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MPs call for Green to be stripped of knighthood if harassment allegations are true

MPs have called for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood if allegations of sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying are true.


Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, said the billionaire businessman had "narrowly and luckily escaped losing his knighthood over the pensions scandal" at BHS, which plunged into administration back in 2016.


He added: "If these allegations are correct, he should certainly be stripped of his knighthood."


Others, including independent MP Frank Field and Labour's Jess Phillips, have echoed Sir Vince's remarks.


Sir Philip, who owns the Arcadia Group of high street brands including Topshop, Topman, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, was named in parliament as the businessman behind an injunction against The Daily Telegraph on Thursday.


The 66-year-old said he "categorically and wholly denies" allegations of "unlawful sexual or racist behaviour".


Retail analysts have said that, although the claims are unproven, they could be "highly damaging for both him and the retail businesses he owns" if they spark calls to boycott his stores.


Although the pensions scandal at BHS was "complex and nuanced and readily overlooked by many consumers", Neil Saunders of GlobalData Retail said the allegations could "weigh on people's minds when they decide where to shop".




Sir Philip is chairman of Arcadia Group, which owns brands including Topshop and Topman

In a statement, Sir Philip said he would not comment on anything that happened in court or was said in parliament on Thursday, adding: "To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations.


"Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated.

"Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees.


"In some cases these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers.


"These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them."






Moment Philip Green was named in the Lords

Speaking in the House of Lords on Thursday, Labour peer Lord Hain used parliamentary privilege to name Sir Philip.


The former cabinet minister told peers: "I feel it's my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of this story which is clearly in the public interest."


Lord Hain said the case involved "a powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying which is compulsively continuing".

The Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday an unnamed senior executive in a company group had hired at least seven lawyers and spent close to £500,000 in legal fees in his quest to get an injunction against the newspaper.


Under the court ruling, it is illegal to reveal the businessman's identity or to identify the companies, as well as what he is accused of doing or how much he paid his alleged victims.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs it is "clear" some employers are using non-disclosure agreements "unethically", but refused to comment on "a particular case that is currently before the courts".


Mrs May said the government will look at ways to improve rules around non-disclosure agreements and make it "explicit" to companies when they cannot be used.

KaroA Posted on October 26, 2018 09:00

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Academics Analyze Crypto Pump and Dump Schemes in New Paper

Three university scholars – two from the University of Florida and one from Princeton – have concluded what many veteran cryptocurrency enthusiasts have long known and loudly preached: pump-and-dump schemes are bad.


In a new paper currently in progress by Tao Li, Donghwa Shin, and Baolian Wang, the scholars provide evidence that market manipulation schemes “are detrimental to the liquidity and price of cryptocurrencies.”


CCN readers may have an interest in the context of the paper in relation to the recent activity at YoBit, in which the exchange itself openly promised to inject a ton of money into random coins in order to inflate their price.


What Is A Pump-And-Dump Scheme?

For the uninitiated, the term “pump-and-dump” might be foreign. Therefore we should first point out that these schemes did not begin with cryptocurrency and they will be around forever. That’s right: there is no eliminating the pump and dump scheme so long as people are free to make trading decisions on their own.


In any case, a “pump” is when a great deal of value is injected into a given stock, symbol, or, in our case, cryptocurrency, in a market sense. A hype cycle is often involved, and new products are especially likely to be P&Ds. A lone investor with a lot of capital or a small group of colluding entities can make a huge difference in weak markets. The examples in the cryptosphere are endless. One or two bitcoins can purchase a large amount of literally thousands of different coins, and if there are only a few exchanges listing a given token, the “price” will see a significant rise.

The “dump” part of the scheme is when the people acquiring the asset and necessarily driving its price to ridiculous highs sell off their stake to people who are none the wiser. The people buying at rates which previously would have been unreasonable believe they are buying long-term, solid assets. There is also a psychological element to both gambling and investing in which a dominant part of the human brain believes that things will be the way they are today tomorrow. The reality is that pump and dump schemes are hard to regulate without hard facts and informants because often enough, on the surface, they can appear like healthy boom-time trading.



The cryptocurrency sector has been rife with pump-and-dump schemes.

High-risk instruments trading has one goal: get out at the top, or nearest to the top that you can. Experienced traders understand that any asset can turn to absolute crap overnight. Traditional stocks can dive on the news cycle. The fundamentals are what matter. But with even more high-risk instruments, such as speculative technologies and the tokens that power them, the fundamentals are incredibly difficult to gauge. This reporter has dedicated a substantial portion of his life to covering the happenings around cryptocurrencies, tokens, and the like, and still he is overly cautious in most investments surrounding them due to the simple fact that the future is unwritten, and something entirely unexpected can overshadow the basket you dump all your eggs into.


All of which is to say: trading amidst a pump and dump conspiracy is like being caught in a building victimized by arson. The arsonist is most likely to get out with barely even any smoke in his lungs, if he gets burned at all. The rest of the people suffer by degrees. The last person to sell loses the most money.


Hype Is Important

The hype cycle is important to most of these schemes, but it is not absolutely necessary for success. A pump-and-dump expert could potentially fool a market mostly made up of trading robots. Inside information such as the said bots’ trading triggers would help a great deal. A pump-and-dump scheme can go for weeks or months, or it can last a few days. Often, hundreds of smaller traders participate in private Telegram groups with the intent of making each other richer.


As the scholars write:


In the cryptocurrency market, manipulators often organize “pump groups” using encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram. They create Telegram channels and invite other investors to join. They frequently advertise on social media platforms to attract investors. A Telegram channel operator can post messages for other members to read. For a planned pump, the operator announces the target date, time, and exchange, usually at least one day in advance. However, they do not disclose the identity of the target token until the scheduled time. Members also receive multiple reminder messages before the announcement of the token symbol. As we show in this paper, a typical cryptocurrency P&D lasts for only several minutes. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that Telegram channel members are important participants in P&Ds.


What it really boils down to is having enough money and the know-how to raise the price of a given asset. We don’t use the word “value” because the actual value of a token is relative to much more than what people on markets are trading it for that day. As an example, if Bitcoin dove 75% again tomorrow, its actual “value” would probably not be reflected in the market price. Likely as not, it would cost more to mine it, for a time, than it would to buy it. But the value of Bitcoin is much more than what people are willing to pay for it at a given second. The price is a separate thing.


The most successful schemes happen at the launch of a token or a coin and are perpetuated by the creators or “team” themselves. Entire blockchains have been created and abandoned in the pursuit of sometimes small amounts of Bitcoin.


What Can Be Done?

As earlier stated, pump and dump fraud is like any other unsavory activity: it will always be there. How much and how often it is allowed to affect the rest of society is where positive action is possible. The study done by the authors reviewed a specific case, Bittrex, and its tactics attempting to mitigate or eliminate pumping and dumping on its platform. The results were apparently positive in nature:


Messages about pump groups on Telegram show that traders involved in P&D tactics had taken notice of the warning. Many scheduled P&D events were immediately canceled. For example, one prominent pump channel, “Trading signals for crypto,” canceled its P&D event on November 26, 2017. Some message groups solicited feedback from group members regarding whether to switch to other exchanges. Many message groups eventually ceased to pump tokens traded on Bittrex and/or switched to alternative exchanges such as Yobit.


Another conclusion of the paper is that newcomers are often looted of their initial investment. Again, in so many ways crypto trading parallels gambling: a new poker player might be bullied off his small stake by insane bets on the part of a bluffing veteran, or simply not know what they are doing and lose their money that way. The major difference is that a gambler understands it’s a just a game, whereas most investors are earnestly trying to make money, and often they are influenced by false information or downright lies. Resultantly, there is and may for the foreseeable future be “significant wealth transfer” from newcomers to immoral scam artists masquerading as investors.


And as long as there is a market for something, there will be a provider. We can’t stress enough how absurd it is for an exchange itself to openly “pump” coins at random, as Yobit have done. The next step is the exchange operators simply running off with the money, which has happened before. Perhaps it’s better than exchanges which do it on the sly, as most every exchange has been excused. Yet, there was long speculation that Crytpsy was pumping the price of Paycoin and other tokens using customer funds, and look what happened there.

KaroA Posted on October 26, 2018 08:22

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Google sacks dozens over sexual harassment

Google has sacked 48 people including 13 senior managers over sexual harassment claims since 2016.


In a letter to employees, chief executive Sundar Pichai said the tech giant was taking a "hard line" on inappropriate conduct.


The letter was in response to a New York Times report that Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90m exit package despite facing misconduct allegations.


A spokesman for Mr Rubin denied the allegations, the newspaper said.


Sam Singer said Mr Rubin decided to leave Google in 2014 to launch a venture capital firm and technology incubator called Playground.

He was given what the paper described as a "hero's farewell" when he departed.


Mr Pichai's letter said the New York Times story was "difficult to read" and that Google was "dead serious" about providing a "safe and inclusive workplace".


"We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action," he continued.


None of the employees dismissed in the past two years had received an exit package, Mr Pichai added.


According to the New York Times report, two unnamed Google executives said then-chief executive Larry Page asked Mr Rubin to resign after the company confirmed a complaint by a female employee about a sexual encounter in a hotel room in 2013.


A Google investigation found the woman's complaint to be credible, the paper reported, but the company has not confirmed this.


Mr Rubin has said he did not engage in misconduct and left Google of his own accord.


The claims will add to the growing chorus denouncing sexist culture in male-dominated Silicon Valley.


Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies in San Francisco, tweeted: "In a normal world this would mean Rubin is done, but tech has not just been forgiving, some tech sees little wrong with this.


"I'd like to think Google will clean up its act if anything to avoid having a retention problem with their female employees."


Shares in Alphabet, which owns Google, fell more than 3% in New York after it reported revenues of $33.7bn (£26.3bn) for the three months to September - slightly less than analysts had expected.


However, net profit soared $2.5bn to $9.2bn - far higher than expected.

Source: BBC

Nii Sackey Posted on October 26, 2018 05:32

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Jordan flooding: How many schoolchildren have died after flash floods hit family picnic

Jordan’s Dead Sea area has been hit by deadly flash flooding. But how many schoolchildren have died after flash floods hit families having picnic?

Jordan’s Dead Sea area has been hit by deadly flash flooding. But how many schoolchildren have died after flash floods hit families having picnic?

A major rescue operation was underway today after flash floods hit the area near Jordan’s Dead Sea. 

Around 40 children and their teachers were on an outing on Thursday when the floods struck. 

How many schoolchildren have died? 

At least 10 school children have died and 16 are still missing, rescuers said.

Army troops and helicopters were called in to help search for those still unaccounted for. 

So far, search teams have rescued 11 people, some of whom are in a serious condition, civil defence sources told Reuters.

Hospitals in the area were put on high alert today.

A civil defence official was also quoted on state television saying that the number of casualties was expected to rise as the day progressed.

A witness said a bus with 37 school children and seven teachers had been on a trip to a resort area.

Around 40 children and their teachers were on an outing on Thursday when the floods struck (Image: GETTY)

The flash floods hit near the Dead Sea area (Image: GOGGLE MAPS)

However, “raging” floodwaters swept them into a valley.

An officer at the Civil Defence Department told The Jordan Times: “A major rescue operation entailing scores of people from different state agencies as well as several rescue helicopters

and boats, marine divers and swimmers are at the site now to rescue trapped people and search for missing ones.

“The number of those killed in the flash flood is expected to increase because many were reported to have been swept away by the raging water.”

Prime Minister Omar Razza helped with the rescue operation, according to the Jordan Times. 

Related articles

Hospitals in the area were put on high alert today (Image: GETTY)

He reportedly instructed state agencies to provide all needed assistance to ensure the safety of the students.

The country was hit with sudden heavy rain, which flooded the hot springs area near the Dead Sea.



Prynx Posted on October 26, 2018 00:10

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Polio outbreak in USA 2018: What is polio-like virus acute flaccid myelitis?

POLIO-like virus acute flaccid myelitis has broken out in the US, with 155 patients under investigation for the condition this year. So what is acute flaccid myelitis?

By Kate Whitfield

PUBLISHED: 17:22, Thu, Oct 25, 2018 | UPDATED: 17:40, Thu, Oct 25, 2018



Acute flaccid myelitis: Expert reveals symptoms and prevention

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The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the alarming statistic, with the number of cases up from 127 in just one week.

The CDC reports that between August 2014 to September 2018, 386 cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been confirmed in the US, making the sudden recent spike more worrying.

The condition, which affects mostly children and can cause paralysis, is alarming health care workers for its similarity to poliovirus.



Polio has been eradicated in most parts of the world, but this similar virus is baffling doctors in the States.


Related articles

What is acute flaccid myelitis?

Acute flaccid myelitis, also called AFM, is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system.

In particular, the area of the spinal cord known as grey matter is affected.

The CDC estimates the disease affects on average less than one in a million people a year in the US.

Polio outbreak in USA 2018: It is advised to keep polio vaccinations up to date (Image: Getty)

Symptoms of AFM:

  • Weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms or legs

  • Facial droop or weakness

  • Difficulty moving the eyes

  • Drooping eyelids

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Slurred speech

Numbness or tingling is rare in people with AFM, although some people have pain in their arms or legs.

Some people with AFM may be unable to pass urine.

Related articles

Polio outbreak in USA 2018: Polio has been eradicated in most parts of the world (Image: Getty)

The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure that can happen when the muscles involved with breathing become weak, which can require urgent ventilator support.

In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death.

The CDC said in its advisory: “AFM is rare, but it can lead to serious neurologic problems.

“You should seek medical care right away if you or your child develops any of these symptoms.”

The average age of patients confirmed to have the condition is just four years old, with more than 90 percent of all cases occurring in children 18 and younger.

Polio outbreak in USA 2018: The condition mostly children and can cause paralysis (Image: Getty)

What causes AFM?

The CDC said certain viruses, such as poliovirus and West Nile virus could lead to conditions like AFM.

It is advised to keep polio vaccinations up to date and protect children from mosquito biters which can carry West Nile virus.

The CDC said: “While we don’t know the cause of most of the AFM cases, it’s always important to practice disease prevention steps, such as staying up-to-date on vaccines, washing your hands, and protecting yourself from mosquito bites.”




Prynx Posted on October 25, 2018 23:29

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US volcano warning: 18 pose ‘very high’ threat level in shock USGS report

THE United States is under “very high” threat from 18 volcanoes according to a comprehensive new assessment

The USGS report lists the United States' most dangerous volcanoes (Image: GETTY)

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano tops the list of 161 active or potentially active volcanoes assessed by the USGS.

The government agency looked at 24 hazard and exposure factors to assesses the volcanoes and update a volcanic threat assessment published by scientist John Ewert and colleagues 13 years ago.

The US has seen 120 eruptions and 52 episodes of notable volcanic unrest at 44 US volcanoes since 1980, the USGS said.

And of the 161 volcanoes, the assessment classed 18 as very high threat, 39 high threat, 49 moderate threat, 34 low threat, and 21 very low threat volcanoes.

carried out by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The threat ranking is not an indication of which volcano will erupt next. “Rather, it is an indicator of the potential severity of impacts that could result from future eruptions at any given volcano

USGS report

The report, entitled 2018 Update to the US Geological Survey National Volcanic Threat Assessment, said: “The 2018 update of the 2005 assessment adds or raises the threat level for 12 volcanoes and reduces or removes threat level status from 20 volcanoes.

“The threat ranking is not an indication of which volcano will erupt next.

“Rather, it is an indicator of the potential severity of impacts that could result from future eruptions at any given volcano.”

Kilauea, which erupted spectacularly earlier this year on Hawaii’s Big Island, is rated the most dangerous with an overall threat score of 263, as well as an aviation threat score, referring to the danger posed to aircraft flying across its path, of 48.

Kilauea, on Hawaii's Big Island, is top of the list (Image: GETTY)

Lava from Kilauea snakes towards the sea (Image: USGS)

Lava from Kilauea destroyed more than 700 homes and businesses, while more than 2,000 people were evacuated, and the coastline of the island’s south-east corner was altered dramatically, with the creation of more than 500 acres of new land.

Islanders are still picking up the pieces after the widespread destruction, with Susie Osborne, headteacher of Kua O Ka La School, which was one of the buildings destroyed, admitting: “Our lives are altered forever.”

The eruptive activity at Kilauea continued for three months, but appears to have abated, and its alert level has been downgraded by Watch to Advisory.

Second on the list is Mount St Helens in Washington state, with a threat level of 235. Its aviation threat score of 59 makes it the most hazardous volcano to fly across in the entire United States

The massive Long Valley Caldera also has a (Image: USGS)

Mount St Helens erupted spectacularly in 1980, releasing more than 1.5 million metric tons of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.

A total of 57 people died as a result, as well as almost 7,000 deer, elk and bears.

More than 200 homes and 185 miles of road were also destroyed.

In third place is close neighbour Mount Rainier, also located in Washington, with a score of 203, and an aviation threat level of 37

Officially Mount Rainier, which is also the highest mountain in the Cascade Range which runs up the Pacific Northwest, is dormant, with the last official eruption having occurred in 1854.

However, it is also listed by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior as a “decade volcano”, one of 16 around the world identified as being worthy of particular study in light their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.

Volcanologists believe an eruption from Mount Rainier would post a grave threat to the southern sections of the Seattle metropolitan area, which is home to 3.7 million people.

Slightly further down the list, in 18th place, is Long Valley Caldera, which experts said earlier this year has a reservoir of semi-molten magma swilling around underneath measuring a staggering 240 cubic miles, much of which would be released into the atmosphere in the event of an eruption.

Such an explosion would dwarf the 1980 Mount St Helens event, which released 0.29 cubic miles



Prynx Posted on October 25, 2018 21:47

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The town of women A place where wives don't see their husbands for years

There is a town in West Africa where it has become traditional for men to leave and seek work in Italy. The women are often left behind for years, or even for decades. But Beguedo in Burkina Faso is not unique. There are other towns in Africa where the same thing occurs - and many where it is repeated on a smaller scale, as men travel to neighbouring countries, or to Europe, hoping to find a well-paid job. How does a community survive when husbands and wives live thousands of miles apart?

Alimata Bara is a joker, always smiling, always laughing. Today she is laughing at her own misfortune - the misfortune of being a “celibate wife”. Seven years ago, at the age of 17, she married an “Italian” - a local man working in Italy. Since then she has spent less than six months with her husband. And of course, that is not the life she once imagined for herself. “When you are a young girl, what do you know about life? You see an Italian, and your whole body starts to shake,” she says, with another big laugh. We are sitting on the porch of her house in the compound belonging to her husband's family in the town of Beguedo, 230km (140 miles) south-east of Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

“We met in the market, and started chatting,” she recalls.Then he brought cola nuts to my parents. Within 10 days we were married.” Once upon a time, it took months to organise a marriage in a rural area like this. The suitor had to work in the parents' field, gain their trust, show that he could provide and be a good husband for the woman he longed for. But now, months have turned to weeks - and sometimes days, when the potential husband is on holiday and is about to head back to Europe. In Beguedo, the “Italians” usually come home in August or December. Those periods have become wedding seasons - a time when girls dress up and go out to parties in the hope of meeting a husband. It's a poor area, where migrant workers have long symbolised the promise of a better life. For a while, Alimata thought she was living the dream. Three weeks after a beautiful wedding ceremony, Saada went back to Italy. Alimata settled in with her parents-in-law and in due course gave birth to a daughter, Omayma.

Now six years old, she takes great delight in flipping through photo albums and pointing to “Daddy!” - Saada posing in a field among crates of tomatoes, a continent away. After their wedding, it was almost three years before Alimata was able to hold her husband in her arms again. He came back for three weeks in 2011, and then a couple of months in 2014. He has the papers that would allow him travel back and forth between Beguedo and Italy but cannot afford to. “Things are tough in Italy, it is harder and harder to find work,” Alimata says. “He has no money to buy a plane ticket.” The couple's second child, a boisterous boy named Obaidou, now three years old, has only seen his father once. Alimata is still smiling, though ruefully, when she describes her lonely nights.I spend so much time missing my husband. Sometimes you go to bed but you can't even sleep. But what are you going to do? Go and find another man? ”She shakes her head. “We don't do that here.” In Beguedo, scores of women share the same fate. Nematou, who lives just across Alimata's yard, is married to Saada's brother - and he is also working abroad.

Nematou and Alimata are almost the same age, and the two have become close, sharing the hardships of bringing up their children on their own, and cracking jokes about it as often as they can. Half the mothers in the village are in the same position, according to a former mayor, Beatrice Bara. It's an unseen consequence of the migration of thousands of African men to Europe. It's not like this in every town, but here and there circumstances conspire to draw large numbers of men abroad, leaving behind a town full of women, waiting for them on the continent they left behind. When they marry, the men promise to come back often, or to fetch their wives once they are properly settled on the other side. Some have. But that was before the economic crisis, and before Europe gradually turned into a fortress. Until the early 1990s, people from Burkina Faso did not even need a visa to travel to Italy. Even in 2008, when Alimata married Saada, she thought that in time she would join him in Italy. “He thought he would bring me along, but then he lost his job,” she says. “Over there, life is so expensive. You have to pay rent, big bills for electricity and water. Here in the village, it is simpler. We grow our crops, cook our food, go and get water at the borehole. And even when electricity bills come, it is not that much.” In some ways it also made sense for her to stay, to look after Saada's parents as they get older. She brings up the children, works on the land, cooks food - the household revolves around her. When Alimata eventually realised she would not be joining Saada in Italy, she thought at least that they would be comfortably off.

This is meant to be the consolation for an absent husband, and Beguedo - while it has no supermarket, and no hospital to speak of - has several places where people can receive money wired from abroad.

However, while Saada was able to build a one-bedroom house for Alimata in his parents' compound, he has never been successful enough in Italy to send much money home - just 25,000 CFA francs (about £25) now and then, with months in between. The last time Alimata received something was in May. Since then, nothing. Luckily she has never relied solely on Saada's money. When she was pregnant with her first child she would go and sell vegetables in the market. Her feet started to get swollen from sitting all day under the sun, and her husband told her to stay home, but by then she had saved a little money. So, after Omayma was born, she bought a couple of bags of charcoal and started to trade, reinvesting the profits. Now she buys at least 30 bags of charcoal at a time. Her husband pitched in to build a small shelter for her business in front of the house.

Whenever she has the time Alimata also cycles to her mother's field to help her work the land. They grow gombo, millet, onions and peanuts. “If my peanut crop is good this year, I will be the one paying for my husband's plane ticket,” she says, beaming. It's another joke. Five years of peanut crops would not pay for a plane ticket. Over the years, Alimata has stopped dreaming of joining Saada abroad. “Now I just want him to come back,” she says. At least he still calls often. “Before he only called when he could buy airtime. And sometimes I would not hear from him for a week or two. Or he would call but after a couple of minutes we would get cut off,” she explains. The last couple of months, things have changed. They have started to use Skype and Alimata is now a frequent customer at Beguedo's tiny cybercafe. “He says he misses me. From time to time, he sounds so disheartened,” she says. She feels lucky that they talk often. Some women find there are lengthening silences as a husband who is geographically distant becomes emotionally distant too.

Five wives

On some streets in Beguedo straw-roofed huts adjoin big houses. The big houses tend to belong to “old” Italians - those who left for Europe before the economic crisis, and found so many more opportunities there than the “new” Italians who followed them later.

Mominata Sambara is married to an old Italian. Her face is very wrinkled and she does not know her age. Her husband left for Italy almost 30 years ago, returning regularly enough for the couple to have seven children. “Things went well. Each month he would send 50,000 CFA francs (about £50). He built a house for us,” she says, sitting on a colourful mat in the front yard of her house. Her villa has a vast veranda, an intercom and a satellite dish. Her life seems peaceful - she works in the field, sells crops at the market and takes care of her grandchildren.

Next to Mominata sits her daughter-in-law, Fatimata, whose husband is also in Italy. “But things are different now,” she says. Fatimata is not so well off as her mother-in-law was. Beguedo's young men still want to believe Italian grass is greener though, possibly because those who return show off their success and hide their difficulties. “People who left but did not manage to make money abroad are stigmatised, and they usually don't even go back to stay in their village,” says Prof Mahamadou Zongo, a sociologist at Ouagadougou university. “They go to the capital where they can find anonymity.” The Italian dream has affected school attendance in Beguedo. Young men lose interest because they would rather make what they think is easy money in Italy, while young women are sometimes withdrawn from school to marry Italians. But Zongo says some women are becoming more aware of the downsides. “Between the wedding day and the next stop of the husband in the village, there can be up to five, six, seven years,” he says. In the meantime, the wife lives with her in-laws. She has to be obedient and docile. She is being watched. She can be rejected on a simple denunciation.”If someone in the husband's family considers her behaviour inappropriate, renunciation can be “as quick as a phone call”. And then there is the risk of having to accept a rival.

With a bittersweet smile, 50-year-old Adiassa (not her real name) says her life “is leaning towards the end”. Her marriage certainly is. Her husband of 30 years has lived in Italy for 20 years, and even took two of their sons to live and work there. “At the beginning, things were good, he would come back every couple of years, and send good money,” she recalls, adjusting the frayed beige veil that covers her head. “Yes, things were really good,” she repeats, cheekily making a noise with her lips to mimic kissing. But six years ago her husband informed her that he was planning on marrying a second time. I did not agree. No woman wants her husband to take a second wife, but he gave me no choice.” “He said I was too old now,” she grumbles. “And that if I did not agree, I could just leave.” The Bissa people who live in Beguedo and surrounding regions of Burkina Faso are Muslim. Polygamy is allowed in their culture. Yet it was a harsh blow for Adiassa when her husband not only married a much younger woman but also took this one with him abroad. She had hoped to see Italy herself, and had waited many years. “But I could not keep up,” she says. Her husband does not send money any more, nor does he call. Now she just relies on her children to take care of her.

Awa Sagne had a similar experience. Shortly after she got married, Awa's husband left her and their first child to find work abroad. He did not have enough money to get to Italy, so he went south to Gabon. Things were tough at first, but two years later Awa joined him. She became a hairdresser, and they had two more children. “I liked living somewhere other than here, and I enjoyed my work,” she says. But then she fell ill and had to go home. Her husband, meanwhile, finally made his way to Italy and prospered there. Three years ago, to demonstrate his success, he took a second wife. After years struggling with her husband to make ends meet, Awa, at the age of 38, is now sharing the family home with a wife almost 20 years younger than her. It's easy to appreciate the blow this represents to her pride, when she tells a story about an occasion years ago, when her husband was already working abroad and sent a disappointingly small amount of money home. Once he dared to send me 2,500 francs! (About £2.) What am I going to do with that? I looked again in the envelope, incredulous, and then just sent it back.” She then called him. “Thank you but no thank you,” she told him. “I would rather work and earn that money myself.”

It was perhaps as an insurance policy against a fate like this that 22-year-old Malika (not her real name), quietly opened a bank account after her marriage to an Italian three years ago. Whenever she can, she puts some money aside, even if it is just a few pennies. “You can't tell your husband everything. And you can't trust him 100%,” she argues. Even if he sent her enough money to provide for her, she would still work, she says. A Bissa proverb sums up her attitude: “If you sleep on someone else's mat, you might as well be sleeping on the floor.”

The "Italians"

For many wives in Beguedo, what happens in Italy stays in Italy. The women often don't know exactly where their husbands live, or what jobs they do. Alimata just knows that Saada has worked on farms. Her sister-in-law, Nematou, vaguely says her husband used to work in a factory. The women are aware that their husbands may have to move around, as they go from one job to the next. They can appreciate that their lives may be hard, but know little about their actual living conditions. In Beguedo, stories go around about Italians coming back with an Italian wife and treating their Beguedo wife as though she were a sister or a cousin for the duration of their stay. Many wives in the village don't even assume their partner remains faithful. When asked about the possibility of Saada having another wife in Italy, Alimata responds with a firm: “No, impossible.” But what about what some Africans call “opening a second office” - cheating, having a mistress?

Again, Alimata laughs out loud. “You can't know that. If I ask him, of course he is going to say, 'No.' But can a man go three years without laying hands on a woman?” She pauses, but does not expect an answer to her question. “Women are faithful,” she says. “But for men, it is a whole other story.” In any case, when he comes back, Saada will not face any scenes or jealous questioning. Alimata just hopes he will return, and be with her at last.

When contacted by telephone in Italy, where he is currently working on a farm outside the southern town of Foggia, Saada was tight-lipped, possibly to avoid annoying his employer. Agricultural labourers often have to work extremely long hours for low pay. When asked if he would have time to meet a reporter, Saada said he had no days off. Saada said he had been in Foggia since 2010, after losing another job at the time of the financial crisis in 2008 - the moment Alimata referred to when his income plunged. Men from the Bissa community first began travelling to work in Italy in the 1980s, after a man who had been working as a driver for a diplomatic family in Ivory Coast went with them to Rome and returned a wealthy man - by local standards, at least. “When he came back to visit Beguedo we watched him build a house and buy a nice motorbike, and we thought - as there is no work in Burkina, maybe we should go and help out abroad too?” says Inoussa Bara, one of the leaders of the Burkinabe community in Italy. Even before that, Bissa men were inveterate travellers, according Mahamadou Zongo, the sociologist.

In the past, some would migrate to the Gold Coast - now called Ghana. Others went to Ivory Coast. Italy, North Africa, and oil-rich countries in Central Africa, such as Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, are newer destinations. Culturally, migration is considered educational.” “Among the Bissa and the Mossi (another ethnic group in Burkina Faso), migration is almost part of the initiation, the path that leads from boyhood to manhood,” says Zongo. Someone who has travelled far, he says, is said to have “had his eyes opened”. According to Inoussa Bara (no relation of Saada Bara) the Bissa people make up 80% of the 45,000-strong Burkinabe community in Italy, which is the biggest in Europe.

When Inoussa set foot in Italy in 1991 its doors were wide open. “When you arrived at the airport, the border police asked you the purpose of your visit. 'I've come for a holiday.' 'For how long?' 'Two weeks.' 'How much money do you have for your stay?' … And if you had enough money in your pocket they would let you in. And then of course you didn't leave,” he says. In 1995 there was an amnesty for foreign workers, and he got his residence permit. Then in 1997 his wife came from Beguedo to live with him under the family reunification immigration policy.

Prof Mahamadou Zongo says the first Burkinabe immigrants worked in tomato fields in southern Italy - where, it's often been reported, many of them were and are still exploited by unscrupulous employers. After a while, some managed to move to northern Italy, where they got stable jobs in factories. According to Inoussa Bara it remained the case that new arrivals from Burkina Faso generally first worked in the south, then looked for opportunities to go north.That was until this year's immigration crisis and the opening of retention camps where immigrants may be held, then farmed out across Europe. With a degree in foreign languages, Inoussa Bara never worked in agriculture - he started out in a car-wash - but he too moved from Naples to northern Italy, where, in 2009, he was named Employee of the Year in a competition run by the Manpower recruitment agency. In recent years, even those who have found a steady job and acquired a residence permit have found it more difficult to bring wives to join them in Italy, because of changes to the family reunification policy.

In a recent story about the sorrow of celibate wives in Beguedo, a journalist in Burkina Faso compared them to Penelope, the wife of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey.

She waits 20 years for her husband, who went away to fight and win a war, confronting all kinds of mythological creatures before he can return. She stays at home, raises her son, works tirelessly, and turns down other suitors, remaining faithful to Odysseus. Homer's epic has a happy ending, but life does not always mirror fiction. Alimata racks her brains to think of a way she and Saada could earn a good income, if he were to come home. But opportunities in Beguedo remain scarce to non-existent. “Maybe if I could have another business, plus the charcoal, then maybe we could work together,” she dreams. “Or if he can make enough money to come here and start a business of his own, that might allow him to spend half of the year here, and the other half in Italy. "That would really make me happy.”

jmparker Posted on October 25, 2018 15:44

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Robert Jones Locked up for 23 years - when the real killer had already been jailed

America imprisons a higher proportion of its citizens than anywhere else in the world, and Louisiana more than anywhere else in America. It is estimated that 14 out of every 1,000 adults in the state are in prison. This is the story of one of them, Robert Jones, who was jailed in the 1990s for killing a young British tourist in New Orleans. It was a crime another man had already been convicted of, but he was prosecuted anyway. The judge who sentenced the young father to life in prison now says his skin colour sealed his fate. But even today, more than 23 years after he was arrested, Robert Jones is still not a free man.

Murder of a tourist

British holidaymakers Julie Stott and her boyfriend Peter Ellis were on a trip to the US that was meant to be one they remembered for the rest of their lives. It was a celebration of the couple's engagement, though they had decided not to announce the news until they returned to the UK. On Tuesday 14 April 1992, having already visited Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon, the couple planned a night out in New Orleans. Julie chose a restaurant and later they went to see a Latin jazz band at the Cafe Brasil. At about 11.30pm the couple were strolling back to their hotel through the city's historic French Quarter, laughing and fooling around with a balloon they had found on the street. But suddenly, as they passed an old French convent, a man leaped out from the shadows, and pointed a gun at them. He shouted at them to lie down, but the couple froze in panic staring at the gun. The next moment the man started shooting. He fired two shots at Peter. One grazed the front of his shirt as he dived behind a parked car. Then the gunman turned to Julie, who was still standing startled in the middle of the road. She began to turn to run but as she did two shots rang out.

She slumped to the ground. The attacker turned, jumped into a car and sped off the wrong way down the one-way street. Peter rushed to his fiancee's side, trying to revive her. There was no response. He saw blood gushing from her arm and tried to stem the flow with his shirt. As he cradled her, he shouted for someone to call for an ambulance. But the second bullet had hit her in the head, just behind the ear and she was dying of her wounds.

Julie Stott

“When I got here, only Julie's clothes were left in the road. She had been taken away by the emergency medics,” says James Stewart, the murder detective called to investigate the killing. He had no trouble showing me the exact spot where the attack took place more than 23 years ago.“This crime scene is just burned on my brain. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Julie's boyfriend Peter Ellis was still here. He was in shock. He helped us piece things together trying to be as helpful as he could, but you could tell he was devastated.”Now an FBI agent based in Florida, Stewart says it was quickly apparent that Julie Stott's death was the result of a botched robbery. The entire confrontation, he estimates, took less than 30 seconds. While the details Peter Ellis gave were crucial, his description of the gunman was sketchy, so focused had he been on the gun. Stewart did have leads - the bullets used by the gunman and witness descriptions of the attacker's car. But he also knew the pressure would be on to find the murderer quickly. “At the time there were crime sprees in other American cities, like Miami, where tourists were targeted,” he says.

As soon as I realised this was the killing of a tourist in the US, I knew there would be a media blitz. But I've never seen anything like it on a case before or since.”What Stewart had not bargained for was the hunger for the story in the British media, which got involved in a way that dramatically altered the course of the case - and the life of Robert Jones.

Hunt for a killer

Stewart quickly learned some other important facts about the night of the murder. Just minutes before the shooting of Julie Stott, and just a short distance away in New Orleans's French Quarter, another couple had been robbed at gunpoint. And two hours after Julie was killed, another street robbery took place. Again the attacker was armed. Crucially, in both cases, descriptions of the gun and a burgundy car with a white roof used by the attacker matched those given by witnesses after the killing of Julie Stott, and by the victims of a sadistic robbery and rape a week earlier.

It was clear that Julie Stott's killer had embarked on a violent one-man crime spree and had already carried out at least four attacks in the city. Meanwhile, the UK media had begun crying out for this man to be brought to justice. Within days the Sun newspaper had offered a $10,000 reward. That news spread quickly in New Orleans and suddenly calls to the police flooded in. “Any time you throw around a lot of money like that, you're going to get all kinds of people calling in and all kinds of leads,” says Stewart.

Most of the tips were discarded, but then one came in that investigators thought they should explore further. “The caller identified some guys. He said they had all been in a bar talking about the murder and giving details that made him think they had been involved,” says Stewart, who was by this stage getting desperate for a breakthrough. One of those named by the caller was Robert Jones, a 19-year-old from a run-down neighbourhood who had already been in some scrapes with the law. He had been suspected of selling drugs, and though he had never been convicted of any crime, police had his picture on file. Soon after the tip came in, a woman who had been robbed, kidnapped and raped in a horrific, prolonged ordeal a week before the murder of Julie Stott, was in the police station for a follow-up interview. The investigator interviewing her said the police had news of a potential suspect and showed her a series of photographs.

Looking at the first picture, the rape victim said the man was too young. The second she did not recognise at all. The third she put to one side, before looking through the others. Ultimately, she went back to the third picture. That, she said, was the man who had attacked her.

The third photograph was of Robert Jon

It was about 4am when police officers surrounded Jones's home. “We were in bed asleep when we heard a lot of noise outside, and banging on the doors. All around we hear people shouting, 'Open up!'” says Kendra Harrison, then Jones's 17-year-old girlfriend.

Kendra Harrison

Someone opened the front door and they all just rushed in, pointing their guns at us and shouting. It was total chaos, everybody was hollering and crying.” She says the police made everyone - Jones and her, and their two young children, plus Jones's mother and his five younger siblings - lie flat on the floor.

Only then did they shout out who they were looking for. Robert Jones was quickly in handcuffs and being hauled out of the house. “He kept on asking them what he was being arrested for. We didn't understand what was going on. I was so lost and confused. We all were,” says Harrison. “After they took Robert away there was chaos, tears. Everybody was crying all over the place.”

Later, Jones was shown on TV bulletins being taken to Orleans Parish Jail, bare-chested and with his hands cuffed behind his back, accused of the murder of Julie Stott. TV news crews interviewed tourists, who talked of their relief that a killer had been caught. In the UK too, Robert Jones's arrest was being widely reported. “The Sun traps Julie's Killer” ran The Sun's front-page headline.

The Sun front page, 20 April 1992 The mayor of New Orleans was quoted congratulating and thanking the newspaper for offering the $10,000 reward that appeared to have led to the arrest (though there is in fact no evidence to suggest a reward was ever paid). Inside the newspaper, above a picture of Robert Jones, was the headline, Beast of the Jungle.

He was a “junkie murderer”, the story said, going on to describe the squalid conditions in the Jones family house, and to accuse him of a string of crimes - rape, kidnapping and robbery, as well as the callous shooting of Julie Stott.

But Detective James Stewart was uncomfortable. “It was hard not to publicise that arrest, the media were all over the case, but I thought the headlines were overblown because we knew there was a lot more work to do.” “The only things we had from the murder scene were a car and a bullet casing, and we hadn't yet tied Robert back to either,” he says. His misgivings proved well-founded. On 20 April 1992, six days after Julie Stott was killed - and the very day British newspapers ran triumphant headlines about the killer being caught - another young couple walking through New Orleans was suddenly confronted by a gunman. He ordered them to lie on the ground. They complied. With jewellery that the couple then handed over, the attacker got away. He drove off in a distinctive burgundy car with a white roof.

Robert Jones (no 5) in a police line-up, 1992

Nightmare in court

Thanks to what they had seen on the news, or read in newspapers, many in New Orleans believed that the violent attacker who had terrorised their city and killed a British tourist had now been caught. But detectives, who had by this stage formed a special taskforce, knew otherwise. They continued to look for the real gunman, and could not have hoped for better than what happened next.

It was reported that a car fitting the description given in all five crimes in the spree was parked outside a home in a poor area of the city - a housing development known as the Desire Projects. When detectives went to investigate, they found what appeared to be the burgundy car with a white roof that witnesses had described. More than that, a man identifying himself as the owner approached them, asking why they were sniffing around his car. A sharp-eyed detective immediately noticed that both the ring and the wristwatch the man was wearing matched descriptions of items stolen during the crime spree. On closer inspection, it was found that he was also wearing a gold chain stolen in another of the robberies - and a medallion and chain stolen during the rape. The man, 30-year-old Lester Jones (no relation to Robert), was arrested.

Car linked to the crimes

In his car, four more rings stolen during the crime spree and a pair of round wire-rimmed glasses described by the rape victim were discovered. And at his home there were clothes that matched those worn by the rapist, other items stolen during the robberies and one other crucial bit of evidence, in a jacket hanging in Lester Jones's bedroom wardrobe. “In Lester's apartment we found a weapon and bullets,” says James Stewart. “We quickly had them tested and the ballistics guy over in our lab was able to tie the gun to the bullet removed from Julie Stott's body.” In the days that followed, some of the victims of the crimes - including the robberies immediately before and after the murder of Julie Stott - identified Lester Jones as their attacker.

“We had everything we could want,” says Stewart. We had compelling physical evidence that linked Lester to all the crimes and nothing to link Robert to any of them.” “We still felt we had to positively exclude Robert from our investigations and that meant making sure there were no ties between Robert and Lester. We found none.” So, in August 1994, following a trial attended by the parents of Julie Stott, and where testimony was given by her fiance, Peter Ellis, Lester Jones was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He would soon be found guilty of other offences committed during the crime spree, though not the rape.

Inside Lester Jones's car

“I've always worked under the assumption it was one perpetrator, and we found him and he was going to jail. And once Lester Jones got convicted then I thought that the case was over with, it was done with,” says Stewart. But incredibly, two years after his arrest, Robert Jones had still not been released. And in March 1996, now 23 years old, he too went on to be convicted of some of Lester Jones’s crimes - the killing of Julie Stott and some robberies – and in his case the rape too. No-one mentioned at the trial that Lester Jones had already been jailed for some of these offences. Prosecutors described him as a man convicted of violent crimes - a dangerous associate of Robert Jones. They insisted the two were friends, despite the fact that detectives - including James Stewart - had told the prosecutor's office that they were not. Even though the original tip implicating Robert Jones related to Julie Stott's murder, the trial focused almost solely on the charge of rape, and the identification made by the rape victim. Prosecutors claimed that Robert had borrowed Lester's car and gun, carried out that attack, then given back Lester his car, weapon and all of the items he had stolen.

When they came back and said 'Guilty', I felt like I died. It was like it was a moment of total despair for me. I was totally crushed internally.” I can't put that moment into words,” Jones told me from prison.

Robert Jones in 1992 and 2015

Once he was convicted of rape, the prosecutors offered to downgrade the murder charge to manslaughter if he pleaded guilty to this and the other charges - a deal he accepted to avoid the risk, which must at the time have seemed a strong probability, of ending up on death row. The trial had lasted less than 10 hours. The parents of Julie Stott, now both deceased, were never informed that a second man was convicted of killing their daughter. Even the murder detective in the case, James Stewart, only found out in 2013. Jones was sent to Louisiana State Penitentiary, the famous prison known as “Angola” built on a huge former slave plantation. “It's like I've been having a nightmare for more than 23 years and I'm still waiting for someone to wake me up,” he told me. To this day, prisoners (more than three-quarters of whom are black) work in the fields, often picking cotton under the watch of (predominantly white) armed prison officers. Did race play a part in putting Robert Jones there? One key figure in the case now says that it did.

Judge's revelation

I meet Judge Calvin Johnson in the spacious hallways of New Orleans's grand criminal court. It's a place he came to love over his long career, but one where he now says grave injustices were done. “The fact that Robert Jones was wrongly convicted and is in jail for something he arguably he didn't do weighs heavily on me,” says the judge, now retired, who presided over Robert's trial in 1996. “But we had a prosecutor's office that was not forthcoming in providing information that could help defendants. It was playing fast and loose with the truth and was negligent across several cases and they did it consistently. That is what happened with Robert Jones.”Himself an African-American, Johnson makes the astonishing claim that the system worked to put as many young, black men behind bars for as long as possible.

Judge Calvin Johnson

“That wasn't anything unique about Robert Jones or that time. I mean that was the driving force in this town for decades,” he says.

The way we looked at Robert Jones was: 'If he didn't do this, he did something else and therefore his punishment is not justified for this particular act, it's justified for other things he did and got away with.'”

Both of the prosecutors involved in Robert's case declined to be interviewed.The first is Roger Jordan, now a defence lawyer. In 2005, in a rare ruling, the Louisiana Supreme Court barred him from practising law for three months for withholding evidence in another case. He said “professional rules of ethics” prevented him from discussing Robert Jones's case with me. The second is Fred Menner, who argued the case against Robert Jones in court and is still a prosecutor. Again, he said he could not speak to me on the record about an active case. But in September of this year, a memo that Menner wrote in 1996 was finally made public. In essence, it concedes that there was no admissible evidence against Robert Jones in the Julie Stott murder case.

Another person I wanted to talk to was Robert Jones's original defence attorney, Curklin Atkins, and as he never returned my calls I decided to visit his home.  After several minutes knocking on his front door, I noticed a movement in the car parked in the driveway. It appeared to be a head slowly being raised which disappeared again suddenly when I turned. It was Atkins, so I walked over to talk to him through the car window. “People can say whatever they want to say, they wasn't in the heat of the battle,” he said, referring to people who have criticised his handling of the case. The idea that it was his incompetence that led to Robert Jones spending 23 years in jail for crimes he did not commit, he dismissed as “impossible”. “While people on the side are sitting back criticising and saying, 'You could have did this, you could have did that, you could have investigated this, investigated that,' they didn't spend the time - they could have went down there and represented Robert Jones.” Any other defence attorney might also have failed to find out that Lester Jones had already been convicted of Julie Stott's murder, he said.

Curklin Atkins

Some might argue that the massive volume of cases going through the criminal justice system in Louisiana is bound to result in mistakes. Others have suggested that prosecutors may have withheld evidence to speed up trials, or simply to win. It is hard to prove Judge Johnson's allegation that there was a conspiracy to lock up as many black youths as possible, but another senior figure in the Louisiana justice system accepts that something was badly wrong during the 30 years the state prosecutor's office was run by District Attorney Harry Connick (father of the jazz musician and singer, Harry Connick Jr). “Certainly the reputation of this office traditionally has been stained, there is no question about that,” says the man doing the job now, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

There is also no question that this is not the only case, there have been other cases, where prosecutors either intentionally or negligently withheld evidence. The best I can do is move forward.” “From this point, from the moment I took office, what we said we were going to do, is those things are not going to happen.” But despite this admission, in the past Cannizzaro has strenuously fought accusations that the prosecutor’s office exhibited a pattern of failures. On that basis, he refused $14m in compensation to a man named John Thompson, who was freed from death row after evidence withheld by prosecutors was finally brought to light. He also fought to prevent any court ruling that Robert Jones's trial was unfair, but in June the Louisiana Supreme Court finally dismissed his appeals. He then wanted a bond of $2.25 million to be paid if Jones was to be released ahead of a retrial. But in mid-November that demand was rejected by a judge, who said that pending a retrial - on the charge of rape - Robert could finally leave jail.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro

Almost free

Late in the afternoon on Friday 20 November, 23 years and seven months after he was arrested, Robert Jones walks out of jail, with arms raised, to be engulfed by his family.



Among those waiting for him are his elderly mother, his sister and a daughter, Bree, born eight months after he was dragged from the family home in handcuffs.

All are in tears except Jones himself, who is beaming and calmly telling them everything is going to be all right.

“It was wonderful, it's a beautiful feeling, I couldn't have dreamed of that feeling,” Jones tells me later.

“The burden of all this weight of being incarcerated was being lifted, like I wanted to fly - that's why I held my hands up, because I wanted to fly.”

I am meeting him the day after his release in a restaurant close to the home he once shared with his mother and siblings - his first trip to a restaurant for more than two decades.

In his hand is a smartphone his daughter has given him, which he struggles to use. When he was arrested the internet barely existed and mobile phones were the size of bricks.

He is wearing the new clothes they have just bought together.

I ask him what it was like to be in prison for so long.

“A complete nightmare actually, a real nightmare. You can't find the words in the dictionary to describe the cruelty,” he says. When you're in prison serving a life sentence, even for something you did do, life is just rough, man. It's a deeper, greater injustice when you're innocent. It's real tough.”

How did he get through it?

“My faith in God,” he replies. “And it's a true saying that the truth will set you free one day, when you can find it. And that was a problem for me, just finding the truth. The truth was buried so deep and God was able to reveal those things.”His close relationship with 22-year-old Bree, his youngest child, has been built entirely on prison visits and phone calls that automatically cut off after 15 minutes.“ I'd get emotional and upset at the end of the call, when they say there's one minute left,” she says. “I'd have so much to say.”

The two were never able to have their photograph taken together, so Jones painted a picture instead. It shows Bree in a lab coat - she has been studying at university and is now about to graduate. “Every year I think, 'He's gonna be home this year,'” she says, talking of the many times she wished her father had been around. “I saw my friends ride bikes and eat out with their parents… I graduated high school, he missed all those moments. It was like he was here, but not here.”

Bree with her father's painting

For years now, Jones has been fighting to clear his name. At one point he asked for DNA tests to be carried out, but forensic samples gathered after the rape had somehow disappeared and there was nothing left to test. Desperate as he was to leave prison, he refused a deal offered by the district attorney's office to admit to some of the charges he had been convicted of in exchange for freedom.

Reporters at Robert Jones's release on bail

In the end a judge released him. But he is still being monitored, he has a curfew, and the district attorney, Leon Cannizzaro, still insists that that he go through the ordeal of a retrial. In jail, Jones studied law and became a legal counsellor to other inmates, meeting many he felt sure were innocent but who never got out. Some, he says, lost their minds, and over the years 39 of them died. He suddenly breaks down at the memory of these wasted lives.

“That's something that gives me the resilience to fight. It's not just for me but for a lot of those guys as well. Because a lot of them, who I know were actually innocent, they died,” he says, still wiping away tears. A lot of guys have lost hope in the system. That motivates me to stand tall, to make sure my case gives them some hope and to create a better system for them.”

Emily Maw, director of the Innocence Project New Orleans, who has fought for years to clear Robert's name, says Jones's case stands out. It is one of the most obvious wrongful convictions she has seen.

Emily Maw

“When you start to read about it you think this cannot be true, I must be missing something,” she says. But in other respects she believes it is far from unique. Some justice charities estimate there are hundreds of innocent people in prison in New Orleans alone. Calvin Johnson, the judge at Jones's 1996 trial, agrees that Robert Jones is just the visible tip of the iceberg.

New Orleans, Louisiana, The South, America, our justice system is replete with Robert Joneses.“It's replete with individuals, because of how the justice system has operated over the decades,” he says. “We've ended up with people who were wrongly prosecuted, wrongly convicted, people who had mountains of evidence not provided which could have exonerated them. “When you drill down to New Orleans, and you factor in the race thing, then you're just multiplying the effect.” The truth in Robert Jones's case was not easy to unearth. In cases where the convicted man's innocence is less obvious, it may be buried even deeper. What will happen to the other Robert Joneses?

jmparker Posted on October 25, 2018 15:13

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Sony Develops Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Tech, Plans to ‘Commercialize’ it

Electronics giant Sony has developed technology that it believes will help cryptocurrency users store their assets more securely, and that technology might just be coming soon to store near you.


The Japanese tech conglomerate this week announced that its Computer Science Laboratories division (Sony CSL) had developed a cryptocurrency hardware wallet that could be used to store bitcoin and other digital assets in a secure offline environment while retaining the convenience of less-secure online crypto storage systems.

Unlike conventional cryptocurrency hardware wallets like the Trezor One and Ledger Nano S, which connect to the user’s PC or mobile device using a USB cord, Sony CSL’s wallet would store the user’s private keys on a contactless IC card, enabling the user to easily sign transactions from an NFC-enabled mobile device.


Sony explained:


“This IC card type hardware wallet is small, portable and useful, unlike typical existing hardware wallets that connect to PCs via USB. In addition, it is possible to securely generate and store a private key with a highly reliable tamper-proof module within the IC card.”


The release further noted that this type of wallet card would have “multiple possible applications,” including allowing a user to sign a blockchain transaction authorizing the use of their personal information.


Perhaps most notably, Sony’s development of cryptocurrency tech does not appear to be a mere research project, or, as is often the case, an instance of a company seeking to position itself as an innovator in cutting-edge technology, even though it has no plans to convert its research into real-world products and applications.

Earlier this year, Sony applied to patent a system that uses blockchain technology for digital rights management (DRM). Just this month, the company unveiled the production version of that system, which will build on Sony Global Education’s already-existent DRM platform for sharing educational data.


In its latest announcement, the firm said it plans to work toward the “commercialization” of its cryptocurrency wallet, with the ultimate aim of furthering the spread of blockchain technology.


The company said, “Sony CSL will continue advancing towards the commercialization of that ‘cryptocurrency hardware wallet technology’ that allows for safe and secure transactions of digital assets including cryptocurrencies with the aim of further…adoption of blockchain technology.”

KaroA Posted on October 25, 2018 15:05

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Suspected explosives sent to Biden, De Niro as investigation into pipe bombs intensifies

Authorities are investigating suspicious packages sent to former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and other political figures. Several packages containing pipe bombs packed with shards of glass have been intercepted in the last few days

By Devlin Barrett, Mark Berman and Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

October 25 at 9:12 AM

Former vice president Joe Biden takes a moment as fans cheer when a supporter shouted that Biden should run for president in 2020, during a rally for Democrats in downtown Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018.Joe Burbank /Orlando Sentinel via AP

Authorities found packages that appeared to contain pipe bombs addressed to former vice president Joe Biden and the actor Robert De Niro, officials said Thursday, setting off a new wave of alarm amid a sprawling investigation into pipe bombs mailed to prominent political figures and critics of President Trump.

The new packages, which resemble those sent to figures including former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, were located in Delaware and New York. The discoveries mean that authorities have recovered nine similar packages as part of the investigation. Like the others, the latest packages were intercepted before reaching their intended targets.

The devices found so far, which officials described as pipe bombs, have put many in the country on edge, and authorities have begun an intensive effort to find other explosives that may still be out there. Police have increased patrols of high-profile people, areas and organizations that could be targeted, and authorities have warned some prominent figures -- including former president Jimmy Carter -- to be on alert.

A view of actor Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Grill restaurant on October 25, 2018, in New York City. ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Investigators found a package addressed to Biden in a Delaware mail facility that was like those containing pipe bombs found this week, according to a law enforcement official. The package was apparently not delivered to Biden’s home and may have been on its way to being returned to the person listed on the return address of the envelope, the official said.

In a statement Thursday morning, the FBI declined to confirm that a package addressed to Biden was found, instead saying only that local and state police, along with U.S. Postal Service investigators and FBI agents, were “responding this morning to a United States Postal facility in Delaware to conduct law enforcement activity.”

A similar package was also found addressed to De Niro, who has publicly clashed with Trump, at his production offices in Manhattan, according to law enforcement officials. This package was discovered around 5 a.m. by security personnel working for De Niro’s film company, Tribeca Productions, according to police. A police spokesman said the parcel “was similar to explosive packages that had been publicized.”

An X-ray of the package indicated a similar pipe bomb inside, and investigators suspect it was sent by the same person who sent explosives to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others, a law enforcement official said.

Video from the scene showed the NYPD bomb squad removing the package in a heavily armored containment truck. It was transported to Rodman’s Neck, a peninsula in the Bronx where the NYPD explodes bombs, the department said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) urged people across the city to be on alert, and to refrain from opening suspicious packages. “Alert authorities, call 911,” de Blasio said on CNN. He added that New York had “put an additional NYPD presence outside media companies across the city, outside the offices of certain elected officials.”

The hunt for a serial mail bomber began late Tuesday when Secret Service personnel conducting standard mail screenings found a pipe bomb inside a plain manila envelope with a bubble-wrapped interior addressed to Clinton, the former secretary of state. A similarly packaged bomb was found hours later in mail addressed to Obama.

President Donald Trump and Leah Vukmir, a Republican Senate candidate from Wisconsin, gesture during a campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Neither bomb got close to its intended target, and neither contained a written message, according to law enforcement officials. But the finds led to the discovery of other undetonated devices elsewhere, including in the mailroom at CNN’s New York headquarters and a district office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

As more devices were found, a disturbing pattern emerged — the bomber or bombers appeared to be targeting prominent figures on the political left, many of whom have been targets of President Trump’s incendiary rhetoric.

[The instant, inevitable cries of ‘false flag’ after bomb threats targeting the Clintons, Obamas and CNN]

The first such package was discovered Monday at the New York home of George Soros, a billionaire activist known to fund pro-democracy and liberal political groups.

The package addressed to De Niro came after he had also publicly tangled with Trump.

President Donald Trump has claimed much of the “Anger” in society is “caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media.”

Trump’s tweet Thursday came as law enforcement was investigating pipe bombs and other suspicious packages addressed to prominent Democrats including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and to CNN.

Without referring specifically to the rash of explosive devices, Trump said: “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News.” Trump frequently labels stories he doesn’t like as “fake news.”

The president says what he calls “fake news” has gotten bad and the mainstream media must “clean up its act, FAST.”

An explosive sent to CNN prompted the evacuation of the Time Warner Center in New York, but no one was hurt.

Wilmington police and postal officials are investigating a suspicious package on the 1500 block of Lancaster Avenue. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other officials described the devices discovered this week as attempted acts of terrorism, and authorities cautioned that the number of bombs — and intended victims — could grow. FBI Director Christopher A. Wray issued an appeal for the public’s help to catch the bomber and warned people not to touch suspicious packages.

Law enforcement officials described the devices as pipes stuffed with explosive material and wrapped in electrical wire and tape, but they provided no detail on how they would have been detonated.

The FBI, the Secret Service, the NYPD and other agencies kicked into high gear Wednesday morning trying to determine who was behind the bombs — and how many more may be en route to intended victims. At least two of the devices appeared to have been hand-delivered, according to law enforcement officials.

“We will not rest until we stop these hazardous devices from being mailed and bring the individual or individuals to justice,” said C. Bryan Paarmann, an FBI counterterrorism official. The devices have been sent to the FBI’s lab in Quantico, Va., for further analysis.

Officials said the packages used as a return address the office of Wasserman Schultz, who chaired the Democratic National Committee during part of the 2016 election campaign. One such package used an incorrect address for former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., and it was “returned” to her office in Sunrise, Fla., where it was intercepted, according to officials. Authorities do not believe she had anything to do with the packages and think she was a potential victim. A spokesman for Holder declined to comment.

The pipe bomb found in the mail at CNN’s headquarters in New York was addressed to former CIA director John O. Brennan. Since leaving the government, Brennan has been an outspoken critic of Trump; he is an on-air analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, rather than CNN.

On Wednesday night, the FBI issued a statement saying investigators found “two additional packages, both addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, that are similar in appearance” to the other five.

In a statement, Waters (D-Calif.) said she was told by police that her office “was the target of a suspicious package that has been referred to the FBI. I am appreciative of the law enforcement entities who intercepted the package and are investigating this matter. I unequivocally condemn any and all acts of violence and terror.”

The packages came with computer-printed address labels, six Forever stamps and return addresses with Wasserman Schultz’s name misspelled, officials said.

Amid the frenetic pace of the investigation, some alarms turned out to be false. A suspicious package sent to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) was in fact a thumb drive, according to the NYPD. Authorities also searched an office building in San Diego that houses a newspaper before concluding there was nothing dangerous there.

The known recipients of the bombs are all frequent targets of conservative politicians, including Trump. Speaking at the White House, the president decried the bombs and pledged that the federal government would bring those responsible to justice.

“In these times, we have to unify,” he said. “We have to come together and send one very clear, strong and unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”

But hours later, at a rally in Wisconsin, Trump blamed the media and others for incivility, even as he refrained from acknowledging his own inflammatory rhetoric.

Speaking in Florida on Wednesday, Clinton said her family was “fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home.”

She also spoke to the anger pulsing through American politics: “It is a troubling time, isn’t it? It is a time of deep divisions, and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together.”


joewalash Posted on October 25, 2018 14:25

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Ethiopia appoints first female president in its modern history in latest reform

By Paul Schemm

October 25 at 7:05 AM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethi­o­pia — Ethiopia’s Parliament on Thursday approved the East African country’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, a veteran of the United Nations and the diplomatic corps.

Sahle-Work Zewde leaves Parliament after being elected as Ethiopia's first female president, in Addis Ababa on Oct. 25, 2018. (Eduardo Soteras/AFP/Getty Images)

The position of president is ceremonial in Ethiopia, with executive power vested in the office of the prime minister. But the appointment is deeply symbolic and follows up on last week’s cabinet reshuffle. Half the ministers are now women in Africa’s second-most populous country.

“In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life,” tweeted Fitsum Arega, the prime minister’s chief of staff and de facto government spokesman.

Parliament accepted the resignation of Mulatu Teshome, who had served as president since 2013.

Sahle-Work Zewde (L) walks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (R) after being elected as Ethiopia's first female President at the Parliament in Addis Ababa. (AFP)

In remarks Parliament after she took her oath of office, Sahle-Work emphasized the imporance of respecting women and the need to build a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She also promised to work for peace and unity in the country.

Ethiopia’s young new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April, has initiated a whirlwind of reforms, releasing political prisoners, inviting back exiles and making peace with the country’s chief opponent, Eritrea, after two decades of hostilities.

Abiy has also publicly declared the need to promote women in what has been a largely patriarchal conservative society.

A woman now heads one of the most powerful ministries in the country, the Ministry of Peace, which controls the intelligence agency and security forces. Muferiat Kamil, the former speaker of the house, heads the ministry, which aims to tackle the widespread ethnic unrest that has erupted in the country since the easing of the authoritarian control.

Amid these progressive moves and reforms, however, the government has been criticized for failing to contain the ethnic unrest in the countryside and for the arrest of thousands of people in Addis Ababa, some of whom then spent time in reeducation camps.

Sahle-Work becomes modern Ethiopia’s first female head of state, though in the country’s history there have been empresses who wielded great power.

Sahle-Work, 68, was previously the special representative of the United Nations secretary general to the African Union. Before that, she headed the organization’s Nairobi office with the rank of undersecretary general.

She began her diplomatic career as ambassador to Senegal in 1989 with responsibilities in neighboring African countries and later went to Djibouti before eventually serving as ambassador to France, where she had previously studied.

Among her many roles with the United Nations was head of the U.N. Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic until 2011.

According to Ethiopia’s constitution, the president is the head of state, but the office’s powers are ceremonial and include opening Parliament, appointing ambassadors following the prime minister’s recommendation and receiving the credentials of foreign envoys.

The president is limited to two six-year terms.



joewalash Posted on October 25, 2018 13:57

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Twins whose lives were torn apart by a terrible accident.

Anna and Lauren were as close as you might expect identical twins to be. They shared a bedroom, sat together in lessons and enjoyed the same hobbies, like basketball and tennis. “People used to call us The Twins,” Anna, 23, says. “We used to get one card, one birthday invite.” “People were convinced we could read each other’s minds,” Lauren adds.

The sisters had grown up in Scotland with their older sister Aisha. However, they moved to Sheffield as teenagers to live with their dad after their parents divorced. Aisha stayed behind in Scotland.

“If I ever needed someone to talk to, Anna was always the person,” Lauren says.

Three years ago, Anna was very focused on her future. She was studying graphic design at college and preparing for her driving test. In contrast, Lauren didn’t know what she wanted to do. She had applied for baking apprenticeships and taken some psychology courses, but nothing had quite stuck.

She and Anna would talk about their futures on night-time walks near their home.

“We called it pit-top hill. It was nice and quiet up there,” Lauren says.

“The stars would be out and you could chat and no-one was rushed. There was laughter and banter.”

The sisters enjoyed walking in the dark. That was why they got off their bus one stop early on the way home from a concert in December 2015. It was a fateful decision.

Anna was crossing the road when she was hit by a car. Her head struck the windscreen and she was thrown up in the air before landing on the tarmac.

“I stood there for a second thinking, ‘She’s going to get back up, she’s going to get back up,’” Lauren says.

“But she didn’t, so I ran to her and saw she was shaking. I put her jacket over her as I thought it would help, but it didn’t. I was shouting to everyone who stopped to get an ambulance.”

Lauren was relieved to see Anna was still breathing, but she was bleeding from the side of the head.

A doctor passing by stopped to help and Lauren found herself relaying numbers she didn’t understand to an ambulance operator. Once the ambulance arrived she called her dad who rushed out to join them.

At the hospital, Lauren’s dad called the family while they waited for news.

“My leg was shaking so much and dad was putting out a hand trying to stop it,” Lauren says.

Anna had survived but her condition was unstable and doctors were very concerned about her head injuries. The impact of the car had caused her brain to rock forwards and backwards against her skull, causing it to bleed and swell. They drilled a hole in her skull to try to relieve some of the pressure and placed her in an induced coma.

One of Anna’s legs had shattered and a titanium rod was inserted from her hip to her knee. After four days, she was considered stable enough to be transferred to a neuro-intensive care unit at a nearby hospital.

As her sedative was decreased, Anna made small but promising signs of recovery. She opened her eyes for a few moments, then for a few minutes. Random arm movements became deliberate ones and she made signs of recognising her sister and parents. However, there were worrying moments, too.

“There were times when Anna would start saying, ‘I want Lauren, I want Lauren,’ and I’d be in front of her gripping her hand saying, ‘I'm here,’ but she would keep saying, ‘I want Lauren’. It was scary,” Lauren says.

Lauren visited her twin every day and found it difficult to go home and take a break. She experienced flashbacks of the accident that left her shaking with fear, and struggled to cope with waves of guilt and anger.

“I’d go kicking doors, it was the only way I knew how to cope at that point. I had so much anger. I didn’t know what she was going to be like,” Lauren says.

The interactive VR experience Is Anna OK? is available to download from the Oculus store and is currently touring the UK.

You can also watch the full-length animation on YouTube here.

Doctors warned the family that Anna’s recovery would be a long and unpredictable process. They were told her brain injuries could affect, among other things, her memory, concentration, insight, motivation, mood and behaviour. Each patient was different. One unusual example was when Anna’s mum showed her ultrasound scans of her big sister Aisha’s baby, and for a few days Anna was convinced it was hers. “Her brain was slowly trying to take everything in and sort it out,” Lauren says. 
You want to rest but day after day people hoist you up and pull your limbs about. You hate it and you shout and swear at them, but they keep coming back. Each morning there’s a food tray and some clothes by your bed. You’re not sure why they’re there, so you ignore them. Anna had post-traumatic amnesia. Her first concrete memories are from a month after the accident when she moved to a neuro-rehabilitation unit. “I remember being very confused and very mentally stressed,” she says. “I used to get Lauren to help me. So if I wanted a shower she would help me to the room, and show me where the towels were kept and pick a towel and make sure I remembered my shampoo and fresh clothes. I wouldn’t have thought about these things otherwise.”

Anna started occupational therapy sessions to help her with memory, planning and decision making. “They would get me to look at three pictures but I could never remember them for the next session,” Anna says. “Or they’d ask me to take away seven from a number. The guy told me not to worry about it but I was like, ‘I’m worrying about it. I can’t count.’”Anna was encouraged to keep a diary and put alarms on her phone to prompt her to do different tasks. Her family were told to try not to help her too much.

Over time, she remembered the layout of the ward and settled into a daily routine. But she frequently asked to go home, insisting she had recovered. “I don’t think I understood why I had to be there,” Anna says. “Everything was just mush in my head.” Lauren would visit each day to keep her sister company. She noticed Anna suffered from mental fatigue and would often zone out when watching TV and stare at the wall instead.

“I’d see it on her face. You could talk to her but it wouldn’t go in,” Lauren says.

“She would say she was bored or couldn’t concentrate.” Lauren also felt exhausted as she was never off duty. She received early morning texts from Anna and felt obliged to reply. “We’d leave notes explaining what she had to do in the morning and when we’d be there, but she’d still text, ‘Where are you? Are you nearly here? How can I see you? I can’t find you,’” Lauren says. “Sometimes we’d come and she’d still be in her jammies and not have eaten because she wouldn’t ask for help. She needed someone to say, ‘Right Anna, let’s get dressed and have some food.’ The nurses just left her to it.”

Anna was discharged from the rehabilitation unit after two months. Back at home, Lauren became her main carer as their dad had to return to work and their mum could only travel down from Scotland on weekends. Lauren showed Anna jobs around the house such as how to lay the table and do the laundry.

Anna was happy to be home but struggled with little to occupy her. She was frustrated that she wasn’t able to restart her driving lessons or go back to college. “She’d be angry because she said there was nothing wrong with her, but she didn’t realise she had repeated the same thing three times that morning,” Lauren says. “If people spoke too fast to her it was an overload of information and she would get frustrated because she couldn’t take it all in.” Sometimes Anna’s frustration would boil over and she would slam doors and scream at Lauren, calling her names. Lauren knew it was a symptom of her brain injury but the words still hurt.

“I had to explain to Anna, ‘This isn’t my fault. What’s happened has happened, we have to slowly accept it,’” Lauren says. Anna would often retreat to her room to listen to music. She found certain songs especially meaningful, such as Jessie J’s track Masterpiece. “It goes, ‘I’m still working on my masterpiece’, so it’s saying you’re still on your journey,” Lauren says.You’re cold so you open your wardrobe to find a jacket. But inside all the clothes are just black and you don’t want any of it. You rip one of the jackets off the hanger and throw it on the floor. Jeans, skirts and tops follow until they are all lying in a heap. You’re just going to bin them. Lauren tried to help Anna by taking her on walks back to pit-top hill.

“Going up again made me feel good,” Lauren says. “It helped me start remembering things.”If they went out for a meal she’d pick three options for Anna so she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the choice. “Lauren is the one who has always understood me,” Anna says. The family moved back up to Scotland in October 2016 so that Anna’s mum could share the caring duties. However, it meant Anna’s out-patient support stopped for months while her medical records were transferred. That winter the family decided to visit the Christmas market in town. They thought it would be a nice treat for Anna but she stood at the edge of the stalls and refused to join in with trying things on. “I could see her rolling her eyes and looking down and she was very frustrated,” Lauren says.

“Dad said, ‘Oh Anna, pull yourself together, I will buy you a hat to keep you warm.’ And she said, ‘I don’t want a hat I want to go home.'” Anna felt overwhelmed by the crowds, noise and lights at the market. “I sometimes feel cut off from my family because they don’t understand. It’s an invisible condition,” Anna says. Lauren had got a tattoo after the accident in tribute to Anna. It said, “Though she be but little she is fierce.”

Now Anna has got one, too – a semi-colon on her wrist. “It shows life is like a big book, if something bad happens then you just turn the page,” Anna says. Lauren wanted to work in neuro-rehabilitation after seeing how the specialists had helped her sister and her fellow patients. “I found it really interesting. Like there was one guy who was learning a word a day and he was so happy with his progress,” she says. So in May 2017, she started a job working with people with disabilities at a day centre. She thinks Anna’s accident helped to give her more patience and compassion.

Anna also wanted a new start but found it difficult to be motivated. She often complained about being bored but would come up with excuses to not try various activities. However, that September she returned to college part-time to continue her graphic design course. She really enjoyed socialising with the other students but found the work too demanding. “The tutors were leaving me for hours at a computer where I would lose concentration, lose focus and get bored or frustrated. Nobody was around to encourage me or remind me what I was doing,” she says. Anna left college after six weeks. She tried to do an open study course but couldn’t keep it going with her family out at work. She spent her days helping in the house and going for walks.Your sister is out at the supermarket. 

Suddenly she walks into the room but she isn’t carrying any bags and you’re confused.  Her hair is wet and she says she’s just had a shower. But she told you she was going to Tesco’s.  You’re certain she did. Didn’t she?

After coming out of hospital, Anna complained of a lack of taste. She developed a habit of not eating for a few days before starting again. Soon, this developed in to an eating disorder. In February this year, her family got a dog called Harvey to keep her company and give her some responsibility, but her health continued to deteriorate. “I got into a bad habit of not eating and walking my dog for hours. I lost a lot of weight and got into a bad mind frame,” Anna says. Her mum repeatedly took her to the doctor and finally got an urgent referral to an eating disorder clinic, only to find out it was eight weeks until the appointment. She found the eventual treatment didn’t take Anna’s brain injury in to account.

As Anna’s weight fell, her memory worsened and her mood swings got worse. She was eventually admitted to hospital after her mum pleaded with staff at the clinic. Anna was started on a re-feeding programme this summer and was discharged last month. Her family hope they can keep the momentum of her recovery going and think she is finally getting the help she needs for both her eating disorder and brain injury, with a case manager overseeing her care. “We need her to start engaging. I just want her to be happy,” Lauren says. Anna continues to lack full insight in to her condition, however she’s planning for the future and hopes to one day visit Harry Potter world in London and see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

She knows she owes a huge amount to her twin sister, who has put her own life on hold.

“Lauren has supported me in more ways than everyone,” Anna says.

“Before the accident I used to look after her, now it’s the other way around. She’s always smiling and always strong and tries to push me to keep on fighting.”


jmparker Posted on October 25, 2018 12:14

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White Widow Sally Jones 'could still be alive and fighting with ISIS in Syria’

BRITISH ISIS poster girl Sally Jones could still be alive and fighting with extremists in Syria, according to a terror expert.The terror suspect, dubbed the “White Widow”, is believed to have been killed in a US drone strikealongside her son near the Syria-Iraq border in October 2017. The 50-year-old former punk rocker became one of the most notorious British ISIS members after joining her husband in Syria, where she called for attacks in the UK. But Jones, originally from Chatham, Kent, is thought to have survived the airstrike and gone into hiding, an captured ISIS member has revealed. The Canadian ISIS fighter, who was captured by Kurds in Syria, told terrorism researcher Amarnath Amarasingam that Jones is still alive.

Amarasingam, a research fellow at the University of Waterloo, said Muhammed Ali, also known as Turab, claimed she fled to north-east Syria to hunker down with remaining ISIS militants.Amarnath told the Mirror: “Turab claimed she was still alive and probably in final ISIS holdouts of Hajin or As-Shafah.
"If true, we may find her captured soon.”

Jones, also known as “Mrs Terror”, worked to indoctrinate men and women in the UK and the US – encouraging them to launch attacks on the West.

She travelled to Syria in 2013 to marry terrorist Junaid Hussain, who was killed in a drone strike in 2015.

She is claimed to have lead a group of English speaking jihadi recruiters known as “The Legion” or the “Raqqa 12”.

SALLY JONES: Mrs Terror plotted to kill the Queen and allowed ISIS to make JoJo a soldier (Pic: NC)

Cyber experts at GCHQ believed that Jones was creating an “army” of white Muslim women to attack Britain.
The British government confirmed Jones’ death last October.Her son Joe “JoJo” Dixon, aged just 12, is believed to have been blown up by the same US drone strike ordered by the Pentagon.

jmparker Posted on October 25, 2018 10:42

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Teen stripper, 19, defends pole dancing job and says it makes her more 'body confident'

A TEEN stripper has slammed protests to ban a lap dancing club near her hometown and says she finds it "empowering". Abbi Gallagher, 19, from Auchertool in Fife, Scotland, says women should be free to make choices for themselves. There has been outrage in the quiet Scottish town of Kirkcaldy after a strip club Sin was scheduled to open. Protests have been held calling for the club to be banned, branding it as "slave labour" and claiming it's exploitative. But Abbi and several others were part of a counter-group who showed up to support the club.

The teenager, who has an HNC in animal care, successfully auditioned for a job pole dancing at the bar to help her pay off her student debts.

Her main job involves working with animals, but she said she wanted to earn extra cash to get her own place.

She told The Scottish Sun: "My work doesn't allow me to do another job but this is the only job I could fit around it.

"When I saw it was opening I just thought 'you know what, this is the perfect way to make extra money'."

STRIPPER: Abbi Gallagher, 19, defends her pole dancing job (Pic: FACEBOOK/ABBI GALLAGHER)

HIRED: Abbi has just got a new job at a strip club in Kirkcaldy, Fife (Pic: FACEBOOK/ABBI GALLAGHER)

AMBITION: Abbi says she wants the extra money to pay off student loans and buy a house (Pic: FACEBOOK/ABBI GALLAGHER)

Abbi — who has been a dancer for 3-4 years — said her time working with lap dancers as a dancer had encouraged her to try it for herself.

She went on: "Most people I know who do it are so body confident and I just think it must be so empowering."

On Tuesday, protestors from Women Together, a women's rights group, demonstrated a week before Sin is set to open.

Group founder Marie Penman pointed to Scottish Government guidance which classifies stripping as a form of violence against women and girls 

PART TIME: Abbi's main job is working with animals (Pic: FACEBOOK/ABBI GALLAGHER)

INDEPENDENT: She claims women should be allowed to strip and pole dance if they want (Pic: FACEBOOK/ABBI GALLAGHER)

Marie claims some strippers and pole dancers are often paid by customers in 20p pieces. "That's not a job, that's slave labour," she said. "You get whatever money is shoved at you or stuffed in your underwear at the end of the night." Mario Caira, owner of Sin, said he was "disappointed" over the row.

jmparker Posted on October 25, 2018 10:02

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Gorgeous Siblings You Didn't Know These Celebrities HadHooch

When you’re a star as big as Eminem or Steph Curry, you might cast a shadow that is too big to get away from. That is especially true for their siblings. Did you even know the real Slim Shady had a brother? Be prepared because this list of celebrities with siblings you hardly hear about will surprise you.

J-Lo’s Sister Lynda Lopez

The stunning entertainer Jennifer Lopez doesn’t have a hard time staying in the spotlight. One seductive post on Instagram and boom, the star is once again the topic of every conversation. However, have you heard of her sister, Lynda Lopez? Lynda is two years younger than Jennifer and was a former New York television journalist who is also a single mom.

That’s one thing that Jennifer praises her younger sister about, how great of a parent her sister Lynda is. “I just love and respect her so much. She’s a single mom but not like I’m a single mom,” Lopez told US Magazine. “I have a lot of help — she doesn’t.”

Not A Twin But Still Looks The Same

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been stars since they were toddlers starring in Full House. But even some of their biggest fans may not know about their sister Elizabeth Olsen! Elizabeth started making more of a name for herself as an actress in 2017, making it easier to step out of the shadows of her more successful sisters.

They even gave her advice on dealing with the press. “They’d say, ‘You know, even if you don’t think anyone’s going to read this article, someone might pull the quote later for [something else].’ It’s all part of how you hope someone interprets you, and how they frame who you are and the work you do,” Elizabeth said. Up next, it was supposed to be just the two of them but that isn’t the case.

The First Smith Son

Long before Willow Smith was whipping her head back and forth and Jaden Smith was doing his rendition of Karate Kid, there was the first son that Will Smith became a parent to, and his name is Trey Smith. Born in 1992, the 25-year-old isn’t in the limelight as much as Willow and Jaden.

We first saw Trey when he was in the “Just The Two Of Us” music video. He was a star football player in school and was even offered a scholarship but chose to pursue a career in music like his father and other two siblings did. Trey has released some of his own music but he hasn’t found the same success as his siblings or father.

This Wizard Has A Brother

Ever since Emma Watson came into our lives as a young and zesty wizard on Harry Potter, she has amassed a huge following. While her biggest fans might be aware, others may not have a clue that Emma has a brother named Alex Watson.

Alex is a model who has done campaigns for Burberry. The two share similarities in appearance, so maybe Emma could step into some modeling as well? Alex was also an extra in one of the Harry Potter films. You get extra points if you know which one.

The Pitt We Don’t Hear About

Brad Pitt probably gained more clout to his name by being with Angelina Jolie than his brother Doug Pitt has accumulated in his whole career. We hardly, if ever, hear about Doug and that isn’t by accident. He likes to stay out of the attention of media and lives in his home state of Missouri. One thing he isn’t fond of is questions about his brother.

“I appreciate the interest [in Brad]. I understand why people want to ask about him,” he told NOVA FM. “But I’ve answered the same question for 25 years. And so, you do go a little bit on autopilot… Again, I appreciate the interest. I’m really proud of him.”

Rihanna’s Brother Rajad Fenty

That’s right, the island queen has a younger sibling that rarely is talked about. Rihanna AKA Robyn Fenty has a younger brother by the name of Rajad Fenty. Being that the singing sensation is always working hard whether it be with music or her makeup line, she hardly gets to spend time with family.

When she does have time for the family, you can catch her living it up with her mom and dad she loves dearly and her younger brother, Rajad. The two are really close despite the restricted amount of time they get to spend together. Next in line, the rap god has a brother?

The Real Slim Shady?

When it comes to Eminem, there are three truths. One is, he grew up on 8 Mile in Detroit, he and his mother had a strange relationship when he was growing up and he can rap circles around anyone. Something that many are unaware of is that Eminem has a brother.

His brother is also a rapper but clearly, not on the same level as Marshall Mathers. His name is Nathan Kane Mathers and was taken away from his mother when he was ten years old and sent to live in foster care. Trying to make it as a rapper when your older brother is arguably one of the best can be a tough task.

Steph Vs. Seth

Steph Curry, who hasn’t heard of the MVP and NBA champion? The guy can literally shoot from anywhere and when he shoots it, the chances of him making it are higher than most. Curry has played on only one team for his entire career and is a staple in the NBA. But did you know he has a brother who also plays in the NBA?

Seth Curry, the younger brother of Steph, currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks. He isn’t as freakishly talented of a player as his brother Steph, but he has the same shooting touch. They briefly played on the same team before the Warriors decided to cut him.

Tom Cruise Has A Sister?!

Due to the obscurities surrounding Tom Cruise’s religious beliefs as a Scientologist, some matters in his personal life are not put on full display. We know Cruise is a great actor and that he is apart of the cultish religion but something most have not known about is his sister. Who you see above is Lee Ann Mapother DeVette.

When Tom’s very first girlfriend was interviewed she was asked about his family and siblings. “I think he grew up too fast but he was very close with his three sisters. One time he said he’s so close to them they taught him how to kiss,” she told the Daily Mail.

Would You Get Them Confused?

Actor Josh Hutcherson who all of you are most familiar with his role as Peeta from the Hunger Games series isn’t the only child his parents produced. After gaining much acclaim for playing a part in Katniss Everdeen’s love triangle, Hutcherson became a product of fan love.

But something fans might not have even realized is that he has a younger brother, Connor Hutcherson. “I am more handsome than Josh is, well jokes apart; it is ironic how people get confused with me and him, we don’t look alike at all,” Connor said. No jokes coming up next, they are really related!

No, You’re Not Getting Punk’d

Ashton Kutcher is a funny guy that gets much love. From his days on That 70’s Show to his work in films, Kutcher has made a huge name for himself and even has one of the more gorgeous women in Hollywood, Mila Kunis. Did you know that he has a twin brother?

His twin brother’s name is Michael and he has cerebral palsy. He also had a heart transplant when he was younger. Michael currently is a spokesperson for the advocacy organization Reaching for the Stars. They support people with cerebral palsy.

Captain America Has A Brother

Being one of the most famous superheroes is a not a task easily handled. Especially for one that likes to take his shirt off with a body of an Olympian. For Chris Evans, he is used to the attention, however, for his brother Scott Evans, he receives a different type of attention due to his sexuality.

Chris’ brother Scott is gay, and Chris encourages others to see and embrace other lifestyles different from your own. “It’s important to understand, whether it’s growing up with women, whether it’s growing up with other ethnic groups… it’s important to experience anything different from what you know. To encourage and cultivate compassion and understanding,” Chris said.

A Cruz Of A Relationship

Penélope Cruz was signed by an agent at 15 and made her acting debut at 16. She’s always had the good looks and acting skills to pair with it and clearly, she’s always had a sister who is equally as charming. She just isn’t on the same level of Penélope.

Her sister’s name is Monica Cruz and she is also following in her sister’s footsteps. Why not, right? Monica is a Spanish actress and dancer. The two sisters have started a clothing line together as well. A gorgeous sister with a good looking brother up next.

Scarlett Is A Twin

Here we have another Marvel superhero and she goes by the name of Scarlett Johansson. Another Hollywood beauty who many probably had no clue is a twin! They aren’t identical but still, having a fraternal twin is something anyone could enjoy.

Hunter should be amused that practically every guy finds his sister to be one of the hottest women on Earth. Hunter is also an actor, at the start of his career. The twins shared the screen in a film called Manny & Lo.

Nothing Wrong With Being Protective

High School Musical actress, Vanessa Hudgens is not the only Hudgens blessing others with her beauty. Something fans may be unaware of is her younger sister that she is apparently really close with. Her name is Stella Hudgens and Vanessa is worried about her growing up.

In an interview, Vanessa was asked about her sister and this is what she had to say: “She’s 15 and I’m kind of terrified and I feel like a mother, ‘call me when you get to the movies,’ it’s bad.” Another Hunger Games participant is up next, you won’t want to miss.

The Lawrence Siblings

Jennifer Lawrence displays her sense of humor whenever she gets the chance. Her fans know how funny she is and so do the casual fans who watch the award shows. She is a great entertainer and she also has two bearded brothers. Their names are Blaine and Ben Lawrence.

They for sure know what their sister does for a living but if you ask Jennifer what either of them do, she is at a loss for words. “God, I don’t know,” she answered. “It’s something with computers… It’s something called Louisville Geek I think. I think he goes to an office?”

Give Me Some Advice, Bro

A brotherly bond is a bond that can’t be duplicated. Once the two of you become close, it’s like you have another brain on your side. You can go to them for anything, especially advice. Can you believe that Zac Efron has a brother named Dylan? They actually live together too!

“If I’m dating someone, one of the few people I need to weigh in on the situation is my brother,” Zac told Cosmopolitan. “We live together, and we’re different in a lot of ways, but he’s really grounded. He lived a more normal life than I did growing up, so he’s a great barometer for me.”

The Other Michael Jordan Has A Sister

Yet again another Marvel actor, Michael B. Jordan has been making waves in the entertainment world ever since his breakthrough performance in the film Fruitvale Station. Jordan acts in all types of films and doesn’t like to be put in a box but he is also very particular about the roles he picks. One thing he isn’t particular about is showing love to his sister.

“I have a sister. I never really wanted to do females wrong. You can’t act like that,” the actor told Oprah. “So, you don’t want to treat any woman any differently than you’d want a man to treat your sister,” Oprah says. “One hundred and ten percent,” Jordan agrees.

The Stallone Brothers

Although most of us know Sylvester Stallone for his roles as the Vietnam War veteran or boxing champion, not everyone knows about Stallone’s younger brother Frank. Frank is also an actor, yet has not been nearly as successful as his older brother. he has played small roles such as a singer in the Rocky franchise, and other films such as Return of the Roller Blade Seven and Zero Dark Thirty.

Although he doesn’t take his acting career to seriously, he has a successful singer-songwriter career, and his track “Far From Over” earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture.

Colin Firth Has a Brother

As it turns out, our favorite English chap Colin Firth has a brother. His name is Jonathan, and he as well loves wearing costumes and acting in drama, yet hasn’t been on screen in for quite a few years. Although he, unfortunately, starred in The Prince and Me 4: The Elephant Adventure, he is actually a well-experienced and trained actor.

After training at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he toured with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2003, he was awarded the CTF Excellence Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in Luther.

Buscemi’s Other Acting Brother

Although the well-known actor Steve Buscemi has a total of three brothers, his brother Michael is an actor as well. Although not as popular as Steve, Michael has been involved in a variety of projects ranging from television to movies and even voice acting.

Recently, he has been working on the hit television show Gotham and has made appearances in other shows such as Nurse Jackie, Blue Bloods, and is expected to be in an episode of Orange is the New Black in the next season. He was also in films such as I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Lonesome Jim.

Noah Cyrus

Noah Cyrus is Miley Cyrus’ 17-year-old younger sister. Although she may have been out of the limelight for most of her life, she has recently launched a surprisingly promising pop and acting career. In 2009, she voiced the title role in the English version of the film Ponyo, and in 2016, she released her debut single “Make Me (Cry)” which featured vocals from Labyrinth.

She began her acting career when she was just 2 years old on the television show Doc and was on six episode of Disney Channel’s Hanna Montana. Since 2016, her music career has been on its way up and she’s opened up for artists such as Katy Perry.

The Lost Skarsgard Brother

The Skarsgard brothers all come from an acting family with their father being the renowned Stellan Skarsgard. We also already know Alexander from his numerous star roles and now the other brother Bill from his performance as Pennywise in the newest remake of It. Yet, people often forget that there is a third acting Skarsgard brother named Gustaf.

He is a Swedish actor that is best-known outside of Scandinavia for his role as Floki in the History Channel series Vikings and for his roles in the films Evil, The Way Back, and Kon-Tiki. His acting career began when he was nine and as continued all the way up until present day.

Hayden Panettiere’s Younger Brother

Jasen Panettiere is the younger brother to actress, model, and singer Hayden Panettiere. Although he is far less well-known than his older sister, he has still managed to make a name for himself.

Born in 1994, Jasen is a television, film, and voice actor. He is best known for his roles in The Perfect game, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and The Martial Arts Kid. He has appeared on screen with his sister twice and even lent his voice in the film Racing Stripes in which Hayden appeared. As of late, he has been rather low-key, except he has two films both in pre-production at the moment.

The Leto Brothers

Although we are all familiar with the famous actor and singer Jared Leto, most people are unaware that he has an older brother named Shannon. Shannon is also a founding member as well as musician and songwriter for the band 30 Seconds to Mars where he plays the drums and Jared sings.

The band has sold over 15 million records worldwide and has been received well by the public. Shannon has also been in numerous other side projects during his drumming career from other rock bands to street drum corps. he has also acted in minor roles for a few films and television shows throughout the years.

The Styles Siblings

Gemma Styles is pop star Harry Styles 27-year-old older sister. She was essentially unknown until Harry gained fame as a member of One Direction. She now has over 4.1 million followers on Instagram and is currently a contributing writer for U.K.’s The Debrief and writes for blogs such as “Could You Handle Dating a Royal?” She also writes for MTV U.K. and covers topics through the eyes of a young Millenial.

In 2013, she graduated from Sheffield Hallam University and is a well-known fashionista. She also is attributed to starting the #GirlCrush movement which is about pushing women to appreciate “the substance of a person – not just their Instagram pictures.”

Jude Law’s Big Sis

Natasha Law is famous actor Jude Law’s older sister. She is a professional artist who was introduced to the creative world at a very young age and quit her education at the University of Warwick studying history to study art at Camberwell College of Arts in South London.

Since then, Natasha has had a career packed full of graphic illustration, photography, and stying. She now has many admirers of her work such as Gwyneth Paltrow Jo Whiley and more. Many of her clients are also quite impressive such as Vogue, Max Mara, Samsung, and more.

Eddie Redmayne’s Successful Younger Brother

Tom Redmayne is the younger brother to actor Eddie Redmayne. Eddie is known for his role in films like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Theory of Everything, and The Danish Girl as well as a handful of television shows and plays.

While Eddie’s resume may be impressive, so is his lesser-known brother’s. Tom is the former Assistant Surveyor at Cushman & Wakefield, which is a commercial real estate services firm with locations worldwide. Today he spends his days at the Director of Business Development for Wired.

Ariana Grande’s “Big Brother”

Frankie James Grande isn’t a household name like Ariana Grande, but it may be someday. Frankie is an actor, dancer, singer, producer, television host, and a YouTube personality. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also the older half-brother to the “One Less Problem” singer.

Although he might not be as famous as his little sister, he has made a name for himself as a contestant on Big Brother. These siblings are super close too and regularly post photos and inside jokes on their social media channels.

Nicole Isn’t The Only Richie Daughter

Sofia Richie has earned her spot in a slew of tabloids thanks to mingling with Kourtney Kardashian’s ex and baby daddy, Scott Disick, although she can’t even legally drink yet. Yet despite being in the spotlight, many people don’t realize that Sofia is the younger sister of Nicole Richie.

Yep, Sofia is the biological daughter of music legend Lionel Richie and Diane Alexander. Although the sisters, who aren’t biologically related, are rarely pictured together, Sofia was featured on an episode of Nicole’s new series, Candidly Nicole.

The Levine Brother You Never Knew About

Michael Levine is the brother of Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine. When Michael came out, the Levine family rallied behind him. “We all really wanted to provide some cushion for him and constantly let him know that it’s OK,” Levine told OUT.

“A lot of people don’t want their kid to be gay and will fight it at all costs. But I’ve got news for you — it’s a losing f–king battle. The more you fight it, the more f–ked-up your kid’s gonna be. You’ve just got to embrace it from the beginning. That’s the only way to deal with it as a family,” the Maroon 5 frontman added.

Mandi Gosling Stole The Show At The 2017 Oscars

When Ryan Gosling took his little sister, Mandi, as his date to the 89th Academy Awards, the internet lost its mind. It wasn’t the first time his older sister accompanied her A-lister brother out, but her flawless outfit landed her amongst the headlines.

Although Mandi leads a relatively private life, she’s very talented in her own right behind the scenes. Her YouTube channel includes clips from California State University Northridge’s TV shows OnPoint and Valley View News. Even more impressive, she has assisted and produced episodes of Dateline and Miss Advised, and cast the people in Pharrell’s viral music video for “Happy.”

When Two Become One

Louise Adams is the younger sister of Victoria Beckham, also known as Posh Spice. While Victoria may be known for her sharp sense of style, Louise isn’t to be overlooked. She has been photographed all over the world wearing chic fashions and even has her own small boutique called Hidden Closet in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

Louise even playfully admits she got into show business before her sister. In an interview with Daily Mail, she said, “I was in the children’s TV programme Dramarama and played a member of a gang. But I got sick of auditions and modeling in magazines and decided to quit. Victoria carried on and went to theatre school. If people think I’m just cashing in on my sister’s success, I don’t care because I know it was me that did it first.

Rashida Jones’ Big Sister

Kidada Jones is Rashida Jone’s older sister. Born to legendary composer Quincey Jones and actress Peggy Lipton, Kidada grew up in Bel-Air with Rashida. While Rashida may spend more time in the limelight for her work on Parks and Rec and a slew of other on-screen features, Kadida is also very successful.

Kadida began working as a celebrity stylist for Vibe magazine and received a ton of publicity when she styled Michael Jackson for the cover in 1995. Following the shoot, she was recruited by Tommy Hilfiger and became his muse for nearly eight years. She’s also designed a clothing line for Snoop Dogg and has her own line with Disney called Kidada for Disney Couture.


ruby Posted on October 25, 2018 09:55

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Advertisement Diddy jumps out of his seat as he gets scared by clown while appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday.

The 48-year-old rapper talked about his summer stays in Amish country as a child and refused to admit he was afraid of clowns.The 60-year-old host later gave a large donation to his charter schools.

Early in the episode, Ellen teased Diddy for not including her on the list of his famous friends to receive a bottle of his new CI?ROC Black Raspberry, which he explained was because he wanted to deliver it personally.He went on to explain that the new flavor of his drink was inspired by a childhood stay in Amish country for three summers when he was around the age of eight.

During his stays, 'as a hobby, something to pass the time, us children used to go and pick berries,' explained Diddy.

'Raspberries and black raspberries, and that's how I came up with the flavor,' he added.

Childhood inspired: The 48-year-old rapper talked about his summer stays in Amish country as a child and refused to admit he was afraid of clowns

Giving: The 60-year-old host later gave a large donation to his charter schools

Later, Ellen asked the I Need A Girl rapper if the rumor about his fear of clowns was true.

Diddy denied the gossip, saying it was 'impossible' because he 'is a black man' and he has 'so many other things to be scared of that a clown is not going to scare' him.

But then, a red-headed clown jumped out of a box and scared him completely out of his seat.

'You're really, really affecting my street cred with that Ellen,' he told the host followed by a grin and a laugh.

Terrified: Later, Ellen asked the I Need A Girl rapper if the rumor about his fear of clowns was true

Out of his seat: Diddy denied the gossip, saying it was 'impossible' because he 'is a black man' and he has 'so many other things to be scared of that a clown is not going to scare' him

Scared dance: But then, a red-headed clown jumped out of a box and scared him completely out of his seat

High kick: 'You're really, really affecting my street cred with that Ellen,' he told the host followed by a grin and a laugh

Finally, they discuss Diddy's charter schools and that he is opening his third school in 2019, this time in the Bronx.

Ellen then gave $50,000 to the charter school and presended the rapper with a giant check.

He thanked the host and the held the giant check over his head.

Presentation: Finally, they discuss Diddy's charter schools and that he is opening his third school in 2019, this time in the Bronx.Diddy jumps out of his seat as he gets scared by clown while appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

ruby Posted on October 25, 2018 08:57

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EXCLUSIVE: The World's Hottest Grandma Gina Stewart, 48, says she's 'honoured' to make Maxim's Hot 100 list and wants to use her success to 'give back to sick children'

The World's Hottest Grandma reached another huge career milestone on Thursday after being included in Maxim Australia's annual Hot 100 list.

Gina Stewart, who placed No. 90 on the list, told Daily Mail Australia that she was 'honoured' to be included.'I can’t believe I would be on such a list with truly famous people,' the 48-year-old exclaimed. 'I’m honoured and in shock.'

'I’m honoured and in shock!' The World's Hottest Grandma Gina Stewart, 48, told Daily Mail Australia that she was shocked to make it onto Maxim magazine's annual Hot 100 list 

'I’m just going to continue spreading positive messages and being myself.'

The mother-of-four first shot to fame earlier this year when she entered an online Maxim modelling competition in a bid to win money for a close friend who suffered a stroke.

Despite failing to win, Gina was able to raise $4,700 for her friend through a Go Fund Me page.

'I’m just going to continue spreading positive messages and being myself,' said the busty star

The Gold Coast grandmother is now competing in the Maxim Cover Girl Competition for a chance at covering an upcoming American edition of the magazine, as well as to win a $25,000 cash prize.

If she wins, Gina has vowed to give up a portion of the prize money to charity. 

'I’m now focused on winning the Maxim Cover Girl Competition and donating to the Starlight Foundation for sick children and the Wounded Warrior Project for veterans,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

Good cause: The mother-of-four first shot to fame earlier this year when she entered an online modelling competition in a bid to win money for a close friend who suffered a stroke

'I’m now focused on winning the Maxim Cover Girl Competition and donating to the Starlight Foundation for sick children and the Wounded Warrior Project for veterans,' she said

'I firmly believe that with success you should always help others and give back.'

The busty blonde has previously stated that one of the other reasons behind her Maxim campaign is to fight ageism in the modelling industry.

'I'm so excited to be able to make history and I think the modelling industry needs more age diversity,' she wrote on Instagram last week.

'I want to set an example for other mothers and more mature women that you can be sexy at any age,' the 48-year-old continued.

ruby Posted on October 25, 2018 08:45

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The moment the relationship crumbled: Strictly's Seann Walsh looks glum as he is driven away from studios with fuming girlfriend after his cheating was revealed - hours before she dumped him by Twitter

  • Seann Walsh was seen kissing his married Strictly Come Dancing partner Katya
  • The comedian, 32, was dumped by his actress girlfriend Rebecca Humphries 
  • Images have now emerged of the pair rowing hours before her official statement
  • Miss Humphries told Twitter she has officially dumped Walsh and took their cat

Seann Walsh's ex-girlfriend Rebecca Humphries was pictured delivering what appeared to be an emotional telling off to the cheat just hours before she publicly announced she has dumped him.

Images have now emerged from Saturday evening when the pair were seen in the back of a car together, leaving the BBC One studios where comedian Seann is competing in Strictly Come Dancing.

Over the weekend, photographs emerged of him kissing his Russian dance partner Katya Jones - who is married to another dancer on the show.Rebecca dumped Seann and released a fierce statement on Twitter on Monday, in which she revealed she had suspected an affair for three weeks.

Seann Walsh looked glum as his now ex girlfriend Rebecca Humphries leaned towards him in the back of a car

The pair looked visibly distressed as they left the studios on Saturday evening after pictures emerged of the kiss between Sean and his dance partner

Rebecca gazed out of the window with a troubled look on her face as she left the studios with her boyfriend 

The stage star who has appeared at playhouses across the city also announced her boyfriend of five years labelled her a 'psycho' and said she was 'nuts' when she questioned him earlier.

However, her fears were proven on Sunday when images of him kissing Katya in steamy scenes on a London street were released.The pictures were taken on Wednesday, October 3 - Rebecca's birthday. 

The pair were reportedly at the Duke Of York pub in Marylebone in Central London at around midnight.

An onlooker who witnessed Seann and Katya's kiss, told the Sun they were 'snogging like a pair of teenagers' and 'didn't seem to care who might see them'. 

Miss Humphries said in a statement on Twitter she is 'not a victim' and has left Seann, but taken their cat.

She said: 'Those pictures were taken on October 3rd. It was my birthday. I was alone at home when Sean texted at 10pm saying the two of them were going for one innocent drink. 

 'We spoke and I told him, not for the first time, that his actions over the past three weeks had led me to believe something inappropriate was going on. He aggressively, and repeatedly, called me a psycho/nuts/mental. As he has done countless times throughout our relationship when I’ve questioned his inappropriate, hurtful behaviour.

Meanwhile dancer Katya Jones was seen with husband Neil Jones leaving the studios cuddled up to one another 

Rebecca's statement: The actress said she is not a victim and has left Seann and 'took the cat' after he kissed his dance partner in London - on his girlfriend's birthday

‘But- this whole business has served to remind me that I am a strong capable person who is now free; and no victim. I have a voice and will use it by saying this to any woman out there who deep down feels worthless and trapped with a man they love:

'Believe in yourself and your instincts. It’s more than lying. It’s controlling. Tell some very close friends who, if they’re anything like my wonderful network, will swoop in and take care of the logistics and of you.'She also revealed she believes when a person cheats they have a 'need for control comes from a place of vulnerability'. 

Seann and Katya both had haunted expressions on Monday morning as they emerged for the first time since pictures emerged of their drunken yet passionate kiss on a London street.

Hours after the images emerged in the Sun on Sunday Katya was pictured with her husband

A year ago: The couple were pictured on Miss Humphries' birthday on October 3, 2017. This year Mr Walsh was kissing another woman in the street

Hard times: Rebecca Humphries’ mother Anne is said to be in 'shock' over Seann Walsh's kiss with married Strictly Come Dancing partner Katya Jones last week (pictured left)

The couple's beloved pet Winston is featured often on their social media - he has been taken by Miss Humphries during the split

Walsh, 32, appeared with baggy eyes outside his home just before 11am after his actress girlfriend Rebecca Humphries hinted she had 'binned' him following his betrayal.

ruby Posted on October 25, 2018 08:34

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'A disgrace': BBC attacked over how it pays its staff

The BBC has been criticised by MPs for paying female staff less and employing people on contracts that ended up having "life-changing consequences".


A report on pay equality by the digital, culture, media and sport committee (DCMS) found the corporation has been failing female employees.


The broadcaster was branded a "disgrace" for allegedly coercing staff to take on work with no rights to sick pay, maternity leave, pensions or other benefits.


The investigation by the committee was prompted by the resignation of the BBC's China editor Carrie Gracie, who quit after finding out she was paid two-thirds less than North America editor Jon Sopel.


MPs concluded that salaries at the BBC were set by "an opaque system of discretionary decisions by individual managers" who have "devolved powers to make their own personal choices on staff pay".




Former China Editor for the BBC, Carrie Gracie

It stated: "The Equality Act 2010 states that men and women must be paid the same for doing the same work, like work and work of equal value.


"Our evidence suggests women within the BBC are working in comparable jobs to men but earning far less.


"The corporation was unable to give us a good reason for why or how pay discrimination has been left unchallenged for so long.


"The BBC must take urgent action to remove discriminatory pay practice and its legacy from the organisation."


The report also criticised the BBC's own internal investigation that found there was no "evidence of gender bias" in BBC pay, and its grievance process, which was failing to address employees' concerns.




Jane Garvey says the new pay framework does nothing to help women

Woman's Hour presenter Jane Garvey, who has been outspoken on the issue of women's pay, said: "MPs on the committee sound as frustrated by the pace of change at the BBC as we are.


"The grievance process is complicated, stressful and time consuming, and the new pay framework does nothing to help women compare salaries to men doing the same work."


A group representing women at the BBC said the report reveals a lack of "transparency" and "independent oversight".

BBC Women, which represents female journalists and producers, said the corporation must fulfil its "moral duties", adding: "BBC management should lead by example, implement the recommendations made by the select committee immediately, meet its legal obligations on pay - and its moral duties as an organisation funded by the licence fee payer."




July: BBC's 10 best-paid stars are still men

The report also tackled the BBC's use of personal service contracts (PSCs), which involve people setting up their own companies and then working as contractors without the usual benefits offered to staff.


The alleged cost-saving practice left presenters without sick pay, maternity leave and other employment benefits.


The committee's report carries allegations that the BBC coerced some employees to give up these benefits and work as freelancers, saving the broadcaster tens of millions in National Insurance contributions.


Some of those who were on PSCs have now been ordered to repay tax that HMRC says should have been paid at the time.


DCMS chairman Damian Collins said: "Many are now facing bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds in unpaid income tax and National Insurance contributions. These are life-changing consequences.


"Where there's evidence that people were coerced into setting up these companies so they could carry on working as presenters, the BBC should offer compensation to cover their losses."


A Deloitte review found no evidence of staff being forced to move to PSC arrangements.

The BBC said in a statement: "While we still have more to do, much of this report is already out of date.


"Recent disclosures by other media organisations show that the BBC's gender pay gap is amongst the smallest and well below the national average. But we do hold ourselves to a higher standard.


"That is why our action on pay has seen the BBC make real progress in addressing equal pay cases; carry out an independent audit of equal pay overseen by a former Court of Appeal judge; introduce independent oversight so that disputes can be resolved; take clear steps to rebalance top talent pay; reform our pay structure to ensure fairness and give an unprecedented level of transparency and information about pay ranges for all staff; and, set up independent reviews to see what further steps should be taken on pay transparency.

"That's why so many colleagues have contributed to projects we're doing - on gender, ethnicity, disability, LGBT and socioeconomic diversity. We all want to make this a great place to work, where people are properly rewarded for their expertise and experience."


HMRC is yet to comment

KaroA Posted on October 25, 2018 08:21

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German Court Ruling Raises Questions about Bitcoin’s Legal Status

Until recently, Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) classified bitcoin as a financial instrument, but a subsequent court ruling disclaimed this categorization and decided that the cryptocurrency does not meet this definition under the terms of the German Banking Act (KWG).


Bitcoin Unrecognizable to German Legal Framework

The Berlin Court of Appeal in September dismissed a criminal proceeding against the operator of a local bitcoin trading platform. The German enforcement had arrested the administrator for facilitating the trades of financial instruments like bitcoin without obtaining a BaFin permit. While the Berlin-Tiergarten had sentenced the accused for providing financial services, the Berlin Regional Court reversed the judgment, stating that BaFin misinterpreted the legal status of bitcoin. According to Mondaq, The 4th Criminal Division of Berlin Court of Appeal favored the regional court’s ruling, confirming that the German regulators extended the scope of criminal law to bitcoin without synchronizing it with the banking acts.


Citing Section 1(11) of the KWG, the appeal court stated that neither the central bank nor any public authority issues bitcoin. The digital currency lacks general recognition and a stable value that could allow its use to compare goods or services. Therefore, it cannot gain the status of units of account – or financial instruments — contrary to what was enforced by the BaFin in May 2018.


The judgment also shed light on the matters related to the sale and purchase of bitcoin in Germany. The court, reading Section 1(32), ruled that bitcoin trading is not subjected to permits or licenses, and consequently – per Section 1(54) – was not a criminal offense. Due to these facts alone, BaFin couldn’t extend the scope of criminal penalties on the accused.


The appeal court also criticized the financial regulator for crossing the boundaries of federal authorities, stating that it was not their responsibility “to exercise a modifying influence (in particular) on criminal laws.”


Regulatory Inconsistencies Deepen


BaFin had classified bitcoin as a financial instrument. Following a recent court ruling, however, its legal status is less clear.

The court ruling has deepened the inconsistencies in the ways each European country interprets bitcoin law. The European Union has passed a motion in 2016 that enabled taxation of cryptocurrency holdings, investments, and profits. The provision, however, didn’t settle any definition for cryptocurrencies as a whole. Individual countries in the Eurozone awarded bitcoin a legal status in their jurisdictions, but the digital currency never attained a particular Europe-wide regulatory framework for itself.


Jörg von Minckwitz, President of Bitwala, a blockchain banking service based out of Germany, believes each European country should get on the same page before writing the first bitcoin bill.


“In the past years, Bitwala has repeatedly spoken out in favor of legal clarity and a regulatory level playing field in the EU,” he said in a statement provided to CCN. “As digitization affects society across borders, this can only be done in unison. Currently, every EU country seems to have their interpretation, which results in regulatory arbitrage to the detriment of German consumers and innovators.”


BaFin, after the court ruling, cannot penalize people holding or trading cryptocurrencies unless it joins hands with lawmakers to create new legal provisions to modify the KWG. As for now, bitcoin and similar digital assets will be subjected to European regulations.

KaroA Posted on October 25, 2018 07:58

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Paradise Threatened: Fiji’s War Against Climate Change

Between the international airport in Nadi, Fiji, and the capital city of Suva, the coastal road on the island of Viti Levu is lined with resorts and clogged with tour buses. It’s a route I took several times this spring when I visited friends in Suva, a bustling port city where cruise ships drop anchor year-round and deposit thousands of tourists.

The steady stream of hulking ships is emblematic of Fiji’s popularity, and a major source of income. But the country’s reliance on tourism, combined with vigorous development and the effects of rising global temperatures, have conspired against Fiji’s fragile environment.

The country now faces major environmental challenges, including deforestation, unsustainable fishing practices, and the introduction of invasive species, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish, that have led to the destruction of coral reefs. Rising sea levels has led to the erosion of Fiji’s coastal areas, and the intrusion of saltwater has destroyed farmland and forced residents to move to safer ground.

Before I arrived, I had read that Pacific Island nations were threatenedby rising temperatures and sea levels, but it wasn’t until my fifth day there, when my friends and I flew 45 minutes on a small prop plane to the island of Kadavu, that the threat came into full view.



Outside the shack that doubled as the terminal, we climbed into a pickup truck for the bumpy ride to a boat landing. There, we boarded a banana boat for a one-hour ride past shallow reefs and gumdrop specks of land until we reached a lagoon and Matava, a minimalist resort where we planned to stay two nights.


Ethan Aceni, a hotel worker at the Matava resort, picks basil leaves on Kadavu island.CreditAsanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

Walking around the grounds, which were built on a steep hill, the damage from Tropical Cyclone Keni, which had swept through the islands in mid-April, three weeks before our arrival, was obvious. Boats in the lagoon were out of commission. A pool that was under construction was a mess. A tree had fallen on top of the dive shop and hit one of the compressors. A path to a nearby village had disappeared in a landslide.

The storm had packed winds of more than 75 miles per hour and dropped nearly a foot of rain on Viti Levu. Kadavu was more directly in the storm’s path, and more than 800 homes were damaged. The storm came just a week after another cyclone, Josie.







Outrigger Fiji

Beach Resort





By The New York Times

Keni and Josie were not as strong as the fierce Winston cyclone, which hit Fiji in 2016. But what surprised islanders was that the storms arrived weeks after the cyclone season was supposed to have ended. Although there is still much scientific debate about the impact of climate change on tropical cyclones, to many islanders the timing of the storms are evidence that warming temperatures are leading to shifting weather patterns and leaving the island increasingly vulnerable.



“We literally said, ‘Let’s build the pool because the cyclone season is over,’ and then we got hit,” Luke Kercheval, one of the owners of Matava, told me, adding that the storms had scared off visitors. “We got more rain in a week than some countries get in a year. That’s not normal.”

“Donald Trump might not agree, but it’s 100 percent about climate change,” he added. “I don’t need to be a scientist to figure this out.”


At Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Sakiusa Raiyawa shows tourists how to place coral stems into a rejuvenation cone made from sand and cement.CreditAsanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

The topic of climate change was everywhere in Fiji, even at the airport in Nadi, where a billboard read, “Airports Addressing Climate Change.” Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, is the current president of COP23, the United Nations Climate Change conference. In November, he brought two Fijian children with him to a conference in Bonn to remind delegates that the future of Fiji depends on action against the effects of climate change. Already, one-quarter of the country’s bird species and two-thirds of amphibians are threatened or endangered because of rising sea temperatures and overfishing.

A billboard I spotted captured the mood well: “We are all in the same canoe rising up against climate change.”

The ever-present discussion about Fiji’s fate gave me pause. Would Fiji’s stunning islands look the same in a decade or two? The soft breezes and gentle sunsets and crystal blue water at Matava made it hard to muster alarm. It also made me recall a conversation I had a few days before with Dick Watling, the founder of Nature Fiji, an environmental conservation group.


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At the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, guests help maintain a "coral garden" that the hotel built with the help of a Japanese aid organization.CreditAsanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

Mr. Watling arrived in Fiji about 35 years ago and was an astute observer of local politics and the issue of climate change. Over coffee at Cappuccino Republic in Suva, Mr. Watling said that Fiji’s leaders, like those elsewhere in the Pacific region, have become expert at extracting donations from wealthier nations. So he was not surprised that many of Fiji’s problems were being blamed on climate change because it might help attract foreign aid, while also letting lawmakers sidestep thornier issues like unbridled development and lax environmental regulations.

“The government sees this as a major opportunity,” Mr. Watling said. “COP23 is the best tourism marketing program we have ever produced by a country mile.”

Signs of eco-tourism were certainly evident in Fiji. At Matava, solar panels generated most of the electricity, including the lights and fans in our huts. The fruit and vegetables we ate were grown locally and the fish was caught nearby. The eggs came from the chickens at the resort. Bottles, cans and other recyclables were sent back to Viti Levu.

Living off the land did little to protect against Cyclone Keni, though. One of the resort’s boats had flipped upside down and its outboard motors were damaged. The chickens were swept away and the vegetable gardens were destroyed. Several workers at the resort lost their homes. The damage to the reefs made finding fish harder.

More on the environmental challenges facing Fiji and other island nations

Island Nations, With No Time to Lose, Take Climate Response Into Their Own Hands

Nov. 17, 2017

I chatted with Maika O’Conna, a boat captain who grew up on Kadavu who said traditional fishing grounds were under attack from poachers, too.



Overfishing and the destruction of the reefs was something I heard discussed back on Viti Levu. One day, I took a trip with my friend Sharon to the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, about a two-hour drive from Suva. There, the reef had been damaged by repeated storms and polluted runoff from a nearby stream. With the help of a Japanese aid organization, the hotel built coral gardens that its guests help maintain.

The gardens consist of large metal grates, or propagation racks, placed in the water about 100 feet from the shore. Jonacani Masi, one of the hotel workers, took us out to see them. He brought a dozen cones made of sand mixed with concrete that were the size of my hand. When we reached the grates, he dove underwater and returned with a healthy piece of brown spiky coral that looked like a deer antler. He broke it into smaller, finger-length pieces, and placed each one in a cone packed with quick-drying cement.

Snorkels and masks on, we swam down to the grates and placed the cones in the openings. We saw dozens of other cones with healthy-looking coral stems already there. Together, they created a small reef where none had existed. Fish nipped at my legs, protective of their newly claimed territory. When the coral fingerlings were big enough, they were replanted in the natural reef elsewhere.

“The reef was there for the taking, but it was also abused,” Kinijoji “Kenny” Sarai, Mr. Masi’s boss, said over a lunch of Spanish mackerel marinated in coconut milk, lemon and vinegar. Overfishing by locals depleted the reefs’ aquatic population, and forests cleared by developers led to more pollutants being dumped into rivers that flowed into the ocean, damaging the reefs. “We’re trying to bring the coral back to life.”


Young children from the village of Rukua sit on the tip of the boat as they head back to the village after replanting mangroves stems on the island of Beqa.CreditAsanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

Mr. Sarai, who grew up in a nearby village, said the locals are concerned about the damage to the reef. Part of its restoration included helping the reef regenerate, and also trying to convince locals not to fish in reefs being repaired. Though they were reluctant to see restrictions on their fishing rights, many villagers work at the Outrigger and other resorts and recognized that restoring the reef was a key to attracting tourists and, ultimately, preserving their jobs.

“People in Fiji know tourism is the big money earner,” he said. “There’s a national conversation around eco-tourism.”



The next day we set off for Beqa, an island six nautical miles offshore, to meet Sefano Katz. An Israeli by way of Australia, Mr. Katz is a marine biologist and an expert in coral ecosystems. He arrived in Fiji three years ago with the nonprofit group Pacific Blue Foundation to help the locals on Beqa preserve their reef, which is 10 miles wide and one of the largest in Fiji.

He lives in a village of about 200, where he teaches children about composting and restoring mangrove forests, which help protect the coastline from erosion caused by storm surge. He works with the elders to improve the sewage treatment so that polluted water doesn’t seep into the ocean. Villagers are also removing the crown-of-thorns starfish, which eat coral, from the reef.

Mr. Katz said he focuses on steps the villagers can take on their own rather than broad concepts like fighting climate change. He pointed to a study that showed that 48 percent of the damage to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia was from tropical storms and cyclones, and another 42 percent from crown-of-thorns starfish, whose population has exploded because of an increase in phosphorus runoff from sewage, and other issues. This, he said, was similar in Fiji.

“People protect what they understand,” he said. “That’s the way to make change.”

Mr. Katz took us to meet Filipe Kirikirikula, the 60-year-old head of the council of elders. We sat outside his home in the middle of the well-kept village by the beach. He supported Mr. Katz’s mission, which he said required changing age-old habits. “Most of the people just abuse the environment,” he said. “It’s quite difficult to teach them about conservation. People here have their own freedom.”

The days of going out on the reef with a spear to catch dinner were disappearing, he said. So he supported a plan to create an area to raise clams and fish that would be protected from poachers. It would also repopulate the reefs, which in turn would attract more divers who could be charged a fee, he said.

As the afternoon waned, Mr. Katz took us back to the mainland on his boat. Beqa, which legend has it, is home to the Fijian shark god, Dakuwaqa, faded from view as we skipped over the waves and around the swells.

Follow NY Times Travel on TwitterInstagram and FacebookGet weekly updates from our Travel Dispatch newsletter, with tips on traveling smarter, destination coverage and photos from all over the world.

Ken Belson covers the N.F.L. He joined the Sports section in 2009 after stints in Metro and Business. From 2001 to 2004, he wrote about Japan in the Tokyo bureau.

Archimedeskay Posted on October 25, 2018 06:26

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World’s longest sea bridge finally opens

THE world’s longest cross-sea bridge will soon connect Hong Kong and mainland China. But critics say it has one glaring problem with no easy solution.

Staff reporter and AFP

News Corp Australia NetworkOCTOBER 24, 20187:08AM

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is seen in Hong Kong. Picture: APSource:AP

THE world’s longest sea bridge will open this week, finally connecting Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China after nine years of construction, but critics say not many people will be able to use it.

The opening comes at a time when Beijing seeks to tighten its grip on its semi-autonomous territories.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was expected to officiate at an opening ceremony in the mainland city of Zhuhai on Tuesday morning, but details of the event have been kept secret.

The 55-kilometre crossing, which includes a snaking road bridge and underwater tunnel, links Hong Kong’s Lantau island to Zhuhai and the gambling enclave of Macau, across the waters of the Pearl River Estuary.


An aerial view shows a van being driven on a section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HKZM). Picture: AFPSource:AFP

A section of the Bridge seen from Lantau island in Hong Kong. Picture: AFPSource:AFP


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It is the second major infrastructure project tying Hong Kong to mainland China to launch in a matter of weeks, after the opening of a high-speed rail link last month.

Critics say the multibillion-dollar bridge is one more way to integrate Hong Kong into China as fears grow that the city’s cherished freedoms are being eroded.

The mega bridge will open to traffic on Wednesday, a day after the ceremony. Building began in 2009 and has been dogged by delays, budget overruns, corruption prosecutions and the deaths of construction workers.

The launch ceremony was hastily announced last week by mainland authorities with Hong Kong politicians and transport companies complaining they had been left in the dark.


Supporters of the project promote it as an engineering marvel that will also boost business and cut travel time, while others see it as a politically driven and costly white elephant.

The main bridge section is considered mainland territory and Hong Kong cars and drivers travelling over it “must comply with the laws and regulations of the mainland”, according to the city’s transport department.

An aerial view shows a section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Picture: AFPSource:AFP







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Hong Kong residents will only be granted a licence to cross into Zhuhai by car if they meet highly selective criteria, including holding certain mainland government positions or making major contributions to charities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

Most people will need to travel the bridge on private coaches and buses. Drivers of private cars will only be able to use it if they successfully apply for a special permit and the bridge won’t be served by public transport.

Hong Kong residents have criticised the bridge saying it’s a waste of tax payer funds.

And conservationists say the construction has led to falling numbers of the threatened Chinese white dolphin.

Towers above the bridge have been designed to look like dolphins, in honour of the white dolphin. The bridge’s curves are meant to resemble a snake, according to the designer.

Pro-democracy politician Eddie Chu told The Guardian the bridge was “basically redundant” after officials claimed traffic on the bridge would see about 25 per cent less traffic by 2030 because of another competing bridge.

Online commenters in Hong Kong complained about the bridge’s restricted access ahead of the launch.

Chinese security checks guest seats prior to the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

“Such a huge investment using the Hong Kong taxpayer’s money … yet basically it is not open to us at all,” said one comment on the South China Morning Post website.

Some Hong Kong media reported that the physical condition of drivers on the bridge would be monitored by cameras, including an alert sent if a driver yawns more than three times in 20 seconds.

A general view taken from Hong Kong shows a section of the bridge. AFPSource:AFP

The opening of the high-speed rail link also sparked criticism as it saw Chinese security stationed on Hong Kong soil for the first time at the city’s terminus.

Critics accused the Hong Kong government of giving away territory to an increasingly assertive Beijing.

Archimedeskay Posted on October 25, 2018 06:14

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Passenger accused of groping woman on flight offers strange excuse

A MAN who allegedly grabbed a woman’s breast on a flight and was arrested found a strange way to defend the behaviour.

Kathleen Joyce

Fox NewsOCTOBER 25, 20188:30AM

A man has been accused of groping a female passenger mid-flight.Source:istock

A MAN accused of groping a female passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight allegedly told authorities US President Donald Trump “says it’s OK” to grab women by their private parts, according to a criminal complaint.

Bruce Michael Alexander, 49, of Tampa, Florida, made his initial appearance in federal court on Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on a charge of abusive sexual contact following Sunday’s incident. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer, Fox News reported.

Mr Alexander was accused of grabbing a woman’s breast without her permission while on a flight from Houston to Albuquerque.

The woman told authorities she fell asleep on the flight when “she felt her clothes move and touching of fingers on her right side at and around her ‘bra line’,” according to a criminal complaint.

The alleged incident happened on a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque. Picture: AFP/Daniel SlimSource:AFP






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She believed the touching was an accident until 30 minutes later it happened again. The woman said she turned around and told the passenger sitting behind her to stop and asked the crew to change her seat.

The woman described in detail what the suspect’s hands looked like.

“She saw a hand that had thick fingers, were hairy and dirty fingernails,” the criminal complaint stated.

Mr Alexander recalled in a written statement only that the woman in front of him had spoken to him and then changed seats.

Mr Alexander may have been referring to Donald Trump’s comments in an infamous Access Hollywood segment.Source:Supplied








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The criminal complaint stated when Mr Alexander was placed in handcuffs and taken in a vehicle, he stated: “The President of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”


Mr Alexander was presumably referring to the Access Hollywood tape from 2005 which emerged during the 2016 presidential campaign. In the recording, Mr Trump was heard talking about fame enabling him to grope women, a discussion he later apologised for and dismissed as “locker room” banter.

Mr Alexander remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Southwest Airlines told Fox News in a statement: “Customer Service Supervisors and local law enforcement officers were requested to meet flight 5421 upon arrival in Albuquerque from Houston due to reports of a customer’s alleged inappropriate behaviour on-board.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

Archimedeskay Posted on October 25, 2018 06:09

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Inside the tiny African fishing island that’s half the size of a football pitch

THIS is one island where you will need to get on with your neighbours.

Migingo Island, on the border of Uganda and Kenya, is packed with tiny huts, four bars, a hair salon and several brothels, according to The Sun.

Migingo Island in Lake Victoria on the border of Uganda and Kenya. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP




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The fishing community is so heavily packed that homes overlap on the rocky outcrop.

More than 500 people live on the island, which is barely 2000sq m.

The East African nations are even in conflict over who owns the land — dubbed “Africa’s smallest war”.

Migingo — which is less than half the size of a standard soccer pitch — sits in Lake Victoria, the continent’s largest lake.

The island rises out of the waters of Lake Victoria like an iron-plated turtle. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP




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Fishermen mainly catch Nile perch. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP





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A woman cleans her items on Usingo island next to Migingo island on October 5, 2018. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP

At day, fishermen cast their nets to land Nile perch.

By night prostitutes from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda arrive, and the workers drink at makeshift bars.

Ugandans and Kenyans now share the space after tensions threatened to escalate.


The densely populated island is barely a quarter of a hectare in area. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP

Residents are crammed into a hodgepodge of corrugated-iron homes, with seemingly little but a few bars, brothels and a tiny port. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP





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A woman holds her baby. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP

Kenyan and Ugandan fisherman don’t mix. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP

But fishermen from either nation refuse to mix with the other, and won’t go with their women.

Now photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba has caught stunning images revealing what life is like on the tiny island.

One picture shows villagers navigating tiny alleyways between corrugated iron homes.

A man uses his mobile phone on the tiny island. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP





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A woman cleans her bar. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP

Fishermen prepare their nets aboard their boats. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP

Nile perch being prepared to be cooked. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFPSource:AFP

Archimedeskay Posted on October 25, 2018 05:59

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DEATH OF MALARIA: British university uses gene tech to stop female mosquitoes laying eggs


SCIENTISTS at a British university were celebrating major breakthrough in WIPING OUT MALARIA today after successfully altering the genes of mosquitoes which carry the deadly illness to stop females from reproducing.


Malaria is carried by the Anopheles gambiae mosquito (Image: GETTY)

Researchers from Imperial College London managed to wipe out an entire population of caged mosquitoes using a form of genetic engineering referred to as a gene drive, during a series of laboratory experiments.

If applied successfully malaria will go the way of smallpox and rickets.

The findings of their study, which is published on yesterday in scientific journal Nature Biotechnology, reveal their efforts to eliminate the insects in less than 11 generations.

Lead researcher Professor Andrea Crisanti, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: “2016 marked the first time in over two decades that malaria cases did not fall year-on-year despite huge efforts and resources, suggesting we need more tools in the fight.”

It was the first time gene drive had been able to suppress a population completely, overcoming resistance issues previous approaches have faced, Professor Crisanti explained.

He added: “This breakthrough shows that gene drive can work, providing hope in the fight against a disease that has plagued mankind for centuries.

“There is still more work to be done, both in terms of testing the technology in larger lab-based studies and working with affected countries to assess the feasibility of such an intervention.

“It will still be at least 5-10 years before we consider testing any mosquitoes with gene drive in the wild, but now we have some encouraging proof that we’re on the right path. 

Scientists tweaked the mosquito population's genes to produce infertile females which did not bite (Image: GETTY)

“Gene drive solutions have the potential one day to expedite malaria eradication by overcoming the barriers of logistics in resource-poor countries.”

Gene drives alter DNA, achieving genetic changes through multiple generations by overriding the biological processes which normally apply.

Malaria, which is carried by the Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, killed between 445,000 and 731,000 people annually in 2016.

The vast majority of these people lived in Africa, according to World Health Organisation estimates.


Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people annually – mostly in Africa (Image: GETTY)

In total, the figures suggested a total of 216 million cases worldwide.

The new technique specifically target Anopheles gambiae by altering a region of a so-called 'doublesex gene' in the mosquitoes, which is responsible for female development.

Males carrying this modified gene showed no changes, and neither did females with only one copy of it.

However, females

with two copies had both male and female characteristics – they did not bite, but did not lay eggs either.

As a result, the populations collapsed as a result of a lack of offspring.

One of the reasons doublesex was picked for the gene drive target was that it was thought not to tolerate any mutations, overcoming this potential source of resistance. 

In the study no functional mutated copy of the doublesex gene arose and spread in the population.

Professor Crisanti said the discovery offered hope to those battling the disease.

However, he added: “There is still more work to be done, both in terms of testing the technology in larger lab-based studies and working with affected countries to assess the feasibility of such an intervention.”


Prynx Posted on October 25, 2018 02:54

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Friends star David Schwimmer films hilarious spoof over Blackpool beer thief resemblance

Friends actor David Schwimmer has posted a video "proving" he was not behind an alleged theft carried out by a lookalike in Blackpool.


The footage shows him leaving a shop carrying a crate of cans, in an exact copy of the alleged theft.


He wrote on Twitter: "Officers, I swear it wasn't me. As you can see, I was in New York. To the hardworking Blackpool Police, good luck with the investigation."


Lancashire Constabulary continued the banter, replying with a tweet saying: "Thanks for being there for us," a reference to the long-running sitcom's theme tune.

Police posted a picture of the suspected thief, who bears a striking similarity to the actor, on Facebook asking the public for help identifying him.



The suspect was pictured leaving a restaurant in the town carrying what appeared to be a crate of cans after the alleged theft on 20 September.

Police were subsequently swamped with replies from people saying he looked like Ross Geller, the character Schwimmer played in Friends.


Their post was shared more than 40,000 times - and has attracted tens of thousands of likes from fans of the long-running US sitcom.


Schwimmer's response also proved popular, with many social media users re-tweeting it.



@Dave_O_Sullivan summed up the feelings of many, tweeting: "David Schwimmer just won the Internet 2018 Award. Well played."



@nattybstokie agreed, tweeting that "David Schwimmer has officially won the internet! Love him so much for this."

But @jocelynaspa was a little less kind, calling it the "best thing" Schwimmer has ever done.

In response to the original Facebook post, one user, referencing the Friends theme song, wrote: "I don't think it's been this guy's day, his week, his month or even his year....."

KaroA Posted on October 24, 2018 23:55

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A white couple's 'Kidnapped in Congo' wedding photo is causing controversy online

It’s as bad as it sounds.

A white couple decided to create a weird photo shoot for their wedding, complete with fake Congolese militia.

The bizarre photos feature a white bride in a whole host of awkward poses including being held at gunpoint by a black soldier and walking down a dirt road with little black children following.

Another had the bride standing in front of a crowd of Congolese adults and children with the caption: “Just cruising thru the ghetto in Congo in a wedding dress."

A different photo has a close up shot of what looks like her diamond wedding ring curled around an AK47 with the caption “Blood Diamonds".

American travel photographer John Milton and his wife had their wedding in the Democratic Republic of Congo back in 2017.

Congo has suffered through a number of civil wars in the past few decades, the result of which have been the death of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of more than four million refugees.

The civil wars gave birth to horrific forms of violence perpetrated by militia gangs, and the reverberations of the deadly conflicts are still felt in the country today.

What in the fresh yt hell is this mayo encrusted bullshit?

There are literally too many things wrong, here...

What in the fresh yt hell is this mayo encrusted bullshit?

There are literally too many things wrong, here...

the audacity of the caucasity

In light of such facts, people thought the photo shoot was…insensitive. And, well, racist.

The photos were uploaded to Facebook by an English teacher called Cecilia Christin. She told Business Insider she found the images on her Instagram Discover page as she runs a travel-themed Instagram.

I decided to share these pictures in order to foster discussion with my friends and following, specifically about the accessorisation of black bodies for this couple’s photo shoot.

Foster discussion she did.

The post was shared more than 8,000 times. One person wrote:

I do not claim these Caucasians. This just Screams [sic] distasteful and the 'ghetto' caption and the photo is just so wrong.

Another tagged a friend and said, “Look at this dumpster fire.”

Shortly after his images when viral, Milton seemed to have deleted his Instagram account, 30.raw.

It was Facebook user Lisa Leflore who nailed it with her reaction:

I don't...I just... what does one say here? I got nothing.


ruby Posted on October 24, 2018 18:35

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Woman horrified after receiving bridal party invite with VERY ‘rude’ requests

FACEBOOK users were quick to brand this bride-to-be as ‘rude’ and 'tacky'. The anonymous woman said the invitation asked guests to bring a salad or dessert, but also hinted it would be an “envelope party”. While giving money at a wedding is common, the Australian woman was baffled that the bride-to-be was asking for cash at her bridal shower.  Describing the demands as “classless”, the post sparked a furious debate on Facebook, with nearly 500 people leaving comments.

“To me, that’s just tacky and then to tell me and my mum what to bring as our dish. No thank you,” she wrote on Facebook.

The woman also revealed the mother-of-the-bride had also been hosting “flower making parties”.

She explained these events were to give family and those in the bridal party the opportunity to “go over and make their flower decorations for the venue”.

SLAMMED: The guest said the bride was asking for money at her shower (Pic: GETTY STOCK IMAGE) Unsurprisingly, the post sparked a furious debate online with many branding it “horrifying” and “tacky”. One wrote: “They should at least feed you if you are asked to bring money to an envelope in a shower. I’m happy to bring a dish, especially if it’s a close friend but… I’m feeling a strong NO!” Another added: “Don’t throw a party if you can’t afford to feed your guests AND if you can’t afford to feed your guests don’t ask them to bring food AND money.”  A third slammed: “So they want your money and they also don’t want to supply the party and expect the guests to do that too? I would laugh at this and the person who gave it to me.”

Previously, another bride was slammed for making a “rude” wedding invite mistake. A woman, who had been asked to attend the hen do, was upset to be snubbed from the actual wedding day. She shared her misery on popular parenting site Mumsnet. The woman explained: “I noticed on Instagram a few weeks ago she made her wedding invitations and thought oh how lovely, then noticed some mutual friends posting they received theirs. “Still not received mine but again I thought the wedding isn’t until early next year so maybe she’s sending them out in bunches?  “The group chat has resurrected and a date for the hen do confirmed. “All the hens discussing how excited they are and how lovely they thought the home made wedding invitations are. Everyone has had an invite but me!”

jmparker Posted on October 24, 2018 16:36

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Unocoin Co-Founder Arrested Over Non-Functional Bitcoin ATM in India

Indian authorities have arrested the co-founder of Unocoin, an upstart Bitcoin exchange in India.


According to Times of India, Harish BV, co-founder of Unocoin, was taken into custody for illegally operating the “first” Bitcoin ATM in the world’s second-largest nation, located in Bangalore. The BTM was located in the Kemp Fort Mall.


Bitcoin ATM Not Even Working At Time of Arrest

As earlier reported, Unocoin had been taking baby steps in the implementation of its cash-to-coin (and vice versa) operations. They wrote on Twitter:


Our Machine didn’t go well with few mainstream media reports who projected it under a negative light. The machine is still under final testing mode and it will be up and running in the upcoming week.


People in the cryptosphere are no strangers to the dangers of toxic misinformation. Another founder of Unocoin, Sathvik Viswanath, told the media that the BTM was not actually even running at the time of Harish BV’s arrest. It was in “final testing mode.” A likely source of the police involvement was mall management, as according to Viswanath, the mall’s management had recently become uneasy about the BTM’s presence.


The reason for panic is because of fake videos on Kannada and English channels. Due to this, our kiosk is not operational. We’ve been trying actively to get these videos pulled down.


The Struggle Ahead for Crypto India

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are hardly new, but every country and culture have taken their own paths to adoption and acceptance. Government policy on the subject is extremely important in this regard, and the Indian government appears to be like most governments: decidedly not in favor and in some ways vehemently against. Viswanath pointed to specific remarks from earlier this year from the Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitely specifically stated that bitcoins are not “legal tender” in India and that the government would work diligently to prevent cryptos from being used in “illegitimate” activities.


Viswanath is quick to point out that not qualifying as legal tender does not make Bitcoin an illegal asset.


The minister’s statement was clear: cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India. He did not say ‘illegal tender.’ There’s a huge difference. It means you bear the risk of your investment and there’s no regulation for the industry.


Nevertheless, a crypto businessman sits in jail today, with local police using the media to discourage people from engaging in Bitcoin activity and promising more arrests. His firm offers an Android wallet, a liquid market for Ether and Bitcoin, and it is with some degree of irony that as recently as June they were writing in defense of US regulatory practices as regards Bitcoin.


Like anything else, government over-reaction to cryptocurrencies and bullying leads to black markets, which are exactly the sort of thing the government has promised to mitigate. As such, the Indian LocalBitcoins market appears strong, with apparently better rates for acquisition. LocalBitcoins is more of a “gray” market, with peers incurring their own risk in making in-person trades on a daily basis the world over.

KaroA Posted on October 24, 2018 16:28

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CNN's New York office receives suspicious package similar to those sent to Clintons, Obama

The New York Police Department urged people to avoid Columbus Circle, where CNN's offices are located.


Live Coverage: Suspicious packages intercepted addressed to Obama, Clinton

Oct. 24, 201800:03

Oct. 24, 2018 / 3:50 PM GMT+1 / Updated 3:53 PM GMT+1

By Elisha Fieldstadt and Jonathan Dienst

CNN's New York office was evacuated Wednesday after a package arrived that was similar to suspicious packages found near the New York home of Bill and Hillary Clinton and another sent to former President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., a senior law enforcement official said.

The New York Police Department urged people to avoid Columbus Circle, where CNN's offices are located. The entire Time Warner Center, which houses the CNN newsroom, was evacuated, according to a memo sent to staff.

Jim Sciutto, a CNN correspondent, tweeted that the bomb squad responded. "We’re told of explosive device received," he wrote. Sciutto and Poppy Harlow were on air at approximately 10:09 a.m. when a fire alarm went off.


Death of American tourist in Turks and Caicos being investigated as a murder

Murdered Utah college student recently ended relationship with suspected killer

The package sent to Hillary Clinton was discovered on Tuesday in Westchester County, New York, and a second in Washington, D.C., the FBI and Secret Service said in a statement.

"The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such. Both packages were intercepted prior to being delivered to their intended location. The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them," the statement said.

Luke Posted on October 24, 2018 15:02

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Suspicious packages sent to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Secret Service says

The first package was recovered on Tuesday in Westchester County, New York, and a second in Washington, D.C., the FBI and Secret Service said in a statement.

Secret Service intercepts suspicious packages sent to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton

Oct. 24, 201803:38

Oct. 24, 2018 / 2:20 PM GMT+1 / Updated 3:16 PM GMT+1

By Minyvonne Burke

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a suspicious package found near the New York home of Bill and Hillary Clinton and one sent to former President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

The first package was discovered on Tuesday in Westchester County, New York, and a second in Washington, D.C., the FBI and Secret Service said in a statement.

"The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such. Both packages were intercepted prior to being delivered to their intended location. The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them," the statement said.

The Clintons' home in Chappaqua, New York on Jan. 3, 2017.WNBC

"The Secret Service has initiated a full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible.”

The New York bureau of the FBI tweeted that they are aware of the situation and are working with other law enforcement agencies to investigate.

“We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. "These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards.”


Watch: Rome escalator runs out of control, creating pileup


Live Coverage: Suspicious packages intercepted addressed to Obama, Clinton

The package was located around near the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, New York, a suburb of New York City.

This comes days after an explosive device was found in the mailbox of George Soros' New York home.

Law enforcement officials said that device "had the components" of a bomb and contained explosive powder. It was detonated as a precaution, and no one was injured.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Luke Posted on October 24, 2018 14:59

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Turkish police shoot driver near Israeli ambassador's residence

Police in Ankara shoot a tractor driver in the leg after he refuses to stop his vehicle and crashes into cars; the driver says he planned to hit the Israeli embassy in the Turkish capital; Israeli official: 'this has nothing to do with the embassy.'

Police in Ankara shot a driver of a tractor Tuesday that struck a series of cars in the Turkish capital and appeared headed for the Israeli embassy.The driver told police in his initial statement that he planned to drive to the Israeli embassy in Ankara and stage a protest, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkish police shoot tractor driver.

The man, identified as a 45-year-old farmer, was eventually stopped in an area close to the Israeli ambassador's residence. It was unclear whether the driver mistook the residence for the embassy.

The Ankara governor's office said the man had been under treatment for psychological problems since 2007.

Anadolu Agency said police guarding the parliament building fired warning shots into the air to stop the tractor on Ataturk Boulevard that is lined with government buildings and embassies. The report said the tractor continued on its way, hitting and crushing cars on the route.

The tractor was eventually stopped on a street some two kilometers away from the Israeli residence. The tractor crashed into parked cars before coming to a halt, according to an Associated Press journalist who rushed to the scene.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he believed the incident was not linked to the Israeli mission."To the best of our knowledge this has nothing to do with the embassy. He was on his way to demonstrate outside a (Turkish) government ministry. The incident happened near the ambassador’s residence, and not the embassy," the official emphasized.

Israel's Ambassador to Ankara, Eitan Na'eh, was expelled from Turkey in May, following severe crisis with Turkey over the death of 61 Palestinian protesters during the "March of Return" riots.

Prior to his return to Israel, Na'eh was humiliated at the Istanbul International Airport, as he was made to undergo a strict security screening in front of media cameras.,7340,L-5372348,00.html

ruby Posted on October 24, 2018 12:34

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Mysterious gold relic finally identified after baffling scientists for almost 150 years

The origin of a mysterious golden relic has been identified after leaving archaeologists baffled for almost 150 years.

The small, flat golden plate was uncovered alongside a female skeleton and a coin at a grave site beneath York station in 1872.

After more than a century of intrigue, a team at Yorkshire Museum - alongside experts from around the world - have revealed it is a Roman mouth plaque dating from the third century.

The 1,800-year-old plaque is the only example of its kind in Britain, and one of only 23 discovered worldwide.

The plaque would be used to cover the mouth of a dead body, and experts said it would usually be used by a person of high status.

But mystery still surrounds how and why it was used, with theories including it being a magical or medicinal amulet to protect the person in death, or a sinister talisman to silence or restrain them.

Gallery: 16 of history's greatest unsolved mysteries (Photos)

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Yorkshire Museum assistant curator of archaeology Adam Parker said he is planning to carry out more tests on the female skeleton to shed more light on the mouth plaque itself.

This could include ancient DNA testing and stable isotope analysis to try to establish where the woman was from.

Mr. Parker said most of the other mouth plaques were found in the far eastern parts of the former Roman Empire in Syria, Turkey and Crimea, apart from one found in France.

He added: "The hope is if the skeleton could be proved to have an eastern link, where the other examples of the practice are, that would show a level of mobility of this unusual practice from one end of the empire to the other."

The woman is believed to have been between 18 and 30 when she died, and along with the mouth plaque she was buried with a fake silver coin dated between 202 to 210.

The coin, which was made of copper with a silver wash over the top, had the face of Septimius Severus on one side and Fortuna, the goddess of luck on the other.

Severus was Roman Emperor from 193 until his death in York in 211, but it is not clear whether the woman was buried during this period or later.

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 12:25

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Teenager's Reaction To Girl Getting Her Period On A Bus Is Going Viral

A young boy is receiving praise all over the internet after a parent shared the kind-hearted thing he did for a girl on the school bus.

The girl in question was on the school bus home when, unknown to her, she started her period - a pretty difficult thing for girls to deal with anyway, so adding in the school bus, in front of all her peers, must have made it even more difficult.

For the girl though, her uncomfortable situation was eased when a boy was quick to help out.

Credit: PA

Her mum posted in the Gurgaon Moms Facebook group, saying: "My daughter started her period on the bus ride home today. A boy a year older than her... that she doesn't really know... pulled her aside and whispered in her ear that she had a stain on the back of her pants and gave her his sweater to tie around her waist so she could walk home off of the bus."

The mum went on to praise not only the youngster for the help he gave her daughter but, the boy's mum too for 'raising him right'.

She continued: "She said she was kind of embarrassed and originally said it's okay... but the boy insisted and told her 'I have sisters, it's all good!' If you are this boy's Mom... I want to say thank you and that you are raising him right!!

"We hear so many bad things about today's youth, and I wanted to share something positive!"


People have left comments praising the boy and his kindness.

One person said: "He's a star not many would of [sic] done this I'm sure he become a gentleman in years to come and he will treat a woman how she should be treated."

Another said: "Good on him. And a very well done to his parents. What a lovely young man he is guna grow up to be. If my son turns out like this I'll be more than happy and proud."

A third person posted: "Well done to this boy for doing this I hope more boys take note and behave in the same way towards any girl in the same situation in the future."

This boy's actions are enough to warm hearts but also put faith into the next generation of youngsters - because it's good to look out for other, isn't it?


Featured Image Credit: PA

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 11:50

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Now Is The Perfect Time To (Re)Play Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

That tension in the air? That fizzing, crackling expectation? It might have something to do with the imminent release of Red Dead Redemption 2, undoubtedly this year's most anticipated game.

You can bet that when Rockstar Games' Wild West adventure is released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 26 October, more than a few duvet days are getting taken. (Glances around office; fixes likely candidates with a knowing stare.)

And if it's anything like its predecessor, 2010's superlative open-worlder Red Dead Redemption, it's a game that'll race straight to the top of countless critics' end-of-the-year lists.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

But if you simply cannot wait until Friday to get yourself some gun-slinging satisfaction, and what with it being late October, may we point you in the direction of Red Dead Redemption's devilishly supernatural DLC, Undead Nightmare.

Originally released a few months after its parent game - and readily available today as a standalone (no original Red Dead Redemption necessary) disc for Xbox 360 (backwards compatible on Xbox One) and PS3 - Undead Nightmare takes the map of the main game, its protagonist John Marston and his family, and delivers a zombies-everywhere campaign into insanity.

It plays like Red Dead Redemption, right down to some of those weirdly floaty controls you might remember. But instead of blasting holes through cowpokes and bandits, Undead Nightmare lines up an array of ghoulish undead nasties for John to put down.


Kill the head, and the body will die: words to remember, right there, because it's only by popping brains that the slavering masses, desperate to get their gobs around your noggin, will finally be laid to rest. Alternatively, you can set fire to these skull-munchers with a flaming torch - but not all of these unholy horrors are classically sluggish, so it's often better to deal with them from a safe distance.

Really, what more could you ask for with the next Red Dead on the horizon, and the small matter of Halloween looming, next week?

And if you start tonight, you could have Undead Nightmare finished in time for Red Dead Redemption 2 - the DLC should take nine or ten hours to get through, which is pretty manageable over a couple of evenings, and rather less than the reported 60 hours that it'll take to complete the new game.

Regarded as one of the greatest DLC (downloadable content) releases of all time, Undead Nightmare takes a lighter tone than Red Dead Redemption proper, and no doubt its sequel. But while the very nature of a zombie outbreak makes for some bloody good fun, and instances of gory comedy, it's not without its serious and tender moments.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

I've been replaying Undead Nightmare this week, in preparation for Red Dead Redemption 2, and was surprised by how respectfully it (occasionally) treats the passing of zombie-turned characters from the main game, foremost amongst them the father of a fan favourite. That was a quiet scene of real dramatic weight, unexpected so soon after a healthy dose of undead slaughter.

And then there's the mission that takes John into Sasquatch country, up in the Tall Trees area of the map. No spoilers here, but if you can go through with the final act of questionable mercy, you're a colder-hearted player than me.

After Grand Theft Auto V featured no single-player, story mission DLC, we're not holding any breath for Red Dead Redemption 2 being followed by something in the model of Undead Nightmare. But, if Rockstar wanted to surprise us with a grisly treat, sometime in 2019, we'd welcome it like your garden-variety zombie does an all-day brain buffet, with a side of finger foods. Made of real fingers, obviously.

Featured Image Credit: Rockstar Games

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 11:25

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All the Hidden Ghosts You Missed In The Haunting Of Hill House

Halloween is nearly here, and for those of who you who just don't quite get the same rush you used to from trick or treating, there is a new series on Netflix that will help you cack yourself.

The Haunting of Hill House was released on the streaming service almost two weeks ago and there have been reports of viewers passing out and vomiting from watching the show, which is surely the ultimate seal of approval for any horror... Even the cast said they were seeing things when they made the series.

Credit: PA

The horror is based on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel of the same name and uses flashbacks to tell the story of the five Crain family siblings, each of whom are dealing with repressed trauma and PTSD following their childhoods growing up in the super creepy Hill House.

But beyond all the unavoidable pass out/puke up/shit yourself moments, there are also 'dozens' of ghosts looming in the background throughout the show, series creator Mike Flanagan has revealed - adding to the near constant sense of dread and creepiness.

Speaking to Vulture, he said: "We actually hid dozens of ghosts throughout the series, in plain sight, in the deep background of shots. We don't call any attention to them, but they're there.

"If you look in a door frame, or under the piano, or behind a curtain in a lot of otherwise ordinary scenes, you'll see someone there."

So whereabouts are these hidden spectres? Time to play a ghostly game of where's wally; look away now if you don't want to know where they are (or just miss them again).


Episode 1

Even if you only managed to get through the first minute of the first episode, then you were faced with a ghost. Before a character has been introduced, a glimpse of a face can be seen lurking by the stairs.

Credit: Netflix

Did you notice this blurred figure in the background while Steven (and probably you) were panicking about the rattling door knob?

Credit: Netflix

When you're running for your life, it's probably best not to look back - but did you?

Credit: Netflix

Who's this cheeky fella behind the clock?

Credit: Netflix


Episode 2

Did you know there were two kids in this shot?

Credit: Netflix

This one's quite tricky - three ghostly where's wally points if you spotted it.

Credit: Netflix


Episode 3

This ghost is particularly sneaky. If you did spot it then no doubt it would have given you the heebie jeebies.

Credit: Netflix

By contrast, this ghost is doing a shit job of being a ghost. It doesn't even look like a ghost and it is just stood there, semi-obscured. They're also stood right in front of the kids, who don't even bat an eyelid, meaning the children are either really rubbish at spotting ghosts, or this ghost is just so rubbish that they aren't even remotely terrified by it.

Credit: Netflix

This is a very hard one. Four ghostly where's wally points for spotting it. Clue - the child is looking in the wrong place.

Credit: Netflix

This ghost is way less see through than the glass it is stood behind. Silly ghost.

Credit: Netflix

What ya doing down there?

Credit: Netflix

She's behiiiiind youuuu

Credit: Netflix

Is this one scarier because the ghost is bald? Yes. Are all ghosts bald? No.

Credit: Netflix

Apparently there is a mysterious face way in the background in this one.

Credit: Netflix

'Wait for me!'

Credit: Netflix


Episode 4

Did you notice this fuzzy headless chair-dweller?

Credit: Netflix

How about this rare sighting of a blonde ghost?

Credit: Netflix

All the ghostly where's wally points if you spotted the face in this cabinet.

Credit: Netflix


Episode 5

This ghost is in its familiar haunt by the stairs.

Credit: Netflix

They're waaaatching...

Credit: Netflix

Ewwww this one is horrible. What on earth is it doing there with its horrible hands? Yuck.

Credit: Netflix

This one's a bit boring.

Credit: Netflix


Episode 7

It's behiiiind you agaaain...

Credit: Netflix

Ewwww agaaain. Get your hand off that wall; why are ghost hands so scary?!

Credit: Netflix

The blondie returns.

Credit: Netflix


Episode 9

They're often behind you, turns out...

Credit: Netflix

This one's face is horribly clear.

Credit: Netflix

The old haunt.

Credit: Netflix


Episode 10

Once again - they, are, behind, you.

Credit: Netflix



Featured Image Credit: Netflix/The Haunting of Hill House

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 11:21

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Peter Crouch And Abbey Clancy To Star On 'Celebrity GoggleBox'

Celebrity Gogglebox is back for another year and this time we'll see none other than the Stoke City footballer Peter Crouch take to the couch with his wife, model and TV presenter, Abbey Clancy and her dad, Geoff.

Credit: PA

The trio will be reviewing - in other words gawping and gossiping - at the week's TV highlights in a special edition of the show as part of Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK's Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C).

Both Peter and Abbey said they were huge fans of the TV review programme and the campaign SU2C.

They said in a statement: "We are such huge fans of Gogglebox so being able to take part in it together is amazing, especially when it's for such a brilliant cause. The work being done by the Stand Up To Cancer campaign is phenomenal and we are thrilled to be able to play our part."

Along with looking forward to seeing if the famous couple gossip and slag off some weeknight TV, the show will also feature some of the genuine Gogglebox households including Giles and Mary, Jenny and Lee and the Siddiquis - all of who have gained a form of mini-celebrity status since joining the show.

Credit: Channel 4

This isn't the first time the BAFTA award winning show has broadcast in support of SU2C with celebrity guests - in recent years the show has had some rather unlikely celebs share the sofa.

From Naomi Campbell and Noel Gallagher to Jamie Dornan and Nick Frost, Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, Jeremy Corbyn and Boy George to pop stars Olly Murs and Niall Horan and comedian Miranda Hart (along with her real-life mother, Diana) - all have featured on the show all in the name of charity.

Last year Liam Gallagher appeared on the show with his son, following in the footsteps of his older - and almost as outspoken - brother Noel.

Noel appeared on the show, giving his opinion alongside 90s pals and models, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, in a 2014 episode of the TV show.

SU2C launched back in the UK back 2012 as a joint campaign between Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 in order to raise funds for translational research, accelerating new cancer treatments and tests to UK patients to save more lives, more quickly.

So far, the campaign has raised more than £38 million in the UK to date - this has allowed funding 35 trials and projects involving more than 8,000 cancer patients and supporting one international Dream Team.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4

Topics: News Us entertainment Celebrity

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 11:11

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Second migrant caravan in Guatemala heads toward Mexico

A group of more than a thousand Central Americans in Guatemala headed toward the Mexican border on Tuesday as the first caravan of migrants paused in southern Mexico on its planned journey toward the U.S. border.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to begin cutting millions of dollars in aid to Central America and called the caravan in Mexico a national emergency as he seeks to boost his Republican Party's chances in the Nov. 6 congressional elections.

The caravan, which has been estimated at 7,000 to 10,000 mostly Honduran migrants fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands, is currently in the town of Huixtla in Chiapas state around 31 miles (50 km) north of the Guatemalan border.

Mexico's government said in a statement on Tuesday that it had received 1,699 requests for refugee status, including children. The government estimates there are around 4,500 people in the group.

Hundreds of migrants were resting in Huixtla on Tuesday, as religious groups and companies donated clothes. Local authorities provided vaccines, food and drink.

"When we heard the caravan was coming (we joined)...people in Guatemala are also suffering from poverty. So this is an opportunity to improve my family's life," said Elsa Romero, a Guatemalan mother of four.

Migrant Alexander Fernandez said the column planned to move again early on Wednesday morning.

Related slideshow: Photos of the Central American Immigrant Caravan (Provided by The Atlantic)

Separately, Casa del Migrante, a migrant shelter in Guatemala City, said more than 1,000 people who set out from Honduras were moving through Guatemala toward the Mexican border. Some local media said there were more than 2,000.

Trump and fellow Republicans have sought to make the caravan and immigration issues in the election, which will determine whether their party keeps control of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

Honduran authorities say that at least two men have died so far on Mexican roads during the advance of the caravan. One of the men fell off a truck in Mexico, and the other died trying to get onto a truck in Guatemala, authorities said.

The caravan in Mexico is still far from the United States border - more than 1,100 miles (1,800 km).

Mexico, which has refused Trump's demands that it pay for a border wall between the countries, tries to walk a fine line between showing solidarity with the Central American migrants and responding to Washington's demands to control its borders.

Mexico hopes to disperse the convoy long before it can reach the border, telling migrants to register with authorities in order to submit applications for asylum in Mexico.

That process can last weeks, and migrants are supposed to stay where they register while applications are processed. If they violate those rules, they face deportation.

(Reporting by Delphine Schrank and Sofia Menchu; editing by Grant McCool)

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 11:06

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Grandfather Was Left Fighting For His Life After 'Developing Sepsis From Biting Nails'

A grandfather was left fighting for his life after he developed sepsis from 'biting his nails'.

Ricky Kennedy believes he's lucky to be alive after contracting the infection which is renowned for being a 'silent killer'.

The 57-year-old claims that the sepsis started after he nibbled his nail down too far and a blister ended up appearing on his thumb.

Ricky Kennedy and his wife Ghislaine. Credit: Media Scotland

He was given a 50 percent chance of surviving the terrifying ordeal and spent months in hospitals battling the disease.

Sepsis kills around 44,000 people in the UK every year and occurs when the body reacts to an infection by attacking its own organs and tissues.

He eventually went to see the GP as he was growing concerned about the blister. He was prescribed antibiotics to clear a suspected infection but when it began to spread to his arms and chest he was rushed to hospital.

Mr Kennedy, from Dumbarton in Scotland, told the Lennox Herald: "I didn't think for a second that the cut on my thumb was the cause of it all. It was tiny.

"I had bitten my nail like that hundreds of times before so to think it almost killed me is terrifying. I was in so much pain, I couldn't move. I thought I was having a heart attack and I really did think I was going to die.

Credit: Media Scotland

"If it wasn't for Ghislaine [his 65-year-old wife] phoning an ambulance I would be dead."

He was diagnosed with sepsis after Mrs Kennedy called the doctor to visit their home, the pair were then told it would be a matter of life or death.

Mr Kennedy's wife explained: "By the time the doctor got here it was all spreading down Ricky's arms and chest. He was absolutely delirious - he didn't even know what age he was and he could barely breathe or stand up. I didn't think he was going to make it."

Mr Kennedy endured months of hospital stays in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital - the first of which remain a blur.

He continued: "I don't remember a thing from when I was first taken to hospital. All I can remember is asking a nurse if I was going to die.

"It was a terrible time and you sink into a depression being stuck in hospital for that long. I just wanted to come home but we were so lucky to have so many people visit and help us through it."

Credit: Media Scotland

Mr Kennedy now faces major surgery on his collarbone to replace the eroded bones and is still in excruciating pain but added: "I'm lucky to be alive. I may never be as healthy or as strong as I was, but I'm still here with my family and that is very precious to me."

Featured Image Credit: Media Scotland

Topics: News

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 10:59

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BREAKING: Cops searching for mum missing for 15 days treating disappearance as 'MURDER'

COPS searching for a Brit mum-of-five who has been missing for more than 15 days have said they believed she may have been murdered. Sarah Wellgreen's car was left at her home and her bank and credit cards have not been used since she vanished on October 9.  The 46-year-old has not been in contact with her family since. Despite extensive searches in the countryside and roads around her home in New Ash Green, Kent, no sightings of Sarah have been reported and police admit they now think the mum-of-five might have been murdered. Detective Superintendent Paul Fotheringham said today: "Detectives are investigating the disappearance of 46-year-old Sarah Wellgreen from New Ash Green. "The disappearance is being treated as suspicious and a potential murder.

"Sarah Wellgreen was last seen in the Bazes Shaw area during the evening of Tuesday October 9 and she has not been in contact with her family since." 

Sarah's car was left at her home and there as been no activity on her bank or credit cards since she vanished. 

Police said it is "entirely out of character for her to go missing". 

"Having conducted extensive inquiries and searches, this case is now being treated as a potential murder," the detective said.

(Pic: PA)

MISSING: Sarah's disappearance is being treated as a possible murder (Pic: PA)

"Sarah has disappeared without a trace, the only item missing from the home is her black iPhone 4.

"Officers have conducted extensive searches in New Ash Green and surrounding rural areas.

"While we continue our investigation and inquiries, I would urge anybody who saw anything suspicious in the New Ash Green area at around the time Sarah went missing, that is overnight from the evening of Tuesday October 9, into the morning of Wednesday October 10, to contact us.

"We have experts with specialist technology and forensic scientists working with us to try and find Sarah."

SEARCH: Sarah Wellgreen has been missing for 15 days (Pic: LNP)

Police are asking locals to check CCTV cameras and for anyone with information to come forward.

"Residents, businesses and landowners in the rural areas around New Ash Green are asked to check their outhouses and areas surrounding their properties.

"We are particularly interested to hear from anyone with fixed CCTV cameras within a five mile radius of New Ash Green, whether this is residential or commercial CCTV to come forward.

"Likewise, anyone who was out on the evening of the October 9 to the morning of October 10 in that five mile area who has dashcam in their vehicle, please contact us.

"We are also appealing to those living and working in the area bordered by the A2, M25, Meopham, Cobham, Horton Kirby and Darenth to check their sheds, outbuildings and areas of rough ground or woodland for any sign of Sarah.

"Dog walkers and anyone out in rural areas should also call us if they see anything that seems suspicious.

"If you think you may have seen Sarah or something suspicious but are not sure, please do not hesitate to call and let us know.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have already called us, assisted with searches or sent messages of support to family who have been badly affected by Sarah's disappearance," he added.

jmparker Posted on October 24, 2018 10:53

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Peruvian archeologists discover pre-Columbian statues

Archeologists in Peru have found 20 800-year-old wooden statues in the largest pre-Columbian site in the Americas, Culture Minister, Patricia Balbuena and researchers revealed on Monday.

The statues, all but one of which were in a good condition, were found in the Chan Chan archeological site: a city that was once the capital of the Chimu Kingdom and pre-dated the Inca Empire.

Located close to the north Peruvian modern city of Trujillo, Can Chan was comprised of 10 citadels, or walled palaces, in its six kilometer squared (2.3 square miles) center of a wider city that measured 20 square kilometers.

Each statue measures 70-centimeters (27.5 inches) in height and they were aligned in niches in the wall of a ceremonial corridor decorated with high mud reliefs in a thousand-year-old building.

The corridor where they were found, buried in earth, was only discovered in June in the Utzh An or Great Chimu palace.

"It's an important discovery for its age and the quality of its decoration," said Balbuena while visiting the site.

© Provided by AFP The wooden statues are painted black with beige clay masks and a circular object, possibly a shield, on their backs The statues, discovered in September, are black with beige clay masks and "would be the oldest sculptures known to date in Chan Chan," said archeologist Arturo Paredes, who is leading the dig.

Each sculpture is standing with a circular object on its back, perhaps a shield.

The corridor is decorated with squares, like a chessboard, and waves in high relief, while there are also images of the "lunar animal," a mythical symbol common in pre-Hispanic cultures along the north Peruvian coast, according to archeologist Henry Gayoso.

The Chimu culture flourished between 900 and 1450 AD on the northern coast of Peru and at its apogee, Chan Chan, which means resplendent sun, had 30,000 inhabitants.

Related slideshow: Amazing archeological finds (Provided by photo services)

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Only 14 square kilometers of the original complex remains but even that is under threat from the climate, looting and residential encroachment.

It attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year.

Some 500 people, including 50 archeologists are working on investigative and preservation projects in Chan Chan, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986.

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 10:42

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Angelina Jolie jets off to Peru to address Venezuelan refugee crisis

Angelina Jolie is working with Peru's Foreign Minister, Nestor Popolizio, to seek aid for refugees arriving in the country from Venezuela.

The Oscar winner and United Nations ambassador met the politician at the Government Palace in Lima, Peru on Tuesday (23Oct18) for a brief photo opportunity before the pair sat down to discuss the refugee crisis.

Jolie also met with the migrants arriving in the country.

"Every Venezuelan I met described the situation in their country as desperate," Angelina told Popolizio. "I heard stories of people dying because of a lack of medical care and medicine, cancer patients whose chemotherapy was abruptly stopped, diabetes sufferers without access to insulin, children without basic antibiotics, people starving, and tragic accounts of violence and persecution.

"None of the Venezuelans I met want charity. They want an opportunity to help themselves. The message that I heard consistently was, 'We didn’t want to leave, we had to leave'. After having spoken to so many people, it is clear to me that this is not movement by choice."

Related Slideshow: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (provided by Wonderwall)

Angelina's work with refugees and aid volunteers around the world landed her a special position with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2012, when she was made a Special Envoy to represent the U.N. at the diplomatic level.

Earlier this year (18), she visited the devastated city of Mosul in Iraq, less than one year after its liberation from ISIS occupation, and met many displaced locals.

It was her 61st mission in her role for the UN.

Related Slideshow: The Jolie-Pitt family (provided by Photo Services)

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"This is the worst devastation I have seen in all my years working with UNHCR," the actress said at the time. "People here have lost everything. Their homes are destroyed. They are destitute. They have no medicine for their children, and many have no running water or basic services. They are still surrounded by bodies in the rubble.

"The girls I met talked about the years of not being able to go to school, and of seeing people killed, and of feeling too afraid to leave their houses. It is deeply upsetting that people who have endured unparalleled brutality have so little as they try, somehow, to rebuild the lives they once had."

khojho Posted on October 24, 2018 10:40

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Will the Saudi King Fire His Own Son?

How do you dethrone your favorite son?

This is the excruciating dilemma facing Saudi King Salman, who must soon decide whether to fire his chosen successor, Crown Prince Mohammed, to preserve the kingdom’s good standing in Washington.

The chilling tale told by the Turkish and U.S. media of the murder of Mohamed’s most prominent critic, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul is leading inexorably closer and closer to the crown prince’s doorstep. After 18 days of denial, the Saudis finally confessed Friday to his murder there on Oct. 2, but insisted it was a rogue operation about which the crown prince knew nothing.Few are buying it.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress alike are calling for sanctions, an end to U.S. arms sales, or even Mohammed’s dismissal. The king now faces the very real prospect that his son will become persona non grata in Washington—outside the White House at least—for years to come. Already, there are credible reports that the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Khalid bin Salman, who is the crown prince’s younger brother, has left for good.

The crown prince still has the backing of President Donald Trump, who was even the first to suggest a “rogue operation” as a credible cover-up story the king and crown prince have now put forward to preserve their mutually highly valued personal relationship—and the overall U.S.-Saudi one— from looming devastating fallout. The United States, after all, has been Saudi Arabia’s most important foreign ally and source of arms and security since World War II.

The Khashoggi affair is thus forcing Salman to decide whether the kingdom can afford to see his beloved son and king-to-be become a virtual pariah in Washington, a lightning rod in Congress and the U.S. media, and an obstacle to continuing American political and security support for the kingdom.

The Saudis have arrested 18 unidentified individuals and removed five high-ranking officials in response to lurid reports in the Turkish media, based on leaks from Turkish officials, of how Kashoggi was tortured, killed and his body dismembered. Two of the dismissed officials are among the crown prince’s very closest associates, Saud al-Qahtani, his main public relations strategist, and Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, his deputy intelligence chief.


ruby Posted on October 24, 2018 10:16

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Unocoin Rolls Back First Crypto ATM in India Amidst Controversy

Indian cryptocurrency trading platform Unocoin has found itself amidst heated controversy over the launch of its first cryptocurrency kiosk in Bengaluru. While the existence of the machine had already been  leaked prior, the company officially unveiled it roughly ten days ago, on October 14. This is the first time that a physical machine has aided the purchase and sale of cryptocurrency in India.


Unlike other Bitcoin ATMs installed around the world, the kiosk is only accessible by users that have previously registered with Unocoin’s trading platform. As long as that requirement is satisfied, users can use the machine to deposit or withdraw a minimum of 1,000 Indian Rupees (INR) per transaction. In the case of cash deposits, these funds can be used to trade or purchase digital currencies on Unocoin or the company’s crypto to crypto trading platform, Unodax.


Crypto Kiosk or Bitcoin ATM

Shortly after the kiosk went live, however, questions regarding the machine’s legality began pouring in from local publications and social media. Most of the concerns had some merit, given the Indian financial regulator’s strict stance on cash handling, ATM establishment and cryptocurrency trading. However, other rumors were vaguer and alleged that the machine was being investigated by the Indian cyber cell division.


The sudden influx of criticism naturally did not go unnoticed by the company. A Twitter statement published October 21 read:


“Our Machine didn’t go well with few mainstream media reports who projected it under a negative light. The machine is still under final testing mode and it will be up and running in the upcoming week.”


Following this, the company proceeded to move the machine to an undisclosed location, presumably to avoid further backlash in the interim.


We reached out to Unocoin CEO Mr. Sathvik Vishwanath to understand the company’s position on the matter and how it has managed to stay within the confines of the law. He responded that the machine has been intentionally designed to not function as a typical automated teller machine (ATM). He instead believes that the term ‘kiosk’ would be better suited for Unocoin’s installation. According to Vishwanath, the distinction allows the machine to fall outside the scope of the banking network and by extension, the regulation on ATMs.

Vishwanath chose to not comment on the rumors, asserting that they were unsubstantiated and were not grounded in reality. When asked about plans for expansion in other parts of the country, he said that Unocoin will look into adding more kiosks in Mumbai and Delhi in due time.


The Revival of Crypto Trading in India

Digital currency trading was effectively dealt a huge blow earlier this year by the Indian central bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI). After issuing several cautionary circulars  between 2013 and 2017, the regulator directed all financial institutions operating in the country to cease relationships with cryptocurrency companies within a three month time frame. Since the ban came into effect on July 6, Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have not had access to banking services or a way to process crypto-fiat transactions.


Unocoin was one of the several cryptocurrency exchanges affected by the ban. Shortly before the regulation was fully imposed, however, it announced the launch of Unodax, a crypto-crypto trading platform that eliminates the need for fiat currency. However, other exchanges decided to introduce peer to peer trading to continue providing fiat liquidity. Structured similarly to LocalBitcoins, both WazirX and Koinex Loop offer users the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency directly from each other. Notably, both platforms require their respective users to complete KYC verification.

KaroA Posted on October 24, 2018 09:27

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Twitter Locked Elon Musk’s Account after ‘Buy Bitcoin’ Tweet

Twitter took the unusual step of locking Elon Musk’s account yesterday after the billionaire Space X and Tesla founder posted a lighthearted tweet asking a follower if they would like to buy bitcoin. Revealing this in  a tweet posted earlier today, Musk said:



CCN reported yesterday that Musk made the tongue-in-cheek quip about offering bitcoin for sale in response to a question from a follower about whether Tesla accounts would soon begin utilising 2-factor authentication for added security. The joke was made in reference to the 2-factor authentication security protocol commonly deployed by crypto trading platforms like Coinbase and Circle, but Twitter apparently did not see the funny side of it. His account was temporarily locked on suspicion of being hacked while the platform investigated and eventually unlocked it.


Elon Musk and Twitter

Over the past few months, Musk has faced a series of controversies linked to his activity on Twitter. His declaration that he could take Tesla private for $420 a share which he made on Twitter ultimately landed him in trouble with the SEC, leading to a $20 million fine and an order to step aside as Tesla chairman for at least 3 years. He also famously got into a war of words with a diver involved in the Thai cave rescue, describing him as a paedophile – an action that led to legal action on the part of the diver.


Earlier in October, following the settlement of his case with the SEC, Musk also took a dig at the agency, describing it as the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission”.



A number of people, ranging from  Tesla investors to fellow billionaire  Richard Branson have publicly urged Musk to stop tweeting, believing that his sometimes erratic behaviour on the platform could have a significantly negative investment impact on them. Indeed, it is estimated that his tweet that originally drew the SEC’s attention ultimately led a Tesla share price loss of more than 10 percent in the space of just one day. His followers however generally like engaging with him on the platform and he currently has more than 20 million mostly millennial  followers, making him one of the most influential tech personalities on social media.


Against this backdrop, Twitter is understandably keen to avoid having his account being used as a megaphone by cybercriminals promoting shady investments or crypto giveaway scams. CCN reported in May that the Vertcoin ICO’s twitter account was successfully hijacked by criminals promoting a fraudulent crypto giveaway scheme, and since then several celebrities have been targeted either by hijackers or by botnets using account cloning techniques.

KaroA Posted on October 24, 2018 08:03

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South Carolina woman convicted of kidnapping husband's alleged ex-mistress

A South Carolina woman was sentenced Tuesday to 60 years in prison for kidnapping her husband’s alleged former mistress, who went missing nearly five years ago.

Tammy Moorer, 46, was convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap Heather Elvis, a 20-year-old hostess who disappeared from Myrtle Beach in December 2013, The Post and Courier reported.


A judge sentenced Moorer to 30 years in prison for each charge.


Elvis was allegedly having an affair with Moorer’s husband, 42-year-old Sidney Moorer — who investigators said plotted with his wife to abduct Elvis.

Prosecutors alleged that the Moorers drove around looking for Elvis the day she went missing and bought a pregnancy test, which they intended to use to determine if Elvis was pregnant with Sidney’s baby.

In February 2014, Sidney and Tammy Moorer were both arrested and charged with kidnapping and murder in connection with Elvis’ disappearance. The murder charges were later reportedly dropped. (Horry County Detention Center)

The couple, according to prosecutors, then lured Elvis to a boat landing in Socastee around 3:30 a.m. — where phone records reportedly showed the 20-year-old called Sidney’s phone four times.


Roughly 15 minutes prior, Elvis and Sidney spoke on the phone for four minutes, according to The Sun Times. Tammy Moorer, however, reportedly testified she didn’t think much of the phone call, and argued that she and Sidney didn’t leave the house after that.

Days later, Horry County police found Elvis’ car at the boat landing.

In February 2014, Sidney and Tammy Moorer were both arrested and charged with kidnapping and murder in connection with Elvis’ disappearance. The murder charges were later dismissed, according to the newspaper.

Elvis' body has not been found since she went missing.


Senior Assistant Solicitor Nancy Livesay compared Tammy Moorer to the "Evil Queen" in Snow White.

“When you mix jealousy, deceit and just an absolute crazed woman so worried about (Elvis) stealing her husband, that is when unnatural things happen,” Livesay said.

Heather Elvis’ family Tuesday said the Moorers “stole” Elvis’ life, and “ruined” theirs. Her father said “no one seems to want to take the blame” for Elvis’ disappearance. (Facebook)

Tammy Moorer’s attorney argued investigators lacked a crime scene and physical evidence to tie the allegations together.

Elvis’ family Tuesday said the Moorers “stole” Elvis’ life, and “ruined” theirs. Her father said “no one seems to want to take the blame” for Elvis’ disappearance.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah

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Luke Posted on October 24, 2018 06:42

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South Africa shocked by live rape trial of Nigerian past

A televised rape trial in South Africa has prompted a furious public backlash after a witness - who says she was raped by her pastor from the age of 14 - was subjected to a lengthy and, at times, aggressively intimate cross-examination by the lawyer representing a 60-year-old Nigerian televangelist, Timothy Omotoso, who denies the allegation.

Warning: This piece contains graphic content which may upset some readers.

Over the weekend, Mr Omotoso's church, in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, was forced to shut its door after angry crowds besieged the building, while a Sunday newspaper reported that the woman who gave evidence against him - Cheryl Zondi, now a 22-year-old student - had received death threats ahead of the trial.

The trial - the first prominent rape case to be broadcast live in a country where more than 100 rapes are reported to the police each day - has attracted huge interest, and raised difficult questions about victims' rights, impartiality and whether justice is best served by having television cameras in courtrooms.


Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela's granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela - who said in 2017 that she had been raped by a former boyfriend - is one of many South African women who have voiced support for Ms Zondi, linking her experience to the global #MeToo movement.


Image captionMany South Africans have rallied around Cheryl Zondi

Ms Mandela argued that the student's treatment during three days in the witness box helped explain why so many rape victims stay silent in a nation with notoriously high levels of sexual violence.


Miracles and prophecies

"I really feel pain for this young woman and I am so proud to see how courageous she's been on the witness stand," Ms Mandela told South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionSouth Africa has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world

Mr Omotoso and two female co-accused, from the Jesus Dominion International church, based in South Africa's Eastern Cape, are facing 97 charges, ranging from sexual assault to rape and human trafficking. They deny all the charges.


The church - one of a growing number of evangelical ministries in the country, promising miracles and prophecies for its followers - is known for its videos of uniformed young women singers, some of whom have appeared on the Idols SA television contest.

Since it began last week, the nation seems to have stopped in its tracks to follow the trial, and social media erupted in support and sympathy for Ms Zondi.

She was the first prosecution witness and told the court, with great composure, that Mr Omotoso - quoting the psalms and threatening God's anger if she did not comply - had allegedly repeatedly raped her a year after she had joined his church as a child.


Image Copyright @tumisole@TUMISOLE


Image Copyright @mbali_ndlela@MBALI_NDLELA


But public sympathy soon turned to fury when Mr Omotoso's lawyer, Peter Daubermann, sought to challenge her account.

Shouts in the courtroom

"You're a good actress," he said.

"I put it to you that you are lying about what happened to you.

"You were prepared to let him rape you?

"You basically consented?" he asked, referring to later alleged incidents when Ms Zondi was an adult.

Image copyrightFOTO24/GETTY IMAGES

Image captionThe televangelist has a huge following among women

South Africa's justice system is deliberately confrontational, and lawyers are expected to challenge witnesses robustly - perhaps the most famous instance being prosecutor Gerrie Nel's explosive quarrels with disgraced Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial.

But in this case, according to the opinion of some experts and ordinary South Africans, Mr Daubermann appeared to cross a line.

"How many centimetres? Do you know?" he asked Ms Zondi, after she had described how the pastor had allegedly partially penetrated her, at the age of 14.

There were cries and shouts in the courtroom.

"How would she know that?" Judge Mandela Makaula interrupted, visibly angry.

"She could have felt it," suggested Mr Daubermann.

"And measured it at the same time? No. I will not allow that question," declared the judge, who went on to thank Ms Zondi for her testimony and to wish her good luck in the university exams she had interrupted in order to attend the trial.

"This is not about you. This is about justice," he told her.

"Cheryl has set a precedent and we can only pray other victims will be encouraged by this. We salute her," a local spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority told journalists.?????

But Mr Omotoso's defence team has since hit back, accusing the judge of showing bias and asking him to recuse himself from the trial.

"You aligned yourself with her cause. You have already accepted her version," Mr Daubermann told Judge Makaula, arguing that the trial should start again from scratch, and bitterly condemning the media coverage of the case and the social-media frenzy it has triggered.

"I've been vilified in the media for my cross-examination. I've been accused of adopting questionable methods of examination. That is blatantly false. I have to test the veracity of the evidence. I can't allow sensibilities to get in the way of my duty," said the lawyer after he had been followed and harangued on the street outside the courthouse by an angry crowd.

Judge Makaula refused to recuse himself, saying: "The application has no merit."

Trials on TV

The Pistorius trial was the first to be broadcast live and in full in South Africa.

Since then, the courts have allowed television cameras into a succession of high-profile trials, but while supporters argue that it is important for the population of a young democracy to see the workings of its legal system, critics argue that the presence of cameras inevitably distorts the process and brings unfair pressure on those involved - in the Omotoso trial, for instance, potentially inflaming xenophobic attitudes towards Nigerians.


Image captionBoth the preacher and his co-accused say they are innocent

Ms Zondi, who has since thanked the public for their support, could have chosen - like some witnesses in the Pistorius trial - to give her evidence without the cameras rolling, but declined to do so.

Many more witnesses are now expected to testify against the televangelist, who was dramatically arrested at an airport last year as he sought to leave the country.

He maintains his innocence and continues to enjoy the support of many members of his predominantly female congregation.

In court, his wife has been criticised by the judge for appearing to laugh and comment on Ms Zondi's evidence, while Mr Omotoso himself has appeared relaxed, often smiling, and sporting an array of brightly coloured suits as South Africans wait to hear his version of events.

What to do if you are raped:

  • Get to a safe place - do this as soon as possible
  • Tell someone - the person can back you up in court
  • Do not wash yourself - there might be hair, blood or semen on your body or clothes that can be used as evidence
  • If you are injured - go to a doctor or health centre
  • Report the rape - ask a relative or friend to accompany you to the police station
  • Get treatment - within 72 hours take the Morning After Pill, an HIV test and antiretroviral treatment and antibiotics to prevent a sexually transmitted infection.

Source: Rape Crisis

Luke Posted on October 24, 2018 06:33

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Champions League horror: Football fans crushed in escalator horror - 20 injured

CHAMPIONS League football fans have been injured, some seriously, after an escalator carrying CSKA Moscow supporters malfunctioned in Rome.

The escalator of the metro station Repubblica in Rome, Italy, has been closed following a terrifying malfunction of its escalator, which came ahead of CSKA's clash with Roma. 

A video, posted on social media, shows the shocking moment Champions League CSKA Moscow fans were scattered at the end of the long escalator at a terrifying speed.

Emergency services have rushed to the scene and confirmed twenty people have been injured in the incident.

About 80 people are believed to have been jumping on the escalator singing football chants causing it to collapse.


Champions League CSKA Moscow fans on the malfunctioning escalator in Rome (Image: TWITTER)

The accident caused panic in the station as other passengers believed a terror attack was taking place.

At least five people are reported to be in critical conditions.

One man's foot was partially amputated in the crash.

Many were trapped between the metal steps of the speeding escalator.

Arsene Wenger previews clash with CSKA Moscow


Emergency services are working to extract people from the escalator engines.

The station has now been closed. Trains continue to travel through the station without stopping. 

At the same time, one CSKA fan was stabbed and two have been injured in a clash with Roma fans outside the Olympic stadium.

Police forces have resorted to water cannons to control the fights.

15 Roma fans have been stopped and identified by the police.



Prynx Posted on October 23, 2018 20:57

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14 and alone: The girls risking everything to get to America

by Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent, and Tom Acres, news reporter

Singing happily into the wind, 14-year-old Karla Vazquez looks like a carefree teenager embarking on a day trip.

It is an exciting moment after all - it's the first time the youngster has ever left home and the first time she has travelled alone.




Video:Rape, abduction and the American dream

But the reality is chilling - she may not know it, but Karla is embarking on a path that for many young women ends in rape, abuse and forced prostitution.

She is no longer free - she is now "human cargo" under the control of a people smuggler who is guiding her group on a truck from Guatemala to Mexico, with the US border their ultimate destination.

But she does not appear to be perturbed as she braves the perilous mountain paths in the naive hope of securing a better future for her family.

Image:The river crossing between Guatemala and Mexico

"We are risking our lives," Karla told Sky News - granted exclusive access to the never-before-seen smuggling route.

"I know that it is dangerous, but if God helps us, thanks to him, we will make it and we will be able to help our parents because they are struggling to give us a good life."

Alongside Karla in the truck otherwise filled with men is 16-year-old Daniella Velazquez.

For Daniella, that sense of obligation to seek out a better life for herself and her family is much the same.

Image:Karla Vazquez wants to give her family a better life

She knows she may never see her parents again, and admits they are worried for her safety, but has shown little hesitation so far in joining the increased numbers of migrants and refugees willing to pay hired agents working within a lucrative criminal operation promising to provide customers with a safe route to the border.

The operation is run by cartels, which use their expertise in transporting illegal drugs into the US to achieve the same results with people hoping to find a new home and make a good living.

Evelio Lopez is the smuggler tasked with ensuring Karla and Daniella are successful in reaching Mexico, one of a network of so-called "coyotes".


According to the latest Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants published by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, they generate demand for their services through deception and manipulation, often recruiting desperate and vulnerable migrants in towns and villages.

Those who make the longest journeys are often passed between several agents over the course of their trip, with each of them carrying a password to hand over to the next courier to lead the travellers to their next destination.

Image:Sky's Stuart Ramsey travelled with Karla and Daniella on the back of a pickup truck

"You hear that Mexico is very dangerous, but when you make a deal with a coyote, and if he is well connected in Mexico, it is not a problem because he is paying the mafia, the federal police, immigration officers," Mr Lopez explains.

"He talks to every criminal involved. He talks to them and pays them and this is why the travel is expensive - because all the money that is made has to be shared.

"If they don't pay or they travel on their own without a coyote they could get kidnapped and killed - easy."

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Risking it all on the world's unseen smuggling route

This harsh campaign takes in precarious mountain terrain and deadly jungles, and claims the lives of many

But hiring a coyote is no guarantee of making it to your ultimate destination, with many hopeful women and young girls like Karla and Daniella never making it out of Mexico.

Carolina is a prostitute from Honduras, now based in the Mexican border town of Tapachula, having been trafficked at the age of 19. That was 15 years ago.

She is legally living in Mexico because her second child was born there, but she never meant to stay.

"I wanted to go to America to have a better life because my family is very poor in Honduras," she told Sky News.

"Like everybody else, I wanted to travel, to know a bit more, I wanted to work. But it is very hard to get there."

Image:Carolina works as a prostitute in Mexico, having been sold into trafficking

Carolina was first sold into the sex trade upon reaching the Guatemalan border with a friend and her sister, having been offered a lift to a place she thought might provide food, water and shelter to recharge after a gruelling trip.

Instead she ended up being sold to a brothel and was told she had to pay off her travel debts.

She and her sister escaped after five months and made it to Tapachula in Mexico, where they met lorry drivers who they were forced to have sex with in return for passage to the border.

They did not keep up their end of the deal, forcing the sisters to instead attempt to find their own way. They took a train north, on which they were raped repeatedly until they disembarked at the port city of Veracruz.

Image:The brothel in the Mexican border town of Tapachula

"I didn't know that it was so dangerous until I was there and started to see things," she recalls of the train, which some illegal immigrants jump on board while in transit in a bid to get into the US.

Carolina has since made peace with her life, choosing to continue to work as a prostitute and committed to making a living for the sake of her two children - the other of whom is with her mother back in Honduras.

But her advice to others dreaming of a new life in the US is to reconsider.

"I would want to tell them think about it because this is not what the people said," she says.

"What happened to me happens to lots and lots of people. Some of them are alive, some of them are dead."

Despite her warning, the number of people risking everything to reach the US is likely to continue to grow. It has become a global epidemic, with criminal syndicates the only ones guaranteed to profit.

Karla and Daniella did make it to Mexico, but where they are now is not certain.

More from Guatemala

They could have become just another statistic of trafficking crime.

:: Watch Stuart's 30 minute special programme Smuggled To America: Human Cargo on Sky News at 8.30pm

Luke Posted on October 23, 2018 18:32

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Emmerdale spoilers: Debbie Dingle stirs huge rift from Cain Dingle as Sarah Sugden dies?

EMMERDALE’S formidable Dingle family are set to be blown apart this Christmas, with a huge rift changing the face of the clan forever, the new ITV soap boss has revealed.

Sarah Sudden (played by Katie Hill) is still waiting for a lifesaving transplant operation on Emmerdale, after being diagnosed with heart failure easier this year.

With Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb) anxiously waiting for her daughter to be offered a life-line, her father Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) could make matters worse.

The father and daughter have a history of lying and deceit, so could he jeopardise Sarah’s health in a shock turn of events?

With plans for the Christmas episodes seeming to picture a peaceful village for the festive period, Jane has revealed the Dingle family will bring the drama back to the fold.

Teasing what’s to come, Jane told What’s On TV: “We have got huge rifts coming up in the Dingle clan that will blow apart two of our most loved characters.”

Although the circumstances around the explosive separation remain a tightly-guarded secret, the show runner has hinted major repercussions for the mystery pair.

“Who knows if they will ever get back to where they used to be?.” Joe teased.

Cain’s history of dodgy dealings with Debbie could resurface over the coming months, as the two previously lied to Ross Barton (Michael Parr) about who organised the acid attack which left him scarred.

As Debbie continues to wait by Sarah’s bedside, Cain could pull the mother away to help him with another disastrous plan.

Emmerdale spoilers: Debbie Dingle turns on Cain Dingle as Sarah Sugden dies? (Image: ITV)

Emmerdale spoilers: Debbie Dingle has been at Sarah Sugden's bedside waiting for the transplant .

With Debbie heavily involved in the plan, Sarah’s opportunity of a heart transplant could arise but with no one being able to get hold of Debbie, Sarah loses her fight.

Learning the heart-breaking truth about her daughter’s death, Debbie could draw the line with her father for the final time, blaming him for her not being there to give the go ahead for Sarah’s operation.

Emmerdale viewers will have to keep their eyes peeled to see what blows the family apart towards the end of the year, with 2018 bowing out in true explosive soap style.

Not only will there be a rift with the Dingle’s but another wedding is planned to air amongst the festivities.In the coming weeks, Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) will wed his partner Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) in a hugely anticipated ceremony for soap fans.

Emmerdale spoilers: Will Cain Dingle get Debbie Dingle involved with his dodgy dealings?

Emmerdale spoilers: Charity Dingle and Vanessa Woodfield could marry as Christmas approaches.

Wedding bells will be ringing out once more before the year is out, with show runner Jane teasing the Christmas nuptials.

Jane said: “We have got a wedding at Christmas. I’m not going to tell you who, but let’s just say it will bring a different flavour to the village than you’ve had before.”With Charity Dingle (Emma Atkinson) confessing her love to Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick), the pair could make things official by the end of the year.For now, the drama continues to flow in the Dales with Kim Tate (Claire King) returning to the soap next week, but what does she have in store for the villagers?

ruby Posted on October 23, 2018 18:27

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