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Jose Mourinho: A history of the Man Utd boss' most provocative celebrations

JOSE MOURINHO earned high praise from Manchester United and football fans around the world last night when he gestured towards Juventus fans at the Allianz Stadium - but when else has the controversial coach pushed the opposition's buttons?

Juventus part I and II

After receiving a torrent of abuse in Turin on Wednesday evening, and last time out when Juventustravelled to Old Trafford, Mourinho revelled in the fact his side produced a late comeback to win 2-1 last night. Cupping his hand to his ear, the embattled Manchester United boss gestured that he couldn't hear Juventus fans' abuse at the final whistle. Last month, when Paulo Dybala's goal separated the two sides in England, Mourinho raised three fingers to travelling Old Lady fans to symbolise the treble he won while manager of Inter Milan back in 2010. Juventus supporters hurled expletives at the United boss over the two legs, taking aim at him, his treble win and even his mother.

Jose Mourinho gestured towards Juventus fans last night (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho stuck three fingers up to Juventus fans last month (Pic: Twitter/ArenaSports)

Stamford Bridge return

Despite being arguably the club's best ever manager, Mourinho has lost the support of many Chelsea fans after his acrimonious 2015 exit.

The 55-year-old won the Premier League title during his second Stamford Bridge stint - but a dismal start to the following season saw him relieved of his duties in the December. Since, a number of Chelsea supporters have labelled him Judas, which Mourinho has not taken well. Last month, after Ross Barkley netted a 96th-minute equaliser to deny Manchester United all three points, the Red Devils coach again stuck three fingers up to the home supporters - this time in relation to his three Premier League crowns as Blues boss.

Jose Mourinho sticks three fingers up to Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho was involved in an altercation with Chelsea staff (Pic: Getty)

Gerrard slip

Liverpool fans could be forgiven for thinking they were set to win their first Premier League title back in 2014, whilst under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers. That was, until Mourinho's Chelsea turned up at Anfield in April to spoil the party. Steven Gerrard's infamous slip allowed Demba Ba to score the Blues' first, before a late Willian goal sealed all three points. Cue a passionate Mourinho storming down the Anfield touchline, pounding his chest and screaming into the camera. The Portuguese's long-running feud with the Merseyside outfit dates back to his first tenure as Chelsea boss.

Jose Mourinho marched down the Anfield touchline back in 2014 (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho and Victor Valdes clashed at the Camp Nou (Pic: Getty)

Inter's Champions League glory

During the aforementioned treble-winning season at Inter Milan, Mourinho's side defied the odds to make it all the way to the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. In the semi-final, they faced Barcelona - and had to play the remaining hour of the second leg with 10 men after Thiago Motta's red card. Mourinho's men held out to win the tie 3-2 on aggregate, which saw the coach sprint onto the Nou Camp pitch at full-time to celebrate with his fans. Victor Valdes confronted a jubilant Mourinho, demanding that he left the field.And ever since, Barcelona fans have made their feelings clear about the ex-Real Madrid boss.

Jose Mourinho celebrates Inter Milan's Champions League win with Massimo Moratti (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho's side knock Manchester United out after a late Costinha goal (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho sprints down the Old Trafford touchline as Porto manager (Pic: UEFA/Youtube)

The Special One

Back before he burst onto the scene as 'The Special One', Mourinho won the Champions League with underdogs Porto. During their run to the final, Manchester United fans got their first taste of a man who would one day be managing at Old Trafford himself. As Costinha netted an agonising late rebound from a free-kick to send Sir Alex Ferguson's men out of the competition, Mourinho made the long run down from the away dugout to celebrate with his players at the corner flag. Just a few months later, he would back at Old Trafford, this time managing rivals Chelsea.

jmparker Posted on November 08, 2018 12:10

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Superbugs to kill 2.4MILLION people in 'modern plague' as urgent warnings issued

SUPERBUGS could kill 2.4million people worldwide as they become more resistant to antibiotics, experts warn.

More than 90,000 Brits could be among the victims of treatment-resistant superbugs in Europe and North America. In total, there will 1.3 million deaths across Europe over the next 30 years, according to a report by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The over-use of antibiotics is making the drugs designed to stop bacteria useless.Currently, there are 44,000 deaths from sepsis every year in the UK — many of which are due to antibiotic-resistant infections.

This modern “plague” could make routine operations such as c-sections lethal in just a decade.

One of the most deadly known superbugs is MRSA. A staggering one in 30 people carry MRSA on their skin, which is why hospitals now routinely take skin swab tests before people undergo surgery. Strains of E. coli and Salmonella, which live in the human gut, have also become resistant to first-line antibiotics.

FEARS: We have inadvertently made bacteria stronger (Pic: GETTY STOCK)

There are fears even third-line emergency antibiotics, saved for the most resistant life-threatening infections, will no longer work. The authors said hand-washing and reducing the amount of antibiotics prescribed by doctors for minor ailments could curb the death toll. Three out of four deaths could be avoided with a spend of £1.50 per person a year, the OECD calculated. The short-term investment would save money in the long run, the authors added.

DEADLY CULTURE: A blood petri dish showing MRSA (Pic: GETTY)

Antimicrobial resistance complications could cost up to £2.6 billion each year on average across the 33 countries included in the analysis. The report warned southern Europe risks being particularly affected, with Italy, Greece and Portugal forecast to top the mortality rates.

The report comes after health officials in England launched a campaign to persuade people with minor ailments not to ask for the drugs. Public Health England said antibiotics are essential for treating serious bacterial infections, but the drugs are frequently used to treat coughs, sore throats and ear aches.

RISK: Routine operations could become impossible (Pic: GETTY STOCK)

The health body's latest campaign reminds people that if they are feeling unwell, "antibiotics aren't always needed". Tim Jinks, head of the Wellcome Trust's Drug-Resistant Infections Priority Programme, said: "This new OECD report offers important insight into how simple, cost-effective surveillance, prevention and control methods could save lives globally."Drug-resistant superbugs are on the rise worldwide and represent a fundamental threat to global health and development.“This report provides yet further evidence that investing to tackle the problem now will save lives and deliver big pay-offs in the future."

jmparker Posted on November 08, 2018 11:58

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Four stabbed in London in just 24 hours as bloodbath continues

FOUR people have been stabbed in London today in the latest knife attacks to hit the capital.

The Met Police confirmed seperate stabbings took place within hours of each other in Hackney, White City and Leyton. And last night, a terrifying attack was reported in West Hampstead. The incidents come amid growing alarm about a spate of fatal stabbings in London.Cops have vowed to flood the streets with extra officers – while mayor Sadiq Khan warned Londoners not to expect much change overnight, saying it could take a generation. 

EVIDENCE: Cop dogs investigate (Pic: LNP)

Officers were called just after midday on Wednesday to reports of a stabbing in White City, west London.  The victim, a boy believed to be in his teens, was found at the scene with life-threatening stab wounds and taken to hospital by ambulance. Within two hours, at 1.53pm, police were called to a separate incident in Hackney, east London. A man, who was found at the scene with stab wounds, was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

BLOODBATH: A man was found in Hackney, east London shortly before 2pm today (Pic: Twitter)

MAPPED: The stabbings are the latest in London, which has seen a massive crime wave this year (Pic: DS)

Nearby residents reported seeing the helicopter land and a heavy police presence.  One image appeared to show a man with injuries to his hands and wrists. Hours later at 4.30pm, a man in his 30s was stabbed repeatedly on Grove Green Road in Leytonstone. No arrests have yet been made over any of the incidents as inquiries continue.

CORDON: Cops blocked Leabank Square in Hackney Wick this afternoon (Pic: Twitter)

On Monday night, a 16-year-old boy, named locally as John, died in front of his parents in Tulse Hill in the fifth fatal stabbing in London in six days. It was the 119th violent death in London so far this year. The other stabbing victims in the past week were Rocky Djelal, 38, Jay Hughes, 15, and Malcolm Mide-Madariola, 17. An unnamed 22-year-old man was also attacked.

jmparker Posted on November 08, 2018 11:50

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Should you worry if your nipples point inward? Source: womenshealthmag Date: 07-11-2018 Time: 02:11:51:pm

Some things in life are absolutely certain: The sky is blue, Chris Evans is the best Hollywood Chris, and nipples always point outward...right?

Yes, definitely, to the first two—but as for the nipples thing? Maybe not. You see, while most nipples point outward (hello, headlights), it's totally possible for some types to, uh, retreat back into the breast.

Sometimes, it's totally NBD (you were born that way, baby); but other times, your nips might be trying to tell you something big is up—and you'd better listen.

Hold on, what exactly are inverted nipples?

Basically, they're nipples that appear to be retracted into the breast, instead of pointing outward.

Fewer than 5 percent of people are born with inverted nipples, says Stephanie Downs-Canner, M.D., an assistant professor of oncological breast surgery at the University of North Carolina.

This can happen when the lactiferous ducts in your nipples—which are responsible for delivering milk to the surface—are shortened or not fully developed, ultimately pulling back on the nipple. In these cases, the direction of the nipples is not necessarily indicative of anything, says Downs-Canner.

However, if your nipples have always pointed out, and now they've suddenly become inverted, that might be a red flag.

Well, what causes inverted nipples, and should I worry about them?

Again, if your nipples have always been inverted, take a seat, you’re good.

As for everyone else, one of the first things Downs-Canner checks up on when she encounters a newly inverted nipple is the possibility of an underlying cancer. For this reason, she stresses seeing a physician the moment you notice your nipple’s retracted in order to increase your chances of early detection.

But, while a sudden change in your nipples is something to definitely get checked out, your mind shouldn't go straight to a cancer diagnosis: “Other women can have inverted or retracted nipples if they’ve had a lot of infections of their breast,” says Downs-Canner.

Mastitis—inflammation of the breast tissue, primarily caused by breastfeeding—is an example of one of those infections that can cause retracted nipples, says Downs-Canner.

Another benign cause of nipple inversion: ectasia, or a clogged milk duct. “It happens when the ducts of the breast become frequently blocked or clogged," says Downs-Canner. FYI: You can get a clogged milk duct even if you're not breastfeeding. “It can happen to anyone,” at any time, says Downs-Canner.

Well, is there anything I can do about inverted nipples?

Depending on the cause, your nipple might eventually pop out again. After treatment for a breast infection, for example, there's a good chance your nipples will return to their original proud stances, says Downs-Canner.


For those born with inverted nipples, plastic surgery can help make them stick out, says Downs-Canner, though, not a ton of people opt to do this (and it's also not medically necessary): "Most people who are born with inverted nipples typically don’t seek cosmetic surgery," she says.

One more thing: When it comes to breastfeeding with inverted nipples, that's totally doable too, says Downs-Canner—it just might take a little more patience (and the help of a lactation consultant).


Luke Posted on November 07, 2018 17:13

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Ronaldinho has passport seized as court finds just £5 in his bank account

A court in Brazil has seized the passports of Ronaldinho and his brother over their failure to pay a fine for building on an environmental protection area.

The former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star and his brother, Roberto, were convicted of illegal construction in February 2015 and ordered to pay 8.5 million Brazilian Real (£1.7m).

Along with company Reno Constructions and Incorporations Ltd., they were found to have built a sugar mill with a fishing platform and a pier in a permanent preservation area on Lake Guaíba without permission.

Having so far defaulted on the payments and proving difficult to track down, the 38-year-old and his brother were taken to court again, and the public prosecutor said that an investigation into their bank accounts revealed a balance of just 24.63 Brazilian Real (£5). 

"There is no other measure than the retention of the passports as a coercive measure in the face of repeated unfair, abusive and total disrespect, disobedience and non-compliance with the legal system," the prosecutor argued.

The court in Rio Grande do Sul, the 2005 Ballon d'Or winner's home state, has now ruled that the footballing icon must submit his passport when he returns to Brazil from his current travels.

statement from Judge Newton Fabrício read: "The subjects responsible for the depletion of the environment have long been evading compliance with their legal obligations, even though they have the means to settle it and are public figures with high purchasing power able to compensate for the environmental damages that remain fully defaulted."

He continued: "Although photographed routinely in different parts of the world, corroborated by the gathering of Certificates of Migratory Movements, the defendants, curiously, in their country of origin, have an uncertain and/or unknown whereabouts.


"I determine the immediate seizure of the passports of the defendants by the authorities, with the additional order to include restriction on issuing a new passport until the fulfillment of the obligation determined in the sentence."

Ronaldinho officially retired from football earlier this year, having not played professionally since leaving Brazilian side Fluminense in 2015. 

He was capped 97 times by Brazil, scoring 33 goals – including two en route to World Cup glory in Japan and South Korea in 2002.

He joined Paris Saint-Germain from Gremio to begin his European career, which flourished spectacularly at Barcelona between 2003 and 2008.

Ronaldinho inspired back-to-back La Liga triumphs in 2004-05 and 2005-06, also winning the Champions League in the latter season.

He was at the peak of his powers as he claimed the Ballon d'Or in 2005; less so during a three-year stay with AC Milan, although he did feature in all-star line-ups alongside the likes of Paolo Maldini, Kaka and David Beckham.

Ronaldinho left San Siro midway through the Serie A title-winning 2010-11 season and returned to his homeland with Flamengo. He also experienced stints at Atletico Mineiro and in Mexico with Queretaro.

Luke Posted on November 07, 2018 17:02

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Pakistan reports card-skimming, but says no mass bank data breach

Pakistan's central bank rushed on Tuesday to reassure investors and consumers that its banking system had not been hacked after a mass skimming operation hit customers' credit and debit cards.

The skimming took details of nearly 20,000 debit and credit cards from 22 Pakistani banks, according to the Pakistan Computer Emergency Response Team (PakCERT), a monitoring group.

It was not immediately clear how much money was stolen using the cards, beyond an initial report of about $20,000.


The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on Tuesday it had already instructed all banks to increase their scrutiny after one lender reported the problem last week, but stressed that the banks themselves were not hacked.

"It has been noted with concern news items reporting that the data of most banks has been hacked. SBP categorically rejects such reports," a statement from the central bank said.

Earlier, Mohammad Shoaib, head of the Federal Investigation Agency's cyber-crime unit, told two television stations that "almost all" banks had been hit by hacking and a "large amount of money" had been stolen, though he gave few details.

PakCERT said in a threat report that BankIslami first noticed unusual transactions of 2.6 million rupees (about $20,000) on October 27 and temporarily shut down its international payments system.

"Subsequently, several other banks issued security alerts and either completely blocked customers' debit and credit cards or blocked their online and international use," PakCert said in its report.

BankIslami, in a statement, confirmed that it had shut down its international and online payments systems and notified the central bank. It said the initial illicitly withdrawn 2.6 million rupees had been returned to customers' accounts.

PakCERT said that details of the cards were posted on the dark net, an area of the Internet only accessible via special web browsers that ensure anonymity.

Dark net users could then access the cards to make online purchases but it was not clear how much money in total had actually been stolen.

Luke Posted on November 07, 2018 16:24

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Takeaway bosses JAILED after girl, 15, killed by kebab from filthy curry house

TWO takeaway bosses have been jailed over the manslaughter of a 15-year-old girl who suffered an allergic reaction to a kebab served up from a filthy curry house.

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died from an asthma attack after she ate food ordered on Just Eat from the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire. The teenager and her friend ordered online via the Just Eat website and wrote "prawns, nuts" in the comments and notes section.

However the delivered meal, which included an onion bhaji, a seekh kebab and a Peshwari naan, was later found to have the "widespread presence" of peanut protein. Last month a jury at Manchester Crown Court found takeaway owner Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and manager Harun Rashid, 38, guilty of unlawfully killing Megan, from Oswaldtwistle, by reason of gross negligence. The two-week trial heard there was a "litany of failings" in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept. Five days after Megan's death on January 1, 2017, the restaurant was immediately closed down following an inspection by Trading Standards and environmental hygiene officers.

Rashid, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, who had claimed he was merely a delivery driver at the restaurant at the time, was also found guilty of failing to discharge a general duty of employers, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act, and another count of failing to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures in contravention of European Union food safety regulations. Kuddus, of Belper Street, Blackburn, admitted those charges on behalf of himself and on behalf of Royal Spice Takeaway Ltd, trading as Royal Spice Takeaway. Rashid was handed thee years in jail, while Kuddus will serve a sentence of two years. 

TRAGIC: Megan Lee died after eating the contaminated kebab (Pic: PA)

Lee, who was diagnosed with a peanut allergy aged eight, endured an asthma attack a few hours after she and a friend ordered food online on from the takeaway in her home town of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, via the Just Eat website.

Her friend wrote "prawns, nuts" in the comments and notes section of the online order form for food which did not ordinarily contain either ingredient, Manchester Crown Court was told. They served a meal including an onion bhaji, a Peshwari naan and a seekh kebab which tests later showed had the "widespread presence" of peanut protein.Trading standards found the takeaway was filthy – littered with mouse droppings – and there were "no procedures" in place to protect allergy sufferers and no written records of their recipes. 

ROYAL SPICE: The two takeaway bosses face two and three years in prison (Pic: PA)

Mrs Justice Yip said Megan's parents Adam and Gemma had shown "dignity and courage" throughout the court process. She said: "They do not seek retribution but want their story to serve as a warning to others in the food industry so that other families will not be forced to experience the indescribable loss that they have suffered. "She (Megan) had made her family proud throughout her short life and would have continued to do so. She had everything to live for. No sentence I impose can begin to reflect the loss of Megan's life."She accepted that the defendants - both fathers - had expressed genuine remorse and that neither meant to kill the teenager.

She told them: "Neither of you actually foresaw the death of anyone. It never occurred to you that you would be responsible for the death of a young girl. Quite simply, you never gave the risk of a customer dying because of an allergy a moment's thought.

"You must now live with the guilt of what you have done and the suffering you have caused Megan's family and to your own families. All of this is a tragedy that could so easily have been avoided had you exercised the proper care to be expected of those who serve food to the public."

The judge added: "It is hoped that the message is heard that those who fail to take proper care in the supply of food to the public will face significant custodial sentences if a death results.

"Like Mr and Mrs Lee, I hope that this tragic case adds to the growing awareness in the food industry of what can happen if allergies are not taken seriously. "Those who fail to heed the warnings and who continue to flout food safety regulations may find the courts taking a harsher view in the future."

TRIBUTE: Megan Lee's family paid tribute to the tragic teen (Pic: CAVENDISH)

Samples of foodstuffs prepared on the premises were tested and detected the "widespread presence of peanut protein of levels that were unsafe for people allergic to peanuts", the court heard.

Peanuts were found to be present in the Peshwari naan, the onion bhaji and the seekh kebab. Trading Standards and environmental hygiene officers closed down the business on January 6, which is now under new management. Police said it was "only a matter of time" before someone was killed by the takeaway's substandard hygenie and procedures. 

KEBAB: Royal Spice was found to be filthy by Trading Standards (Pic: GOOGLE)

In a statement read outside court, Megan’s parents said: "Our lives will never be the same. The loss of our beautiful daughter has completely devastated us.

"Megan's positive presence and infectious smile will forever be missed. "It breaks our hearts that Megan didn't get the chance to sit her GCSE exams, something she had worked so incredibly hard for, to celebrate her 16th birthday or go to the school prom with her friends. "Megan didn't get the opportunity to fulfil her ambition of working in musical theatre, to explore the world, fall in love or have children of her own. "It's these thoughts that cause great sadness, because nobody deserved it more than Megan."

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 14:29

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Man Utd team to play Juventus: Jose Mourinho's likely line-up for Champions League clash

MANCHESTER UNITED face Juventus tonight with Jose Mourinho’s side in need of a result after recording just one Champions League victory this term.

United beat Swiss team Young Boys in their first match of the tournament but drew with Valencia and lost 1-0 to Juve in their next two games at Old Trafford. Mourinho’s men will have their work cut out in Turin tonight for a tie their manager says isn’t a must-win. He rejected the notion that the upcoming double-header against Juve and rivals Manchester City on Sunday could be season-defining, pinpointing the home match against Young Boys and trip to Valencia as key to their Champions League hopes. United will have to do without Romelu Lukaku tonight.

The Belgian striker and defender Diogo Dalot missed training yesterday, but captain Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini returned.

Lukaku has been out of form, having failed to score for his club since mid-September, and was dropped to the bench for United's 2-1 home victory against Everton on October 28.

The Belgian, who has scored only four Premier League goals so far this season, missed the trip to Bournemouth last Saturday due to injury, and is a doubt for Sundays’s Manchester Derby too.

Right-back Dalot, Fellaini and Valencia have all been absent due to injury but the latter two were part of the main group in Jose Mourinho's training session at Carrington before the travelling squad flew to Turin.

Man Utd boss Mourinho knows his side are in for a tough night (Pic: EPA)

Serie A leaders Juventus are top of Group H on nine points, with United second on four. The Italians won the clash at Old Trafford 1-0 last month. Here’s how Starsport expect Manchester United to line-up in Turin tonight.

Man Utd team: David de Gea - Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw - Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera - Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez

Juventus team to play Manchester United (predicted) 

Juventus team: Wojciech Szczesny - Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro - Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi, Rodrigo Bentancur - Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo

Man Utd come up against former star Cristiano Ronaldo again tonight (Pic: REUTERS)

United have been plagued by inconsistency this season and must put together a complete 90-minute performance to get anything from their Champions League game at Juventus later on Wednesday, Ryan Giggs has said. United were comprehensively outplayed in a 1-0 defeat to the Italian champions at Old Trafford last month and while they have beaten Everton and Bournemouth in their two matches since, Giggs said they are still blowing hot and cold.

"I've been really impressed with United in the last four or five games, especially second half," Giggs, who won two Champions League titles at United, told British media. "But I don't know what it is. As a United fan you are scratching your head. They have proven they can give anyone a game, but if you don't turn up for 45 minutes you will not win."You have to turn up for 90 minutes and United have the players," added Wales coach Giggs. "They were second best the other week, but I think it will be closer on Wednesday."

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 12:44

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Princess Diana at her best: Heartfelt letter to woman with low self-esteem UNEARTHED

A LETTER penned by Princess Diana to a woman suffering with low self-esteem more than 20 years ago has been unearthed.

The woman, named as Erika, had written to the late Princess opening up about her struggle. The Princess of Wales, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997, responded with heartwarming empathy.She wrote: "Dearest Erika, I have received your letter and of course read it with concern and a wish to support you in any way I can."There is a great deal of pain inside you, hence the block as you call it – that is a natural response for someone who has been through the traumas you've experienced."Reading between the lines of your letter I feel a very special lady is struggling with a low self-esteem because of all the bruises you had to deal with, mentally and physically."I do know that it takes great courage to write as you did and with that honesty and clarity the light will appear in your tunnel.

"I am thinking of you so much, hang on in there Erika. Lots of love from Diana x." The letter was dated November 29, 1995. It came days after her famous Martin Bashir BBC interview, which delved into her past marriage struggles with Prince Charles.

HEARTFELT: The start of Princess Diana's letter (Pic: ULIENSAUCTIONS/BNPS)

Now the letter is on sale from Julien's Auctions, with a reportedestimate of £4,000. Martin Nolan, from the company, said: "Our understanding is that Erika was a member of the public who was experiencing a troubled time and she wrote to Diana for advice and support as she herself had experienced a difficult time with the break up of her marriage. "Diana is very gracious and compassionate, and she offers great encouragement to Erika that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. "It seems as if she is speaking from her own personal experience when she writes this.

INSIGHTFUL: Princess Diana is interviewed by Martin Bashir (Pic: JULIENSAUCTIONS/BNPS)

SIGNED: The end of Princess Diana's letter (Pic: JULIENSAUCTIONS/BNPS)

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 11:21

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Brit man nearly CRUSHED to death by ice boulder 'dropped from PLANE’

A SHOCKED Brit says he is lucky to be alive after an “ice boulder” smashed through the roof of his home.

Jamie Shean, from Bristol, was watching tv with pal Rob Jarvis when they heard an “explosion”. The pair assumed a rogue firework has smashed through the window — but rushed up the stairs to a scene of destruction. An enormous hole had been torn through the roof and there were football-sized chunks of ice strewn around. Jamie, of Lockleaze, told Bristol Post: "It was a hell of a crash.

“I realised I would've been dead if I had been in bed at the time.”Jamie said it was between 10.15pm and 10.20pm when he heard the “almighty boom” which “sounded like an explosion”.

He said: ”I fully expected to find that someone had fired a firework through the window and it had gone off in the room.

"But the window was still there so I thought there had been a boiler exploded in the loft or something.

LUCK ESCAPE: Jamie and the hole ripped through his ceiling (Pic: SWNS)

"Then we looked around and saw all this ice, huge pieces of it, everywhere.”

The pair tried to save the ice — but some chunks were so huge they didn’t even fit in the freezer.

And when Jamie went outside to assess the damage and work out what had happened, all he could see was a large hole in the corner of his roof, just above his bed.

He said: "It's really hard to work out exactly how big the block of ice would've been.

MASSIVE: Some chunks couldn't even fit in the freezer (Pic: SWNS)

“It must have been the size of a sink or something.

"It smashed through tiles, a wooden joist and the bedroom ceiling and shattered into pieces."

Jamie’s landlord Ronnie Arathoon, who is contacting his insurance company and sending roofers for repairs, described the situation as “absolutely mad”.

"It's pretty crazy this could happen,” he said.

“It was like a boulder had crashed through, a boulder of ice.

BAGGED: Jamie kept some samples (Pic: SWNS)

“It's absolutely mad, what are the chances? "We've put it down to a plane, it's the only thing we can think has happened. I'm just glad Jamie is okay," he added. A spokesman for Britain's biggest airport, Heathrow, said there are around 25 reports of ice damaging British buildings a year. A spokesman for Heathrow said: "Whilst ice falls from aircraft are rare, ice can form on the outside of an aircraft when it is cruising at high altitude.

"As it descends into warmer air, these chunks may break away and fall to the ground.The spokesman also quashed rumours that ice blocks are from flushed plane loos. He added: ”Despite popular beliefs, modern aircraft do not have the facility to eject toilet waste whilst they are airborne."Waste collection happens when the aircraft lands at an airport and is disposed of responsibly.” Large ice chunks are spooky phenomena, known as megacryometeors. Scientists can’t agree what causes them, but they have been recorded since before planes were flying.

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 11:08

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WWE legend Shawn Michaels' manager dies aged 83

WWE legend Shawn Michaels' manager and trainer Jose Lothario has died aged 83 sparking a flood of tributes from across the wrestling world.

Lothario was a wrestling legend – winning 46 titles – and will be remembered by WWE fans for being the corner of the Heartbreak Kid throughout 1996. He was there when Michaels won the WWE Championship for the first time at WrestleMania 12 in an iconic 60-minute Ironman match against Bret Hart.  The NWA Hall of Famer had trained Michaels – regarded by his peers as one of the greatest of all time – during the 80s before he joined WWE. Former NWA president Bruce Tharpe announced Lothario's death on Twitter – with the wrestler being a mainstay of the brand for decades. He wrote: "So thankful that I had the opportunity to induct him into the NWA Hall of Fame while I served as President. "He was so happy and it was my pleasure to induct him. God bless you Jose Lothario and may you Rest In Peace."

Wrestling legend Kevin Von Erich said: "Jose Lothario was one of the most knowledgeable wrestlers to ever train me. He knew so much, and remembered everything.

"What a good, considerate, generous man. May God rest his Soul, and comfort those who loved him."

Fabulous Freebirds star Michael PS Hayes said: "So sorry to hear about the passing of Jose Lothario. What a Legend, especially in Texas.

"I am proud to say I stole my left from Jose, after eating quite a few of them. Love and condolences."

LEGEND: Jose Lothario trained Shawn Michaels and was an iconic wrestler (Pic: WWE)

In a statement, WWE said: "WWE is saddened to learn that Jose Lothario has reportedly passed away at age 83."Despite never winning a WWE-sanctioned championship or competing at WrestleMania, Jose Lothario –  born Guadalupe Robledo on Dec. 12, 1934 – made a lasting mark on the WWE Universe by simply agreeing to train a cocky teenager from San Antonio, Texas."A cocky teenager that grew up to become WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels."WWE extends its condolences to Robledo’s family, friends and fans."

WRESTLEMANIA: Shawn Michaels' mentor Jose Lothario was in his corner against Bret Hart (Pic: WWE)

Michaels has yet to comment on Lothario's death – with the pair appearing as a duo during his "boyhood dream" period from 1996 to 1997.

Lothario would regularly be at ringside to see his star student grapple, and even returned to the ring himself at the Mind Games show. He wrestled fellow manager Jim Cornette, beating him in swift fashion, while Michaels went on that night to have an acclaimed match against Mankind.

The duo would split at the Royal Rumble in 1997 – which was held in HBK's home city of San Antonio. 

LEGEND: Jose Lothario taught Shawn Michaels everything he knew (Pic: WWE)

Fans have also paid tribute to the legendary Lothario hailing him as a "great" and "one of the best". Others said "thank you for the great memories" and "without him we wouldn't have Shawn Michaels". Wrestling columnist Mike Mooneyham: "Pro wrestling lost another great one today with the passing of Jose Lothario.

"Jose was one of the legends we invited to our Charleston reunion back in 1998, and he was gracious and a consummate professional.

"Still remember the fun times he had here with Johnny Valentine."

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 10:49

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Migrants weigh whether to stay in Mexico, resume trek to US

MEXICO CITY – Thousands of Central American migrants will take at least a couple of days to rest in a Mexico City stadium as they debate whether to accept offers to stay in Mexico or continue their trek to the U.S. border.

Humanitarian aid stepped up Tuesday for the roughly 4,500 Central American migrants gathered at the Jesus Martinez stadium after an arduous journey that has taken them through three countries in three weeks. Mexico City officials said they are bracing as many as 5,500 migrants at the sports complex as more trickle in.

Members of the caravans of migrants, which President Donald Trump made a central issue in U.S. midterm elections, declined to take an immediate decision Tuesday night on whether to definitively stay in Mexico or continue north, opting to remain in the capital at least a couple more days.

"Nobody is in more of a hurry than me to get going (to the U.S. border), but we have to go all together," said Sara Rodriguez of Colon, Honduras. Rodriguez, 34, fled her country with her 16-year-old daughter Emily, after the girl began to draw unwanted attention from a drug trafficker.

Mexico is offering refugee, asylum or work visas to the migrants. The government said 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them while they waited for the 45-day application process for a more permanent status.

Rina Valenzuela, who is from El Salvdor, listened attentively to aid workers from the nonprofit Institute for Women in Migration as they explained the difficulties of applying for and securing asylum in the U.S. Valenzuela decided she would better off applying for refuge in Mexico.

"Why go fight there, with as much effort and as much suffering as we have gone through, just for them to turn me back? Well, no," she said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of city employees and even more volunteers were on hand Tuesday to sort donations and direct migrants toward food, water, diapers and other basics. Migrants searched through piles of donated clothes, grabbed boxes of milk for children and lined up to make quick calls home at a stand set up by the Red Cross.

Employees from the capital's human rights commission registered new arrivals with biographical data— such as age and country of origin— and placed yellow bracelets on wrists to keep count.

The atmosphere at the stadium in Mexico City was more institutional and organized than what migrants encountered on the road, where townspeople pushed bags of drinking water, tacos and fruit into their hands as they passed through tiny hamlets in southern Mexico.

But there were signs that the stadium was already nearing its capacity to hold 6,000 people.

Maria Yesenia Perez, 41, said there was no space in the stadium when she and her 8-year-old daughter arrived during the night, so the two from Honduras slept on the grass outside. Migrants pitched tents in the parking lot and constructed makeshift shelters from plywood covered with blankets and tarps. Forty portable toilets were scattered across the grass.

The stadium's enclosed space and government intervention makes it difficult for aid workers to reach the migrants, said Nancy Rojas, an Oxfam charity worker who has accompanied the migrants for weeks.

Four big tents have been set up for women and children to sleep under with thin mattresses and blankets, while men were relegated Monday night to concrete bleachers. Temperatures dropped below 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 Celsius) during the night in a city some 7,300 feet (2,240 meters) above sea level and still hundreds of miles from the U.S. border.

Several smaller groups were trailing hundreds of miles to the south. Mexico City Mayor Ramon Amieva said the city needs to "reinforce" to meet the needs of the migrants, especially vulnerable children and pregnant women.

Mexico City's central market supplied 3.5 tons of bananas and guavas to refuel the crowd, plus 600 bottles of water. The human rights commission said it planned to set up more tents and eating areas.

Many of the migrants sought treatment for blistered and aching feet, respiratory infections, diarrhea and other maladies.

Luke Posted on November 07, 2018 06:55

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Chilling photos of Antarctica expeditions, past and present Francesca Street, CNN • Published 6th November 2018

CNN) — Henry Worsley is in the middle of nowhere. At every direction there is merely glistening whiteness, low glaring sun as far as the eye can see, reflecting off the blinding white snow.

In the frozen landscape at his feet, he carves out a haunting phrase: "I am the Antarctic."


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He snaps a photograph of the scene.

Now this evocative image forms one of the most memorable photographs in David Grann's new book "The White Darkness" -- a thrilling work of nonfiction charting the polar expeditions of a latter-day British explorer, Henry Worsley, and the adventures of his predecessor -- and idol -- Ernest Shackleton, in the early 1900s.

"All you see in this image is nothing but this white, icy scape and then this strange graffiti that he had written," says Grann, who is a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of acclaimed book "The Lost City of Z."

"The White Darkness" is published by Doubleday -- a division of Penguin Random House -- but started life as an enthralling long-read in The New Yorker in February 2018. Its title is taken from one of Worsley's audio dispatches:

"Anyway, I'm back on track and now happy I can part a straight line, even through another day of the white darkness."

Explorer Henry Worsley carved this chilling message into the Antarctic while trekking the polar region, alone.

Courtesy Lou Rudd

Both Worsley and Shackleton's stories, interwoven by Grann in his book, are tales of endurance, questioning the meaning of heroism and why some of us are driven to push ourselves to the extreme.

"I think there is always kind of a mystery at the heart of what drives humans to test themselves," says Grann. "They can never be easily or in any kind of simple psychological way explained."

If Worsley and Shackleton are Grann's heroes, the Antarctic is the enigmatic anti-hero, the brutal-but-beautiful, not-quite-villain who has an irrevocable hold over both men.

"I think one of the great challenges was not just understanding Henry but was also trying to understand that environment [...] . Antarctica is really a place unto itself. It's more like contemplating Mars than it is contemplating a part of Earth," says Grann.


Ernest Shackleton's story began on South Georgia Island, a glacier-covered island about eleven hundred miles eastwards of Cape Horn, Chile, which Shackleton called "the Gateway to the Antarctic."

Courtesy Royal Geographical Society

Shackleton is best remembered for two of history's most successful failures.

In 1907, aged just 33, he led an expedition to Antarctica with three other men -- determined to reach the South Pole.

By late 1908, only 97 nautical miles from the Pole, he calculated that it wasn't safe to continue and his men turned around. At the time, it was still the southernmost point reached by humans.

Flash forward to 1914 and Shackleton had a new goal -- to complete the first land crossing of Antarctica. But not long after setting out on this odyssey, a band of fellow explorers in tow, Shackleton's ship "Endurance" became encased in ice. Over an unforgiving, testing icy winter, the Endurance was slowly crushed and sunk into the freezing waters below.

Incredibly, Shackleton's leadership ensured his entire crew survived in brutal conditions throughout the testing months that followed. In "The White Darkness" Grann writes that Shackleton "almost insisted" that they remain cheerful.

Expedition photographer Frank Hurley documented the incredible trek through the brutal, but beautiful, landscape.

Courtesy Royal Geographical Society

After the ship was lost, Shackleton and his crew dragged the salvaged lifeboats across the ice, surviving for 17 months in pop-up camps in crazy conditions.

"He always rescued his people from certain death and he emerged as one of history's greatest leaders," Grann says.

Now Shackleton's the subject of self-help books and business manuals, inspiring everyone from astronauts to Wall Street brokers. But in Shackleton's own lifetime, his exploits were soon eclipsed by more successful polar expeditions.

That's because our definition of heroism, Grann says, changes with the era.

"I do think heroes are in many ways a reflection of our times, because they reflect who society chooses to elevate among so many people who are doing various deeds," the writer muses.

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Following in Shackleton's footsteps

Henry Worsley, pictured, was a British army veteran inspired to follow in Shackleton's footsteps.

Courtesy Sebastian Copeland

Shackleton's leadership, his ability to inspire loyalty and morale and his Antarctic quests made him a natural icon for adventurous British Army veteran Henry Worsley.

Worsley poured over Antarctic books as a boy, thrilled to discover he was a distant relative of one of Shackleton's crew members. No one who knew him was surprised when he decided, in 2008, to embark on a centenary Antarctic South Pole expedition with Will Gow, a descendent of Shackleton and Henry Adams, the great-grandson of another crew-member.

This atmospheric photo was taken on Worsley, Gow and Adams' centenary expedition.

Courtesy William Gow

"Henry wasn't a religious person, but I think he always felt this deep spirituality about the Antarctic -- and of course he liked the idea that he would be in a place that had been untrodden," says Grann.

Worsley, Gow and Adams were pushed to extremes in their Antarctic trek, exposed to impossibilities they couldn't have fathomed before they arrived in the ice blue, empty far South landscape.

But Worsley, inspired by Shackleton and driven by his own thirst for adventure and exploration, helped his men remain committed to their goal.

"He was an officer and he served tours with the SAS and he was always repeating this -- their motto: "A little further a little further." And he always repeated the line from Shackleton's family motto: "By endurance we conquer," says Grann.

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Incredible images

After they lose the Endurance, Shackleton's crew dragged lifeboats across the ice.

Courtesy Getty

When Shackleton's ship, Endurance, became enveloped by the Antarctic's deadly ice, his expedition photographer Frank Hurley continued to document events that followed. He salvaged the camera equipment and trekked through the Antarctic with it in tow.

His resulting photographs are cinematic in their scope -- especially those of the imposing, iconic ship, forever to remain in the frost. Then there's the men exploring the ethereal dreamscape of the Antarctic. Lit by flares, the images take on a striking effect, chilling and captivating all at once.

On Worsley's 2008 expedition, his colleague Gow took his own vibrant photographs of the impossible landscape. Worsley, too, documented his adventures with photography.

"These photos are just really quite remarkable and they get to some of the things that we've talked about -- which are just trying to wrap your mind around this landscape, trying to wrap your mind around these people setting off in this immense landscape," says Grann.

Sastrugi is the term for these hard ridges on the snow and ice, sculpted by strong winds.

Courtesy Joanna Worsley

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There are pictures of the sastrugi, the hard ridges on the snow and ice, sculpted by strong winds and almost impossible to circumvent. In many images, the outlook is almost a total white-out, with the red of the tent the only color visible.

When, in 2008, Worsley and his fellow explorers reached 88°23'S, the southernmost point reached by their forebears 100 years previously, they recreated the iconic image of Shackleton and his team, wrapped in furs, Union Jack flag blowing in the wind.

The iconic image of Shackleton and his team in 1908 at 88°23'S.

But, as Grann notes, reaching this famous point was by definition anticlimactic.

"They get to this spot that has kind of fueled their dreams and almost lured them to their demise and they look around and there is nothing there, but barren windswept ice. This place, their grail, was really no more than a geographical data point," he says.

Worsley and his crew recreated the famous image.

Courtesy William Gow

Adams, one of Worsley's companions, "What is Antarctica other than a blank canvas on which you seek to impose yourself?

This quote stuck with Grann -- it seemed to get to the heart of polar exploration.

"The discovery is not a scientific breakthrough or or some ancient civilization or ruins, it is this geographical data point in the middle of empty barren ice," he says.

Polar explorers past and present seem to be driven by an internal desire to succeed, to push further, to achieve a feat that forever seems just out of reach.

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The return

Worsley decided to attempt his own solo trek across the Antarctic, unaided.

Courtesy William Gow

Worsley returned to Antarctica in 2011, leading a six-strong team retracing Roald Amundsen's journey to the South Pole.

But even when he was back with his close-knit family -- his wife Joanna and children Alicia and Max -- he still found himself dreaming of the Antarctic wilderness.

Worsley's family are very much at the heart of the story Grann has woven in "The White Darkness."

"One of the things that really drew me to the story was this remarkable love story at the heart of it between Henry and his wife Joanna," says Grann.

He wanted to achieve a never-before-attained feat.

Courtesy William Gow

Joanna, Alicia and Max gave Grann access to Worsley's photographs and diary entries, and spoke to Grann about Worlsey's experiences -- and their own.

Henry's only "mistress", Joanna used to joke, was Antarctica.

"I think everybody is different," says Grann. "I think some people make a journey like that and they do get it out of their system. But for Henry, Antarctica has been inside him since he was young."

Worsley was raising money for the Endeavour Fund, a charity that helps wounded army veterans in the UK.

Courtesy Joanna Worsley

"It kind of consumed his imagination, he'd become a leading authority on the Golden Age of Antarctic Exploration and on Shackleton."

Grann's story depicts the duality of a man who was deeply committed to his family, but also had this urge to challenge himself, to push himself to endurance and extremes:

"This man who was [...] a very devoted father and family man and yet had this other obsession that drew him to the most treacherous place, a place that could take life at any moment," says Gann.

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Next step

Worsley sent regular updates back home and wrote about his experiences in his diary.

Courtesy William Gow

Back in the UK, Worsley began planning his next feat of endurance -- the first solo trek, unaided, across the Antarctic.

"He was always setting the compass farther and of course in his final expedition, where he sets out to walk across Antarctica alone and unsupported and unaided was something that nobody had ever dared to do," says Grann.

In "The White Darkness", Grann constructs both Worsley and Shackleton's stories like thrillers, edge-of-your-seat tales about finding the unconquerable, flirting constantly with living and dying, the juxtaposition between the "real" world and the one of their ambitions.

The Weddell Sea, home to Berkner Island, pictured here, is where Worsley began his solitary journey.

"I tried to tell the story from the perspective of people who are going on adventures and they don't know what's going to happen at any moment and death always lurks with every step," says Grann. "So I think in telling it from that perspective it hopefully lets the reader feel both the enormous excitement and the momentary terrors that the people on these expeditions are feeling."

In Grann's book, when Worsley begins his solo trek, the reader feels a sense of foreboding. The explorer was back in this challenging place, alone.

The picture to the left depicts a man being pulled from a crevasse during explorer Robert Falcon Scott's first Antarctic expedition. On the right, a crevasse is dodged by Worsley's group on the 2008 expedition.

Grann writes how Worsley sent daily audio broadcasts back home and wrote about the treacherous experiences in his diary. Worsley was constantly testing his abilities as a leader, but in his final journey he had what Grann calls "the most difficult challenge" -- commanding himself.

But he was determined to complete his challenging task. In crossing Antarctica unaided, he would raise money for the Endeavour Fund, a charity that helps wounded army veterans in the UK. Britain was behind him -- including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. He was heralded as a hero, a Shackleton for the 21st century.

But what does it really mean, to be a Shackleton?

On his final journey, Worsley had what Gann calls "the most difficult challenge" -- commanding himself.

Courtesy Getty

"I think to some degree there is a misunderstanding of what made Shackleton great and I think in our societies, we tend to want to always think we could conquer by endurance -- there's this idea that somehow anything can be triumphed and I think people gravitate to Shackleton because of that," says Grann.

"But I think one of the central lessons of Shackleton -- I think one of the central lessons that Worsley grappled with on his last expedition -- is really failure and the fact that we can't conquer everything and the fact that we have human limitations. And I think that's a more profound and difficult lesson to accept."

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Hopeful future

Worsley's wife Joanna and children Max and Alicia made a pilgrimage to South Georgia Island in 2017.

Courtesy Joanna Worsley

Tragically, Worsley's solo trip was his last. He fell victim to a serious infection after being rescued just 30 miles from his goal.

But his story isn't one lacking in hope. His life continues to inspire; his friend Louis Rudd is about to begin his own solo expedition to honor his friend.

Meanwhile, Worsley's wife and children visited South Georgia Island in 2017 on a pilgrimage commemorating Worsley. His life and adventures have now been immortalized in Grann's book.

There are also plans, Grann confirms, to bring Worsley's adventures to the big screen in the form of a movie. The story has been optioned by Imperative Entertainment, the company currently working on an adaptation of one of Grann's other books "Killers of the Flower Moon: An American Crime and the Birth of the FBI."

"Henry's family is really quite remarkable," says Grann.

He adds that while many might look upon Henry as the hero who is battling Antarctica, "I also look upon the family and upon his wife Joanna who are [...] dealing with his loss and that grief and, in many ways, face their own Antarctica and I have great admiration for the way they do that."

Luke Posted on November 06, 2018 16:25

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79 students kidnapped from boarding school in Cameroon, official says By Stephanie Halasz and Bukola Adebayo, CNN Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT) November 5, 2018 A photo take in June 2017 shows the city of Bamenda, in Northwest Cameroon.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Armed men kidnapped 79 children from a boarding school in Cameroon's Northwest region, a local government official told CNN Monday.

Louis Marie Begne, spokesman for Cameroon's Northwest government, said the men entered the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, overwhelmed the guard and forced him to take them to the sleeping children.

The men took 79 boys and girls and tried to drive away with the school's minibus. The driver pretended there was a fault with the vehicle so the men took off with the children on foot.

Begne said a crisis meeting was held Monday morning, and the Cameroonian army, police and military police are looking for the children.


The BIR---the Rapid Intervention Battalion, an elite military unit -- is also involved, and helicopters are in the air looking for the youngsters.

It is likely the children have been split into groups, Begne said.

Begne added that the principal of the school had been kidnapped --and let go—only three days ago and had been told not to return to the school.

Benge was not able to say who the kidnappers were, and did not rule out secessionists.

Anglophone separatist fighters calling for independence from Cameroon's largely Francophone government have been accused of kidnapping students in Cameroon's north and southwest region.

Amnesty International says 400 killed in 'escalating violence' in Cameroon's Anglophone regions this year

In September, seven students and a head teacher were kidnapped by armed separatists from their school in the town of Bafut, in the northwest of the country, according to Amnesty International.

The hostages were "tortured and seriously injured" by their kidnappers before their release, the human rights group alleged.

Separatist fighters also unleashed attacks on a group of soldiers in the city of Buea, in southwest Cameroon, in the same month, the rights group said.

Cameroon security forces torturing English speakers, Amnesty says

Violence often erupts in Cameroon's volatile Anglophone provinces, whose residents make up 20% of the country's population. People in those provinces complain the mostly French-speaking government has marginalized them.

But tension flared last year after protests in the regions turned violent, with armed separatists calling for a country of their own.

The growing secessionist movement has also worsened security in the West African nation this year.

"We heard gunshots all through the day," says Cameroon voter

President Paul Biya, who has ruled the country for 36 years, has been accused of using the military to launch attacks on armed separatists and kill English speakers.

The fighters have been accused of killing members of the country's security forces.

However, the 85-year-old leader, now elected for seventh term, has condemned "acts of violence" regardless of their sources.

Luke Posted on November 06, 2018 15:54

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

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

Nov. 6, 2018 / 2:31 PM GMT

By Ben Crump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Luke Posted on November 06, 2018 15:37

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New virus could help destroy cancer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virotherapy in cancer

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

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

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

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


Seneca Valley virus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A virus that evades the immune system

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

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

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

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

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

sarah Posted on November 06, 2018 08:50

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Melanoma: More evidence that antioxidants speed up tumor spread

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

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

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

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

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

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

Antioxidants protect cancer cells

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

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

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

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

Mitochondria-targeting antioxidants

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Tumors grew significantly faster'

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

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

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

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

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

'Not always healthful'

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

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

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

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

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

sarah Posted on November 06, 2018 08:47

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more from link below

Prynx Posted on November 06, 2018 00:39

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

By Chris Ciaccia | Fox News

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:24

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

By James Rogers | Fox News

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:18

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Don’t get ripped off, check your internet speed

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

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

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

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

Measuring internet speed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Services that test internet speed

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

Ookla Speedtest

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

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

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

Tap or click here to try Ookla Speedtest now.

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

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


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

Other tests you can try

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

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

Tips for more accurate results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

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

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:09

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

By Christian Gollayan | New York Post

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 15:51

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Builders on Wall Street: Bitcoin Devs Host Lightning Hack Day

It was described as "not a normal conference."

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Ideas, man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the basics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"There are so many cool things that can be built on lightning, it's important for the underlying protocol to work well," he said, concluding:…ghtning-hack-day/ 

Dominic Solomon Posted on November 05, 2018 14:04

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Six Presidential Properties for Sale

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

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



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

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




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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

majsdesaint Posted on November 05, 2018 13:13

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

A SUICIDE crisis is gripping Britain’s struggling jails.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

SAD: Angie Evans, Lee's mum (Pic: NC)

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 11:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 11:20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 11:15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 10:59

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Strictly curse strikes again! ANOTHER couple announce shock split

STRICTLY Come Dancing has claimed yet another relationship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 05, 2018 10:54

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 06:05

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

By Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 05:57

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Utah mayor Brent Taylor killed while serving in Afghanistan

By Daniella Silva and Alex Johnson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Daniella Silva

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 05:48

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Luke Posted on November 03, 2018 16:04

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

By Kathleen Joyce | Fox News



South Carolina mom shoots home intruder

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Luke Posted on November 03, 2018 15:59

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 03, 2018 15:55

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern wonder

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New identity

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The latter has become a defining point of Panama City.

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

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

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

Happy place

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CNN's Holly Brown contributed to this story

Luke Posted on November 03, 2018 15:45

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ruby Posted on November 03, 2018 15:27

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Asia's meth boom

How a war on drugs went continent-wide

By Joshua Berlinger, CNN


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

By many indications, they're losing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Kings Romans Casino


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

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

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


The exterior of the Kings Romans casino.

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

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

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

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


The entrance of the Kings Romans casino.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke Posted on November 03, 2018 15:02

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

(Pic: GETTY)

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

jmparker Posted on November 03, 2018 13:32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But fans had clearly forgiven the Hulkster over the incident.

jmparker Posted on November 03, 2018 13:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ruby Posted on November 03, 2018 13:28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Read More,,,,,

Prynx Posted on November 03, 2018 10:29

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Girl Missing

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

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


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

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

Joe Delia (Oxigen)

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

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

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

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

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

Phoenix Coldon in fencing gear. (Courtesy of Oxygen)

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

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

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

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

Delia said police tried everything possible to locate Coldon.

(Courtesy of Oxygen)

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

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

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

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

(Courtesy of Oxygen)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

A young Phoenix Coldon.

majsdesaint Posted on November 02, 2018 15:55

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 11:42

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The top 10 "unhealthiest" high streets:

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

The top 10 "healthiest" high streets:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 11:32

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 11:27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 11:16

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BREAKING: Massive fire erupts near Saudi Arabian embassy in London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jmparker Posted on November 02, 2018 10:59

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ruby Posted on November 02, 2018 10:37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



The Land of Sweets


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



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

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



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



The Land of Flowers


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



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

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

The Land of Snowflakes

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

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

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

The Fourth Realm

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



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

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

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

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



















































































































































































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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Land of Sweets

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

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

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

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

The Land of Flowers

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

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

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

The Land of Snowflakes

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

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

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

The Fourth Realm

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

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

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

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

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
































ruby Posted on November 02, 2018 10:26

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