate her life to her future home of Washington DC until her congressional salary kicks in, as only then will she be able to pay rent in the capital. 

She said:

I have three months without a salary before I'm a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.

She also tweeted to say that this was just another example of how the US electoral system isn't "designed (nor prepared) for working-class people to lead".

There are many little ways in which our electoral system isn’t even designed (nor prepared) for working-class people to lead.

This is one of them (don’t worry btw - we’re working it out!).

In a move that will surprise no one, Fox News were quick to pick up the story and handled it with all the grace, sensitivity and respect that you might expect them to show the Democratic socialist. 

During a discussion on 'America's Newsroom',  the panellists took aim at Ocasio-Cortez during a segment captioned with: "Self-proclaimed socialist says she can't afford DC rent."

Judy Miller, a journalist and commentator, snickered when host BIll Hemmer reminded the panel that Ocasio-Cortez was working at a restaurant before launching her campaign earlier in the year. 

Ocasio-Cortez snapped back at Fox News, pointing out that their anchors still can't pronounce her name properly and taking the affluent panel to task for making a mockery of the US housing crisis. 

There is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed.

Mocking lower incomes is exactly how those who benefit from + promote wealth inequality the most keep everyday people silent about 1 of the worst threats to American society: that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.

Mocking lower incomes is exactly how those who benefit from + promote wealth inequality the most keep everyday people silent about 1 of the worst threats to American society: that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.

As much as @FoxNews likes to mock the working-class, the real scandal is that at the wealthiest point in our history, we are at one of our most unequal.

Most Americans are barely scraping by.

There is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed.

Mocking lower incomes is exactly how those who benefit from + promote wealth inequality the most keep everyday people silent about 1 of the worst threats to American society: that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.

Less than a week following her election and Ocasio-Cortez is already making waves in a bid to disrupt the status quo. We can't wait to see how this turns out.


ruby Posted on November 14, 2018 15:12

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Florida recount: Donald Trump Jr is spreading a debunked voter fraud story from 2012

Much like his dad, Donald Trump Jr isn't too happy about the midterm results, which saw the Republicans experience crushing losses in the House of Representatives. 

Whereas the president seemed determined to take his frustration out on journalists, his son has taken the unorthodox route of spreading conspiracy theories, which is something that he is fairly familiar with.

This time Trump Jr has taken a step-back-in-time and is now peddling a debunked NBC article from 2012 and attributing it to the 2018 midterms. 

Although Trump had accused the Democrats of voter fraud he provided no evidence for his claim, which led to Trump Jr and other prominent Conservatives spreading this article. 

The report, which was published in May 2012, states that nearly 200,000 voters in Florida might not be US citizens and therefore aren't registered to vote. 

This report was apparently first shared by David Wohl, the father of notorious right-wing activist Jacob Wohl, who called Florida a 'Banana Republic' in a tweet posted on Sunday. 

Florida has become a Banana Republic right in our own back


1:40 AM - Nov 11, 2018 · Corona, CA

Twitter Ads info and privacy

This story from the Associated Press was published in 2012. An initial list cited in this report of 180,000 names was whittled to 2,625 and ultimately to 85, according to the Florida Department of...

Others, including Trump Jr, then began to tweet links to the article all with their own dismay and critical take on the Democrats.

200,000 non citizens voting in Florida!?!?

But I thought Democrats said voter fraud was a myth?

We have got a SERIOUS problem on our hands.


Charlie Kirk, the founder of the pro-Trump student group Turning Point USA, also appeared to tweet the article but has since deleted it.

NBC Miami added this editor's note to the 2012 post that Charlie Kirk and Trump Jr are tweeting.

Unfortunately, for them, NBC obviously noticed what was going on and on Monday added a '2012 Election' kicker to the headline and the following disclaimer at the start of the article which states that the original information that they reported was incorrect..

Editor’s note on Nov. 12, 2018: This story was published in May 2012.

The initial list of 180,000 names was whittled to 2,625, according to the Florida Department of State.

The state then checked a federal database and stated it found 207 non-citizens on the rolls (not necessarily voting but on the rolls).

That list was sent to county election supervisors to check and it also turned out to contain errors.

An Aug. 1, 2012, state elections document showed only 85 non citizens were ultimately removed from the rolls out of a total of about 12 million voters at that time.

As soon as this happened people began to call Trump Jr and co for spreading this false information, with some accusing them of not reading the article at all.

In today's edition of "You didn't actually read the article you posted, did you?":

"Editor’s note on Nov. 12, 2018: This story was published in May 2012.
The initial list of 180,000 names was whittled to 2,625, according to the Florida Department of State. The state then...

Another disinformation enthusiast tries to push a six-year-old story with the date clearly marked at the top and an explainer before the first graf

Florida is currently undergoing a recount in Broward County following what is reported to be a technical fault with their voting machines. 

The county which traditionally votes Democrat has been criticised by the Republicans but this is unlikely to dissuade Trump's followers but is a further example of just how easily false information can be spread on social media.


ruby Posted on November 14, 2018 11:32

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Stan Lee: Marvel superheroes including Hulk and Captain America pay tribute to creator

From Hulk to Hawkeye, Thor to Captain America, Stan Lee has brought to life some of the world’s best and most beloved of superheroes.

The comic writer, who died on Monday at the age of 95 touched millions with his funny, hearty characters.

In light of that, here’s a collection of Marvel heroes and the actors who played them, paying tribute to his memory.

The list is by no means exhaustive:

From Hulk to Hawkeye, Thor to Captain America, Stan Lee has brought to life some of the world’s best and most beloved of superheroes.

The comic writer, who died on Monday at the age of 95 touched millions with his funny, hearty characters.

In light of that, here’s a collection of Marvel heroes and the actors who played them, paying tribute to his memory.

The list is by no means exhaustive:

How many millions of us are indebted to this guy, none more so than me. The father of Marvel has made so many people so incredibly happy. What a life and what a thing to have achieved. Rest in peace Stan.

There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!

RIP my friend. Thank you for the incredible adventures your stories took all of us on. My love and support goes out to all your friends and family.

You let us be extra human... superhuman even. I am deeply honored to have been a small part in the Stan Lee constellation.

View image on Twitter


Sad, sad day. Rest In Power, Uncle Stan. You have made the world a better place through the power of modern mythology and your love of this messy business of being human..

You let us be extra human... superhuman even. I am deeply honored to have been a small part in the Stan Lee constellation.



ruby Posted on November 14, 2018 11:11

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Madison Beer stars in Music Box episode 38 as she releases 'Hurts Like Hell' video

It's hard to believe we're almost at the end of Music Box series four, already! We have three sessions left to go, including this week's episode with the lovely Madison Beer

The US singer shot to fame after receiving praise from fellow pop artist Justin Bieber. Now she's carving out her own career in music, with heartfelt, cool pop that has clearly struck a chord with fans. 

Madison dropped into the Music Box studio as she was visiting the UK, and gave us two lovely, intimate renditions of her songs "Dead" and "Home With You". 

We're also excited to share her video for new single "Hurts Like Hell", which dropped in the early hours of this morning and was executive-produced by Beer with director Mike Harris.

"I had such a clear vision of what I wanted to do for this video, and it was such a rewarding experience working alongside Mike and having him help take my ideas and make them a reality, far surpassing what I expected," she says. "I am so grateful for his brilliance and professionalism as a director, and could not be happier with how the video turned out.

"I was inspired by witchcraft and felt that it perfectly fit with the theme of the song, which is about teaching someone a lesson. I'm so happy Offset was involved in this project and was able to bring such an incredible energy to the video."

Check out Madison's Music Box session, along with the "Hurts Like Hell" video. Shout out to Jack Duxbury for accompanying her on the guitar, and thanks to Madison and her team for making this happen!

ruby Posted on November 14, 2018 10:41

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Why would Satoshi Nakamoto 51% attack BitcoinCash? My thoughts on the Nov. 15, 2018 BCH Hard Fork and what you might want to know


The Nov. 15, 2018 BCH Hard Fork

On November 15th Bitcoin Cash will have a hard fork.

The block chain is going to split into 2 chains because the community of developers that were working together on BitcoinCash refused to come to a consensus agreement.

One chain will become BitcoinCashABC and the other will become BitcoinCashSV (Satoshi's Vision).

There are two sides to this ongoing fork-war. Calvin Ayre and friends like Craig Wright (Remember the guy who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto as an attempt to try to get out of trouble with the Australian Government?) and Roger Ver and friends (Jihan Wu).

What is a hard fork?

A hard fork happens anytime changes are made to the underlying code of a coin's blockchain. Any changes that are made to the blockchain result in a "fork" which will result in creating a "new" blockchain, therefore, creating a new coin. Some popular forks in the past include Monero's forks to remain asic resistant, or the BitcoinPrivate fork that actually combined technology from Zclassic and Bitcoin together to create a privacy coin. Each time a fork occurs, owner's of the forked coin are awarded the opportunity to get "free" coins. For example, for the ZCL and/or Bitcoin that I owned during the BitcoinPrivate fork, I was awarded 1 BTCP for every 1 Bitcoin that I owned and 1 BTCP for every 1 ZCL that I owned. Whenever participating in a fork to get your free coins, I will always advise that you keep your coins stored in your own wallet where you control your private keys. There are people who will try to seek out exchanges that support the hard forks, like Cryptopia or Bittrex for example, and put their coins in a wallet hosted on the exchange. They do this in hopes that they have the opportunity to SELL as soon as they get their coin. I still advise against this practice and suggest that you just hold the coins in your own wallet, don't be greedy, and just be patient. Usually transactions will be locked/closed on the exchanges that are supporting the fork, temporarily, anyways, until the network becomes stable and usable again.

Now that we know what a fork is, why is Bitcoin Cash forking?

The reason that BitcoinCash was created was to increase the blocksize of Bitcoin from 1mb blocks to 32mb blocks in the underlying blockchain of Bitcoin. BitcoinCash also rejects segwit. Remember, we can't make changes to the original blockchain's code without creating a new coin. This means that whenever the blocksize was increased, a new coin, BCH, was created.

The reason for increasing the blocksize was to allow for more transactions to happen, quicker. This is basically an attempt in scaling Bitcoin to make room for all of the new users. With BitcoinCash, users can now transact "Bitcoin" at high speeds and with lower fees.

BCH usually goes through 2 soft forks each year to perform updates on the code. But, this time it will be more then just a soft fork, it will be a hard fork, this hard fork is due to a "civil war" between two factions within the BCH community.

On one side we have BitcoinCashSV and on the other side we have BitcoinCashABC. We also have the Bitcoin Unlimited faction, which does not want to make any changes until a consensus can be agreed upon by everyone.


The BitcoinCashABC side seems to be the side that most major exchanges and platforms will be adopting but if anyone disagrees with that then please let us know in the comments. BitcoinCashABC consists of Jihan Wu, the co-founder of Bitmain, and friends.

The purpose of the ABC fork is to build the ability to have smart contracts on BitcoinCash similar to the Ethereum network. The fork intends to prepare the chain for increased blocksize in the future by working to fix some of the underlying problems that prevent BCH from scaling any further than it already has.

A 32mb blocksize already allows for "PayPal level transactions". This fork will prepare the chain for scale-ability in the future, so that the chain can be ready for more demand once the there is actual demand for it.

The BitcoinCashABC team supports anonymity and the freedom to use digital currencies as one pleases as long as it is in peace.

BitcoinCashSV (Satoshi's Vision)

The BitcoinCashSV (Satoshi's Vision) team consist of Craig Wright (Whether it is true or not, there are people that believe Craig Wright is actually Satoshi Nakamoto), Jimmy Nyugen, and Calvin Ayre. Craig Wright is the chief scientist for nChain, the foundation that is backing BSV. This version of BCH proposes to increase the block size all the way up to 128 mb.

This chain has a lot of support from miners and the mining pools that Craig Wright runs. Miners support big blocks because by keeping scaling on-chain, it keeps transaction fees on-chain. Miners get paid through transaction fees.

Craig Wright believes that the protocol that is implemented now should not have to be changed in the future and that is why they are increasing the block size all the way up to a whopping 128 megabytes, now.

Craig Wright also believes that there should be no anonymity in cryptocurrency. He claims to be working on a project that will map the entire deep web as well as ID every Zcash and Monero transaction by the end of 2019. He is anti-anonymity because his foundation, nChain, seeks institutional investors.

Craig Wright has threatened the BitcoincashABC team with 51% attacks in an attempt to scare them into siding with them. They will do whatever they can to throw a wrench into ABC's plans including using an attack known as "Satoshi's Shotgun" that involves flooding the network with millions of small transactions.

Both sides of the "fork-war" want is to scale bitcoin, which needs to be done at some point. It is how they are going about it that is different. It is the way they are going about it that is causing controversy. Hard forks can be a dangerous thing to crypto because of the problems and madness that comes along with it.

Taking everything into consideration, we need to understand that there are underlying issues with the blockchain technology that need to be understood fully and fixed before we can raise the block size to the levels that BSV wants to raise them to. BitcoinCashABC seems to be taking a more realistic approach to the whole situation by not raising the block size to levels that can't even be propagated by the network, yet.

If you want to take advantage of the fork by earning yourself some free coins then you need to be very careful. Exchanges like Coinbase and Binance both claim to support the fork but this does not mean that you will actually be getting all the different forked versions of the coin. It is more likely that they will just support BitcoinABC.

To actually get your free coins, then you are going to want to create yourself a local desktop wallet, one that you provide the private keys for. For hardforks, I generally recommend the electrum wallet by default because it is a desktop wallet that I can store on a USB drive, or use as a paper wallet, and recreate the wallet from my private keys, anywhere or anytime that I need to.

The electron wallet has announced that they will be supporting BCH and BSV so this should be safe choice for anyone looking to take advantage of the fork. Simply buy yourself some BCH if you don't already have some and then send it to your Electron wallet. You may want to avoid moving the funds for a while because BSV has announced that they WILL be attacking the BCH network, which will cause it to be unstable for quite some time after the fork.

Electrum's BCH wallet is called the Electron wallet and you can get some more info regarding the upcoming hard fork, here:

Electron Wallet:

Sign up for Coinbase here: ( and

Sign up for Binance here: (

If you have any questions then please let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading and I appreciate your support!

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Decryp70 Posted on November 14, 2018 02:03

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Serena Williams's GQ Woman of the Year cover sparks backlash

Having achieved virtually everything there is to achieve in tennis, her influence spans far wider within popular culture. It is therefore no surprise that GQ named Serena Williams its Woman of the Year, shooting the athlete for its cover.

But the magazine’s choice of wording has landed it in hot water. Starring alongside Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding and Jonah Hill – who were some of its Men of the Year -  the tennis great was the only Woman of the Year. Though the accompanying cover text, which puts the word "woman" in quotes, is raising eyebrows.

Someone I follow pointed out that @GQMagazine decided to put woman in quotes on Serena's cover and I too am offended and disgusted knowing the gender slights and digs people still throw at @serenawilliams.

They really put "Woman" in quotes in reference to Serena and no one at the table thought it was a bad idea. I'm speechless.

Gal Gadot, who was named Woman of the Year by GQ last year, was not given quote marks on her cover.

Though while the decision to put woman in quotes is undoubtedly odd, the text is clearly inspired by the work of designer and Williams fashion collaborator Virgil Abloh. Abloh designed Williams’s US Open tutu dress and routinely uses quotation marks on his designs.

Though while this might seem like an obvious connection to those “in the know”, it is clearly lost on most people. Last year, Williams opened up about being "called a man" because of her appearance – a comparison she has had to endure for decades.

I've been called man because I appeared outwardly strong.

It has been said that that I use drugs (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage).

It has been said I don't belong in Women's sports -- that I belong in Men's -- because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with this bada** body and proud of it).

She also opened up about this issue in an interview with Harper's Bazaar last year:

People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I'm strong

I was different to Venus: She was thin and tall and beautiful, and I am strong and muscular -- and beautiful, but, you know, it was just totally different


ruby Posted on November 13, 2018 17:12

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Bill Gates thinks these toilets could change the world

A flushing toilet — hooked up to a fresh water supply and a stable sewage line — is something many people take for granted. While this actually marvelous system has run all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe, it's not yet universal. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 2.3 billion people don't have access to the basic sanitation afforded by modern plumbing. But all those people still turn food into waste, and all that excreted material has to go somewhere. It ends up going pretty much everywhere, including into soil or into bodies of water, sometimes causing the rapid spread of nasty and potentially fatal diseases like cholera and dysentery.

This problem weighs on the minds of plenty of people, including some of the world's most inventive scientists and some of the crusading heads of charitable foundations that can help make research into better toilets and widespread sanitation possible. In the latter category, for example, there's Bill Gates. The founder of Microsoft — who is also the world's "computer guy" and whose name is synonymous with "wealthy beyond imagination" — spends most of his time these days, along with his wife, funding and facilitating projects via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 2011, the foundation says it's invested $200 million (and pledged another $200 million) to improve the toilet issue in the developing world.

On November 6, 2018, Bill Gates spoke at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, China, a place where inventors and organizations showed off cutting-edge, bacteria-killing, literally life-saving bathroom technology. Gates really wanted to drive home his message about how dangerous (and disgusting) of a problem poor sanitation can be, and so during his speech, he held up a jar (sealed, thankfully) of human feces (no word on whether or not it was his own deuce) to demonstrate how many toxic bacteria are present in even a small amount of human dingleberries. The jar, he said, could hold "as many as 200 trillion rotavirus … 20 billion Shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs." If you're reading this in the U.S. right now, thank your lucky bathroom lights you've got a sewage plant that will prevent all that from reaching your drinking water supply.

Apart from the guy who brought Minesweeper to the masses holding a jar of chocolate delights, the real stars of the Reinvented Toilet Expo were the 20 toilets of the future on display. And these designs really are something special, as they specifically don't need a connection to water or sewage lines. In other words, they can be used anywhere and everywhere, especially in communities that don't have that kind of infrastructure in place. Gates is a fan, placing this new category of johns among "the most significant advances in sanitation in nearly 200 years."

One of the most notable loos at the Reinvented Toilet Expo: the suitably scientifically named Nano Membrane Toilet. Here's how it works. After a person does their business, they close the lid. That sets a series of gears into motion, which "flush" waste away into a holding tank at the bottom of the toilet, but without needing any water or electricity. As the mechanism rids the toilet of waste, a thin blade scrapes the bowl clean. A spiral device elevates only the solid parts of the waste out of the holding tank, cutting it into small pellets and then feeding it into a tiny combustion chamber. That's where the poop gets burned, and all the bacteria and eggs and whatever other nasties it holds die a fiery death. The user has to clean out the ashtray once a week.

But what happens to your No. 1? It passes into a channel full of membrane bundles that treat and sanitize the urine before sending it into a holding area at the front of the toilet. Even if you can get past the eww factor, it's not drinkable, but it can be used for watering plants or crops. The Nano Membrane (made possible by a $700,000 grant from the Gates Foundation) is currently being tested in Ghana, where organizers aim to get people used to it in public restrooms. Then, over time, they hope the manufacturing cost will drop enough to allow for widespread household use. Good luck to us all.

The untold truth of Bill Gates

You'd think that we'd know every detail of the life of the richest man in the world, especially since he's been number one on the Forbes list 17 out of the last 22 years. But Bill Gates doesn't get a ton of attention. There've been two movies about Steve Jobs and a dissection of everything Apple, but the founder of Microsoft tends to keep a fairly low profile. So, get to know a little bit about the world's most famous college dropout billionaire.

Harvard was a lot harder than he thought it would be

It clearly takes brains to become a billionaire, unless your name rhymes with Fronald Frump. Bill Gates always knew he was much smarter than average Seattle youngster. So, in high school, he'd show off his smarts, undoubtedly to impress the ladies. Classes were a breeze, and when he got into Harvard, he figured he'd waltz right through the Ivy League school like a badass nerd genius.

Unbeknownst to him, Harvard was hard. It's practically in the name. He got a B in his first theoretical math class, a completely new experience. So Gates changed his major from theoretical math to applied math after his horrible defeat. But a one-time B was far from his last failure.

Before Microsoft, he had a company called Traf-O-Data that was a complete failure

Eventual co-owner of Microsoft Paul Allen met Gates in high school. One summer, when Allen was back in Seattle from college and Gates was a high school senior, they started a business. You know, just normal teenage boy shenanigans.

They created a minicomputer to track the flow of traffic. Though that sounds incredibly boring, it could be very useful to cities wanting to know where to place new traffic signals or stop signs or make road alterations or repairs. Gates came up with the name "Traf-O-Data," like it was some kind of horrible date-based candy. Gates and Allen had a working prototype two years and $1,500 later.

Unfortunately for the Data duo, nobody cared. They did no market research, so they didn't realize that getting the local government to invest money in anything is a real pain. In Newsweek, Paul Allen said, "We had virtually no customers." After six years of trying, Traf-O-Data lost $3,494 and put away their traffic files forever. Obviously, that didn't stop the pair, and they went on to create Microsoft, probably to get revenge on those who didn't appreciate their traffic ideas.

He was arrested in New Mexico

Generally, Gates doesn't seem like a guy with a long rap sheet. But looks can be deceiving.

In 1977, Gates was arrested in New Mexico, though his exact crime wasn't recorded. Could it be some kind of computer/drug smuggling scheme? No: it was a traffic violation, and they just didn't record what specific error led to his arrest. Though the details are sketchy, it definitely happened, and Albuquerque has the smiling mug shot to prove it. It's doubtful that DUI was to blame, since few drunks can look so clean cut and wholesome while the cops are documenting their crimes.

Said "no one is getting rich" making software in 1980

In 1976, Gates wrote an "Open Letter to Hobbyists," to discourage computer hobbyists from using his software without paying. The technology was so new it wasn't clearly covered under copyright law. Gates was adamant that the "share and share alike" culture of early computer fiends would discourage programmers from bothering to make new software if they knew it would only be stolen.

Gates thought the letter would be the end of it, since open letters asking people to start paying for stuff they can get for free are usually very effective. But copyright law remained cloudy. In 1979, a federal court ruled that one company selling an exact copy of another company's computer chess game was not a violation of the law. By 1980, Gates had to speak out again about unlicensed software usage. In an interview with 80 Microcomputing Magazine, the hottest of all microcomputing magazines of 1980, Gates detailed the importance of software copyright and made this incredibly unprecient statement:

"There's nobody getting rich writing software that I know of."

This was true at the time, and with the licensing issues and completely uncharted territory of the software world, Gates had no reason to think he'd wind up the richest man in the world. Still, that's a quote that probably won't end up on a lot of inspirational Facebook memes.

Gates was critical of Paul Allen's efforts when Allen was sick with cancer

Gates and Allen had a long relationship of working together. After the Traf-O-Data failure, the two pressed on, working feverishly to create software needed for the upcoming computer world. Since Gates named Traf-O-Data, Allen thought it best to take over the naming of any future endeavors, and he came up with the now legendary name "Microsoft."

Gates had a lot of respect for Allen. In fact, he dropped out of Harvard his sophomore year to join Allen in New Mexico to grow their business. But he didn't always treat him as an equal. When they debuted their first major project, the programming language BASIC, Gates spent hours double-checking all of Allen's work. Turns out, it was error-free.

Despite Allen's major contributions to Microsoft, in 1982, he overheard Gates and Steve Ballmer (who ran the business side of the company) talking about Allen's diminishing contributions, conspiring about how they could dilute his equity. But Allen wasn't just slacking off. He had cancer.

Allen called them out on their little "try to weasel money from the guy with cancer" plan and quit the company a while later. Luckily, Gates's cheapness worked to Allen's advantage. Gates wanted to buy Allen out of his stock holdings at $5 a share. Allen wanted $10, Gates said "no thank you," so Allen kept his stock. Now, he has almost $20 billion, all because of Bill Gates's cheap-o ways.

Gates dealt with many monopoly problems

As Microsoft became huge, they faced a lot of monopoly problems. Not that Gates kept putting up hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, but the United States was investigating hi, for violating antitrust laws. The government had an eye on Microsoft since 1990 and in 1994 made Microsoft sign an agreement to not use their preeminence over the software world to keep out competition. In 1997, the US struck again, filing a suit that Microsoft violated the agreement, by forcing PC makers to ship Internet Explorer with Windows 95. The courts felt they were purposely keeping out competitors. For years, the suit waged on, with Microsoft claiming it was easy to remove Internet Explorer and opposing witnesses saying it was impossible to remove. A lot of thrilling "can I delete this icon" trial footage is floating around somewhere.

Microsoft agreed that computer makers could have the choice whether or not to include Internet Explorer with Windows. But that wasn't the end. After many years, a court found that Microsoft was acting as a monopoly and ordered the company to break up to loosen its hold on the industry. But after many appeals, that judgment was overruled, and by 2002, Microsoft agreed to a settlement. That meant Microsoft could stay one company, but they had to make their software compatible with non-Windows works and couldn't enter into any new agreement that would keep competitors out of new computer technology till 2011. By 2011, Microsoft was finally completely out of the woods with all this monopoly business. And it only took 21 years.

He owns an insane house called Xanadu 2.0

Though Gates had his share of difficulties, he's been rewarded for his software genius with a net worth of $75 billion. He's not known for splashing out on crazy, expensive purchases. Unlike Paul Allen—who owns the Seattle Seahawks, has a collection of vintage war planes, and made a Rock 'n' Roll museum in Seattle that contains lots from his personal collection—Gates doesn't have any such hobbies. But, he did go all out on an insane house.

Sitting on Lake Washington, the 66,000-square-foot property is called "Xanadu 2.0." Sadly, it's not because Gates is a big Olivia Newton-John/ELO fan but is named after the fictional mansion of Charles Foster Kane. Though he doesn't seem like a gym rat, Gates built in a 2,500-foot fitness center, complete with trampoline room.

The coolest part is that Xanadu 2.0 has crazy smart home technology that none of us will have for another 40 years. Every guest who enters is given a pin. That pin interacts with sensors around the house that will adjust your surroundings based on your taste of music and lighting. Gates was already ahead of the curve with touchpad technology, since he's had a pad in every room to control the temperature since 1995. And within the walls of the mansion is the Codex Leicester, Leonardo da Vinci's notebook, which Gates bought for $30.8 million. If only we could all grow up to live out every child's dream of owning a 16th-century genius's scribbles.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tops the Forbes most charitable list

Despite his lavish home, Bill Gates really does give a lot of his money away. Bill and Melinda Gates are number one of the Forbes list of most philanthropic people, and they have no intention of slowing down their generosity. In just one typical year, the husband-and-wife foundation gave away $2.65 billion toward fighting malaria, polio, and other diseases while donating tons to the World Health Organization. They decided to give a little $50 million bonus to the International AIDS vaccine initiative, just for fun, and also to help the world.

The Gates foundation also gives away millions in college scholarships and other educational causes. He's given nearly a billion dollars out in scholarships to minority students and recently set up a Cambridge scholarship program with a trust of $210 million. All in all, Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $30.2 billion, a third of their net worth. It's nice to see all those billions aren't just going to trampoline maintenance.

Now that he's stepped down from running Microsoft, Gates has time for the little things in life, like Reddit AMAs. His Ask Me Anything was full of absolutely crucial facts, like that Gates's favorite sandwich is a cheeseburger, he loves going to Australia for vacation, and he doesn't have a lot of parenting advice. When a father-to-be asked him for dad tips, Gates replied, "Melinda is very creative about helping me find chances to spend time with the kids. Even just driving them to school is a great time to talk to them." Cool. So, talk to your kids. And drive cars. Thanks.

Gates seemed to take the Q&A seriously and even filmed a sketch to promote it. Clearly a viewer of Saturday Night Live, Gates did a David Pumpkins sequel, as "Christmas Pumpkins." Though his dancing leaves something to be desired, it's good that Gates chose to keep the Tom Hanks voice and do some fine lip syncing work.

When he dies, he'll leave most of his money to charity

When they aren't busy talking to their dad in cars, the Gates kids must getting ready for their sick billion-dollar inheritance, right? Well, Gates doesn't think his kids should get the majority of his wealth after he's gone. His three children won't have to work at McDonald's necessarily, but they aren't going to waste away in their own Xanadu-style mansions.

"They are never going to be poorly off," Gates explained. "Our kids will receive a great education and some money … but they'll go out and have their own career. It's not a favor to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth. It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path." Gates has it that each child will get $10 million.

Luckily, his kids agree with his thrifty inheritance plan and are happy that the money will go to help those in much greater need. Though his children may not be able to have a house with 24 bathrooms, somehow, they'll get by.


majsdesaint Posted on November 13, 2018 16:40

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Pokemon: Ryan Reynolds is voicing Pikachu in a movie and the internet can't handle it

Imagine in 2000 when the first Pokemon movie was released, that 19 years later a live action movie named Detective Pikachu would be hitting cinemas.

Well, that isn't some sort of wild fantasy dreamt up by Pokemon fanatics, it's actually something that is going to happen next year and to make things even better (or weirder) Pikachu will be voiced by the internet's favourite actor, Ryan Reynolds.

It's hard to really comprehend but in this unlikely buddy cop movie, Reynolds voices Pikachu, who can actually talk now, who teams up with Justice Smith to investigate the disappearance of the latter's father.

Once again this is a real movie and while we all have to wait a few months for this film to actually arrive, I think we can all agree that Reynolds' announcement tweet for the trailer was something special and typically self-deprecating.

I think we all knew I'd wind up as a miniature detective repeatedly saying the same two words. Just didn't think it'd be this soon.Not long after the 42-year-old star shared the video Twitter was awash with fans gushing over the clip.



There were more than a few references to another pop culture character that Reynolds is known for.

When a movie called "Detective Pikachu" wins an Oscar .

There were more than a few references to another pop culture character that Reynolds is known for.

Hope there’s at least one Deadpool or Wolverine reference PikaPika

Honestly, I kept expecting Pikachu to say something more Deadpool-y.

Others weren't quite so sure about what they saw but at least it inspired some good jokes.


That one person who never quite stopped looking like a weird baby.


ruby Posted on November 13, 2018 16:38

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Men with beards are more attractive - officially

It’s officially time to stop mocking the hipsters populating East London - men with beards are more attractive than those without.

That’s according to a study in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, which asked 8,500 women to rate men with and without beards for their boyfriend potential.

The men were photographed clean-shaven, five days after shaving, 10 days after shaving, and then four weeks after shaving.

The results were astonishing: every single woman preferred their men with facial hair.

Heavy stubble received the highest ratings for general attractiveness, followed by full beards and light stubble.

The researchers said that typically male features, such as a strong jawline, signal health and high testosterone levels, which may not be what women are looking for in a long-term partner.

Whereas we associate beards with a man’s age and masculine social dominance.

One theory, the study states, is:

Beards may be more attractive to women when considering long-term than short-term relationships as they indicate a male's ability to successfully compete socially with other males for resources.

ruby Posted on November 13, 2018 16:30

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Roma trailer shows off Alfonso Cuaron’s Netflix Oscar contender

If you haven't yet heard about Netflix film Roma, you soon will.

The latest film from Children of Men director Alfonso Cuarón, his first since 2013's Gravity, is a personal tale billed as a love letter to the women who raised him.

Set in the early 1970s, Roma follows the life of a middle-class family and their live-in housekeeper, played by Yalitza Aparicio, in Mexico City.

The film has been scoring rave reviews since its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in August where it won its top prize, the Golden Lion. Last year's recipient was Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water which went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars earlier this year. 

Roma will be released on Netflix on 14 December but is set to receive a limited run in cinemas from 29 November in order for it to compete against films such as A Star Is Born, First Man and Widows in the forthcoming awards race.

Regardless of whether it'll earn a Best Picture nomination, Roma will be competing as Mexico's official entry in the Foreign Language category.

Cuarón's previous credits also include A Little Princess (1995), Y Tu Mamá También (2001) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).

ruby Posted on November 13, 2018 16:25

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California wildfires: Camp Fire kills 42 to become deadliest in state history as Trump approves major disaster declaration

The total death toll from wildfires across California has risen to 44, after 13 more people were found dead in what is now the deadliest single fire in state history.

The blaze dubbed Camp Fire in northern California has incinerated more than 7,100 homes and businesses - particularly in the town of Paradise. Its death toll exceeds that of the Griffith Park Fire in 1933, the deadliest wildfire on record in California. At least 228 people were still missing, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

Speaking on CNN, Mr Honea said that while he holds out hope that many people listed as missing will turn up safe, “given what we’ve dealt with so far with casualties as a result of this fire, I have concerns that it [the death toll] will rise”.

Late on Monday, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state, which will allow it to access more federal funds. Mr Trump said he "wanted to respond quickly", although calls for the declaration have been coming for a number of days.

Hundreds of thousands of evacuation orders have been issued, while countless residents have shared images online of missing loved ones, begging people to help them find displaced relatives and friends.

In southern California, the Woolsey Fire has scorched at least 91,000 acres and destroyed 370 structures. At least two people have died in that fire, and more than 57,000 buildings still at risk.

Miley Cyrus has said she was "devastated" after her home was burned down in the wildfires raging across California.
The 25-year-old US pop star, who is engaged to Australian actor Liam Hemsworth, revealed her property was one of thousands destroyed, but said her animals and "love of my life" made it out safely. 

She tweeted: "Completely devestated (sic) by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that's all that matters right now.

"My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong. I am grateful for all I have left.
"Sending so much love and gratitude to the firefighters and LA country Sheriff's department!"
In another tweet, Cyrus shared details of how to donate to various bodies involved in the relief effort.
Dozens of celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Caitlyn Jenner and Lady Gaga were forced to flee their Malibu area homes to escape the fires.

Actor Gerard Butler said on Instagram that his Malibu home was "half-gone".

The Camp Fire 40 miles northwest of Sacramento has burned down more than 6,700 homes and businesses in the town of Paradise, more structures than any other wildfire recorded in California.

The fire had burned more than 111,000 acres and was 25 per cent contained by late Sunday, officials said.

Its death toll of 29 now equals that of the Griffith Park Fire in 1933, the deadliest wildfire on record in California.

In southern California, the Woolsey Fire has scorched at least 85,500 acres and destroyed 177 structures. The blaze was only 15 per cent contained.

At least two people have died in that fire, according to officials from the statewide agency Cal Fire.
The blaze has forced the authorities to issue evacuation orders for a quarter million people in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and beachside communities including the Malibu beach colony.

Donald Trump has been criticised by firefighters, experts, and celebrities for his 'ill-informed' and 'wrong' response to the devastating wildfires that are currently ravaging the state of California. 

California's governor, Jerry Brown, has asked Donald Trump to declare a major disaster to bolster the emergency response and help residents recover.

The US president criticised California's government in tweets this weekend, blaming poor forest management for the infernos.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Southern California Edison reported to the California Public Utilities Commission that there was an outage on an electrical circuit near where it started as Santa Ana winds blew through the region. 

SoCal Edison said the report was submitted out of an abundance of caution although there was no indication from fire officials that its equipment may have been involved.

The report said the fire was reported around 2:24pm on Thursday, two minutes after the outage. 

A firefighter is silhouetted by a burning home along the Pacific Coast Highway during the Woolsey Fire.

A power line catches fire as the Woolsey fire burns on both sides of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California

CalFire firefighter Scott Wit surveys burnt out vehicles near a fallen power line on the side of the road after the Camp fire tore through the area in Paradise, California.

Authorities called in a DNA lab and teams of anthropologists to help identify victims. 

Across the state, 150,000 remained displaced as more than 8,000 fire crews battled wildfires that have scorched 400 square miles (1,040 square kilometers), with out-of-state crews continuing to arrive.

Firefighters who battled the fire with shovels and bulldozers, flame retardant and hoses expected wind gusts up to 40mph (64kph) overnight on Sunday


ruby Posted on November 13, 2018 16:15

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Pregnant mum killed with CROSSBOW – baby fighting for life

A PREGNANT mum-of-five has been killed with a crossbow – leaving medics desperately trying to save her baby's life.

Sana Muhammad was eight months pregnant when she was killed in front of her children in Ilford yesterday morning, reports say. 

Her and partner Imtiaz Muhammad's baby is understood to be critically ill in hospital. 

He told the Evening Standard: "The arrow went up into her heart but did not touch the unborn baby.

"The baby was due in four weeks. They operated with the arrow still in because it would have been too dangerou stake out.

"She was a wonderful mother and wife. We were together seven years. I am heartbroken, we were inseparable."

Neighbour Navneet Buttar, 35, told the Standard: “At about 7.30am I heard some screaming, it sounded like a kid.

"I looked outside and saw her husband, he was saying ‘help, help’…

“She was due next month, she was very excited about her baby.


MOTHER: Sana on holiday with her family in 2015 (Pic: FACEBOOK/Sana Muhammad)

MURDER: Sana pictured before a family event in 2016 (Pic: FACEBOOK/Sana Muhammad)

"She was so nice, it’s really bad. I don’t know why this happened.”

A Met Police spokesman said: “A man has been charged with the murder of a woman in Ilford.

“Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 50, of no fixed abode was charged this morning with the murder of 35-year-old Devi Unmathallegadoo.

“He will appear in custody at Barkingside Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, November 13."


jmparker Posted on November 13, 2018 15:19

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Virgin Voyages unveils STUNNING Scarlet Lady cruise ship for 18-35s – take a look inside

WILL Virgin Voyages new cruise ship design help to reel in some younger holidaymakers? The innovative Scarlet Lady may pull in the punters.

Cruising isn’t often something you’d associate with the younger generation.

For this reason, it may come to a surprise that Virgin Voyages is launching its own liner for 18-35s.

The Scarlet Lady promises to keep the young holidaymakers thoroughly entertained.

It boasts an array of restaurants and bars, as well as its own theatrical shows and a tattoo parlour.

So would you be tempted to set sail on the new ship?

Cruise Mapper estimates that the Scarlet Lady will cost an eye-watering £523 million to construct.

The 110,000 tonne vessel aims to keep 2,750 guests entertained across its many decks.

It will have 20 different restaurants and bars on board, which boast a variety of different cuisines.

Italian and Mexican food are among the delicacies that are bound to delight passengers’ tastebuds.

Unlike traditional cruise dining, bosses reveal plans to switch up meal times.

In a “Virgin twist” on formal dinners, they promise to turn buffet meals and assigned seats on their head.

GOOD FOOD: Customers can try 20 different bars and restaurants, including the Pizza Place (Pic: virgin voyages)

MAKING ENDS MEAT: Guests can cook their own food at the Geonbae restaurant (Pic: virgin voyages)

The grandest restaurant looks to be The Wake, which is 5,886 square feet in size.

It offers up steak and seafood, as well as champagne that has been hand-picked by sommeliers.

For a more relaxed setting, holidaymakers can head over to the Geonbae diner.

This eatery offers up Korean barbecue, allowing guests to cook their meat themselves at the table.

Drinking games and free shots are also on hand to keep everyone feeling merry.

The Razzle Dazzle is another restaurant that is likely to be popular with guests.

Over a boozy brunch, they will be treated to performances by drag artists.

There are plenty of other quirky amenities on board, including coffee labs that you can mix your own hot drinks.

A tattoo parlour is also available for those who want a permanent reminder of their time at sea.

BOTTOMS UP: Guests can try out mixology classes at the Test Kitchen (Pic: virgin voyages)

IN GOOD TASTE: The Pink Agave is the ship's modern Mexican restaurant (Pic: virgin voyages)

MAKING WAVES: Virgin Voyages hopes their quirky ship will reel in 18-35-year-olds (Pic: virgin voyages)

Previously, Virgin Voyages revealed their unorthodox ship manufacturing process.

Bosses revealed that they enlisted the help of designers who had never been sailing before.

By choosing those without a big knowledge of boats, the company hopes that the end result will be more creative than ever before.

Designer Tom Dixon told Conde Nast Traveler:  “It’s quite risky, what Virgin Voyages are trying to do, getting a bunch of (designers) who’ve never been on a cruise before.

“But there's a logic to that madness. If you’re going to encourage a new demographic to cruise, then why not use designers who’ve never been on one? We think, 'what would entice you to go on a cruise?'"

DECKED OUT: The modern liner is set to pull in the punters (Pic: virgin voyages)


jmparker Posted on November 13, 2018 14:25

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Stacey Solomon undergoes image overhaul for Loose Women: 'Absolutely incredible'

LOOSE Women viewers can't help but gush over Stacey Solomon's new look.

Stacey Solomon spilled all on I'm a Celebrity to the Loose Women panel as the new series prepares to start. As a previous Queen of the Jungle, the babe had a lot to say about her time in Australia. While she admitted she almost had to stay another week, she shared how fun her experience was. Despite spilling on her time before taking home the crown, fans were preoccupied with her transformation.

Flaunting her new 'do, Stacey showed off her dark shoulder length locks.

Fans were gushing over Stacey's look, with comment on her hair, makeup and outfit.

Despite loving the entire look, the brunette hair was a new look for the mother-of-two.

Taking to Twitter, fans couldn't help but share their love over the babe.

NEW 'DO: Stacey flaunted her new look on Loose Women (Pic: ITV)

One user wrote: "How good does Stacey Solomon look on Loose Women, I've missed a few weeks came home and saw Stace… Beautiful, loving the hair."

Another added: "Wow, her hair is lovely."

A third user chirped: "Your hair! You look absolutely incredible."

It was Stacey's first look at her new 'do, after constantly rocking her blonde locks.

MEMORIES: The Loose Women panel were reminiscing (Pic: ITV)

Rocking her blonde hair for years, it came as a complete shock to fans to see her go dark.

As she flashed a brown glitter hue on her eyelids, her makeup had a golden glow as fans gushed over the overall look.

It's a complete change from Stacey's time in the Jungle, where her time for self-care and glam was taken from her.

But the babe came out on the other side and won the series in 2014.

jmparker Posted on November 13, 2018 14:21

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Juventus star NUDE in hilarious gaffe

CRISTIANO RONALDO inspired Juventus so yet another victory over the weekend - but made a comical cock-up in his celebrations.

Ronaldo doubled Juventus’ lead over AC Milan on Sunday after Mario Mandzukic's opener and the Serie A leaders secured their win after Gonzalo Higuain missed a penalty and was then sent off.

Juve, who have won 11 of their 12 league games this season, already look a shoe-in to claim yet another top-flight title in Italy this term.

And new superstar Ronaldo was in jubilant mood after their win at the San Siro.

The Portuguese forward was sought out by Milan prodigy Raoul Bellanova while in the changing rooms post match.

The two had a snap together with Ronaldo posting it on his hugely-popular social media pages but unbeknown to him, he exposed his Juventus team-mate.

Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini can be seen in the background of the picture completely starkers, unaware his modesty was about to be broadcast to the millions of Instagram and Twitter users.

The big centre-back is wearing nothing, seemingly heading to his spot in the dressing room to get changed while a topless Ronaldo and Bellanova share a hug in the foreground.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo made a comical cock-up about Giorgio Chiellini (Pic: GETTY)


The post has since been deleted and while Chiellini would likely have taken the accident as just that, Bellanova felt the need to issue an apology to the Italy legend.

The 18-year-old said: "I am deeply sorry for what came out on social media at this time. I apologise first of all with Giorgio Chiellini, it was not my intention.

"I assure him and all the football fans that I just took a picture with a great champion.

"But I did not post anything on my social media, nothing on my profile nor on my stories, nor would I do it after a defeat, the smile of photo is for making a little dream.

"I made the only mistake, which I regret, that I shared the photo with some friends, who shared it, without having checked it first."

Ronaldo later posted another picture of himself with his Juventus team-mates celebrating their win, this time with Chiellini thankfully fully clothed.

jmparker Posted on November 13, 2018 13:46

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Couple who named their baby after HITLER guilty of being neo-Nazi terrorists

A BRITISH couple who named their baby after Adolf Hitler have been convicted of being neo-Nazi terrorist group members.

Racist fanatics Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, are facing up to ten years in jail each after being convicted of being members of banned National Action.

The white supremacist couple were part of the proscribed right-wing group and intended to wage a "holy war" against black people, Jews, Asians and homosexuals.

They also stockpiled an arsenal of deadly weapons such as crossbows, machetes and axes at their home which was decorated in Nazi and Ku Klux Klan memorabilia.

Thomas and Patatas, of Banbury, Oxon, denied being part of a proscribed organisation alongside a third defendant Daniel Bogunovic, 27, of Leicester.

Today the trio were found guilty by a jury of five women and six men who deliberated for more than 12 hours following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Patatas, dressed in a black coat, wept in the dock as the jury delivered their verdict.

Thomas, wearing a dark blue suit and red tie, and Bogunovic, dressed in a blue suit and yellow tie, remained emotionless.

Judge Melbourne Inman QC said: "Miss Patatas is granted bail within the precinct of the court until we know all the verdicts."

Thomas, an Amazon security guard, described as a "vehement Nazi," was also charged with possessing the Anarchy Cookbook, a bomb-making instruction manual.

NAZI: Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas holding a Swastika flag whilst holding their baby (Pic: SWNS)

GUILTY: Darren Fletcher, Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas (Pic: SWNS)

The jury is yet to come to a verdict on that charge.

Over the course of a seven-week trial, the court was told how the racist couple met online in November 2016 before moving in together the following April.

Photographs from their "family album" show Thomas cradling his newborn son named after Hitler while dressed in hooded white KKK robes.

The fascist pair can also be seen smiling for another snap with the baby, who was born in late 2017, while proudly displaying a Swastika flag.

TATTOO: Claudia Patatas' tattoo - a "black sun" used by the SS in Nazi Germany (Pic: SWNS)

SICK: Darren Fletcher and a gollywog (Pic: SWNS)

They joined National Action after being "fuelled by hatred and division" and engaged in a "terror born out of a fanatical and tribal belief in white supremacy."

Thomas and Patatas had attended meetings of the far-right group, formed in 2013, prior to its ban in December 2016.

The group was proscribed by the Government after members celebrated the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair earlier that year.

Despite being outlawed, the group carried out "White Jihad" - a white holy war - to uphold white supremacist values around the country.

TERRORIST GROUP: Swastika pastry cutter (Pic: SWNS)

MUGSHOT: Adam Thomas, Claudia Patatas and Daniel Bogunovic (Pic: SWNS)

FLAG: Adam Thomas with his crossbow standing in front of a Conferderacy flag (Pic: SWNS)

The court heard transcripts of encrypted Telegram chat messages following the ban proving all three defendants were still members of the group post-proscription.

Portuguese Patatas, a wedding photographer, used the chat platform to message another "vehement Nazi" Darren Fletcher, 28, saying "all Jews must be put to death".

Patatas, who has a black sun SS symbol tattooed on her back, also revealed she once celebrated Hitler's birthday by eating a cake with a "Fuhrer face" decorated on it.

She wrote: "I did struggle to slice his face. Adolf is life."

LIVING ROOM: Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas's house in Banbury, Oxfordshire (Pic: SWNS)

Meanwhile, Thomas called on refugees to be gassed, black people to be killed and the Chinese people to be turned into biofuel in a string of vile racist messages.

He also said homosexuals and mixed-race children should be killed by stoning, beheading and hanging and wanted to start a British chapter of the KKK.

Thomas put: "We could slaughter billions of non-whites no problem, we are superior....Personally all I want is a white homeland.

"I don't accept anyone who isn't 100 per cent white."

The messages from the chat group 'TripleK Mafia' were found by police on a mobile phone seized from National Action Midlands leader Alex Deakin, 23, from Birmingham.

MERCH: Swastika beaker (Pic: SWNS)

JACKET: A black jacket with a Swastika armband and an SS death skull badge (Pic: SWNS)

Jurors heard Thomas - who posed for photos in front a US Confederate flag with his crossbows - used his weapons for target practice in his back garden.

When counter terror police raided their home they found Nazi flags, Ku Klux Klan robes and a variety of fascist memorabilia - including Swastika cushions and pastry cutters.

The couple even had racist Christmas cards - including one bearing a picture of KKK members and the message "May All Your Christmasses Be White".

Newspaper cuttings relating to the Norwegian far-Right mass murderer Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011, were also found in the couple's living room.

HORROR: A crossbow (Pic: SWNS)

SHOCKING: A racist Christmas card found in Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas's house (Pic: SWNS)

DECOR: Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas's house in Banbury, Oxfordshire (Pic: SWNS)

Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, told the court earlier in the trial: "National Action is a group of vehement neo-Nazis, glorifying Hitler and the Third Reich.

"Openly and aggressively Nazi, National Action is anti-black, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic and anti-gay.

"The world into which this case will take you is a world in which any right-thinking person would wish did not exist.

"All the defendants in this case were cut from the same National Action cloth. They were fanatical, highly motivated, energetic and closely linked."

Thomas, Patatas and Bogunovic will be sentenced on a date yet to be fixed.


jmparker Posted on November 13, 2018 13:29

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Menthol cigarettes BAN: Smoking crackdown plan causes tobacco shares to plunge

A PROPOSED ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes in the United States has wiped billions from the share value of two major tobacco firms.

US regulator the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning menthols after research suggested they are more addictive than normal cigarettes, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

The mooted ban, which could take up to two years to take effect, would be a massive blow for manufacturers of menthols such as British American Tobacco (BAT) and Imperial Brands. 

Both companies have suffered hits to their share price after senior FDA officials told the WSJ of their intentions to crackdown on menthol sales. 

Stock in BTA, whose brands include Lucky Strike, Dunhill, Rothmans and Benson & Hedges, has plummeted by 11%, chopping around £8billion off its market value. 

Imperial Brands shares fell by more than 3%, shaving around £1billion off its market value. 

The maker of Lambert & Butler, Davidoff, Gauloises and John Player Special is the biggest tobacco firm in the UK. 

Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Taylor told Bloomberg that BTA, owner of menthol cigarette brand Newport, is the “most exposed name to potential risk”.

Research suggests menthol cigarettes are harder to quit because the cooling effect produces greater smoke – and therefore nicotine – meaning quitting is more difficult for smokers.

Studies show teens who smoke menthol cigarettes consumed almost twice as many in a week in comparison with regular tobacco product users. 

Banning menthols is part of the strategy to crackdown on smoking in all age groups revealed by FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb last week. 

END OF AN ERA: Tobacco regulators want to stub out products that are deemed more addictive (Pic: GETTY)

The FDA is this week set to announce a ban on selling flavoured e-cigarettes in stores across the US. 

The US-based agency is aiming to curb the increase in vaping among teenagers. 

Meanwhile in the UK, tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) is aiming to stamp out smoking for good by stopping the sale of all cigarettes by the end of the next decade.

SHARE HIT: Billions has been wiped off the stock market value of BTA (Pic: GETTY)

The firm has embraced the booming market for smoking alternatives, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, in the face of dwindling rates of smokers and mounting evidence fags can cause early death.

As tobacco replacements become more widely used, PMI has pledged to stop selling all of its 130 cigarette brands in Britain by the 2030s with a view to “designing a smoke-free future”.

Marlboro, the world’s best-selling international cigarette, Chesterfield and L&M are among the brands PMI said will eventually be pulled from the shelves of corner shops and supermarkets across the UK.

jmparker Posted on November 13, 2018 13:10

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People are sharing photos of Obama in the rain to mock Trump for cancelling a trip to a cemetery due to bad weather

Donald Trump travelled to France with his wife Melania in order to pay his tributes to Americans killed in the First World War on the centenary of armistice day. 

However, despite attending the Suresnes American Cemetery outside Paris on Sunday for Armistice Day, on Saturday he cancelled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery that had been scheduled in order for him to honour the American dead. 

Originally, the Trump administration blamed his no-show on the rainy weather, saying there was 'near-zero' visibility, grounding the presidential helicopter

Following an outcry and people questioning why Trump couldn't have travelled to the cemetery - which is 60 miles outside of Paris - by car, the press secretary Sarah Sanders issued another statement blaming his no-show on the fact he didn't want to cause a traffic jam in Paris. 

In the statement, she said: 

President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people. 

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Whatever the cause of his no-show, people were quick to take to Twitter to post images of Barack Obama attending events in the rain, proving that a little bit of light drizzle never put him off doing his duty, paying his respects, and generally being an all-round brilliant human. 

I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always.

"Let's all take a moment to remember those presidents who carried out their duties even when water fell from the sky."

President dodges trip to honor U.S. war dead in France due to weather. Critics show how another leader behaved.

President Obama often made appearances in the rain.

Apparently no one told Obama that the presidential helicopter can’t fly in the rain.

When Obama didn't cancel his schedule because of rain;

Just saying^^ Obama didn’t give af if it was rain or shine

Unlike Trump, a little rain never stopped President Obama from honoring our fallen war heroes on Veterans Day

Obama was walking in the rain without no umbrella

And it wasn't just Obama who wasn't put off by a little bit of water falling from the sky. 

Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Obama speaking in the rain.

ruby Posted on November 13, 2018 12:52

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Daniel Sturridge charged over 'BREACH' of FA betting rules

DANIEL Sturridge has been charged with misconduct after alleged breaches of the FA’s Betting Rules.

The allegations relate to alleged breaches of Rule E8(1)(a)(ii) and Rule E8(1)(b) during January 2018 but no specific details have been released by the FA so far. The footballing ace has until 6pm on Tuesday November 20 to respond to the charges. A Liverpool spokesperson said: “Daniel has given his full and unequivocal cooperation throughout this process and has assured the club he will continue to do so.

“Daniel has also stated categorically that he has never gambled on football.

“As with any issue of this nature, we will allow the process to be concluded in its entirety before making any further comment.”

A Football Association statement read: "Daniel Sturridge has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of The FA’s Betting Rules, specifically in relation to Rule E8(1)(a)(ii) and Rule E8(1)(b), during the period of January 2018.

"He has until 6pm on Tuesday 20 November 2018 to respond to the charge.”

Rule E8(1)(a) says a participant in an FA event cannot either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on a match or competition or any other football-related matter.

This includes player transfers, employment of managers, team selection or disciplinary matters.

Rule E8(1)(b) says players are not to provide any information relating to football where the participant has insider information about the game unknown to the public.

The rule is breached when the information is used for or in relation to betting.

DENIAL: The strike categorically denies the claims (Pic: GETTY)

NO ROOM: Sturridge didn't manage to find a spot on Southgate's squad (Pic: GETTY)

Sturridge left Liverpool to join West Brom on loan during January but has since returned to the Reds.

The England international had a promising start to the season.

He is currently fourth in the pecking order for Liverpool behind Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

But there was no place for the attacker in Gareth Southgate’s recent England squad.

jmparker Posted on November 13, 2018 11:47

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West Ham reinstate academy coach suspended for attending DFLA march

West Ham United have reinstated academy coach Mark Phillips after investigating his involvement in a march organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).

The Hammers suspended Phillips in October after he attended a DFLA march through central London and later defended the group, which has been accused of Islamophobia and racism, in a series of posts on Twitter.

"West Ham United can confirm that following suspension and subsequent investigation, academy coach Mark Phillips has been reinstated to his role in accordance with employment law, and has been reminded of his responsibilities," a club statement said.

West Ham launched an investigation due to concerns Phillips' social media posts may have broken club regulations and he was subsequently suspended.

It's understood the club's inquiry found there were not sufficient grounds for dismissing Phillips for breaching the Hammers' social media policy and bringing the club into disrepute.

But Phillips, who coaches West Ham's under-18s, has been given a final warning over his conduct.

He will resume his coaching duties at the club after attending courses on discriminatory issues and bias, compulsory for all West Ham employees.

Phillips said he had attended the DFLA march and later defended the group on Twitter against claims it was "far right" and to blame for violence with the police and anti-fascism protesters.

ruby Posted on November 13, 2018 11:38

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Who left Strictly this week? Dr Ranj Singh loses to Charles Venn in the dance off

Dr Ranj Singh has danced his last dance on Strictly, becoming the sixth celebrity to leave the show on Sunday night.

Once the judges’ scores were combined with the viewers’ votes, it was Singh and his professional partner Janette Manrara, and Charles Venn and his professional partner Karen Clifton, who were left in the bottom two.

Venn and Clifton performed their Viennese Waltz to “Piano Man” by Billy Joel once more, while Singh and Manrara gave their samba to George Michael’s “Freedom 90” another whirl.

Craig Revel Horwood:

“I found this one really difficult actually, two very different dancers, two very different sets of dance skill as well. But for me the most improved in that set of skills was Ranj and Janette.

Darcey  Bussell:

“Again, I don’t want to choose between these two lovely gentlemen but for me the more improved performance on the night was Charles and Karen.”

Bruno Tonioli: 

“Can I have them both?! Completely contrasting dances, both very entertaining. But I have to choose the most polished dancer and performer and for that reason I choose Charles and Karen.”

Shirley Ballas:

“First of all for me it’s a heart-breaking decision ‘cause I think both couples have done amazingly well. Both couples have made little iddy-biddy errors that I can see but due to great timing, sophistication I am going to choose Charles and Karen.”

There are now 10 couples left in the competition, which will continue at the usual time of 7pm next Saturday.

“I can’t express how much this has meant to me,” Singh said of his time on the show. “I have made friends for life. I’ve done something that I only could have dreamed of. I just want to say to anyone who ever dreams of this you can, you really can, ’cause I’m here and I’ve done it.”

Manrara added: “I just want to say he is an incredible human being for what he does as an actual job. He is there saving children’s lives and he is a special, special man. On this show you get to celebrate people that have never done something like this before and for me Ranj is the epitome about what Strictly Come Dancing is about. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend, a better partner or better series I love you so so much. Thank you.”


ruby Posted on November 13, 2018 11:34

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Four arrested after murder of teen, 16, as London homicides EXCEED total reached in 2017

FOUR men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the fatal stabbing of a teen boy amid soaring homicides in London that have exceeded the total reached in 2017.

John Ogunjobi, 16, was found unconscious after being attacked on Greenleaf Close, Tulse Hill, at around 11pm on November 5. Paramedics battled to save his life but he succumbed to his injuries and was later pronounced dead at the scene. His devastated parents watched on as he lost his fight for life, with witnesses describing his mother’s screams.

Scotland Yard said four men aged 22, 20, 21 and 23, are being quizzed by detectives at south London police stations after being taken into custody.

John was the 120th homicide victim in London this year, taking the total number of killings further above that of 2017.

London mayor Sadiq Khan is coming under increasing pressure to bring violent crime under control as he desperately searches for solutions to stop bloodshed on the streets.

Last week Khan told the BBC's Today programme it could take a generation to “make really significant progress” on tackling violent crime in the capital.

He said: "They saw in Scotland what we're seeing in London which is children in primary school thinking not only is it OK to carry a knife, but it gives them a sense of belonging, joining a criminal gang, it makes them feel safer.

"We need to use all resources at our disposal to address this horror."

In the week from October 31, John was one of five people stabbed to death in London in separate killings.

Peter Kirkham, a retired Metropolitan Police officer of 20 years, told Daily Star Online in July that the lack of “bobbies on the beat” is one of the leading reasons knife and gun crime is rising.

TRAGIC: John Ogunjobi was stabbed to death in Tulse Hill (Pic: MET POLICE)

The troubling statistics show “the streets have been lost” to criminals, who are carrying knives and firearms with impunity, the former Scotland Yard detective said.

“As far as the bad guys are concerned, the streets are now theirs,” he said.

“Not routine police patrols keeping public spaces safe.

“It’s not because the police don’t want to do that, but because there are insufficient police to do that.”

The latest incident involved the death of a 35-year-old woman who suffered an abdominal wound at an address in Ilford, east London, on Monday.

A 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder.

UNDER PRESSURE: Sadiq Khan and Cressida Dick have faced criticism for the rise in violent crime (Pic: GETTY)

The official Metropolitan Police tally of violent deaths this year is 120, which includes cases of murder and manslaughter. 

This tally – whch surpasses last year's tally of 116 – includes 69 stabbings and 14 shootings.

A third of the cases involved victims aged 16 to 24, while 20 were teenagers.

In total, 111 homicides were recorded in 2016 and 122 in 2015 in the capital, according to Home Office data.

Before this the number of police-recorded homicides in London had been falling, from 164 in 2007 to 91 in 2014.

Looking at official figures for financial years, there was a peak in 2003/4 when there were 212, and then, bar one rise in 2010/11, the total gradually decreased until 2017/18 when it rose by 36% to 146.

In response to the bloodshed this year, the Metropolitan Police Violent Crime Task Force was set up, seizing 340 knives, 40 guns and 258 other offensive weapons in its first six months of operation, and making more than 1,350 arrests.

Mayor Sadiq Khan also announced plans for a Violence Reduction Unit that would adopt the public health approach to tackle violent crime that was successfully used in Glasgow.

Police have pointed to links between violence and so-called county lines drug networks, where urban dealers force children and other vulnerable people to courier illegal substances to customers in more rural areas.

SPIKE: Met Commissioner Cressida Dick has overseen a rise in gun and knife crime in London (Pic: GETTY)

They are also known to take over innocent people's homes to use as a base for crime.

Middle class cocaine users have come under fire from a number of public figures, including the country's most senior police officer Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick, who pointed to the misery caused by the drugs trade.

Drill music, where rappers taunt rivals with lyrics laced with violence and threats, and the role of social media in escalating disputes have also come under the microscope, as have cuts to youth services and the police.

jmparker Posted on November 13, 2018 11:26

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Oleksandr Usyk demonstrates pound-for-pound brilliance in knockout win over Tony Bellew

OLEKSANDR USYK knocked out Tony Bellew in brutal fashion on Saturday night, reaffirming his status as one of the world’s leading fighters.

The undisputed cruiserweight champion was putting all four of his belts on the line at the Manchester Arena, the first time any fighter has done so on British soil.

He was an overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers to topple Bellew with ease.

Yet, despite eventually sending ‘Bomber’ crashing through the ropes with the swiftest of left hands, Usyk was made to work hard for the victory.Bellew has made a habit of belittling pre-fight odds stacked against him and, early on, the Evertonian enjoyed significant success as Usyk attempted to get into his rhythm.

After sizing his opponent up, the Ukrainian had seemingly stepped out of first gear by the time the fight reached the halfway stage.

And with Bellew beginning to find less and less success in the face of a slick, purring Usyk, the latter whipped in a devastating left that completely took the 35-year-old out.

Bellew, dazed getting back to his feet after such a clean, crisp shot that left him in a heap on the floor, was then spared the chance to beat the 10-count by referee Terry O’Connor, who waved the bout off.

It was another masterful performance by Usyk, who is regarded by many as one of the leading pound-for-pound fighters in world boxing.

The Ukrainian is one of the best fighters in the world (Pic: GETTY)

Starsport rank the undisputed cruiserweight chief behind Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko (Pic: REUTERS)

The 31-year-old, now 16-0 with 12 wins coming by way of knockout, now has unified heavyweight chief Anthony Joshua on his radar.

But where does Usyk rank among the best fighters in the world?

Check out Starsport’s top 10 pound-for-pound rankings below:



1. Terence Crawford (34-0-0, 25 KOs)

2. Vasyl Lomachenko (11-1-0, 9 KOs)

3. Oleksandr Usyk (16-0-0, 12 KOs)

4. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs)

5. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41 KOs)

6. Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs)

7. Mikey Garcia (39-0-0, 30 KOs)

8. Naoya Inoue (17-0-0, 15 KOs)

9. Errol Spence Jr (24-0-0, 21 KOs)

10. Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs)

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 14:10

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Michelle Keegan has spoken about her experience of having a smear test, assuring women that they shouldn’t fear having the cervical cancer screening done.

Many young women avoid having cervical examinations due to body insecurities, according to recent research conducted by the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

With approximately 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the UK every year, raising awareness about the importance and ease of having a smear test is essential.

Over the weekend, Our Girl actor Keegan decided to address her three million Instagram followers by detailing what it was like to have her cervical cancer screening done and revealing the embarrassment that she used to feel about the procedure.

“So smear’s been done. I was in the room for five minutes, on the bed for two, it was really quick, really easy,” she says in the video.

“It wasn’t painful at all, just a little bit uncomfortable.”

In the caption for the Instagram post, Keegan explains that she had previously ignored the letters that she’d received in the post reminding her to have her smear test.

“I know it can be daunting going for a smear, but these doctors and nurses do it every single day,” she says in the video.

“So ladies, I’m urging you to book in your smear, go and get it done and tell all your family and friends as well to do the same because it is so important and it’s so easy.”

Keegan also outlines in the caption how cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women under the age of 35, with some people experiencing no symptoms whatsoever.

Many people have been thanking the actor for her candid post and for spreading the word about cervical cancer and smear tests.

“Amazing that you are using your profile to raise awareness of such an important issue for women,” one person wrote on Instagram.

“Well done Michelle hopefully more girls get booked in after seeing your post,” another person commented.

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 14:05

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Prince Charles insists he will not ‘meddle’ in politics when he becomes king

Prince Charles has suggested he will not “meddle” in issues once he becomes king as he recognises the differences between being heir to the throne and head of state.

The Prince of Wales has been criticised in the past for airing his views on topics such as the environment and architecture. 

His outspoken opinions on such subjects has raised questions over whether he would be able to uphold the strict policy of political neutrality expected of British monarchs.

But, interviewed for a BBC documentary about his 70th birthday, the prince acknowledged he would not be “able to do the same things I've done as heir”.

Speaking in detail about his future role as head of state, Charles said: “You know, I've tried to make sure whatever I've done has been non-party political, and I think it's vital to remember there's only room for one sovereign at a time, not two.

“So, you can't be the same as the sovereign if you're the Prince of Wales or the heir.

“But the idea somehow that I'm going to go on in exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense because the two - the two situations - are completely different.“

Asked whether his public campaigning will go on, he added: “No, it won't. I'm not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So of course I understand entirely how that should operate.”

When questioned about what some have termed his “meddling”, Charles defended his actions, which include establishing the Prince's Trust in 1976 to help disadvantaged young people.

“But I always wonder what meddling is,” he said. “I mean I always thought it was motivating but I've always been intrigued, if it's meddling to worry about the inner cities as I did 40 years ago and what was happening or not happening there.

“The conditions in which people were living. If that's meddling I'm very proud of it.” 

The documentary captures the future king in private and public, from feeding vegetable scraps to his chickens and collecting their eggs at his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire, to visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef to highlight climate change.

In the film, Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, due to air on BBC One on Thursday evening, the royal says of his role as Prince of Wales that: ”You have to make of it what you feel is right.

“So, there's nothing laid down, that's what makes it so interesting, challenging and of course complicated,” he added.

Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall described in the documentary how Charles was driven by the need to help others, saying: “He feels everything inside, that's why he gets things done.

“He's pretty impatient, he wants things done by yesterday as I think everybody who works for him will tell you. 

“But that's how he gets things done, he's driven by this, this passion inside him to really help. He would like to save the world.”

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 13:20

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Churchill's grandson hits out at 'pathetic' Trump for missing WWI event due to rain

THE GRANDSON of WWII leader Winston Churchill has blasted Donald Trump as a “pathetic inadequate” for missing a remembrance service due to poor weather.

The White House said yesterday the US president was pulling out of a visit to a war cemetery in France due to "scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather".

Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of the UK's wartime prime minister, hit back on Twitter, fuming: "They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate Donald Trump couldn't even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen."There is reportedly steady rain in France with low cloud which is thought to have prevented the presidential helicopter from taking off and flying to the site on Saturday afternoon, which is 55 miles east of Paris.

Former British Army soldier and Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, who was hailed a “hero” after battling to save victims of the Westminster terror attack, also criticised the president.

“As a duel national I’m sorry to read this,” he wrote on Twitter in response to the news Trump would not make it to the cemetery.

“Rain was a regular feature on the Western Front. Thankfully it did not prevent our brave heroes from doing their job,” he added.

Former speechwriter to US president George W. Bush David Frum added his voice to the criticism online.

PARIS: Trump is in France for various events linked to the WWI centenary (Pic: GETTY)

He wrote: “It's incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary – and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow."

Ex-Obama aide Ben Rhodes also chimed in: “I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always.”

Leaders from many nations – including France, Germany, and Canada – managed to travel to a number commemorations around France to mark 100 years since the end of the war that killed almost 10 million soldiers.

Mr Trump, however, is scheduled to visit a different US cemetery near Paris on Sunday and the trip has not been cancelled.

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 13:18

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Bloke on run for FIVE MONTHS taunts police with Facebook updates as he plans for CHRISTMAS

A FUGITIVE wanted for alleged drug and criminal damage offences has been taunting police with Facebook updates while on the run.

Daley Smith, 29, is regularly using the social media website to insult cops after he went on the run in July for breaching a court order.

Cheshire Police has been trying to capture him for a number of months but Smith has been goading them using a number of Facebook profiles.

Yesterday he posted his latest message to his 2,287 followers under the name Daley Palin. It read: "Daley Smiths official day 156 on the run since he ripped his curfew off and said f*** you to the corrupt ****** up Cheshire Police force & justice system...fuck the courts they ain't getting me in the dock, check the clock, tick tock, tick tock."Well not for 44 days anyway. Slight change of plan, (MY) official day 200 falls on Christmas Day, I'll do my best to get there and then I'm gna set the internet on fire with a big party and then another party for new year. Ya's ain't ready!!! 44 days come on Daley lad. I've got this!!!"

In another message yesterday, he wrote: "Put it in all of ya papers, I'm not afraid, you can read all about it, read all about it, read all about it. £44days2go"

On November 7, Smith asked his 2,500 Facebook friends to 'love' his post if they want him to remain at large or 'like' it if they think he should hand himself in.

Smith wrote: "Anyone that thinks I should hand myself and go to court 5 weeks before Christmas, the day of my trial on the 19th November, just like the post. This will be interesting and will put things into perspective. I don't need your advice, I know everything any of yas could possibly tell me. Just give me your reaction."

A total of 342 loved his post and only 50 liked it.

In another Facebook message last month he wrote: "Cheshire police have got more chance of finding Madeleine Mcann (sic), I may as well be in Japan, they've even been harassing my nan but everything hasn't gone to plan.

"They've f****d with the wrong man, I feel like Peter Pan. So far I don't know how far I've ran but it's been mad since this journey began."

PROVOCATIVE: Smith posts to Facebook (Pic: facebook)

(Pic: facebook)

A warrant for his arrest was issued by South Cheshire Magistrates Court said on July 24 for breaching a court order in relation to an appearance in court in May over criminal damage.

Smith was handed a three-month curfew requiring him to be at home between 7pm until 7am from May to August. Smith has also been charged with possession with intent to supply class B cannabis and concerned with the supply of cocaine, according to police.

Last month a Cheshire Police spokesman confirmed he was still at large and added, said: "We're appealing for help to trace Daley Smith who is wanted in relation to a breach of court order.

"We are aware of the Facebook page and are continuing to appeal for information in relation to his whereabouts."

Anyone with information is asked to call Cheshire Police on 101.

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 12:58

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Melbourne attack: Homeless man who rammed terrorist with shopping trolley hailed as hero

A homeless man who used a shopping trolley to fend off a knife-wielding terror attacker in Australia has been hailed a hero.

Michael Rogers, nicknamed “Trolley Man”, jumped into action as Hassan Khalif Shire Ali lunged at police in a busy shopping area in Melbourne. Footage posted to Twitter shows his valiant attempt to assist police in their capture as the attack unfolded during rush hour.

Donations totalling thousands of pounds have poured in for the 46-year-old rough sleeper after grateful members of the pubic started an online fundraiser for him.

"Our hero is humble as can be and had no idea about this fundraiser," the GoFundMe page reads. "He is amazing. We believe his efforts deserve a reward that can really help him out."

It adds: "He risked his own life that day for nothing in return and you can’t put a price on that."

The fundraiser, started by registered charity Melbourne Homeless Collective, has already raised more than A$125,000 (£69,000) for the brave bystander.

However, Mr Rogers insisted he was no hero but simply acted on instinct.

“I threw the trolley straight at him, and I got him. I didn't quite get him down, though. I'm no hero," he told Channel Seven

“I did that motion quite a number of times and it just was not getting him down. The guy was out of control so I just went into action mode and tried to swipe him with the trolley."

Mr Rogers also told Age newspaper he had been on the wrong side of the law and had a long history of drug use.

He revealed that he had been "in and out of jail" for some 20 years, which including a five-year stint in prison for aggravated burglary.

Khalif Shire Ali, 31, was shot after confronting officers on the street, authorities said. He had already stabbed three people, one fatally, in the attack.

The owner of Pellegrini’s cafe on Bourke Street, Sisto Malaspina,74, was identified as the person who died from his stab wounds.

Police believe Somali-born Khalif Shire Ali was radicalised and inspired by Isis. Although his passport was cancelled in 2015 after he made plans to travel to Syria, he was not being actively monitored before the attack.

While Mr Rogers won praise from the community, Victorian Police commissioner Graham Ashton said his intervention could have had “tragic” consequences.

“I don't like to criticize people in that situation, he's acting instinctively about what he's looking at in front of him," he said.

"But if a trolley had hit a police member and knocked him over and then this offender got on top of him, we could have had a tragic consequence.”


ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 12:52

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Doctor Who, episode 6 review – Demons of the Punjab: Electrifying and enlightening

The overlap between Doctor Who and the BBC’s public service remit has historically constituted the galaxy’s smallest Venn diagram. But under new showrunner Chris Chibnall and with agreeably zesty Jodie Whittaker in as the Doctor, the Time Lord’s latest adventures have set phasers to “educate and inform”.

This has occasionally tipped into a slightly stifling self-consciousness – such as on the admirable-but-not-quite-thrilling Rosa Parks episode, ”Rosa”. But, on his Doctor debut, playwright Vinay Patel comes much closer to a balance between electrifying and enlightening with “Demons of the Punjab”. 

Despite sounding more like a Black Sabbath b-side than post-teatime science fiction, the instalment is simultaneously an engaging time travel caper, a showcase for the BBC creature effects department and a moving meditation on the devastating impact of the 1947 partition of India. That it achieves all this without ever losing its family-friendly gloss is a credit to Patel – but even more so to the interstellar frothiness Whittaker continues to bring.

The Doctor and crew have pinged back in time to India just as the boundary between it and the new state of Pakistan is about to be savagely drawn. They are here to pay a call to Yaz’s grandmother and unravel the secret of the mysterious watch Nana Umbreen bestowed on her favourite granddaughter as an heirloom.

A multitude of shocks await. Firstly, the young Umbreen (Amita Suman) isn’t engaged to Yaz’s grandfather – a fellow Muslim – but to a Hindu neighbour, Prem (Shane Zaza, sounding, as with all of the week’s new characters, as if he’s just walked off the set of Hollyoaks). They are adorably in love, but if they tie the knot there are grounds for worrying that, as per Marty McFly in Back to the Future, Yaz (Mandip Gill) could theoretically cease to exist. 

Just as discombobulating, a duo of spiky-faced demons are hanging about in the woods and appear to have bumped off the local holy man – mere hours before he is to officiate at the nuptials between Umbreem and Prem. It is also revealed that, beneath his charming exterior, Prem is a war veteran, whose frequent flashbacks feature the aforementioned demons causing mischief on the Western Front. 

With so many plot threads, “Demons of the Punjab” could easily have tripped up. Instead, it movingly conveys the tragedy of Indian partition without taking sides or venturing beyond the realm of age-appropriate escapism. 

There is one clear villain amid the morass – Prem’s hardline brother Manish (Hamza Jeetooa). He is unable to countenance his family joining Muslims through matrimony and wants Umbreen vanquished to Pakistan. It was he who shot the holy man and openly welcomes the marauding outsiders who descend upon the village where Hindu and Muslim have lived side by side of generations. As the countryside erupts into conflict, Prem sacrifices himself so that Umbreen can flee to the safety of Lahore – though she will always have the memory of their time together and the watch he gave to her as a keepsake and which she will in turn pass to Yaz. 

But hang on – what about the evil aliens with the icky mandibles and Cthulhu-esque rows of eyes along their faces? It turns out that they aren’t quite so wicked after all. The real bugbear, it is revealed, is violent nationalism, with these interstellar assassins merely serving as witnesses to those whose deaths would otherwise pass unacknowledged (they embarked on their new career when their home planet was destroyed). 

Having pinged around the hotspots of the Second World War, they’ve now arrived on the new India-Pakistan border to honour Prem (one slight puzzle is why they didn’t just explain as much upfront to the Doctor rather than lurking scarily beyond the treeline). 

In the abstract it all sounds like important but slightly worthy television. But Whittaker is such a force of nature and the chemistry between the Doctor and her team of Yaz, Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) so cheerfully unforced that “Demons of the Punjab” has its cake and sends it rocketing across time and space. 

Patel has scripted both a compelling commemoration of a terrible event and also a whizz-bang piece of intergalactic derring-do. As a bonus, he has given us the most visually striking Doctor Who aliens of the new season to date. Who needs Daleks when you’ve got squidgy-faced monstrosities with a conscience?


ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 12:46

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London-bound flight grounded after pilot in charge of airline safety fails breathalyser test

A senior Air India pilot was grounded after he failed breathalyser tests shortly before a flight from New Delhi to London on Sunday.

Arvind Kathpalia, who is responsible for safety at the airline as operations director, denied drinking on the job and said he would contest the results of the alcohol checks.

“It was 1.30pm in the afternoon, only a bloody stark raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1.30pm in the afternoon,” Mr Kathpalia told Reuters. “I am going to contest this.” 

It is the second time Mr Kathpalia has been in trouble over breathalyser tests. He was suspended for three months in 2017 for allegedly refusing to be assessed.

A second Air India employee was also grounded on Sunday.

Flight AI 332 from New Delhi to Bangkok was ordered to return 30 minutes after taking off as the co-pilot was found to have missed his mandatory, pre-flight breathalyser test.

Passengers were then stuck on the tarmac for several hours before the airline replaced the flight crew, according to India Today.

The AI 111 flight to London was delayed by almost one hour after Mr Kathpalia failed two breathalyser tests and was declared unfit to pilot the plane.

The operations director – who is responsible for both the airline’s flight safety and training programme – blamed internal politics at the state-owned company for the results of his tests.

Mr Kathpalia said that at Air India “everyone is fighting with everyone”.

Despite being suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the senior pilot said the 2017 allegation “was a complete set-up”.

He claimed it was the result of a scheduling issue rather than his refusal to take tests.

Mr Kathpalia insisted he is under attack partly because he is an employee of the original Air India, prior to its 2007 merger with Indian Airlines. “There is a lot of animosity after the merger,” he said.

Air India declined to comment on the failed breathalyser tests.



ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 12:28

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X Factor suffers worst ratings in its history as sound problems overshadow performances

X Factor suffered the worst ratings in its 14-year history, as the talent show continues to be outstripped by Strictly Come Dancing in the battle for Saturday night viewing figures.

ITV said the music contest averaged 3.7 million viewers during its latest episode and peaked at 4.5 million, thought to be a record low since the series first aired in 2004.


The figures also include those who watched on ITV’s +1 catch-up channel, but do not count requests to stream through online on-demand services.

Concerns for producers over poor viewership numbers were confounded by technical issues, which led to Saturday night’s public elimination vote being cancelled.

Sound interference causing singers’ voices to be distorted began during the performance of Danny Tetley and also affected contestant Anthony Russell.

The show, which had been pre-recorded to allow judge Robbie Williams time to travel for a long-arranged gig in Chile, broadcast an on-screen apology message to viewers during the songs.

Producers later said voting would instead open during the Sunday night episode at 8.30pm.

Meanwhile, X Factor’s main rival, Strictly Come Dancing, continued to dominate the ratings, averaging 9.5 million viewers during its broadcast.

The BBC said its overnight figures showed the dancing series was the most-watched programme across all channels on Saturday, reaching a peak of 10.3 million viewers.

The show’s leader board is currently topped by former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts and partner Pasha Kovalev, who received a near-perfect score of 39 from judges for their foxtrot. 

Actor Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden however failed to impress with their quickstep, posting the worst score of the week with a 22.

BBC newsreader Kate Silverton tackled the series' first Argentine tango, despite an injury during which she said she had “stripped” the muscle on her rib earlier in the week.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood, who gave the performance a four, called it “stuck in the mud”.

Head judge Shirley Ballas said the performance looked a little “laboured”, and did not have enough chemistry.

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 12:18

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BREAKING: Brit dies after contracting RABIES from a cat bite while on holiday in Morocco

A BRITON has died after contracting rabies from a cat bite while on holiday in Morocco.

Public Health England has warned Brits to avoid coming into contact with animals when travelling to rabies-affected countries. Rabies is passed on through injuries such as bites and scratches from an infected animal. Rabies is common in other parts of the world, especially in Asia and Africa.

PHE warned all Brit holidaying in rabies-affected countries should avoid contact with dogs, cats and other animals wherever possible, and seek advice about the need for rabies vaccine prior to travel.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at PHE said: "This is an important reminder of the precautions people should take when travelling to countries where rabies is present.

"If you are bitten, scratched or licked by an animal you must wash the wound or site of exposure with plenty of soap and water and seek medical advice without delay.

"There is no risk to the wider public in relation to this case but, as a precautionary measure, health workers and close contacts are being assessed and offered vaccination when necessary."


Anyone who has been bitten, scratched, or licked by an animal in a country with rabies should take immediate action by washing the wound or site of exposure with plenty of soap and water.

Local medical advice should be sought immediately, even in those who have been previously vaccinated.

When given promptly after an exposure, a course of rabies vaccine is extremely effective at preventing the disease.

If such an exposure occurs abroad, the traveller should also consult their doctor on return, so that the course of rabies treatment can be completed.

If travellers have not sought medical advice abroad, they should contact their doctor promptly upon return for assessment.


Symptoms of rabies

Without treatment, the symptoms of rabies will usually develop after 3 to 12 weeks, although they can start sooner or much later than this.

The first symptoms can include:

  • A high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • A headache
  • Feeling anxious or generally unwell
  • In some cases, discomfort at the site of the bite

Other symptoms appear a few days later, such as:

  • Confusion or aggressive behaviour
  • Seeing or hearing things (hallucinations)
  • Producing lots of saliva or frothing at the mouth
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty swallowing and breathing
  • Inability to move (paralysis)

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 11:42

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How David Attenborough changed television by showing us the true face of nature

“National treasure” doesn’t even begin to do justice to David Attenborough. The natural history presenter is at once the country’s favourite beloved uncle, a lion of broadcasting and a voice in the wilderness warning that our addiction to plastics and other pollutants jeopardises the myriad of lifeforms with which we share the planet. 

At age 92, Attenborough continues to push boundaries. He returns to the airwaves on Sunday with a landmark new BBC series, Dynasties. Echoing past triumphs beginning with Life on Earth (1979) and leading up to last year’s Blue Planet II, the show is being hailed as a leap forward in natural history television, combining state of the art filmmaking with life-and-death drama straight out of Shakespeare. 

It undoubtedly promises to be a gripping watch. Having told the story of evolution and of nature’s ability to adapt to the most challenging environments, Attenborough now gives us a ground level view of life in the wild even as human population growth – and the attendant environmental destruction – hurtles towards a cataclysmic tipping point.  

And that’s just the start. In 2019, he reunites with the creators of Planet Earth and Blue Planet for the Netflix eight-parter Our Planet – a collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund that will see Attenborough once more taking advantage of his unique profile to caution that humanity’s devastating impact is reaching a point of no return.  

But first there is the small matter of Dynasties, a globe-trotting project four years in the making. Each episode tracks the day-to-day experiences of a different animal – beginning with chimpanzees and taking in emperor penguins, hunting dogs, tigers and, fascinatingly, a female lion who must assume control of her pride when it is abandoned by its adult males 

Dynasties is far from a one-person show (for Sunday’s first instalment, the camera crew trailed the chimp protagonist for up to 15 miles each day, often in 40 degree heat). Yet it simply wouldn’t work without Attenborough and his remarkable voiceovers – which convey the tooth-and-claw tumult of life in the wild, without anthropomorphising the animals or condescending to the viewer.

It is precisely this blend of drama and authority that has made Attenborough a singular presence in British broadcasting all the way back to the Fifties. From the beginning of his life before the camera, he has demonstrated a striking, almost uncanny, talent for communicating the awe-inducing majesty of nature, along with its visceral lack of sentimentality. 

The real secret ingredient, however, was the humanity – with trace elements of bone-dry humour – he brought. This shines through the grainy black and white footage of Zoo Quest, one of the first shows he worked on after joining the BBC in 1952.

The powers that be hadn’t been particularly keen on Attenborough, who’d given up a steady job editing children’s textbooks to take a punt at broadcasting. One manager went so far as to note the young man’s “large teeth” made him ill-suited to a career on TV. 

Indeed, the plan was for Attenborough to produce Zoo Quest with presenter duties carried out by London Zoo curator of reptiles, Jack Lester. It was only when Lester fell ill with malaria after the first episode that Attenborough was promoted – and only because part two had already been advertised in the Radio Times, meaning it was too late to bin the project. 

Yet with Zoo Quest, which ran from 1954 to 1963, he showed he could both educate the public about nature and also convey what a jolly time he was having. The premise was simple: he would join keepers from the London Zoo as they travelled to exotic locations and captured animals for their collection (this was the era when animal rights was a contradiction in terms). 

“Most zoos assumed that there was an unlimited supply of exhibits in the wild. No one seemed to suspect that a time might come when that supply might be in danger of exhaustion,” Attenborough wrote of Zoo Quest in his 2002 autobiography Life on Air. “So it was not uncommon for big zoos to send out expeditions to look for rare creatures that had seldom if ever been seen before in captivity.”

The BBC had been cautiously supportive rather than gung-ho, as was made clear when Attenborough was taken aside by the television unit’s head of departmental finances and told that, as a member of staff, he would receive no additional fee for stepping in as presenter. The first inkling Attenborough would have that the series was making waves came outside the corporation – when he was driving down Regent Street in London and a bus driver pulled alongside and loudly inquired as to what animals would feature the following week.

However, it was a charming encounter with an orangutang named Charlie which confirmed his natural affinity with all creatures furry and adorable. Having been rudely plucked from its home in the Borneo jungle and thrown in the cage, Charlie found a friend in Attenborough, whom he befriended to the point of allowing the eager young presenter to apply ointment to a minor injury .

Planet Earth II: The local project saving baby turtles

A glorious future would await both. Charlie would become the father of the first Orangutang born in London Zoo, while Attenborough was to utterly transform natural history programming. 

It was with 1979’s Life on Earth that he first demonstrated his ability to weave stunning footage and a deep knowledge of wildlife into a compelling overall narrative. The 20-plus year gap between Zoo Quest and Life on Earth is explained in part by an ongoing suspicion among senior figures at the BBC that nature was not a suitable subject for “serious” television, but even more so by a detour into management, which saw Attenborough become the first controller of BBC2.

In this capacity, Attenborough was, in 1969, instrumental in bringing to the screen one of the BBC’s most important ever documentaries, Kenneth Clarke’s Civilisation

“One of the things we developed was to take a really important subject and give it proper treatment,” he would recall. “It would be 13 parts because that was a quarter of the year. People were a bit suspicious about it. To everyone’s surprise….[the public] was delighted to make an appointment for 13 weeks.”

Encouraged by its success, he went on to commission Alistair Cook’s America: A Personal History of the United States (1972), and Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man (1973). The show he really dreamed of bringing to the screen, however, was a chronicling of the evolution of life on the planet, from single-cell organisms to human beings.

The problem was that, if such a series was to be made, he couldn’t reasonably commission it – and then expect to be the presenter too. So he took the dramatic step of stepping down from BBC2 so that he could do Life On Earth before anyone else had the notion. Natural history programming – and British broadcasting more broadly – would be very different had he stayed. 

“My worry was someone else would do it,” he recalled. “They would bring this idea to me what about telling the story of life on Earth in 13 parts. I managed to resign in order to do that series.”

Life on Earth was history-making in its scope and ambition – and brimming with moments that lingered with the viewer, especially if the viewer had been allowed stay up past bedtime on a Sunday to watch this show thrillingly swarming with bugs, lizards and African hunting dogs. There was that shot of Attenborough between the jaws of a huge extinct shark; those still gobsmacking images of frogs and flying squirrels soaring in achingly beautiful slow motion. 

But most enduring of all was the visit Attenborough paid to a family of silverback gorillas in Rwanda. “There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than any other animal I know,” he said, as he snuggled between two huge apes who appeared quietly thrilled to be appearing in a BBC documentary. “We’re so similar. Their sight, their hearing, their sense of smell is so similar to ours. We see the world the same way as they do.”

Attenborough’s gorillas in his midst moment was to become one of the iconic images in British broadcasting – up there with Del Boy looking shifty behind a stall and Gazza bursting into tears. 

Life on Earth would take three years and two round the world trips to complete. It was an enormous hit and a showcase on the world stage for both the BBC’s fledgling Natural History Unit in Bristol and Attenborough personally. Still, there were hiccups. When the series was sold to PBS in America, it was suggested that Attenborough’s voiceover be removed, for fear he would not be comprehensible to Middle Americans, and that Robert Redford narrate instead. 

But PBS ultimately backed down and, both home and abroad, Life on Earth was soon on its way to blockbuster status. “Life on Earth was gratifyingly well received,” Attenborough would write. “Its ability to take the viewer in a fraction of a second from one continent to another, the systemic way and serious way in which we had surveyed the natural world, not taking short cuts and featuring groups of animals that that had been largely neglected – sea slugs, legless amphibians, naked mole rats and other creatures – made a great impression.”

Last year, Attenborough collaborated with the Queen on an ITV documentary

Anyone else might have looked on such an achievement as their legacy. Attenborough, however, was merely getting started. He followed with the 1984 sequel, The Living Planet, which examined a different environment every week. This culminated in the nightmare-fuelling episode in which Attenborough scrutinised creatures that had adapted to living amongst humanity, and which presented a shiver-inducing tableaux of bed bugs, creepy crawlies in the carpets, spiders in bedroom corners and so forth. 

Thus began an unparalleled streak of award-winning programming, including 1990’s The Trials of Life, with its famous/notorious footage of a killer whale springing on a sea lion colony in Patagonia and “playing” with its prey before devouring it. He also had the privilege of crawling inside a termite mound – a space so cramped he couldn’t turn around and so had to back in and out painstakingly between shots.

This was followed by Life in the Freezer (1993), a study of animals in arctic environments that featured a distressing sequence in which a leopard seal killed and dismembered a young penguin (Attenborough has always insisted that it would be wrong to step in and interfere, no matter how harrowing the events caught on camera). Then came The Private Life of Plants (1995) and the The Life of Birds (1998), the latter of which provided a flash of Attenborough’s underrated wit as he struggled to keep a straight face as an agitated bird-of-paradise constantly interrupted with its excited hoots.  

Technological advancements meant that the sophistication of the images Attenborough and the BBC could present increased over time. With 2001’s The Blue Planet, he stunned audiences with revolutionary aerial footage of migrating whales and dolphins.

And 2006’s Planet Earth set jaws agape with its images of giraffes sweeping across the Savannah. He also sat down with then US President Barack Obama in 2015 (with lifelong fan Obama interviewing Attenborough rather than the other way around), “narrated” an Adele video for BBC Radio 1’s Greg James and, last April, nattered with the Queen for an ITV documentary.

The ‘Dynasties’ trailer

But it was with the 2017 Blue Planet follow-up – the imaginatively titled Blue Planet II – that Attenborough confronted the lasting damage humanity was inflicting upon the environment. His warning about the threat posed by plastics had a genuine impact – with the subject raised in the House of Commons and the European Parliament voting to ban single use plastics such as straws. 

“It is now increasingly apparent,” cautioned Attenborough with uncommon severity, “that one species, our own, has developed the unique ability of so altering its surroundings it can destroy whole species, whole environments.”

The theme will be returned to in Dynasties, though Attenborough would seem to view it as his task to persuade rather than lecture the viewer. The series will reference the tension between humanity’s desire to raise itself up and the impact this is having on the natural world – though there is to be no preaching to the punter.

“It’s a very difficult thing to deal with – men, women and children need space too,” Attenborough commented recently.  “Look at tigers in India. Tigers eat human children, they hunt them, they do. So people living alongside tigers have got a very, very tough problem. They have to be very strongly convinced that tigers have a right to live. Our job is to raise people’s passion and belief and desire to recognise that animals have a right to some sort of space.”

It’s a testament to Attenborough’s authority that he can convey a stark message about the environment without coming across as superior or all-knowing. Perhaps that is because his journey from observer of nature to advocate on its behalf has been ongoing and intensely personal. 

“I was interested in the natural world, but it was nothing to do with saving the planet. There were people who thought the country had been desecrated in terms of putting up pylons and things like that. But the idea that you could actually destroy the Earth didn’t really occur….It was assumed the world was big enough. Maybe it was. But when I was a kid there were only a third of the people on the planet that there are today. It doesn’t seem big enough any more.”

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 11:30

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Rival fans TROLL tennis babe Wozniacki as she reveals support for Liverpool

CAROLINE Wozniacki revealed the football team she supports – and fans of rivals were not happy.

The 28-year-old visited Anfield to see her beloved Liverpool FC beat Fulham 2-0 on Saturday and filled her Instagram with pics. World number three Wozniacki wrote on Instagram to her 1.3 million followers: “Had the best time at Anfield today! Three points and top of the league for now.”

The snaps included her showing a thumbs up in the stadium and another selfie with her fiancee David Lee with her in a Reds-themed hat and scarf.

It was liked nearly 55,000 times but not everyone was loving the post.

One rival fan wrote: “I thought you were better than following the Red sh****.”

While another said: “Yuck why Liverpool?”

One Instagram follower simply said: “Boo.”

One gushed that she “had brains, beauty, athleticism and best taste in football”.

Wozniacki has shown her love for Liverpool before.

In 2011 she famously sported a signed Steven Gerrard shirt during her quarter-final victory in the Qatar Open.

While she attended a match at Anfield against West Bromwich Albion back in 2011 too.

LOVERS: Wozniacki was at the game with fiance and former basketball star David Lee (Pic: INSTAGRAM/@CAROWOZNIACKI)

HOTSHOT: Wozniacki is a top tennis player and has won a Grand Slam (Pic: GETTY)

The blonde was the first Dane to win a Grand Slam title after defeating Simona Halep in January this year in the Australian Open.

Fiance David Lee, a US former NBA star who stands at a huge 6ft 7ins, lived through every moment of the match with her from the stands.

And the 34-year-old featured heavily in the celebrations – he was spotted giving Wozniacki a snog in the locker room afterwards.

WINNER: Wozniacki and Lee pose with the Australian Open trophy earlier this year (Pic: GETTY)

FAN: Wozniacki visited Anfield to watch Liverpool play West Brom in 2011 

He said: “It was a very high-quality tennis match and to have her come out on top, those last couple of points just show her fighting spirit.

"I was more nervous than when I won a championship. Because there's nothing I can do.

“Just sitting there and knowing how hard she's worked and how much she wants it."

She announced on her social media account that they were dating on Valentine's Day in 2017.

FANATIC: Wozniacki even wore a Liverpool shirt during the Qatar Open in 2011 (Pic: GETTY)

BAGGY: The shirt didn't prove to be very convenient for tennis (Pic: GETTY)

The couple got engaged in November 2017 while on holiday in Bora Bora, a small South Pacific island in French Polynesia.

Lee won the NBA Championship in his final season with Golden State Warriors in 2015 and announced his retirement shortly after the pair got engaged.

Wozniacki was previously engaged to golf star Rory McIlroy in 2013 after a two-year relationship.

But it was famously called off in 2014 as the wedding invites were being sent out.

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 11:30

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Albanian gangsters 'flooding London with cheap cocaine' flaunt LUXURY lifestyle

AN ALBANIAN gang who are thought to be behind a flood of cheap drugs into the capital flaunt their luxurious lifestyle online — and claim they're "ready for war".

The gang post pictures regularly on Instagram, featuring guns, wads of cash and expensive cars. In brazen YouTube videos, members of the notorious Hellbanianz gang even rap about their life behind bars. Based in Barking, east London, the gang have links to the mafia in Albania who deal directly with South American drug cartels.Daily Express reports gangs like Hellbanianz have fuelled the capital's spike in cheap cocaine, as they can bring in purer supplies.

They have also used violence in turf wars with rival gangs, and have brought in so much of the drug that it has triggered the "county lines" phenomenon. County lines is a term for drug dealing networks set up, often in smaller towns and cities, but controlled by major gangs in big cities. A spokeswoman for the National Crime Agency (NCA) said: "Albanian crime groups have established a high profile and degree of influence within UK organised crime, and have considerable access to the UK drug trafficking market, particularly cocaine.

"They are also expanding and their prominence is increasing."

Many of the gang members are the Brit-born children of Albanians who came to the UK in the 90s escaping war and persecution. In shameless posts on their public Instagram page, the gang often don't bother to cover their faces. One picture shows a line of 38 £1,000 bundles of £20 notes. Other pictures show gang members posing inside expensive Bentleys.

BRAZEN: One suspected gang member is pictured living it up in jail (Pic: INSTAGRAM/HELLBANIANZ)

CAPITAL: The gang members are mostly based around Barking, east London (Pic: INSTAGRAM/HELLBANIANZ)

While another member posed on Facebook holding a shotgun.

Their motto is "God of the streets".

In a chilling YouTube video, the gang rap: "Hellbanianz is ready for violence, he asked this as proof, ask these or talk about facts, ask this if we shoot.

"London city control, f*** this team with crowns, f*** that b**** from tattoos, the gang has already taken over."

WARNING: The gang claim in threatening YouTube videos they are 'ready for war' (Pic: INSTAGRAM/HELLBANIANZ)

EPIDEMIC: Albanian drug gangs are blamed for the spread of cheap cocaine in the UK (Pic: GETTY)

While the gang also brag they are "ready for war".

Pictures apparently taken in a Brit prison show gang members laughing and taking drugs in jail.

Last year, 140 Albanian gangsters were arrested in the Midlands.

The NCA also believe the surplus of drugs in London is fuelling deadly turf wars across the capital, resulting in dozens of fatal shootings and stabbings in the city this year.

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 11:25

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This is how London's skyline would have looked if some ambitious projects had got the go ahead

Over the years, there have been many ambitious plans for the London skyline, which, if they'd gone ahead, would have resulted in a vastly different skyline. 

Move over Big Ben and The Shard, some of the capital's most ambitious building projects were never constructed. 

Bringing together some of the most incredible plans, from a Victorian-era glass and iron skyscaper, to an enormous pyramid on Trafalgar Square, we list some of the most incredible. 

1. Central London Monorail. 

In the late 1960s, bus use in London was declining, as people preferred to use their own cars instead, which caused serious congestion. As a result of this, the Central London Monorail was suggested, which would have seen four loops built above London, allowing carriages to zip above people's heads. 

The project was originally supported by the Conservatives, before being abandoned after a year, reports the Evening Standard


2. Westminster City Airport. 

In 1934, plans were drawn up for a central London airport above the River Thames to provide a closer business and tourism link. Designs published by Popular Science Monthly show that a runway would have stretched from Lambeth Bridge to the Houses of Parliament. 

According to the project specifications, the airport would have been tall enough to accommodate the 'tallest masts of ships' and have enough length to land a single propeller aircraft. 

3. Trafalgar Square Pyramid. 

In 1815, plans were drawn up for a 300ft pyramid to stand in the centre of Trafalgar Square to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of the Nile. It would have been taller than St Paul's cathedral. 

4. The Carlton Hotel. 

The Carlon Hotel was one of the world's most luxury establishments, but unfortunately during the Second World War the bombing it suffered was so severe, it was forced to close and its remains were eventually ripped down in 1957. 

The building that now stands in its place is the High Commission of New Zealand, an overseas post of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

5. The Victorian Skyscraper. 

At the end of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851, numerous plans were put forwards for what to do with its immense iron and glass structure. Charles Bruton suggested creating an enormous 1,000ft skyscraper with the remains, but investors opted to re-enact the original Crystal Palace in South London instead. 

If the skyscraper had gone ahead, it would have been nearly as tall as the Shard is today - which is London's tallest building, at 1,012 ft

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 10:33

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You can tell if your partner is cheating on you by listening to their voice, according to science

Picture Morgan Freeman, Donald Trump or Margaret Thatcher. Most likely you can hear their voices in your mind, and the characteristic inflections that they put on certain words, as well as their tone and pitch. Even without listening to the words, when you hear someone speak you can pick up important information about them from characteristics such as how loud or deep their voice is.

At the most basic level, voices convey biological characteristics such as whether someone is male or female, their body size and physical strengthage and sexual maturity. For example, Donald Trump’s voice can signal to you that he is a man, and that he has passed middle age. But did you know that voices can also signal a person’s attractiveness, fertility and even the likelihood of them being unfaithful?

A popular theory with evolutionary psychologists, known as “cads versus dads”, suggests that more masculine, dominant men are not as paternal and generally invest less in their children and grandchildren than less masculine men. Yet research shows women generally prefer deeper voiced, more masculine-sounding men, especially when these women are near ovulation.

This may be because partnering with deeper-voiced men could lead to genetically healthier children. Deeper voices have been linked to having more surviving children and grandchildrenhigher testosterone and lower stress hormones, and longer-term survival in men.

On the other hand, deeper-voiced men are also rated by women as more likely to cheat on a partner and as less trustworthy in general. Women who judge men with lower-pitched voices as more likely to cheat also prefer those men for short-term rather than long-term partners. Meanwhile, when women are breastfeeding and so currently taking care of a child, they are more likely to prefer men with higher-pitched voices than at other times.

This suggests women use something in men’s voices to try to assess how likely to cheat they are, as well as their general trustworthiness. This in turn can affect their attractiveness as a partner, depending on whether the women are drawn towards the paternal care of a potential long-term mate or just good genes.

Spotting a cheater

But can our voices really indicate whether we are likely to cheat? A recent study from researchers in the US suggests that they can. Participants were played recordings of people speaking and given no other background information about them, and successfully rated cheaters as “more likely to cheat” than non-cheaters. Interestingly, women were better at this task than men.

The recordings were taken from people with voices of similar pitch and attractiveness, who were of similar size and shape, and had similar sexual histories (aside from cheating). This means that none of these factors affected the results. So we currently don’t know what cues the participants used to judge whether the voices came from cheaters.

It is not only women who can pick up on men’s vocal cues of good genes and likelihood to cheat, and use it to their benefit. A woman’s voice changes during her menstrual cycle when she is not using contraceptive pills. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men find women’s voices most attractive when the women are near ovulation (most fertile), than at other times of the month. This information is important to pick up on, as women do not display very explicit signals that they are fertile (unlike baboon females whose bottoms turn red, or female deer who release scents to advertise their fertility).

Voices can also signal whether someone is interested in you. In one clever study, participants were asked to judge the voices of individuals who spoke in a different language to attractive or unattractive potential partners or competitors.

The researchers found that, when talking to attractive people, men’s voices tend to reach a deeper pitch, and both men and women increase how varied their pitch is so their voices sound more dynamic than monotonous. Practically speaking, picking up on these types of cues could allow someone to decide whether a person they are talking to might be attracted to them or not.

In these ways, the non-verbal characteristics of voices can play a significant role in signalling health, fertility, attraction and potential infidelity, to name a few. Picking up on these cues, alongside the many other cues we receive when talking to someone, can help us make more informed and well-rounded choices about who to spend time with and who to avoid. But the next time you find yourself listening to and judging someone’s voice for these subtle cues, remember that they are judging yours, too.

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 10:29

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Lord Sugar reveals reason he almost quit The Apprentice

While The Apprentice may have boosted Lord Alan Sugar's profile, there was a time when he once considered quitting the BBC series.

“I’ve always liked to be a bit humorous,” he told The Mirror. “But unfortunately previous editors of The Apprentice, under the BBC’s instructions, have been advised to make me look like a bloody ogre or whatever."

Rather than continue being portrayed as a villain, Sugar gave the producers an ultimatum: either stop playing up Sugar's monstrous outbursts or find someone else to host the series.

“Part and parcel of the agreement for me to continue doing the programme is for me to say that I am not going to be shown as that anymore," he continued.

“People get nervous because of this perceived stance of mine that they see on television. But for most people when we’re together in real life, it’s very straightforward, very business-like, and there’s no reason for people to be nervous. It’s as simple as that."

Sugar is currently hosting the 14th series of The Apprentice, which last week saw another candidate get booted off the series.

Earlier this year, Sugar caused controversy by likening the Senegal national football team to "these guys from the beach in Marbella." 

Addressing the Tweets, Sugar said: “You know, I’m 71 years old, I’ve lived through various periods of change of habits, change of laws. This is just another one, really, this current PC culture.

"One of the good things that came out of it was to grow a rhinoceros skin. And that skin is still that thick, so that doesn’t bother me at all. I think it’s a balance, really.

“Someone of my age, as you get older, you know what not to say. That’s the most important thing.”

The Apprentice airs every Wednesday on BBC One at 9pm.

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 10:17

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Lies you learned in history class

History has a funny way of repeating itself, especially when the people repeating it aren't exactly telling the full story. Indeed, many of the clean, easy, wholesome "facts" you learned in history class would earn you a big fat F in the decades-long class that is Real Life. Here are a few historical lies that will make you rethink your entire education

Einstein failed math

For decades, teachers and parents have tried to inspire kids who didn't quite excel in school with a historical fun fact: "Even Einstein failed math as a kid." It's meant to encourage students to work harder or to imply that it's fine to be a late bloomer. It's a great message, but it isn't based in reality. Albert Einstein, the man who developed the theory of relativity and whose name also means "genius" (seriously, what are the odds?) didn't fail math. Why do people believe this? 

In 1984, a Princeton University team led by Dr. John Stachel prepared to publish Einstein's papers. The group found evidence that Einstein was a kid genius who had conquered college-level physics by age 11 and was fluent in Latin and Greek. Dr. Stachel also found what he thought was the source of the Einstein math-myth. Dr. Stachel told the New York Times that when Einstein was 16 and studying in Switzerland, he received grades of "1" in math on two straight report cards. On a scale of 1 to 6, "1" was the best. But then the school switched its system so that a "6" was the top grade given. At that point, Einstein got a "6," which made it look like he was suddenly flunking math. He wasn't — he was still getting the equivalent of an A.

Was Einstein actually bad at any subjects? Just French. French is hard.

George Washington chopped down that cherry tree

For decades, it seemed like every American classroom couldn't get through the Revolutionary War without teaching the story about how America's first president, George Washington, famously confessed to chopping down his father's cherry tree when he was just six years old. "I cannot tell a lie," allegedly said little G. W. Well, as it turns out, that story was itself a lie. Oh, the irony. The story has become such an infamous myth over the years that even the official website of the home of Washington, Mount Vernon, has squashed it once and for all, claiming the whole thing was made up by Washington biographer Mason Locke Weems in 1806. Among his alleged reasons for lying, according to the website: profits, the desire to look at Washington's private life, and the need to "present Washington as the perfect role model, especially for young Americans." Whatever the reason, the myth worked for centuries

Feminists burned lots of bras

When classrooms gloss through the Women's Liberation Movement, one of the topics that almost always gets brought up is the Movement's protest of the 1968 Miss America pageant, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. According to history, we were told that a bunch of protesters at the event took off their bras and immediately set fire to them. Well, according to Carol Hanisch, one of the organizers of the protest, that's not exactly what went down. Truth be told: the women did want to burn their bras; Hanisch admitted that much to NPR in an interview 30 years after the protest took place. But because police wouldn't let them do that on a boardwalk, they were forced to throw a bunch of "instruments of female torture" like bras, girdles and Playboy magazines into a garbage can. It was inside that garbage in which the fire was ultimately lit. "The media picked up on the bra part," Hanisch told NPR, dispelling the "bra-burning" myth once and for all. "I often say that if they had called us 'girdle burners,' every woman in America would have run to join us."

Pilgrims dressed in black and white

Learning about the Pilgrims and their role in the European colonization of America is a major part of any American's elementary school education. Also a part of school: school plays in which kids dress up like Pilgrims and re-enact the first Thanksgiving. Invariably, the costumes are ill-fitting black and white garments topped with big, black hats. It's reasonable to assume the Pilgrims dressed that way — simple, demure clothes for simple, demure people. However, according to Pilgrim expert Caleb Johnson, the Pilgrims wore clothes that were all kinds of styles and colors. The notion that Pilgrims dressed like they were colorblind came much later. Artists like Michael Felice Corne produced paintings about the Pilgrims in the early 1800s, according to the LA Times. Corne and others didn't really know what the Pilgrims would have worn, so they depicted them in clothing more modern and familiar — particularly all that black-and-white stuff.

Slavery was just in the South

Though school taught us something different, Southerners didn't get a patent on racism, and people of the North have a bad history of slavery.

The colonial North thrived on the slave trade in the 1700s. During the Revolution, George Washington told Northern and Southern colonists that we must fight the British so we don't become "as tame and abject slaves as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway." By 1804, slavery was abolished in the North, but not all at once. Some states left in provisions to slowly free slaves over time, and by 1840, Connecticut still had 17 slaves listed on the census.

In New York City, the situation was especially shameful. A fifth of the city's population was slaves in 1740, and New York had the second-highest rate of slave ownership in the country (42 percent of residents owned slaves, according to the New York Public Library) behind only Charleston, South Carolina. Slave labor built much of the city, and although they didn't have to work on plantations, "You are still considered property to be bought, sold, and used" isn't much consolation.

Even during the Civil War, New York City came close to joining the secession after South Carolina. Though the city wanted to side with the South mostly for economic reasons, they still weren't worried about the idea of siding with slaveholders. The New York Herald wrote, "If Lincoln is elected, you will have to compete with the labor of four million emancipated negroes." So, if a Yankee guy gets a little high and mighty around his Southern friends, just remind him of that quote and watch his liberal guilt consume him.

Napoleon was really short

One of the best—okay, funniest—parts about studying the French Revolution in social studies class was finding out that the famous French military leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, was actually super-short in height. Just how short, you ask? Well, according to teachers all over the country, Napoleon stood a measly 5'2". Granted, his alleged height didn't stop him from kicking ass during the war; however, it did become infamous enough to create the term the "Napoleon complex," used to describe people who make up for their short height by being totally strong and aggressive, socially. In any case, despite all of this, Napoleon's height has since been up for debate. According to the BBC, historians are now estimating that he was actually more along the lines of 5'6"—or, more to the point, one inch taller than former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. What happened? The BBC claims the height might have gotten lost in translation between French and British measurements. Which, if you really think about it, is a Napoleon complex in of itself.

Witches in Salem were burned at the stake

The Salem witch trials of 1692-93 remain one of the darkest chapters of American history. In the Massachusetts colony, more than 200 people were accused and tried for the difficult-to-prove "crime" of being witches. Twenty of the accused were found guilty and killed straightaway. However, none lost their lives by being burned at the stake like most people think. At least, none of the American witches did. In European witch trials — they were all the rage — guilty witches were executed with fire. In Salem, 19 of the 20 witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. The other witch, Giles Corey, was crushed to death with heavy rocks.

Paul Revere yelled, 'The British are coming!'

If your dusty old history books are to be believed, the build-up to the American Revolutionary War was pretty dramatic: a dude named Paul Revere rode through a bunch of towns on horseback screaming "The British are coming!" and everyone freaked out and got their guns and the war started the next day. As it turns out, that only sort of happened. Revere was indeed ordered to Lexington, Massachusetts, to tell Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming. But the actual quote has since been misconstrued. According to the website for The Paul Revere House, a sentry at the house where Adams and Hancock were staying got all mad at Revere when he arrived because he was making too much noise. To which Revere replied dramatically: "Noise! You'll have noise long enough before. The regulars are coming out!" Sure, that may sound less like a movie moment and more like a bad regional theater production, but hey, facts are facts. And speaking of: the website goes on to say that Revere was joined by two additional riders, all of whom were arrested and released on their way to Concord. No word on whether they, too, had a catch phrase.

An apple fell on Isaac Newton's head

When the history of Isaac Newton is taught, many teachers quote the old story that the physicist and mathematician actually came up with his theory for gravity after an apple fell from a tree he was sitting under and hit him smack on the head. You probably believed it in part because, duh, it's an old story and, duh, Newton was really smart. But, again, this story is only sort-of true. While Newton did actually put two and two together by watching an apple fall, The Royal Society in London concluded in 2010 that the incident took place in his mother's garden and that there is "there is no evidence to suggest that it hit him on the head." That's a bit of a bummer. But, hey, he still came up with the theory of gravity, which is more than anyone reading this article can probably say.

Bastille Day celebrates freed prisoners and the French Revolution

While you're busy relaxing on a beach somewhere or nursing a hangover from a really epic Fourth of July party, you might notice somebody'll post about France on July 14. That's Bastille Day, a day of French Independence to mark the famous storming of the Bastille to free the unjustly imprisoned and start the revolution. Or so you think.

After King Louis XVI dragged the nation into poverty then tried to drastically raise taxes to cover his behind, the people of France weren't thrilled with his leadership. On July 14, 1789, the French had had enough and went on a quest to find guns and ammo to start fighting back. The Bastille was once full of political prisoners, but by 1789, the place was nearly empty with just a handful of prisoners left inside. When revolutionaries came to the Bastille doors, they weren't there to free prisoners. They showed up to get more gunpowder.

Since the freedom fighters were all riled up, their powder raid turned violent, and they killed and beheaded the prison officers while freeing the remaining jailmates. So, the raid of the Bastille was really just a looting gone wrong. But it scared the crap out of the king, who agreed to compromise with the rebellion and end feudalism. Since the Bastille raid came at the right time, it turned from a tale about stealing gunpowder and going beheading happy into a tale of a fight against tyranny. So, when you're celebrating Bastille Day with your traditional baguette and inflated sense of superiority to honor France, remember you're really honoring a bunch of jerks who cut off some heads for pretty much no reason.

Gandhi was nearly a saint

Picking on Gandhi seems like a pretty low blow or a decent name for an emo band. So, awful, either way.

The idea that the mind behind the non-violent fight for India's independence could be anything less than pure seems almost heretical. In fact, Pulitzer prize–winning journalist Joseph Lelyveld's realistic biography of Gandhi has been banned in Gandhi's home state of Gujarat for blasphemy. But that doesn't make Lelyveld's words any less true.

Most of us don't know that Gandhi abandoned his wife to live with a rich male body builder before he got involved in British-Indian relations. Now, if Gandhi was gay, who cares? But Gandhi tried to get all references to homosexual traditions erased from Indian temples in an act he called "sexual cleansing." And to test his resistance to sexual temptation, he'd sleep in bed naked with his teenage grand-nieces. But worse than his sexual hypocrisy was his terrible racism.

Gandhi may have wanted India freed from British rule, but he was perfectly happy with the rigid caste system of the nation. Gandhi wrote of a time when he and his followers were led to a lower caste jail for protesting. "We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs [the South African equivalent of the N-word] are as a rule uncivilized—the convicts even more so. They're troublesome, very dirty and live like animals." When asked about Indian views on race versus white South Africans, he wrote "We believe as much in the purity of races as we think they do." Though Gandhi did bring some good to the world and was tragically assassinated, we also need to learn that he was only human—and a human with some truly abhorrent ideas.

The U.S. declared independence on the Fourth of July

Fireworks, flag cakes, and barbecues — your Fourth of July activities to celebrate American independence from Mother England are a lie. The Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776, and the next day — July 2 — representatives from the 13 colonies overwhelmingly approved a motion to declare independence. The assembly spent two days revising a statement primarily written by Virginia delegate Thomas Jefferson — the Declaration of Independence — and ratified it on July 4, ingraining "the Fourth of July" into the brains of freedom-loving Americans forever. "Fine, it was ratified on July 4, big deal," you're saying. Wait a minute! The members of the Second Continental Congress still had to actually sign the Declaration of Independence, and they didn't start leaving their Herbie Hancocks until August 2, 1776. Because news traveled a lot slower in 1776, it took a while for King George III of England to hear about the Declaration. He made his first public remarks on the matter in October 1776.

President Kennedy brought about Civil Rights Legislation

Without Kennedy, we may never have had civil rights legislation, or so we've been taught. But Kennedy had little to do with civil rights laws. When he heard about the planned March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, Kennedy tried to stop it. He even sent vice president Lyndon B. Johnson to Norway during the march because he didn't like LBJ's pro–civil rights policies.

Kennedy was forced to act on civil rights after the Freedom Riders and the assassination of Medgar Evers, but he thought the legislation would never get through and would hurt his chances of passing the bills he really cared about. But after Kennedy was shot, LBJ put all his efforts as president behind the Civil Rights Act. Capitalizing on the fresh memory of the young president slain, LBJ used the people's grief and frustration to get Congress to act. And in the end, JFK got all the credit.

Until feminism, women stayed home and men worked

The minimal women's history you learn in school usually revolves around the idea that ladies always had to stay at home, then had to go to work in the factories during World War II, but went back home after the war until feminism came along. But this is far from the full picture. Yes, lots of women were housewives or mothers and not allowed or not encouraged to work after getting married. But that ignores the many other women who didn't have the privilege of not working. Plus, it hides decades of history where men and women worked equally.

Before the Industrial Revolution, work was an extension of the household, and tasks were split evenly between men and women. Even by the turn of the century, women held a quarter of industrial jobs and half of agrarian jobs. Factory work at the time was incredibly dangerous, and gendered labor laws reinforced the growing idea that men should earn the money and women should stay at home. Still, women of color didn't get that luxury. Even after marriage, many continued to work since their husbands were paid less and had poorer jobs. When white women started to see progress, women of color were usually left out of the conversation.

Even in the '50s, women workers weren't so rare. Look magazine often profiled female workers, and radio programs talked to "career girls" who felt women should be able to find meaning and purpose outside the home. Sure, the males on the panel thought she wasn't serious about having a career because she occasionally thought of falling in love, but we're not here to debunk the idea that '50s white guys had issues.

But the working girls got erased, making women seem like frail, put upon creatures of history till they finally burned their bras and sang Helen Reddy songs.

Abner Doubleday invented baseball

In 1903, Baseball Guide editor Henry Chadwick wrote about how baseball had evolved from the British games of cricket and rounders. The magazine's publisher, sporting goods kingpin Albert Spalding objected — baseball was American and simply had to have American origins, he said. He set out to prove it, forming a commission that asked the public for information about the game's early days. The commission's report, issued in 1907, was based mainly on a letter from a man named Abner Graves. He claimed to have been in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839 when future Civil War general Abner Doubleday outlined a diamond in the dirt and wrote up rules for a game called "Base Ball." Spalding took that for fact. To do so, he ignored two actual facts: that commission member A.G. Mills (who was close friends with Doubleday) couldn't remember Doubleday ever mentioning baseball and that in 1839 Doubleday was a cadet at West Point, not in Cooperstown. 

In the mid-1930s, Major League Baseball made plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Doubleday's invention in 1839. That's when baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis got a letter from a man named Bruce Cartwright. He claimed his grandfather, Alexander Cartwright, invented baseball and that he could prove it with the original written rules, a field diagram, and a scorecard from the first game, played in Hoboken in 1845. The Hall of Fame honored Cartwright for his contributions, but Doubleday stayed in the public consciousness as baseball's creator.

Columbus needed to prove the world was round

While few still think Columbus discovered America, many believe the explorer's voyage was important because it proved the world was round. According to historian Jeffrey Burton Russell, the idea that Columbus had to prove a planet full of flat-Earthers wrong didn't take hold until the 1830s or so. French writer Antoine-Jean Letronne was so anti-religion that in books like On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers, he argued that Catholic Church leaders of the past foolishly believed the world was flat. Letronne's contemporary, Washington Irving, best known for "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," published A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1828. Irving primarily wrote fiction, and he used his storytelling skills to embellish his Columbus biography. In other words, he made stuff up, such as the passage in which Columbus tries to convince a council of 1490s religious clerics that he won't sail off the edge of the Earth.

People knew the Earth was round at least as far back as ancient Greece. Science historian Stephen Jay Gould wrote that the concept of a round earth was "central" to Aristotle's fourth century B.C. writings on cosmology, as well as to Eratosthenes' calculating the Earth's circumference in the third century B.C. Few people in Columbus' time were dumb enough to think the Earth was flat, but people in our time are dumb or snobby enough to think everyone else is dumb.

The 'War of the Worlds' broadcast caused mass hysteria

The textbook definition of "mass hysteria" is probably the October 1938 chaos that resulted from Orson Welles' radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air radio program presented the terrifying story of a New Jersey alien invasion as breaking news, with on-the-scene reports so convincing that hordes fled their homes in terror. We know that happened because the newspapers of the day said so! Unfortunately, the creative license hadn't ended with the radio program. According to History, newspaper publishers took what reports there were of panic — supposedly, 2,000 people called the Trenton, New Jersey, police department looking for information; New Jersey-based National Guard members tried to report for duty — and built it up to create a story of far-reaching mania over War of the Worlds and to make radio look bad. Gotta watch out for those emerging technologies. 

In fact, relatively few people were "fooled" by The War of the Worlds. Just in case anybody tuned in late, CBS Radio aired multiple disclaimers reassuring listeners that the broadcast was fictional. Also, there couldn't have been widespread panic because not very many people were even listening in the first place. Ratings reports from the time found that only 2 percent of respondents tuned in to The War of the Worlds – it aired opposite NBC's popular Chase and Sanborn Hour. That show featured ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Sure, 1930s Americans didn't believe aliens were landing, but they thought a ventriloquist they couldn't see was the height of entertainment.

America was enthusiastic to join World War II

Even the people who marched with "No blood for oil" signs and are currently protesting drone strikes tend to still have a little fondness for World War II. Who doesn't want to defeat a bunch of Nazis and get the chance to make fun of Germans? World War II was just too good to resist.

But Americans at the time weren't so enthusiastic. President Franklin Roosevelt was the most vocal supporter of the war, while oddly enough, aviator Charles Lindbergh was one of the biggest opponents. Lindbergh's strong isolationism got him labeled as a Nazi sympathizer. It's not exactly true, since he mostly admired Germany for their technology and economic revitalization. But he also thought white people were superior to everyone else, so honestly he was about as close to a Nazi sympathizer as you could be without donning a swastika. Lindbergh said he didn't approve of Hitler's treatment of Jews, but he seemed cool with everything else.

Other Americans wanted to stay out and weren't motivated by racism. Europe seemed like another world, and we had no place in their fight. Plus, the war meant the draft was coming back, and most people weren't interested in having a repeat of the Civil War or World War I.

College students were one of the largest contingents against the war. They figured they'd be the first to die if we headed overseas, so students at Yale formed a large isolationist group called "America First." Members of the group included Gerald Ford, Supreme Court Justice Potter "I know it when I see it" Stewart, Gore Vidal, and John F. Kennedy. It seems like young people always fought every war. If we could go back to the college campuses during the American Revolution, we'd probably see a lot of people with "No blood for tea" signs.

Edison was a great inventor

In school, we learn that Thomas Edison was a great inventor who gave America the gift of light in bulb form. You can't deny that Edison was a bright mind who developed several things that made life easier for everybody. But you should also learn that Edison was a monopolizing, thieving jerk.

Firstly, he didn't really invent the lightbulb. He built upon several other inventions, and some say he stole several innovations that led him to creating and taking credit for the bulb we know today. Edison gets sole credit because he was great at telling people he invented the lightbulb and getting publicity. And the bulb is just one of the questionable inventions of Edison's career.

Edison had a team of workers at his Menlo Park, New Jersey, facility, and in 1892, they invented the kinescope. It was the beginning of moving pictures, where you could pay a nickel to see grainy footage of a girl dancing for six seconds. It may not sound entertaining now, but the idea of moving pictures was pretty ingenious. Plus you saw a girl move her hips back, and if you paid another nickel, forth! Edison's assistants tried to get him to invest more time into inventing a projection device for this new technology, but Edison thought there was no money in moving pictures.

After kinescopes became incredibly popular, Edison did a 180 and started working on a projecting device. Or rather, Edison asked other people who made innovations on projector technology to file the patent in his name, while he gave them a decent one-time fee. People thought that was a morally questionable move, and Edison replied, "Everyone steals in industry and commerce. I've stolen a lot myself. The thing is to know how to steal." Later, Edison tried to monopolize the film industry and forced filmmakers to move to California to avoid his many lawsuits, giving birth to Hollywood.

Lastly, Edison killed an elephant to prove that his crappy electricity was the best. Edison was a proponent of direct current (DC) electricity, while Nikola Tesla touted alternating current (AC) as the best option. AC enabled long-distance power transmission and is now used exclusively in every home (though some technology like computers use both). But Edison didn't have the patents for AC, so he went on a major campaign to prove the dangers of alternating current. His biggest stunt was electrocuting Topsy the elephant to prove that AC currents were so dangerous, it could kill the giant creature. Then, to be even more of a jerk, Edison filmed the event and released Electrocuting an Elephant to theaters. The video is available on YouTube, but we won't link to it here. We're not as gross as Edison.

Americans were always the good guys in World War II

World War II is often hailed as the last war where there were clear lines between the good guys and bad guys. The Axis Powers wanted to take over the world. The Allies wanted to stop them. It was black and white, heroes against villains … but nothing is ever that simple. Human beings can be complicated or straight-up evil, regardless of the uniforms they wear, and American GIs were responsible for war crimes on par with the acts committed by their Japanese and German enemies. (And we're not even talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.)

For example, in 1943, U.S. soldiers invaded the island of Siciliy and — inspired by an intentionally ambiguous speech from General George S. Patton — murdered at least 77 POWs in what's known as the Biscari Massacre. Even though they were fighting for freedom, these troops threw the Geneva Convention right out the window. It was even worse for European women. GIs were responsible for approximately 14,000 rapes in England, Germany, and France from 1942 to 1945.

However, things took a truly barbaric turn in the Pacific Theater, where U.S. soldiers forgot they were living in the 20th century and reverted to Stone Age savagery. Even though it was illegal, American troops made a habit of taking trophies from dead Japanese soldiers, and not fumbling through their pockets or taking their weapons. GIs actually lopped off ears, pulled out teeth, and took bones as mementos to send their parents, wives, and girlfriends. Life magazine featured a photo of a woman writing a letter to her Navy boyfriend, thanking him for the Japanese skull sitting on her desk.

This barbarous behavior went all the way to the White House. In 1944, a congressman gave President Roosevelt a letter opener made from a Japanese arm, and the president responded with, "This is the sort of gift I like to get." If the soldiers of World War II were indeed America's "greatest generation," that says a whole lot about every generation afterward.

America was only attacked once during World War II

Everybody knows the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The sneak attack left 2,403 Americans dead, and it forced the U.S. into World War II. But despite what many people think, this wouldn't be the last time the Japanese military dropped bombs on U.S. soil.

In February 1942, a Japanese sub fired a couple shells at an oil field near Santa Barbara. Then in June, another sub lobbed some explosives at a fort on the Columbia River. That same year, a pilot named Nobuo Fujita dropped four incendiary bombs into the forests of southern Oregon, hoping to spark massive fires. Thankfully, the woods were just too wet, but tragically, the Japanese had more success with their "fugos," fire balloons that floated across the Pacific Ocean and landed on U.S. soil. While only one of around 6,000 balloons actually killed anyone, that "fugo" claimed the lives of a pregnant woman and five children in Oregon.

Crazier still, the Japanese straight-up invaded the Aleutian Islands and set up bases in the Alaskan Territory, prompting an island-hopping campaign that lasted from June 1942 to August 1943. Of course, the Japanese weren't the only ones trying to bring down the U.S. The Nazis were involved, too, only instead of dropping bombs, they were dropping saboteurs. In 1942, U-boats deposited eight saboteurs in both Florida and New York. These agents planned on destroying as many railroads, bridges, hydroelectric plants, and factories as possible. They even wanted to shut down the Big Apple's water supply. Fortunately, two of the Nazis got cold feet and sold their buddies out to the FBI before any damage was done.

A cow started the Great Chicago Fire

One of the worst disasters in American history, the Great Chicago Fire raged for two days in October 1871. By the time it died down, 300 people were dead and around 100,000 were homeless. The fire had ripped through 2,000 acres, leaving $200 million worth of property in ashes. Naturally, when something this horrible happens, people want a scapegoat, and unfortunately, the survivors turned on Catherine O'Leary, an Irish immigrant who made her living selling milk. Newspapers claimed O'Leary had been milking one of her cows on October 8 when either she or the animal knocked over a lantern that started the blaze. Needless to say, these stories didn't do much for O'Leary's popularity.

In response, O'Leary said she'd been asleep when the fire started and that she never milked cows in the evening. Shortly after the fire, an official inquiry stated there was no way to prove who or what started the fire, but that didn't stop people from blaming Mrs. O'Leary and her kicking scapecow. When she finally died in 1895, people said it was of a broken heart. (There's no word on how the cow felt about all this.) Even to this day, it's widely believed that O'Leary's bovine started the blaze.

However, several reporters who first leveled the accusation admitted they'd either made up the story or heard the tale from super-unreliable witnesses. Couple that with the findings of the 1871 investigation, and it's beginning to look like there was no cow-spiracy on the part of Catherine O'Leary, even though the fire did start somewhere in her area. In fact, some have recently come to suspect her neighbor, Daniel Sullivan, who first reported the fire, as many parts of his story don't stand up under scrutiny. Regardless of who or what was at fault, the Chicago City Council realized there was no good reason to blame O'Leary, so in 1997, they cleared both Catherine and her infamous cow.

Only whites owned slaves

According to historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., by 1860, there were 4.4 million black people in the United States, and and 3.9 million of them were slaves. It is definitely true that the vast majority were bought, owned, and brutalized by white people. However, even though they were in the minority, there were a surprising number of slave owners who actually weren't white.

For example, wanting to fit in with white society, wealthy members of the Cherokee nation owned around 4,600 black slaves. And in an ironic twist of fate, when they were forced down the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee forced 2,000 black people to go with them. According to Vocativ, the tribe even sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War because they didn't want to lose their slaves.

Stranger still, in 1830, about 3,700 black freedmen owned slaves. In fairness, many bought their own family members to protect them, but that wasn't always the case. Take William Ellison, for example. One of the wealthiest men in South Carolina, Ellison was a black man who used his 63 slaves to work his 900 acres of property. And he wasn't at all concerned with keeping friends and family members safe. This guy just wanted free labor to keep that cash coming in.

And before Ellison was even born, there was Anthony Johnson, a black man who won a court decision in 1654 to keep a black indentured servant as a slave. As historian R. Halliburton Jr. points out, this was "one of the first known legal sanctions of slavery," helping to set a terrible precedent that would only end with the deadliest war in U.S. history.

Slaves never fought back

If slavery in America lasted around 250 years, why weren't there more slave revolts? Sure, there was Nat Turner's rebellion and the Amistad mutiny, but other than those two super-famous incidents, why didn't more slaves fight back against their captors? Well, they totally did. Some historians estimate there were over 300 revolts and conspiracies, and while most of those were put down violently, a few were surprisingly successful.

For example, there was the Stono Rebellion of 1739, where around 100 slaves overthrew their white masters and fled for Spanish Florida, where slavery was illegal. Tragically, these heroes were cut down by the English, but the group made history with the biggest slave rebellion in the 13 colonies. Then there was the German Coast Uprising of 1811, where slaves attacked a militia warehouse, armed themselves to the teeth, and tried to capture New Orleans. They were defeated after two days, and around 100 black prisoners had their heads cut off and placed on poles along the side of a road.

There was the time when 300 slaves teamed up with 20 Native Americans to seize a Florida fort, and there was the 1800 incident where Gabriel Prosser assembled an army of 1,000 slaves but was undermined by a traitor and bad weather. In 1842, blacks turned on their Cherokee and Creek masters and made a brave but futile run for the Mexican border. On a happier note, in 1841, slaves aboard the ship Creole staged a mutiny and sailed to freedom in the Bahamas. And if you want to look outside the U.S., in 1791, Toussaint L'Ouverture sparked a massive slave rebellion in Haiti, leading to the country's independence.

On a smaller scale, there are an untold number of incidents where individual slaves stood up to their cruel masters. Before escaping to freedom, abolitionist Frederick Douglass actually went hand-to-hand with an overseer named Edward Covey. When Covey pulled out a whip, Douglass started throwing punches, and the two actually fought to a tie, proving that badass slaves weren't just something Quentin Tarantino dreamed up for Django Unchained.

The guillotine was named after its inventor

First used in 1792, the guillotine hacked off around 15,000 heads during the French Revolution, but even after Robespierre and his posse were put down, the French government kept this razor-bladed invention around, using it to behead bad guys until its final kill in 1977, the same years Star Wars hit theaters.

But how did this horrific device gets its unusual name? It got its moniker from Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, but despite what some think, he didn't actually invent the machine. In fact, he didn't even like the idea of capital punishment. But in the early days of the French Revolution, Guillotin hoped to make the death penalty less painful by proposing a machine that could cleanly chop off someone's head in mere seconds. As a member of the French National Assembly, he pitched his idea in 1789, but the job of actually inventing the device fell to Dr. Antoine Louis, a surgeon and secretary at the prestigious Academy of Medicine.

After Louis designed the device — probably inspired by earlier machines like the Halifax Gibbet and the Scottish Maiden — it was assembled by a German guy named Tobias Schmidt. The completed product was labeled the "Louisette" or the "Louison" after its inventor, and it was tested on human bodies before claiming its first victim in 1792. However, because Guillotin was the man who originally proposed the idea, and thanks to a popular songs incorrectly asserting he was the creator, people soon started calling the device "le guillotine."

Naturally, Guillotin wasn't a fan, but what could the man do? "Guillotine" was way catchier than "Louisette." After he died a natural death at 75, his family begged the French government to rename the machine. But when the government said no, the Guillotins changed their own name, hoping to distance themselves from those 15,000 decapitated corpses.

Deep Throat was the man who brought down Nixon

The Watergate cover-up is possibly the most notorious political scandal in U.S. history, one that brought down a president and completely changed the way Americans viewed their government. And when people recall the incredible events that led to Richard Nixon's resignation, they often picture a mysterious man lurking in the shadows of a parking garage, a secret informant who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover a real-life conspiracy.

For years, this undercover agent was known solely as "Deep Throat" (both a nod to his role as "deep background" and to an adult film of the same name), and thanks to both the book and movie adaptation of All the President's Men, this enigmatic figure became a permanent part of the American consciousness. (For proof, just watch The X-Files.) Eventually, his true identity was revealed in 2005 as Mark Felt, the second highest-ranking member of the FBI during the 1970s. But even if Felt had never come forward, Deep Throat would have always been remembered as "the man who brought down the White House."

Only that's not exactly how it happened.

While Deep Throat was an important player in the Watergate story, his role in Nixon's downfall has been massively overblown. As it turns out, Deep Throat mostly didn't provide Woodward and Bernstein with information they didn't already know. Instead, as Bernstein explained, "Deep Throat largely confirmed information we had already gotten from other sources." Both reporters also made it clear they had "several dozen" sources pointing them in the right direction, not just Felt, and Woodward even went so far as to tell the Associated Press that "this portrait of [Deep Throat] as 'the man who brought down the White House' just isn't accurate."

Martin Luther King Jr. was always against violence

Martin Luther King Jr.'s name is synonymous with noble ideas like "civil disobedience" and "nonviolent resistance." Along with Mahatma Gandhi, King wrote the playbook on how to peacefully resist a totalitarian government, as demonstrated by his campaigns in Birmingham and Selma. During these marches, King and his followers never fought back, even when they were arrested, blasted with fire hoses, and beset by dogs. But everyone's opinions evolve over time, and while he eventually became America's most famous pacifist, Dr. King wasn't always so eager to turn the other cheek.

King first became a national figure thanks to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. After Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, King organized the resistance movement that forced the city of Montgomery to integrate its bus systems. Needless to say, the boycott didn't win King any fans in the racist community, and as a result, someone bombed the reverend's house in February 1956. But instead of letting things slide, King decided he would be ready the next time someone came for him or his family.

After the attack, armed guards kept a vigilant eye on King, and he applied for a concealed carry permit. As you might expect, his application was denied, but that didn't stop King from stockpiling guns. The man's house was full of firearms (according to Professor Adam Winkler, one of King's advisers described the place as "an arsenal"), and once a journalist visiting the King home almost sat on the pastor's loaded pistol. Eventually, King would change his mind on the matter and get rid of his weapons, but for a brief moment, one of the most peaceful men on the planet was packing a whole lot of heat.

Europeans introduced scalping to Native Americans

When Europeans arrived in North America, they didn't exactly hit it off with their new new neighbors. Some historians believe 20 million Native Americans were murdered by Old World weapons and European illnesses, but there was savagery on both sides, especially when it came to the subject of scalping. However, many believe Native Americans learned the awful art of taking scalps from their European enemies. In fact, there's a common belief that before white settlers showed up, Native Americans never even considered the idea of lifting somebody's scalp.

In reality, certain Native American tribes were taking scalps long before white people showed up, but Europeans also had their own bloody history when it came to skinning enemies. As pointed out by Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope, whites were scalping people "from the Stone Age till as late as 1036 in England." On the flip side, in North America, archaeologists have found scalped skulls dating back to 1325 A.D., long before Columbus and company arrived. Historians have even discovered evidence that scalping occurred before the Vikings sailed across the Atlantic. And as historian James Axtell writes, when Europeans first showed up, they found certain tribes like the Delaware, Mohawks, and Algonquins already had scalping down to an art.

However once the Europeans moved in, everybody stepped up their scalping game. When white settlers arrived in the New World, they put out bounties for the hair of their Native American enemies, encouraging tribes that had never practiced scalping before to take up a new bloody hobby. (Plus, there were plenty of white people who paid their bills by scalping Native victims.) And with white people handing out cash for human trophies, scalping became widespread across North America, resulting in a whole lot of people on both sides winding up with incredibly close haircuts.

The Alamo was Mexican villains vs. American heroes

The battle at the Alamo is usually taught as a bunch of heroic white Americans fighting for freedom against the dastardly Mexicans. You picture John Wayne standing stoically, a perfect American hero brave enough to fight to the death. Sadly, that barely resembles what happened.

When Mexico gained independence in 1821, they weren't sure what to do with Texas. Eventually, they offered the land to Americans to live cheaply and tax-free for seven years as long as they swore allegiance to Mexico and became Catholic. So, pick up a rosary and get a big Texas ranch? A lot of Americans took them up on the offer.

Mexico was so eager to settle Texas, they even let landowners keep slaves. Slavery had been abolished in Mexico for years, but they were willing to bend the rules for slave-loving white guys. By 1830, Americans outnumbered Mexicans in the Texas area five to one. President Santa Anna issued a stop on immigration from the US, but those pesky American illegal immigrants kept pouring in. By 1834, Mexico started getting rid of illegal aliens. Since it seemed heartless and rude to remove peaceful immigrants who simply wanted a better life in Mexico, Texas got ready to fight for independence.

At one point, David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Travis got to the Alamo, a decaying fortress the Texans had seized from Mexico, to join the fight for freedom. Here's where things divert from history class. These three men weren't ideal heroes. Bowie was a slave smuggler and con man, though he got along well with the Tejano community of the state. Travis was a lawyer who didn't care for the Mexican people who lived in the Mexican territory. Crockett was the closest to his fictional counterpart. A very popular military man who served in Congress, Crockett was a charming celebrity of the age. Still, it's unlikely he killed him a "bar" when he was only three.

When the battle of the Alamo commenced, it was far from a war of white versus brown. Tejanos, Americans, native Mexican Indians who spoke no Spanish, and slaves all fought for the side of Texas. Santa Anna was brutal, and in the end, most of the American soldiers fought to their death. Santa Anna burned their bodies in a heap in front of the destroyed mission as a lesson to future rebels.

Texans spread the word of the Alamo and greatly exaggerated the tale. When the rebels and Santa Anna's men fought again, the Texan soldiers killed any Mexicans they could find, whether they were soldiers or not. The Smithsonian Magazine wrote that a young Mexican drummer boy asked for his life and died for the request. The slaughter in the name of the Alamo was just as bad as the battle of the Alamo itself, if not much worse. And the efforts of all the brave Tejanos, slaves, Indians, and all the other non-white people were completely erased from history.


majsdesaint Posted on November 09, 2018 17:02

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Man Utd news: Paulo Dybala teases Paul Pogba to Juventus transfer

MANCHESTER UNITED Paul Pogba continues to be linked with a return to Juventus - and former team-mate Paulo Dybala wants the move to happen.

The close friends reunited in Turin this week as Jose Mourinho's side snatched three points from the Italian outfit late on. Pogba didn't enjoy the best of games at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday but Dybala was still keen to talk about the Frenchman at full-time. "It was great to see to see Paul again because we're good friends," he told reporters.

"The first game [at Old Trafford] was amazing for me, and the second for him.

"But it was just nice to play against him.

"We have remained in touch since he left [Juventus].

"We're still very close and who knows, maybe in the future we can play together again on the same team..."

Man Utd news: Paul Pogba and Paulo Dybala have remained good friends (Pic: Getty)

Man Utd news: Paul Pogba and Paulo Dybala won numerous trophies at Juventus (Pic: Getty)

However, not everyone believes Pogba will end up at Juventus for a second time.

Speaking after the European clash this week, Tony Cascarino insisted players at the Italian outfit will have been unimpressed by Pogba's display.

“When this game finished last night, and the Juventus players were talking to each other in the dressing room, they would all have said the same thing: 'This is the not the same Paul Pogba who used to play here'," he wrote in the Times.

“He is nowhere near the player we used to know.

Man Utd news: Paul Pogba could leave next summer (Pic: Getty)

”It was not as though Pogba was disastrously bad last night, constantly losing the ball.

“It was more that he was simply playing within himself, happier to do a trick every now and again than to have an effect on the game.

“He was second best in almost every moment he was involved — though he made a nuisance of himself for the winner.”

And the Juventus striker teased a possible transfer for Pogba, saying he hopes to one day play on the same team as the 25-year-old again.

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 13:27

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Rare 50p coin sells for nearly £300 on eBay

A RARE 50p coin has sold for a whopping £290 on eBay – and Royal Mint has just released a new batch.

Millions of Brits collect coins and often rare ones can sell for hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds. The rarer the coin the more sought after and valuable it becomes. The coin in question, is a 50p piece which was produced in 2003 and features treasured Christmas character The Snowman. The commemorative coin was launched on the Isle of Man and only 10,000 were ever minted.  It was released as a limited-edition coin to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the much-loved classic The Snowman by children's author and illustrator Raymond Briggs.

The highest price the festive coin has fetched on eBay recently is £292 after 29 people bid for it at the end of October. And it rarely sells for less than £200 when one of the rare coins makes its way onto the auction website. The 50p coin – which is technically only worth its face value of 50p – was produced by the Pobjoy Mint in Surrey, which used to make all of the Isle of Man's coins and banknotes until last year.

**Rare coins: How to find out if your UK coins are worth THOUSANDS**

SOUGHT AFTER: The coin is sold for hundreds on eBay despite being worth 50p (Pic: eBay)

NEW: The colourful coins were released by the Royal Mint today (Pic: Royal Mint)

The coin was re-released in 2008 with the same design but it never entered general circulation.

And this week three new Snowman 50p coins were released by Royal Mint – and two of them sold out within hours.

They won't enter general circulation though so there's little chance of one of these valuable coins ending up in your spare change.

The Snowman coins aren't the only valuable 50ps around.

BUSINESS: Selling coins and notes has become popular in the past couple of years (Pic: Getty)

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 12:54

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Pyramid in Trafalgar Square and airport over Thames: The London landmarks that NEVER WERE

A HUGE pyramid in Trafalgar Square and an airport over the River Thames next to the Houses of Parliament are among the bizarre landmarks which were planned for London but never built.

Some of the capital's most ambitious construction projects which never saw the light of day but would have transformed the city's skyline have been revealed. In a series of pictures created by property development company Barratt Homes, it is possible to see what the city would look like if those plans had been realised. Among the most astonishing designs for London was a 300ft pyramid to be built in the middle of Trafalgar Square.

Designed in the 1820s, the pyramid would have commemorated Britain's victories in the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of the Nile. With 22 steps, the building was to pay tribute to each year of the two Anglo-French wars. Back in 1934, plans were drawn up for an airport built over the River Thames right next to the Houses of Parliament. The huge landing field would have stretched 700m (0.4 miles) from Westminster Bridge to Lambeth Bridge.

Lifts were to be built into the huge pillars to take passengers from the ground to the runway, while the airport would have been high enough above the Thames to allow ships to pass underneath.

Crystal Palace Park in Sydenham, southeast London was once home to a huge glass and iron structure built in 1851 for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.

The mammoth structure — which became known as Crystal Palace — stood until 1936 when it was destroyed by a catastrophic fire.

But before the building was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham, plans were made as to what to do with it.

One unbelievable idea put forward was to create a 1,000ft skyscraper with a lift in the middle to carry visitors.

Once at the top, visitors would have been treated to an incredible view across the city, taller than the Shard is today.

But unfortunately, the structure was never built, and modern architects believe it would most likely have collapsed under its own weight.

Traffic in the heavily-congested city was a problem for Londoners in the past just as it is today.

FUTURISTIC: The designs for the Westminster Airport were originally set out in a magazine (Pic: POPULAR SCIENCE)

And in the 1960s, one scheme was for a Central London Monorail to carry passengers above the city's streets.

The Carlton Hotel was one of the capital's most luxurious establishments until it was badly damaged by bombing during World War 2.

Built in 1899, the elegant site on the corner of the Haymarket and Pall Mall was closed in 1940 and finally demolished in 1957 when it was replaced by the High Commission of New Zealand.

But in another new image, we can see what London would look like if the beautiful hotel still stood.

Barratt Homes described the designs as: "Five of the most jaw-dropping designs that would have completely changed the landscape of London."

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 12:48

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Crazy things women couldn't do 50 years ago

The year 2017 has not been without its challenges when it comes to women's rights. Federal defunding of Planned Parenthood and government mandates threatening birth control coverage benefits have spurred women's marches all over the country. And while these demonstrations have certainly been enough to prompt concern about women's equality in our country, it's also important to remember just how far we've come.

It's hard to believe that in the 1960s, which doesn't even seem that long ago, women weren't allowed many things that we take for granted today. Here are some crazy things women were unable to do just 50 years ago. 

Get their own credit card

With the current number of banks out there, you don't have to look far these days to find somebody who is willing to give you a credit card, even if your credit score is less than perfect. But ask a woman trying to get a credit card in the 1960s and she'll probably have a very different story to tell. 

According to an article in Smithsonian, just 40 years ago women applying for credit cards could be inundated with a slew of personal questions, including if she was married or single and whether or not she planned on having children. Many banks also required women to have a man co-sign their credit card applications. 

Even Hillary Clinton recalls once being denied a credit card. "I got a letter back saying that I could not apply for my own credit card, I would have to use my husband's. And so this is not like ancient history," she said in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "And I was making more money than he was and I actually was ready to have my own credit card."

Serve on a jury

According to the Library of Congress, a female juror was practically fiction. Even after the passage of the 19th amendment, which qualified women as "electors," it took some time before states passed legislature to have them included in jury selection. Until that happened in 1957, women were only called to serve on very rare occasions, typically involving female defendants. It wasn't until 1973 that women were finally allowed to serve in juries across all 50 states. 

Get birth control

The FDA approved birth control as a contraceptive in 1960 but, according to Planned Parenthood, many states, including Connecticut, didn't actually allow doctors to prescribe it. It was then that Estelle Griswold, an activist for birth control access and then-executive director for Connecticut's Planned Parenthood, opened a health center that provided birth control, which resulted in her immediate arrest. Her case went to the Supreme Court and in 1965, birth control became legal for married women. Griswold v. Connecticut set the momentum for other cases, including Roe v. Wade, which protects the private medical decisions of women, including the right to abortion. 

Access the morning-after pill

Like birth control, emergency contraceptives, also known as the morning after pill, had their fair share of setbacks. According to CNN, the FDA approved the first emergency contraceptive kit in 1998. Since then, as many as 5.8 million women have reported using the morning after pill at least once to prevent pregnancy, according to USA Today.

Join the Ivy League

If you had the privilege of attending a school like Harvard or Yale, count your blessings because, unfortunately, women in the 1960s (and before that) weren't quite as lucky. In fact, Yale didn't become coeducational until the fall of 1969. Other institutions took even longer. Columbia University, for instance, recently celebrated 25 years of coeducation. According to Columbia's community newspaper The Record, the university was an all-male institution until 1983. 

And while Radcliffe College at Harvard was founded in 1879 "to furnish instruction and the opportunities of collegiate life to women and to promote their higher education," women and men were still taught separately until most classes became coed in 1946 and then finally, in the 1960s, Harvard degrees were given to Radcliffe women (signed by both Harvard and Radcliffe presidents). Still, it wasn't until 1999 that Radcliffe officially merged with Harvard. 

Attend military academy

In the 1960s, getting into military academy was equally as impossible as attending an Ivy League university for women. The United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, probably the most well-known military training academy in the country, first welcomed women cadets in 1976 — that's just 40 years ago! 

"Of the 119 women entering that day, I suspect all of us, along with the men, can say those days were life-changing," retired Col. Debra M. Lewis, said in an interview with the U.S. Army. 

Keep their jobs while pregnant

Maternity leave policies in the U.S. are far from perfect, but can you believe that 50 years ago, you could actually be denied a job if you were pregnant? Even worse, a company could fire you for becoming pregnant. It wasn't until the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 that pregnancy discrimination became illegal. Since then, companies have been forbidden by law to discriminate based on pregnancy when it comes to employment — including hiring, firing, pay, etc. 

Complain about sexual harassment at work

The workplace was far from friendly for women 50 years ago. In addition worrying about losing your job if you became pregnant, you would have also had zero protection against sexual harassment in the office. According to Time, the term "sexual harassment" was first coined in 1975 by a group of women at Cornell University when Carmita Wood, a former employee at the university, filed a claim for unemployment benefits. Wood had quit her job after her unwelcome touching from her supervisor. By 1977, multiple courts ruled that it was legal for a woman to sue her employer on the basis of harassment. 

Deny sex to their husbands

As if the possibility of being harassed without consequence isn't scary enough, women weren't always protected from being raped either. In fact, marital rape was not recognized as a crime until the 1970s. According to Time, the first spousal rape conviction is believed to have happened in Salem, Massachusetts, when a drunk bartender showed up at the home he once shared with his estranged wife and raped her. 

Practice law

Famous female lawyers like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor, and Sandra Day O'Connor make it easy to forget that 50 years ago, having a law career was virtually impossible for a woman. According to a report published by Cornell University, in the 1960s, NYU reported that 90 percent of the law firms contacting its placement office refused even to interview women. 

Box in the Olympics

In the past 50 years, women have continued to shatter glass ceilings across all industries and sports is no exception. In 2012, the Olympics made history when they officially added women's boxing to its roster of competitions. "I am delighted that London 2012 will take its place in the Olympic tradition of advancing women in sport," Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organizing Committee, said in an interview with The New York Times. 

We are delighted too, but just a little sad that it took until 2012.

Still a long way to go

Despite the many challenges women still face in the world today, there's no doubt that we've made significant strides toward equality in the last 50 years. Every day, strong women continue to fight for equal pay, fair maternity leave policies, and the freedom to make decisions about our own bodies. As long as we continue to work together toward progress, we will reach our goals. If there's one thing that history has taught us, it's that a determined woman can change history.


majsdesaint Posted on November 09, 2018 12:24

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Surprising things men found attractive 50 years ago

Fifty years doesn't seem like a very long time in the vast scheme of things, but it's enough time for things to have drastically changed. The differences between the late 1960s and today go beyond the obvious, such as the astonishing technological advances that have been made since then. Beauty standards were also shockingly different, reflecting the turbulence of the era. Here are some of the most surprising things that men found attractive 50 years ago.

Light skin

Racism was rampant in the 1960s, although the Civil Rights Movement helped to create significant change by the end of the decade. Anti-miscegenation laws, which had prevented people in several states from marrying those of another race, were struck down in 1967. In spite of the reforms made in the 1960s, racial prejudice was still prevalent. By the 1960s, the Miss America Pageant still didn't allow African-American contestants. In 1968, a Miss Black America Pageant was held on the same day as the Miss America Pageant in response to the organization's discrimination. It would be another two years before an African-American woman, Cheryl Browne, won a state title in the Miss America Pageant competition.

Even within the African-American community, a preference for lighter skin was apparent, although this slowly began to change in the 1960s with people embracing their skin color. Things are a little better today, but there is still discrimination against those with darker skin. A 2016 Time article said even in modern times "dark skin is demonized and light skin wins the prize" because of the "deeply entrenched racism" of the United States.

Rail-thin bodies

For a time, it looked like fuller figures would be, if not the dominant ideal of beauty, at least an accepted standard. In the 1950s and early 1960s, voluptuous women like Marilyn Monroe were cultural icons. Still, "there was also a significant move toward slimness," wrote Sarah Grogan in Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children. As the decade progressed, the slim trend became more pronounced, becoming "particularly acute… when the fashion Model Twiggy became the role model for a generation of young women." As time went on, "models became thinner and thinner," wrote Grogan.

Flat chests

As models became thinner, curves became less desirable. It was in the late 1960s when the obsession with eliminating cellulite began. Linda Przybyszewski wrote in The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish that at this time "curvaceous women were passed over in favor of underweight teenagers."

The desire to be thin led to a preoccupation with weight, especially among younger girls. "Before the 1920s, teenagers worried about becoming better people," wrote Przybyszewski. By the 1960s, however, "weight loss became the primary obsession."

Flat butts

The desire for flatter chests correlated with an obsession for smaller butts. Przybyszewski wrote that the fear of cellulite caused women to do anything they could to eliminate "what they identified as water, wastes, and fat trapped inside women's hips and thighs." One woman who was written about in Vogue magazine in the late 1960s "managed to reduced her 39-inch hips down to 34 inches through exercise, 'standing correctly,' and using 'a special rolling pin.'" Such regimens were typical in the late 1960s. "If you didn't want to rub your butt yourself," wrote Przybyszewski, "you hired a masseuse to do it for you."

The desire for more boyish figures was not entirely to please men or to conform to fashion. Battleground: The Media, edited by Robin Andersen and Jonathan Alan Gray, noted that "the changing shape of women's bodies has in many ways served to reflect larger cultural values." Throughout history, "a thin, straight figure was prized" at times "when women were striving to demonstrate their equality."

Exposed legs

In Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century, Akiko Fukai wrote that "the young found that displaying their physique was the most effective means of setting themselves apart from the older generation." The miniskirt came into vogue as "bare legs… developed through various conceptual stages in the 1960s."

As hemlines rose, more attention was paid to the length and shape of a woman's legs. In Women of the 1960s: More Than Mini Skirts, Pills and Pop Music, author Sheila Hardy wrote that many women felt they "did not have the legs for a miniskirt." The emphasis 1960s fashion placed on women's legs also influenced shoe styles. Tall, pointed boots came into fashion, off-setting the short skirts of the era.


Coinciding with the preference for more boyish figures was the rise of unisex clothing and androgynous styles. This echoed a similar trend from the 1920s, when "androgyny [began to be] associated with the search for greater independence for women," wrote Rebecca Arnold in Fashion, Desire and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the 20th Century. Arnold wrote that the rise of androgyny in the 1960s helped to "denote freedoms gained and the rejection of a preceding claustrophobic femininity."

Perhaps even more interesting is that this inclination towards androgyny was also adopted by men. PBS noted that "for a brief time, mostly in 1968, unisex was everywhere, and with it came a fair amount of confusion in the media." The piece went on to quote Everett Mattlin, who, in 1968 wrote in the Chicago Tribune that "the whole male-female relationship is confused." Traditional gender roles were beginning to evolve at this time, which Mattlin believed could lead to a "healthier climate."

The Lolita look

The suppression of women's curves led to the popularity of what Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960's and 70's, edited by Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle, called a "prepubescent look." Lithe, young-looking Lolita types like Twiggy dominated the fashion world. This "look of exaggerated youthfulness expressed the associated sensibility that maturity, in dress or behavior, was a dirty word, a sign of premature death, and therefore something to be warded off as long as possible."

According to The Mancunion, the 1960s have today "become a symbol for the social conflict between the old and the new." The "Lolita look" embodied the spirit of the era, representing youth and vigor.

Going braless

The rebellion against traditional gender norms was also evidenced in women's undergarments. By the late 1960s, many women were going braless as "a political, protest move symbolizing freedom and rejection of traditional views of femininity," wrote The Lala.

Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent contributed to making going braless not just a form of protest but also a fashion trend. His sheer designs were always modeled by women who wore no undergarments beneath them. This, too, was a political statement. Dazed wrote that "the decision was less about pleasing the onlooker, and more about asserting equality between the sexes."

Long, straight hair

The time period was noted for a departure from formality and tradition. In Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism, Linda M. Scott wrote that there was a "preference for long, straight hair" in the late 1960s. Many men also wore their hair long at this time. The changing hairstyles weren't just about following fashion. For many, they were also "acts of rebellion against the highly constructed female hairdos and very short male haircuts of the previous generation."


The 1960s might have been a time of change, but ads from the era show that women were still expected to be homemakers and sex objects. In spite of the great strides made towards gender and racial equality, women still did not have the same rights as men. Even by the end of the decade, it was legal for a bank to deny an unmarried woman a credit card — married women were often required to have their husbands co-sign. Some states still banned women from serving on juries. 

When it came to higher education, attending an Ivy League school was incredibly rare for women in this decade. The University of Pennsylvania and Cornell both allowed women to attend as of the 1870s, but only in special circumstances. Yale and Princeton didn't start accepting women until 1969, while Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth held out until the 1970s. Columbia didn't offer admission to women until 1981.

In The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, Betty Friedan summed up the frustration of the generation, writing, "A woman today has been made to feel freakish and alone and guilty if, simply, she wants to be more than her husband's wife."


A lot of people envision the 1960s as a decade long booze-fest where day drinking (especially at work) was the norm. While this is partially true, it was far more acceptable for men to indulge in multiple alcoholic beverages each day than women. More and more women were moving away from conventional gender stereotypes, but women who drank frequently were seen as decidedly unfeminine. A glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail on the weekend was acceptable, but getting drunk was not. 

Warning women not to drink too much was not just a societal pressure, but one that was backed up by public service announcements of the day as well as the mainstream media. "People think of the woman drunk as an old hag," warned the Saturday Evening Post in 1962. "Among men, heavy drinking is often taken as a sign of virility, and the phrase, 'Drunk as a lord,' is a tribute. No one ever said approvingly, 'She was drunk as a lady.'" That sentiment still remained true by the end of the decade.


Drinking in excess may have been taboo for women looking to attract a man, but smoking was considered attractive. While a link between smoking and lung cancer had been established years before, the practice was still widespread. In 1964, the surgeon general warned that "Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action."

In spite of such warnings, smoking was largely considered to be glamorous and sophisticated. The tobacco industry targeted women in the 1960s, taking advantage of the growing feminist movement by portraying smoking as the pinnacle of gender equality. Virginia Slims were launched as a women's cigarette in 1968, with the slogan "You've come a long way baby!" Other cigarette ads from the late 1960s show young, attractive women partaking in what is shown as an elegant pastime, conveying the message that women who smoked were refined and sexy.


By the late 1960s, more women were working than ever. While they were making great economic strides, working women faced a certain stigma. It was far more acceptable for single women to work than married women, as a woman's primary duty was still expected to be to her family. In 1967, just 44 percent of married American couples lived in dual income households, compared to more than half of married couples today. Working wives and mothers were thought to destabilize home life and their families. 

History professor Stephanie Coontz told the Harvard Business Review that middle-class women were the most stigmatized, and that if they did choose to enter the workforce they were expected to wait until their children had grown. "And these women — it is hard for modern people to understand just how insecure, how depressed, how a low the self-esteem was of these stay-at-home moms in those days," she said.

By the late 1960s, more women were working than ever. While they were making great economic strides, working women faced a certain stigma. It was far more acceptable for single women to work than married women, as a woman's primary duty was still expected to be to her family. In 1967, just 44 percent of married American couples lived in dual income households, compared to more than half of married couples today. Working wives and mothers were thought to destabilize home life and their families. 

History professor Stephanie Coontz told the Harvard Business Review that middle-class women were the most stigmatized, and that if they did choose to enter the workforce they were expected to wait until their children had grown. "And these women — it is hard for modern people to understand just how insecure, how depressed, how a low the self-esteem was of these stay-at-home moms in those days," she said.

Leg makeup

The rise of the miniskirt meant that women felt the pressure to put their best leg forward. By the mid 1960s, a new trend was emerging: leg makeup. Makeup had been used on legs before, perhaps most notably during World War II when a shortage of stockings propelled women to draw on stocking seams with eyeliner to make it look like their legs weren't bare. The leg makeup of the 1960s, however, was primarily used to cover up flaws that were now exposed thanks to the shorter hemlines of the era. Women would carefully apply makeup to their legs to cover up blemishes before putting on hosiery. Bruises, scars, and other imperfections were covered up with cosmetics, and then further concealed with stockings.

The use of leg makeup shows just how conflicted women in this era were. The women's liberation movement was empowering females, and women were beginning to embrace their bodies, but many of them still felt the pressure to conform to society's beauty standards.

Athletic skills

Athletic women were "in" at the end of the 1960s, but not for the reason that you might think. Athletics were viewed as a way for women to maintain "attractive" figures. Women became more active in sports in the 1960s, especially in high schools and colleges, although women's sports were not considered to be on par with men's sports.

A woman with an athletic physique was considered attractive, but female athletes had a long way to go to be accepted in society. It wasn't until 1972 that the U.S. Congress passed Title IX, which helped secure funding for women's sports. The first female athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, didn't do so until 1987. While female athletes today are considered strong and capable role models, the female athletes of the 1960s were largely viewed as hobbyists whose pastimes were only indulged in order to help them remain slim.


majsdesaint Posted on November 09, 2018 12:08

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All of the photos from behind the scenes at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

  • The 2018 Victoria's Secret show took place in New York on November 8.
  • 60 models walked the runway, all looking impeccably groomed.
  • This meant that there was a lot of getting ready to do.
  • See all the backstage pictures here.

The annual Victoria's Secret show is glamorous, exciting — and controversial. While some argue the parading of unbelievably taut, toned women in glamorous underwear sends a damaging message regarding body image, others believe we should be admiring the models for their impressive dedication to their physiques.

Whatever you think of the concept, however, most of us can't deny a fascination with what goes into creating the spectacle, which is an annual highlight for many. This year, the show took place in New York City on November 8, and it will be broadcast on December 2.

Some of the hottest names in the modelling world today took to the runway, including Adriana Lima, Kendall Jenner, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Candice Swanepoel, Winnie Harlow, Stella Maxwell, and Leomie Anderson. Scroll through the below for a taste of all the secrets, sparkle and selfies from backstage.

Charlotte Tilbury was the official makeup sponsor of the show.

Charlotte Tilbury

The look she'd designed was, appropriately, all about angelic beauty.

Charlotte Tilbury

"It’s an angelic filter to enhance what nature naturally gave you and make you feel like a beautiful, celestial angel… A look that lights up the runway and casts a magic makeup spell on the world!" Tilbury said.

Charlotte Tilbury

Hair stylist Anthony Turner was in charge of creating the famous Victoria's Secret goddess-style curls for the show.

Stella Maxwell

Kris Jenner popped in.

Kris Jenner, Charlotte Tilbury and Kendall Jenner

It was all hands on deck getting everyone ready.

Frida Aasen

There was lots of pampering to be done.

Leomie Anderson

But there was plenty of time for selfies...

Lorena Rae

...and posing.

Alexina Graham, Barbara Palvin, Yasmin Wijnaldum, Mary Katrantzou, Alanna Arrington, Subah Koj, Willow Hand, Mayowa Nicholas, and Leomie Anderson.

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 12:04

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10 creepy photos of 'ghosts' that will make you question everything

Spooky apparitions, spectral children, and wraithlike women in white have long been the subjects of traditional ghost loretold around the hearth — but we all know those are just fables. Right? They say the truth is stranger than fiction, and these 10 creepy photos will have you second-guessing whether they're real or not. Check them out below.

Sybell Corbet's 1891 photo of the Combermere Abbey Library in Cheshire, England, seems to depict the ghost of the late Lord Combermere, sitting in his chair.

The alleged ghost of Lord Combermere in 1891. Amateur photographer Corbet allegedly set up her camera and took this hour-long exposure while the funeral of her brother-in-law, Lord Combermere, was taking place four miles from the home. Interestingly, the apparition that appears to be sitting in the deceased Lord's chair is suggested to be Lord Combermere himself.

This group portrait, taken in 1919, is of Sir Victor Goddard's Royal Air Force squadron, and seems to feature the face of a mechanic who died two days earlier.

Sir Victor Goddard's RAF squadron. This group portrait of Goddard's squadron, which had served in World War I at the HMS Daedalus training facility, is said to feature the ghostly face of Freddy Jackson, a mechanic who had been accidentally killed by an airplane propeller two days earlier. His face is said to be visible behind the airman in the top row, fourth from the left.The photo was allegedly taken on the day of Jackson's funeral.

The photo on the right was said to show the spirit of a deceased terrier reuniting with his canine best friend.

The spirit of the terrier can allegedly be seen in the photograph on the right. According to a 1939 print of LIFE Magazine, the terrier in the left photograph was the beloved playmate of the big dog, pictured right. After the terrier died, the dog on the right was heartbroken. The above right photo was snapped by a psychic photographer of the big dog with its owner, and allegedly shows the spirit of the small terrier hovering directly over the big dog's backside.

This picture of the supposed ghost of Abraham Lincoln with his widow, Mary Lincoln, was taken circa 1870. It is considered one of the first examples of spirit photography.

The ghost of Abraham Lincoln with Mary Lincoln. William Mumler was originally an engraver in Boston who treated photography as a side-hobby. After developing a self-portrait and discovering a surprise "girl made of light" in the final print, he became one of the first spirit photographers— someone whose principal goal is to capture ghosts and spirits in photographs. The title earned him both acclaim and scorn from the spiritualist community. Though many accused him of fraud, no one was able to debunk his methods. The above photo purportedly depicts a shadowy late Abraham Lincoln hovering behind his mourning wife, Mary Lincoln.

William Hope, a premiere pioneer of spirit photography, took this photo of a couple and an alleged female spirit around 1920.

A couple with a young female spirit. Hope was hugely in demand as a medium: families wanting to get in touch with their deceased loved ones sat for his photographs.

As a member of the "Crewe Circle" — a group of spiritualists from Crewe, England — Hope claimed to be able to photograph spirits.

The alleged spirit of Major Leverson. Taken in 1931 by Hope, this picture purportedly depicts the spirit of Mrs. Hortense Leverson's deceased husband hovering behind her head.

Paranormal investigators sought to expose Hope as a fraud in 1922, but his believers never doubted him.

The alleged spirit of William Barrett. Hope was later exposed as a fraud in February 1922; paranormal investigator Harry Price went so far as to write in a report that: "William Hope has been found guilty of deliberately substituting his own [photographic] plates for those of a sitter... It implies that the medium brings to the sitting a duplicate slide and faked plates for fraudulent purposes." In other words, Hope used multiple exposure techniques to add ghostly spirits to photos. Hope's followers and fanbase remained loyal, and even claimed to spot the controversial photographer's ghost in photos after his death.

Originally taken in 1936 by Captain Hubert C. Provand, this photo allegedly shows a ghost that haunts Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England.

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. According to legend, the identity of the ghost in the photograph — the "Brown Lady of Raynham Hall" — is none other than Lady Dorothy Walpole, the sister of the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, Robert Walpole.

According to lore, Walpole — the second wife of Charles Townshend — had an affair with Lord Wharton. When Townshend found out he locked her up in Raynham Hall, where she stayed until her death in 1726. London-based photographer Captain Hubert C. Provand snapped the photo in 1936, where it ran in Country Life magazine later the same year.This photo, taken in 1963, is of a supposed ghost named the "Specter of Newby Church."

Also named the "Newby Monk."

Reverend K. F. Lord/Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use When Reverend K.F. Lord took this photo in 1963 inside the Newby Church in North Yorkshire, England, it was met with skepticism: many believed the apparition was merely the result of a well-done double exposure. Lord maintained that the spectre in the photo wasn't doctored.

Richard Boursnell, a spirit medium and photographer, captured this photo of spiritualist William Thomas Stead and a purported phantom who was identified as Piet Botha, a Boer commandant killed in the South African War.

Richard Boursnell's 1902-photo.

A man named F. C. Barnes visited Boursnell in 1908 and attempted to expose the photographer as a fraud, claiming that he recognized the "phantom" in the photo as an image Boursnell had taken from a book of the late-Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 11:52

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Jealous girlfriend

A JEALOUS girlfriend drove her boyfriend's ex-lover to attempt suicide after posting sexual pictures of her on Instragram.

Businesswoman Rachel Dale, 28, posted the pictures of the unnamed victim during an "impulsive" bout of jealousy. The clothing boss found the graphic images on Alex Montgomery's phone on her birthday – before sharing them with her 2,000 followers and warning the victim they would be "all over the internet tomorrow".  Dale, who lives in a converted corn mill in Stalybridge, deleted them after eight minutes but by then they had circulated on forums.The victim was so devastated she tried to kill herself and required hospital treatment. 

At Tameside Magistrates Court, Greater Manchester, Dale wept as she admitted an offence of disclosing a private sexual photograph with intent to cause distress under ''Revenge Porn laws.'' But as recruitment boss Mr Montgomery watched from the public gallery, she walked free with a suspended jail term after she claimed the offence occurred after she had been redundant from another clothing firm where she had been a retail buyer. 

According to Instagram their business social media site now has 27,400 followers. The court heard Mr Montgomery, 28, had a brief affair with the woman several years ago before he met Dale and she sent various explicit pictures of herself to him.

SELFIE: Dale's post was on Instagram for '8-9 minutes' before she deleted it (Pic: CAVENDISH)

The woman had asked Mr Montgomery to delete the images just a day after she sent them but the court heard the explicit pictures remained on his phone.

Prosecutor Ashley Seetal told JPs: ''In October this year the defendant was in a relationship with Mr Montgomery and she finds these pictures of the victim on his phone before uploading them to Instagram, a popular social media site.

“The Instagram account which the images were uploaded on was a joint Instagram account used by the defendant and Mr Montgomery. This had been set up and was used to promote the defendant and Mr Montgomery’s business which they worked together on. 

“The account had 2,000 followers. These pictures were uploaded and made public, this means that the images can be seen by all 2,000 followers.

"Prior to uploading the images to Instagram, the defendant sent the victim a message and in that message she alluded to posting the pictures online and in one message she said: “they will be all over the internet tomorrow”.

“The images being uploaded of a graphic and intimate area, were shared to a number of group chats and social media chats.  The pictures were up for ten minutes, taken down, then immediately re-uploaded the following afternoon.

POSTED: Dale with boyfriend Alex Montgomery, who received the pictures to his phone (Pic: CAVENDISH)

“The victim did attempt to take her own life, this was a serious attempt and she was taken to hospital and received treatment. 

"The images when posted onto instagram the popular social media site, were viewable to a number of followers and the wider public. There is evidence of serious distress and serious significant psychological harm.” In mitigation, Dale's defence lawyer Gavin Clarke said: “This is a lady who on October 1 this year was in a relationship with her partner for two-and-a-half years.

“They have a shared account due to their business with the purposes of their business together. At 7.29am she has been awoken by a number of images sent from a third party, from the victim, sent to her partner at the time.

RAP: Dale was spared jail at Tameside Magistrates Court (Pic: CAVENDISH)

“She sees these images, graphic and explicit images and various and she is devastated, she is mortified. She then texts the victim and pre warns her. Yes, she does upload those to an Instagram profile. They are up there for 8-9 minutes. They are not up there for eight months, they are not put on a streaming site. 

“They are uploaded to an Instagram account with between 1,500 to 1,600 followers. It was posted for between 8 and 9 minutes at 7.30 in the morning. In terms of how many people who have viewed those, the numbers are going to be extremely limited.

''The person who followed the account would have to be on that account at that time. They would have to be looking at that particular account.

"There is no preplanning, this is a spur of the moment. This young lady, as soon as she calmed down, she realised the error of her way and took it down, that’s the end of the story." Dale was sentenced to 12 weeks jail suspended for a year and was ordered to pay £200 in costs and surcharges. She did not comment after the hearing. 

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 10:54

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A Russian troll farm set an elaborate social media trap for the midterms — and no one bit

Nov. 8, 2018 / 12:06 AM GMT

By Ben Collins

A website claiming to be run by an infamous Russian disinformation group announced on Tuesday that it had executed another influence campaign before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections — only its reach appeared to be far smaller than similar efforts before the 2016 election.

The website, claiming to be a part of Russia’s Internet Research Agency, or IRA, revealed dozens of Instagram accounts on a website called shortly before polls began to close on Tuesday. The website also claimed it knew the results of the election, despite having obvious errors such as predicting a win by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who did not run for re-election.

The website drew little attention despite efforts to tip journalists to its presence, and a survey by NBC News of social media accounts associated with the website showed that the campaign appeared to have had far less reach than the 2016 campaign that garnered millions of social media interactions and even tricked mainstream news outlets.

The campaign’s relatively low impact left some experts wondering if Russia’s ability to manipulate social media campaigns is diminishing — or if the country’s multimillion-dollar influence campaign was bluffing after what appeared to be a failed disinformation operation.

Clint Watts, a former FBI agent who is an NBC News contributor, said the website along with the Twitter accounts and YouTube videos associated with it appeared to be the final part of a weekslong strategy aimed at baiting American media outlets into amplifying talking points about Russia’s election hacking threat.

Watts said inflating the impact of operations is “as old as any Soviet disinformation strategy.”

“When they’re overt and sloppy, they’re trying to convince you of something they didn’t actually do,” Watts said. “When they’re covert and they’re found out later, they’re trying to convince you of something they’re actually trying to do.”

“They’re also trying to show, ‘A-ha, these social media companies can’t stop us.’”

55 Savushkina street in Saint Petersburg, Russia, a location used by the Internet Research Agency .Google Street View

The IRA emerged in the aftermath of the 2016 election as the primary source of Russia’s election meddling efforts. Thirteen IRA employees based in St. Petersburg were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in February for meddling in the 2016 election, and another employee of the Kremlin-funded group was indicted last month for meddling in the midterms.

On Monday, Facebook announced it had taken down dozens of accounts on Instagram after a tip from law enforcement. NBC News flagged the IRA website to Facebook when it posted the names of the accounts on Tuesday.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that some of the accounts listed on were the same ones pulled from Instagram. Other accounts listed on the site, which had evaded detection, were pulled off of Instagram late Tuesday night by Facebook. Facebook cited U.S. government intelligence that had identified some of the accounts in its determination that the accounts were created by the IRA.

On Tuesday night, the Department of Homeland Security said foreign influence campaigns remained active around the election.

The troll accounts ran the political gamut from fake liberal fan pages that supported CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert to accounts purporting to be run by far-right Infowars fans. Apolitical accounts trying to cast a wide net — like one called Fit Black Queens, which mostly posted women in workout clothes and had more than 1 million interactions — and far-right conspiracy accounts appeared to gain the most traction. Many of the new IRA accounts trafficked in the same tropes from the 2016 election, but have had less reach.


On Election Day, the website flaunted a massive influence campaign it claims went undetected, but did not provide much evidence as to its effectiveness.

"Whether you vote or not, there is no difference as we control the voting and counting systems. Remember, your vote has zero value," read text on the website. "Facebook and intelligence agencies tried to stop us but they only managed to uncover 1/25 of the whole picture."

Alex Stamos, a former Facebook chief security officer and now an MSNBC contributor, said that the midterms influence operation “looks like an effort by the Russian troll factory to try to turn lemons into lemonade,” and drum up fear in the American electorate.


“Most of the posts we observed looked to be aimed at building audiences to be manipulated later, which would be consistent with past Russian Internet Research Agency operations,” Stamos said.

Before polls closed, the IRA site also posted a spreadsheet claiming to know the results of every Senate contest in advance.

“The list of projected winners was laughably incorrect,” Stamos said.

The people behind the website also appeared to try to stir up media coverage for the influence campaign. An NBC News reporter was sent a link to the website in a Twitter direct message on Sunday night. ThinkProgress disinformation reporter Casey Michel also received a message.

“Do you still worry about Russians controlling your selection? That is true. We’re still doing it and no one, including Mueller, can stop us,” the direct message read. The Twitter account associated with the direct message was suspended on Monday.

Last week, a Russian troll, who had appeared in several anti-Hillary Clinton videos before the 2016 election, resurfaced in a new YouTube video that was quickly pulled down by the company. In the video, the man said that his name was “Williams” and that he was trying to flee Russia but wasn’t allowed to defect and feared for his future in the country. A Twitter account claiming to be from “Williams” sent the video to several disinformation reporters last week before it was suspended by Twitter.

Independent disinformation researcher Josh Russell, who first identified hundreds of IRA accounts on Twitter and Reddit and who also received a message from “Williams” last week, said he was grateful that mainstream media didn’t bite on what he considered to be an obvious disinformation trap.

He also said the fact that foreign agents were able to create dozens of fake Instagram accounts without detection from the company shows that social media platforms are still far too susceptible to foreign disinformation campaigns.

“When you take a step back and look at what they were trying to accomplish in the midterms, it wasn’t to really directly sway anyone within these groups,” Russell said. “It was to build a set of accounts they could throw out to the public after the election and say, ‘Hey, we’ve been here the whole time.’”

Ben Collins

Ben Collins covers disinformation, extremism and the internet for NBC News.

Luke Posted on November 08, 2018 15:37

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Mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California

Nov. 8, 2018 / 8:39 AM GMT / Updated 3:18 PM GMT

By Alexander Smith, Pete Williams, Andrew Blankstein and Alastair Jamieson

Twelve people including a police officer were killed by a veteran of the Marines at a crowded bar in Thousand Oaks, California, late Wednesday, officials said.

Several hundred people were inside the venue, which was hosting a "college country night" for students, police said.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described the incident at the Borderline Bar and Grill as a "tragic, tragic situation."

'I'm scared:' Eyewitness describes seeing shooter inside Borderline Bar

Nov. 8, 201801:49

The shooter was found dead at the scene from a gunshot wound. Dean named the suspect as Ian Long, 28, who is a veteran of the Marines. Several law enforcement officials had earlier said he was aged 29.

Long has a history of run-ins with the police as recently as April this year, when deputies were called to his house after reports of a disturbance, Dean said.

Long was "somewhat irate," and "acting a little irrationally," according to the sheriff, but he was assessed by a mental health specialist who cleared him and didn't feel further action could be taken.

Other than that, police have had "several contacts" with Long over the years, described by Dean as "minor events" such as a traffic collision and he was a victim of a battery at a local bar in 2015.

Police were at his house Thursday morning and seeking a search warrant as part of the investigation.

The weapon Long used for Wednesday night's shooting was a Glock 21 handgun with an extended magazine, Dean said.

Law enforcement officials had earlier described him as a heavily tattooed white male. He was armed with a single handgun, was apparently not carrying a driver's license or any other form of ID, Dean said on "Today."

President Donald Trump sent two tweets paying tributes to the authorities and victims. He praised the "great bravery shown by police" and said "God bless all of the victims and families of the victims."

The police officer killed was named as Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year police veteran with a wife and son who was looking to retire in the next year.

"He was hard-working, he was totally committed, he gave his all and, tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero," an emotional Dean said. "He gave his life to save other people."


Helus, 54, arrived at the scene alongside a colleague from the California Highway Patrol within three minutes of reports of shots being fired at around 11:20 p.m. (2:20 a.m. ET Thursday), according to Dean.

After hearing more gunfire, Helus and the Highway Patrol officer entered the building and Helus "was struck multiple times with gunfire," according to Dean.

Sergeant killed in Thousand Oaks shooting was 'hero,' sheriff says

Nov. 8, 201804:55

The other officer went back into the building and dragged Helus out of the line of fire, but he died in the hospital hours later, the sheriff said.

A SWAT team, FBI and others officers arrived soon after. When they entered the building they found 11 people dead.

"They found people hiding in restrooms, people hiding in attics," Dean said. Other witnesses described people using bar stools to break windows and escape. "It's a horrific scene in there, there's blood everywhere."

Several witnesses reported seeing what they described as smoke bombs going off inside the venue, although police said they could not confirm that.

A single shooter was also found killed by a gunshot wound, Dean said, adding that it was unclear exactly who had killed the suspect. "We don't know who shot anybody at this point," he said.

People comfort each other near the scene of Wednesday's mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California.Mark J. Terrill / AP

Between 10 and 12 people suffered injuries of varying severity, others with more minor wounds escaping and taking themselves to the hospital, Dean added.

Pepperdine University, in nearby Malibu, said it believed some of its students were at the bar. It said it was working "to identify and provide support to those students."

Located around 40 miles west of Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks was recently ranked as one of the country's safest cities.

"I've been a cop for 41 years," Dean said. "But I've learned it doesn't matter what community you're in, it doesn’t matter how safe your community is, it can happen anywhere."

John Hedge told NBC News he and his stepdad were in the bar and were forced to take cover when the shooting started.

"I was actually about to leave when you start hearing pop, pop, pop. It sounded like fireworks or something," he said. "My stepdad dove and took cover and yelled at me, 'John, hit the deck! Hide!' So I get down. And the gunman started opening fire on the cashiers, the people working the cash register on the front desk."

Thousand Oaks bar shooting suspect not yet identified

Nov. 8, 201801:40

Kayla Simmons said she was inside the bar when shots were fired directly behind her. Bullets continued as she managed to escape outside into the parking lot.

"I saw the shots go off, although I didn’t really see the guy," she said. "I knew something was wrong straight away. I just wanted to get down as soon as I heard the first shot go off."

Hours after the shooting stopped, friends and family members gathered at the nearby Goebel Senior Center and waited anxiously for news.

Among them was Ken Dunham, whose son Jake, 21, was in the bar and remains missing.

"I keep calling it but there’s no answer," he told NBC Los Angeles. "It just keeps ringing out. And he always answers his phone."


He said he was alerted to the shooting by his son’s friends who raced to the house and banged on his door.

One college student who said he was a regular at the Borderline told the channel he had at least 10 friends inside.

"No one's gotten back to me," he said on camera without giving his name. "I'd like to hope for the best, but I have no idea."

The venue opened in 1993 and describes itself as a "haven for country line dancing folks of all ages." It says it's hosted many famous acts including The Beach Boys.

Thousand Oaks was ranked the third-safest city in the United States this year, according to the data analysis website Niche.

It is the 307th mass shooting in the United States this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Alexander Smith

Alexander Smith is a senior reporter for NBC News, based in London.


Pete Williams

Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent who covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court, based in Washington.

Andrew Blankstein

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western United States, specializing in crime, courts and homeland security. 

Alastair Jamieson

Alastair Jamieson is a London-based reporter, editor and homepage producer for NBC News.

Kurt Chirbas, Caitlin Fichtel and Saphora Smith contributed.

Luke Posted on November 08, 2018 15:25

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Warship SINKING after being rammed by tanker bound for Britain

A WARSHIP is sinking after it was rammed by a tanker bound for Britain while docked in a harbour in Norway.

Norwegian navy frigate KNM Helge Instad was crashed into by the other vessel and is rapidly taking on water. Eight people were injured in the crash and the warship’s crew of 127 have been evacuated from the listing vessel. Pictures show the 5,290 ton, 440 foot frigate lying low in the water as it sinks beneath the waves. Tugs can be seen rushing to help the ship as they desperately try to save it. The Maltese flagged tanker, Sola TS, was undamaged and its 23-man crew unhurt. 

Norway’s emergency services have confirmed the Helge Instad is sinking as there is “no control over the leak”. 

Sola TS was loaded with crude oil and was heading to Britain.

It was being towed out of the harbour when it somehow managed to ram the frigate. 

Norway’s Accident Investigation Board are trying to establish what exactly happened to trigger the crash.

SINKING: KNM Helge Instad lists badly as water readies to spill onto the deck (Pic: AFP)

Eirik Walle, of Norway's rescue centre, told Norwegian news agency NTB the collision smashed a hole in the side of the warship. He said: “It is taking in more water than they can pump out. There is no control over the leak and the stern is heavily in the sea."Firefighters have also confirmed the frigate is listing as it takes on water. A small oil slick has surrounded the ship following the collision.

RESCUE: Tugs attempt to rescue the £500 million KNM Helge Instad warship from the fjord (Pic: REUTERS)

The 62,000-tonne tanker sustained only slight damage and is waiting to be towed to a nearby oil terminal.

"The armed forces is now reviewing all the means available in the region to assist the KNM Helge Ingstad," Lieutenant Colonel Ivar Moen said.

Pictures show water has also overwhelmed the frigate’s helicopter platform on its stern.

"It took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it sinks where it is," an official for the rescue centre added.

CRASH: KNM Helge Instad was docked in the harbour when it was rammed by the tanker (Pic: REUTERS)

The £500 million Helge Instad was launched in 2007 and is one of five Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates operated by Norway. It is armed with ship-to-ship missiles, torpedoes and machine guns. Helge Instad had been taking part in NATO drill Trident Juncture. The ship had previously been part of an escort convoy which seized chemical weapons from Syria back in 2013.

jmparker Posted on November 08, 2018 13:46

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