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Harsh reality inside hospital where hero doctor uses spare CAR PARTS to perform major surgery in war-torn South Sudan

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson Hero Dr Evan Atar Adaha is medical director at a hospital in Bunj, Maban County, in South Sudan

A hero doctor who runs a hospital in one of the most dangerous places on Earth has revealed how he's had to improvise surgical equipment using car parts to carry out lifesaving operations.

Lacking even the most basic equipment, the medical facility in Bunj, South Sudan, still manages to carry out more than 50 operations a week, and is the last hope for more than 200,000 people in the war-torn region.

It has no x-ray machines, generators regularly fail and patients are given ketamine before surgery because there is no anaesthetic.

Chief medic Dr Evan Atar Adahar, who only sees his family three times a year, sleeps in a tent on the hospital compound, and at night uses a sewing machine to make surgical thread for the following day's procedures.

Dr Atar - who goes by his middle name - told MirrorOnline that saving lives requires astonishing amount of creativity.

He said: “Even if something is missing, you still have to get the operation done.

"I've had to take the screws from cars because we had nothing to fix the top of tubes for patients during operations.

"And we've used fish hooks to make needles. We can't surrender to the lack of equipment we have.”

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson Dr Atar is set to be presented with the UN's Nansen Award in Geneva on Monday

On another occasion he had to loot an old vehicle for parts to unscrew plates on a patient's bone.

The 52-year-old medic will on Monday be presented with the UN Refugee Agency's Nansen Award - the UN's top honour given to those who help people fleeing persecution.

Speaking from the UN's office in Geneva, Switzerland, where the presentation will take place, he said he has no intention of quitting, despite the risks he and his staff face.

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson Dr Atar sleeps in a tent in the hospital compound, and at night makes thread to be used in surgery 

Providing healthcare in the world's newest country - which only gained independence from Sudan in 2011 - takes incredible bravery, with doctors and nurses regularly abducted and murdered by militias.

Even civilians in the region, where civil war has waged for nearly five years, are armed to the teeth.

More than 100 humanitarian workers have been slaughtered in South Sudan in the past five years, and last summer an armed group attempted to overrun the hospital.

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson Despite the shortage of equipment, more than 50 operations are carried out each week 

Dr Atar said: “You have to accept living in situations where there's danger, and not everyone can accept that.

“Last July there was violence from the youth of the area, they accused the agencies of not employing them.

“They came to the hospital with guns and we negotiated with them.

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson Sudanese refugees and patients rest at the Maban hospital in the town of Bunj 

“We told them that if they destroy the hospital, who will help them if they need medical help? We're here for everyone, on all sides.

“One of the leaders came and said that no one should target the hospital.”

He rarely sees his wife and four children, who live in Nairobi, Kenya – but says he has no intention of quitting the lifesaving work he does in a region where tens of thousands have been displaced.

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson Dr Atar acknowledges that his choice of work has been hard on his wife and four children

"I invited my family to come to the hospital and see what I was doing," he said.

"When my wife saw what was going on, she said it was worth the sacrifices."

Before his arrival in Bunj, he ran a hospital in Kurmuk, in Sudan's Blue Nile State, for 14 years before being forced to move because of escalating violence and bombings between rebels and the Khartoum government.

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson Dr Atar with the newborn baby of a refugee from Sudan in the maternity ward

Dr Atar set up a new hospital in a disused health centre in Bunj, where he soon realised the size of the task in hand.

"The day I arrived, on November 22, 2011, I wasn't given a chance to organise myself before a person was brought in with a gunshot wound," he said.

"The room wasn't used for surgery before, it was a pharmacy, but we looked at him and realised it was really necessary to remove the bullet. I removed the door and made it into an operating table. The patient survived, and we later employed him at the hospital."

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson

As well as treating patients for deadly conditions including malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis, medics increasingly have to save the lives of people suffering gunshot wounds.

"Civilians have their own guns, and this is the only hospital in the region," Dr Atar said.

Such are the dangers that staff do not venture outside the compound at night, and all patients and visitors are required to lay down their arms when they arrive.

The hospital, which is 600 miles from the country's capital, Juba, has 120 beds and two theatres - although at busy times patients are often forced to double up. The UN Refugee Agency - which helps fund the hospital - is expecting pressure on the facility to increase still further, with another 12,000 refugees set to arrive in the region this year due to intensified fighting across the border.

But despite the brutal civil war that has engulfed South Sudan, the medic is adamant that rival factions can lay down their arms in his lifetime.

Dr Atar, who was born in Torit in the south of what is now South Sudan, said: "Everybody should be working hard to get peace in the country, including the citizens. We need to all work for peace."

And he said his workplace is a symbol of what can be achieved, although it is not without its setbacks.

"The hospital is a neutral place, we treat everybody irrespective of who they are."

Unfortunately efforts to house members of rival factions in wards have proved fruitless.

Dr Atar said: "We tried to put them on the same wards, but they stole the property of each group," he rued.

"We later on separated them on different wards, but we continued to tell them that it's not acceptable to act in that way. We should accept each other."

On Monday he will be presented with the UN Refugee Agency's top prize in recognition of his work.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: "Dr. Atar’s work through decades of civil war and conflict is a shining example of profound humanity and selflessness.

“Through his tireless efforts, thousands of lives have been saved, and countless men, women and children provided with a new chance to rebuild a future.”

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/middleeast/middleeast-life-arts/harsh-reality-inside-hospital-where-hero-doctor-uses-spare-car-parts-to-perform-major-surgery-in-war-torn-south-sudan/ar-BBNP0EP?li=BBJGEmF

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 15:22

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Will a $5B Olympic Complex Bring a Dictatorship Its First Medal?

Few would deny the Soviet Union was a sporting powerhouse in its time. Take the multiple gold medal–winning Soviet hockey team, for instance, or the country’s national basketball squad, which bested the U.S. during the Summer Olympics in both 1972 and 1988. 

After the empire’s collapse in 1991, the Soviet legacy of strong institutional support for athletics — a key part of the Kremlin’s Cold War policy — trickled down to the 15 former republics. It’s partly why Russia remains a world leader in hockey, while Ukraine has recently cultivated some of the best boxers in the world. Even tiny Tajikistan, the poorest of the former republics, has managed to clinch two bronze medals, a silver and a gold.

One Central Asian nation, however, hasn’t been so lucky:

Since gaining independence, Turkmenistan is the only former Soviet republic that hasn’t won a single Olympic medal.

© Provided by Ozy Ashgabat olympic stadium01 Not for lack of trying though. With a population of 5.6 million, it’s fielded a team at every Summer Games since 1996. Nor is enthusiasm missing: In 2015, Turkmen officials declared April to be an annual “Health and Happiness” month, meant to coincide with World Health Day. The following year, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov publicly berated his sports minister after Turkmenistan’s national team returned from the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro empty-handed, claiming the bureaucrat “could not justify the trust of the nation.”

Even if some secretly dream of sporting glory — the country’s sports minister has floated the idea of an Olympic bid — it’s unclear whether the government’s interested in that level of attention.

© Provided by Ozy Ashgabat olympic stadium03 Stranger still, the government has spent enormous amounts of cash to prove it’s capable of handling major sporting events. Such was the case with its Olympic complex, built — at a suspected cost of $5 billion — in time for Turkmenistan to host the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games last September. That’s in addition to the $2 billion falcon-shaped airport in its capital, Ashgabat, unveiled around the same time. “On the elite level,” says Catherine Putz, managing editor of The Diplomat, “Turkmenistan likes to behave like a country of very, very rich people.” Look no further than the white marble and golden fixtures covering Ashgabat, often described as eerily pristine.

There’s just one problem, according to democracy watchdog Freedom House: “Turkmenistan not only is a police state or country of personality cult, but also a country of selective lawlessness.” Dependent on massive deposits of natural gas, the country’s been hit by the worst economic crisis since independence thanks to slumping energy prices. To help pay for its massive infrastructure projects, the government reportedly dipped into citizens’ pockets by cutting social benefits and squeezing out “voluntary” financial contributions. Meanwhile, unemployment and shortages of basic goods have been rampant. Minimum wage is estimated to be less than $70 per month. Turkmenistan’s megaprojects, says Putz, are “not done for the average Turkmen — that’s for certain.”

© Renderings by AFL Architects Even if some in Turkmenistan secretly dream of sporting glory — the country’s sports minister recently floated the idea of an Olympic bid sometime in the future — it’s unclear whether the government’s even interested in that level of attention, says Luca Anceschi, senior lecturer in Central Asian Studies at the University of Glasgow. Just consider the paltry 1,000 tourist visas it issued in 2015, he adds, or the regime’s apparent disinterest in better integrating even within Central Asia: “Turkmenistan is unique in terms of isolation.”

o if you’re holding your breath to see a country’s green and red flag being waved under Olympic rings, you might be better off rooting for North Korea.

Related slideshow: The most beautiful Olympic Games stadiums ever (Provided by photo services)

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/europe/life-arts/will-a-dollar5b-olympic-complex-bring-a-dictatorship-its-first-medal/ar-BBNGUZ7?li=BBJGEmF

 

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 15:18

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The 8 Most Important Steps To Start Your Own Business

France seized assets belonging to Iran's intelligence services and two Iranian nationals in response to a June plot to attack an exiled Iranian opposition group's rally outside Paris, the government said on Tuesday.

France had warned Tehran to expect a robust response after an Iranian diplomat was arrested along with two others suspected of plotting to bomb the meeting of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers attended the rally in Villepinte.

"An attempted attack in Villepinte was foiled on June 30. An incident of such gravity on our national territory could not go unpunished," said a joint statement by the foreign, interior and economy ministries.

Related slideshow: News in pictures (provided by photo services)

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There was no immediate response to the French move from the Iranian authorities.

The hardening of relations with France could have wider implications for Iran. France has been one of the strongest advocates of salvaging a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of in May.

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/middleeast/middleeast-top-stories/france-seizes-iranian-assets-in-response-to-foiled-bomb-plot/ar-BBNPbxL?li=BBJGzsi

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 14:56

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Lesbian 'witches' chained and raped by families in Cameroon

During a dreary Sunday morning church service, 14-year-old Viviane - tired of wrestling with her sexual attraction to girls - resigned herself to an unhappy conclusion: she was bewitched.

At school and at church in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, she had long been told that liking someone of the same sex was not only a sin, but could also be a sign that a sinister spell had been cast on you.

"I didn't see girls like everyone else - I thought it was a bad spirit that had invaded me," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation with a rueful laugh by phone from France, where she sought asylum last year with her girlfriend's help.

"So I started praying to make it go away."

But her prayers failed. Four years later, Viviane was chained to the wall and violently raped by a man who her family forced her to marry after discovering that she was a lesbian.

From South Africa to India and Ecuador, gay people are subjected to 'corrective rape' by their families, strangers and vigilantes who believe that homosexuality is a mental illness that needs to be 'cured'.

Sometimes it is done under the cover of darkness or when the pounding of rain on tin roofs muffles the screams, gay Cameroonians told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Related slideshow: 10 most dangerous countries to be a woman (Provided by photo services)

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Other times, it is arranged by family members who regularly take the law into their own hands, torturing, raping and murdering gay and lesbian relatives that they are convinced are witches or have been cursed.

Belief in witchcraft is widespread in Cameroon. Even though it is illegal to practice black magic, authorities do little to stop families consulting sorcerers who perform ritual sacrifices to 'cure' their relatives of homosexuality.

Same-sex relationships are taboo across Africa, which has some of the world's most prohibitive laws against homosexuality. Gay people are routinely blackmailed, assaulted and or raped, with criminal punishments ranging from imprisonment to death.

A 2017 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) found 33 African countries out of a total of 54 nations criminalise same-sex relations.

Homosexual acts attract a five-year jail term in Cameroon, with at least 50 people convicted for crimes ranging from cross-dressing to a man texting "I love you" to another man between 2010 and 2014, according to CAMFAIDS, an LGBT+ advocacy group.

"The (anti-LGBT+) violence is getting worse," said Michel Engama, head of CAMFAIDS, whose predecessor, Eric Ohena Lembembe was found dead in 2013, with his neck broken and his face burned with an iron, according to Human Rights Watch.

Almost 600 homophobic attacks and violations were reported in Cameroon last year, according to Humanity First Cameroon, an LGBT+ umbrella organisation, with one in five lesbians and one in 10 gay men reporting that they had been raped.

Campaigners say the true scale of the problem is likely to be much worse as most attacks go unreported.

Cleansing

Viviane's family beat and lashed her after they discovered explicit text messages she had sent to her girlfriend.

Her aunt and brothers then took her to their village where the local witch doctor forced her to drink concoctions made of chicken blood and inserted hot pepper up her anus, justifying it as a "cleansing" ritual.

Finding a husband who was a church pastor was a chance to clear the family name, she explained. The fact that he had two wives and was more than 30 years older was not a consideration.

"There was no discussion about it," she said, adding that her family received the dowry from the pastor even before they informed her of the arrangement.

"To them, I was like a necklace they sold."

Though rape is a crime in Cameroon, there was no question that such a charge could ever be levelled at her husband, Viviane said.

"A pastor in Cameroon is like a god. God can't rape. And if you accuse him of rape, you're the devil," she said.

While Viviane felt her best option was to flee Cameroon, Frederique spoke out after she was gang raped in 2016 by a taxi driver after leaving an LGBT+ workshop in Yaounde.

The driver stopped to pick up another man and took her to a deserted part of town, where they both raped her, taunting her with accusations of being a lesbian and a witch.

"They kept shouting that I deserved this punishment, that they were correcting me," said the 33-year-old, who has told her story to hundreds of girls in sexual health awareness and LGBT+ workshops in Cameroon.

"If I had reported it, I would've been seen not as a victim but rather as someone who deserved what had happened."

She believes that her decision to speak out saved her life.

"I had a friend who had also been raped, and she felt completely alone, isolated, depressed. She had almost killed herself," Frederique said, pausing to fight back her tears.

"I thought of doing the same ... But I was also so angry. I didn't want other girls to go through this, for them to be a victim like me. I wanted to denounce the perpetrators so that it stops."

It is not easy, she said. Lesbians in Cameroon live with secrecy and caution every day, communicating via code names and frequently changing the public places where they gather.

"We continue to fight on, even though we're doubly discriminated – first as women, secondly as lesbians," she said.

But Engama of CAMFAIDS knows that such precautions cannot guarantee safety, highlighting how 20-year-old Kenfack Tobi Aubin Parfait was beaten to death last month by his older brother who believed he was gay.

"It's a real war waged against us," said Engama, who regularly receives death threats.

"But we will keep fighting until they are tired ... No one will give us freedom. We have to take it." (Editing by Katy Migiro. (Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, and climate change.

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/africa/africa-life-arts/lesbian-witches-chained-and-raped-by-families-in-cameroon/ar-BBNOSn1?li=BBKhQr3

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 14:53

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Sierra Leone military truck flips over, killing 13

Thirteen people were killed and at least 30 more injured on Monday when a military transport truck flipped over on a major road in the Sierra Leone capital, a military spokesman said.

The open-air truck was carrying more than 40 soldiers from their barracks to a funeral in Freetown when its brakes failed as it descended a steep hill. It toppled over and slid for more than 30 meters, Captain Yaya Brima said. Eight soldiers were among the dead.  

© REUTERS/Olivia Acland Rescue workers are seen near an overturned military vehicle after a collision in Freetown

"This is a real tragedy for us," he said by telephone. "We're currently investigating what could have happened to have caused one of our own vehicles to have failed in such a catastrophic way."

Related slideshow: News in pictures (Provided by photo services)

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/africa/africa-top-stories/sierra-leone-military-truck-flips-over-killing-13/ar-BBNOQmj?li=BBKhQr3

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 14:39

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$80 Billion Banco Santander Uses Ripple For Payments, Will Many Banks Follow?

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On October 2, Ripple Labs announced the integration of RippleNet into OnePay FX, a mobile application for cross-border payments developed by $80 billion banking giant Banco Santander.

The strategic partnership between Ripple Labs and Santander was announced in March of 2018, but at the time, the intricacies of the collaborative work between the two companies were not disclosed to the public.

What Ripple x Santander Means For XRP

Since March, the Ripple team explained in an official statement that Santander has been experimenting with RippleNet and other liquidity products available on its blockchain network. As the conglomerate started to pilot blockchain-based solutions, Santander saw a new level of transparency, certainty, and speed that was previously unseen in the traditional finance sector.

At Swell, Santander Head of Innovation Ed Metzger said the bank’s vision in the integration of Ripple is to utilize XRP to improve the lives of its customers.

Metzger said:

“We believe that financial services is moving to a world of open platforms where companies collaborate to deliver excellent customer service for their customers, and that’s at the core of what we’re doing with OnePay FX.”

During his speech, Metzger explained that the core purpose of XRP and RippleNet within the infrastructure of the OnePay FX platform is to seamlessly process cross-border transactions to ensure that international customers of Banco Santander can send and receive money with ease.

“One of our customers was in Italy on holiday and parked in the wrong place. He needed to pay a fine and didn’t have his banking card. He was able to use the app to immediately pay the fine, and stop his car from being towed away. It’s four or five clicks to do something that would have taken an awful, awful long time in the past,” he added.

Source: Santander.

In the months to come, Santander will expand OnePay FX to more countries in Europe, South America, and Asia. Currently, the Ripple-based OnePay FX app is available to customers in the UK, Spain, Brazil, and Poland.

In essence, the work Ripple has done with Santander is similar to its partnership with SBI Holdings and major banks in Japan and South Korea. By using blockchain-based liquidity solutions, Ripple allows users to send international payments, which if sent with wire transfers could take days to weeks.

“People don’t have to plan ahead. They can send an international payment when they need to. That’s really powerful,” stated Mertzger.

The integration of RippleNet by Santander’s OnePay FX presents the first real-world usage of XRP at a large commercial scale. Santander, as the biggest bank in the Eurozone, will continue to rely on Ripple to process international transactions.

Santander Partnership Will Impact Japan and South Korea

Led by SBI Ripple Asia, a consortium of over 61 Japanese banks, Ripple Labs have led pilot tests of its liquidity solutions with leading financial institutions in South Korea. Woori Bank and Shinhan Bank, two of the largest commercial companies in the country, released their plans of integrating Ripple by 2019.

The integration of RippleNet into the OnePay FX could streamline the process of banks implementing XRP-related products in Japan and South Korea, which already have shown tremendous interest in the technology.

“Too many companies have a peanut butter problem. They’ve spread themselves very thin, working on lots of different initiatives. By contrast, Ripple has gone deep in understanding how global payments problem can be addressed with blockchain technology and digital assets,” said Ripple Labs CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

https://www.ccn.com/80-billion-banco-santander-uses-ripple-for-payments-will-many-banks-follow/

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 14:02

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UPDATED: Hajj 2018: Three Nigerian pilgrims die in road accident

     An accident involving pilgrims to this year’s Hajj has claimed the lives of three Nigerian pilgrims.

The head of Nigeria’s medical team, Ibrahim Kana, who confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES said the accident occurred Friday morning along Madinah to Makkah highway.

      “We just received the news that the accident involving our pilgrims occurred at about 120 kilometers from Madinah to Makkah,” he said.

Mr Kana also said a team from Nigeria was on the way to the scene of the accident to meet with those already deployed by Saudi authorities.

      After visiting the scene, the doctor later said based on the names in the medical data of the Nigerian hajj commission, the dead pilgrims are “Shinkafi Mudi Mallamawa, male, born 10/02/1952, Passport number: A09413309, Abdullahi Jafaru Gidan Sambo, male, date of birth 03/07/1956, Passport number: A09413813 and Abdullahi Shugaba, male, date of birth 22/05/1963, Passport number: A50080535”.

         Mr Kana also said after a team from the National Medical Team was dispatched to the scene of the accident “the three bodies were moved to King Fahd Hospital, Madina while the remaining survivors are in a hospital near the scene, I.e 120km from Madina.”

           Also, the acting chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in Zamfara State, Abdulrazak Kaura, who is also in Saudi Arabia said the three pilgrims confirmed dead are chairmen of local council chapters of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), in Zamfara State.

        Mr Kaura said Jafarau Gidan Sambo is the APC chairman of Kaura Namoda Local Government, Mudi Mallamawa of Shinkafi Local Government and Abdullahi Shugabaof Maru Local Government Area.

He also said the others involved in the accident but who survived include Nasiru Anka of Anka Local Government, Tafa Nasarawa Bukkuyum of Bukkuyum Iocal Government and Garba Ziti of Gummi Local Government. The injured are receiving treatment at a medical facility at the moment.

 

sarah Posted on October 02, 2018 13:20

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Melania Trump in Africa: Can she become a fashion ambassador for Ghana?

In our series of letters from African writers, Ghanaian journalist Elizabeth Ohene reflects on US First Lady Melania Trump's first visit to the continent.

It's good that it's the female half of the current inhabitants of the White House who is making the first foray into Africa. I am not quite sure what kind of welcome US President Donald Trump would get if he were making the announced trip to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt this week.

In Ghana, the first stop of First Lady Melania Trump's four-nation trip, there isn't exactly an atmosphere of Trump-mania.

My tentative and unscientific survey showed that there were not many people who even knew the name of the US first lady.


What is Melania Trump doing in Africa?

Melania Trump is travelling to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt in what is her first visit to Africa and her first major solo trip abroad since becoming first lady.

"I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent, while also learning about its rich culture and history," Mrs Trump said in a statement announcing her trip.

Her focus will be on maternal and newborn care in hospitals, and children's education, according to the White House.

The response to Mrs Trump's visit has so far been lukewarm. Our reporters in Accra, Nairobi and Cairo have been gauging opinion on the streets:

 

Media captionReactions to US First Lady Melania Trump's Africa trip have been mixed


I can't work out how the State Department and the White House came to decide on the four countries chosen for Mrs Trump's trip.

It used to be possible to tell these things, but these days it is difficult to tell who the Americans count as their friends. One moment, they are calling someone names and the next, that same person is being embraced as a good man and a friend.

The State Department used to cite freedom of speech and the holding of free and fair elections among the factors determining whether a country made it into their list of "friendly countries". These days you can't be sure.

What a difference from July 2009, when Barack Obama was making his first trip to Africa as president, accompanied by Michelle. We in Ghana could not resist preening ourselves for being the choice.

I remember I wrote teasing our Nigerian and Kenyan cousins in particular that they had been ignored by the Obamas.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionMany Ghanaians were proud that former US President Barack Obama chose to visit their country in 2009

Today, I am not sure there is a constituency here in Ghana that is beating its chest for making it to the list of Mrs Trump's first visit to Africa.

But there is no danger of her not getting a warm Ghanaian welcome. Ghanaians love all things American and you can tell that not just by the queues at the visa section of the US embassy, but by the number of people here who purport to speak with American accents without ever having entered the United States.

We take it that Ghana is still considered a friend of the US even if we don't know what the current ingredients are for American friendship.

And then of course, we are presuming that even in the era of Trump, American first ladies would be travelling with "goodies" - and "goodies" are always welcome even in the era of Ghana Beyond Aid.

The first lady's trip which ended in disaster

The last time an American first lady came to Ghana by herself was in January 2006, and she chose Ghana to launch her Textbooks and Learning Materials Programme, which aimed to support African tertiary education with required resources.

I was education minister at the time, and I know that we managed to convince her and her team that taking American textbooks for our tertiary institutions was not the best option.

Instead, we received help to develop, write and print our own books for early childhood reading, from Kindergarten to Primary 4. As a librarian herself, First Lady Laura Bush was enthusiastic about our programme and the effects of her visit lasted for years.


Elizabeth Ohene:

Image copyrightELIZABETH OHENE

All the people in the photos were either in jail, or in hiding


Whilst on the subject, my mind goes back to the first time a US first lady visited Ghana by herself. It ended in disaster.

Nothing to do with First Lady Pat Nixon who came in early 1972 and captured many hearts with her business-like approach to matters.

She toured parliament hosted by Naa Morkor, the wife of Prime Minister Kofi Busia, she congratulated Ghana on her democratic practices, there were many photo opportunities and the US first lady was seen off with a lot of pomp and pageantry. Two days later, a certain Col Ignatius Acheampong staged a coup and overthrew the constitutionally elected government.

The US Information Services (Usis), a now defunct agency charged with public diplomacy, was heartbroken. There they were with all these beautiful photos from the visit that could not be used.

All the people in the photos with First Lady Pat Nixon were either in jail, or in hiding or certainly not in good standing with the new authorities - and none of the things she had come to praise Ghana for were still in operation.

Image copyrightBETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES

Image captionFormer First Lady Pat Nixon (R) was interviewed by US journalist Barbara Walters on her return from West Africa in 1972

I don't know what they ever did with those photos, but I know there were a lot of unhappy Usis officials with photos on their hands that could not be used.

But that was then, Ghana has moved on, and now has a well-grounded democracy, meaning visitors and citizens alike need not worry about coups d'etat.

Fashion ambassador?

Given her chosen headline programme on maternal and child healthcare for the visit to Ghana, First Lady Melania Trump will find a kindred spirit in our own First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

The Ghanaian first lady spent six months last year shaming everybody into giving her money to build a modern and well-equipped mother and child care unit in the second city, Kumasi, to deal with a long-standing problem.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionElizabeth Ohene hopes Mrs Trump will make a sartorial statement with Ghanaian kente cloth

It's not unlikely that our Rebecca will find a way to convince Melania that there is a children's ward in some hospital in Accra or somewhere in the country that can be named Be Best, the Melania Trump slogan, if she would agree to refurbish it.

On my part, I wish I had had an input in drawing up the programme for this visit. I would have put Mrs Trump in touch with my dressmaker to make her a kente jacket to rival her famous "I Really Don't Care, Do U?" jacket.

We are not known here only for mother and child problems, we do a wicked turn in kente fashion which should make a lasting impression on Mrs Trump.

I wonder if protocol allows it, but I think we really should make her into a fashion ambassador for Ghana.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-45707559

Dominic Solomon Posted on October 02, 2018 11:55

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Cristiano Ronaldo rape allegation: Las Vegas police reopen case

Police in Las Vegas have reopened a sexual assault investigation from 2009 at the request of a woman who has alleged she was raped by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kathryn Mayorga says she was attacked by the Portuguese footballer in a hotel room in the US city that year.

Juventus forward Ronaldo, 33, has dismissed the claim, first reported in Germany's Der Spiegel, as "fake news".

His representatives said he would take legal action against the magazine.

Der Spiegel said Ms Mayorga, 34, filed a report with Las Vegas police shortly after the alleged incident.

In 2010, she reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with Ronaldo involving a $375,000 (£288,000) payment for agreeing never to go public with the allegations.

Her lawyers are now seeking to declare the non-disclosure agreement void.

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY

Image captionRonaldo, 33, is the captain of the Portuguese national team

Las Vegas police confirmed they had investigated a complaint in June 2009, but added they had no suspect in the case.

"At the time the report was taken, the victim did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description," a statement said.

"As of September 2018, the case has been reopened and our detectives are following up on information being provided," it added.

Ronaldo joined Italy's Juventus from Real Madrid for £99.2m ($128m) earlier this year.

The Portuguese international is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45712777

Dominic Solomon Posted on October 02, 2018 11:47

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A wealthy venture capitalist who fought for raising the minimum wage in Seattle is on a mission to increase pay across America

Seattle-based investor Nick Hanauer is a progressive activist who believes that the economy will start growing at a faster rate if inequality is lessened through minimum wage increases.

 

  • Nick Hanauer is a wealthy, Seattle-based venture capitalist and progressive political activist.
  • He successfully lobbied for a raise in Seattle's minimum wage, and has been outspoken about raising it throughout the country, as a means for increasing economic growth.
  • He pointed to recent research from the US Census Bureau that suggests raising the minimum wage does not eliminate jobs, as Econ 101 would suggest.
  • This article is part of Business Insider's ongoing series on Better Capitalism.

Nick Hanauer and his wife are signers of the charitable Giving Pledge, meaning that their combined net worth is over $1 billion. He's also one of the most vocal champions for raising the minimum wage across the United States.

As the Seattle-based investor explained it to Business Insider in a recent interview, it's a matter of wanting the system to work better for everyone. "I want to hold capitalism to a high standard," he said. And part of that, Hanauer said, is shedding the conventional ideas that raising the minimum wage kills jobs. "That critique is just nonsense," he said.

Hanauer made his money from both an early stake in Amazon and the $6.4 billion sale of his online advertising company to Microsoft in 2007, and he didn't waste time using his newfound wealth and influence to push for the progressive politics he had long been passionate about.

A turning point, he told me, came shortly before the financial crisis, when he studied the distribution in the IRS tax table. This led him to studying wealth and income inequality in the United States. "I was like, 'OK, that's not going to work out for anybody!' That is not going to work out for anybody."

Hanauer built a public persona outside of his venture capital firm Second Ave Partners with books like "The Gardens of Democracy," coauthored with Eric Liu, and essays with dramatic titles such as "The Pitchforks are Coming ... for us Plutocrats."

Aside from writing, he actively campaigned for a $15 minimum wage in his hometown of Seattle, a movement that successfully led to passing a bill that will gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2021. (For context, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, but in 2018, 25 states and Washington, DC pay more.)

Commentators at outlets like the neoliberal think tank the Adam Smith Institute and the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute publicly dismissed him as a fool who doesn't understand basic economics. Moody's economist Adam Ozimek called Hanauer "America's worst minimum wage pundit."

And then last year, the University of Washington published a study, partially funded by the city of Seattle, which concluded that after the minimum wage was raised to $13 there in 2016, employers cut hours by 9% and workers made an average of $125 less per month. Hanauer told me he found the report "ridiculous" and "manufactured," referring to the use of a synthetic control group used to argue that the minimum wage increase was more harmful than if the rate had stayed the same.

A higher minimum wage could benefit everyone over the long term

But a newer report, coming from economists working for the federal government, is in Hanauer's favor.

He pointed instead to a working paper published this past March by US Census Bureau economists Kevin Rinz and John Voorheis, in which they argue that raising the minimum wage increases earnings growth, and increasingly does so over the long-term, all without declines in employment. They further argued that a minimum wage increase of 37% (same as the one Seattle enacted) in the years leading up to the Great Recession would have slowed down the increasing degree of income inequality in the United States that has been occurring for the last 45 years.

Rinz and Voorheis had access to non-public data from the Social Security Administration and linked it with data from the Current Population Survey, giving them a rich source of otherwise inaccessible information to work with. They studied data from people aged 16-64, in the years 1991, 1994, and 1996 through 2013. They found evidence that a raise in the minimum wage reduced employee turnover, benefitting both the employee and employer.

For Hanauer, it was further proof that the marginal revenue productivity theory of wages — which states that efficient firms pay employees what they are objectively worth — "is a made-up concept that has nothing to do with how the economy actually works," he said.

"People are paid what they negotiate, not what they are worth," Hanauer said. "And in a world where most workers have no power and we have let corporate power consolidate more and more, there's no reason in the world for most businesses to give ordinary workers wage increases."

If higher minimum wages do benefit the working class, then, it should be embraced by the rest of society as well, Hanauer argued, because that will spur GDP growth. As he said, "when workers are paid more, they buy more stuff, and the people they buy stuff from have to hire more workers, which creates more demand."

"If you can't show that raising wages kills jobs, then why in the world wouldn't you want to raise wages, by a lot?" Hanauer said, referring to the anti-raising the minimum wage argument that has existed for decades, which he deems a myth. "In the absence of that claim there's no morally justified reason to keep wages low."

https://www.pulse.com.gh/bi/strategy/a-wealthy-venture-capitalist-who-fought-for-raising-the-minimum-wage-in-seattle-is-on-a-mission-to-increase-pay-across-america-id8924894.html

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 11:18

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Africa's largest mobile phone firm, MTN, is planning to scrap its Nigerian IPO.

MTN CFO said the company may consider listing by introduction instead of the initial public offering due to current market conditions in Nigeria.

play Ralph Mupita and Rob Shuter, MTN Group executives (Soundplus)

Africa’s largest mobile-phone company, MTN Group Ltd, is considering scrapping its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nigerian Stock Exchange for other options.

Ralph Mupita, MTN Chief Financial Officer, in an interview in South Africa, said the firm is looking at other options of trading its shares on the Lagos bourse, Nigerian Stock Market, MyBroadband reports.

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The company's CFO said it may list by introduction instead of the initial public offering due to current market conditions.

The IPO type of listing has become challenging under current market conditions.

“We are exploring other options. The Nigerian business would not get a fair value under current market conditions. The simplest way to go forward would be an introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange,” MyBroadBand quoted Mupita as saying.

Mupita said the board of directors will make a final decision by the end of this year or first quarter of next year.

What is listing by introduction?

Listing by introduction is a way of listing shares of a company already in issue on another exchange.

The listing approval procedures for a new listing by introduction are the same as those for initial public offerings (IPO).

ALSO READ: All you need to know as Nigeria’s central bank and MTN go head-to-head in new forex saga

MTN is facing forex and tax tussles with Nigerian authorities

The South African company is currently battling sanctions from Nigeria's central bank and the Attorney General office over improper repatriation of forex and tax bills, amounting to $10.1 billion.

The sanctions plunged the firm's stock to its lowest although the Central Bank of Nigeria is now seeking equitable resolution.

MTN has filed a legal suit against the Nigerian authorities and it is expecting a legal protection for its Nigerian asset.

Also from Business Insider Sub-Sahara Africa:

https://www.pulse.com.gh/bi/tech/mtn-is-planning-to-scrap-its-nigerian-ipo-id8926482.html

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 11:10

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Here's everything we know about Lebron James' diet NBA star eats in a day to keep himself going. James has dropped tidbits about his diet over the years, and his social media posts reveal the different nutrition tactics he undertakes depending on wh

play Here's everything we know about Lebron James' diet (GETTY IMAGESHARRY HOW)

LeBron James is a beast, and there's plenty of information out there on the workouts that have helped him achieve G.O.A.T. status. But there's been less focus on what the 6'8, 250 lb.,

NBA star eats in a day to keep himself going. James has dropped tidbits about his diet over the years, and his social media posts reveal the different nutrition tactics he undertakes depending on what his needs are at the time.

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Here's how James evolves his diet, just like he evolves his gameplay.

LeBron James' Diet for Weight Loss

In 2014, James posted a picture in which he looked noticeably slimmer, which sparked rumors that the NBA player had switched up his diet.

 

According to Business Insider, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported James was on a diet on a podcast with Grantland's Bill Simmons. Windhorst didn't confirm how he knew about James' diet, but the well-connected sportswriter has been covering the NBA player since his days as a high school freshman in 1999. He said James was probably in "the worst shape he's been in in a while" at the start of the 2013-14 season, and he got off to a "slow start" that season. That season came after he won the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat in June 2013 and got married to longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson.

James himself poked fun at his diet with an Instagram post, and he opened up about it to reporters about a month later.

 

"I had no sugars, no dairy, I had no carbs," the father of three explained during an event to unveil his "LeBron 12" sneakers, as reported by Sports Illustrated. "All I ate was meat, fish, veggies and fruit. That's it. For 67 straight days."

During that time, James ate meals like lobster salad with asparagus and mango chutney, as well as an arugula salad with chicken, fruit, and nuts, topped with olive oil and lemon vinaigrette dressing

 

Dinner is served! Lobster salad with asparagus and mango chutney. #Amazing #Mykonos

 

 

He was so dedicated to his diet, he didn't eat the dessert a resort made for him when he was on vacation in Greece.

 

Some outlets reported his diet was a low-carb one, while others said it was paleo, probably due to the fact that James' former Miami Heat teammate Ray Allen started a paleo diet in 2013. Both diets have a lot of overlap, with the guiding principle of limiting processed foods and foods high in carbohydrates, and instead reaching for foods like lean meats, fish, and vegetables.

LeBron James' Training Diet

NBA games run for 48 minutes, but that doesn't count when the clock is stopped for fouls and timeouts, or when games go into overtime. That's a lot of active time, and that means athletes need a lot of calories before the big game.

In 2016, James spoke with Business Insider about how he fuels up before game time. "Before competition for me would be like a chicken breast and maybe a little pasta. The carbs help because you're going out and playing a lot of minutes," he said. "But a salad and some veggies will have me perfectly fine. And before the game I might have a protein shake and some fruit, and I'll be ready to go."

 

Comparing himself to swimmer Michael Phelps, who is known to eat massive omelets, stacks of pancakes, and full-size pizzas during training, James said he'll "wait for that after the game. I can't do that before the game." 

And as Stack reports, the NBA star slightly changes his approach when it's playoffs time. "The thing that I started cutting down is the sugars. When it comes to the playoffs, it kinda slows down the process of recovery. Throughout the regular season it's okay to have a little bit of it. But in the postseason, optimal recovery-whoever can recover the fastest from game to game is going to put themselves in position to be successful the next game, he said during a video on his UNINTERRUPTED platform. "So the sugars I kinda cut out, but the carbs I kinda ramp up. Because you're losing so many calories, you're burning so many calories, burning all your energy throughout those games. So I kinda go heavy on the carbs because it gives you energy. It's worked for me."

Post-game, James rehydrates with a combination of water and a carbohydrate-rich recovery fluid provided by his personal trainer, Mike Mancias, to replace fluids lost. As CBS Sports reports, this helps to refill his levels of glycogen, which is a stored form of carbohydrate found in the liver and muscle tissue that helps to provide the body with energy.

He then eats a meal with high quality-protein and carbs, much like his pre-game meal.

James was also known to get drinks from The Juice Spot post-workout. The now-closed juice shop was owned by his wife Savannah, and it offered juices, smoothies, and acai bowls. The "Peanut Butter Dream" smoothie that James was seen drinking on his Instagram featured ingredients like almond milk, peanut butter, whey, maca, cinnamon, and agave.

LeBron James' Cheat Day Diet

If his Instagram is any evidence, James is known to enjoy a good glass of wine. He told ESPN that he drinks wine "pretty much every day," and former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love mentioned that James "has a supercomputer in his brain" when it comes to wine.

While studies differ, most doctors agree that when consumed in moderation, red wine has health benefits, from increasing your levels of good HDL cholesterol to lowering your risk of heart attack, hence why James hashtagged one of his photos, "#GoodForMyHeart."

He often indulges himself at Blaze Pizza, as James is an investor, franchisee, and paid endorser of the made-to-order pizza company. In 2016, he shared a copy of his receipt when he ordered a pizza there, and his DIY pizza had a whopping 16 toppings on it - including, but not limited to, fresh basil, turkey meatballs, banana peppers, and kalamata olives.

https://www.pulse.com.gh/lifestyle/mens-health/heres-everything-we-know-about-lebron-james-diet-id8920811.html

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 11:02

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NBA plans to ban Kanye West's Yeezy basketball sneaker, report says

Kanye West is still reeling from backlash over his controversial pro-Donald Trump rant over the weekend, but the rapper could be bracing for even more bad news, according to a report.

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The NBA will likely ban Kanye West's highly anticipated Adidas basketball sneaker this season due to the shoe’s design, ESPN reported Monday.

Adidas athletes were expected to debut the new shoe on the court during the 2018-2019 season, but NBA officials are unlikely to approve the kicks without a redesign, according to the report.

 

Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Kanye West attends an event during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 2018, in New York City.a

 

Citing sports industry sources, ESPN said the NBA would find the shoe’s gleaming reflective heels far too distracting for audiences in the arena and at home.

 

(MORE: Kanye West defiant amid backlash over support for Trump )

 

NBA officials must OK new designs from brands ahead of each season. The NBA hadn't formally reviewed the new Yeezy shoe as of Monday, but the design West showcased most recently would not be permitted as is, a source told ESPN.

Versions of the sneaker without the reflective design would most likely be approved, according to the source.

 

Instagram/ @kanyewest

Kanye West showcased his new Yeezy basketball shoes in an Instagram post on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018.

 

 

James Devaney/GC Images via Getty Images

Kanye West leaves a restaurant on June 15, 2018, in New York City.

 

West showcased the shoe in a handful of Instagram posts last week, accumulating more than 2 million likes and comments, collectively.

He also wore them during his appearance on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, when he delivered a surprise pro-Trump rant and claimed he would run for president in 2020.

The last week has been a rough one for West: The "SNL" audience booed him as he voiced support for Trump, some fans denounced him, and he pushed back the release of his new album, “Yandhi,” by nearly a month.

 

 

West offered a bizarre set of tweets on Sunday saying he supported "abolishing" the 13th Amendment. He later clarified it should be amended, not abolished. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the U.S., "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."

West, who sported a "Make America Great Again Hat," said of his appearance on "SNL": "They bullied me backstage. They said, 'don't go out there with that hat on.' They bullied me backstage. They bullied me! And then they say I'm in a sunken place."

 

(MORE: Kanye West sounds off on the dangers of social media)

 

West faced fierce backlash over the appearance, but he also scored Trump's praise.

“I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it). No longer funny, no talent or charm. It is just a political ad for the Dems," Trump tweeted. "Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told ‘no’), was great. He’s leading the charge!”

https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/nba-plans-ban-kanye-wests-yeezy-basketball-sneaker/story?id=58223773

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 10:44

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Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018): Specs, features, price, availability, and more Amazon will begin shipping its newest Fire HD 8 tablet on October 4

Amazon has taken the wraps off the latest revamp of its Fire HD 8 tablet range, and the improved tablets come with more storage than ever before, and complete hands-free Alexa support with a screen in standby. In addition, the new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition also comes with support for Spanish in FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited.

Tweaked tablets

Not much has changed between this generation of Fire HD 8 tablets and the 2017 Fire HD 8, with Amazon making only small changes to the overall formula. Like most of the Fire tablets, the new Fire HD 8 is made from a hardy plastic shell that is twice as durable as the iPad Mini 4, according to Amazon. The 8-inch screen runs a 1,280 x 800 display, and the tablet should run smoothly with a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM.

There’s been a slight boost in available storage over the last generation of Fire HD 8, and while the onboard storage options stay at 16GB or 32GB, the cap on expandable storage has been lifted to up to 400GB more via MicroSD card. As if that wasn’t enough, Amazon has also added the ability to save apps to expandable storage, helping to boost available storage significantly. That’s supported by a battery that Amazon claims will last for up to ten hours of mixed usage.

Alexa support is back, and she’s no longer tethered by the status of your screen. Unlike older generations of the Fire HD 8, users of the new Fire HD 8 will be able to trigger Alexa even while the screen is off, and will be able to ask her to play Audible books, answer questions, or control your smart home. Show Mode is included, too, and users will be able to set their Fire HD 8 up to show the latest news, weather, videos, and more.

A new Fire Kids Edition is also arriving, hand-in-hand with the new Fire HD 8. The improved Fire HD 8 Kids Edition comes with the 32GB model of the Fire HD 8, Amazon’s world-class parental controls, and a kid-proof case in blue, pink, or yellow. As usual, Amazon is so confident in its kid-proof case that the Kids Edition comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee that promises no-questions-asked replacements should your child break their tablet.

Pre-orders for the new Amazon Fire HD 8 range start today and will ship from October 4. The standard tablet will start at $80, while a Show Dock to use with Show Mode will set you back another $40. Amazon is also offering a bundled tablet and dock for just $95. The Kids Edition comes with a tablet and case with prices starting at $130, but you can buy two at once for just $195.

FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited — en Español

As ever, the Kids Edition of the Fire HD 8 comes with a year’s worth of free subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service — but Amazon is expanding the reach of that service with the addition of over 1,000 books, apps, games, and more in Spanish, in addition to the 20,000 apps, books, and games available in English.

Whether fluent in or learning America’s second most-popular language, kids will be able to access Spanish-translated versions of popular books and games like Harry Potter, Lego Ninjago, Minecraft, and more. As with all of Amazon’s FreeTime catalog, each has been hand-picked and tested to ensure that all available content is totally age appropriate.

A subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service costs $3 a month for Amazon prime members, or $5 a month for everyone else.

Availability and pricing

The Kindle Fire HD 8 (2018) is available to order now. The regular model will set you back $80, while the Kids Edition comes in at $130. Amazon will begin shipping the Kindle Fire HD 8 on October 4, 2018.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/amazon-fire-hd-8-2018-news/

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 10:28

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OAP Dominatrix Forces Men To Dress As Maids And Tidy Her House

 

Daisy Phillipson in  News

An OAP who goes by the name Sherry Lever has revealed how she became a dominatrix following her divorce.

The 67 year old split with her now ex-hubby six years back - but rather than dwelling on the past, she decided to move on with a rather risque new profession.

Transforming her conservatory into a 'fetish playroom', Sherry (or Mistress Sophia as she's known by her clients) charges men £120 an hour to be her slave and even gets them to clean her house in French maid's outfits while she's at it.


Credit: HotSpot Media

She said: "I've been enjoying life through my alter ego.

"Just because I'm in my sixties doesn't mean I can't make a living off dominating men while I wear PVC outfits.

"Most ladies my age have retired, but my life has only just started!"

Sherry, in fact, has retired after previously working as a chef, but decided to embark on a new career after watching a documentary about phone sex.

She first got into the industry as a phone sex worker before eventually inviting one of her clients over.

"As soon as I saw him, I was so excited," said Sherry.

"I locked him in the spare room and released him two hours later.

"Then I whipped him on the bottom and demanded he clean my kitchen.

"Watching him mop, I never felt so alive. Afterwards, he paid me £250. It was so much money - I couldn't believe it.

"And I loved being dominating, so I decided to do it full time."


Credit: HotSpot Media

And full time she went, picking up whips, blindfolds, gimp masks - the whole shebang. It's turned into quite the success story for Sherry, who says she gets clients from all walks of life knocking at her door.

"I get men aged from 19 to 84 visiting me. I've punished everyone from barristers to surgeons.

"Men visit me because they need de-stress, they just want to let off steam. For some it is their sexual fantasy, but for others they find pain relaxing.

"I provide a professional service and men love what I do for them. Some of my submissives are even married but I never feel guilty, because we aren't having sex.

"I also hate people believing that I take money off men for nothing, I'd never do that. And I'm not a prostitute, these men never touch me.

"Although sometimes they pay for foot worship which is when they play with my feet."

Speaking about her most outrageous account, Sherry said it involved a man, a lead, and a very embarrassed dog walker.

"I threw a ball for him to fetch, but a dog chased it at the same time. People were giving us funny looks, it was during school hours as I'm cautious of who sees, but the embarrassment turned him on.


Credit: HotSpot Media

"No one dared say anything to us, they must have been afraid. Afterwards I tied him to the swing and made him eat dog food out of a dog bowl. It was incredibly fun.

"I have helped numerous women in their 60's whose husbands have left them see the light again, and have inspired them to embark on dominatrix work.

"I can't imagine my life without my submissives now, I love being able to punish men.

"Even if I won the lottery, I'd still do it. There's no greater feeling than getting my whip out and making a man wince."

Well, fair dos.

http://www.ladbible.com/news/interesting-oap-dominatrix-forces-men-to-dress-as-maids-and-tidy-her-house-20180929

kabby Posted on October 02, 2018 09:32

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Wyoming Eyes Creation of Blockchain-Friendly Bank to Lure Bitcoin Startups.

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With regulations being one of the main reasons why traditional commercial banks give bitcoin a wide berth, state senators and representatives in Wyoming are eyeing a legislative fix to the problem.

Wyoming Blockchain Group Mulls Bitcoin-Friendly Bank

Legislators in the “Equality State” are currently considering drafting legislation that would allow the creation of a cryptocurrency bank to serve the needs of the digital asset and blockchain firms in the state. During a recent blockchain task force meeting, stakeholders discussed draft legislation that would see “special-purpose depository institutions” receive regulatory safe harbor. The blockchain task force is made up of state senators and representatives, as well as technical appointees including blockchain advocate and Wall Street veteran Caitlin Long.

 

Such a crypto bank would make it easy for cryptocurrency and blockchain firms to operate in the state, as they are currently shunned by traditional financial institutions.

“If a bank somehow realizes they’re dealing with crypto or blockchain currency in any way, a person’s accounts can be shut down immediately. The way I see it, that’s banks being discriminatory toward certain businesses,” Wyoming state legislator and the co-chairperson of the blockchain committee, Tyler Lindholm, told Star Tribune in an interview.

Bridge to the Old World

In essence, the task of the crypto-supporting bank would be facilitating the transactions and storage of both digital assets and traditional currency for cryptocurrency firms, allowing them to engage in a world where fiat currencies still rule and banks are hesitant to service bitcoin businesses.

The cryptocurrency depository institution would, however, not be a bank in the traditional sense of the word since it would not have the mandate to give out loans. And while traditional banks operate on a fractional-reserve basis, Wyoming’s crypto bank will be required to ensure that it maintains a cryptocurrency-to-liquid-funds ratio of 100%, essentially making it a “money warehouse” or a “transfer institution.”

Additionally, any unexpected losses made by the crypto bank would not be covered by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Per the draft legislation, the crypto bank would fall under the regulatory authority of Wyoming’s Division of Banking.

Membership Standards

Only established businesses will be allowed to become members of the bank with $5,000 being the minimum that will be allowed for storage with the bank. The blockchain bank will not be state-owned but will be in the hands of members who will be voted on by a board composed of industry professionals.

The state of Wyoming has generally had a progressive stance with regards to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. As CCN reported in March, the Equality State passed the HB-70 Utility ICO bill which not only offered a definition for utility tokens but also exempted them from securities laws. Wyoming’s state legislature also earlier this year enacted a law which exempts cryptocurrency miners and blockchain startups from paying property tax.

https://www.ccn.com/wyoming-eyes-creation-of-blockchain-friendly-bank-to-lure-bitcoin-startups/

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 09:19

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Singapore abolishes school exam rankings, says learning is not competition

 

 

Whether a child finishes first or last will no longer be indicated in primary and secondary school report books from next year in Singapore, – a move which Education Minister Ong Ye Kung hopes will show students that “learning is not a competition”.

Report books will not just stop showing a student’s position in relation to class or cohort. The information to be dropped includes:

  • Class and level mean
  • Minimum and maximum marks
  • Underlining and/or colouring of failing marks
  • Pass/fail for end-of-year result
  • Mean subject grades
  • Overall total marks
  • L1R5 (English plus five relevant subjects), L1R4 , EMB3 (English, maths, best three subjects) and EMB1 for lower secondary levels

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Friday (Sept 28) that the change is to allow each student to focus on his or her learning progress and discourage them from being overly concerned about comparisons.

From next year all examinations for Primary 1 and 2 pupils will also be removed, and whatever forms of assessment they have will not count towards an overall grade.

The MOE said that teachers will continue to gather information about pupils’ learning through discussions, homework and quizzes. Schools will use other ways like “qualitative descriptors”, in place of marks and grades, to evaluate pupils’ progress at these two levels.

For older students in primary schools and secondary schools, marks for each subject will be rounded off and presented as a whole number, without decimal points – to reduce the focus on academic scores. Parents will continue to receive information about their child’s progress in school during parent-teacher meetings.

In an address to some 1,700 school leaders earlier this week, Mr Ong said: “I know that ‘coming in first or second’, in class or level, has traditionally been a proud recognition of a student’s achievement. But removing these indicators is for a good reason, so that the child understands from young that learning is not a competition, but a self-discipline they need to master for life.

“Notwithstanding, the report book should still contain some form of yardstick and information to allow students to judge their relative performance, and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.”

https://citinewsroom.com/2018/10/02/singapore-abolishes-school-exam-rankings-says-learning-is-not-competition/

kabby Posted on October 02, 2018 09:06

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Alleged Bitcoin Launderer Alexander Vinnik Questioned by French Investigators, Lawyer Says Charges are ‘Trumped up’

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The legal saga surrounding alleged bitcoin launderer Alexander Vinnik continues to grow more complicated, as law enforcement officials in three separate countries jockey for the authorization to extradite the alleged BTC-e administrator from Greece, where is currently in local police custody.

Russian state-operated news service TASS reports that French investigators questioned Vinnik on Monday in connection with what his lawyers have referred to as “trumped-up” charges in Paris.

“Today, on October 1, 2018, French investigators will try to question Alexander Vinnik in Thessaloniki as part of a criminal case initiated against him in Paris. It is no coincidence that the interview has been scheduled before Alexander’s extradition and aims to exert not only psychological pressure on my client, but also to obtain evidence of his guilt, which is absent in his case files,” Timofei Musatov, one of Vinnik’s attorney’s, told the publication, “judging from the questions provided by the French investigators in advance, the defense team concluded that there is no evidence of Alexander’s guilt in the case files, while the information the investigators rely on has been falsified.”

As CCN reported, Vinnik, a 38-year-old Russian national, was arrested last year at the request of the U.S. while he and his family were vacationing in Greece.

A U.S. grand jury has indicted Vinnik on 21 counts, alleging that, as operator of now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, he helped launder hundreds of thousands of bitcoins stolen from infamous Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.

Vinnik, who claims that he merely a technician at BTC-e — not its administrator — has also been indicted in France and Russia. French prosecutors have charged Vinnik with laundering bitcoins worth around 133 million euros ($155 million), while Russian investigators have filed lesser fraud charges amounting to 750 million rubles ($11 million).

Various Greek courts have approved extradition requests from all three countries, suspending his legal fate in year-long limbo. Most recently, the Greek supreme court approved Russia’s extradition request, though it also plans to weigh in on requests from the United States and France. It is likely that the country’s Minister of Justice will make the final judgment on where Vinnik stands trial.

Unsurprisingly, Vinnik’s defense team has repeatedly argued that he should be extradited to Russia.

According to TASS, Vinnik’s defense team has added a former Greek MP as it seeks to both defend Vinnik against the allegations that he helped launder bitcoins now worth billions of dollars, as well as orchestrate his extradition to his home country of Russia.

“Attorney Zoe Konstantopoulou, formerly the youngest speaker of the Greek Parliament, is going to pose a lot of unpleasant questions for French justice system officials, based on the premise that, according to the defense, charges against Alexander Vinnik have been falsified,” Musatov told the publication.

Notably, blockchain forensics firm Elliptic has said that Vinnik’s case could have bearing on U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. According to Elliptic, Russian operatives used BTC-e to launder bitcoins in an unsuccessful attempt to cover their tracks. If true, that could provide Russia with all the more reason to fight to extradite Vinnik to his home jurisdiction.

Earlier this year, Greek police uncovered an assassination plot against Vinnik, which Russian state-owned media outlets suggested was perpetrated by a criminal individual or organization who is “extremely interested in him not coming to Russia.”

https://www.ccn.com/alleged-bitcoin-launderer-alexander-vinnik-questioned-by-french-investigators-lawyer-says-charges-are-trumped-up/

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 09:03

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World's largest underwater restaurant nears completion.

Five meters below the surface of the North Sea, near the southernmost tip of Norway, Europe's first underwater restaurant is nearing completion. The 110-foot long structure, an oblique concrete slab that looks like a sunken periscope, was submerged in July 2018 and work is now underway to complete the interiors, in anticipation of the public opening in spring 2019.

The restaurant, called Under, is the design of Norwegian outfit Snøhetta, which has made a name for itself with projects such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, the Oslo Opera House, the National September 11 Memorial Pavilion and the renovation of Times Square in New York.

When finished, the structure will accommodate about 100 guests with a total internal area of about 500 square meters (5,300 square feet) set over three levels, offering unique underwater views of the surrounding marine environment through a 11-meter (36 feet) wide panoramic window.

Under goes under

The restaurant was built in about six months on a barge near the coast, then towed into position -- about 600 feet away -- with a heavy-lift vessel. To submerge the structure, containers filled with water were placed inside, before securing it to the sea floor with a total of 18 anchoring points.

Under under construction. Credit: Aldo Amoretti

"It was a delicate operation, as the clearance to meet the bolts was just two inches," Rune Grasdal, a senior architect at Snøhetta, said in a phone interview.

The 'prefab' housing resurgence rolls on

More than half of the structure is submerged, and guests will gain access through a glass walkway that will bridge the gap between the coast and the entrance, which will be at shore level.

Under is made of reinforced concrete, to withstand the harsh conditions found in this spot of the Norwegian coastline. "The first problem is water pressure, as we're five meters (16 feet) below the surface, but the biggest challenge is the waves. Wind and waves are extreme here. To withstand all these forces, the building is slightly curved, so it can better take to the waves, and it's thick: half a meter (1.6 feet) for the concrete and about 30 centimeters (1 foot) for the acrylic windows," said Grasdal.

An artist's impression of the finished restaurant. Credit: Snohetta

A simple design

The decision to position the restaurant in an area battered by the elements was deliberate. "When the client came to us, they had already done some sketches on another site close to current one, but we convinced them to build a few hundred meters away, where the sea is actually rougher. We thought this would better capture the nature of the area and I think that's also what makes this more spectacular compared to other underwater restaurants in the world, as they are in very controlled areas," said Grasdal.

Architect creates 'prehistoric' dining experience in downtown Tokyo

The client, developers Gaute and Stig Ubostad, also operates a hotel a short distance from the restaurant. They both sit in the Lindesnes region, home to Norway's oldest lighthouse, a popular tourist attraction located at the southernmost tip of of the mainland. Getting here isn't too easy: the best way is to hop on a short flight from Oslo to Kristiansand, the closest airport, which is about an hour's drive away. Grasdal said that a boat service is in the works.

Inside the world's quietest room

The design of the structure was also subject to several revisions. "Initially, we spent a lot of time on very complicated designs, but after a long discussion and many different models we ended up doing things in a much simpler way. It's just a concrete tube that brings people from the land down to the sea, it's so simple. When we reached that conclusion, it was a actually relief," said Grasdal.

A detail of the construction site. Credit: Aldo Amoretti

A light touch

To guarantee the safety of the guests, an analysis has been performed to study the propagation and load of the waves, and the 2,500-ton structure is designed to withstand the most extreme events. The data will also be fed back to visiting research teams that study marine biology and fish behavior. Work has been done to restore the conditions that were in place prior to the disturbance created by submerging the structure, and the concrete shell is designed to invite mussels to cling onto it and blend into the surrounding nature.

The tasting menu, created by Danish head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard Pedersen, is still under wraps but will rely heavily on local seafood, although mushrooms, berries, various seabirds and wild sheep from the surrounding landscape will also be on offer.

From the main window in the dining area, which is 4 meters (13 feet) tall, guests will be able to observe a variety of fish and sea creatures including seals and lobsters. Crucial to this view is the lighting, which has been carefully designed for both the interior and the sandbank just outside. "Outside lighting is very important because in the wintertime and in the evenings it will be dark, and without any light you would just see the reflection of the restaurant on the window," said Grasdal.

An artist's impression of the dining area. Credit: Snohetta

Interior lighting is muted and discreet to avoid such reflections, and colors are chosen accordingly, with oak wood and fabric covering the walls to avoid glaring white spots.

The most remote fine dining experience in the world?

"It's a magic feeling to be down in a big room like this and see out into the sea through the huge window And what's surprising is that some of the renderings we did illustrate very closely what it's going to be like," said Grasdal.

The restaurant is accepting reservations starting in April 2019, although availability is already limited well into the summer. According to Grasdal, however, the best way to plan a visit is looking at the weather forecast. "I think the most exciting experience will be visiting the restaurant during rough weather," he said.

"It will be fantastic to see the sea surface broken up by the big waves and the rain, making for a very dramatic view -- although you will still feel safe and relaxed inside the restaurant."

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/snohetta-underwater-restaurant-construction/index.html

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 08:53

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Death toll in Indonesian quake at 1,234, including at least 34 children at Bible camp

The bodies of more than 30 children who were attending a Christian Bible camp on a northern Indonesian island were discovered Monday amid wreckage brought to the region by Friday’s magnitude 7.5 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, a Red Cross spokesperson told ABC News.

The tragic discovery marks the latest reported deaths in the catastrophe. As of Tuesday, the  death toll increased to at least 1,234. Indonesian rescue workers said a mudslide caused by the earthquake engulfed the church. Red Cross spokeswoman Aulia Arriani said 34 bodies of the Bible camp attendees have been found, while another 52 remained missing.

 

The camp is located on the island of Sulawesi, about 170 miles south of Palu, a city of 380,000 residents which received the brunt of destruction. The magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck at dusk Friday, generating a tsunami as high as 20 feet in some places.

Lack of heavy machinery in the region has hampered rescue efforts. In some places, roads have been torn away all together, making travel to other areas virtually impossible. Nearly 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Palu alone, and hospitals were overwhelmed, according to reports.

FILE: People survey the damage following a massive earthquake and tsunami at Talise beach in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

A representative for an aid organization told ABC News that planes have been unable to land at Palu’s airport because it is overrun with desperate residents waiting for aid.

“There was a fear of the crowd mobbing the plane; people are so desperate for aid,” the representative said.

In Donggala, a region north of Palu with 300,000 people and close to the quake’s epicenter, communication has been cut off entirely, Reuters reported.

BURIALS BEGIN IN QUAKE- AND TSUNAMI- HIT INDONESIAN REGION

Volunteers in Palu prepared mass graves through the weekend to accommodate the high death toll. Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said a mass burial would take place soon “as soon as possible for health and religious reasons. The majority of Palu’s inhabitants are Muslim.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/death-toll-in-indonesian-quake-at-1234-including-at-least-34-children-at-bible-camp

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 08:04

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Hunter Fighting For His Life After Bear He Shot Lands On Him

Deposit Photos

A hunter from Alaska is now fighting for his life after a bear he had shot landed on top of him.

28-year-old William McCormick was struck by the bear on the afternoon of September 29, after the shot animal fell down a slope at Carter Lake. McCormick, who is a soldier stationed at Alaska’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, was also hit by a rock which had become dislodged during the bear’s fall, according to police reports.

Respondents at the scene came from the Alaska State Troopers, Bear Creek Fire Department, Moose Pass Volunteer Fire Department, and LifeMed.

McCormick was taken by helicopter to a hospital in the city of Anchorage where he is now fighting for his life, having sustained ‘life-threatening injuries’.

As reported by the Department of Public Safety, McCormick had been out hunting with fellow solider, 19-year-old Zachary Tennyson, who was uninjured during the incident.

Both soldiers reportedly serve with the base’s 4th Brigade Battle Workforce, 25th Infantry Division. McCormick serves as a specialist, while Tennyson is a private first class as reported by CBC.

According to the Department of Public Safety dispatch:

On 9/29/18 at approximately 1208 hours, Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center received notification via an in reach device about two individuals in distress above Carter Lake.

The pair were hunting in the area and shot a bear above them on a ridge. The bear rolled down the slope dislodging rocks in the process.

One hunter, identified as William McCormick, age 28 out of JBER, was injured when he was struck by both a rock and the bear.

His hunting partner, Zachary Tennyson, age 19 of JBER, was uninjured. Alaska State Troopers, Bear Creek Fire Department, Moose Pass Volunteer Fire Department, and Lifemed all responded to the scene. McCormick was hand carried to a Lifemed helicopter and transported to Anchorage Providence with life threatening injuries.

Sad news hope the bear pulls through #karma

— chris pledge (@pledge80) October 1, 2018

 

Here's hoping the bear survived.

— Peter Singh (@Smarmalat) October 1, 2018

 

It has not been stated whether or not the bear has been killed, or what type of bear it is. There are several species of bear in Alaska; with an estimated 30,000 brown bears and 100,000 black bears.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, this is the time of year when bears are ‘waddling fat just prior to denning’:

At this time most mature males weigh between 500 and 900 lbs (180 – 410 kg) with extremely large individuals weighing as much as 1,400 lbs (640 kg). Females weigh half to three-quarters as much.

The National Park Service is currently planning to relax hunting regulations in the national parkland of Alaska, overturning practices which were banned by the park service back in 2015.

Under these relaxed regulations, a hunter would be able to use a dog to hunt black bears; harvest brown bears over bait; take black bears over bait; and take any black bear, including cubs and females with cubs, using artificial light at den sites.

According to the National Parks Traveller, Alaska regional director for the parks advocacy group Jim Adams said:

This assessment clearly states that wildlife viewing opportunities on national parklands are likely to be diminished. It admits that baiting bears on these lands could increase conflicts, if bears become habituated to human food,

And it admits that the new rule would reduce natural diversity on national preserves. With such clearly identified conflicts, why is the Park Service proceeding with this unnecessary, wasteful process of replacing commonsense regulations with war on park bears and wolves?

Bear’s revenge!

— Kathie Anderson (@Detguza) October 1, 2018

 

Almost 1,500 brown bears each year are hunted in Alaska.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/animals/hunter-fighting-for-his-life-after-bear-he-shot-lands-on-him/

kabby Posted on October 02, 2018 07:46

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Scott Pritchard murder: Woman jailed for life for 2004 killing

A woman has been jailed for life for bludgeoning a man to death with a baseball bat more than 14 years ago.

Scott Pritchard, 19, was found with serious head injuries outside his home in Lindsay Close, Sunderland in January 2004 and died in hospital.

His murder remained unsolved until Karen Tunmore, 36, from Killingworth, handed herself in to police in July.

Tunmore admitted murder and was jailed for life with a minimum of 17-and-a-half years at Newcastle Crown Court.

Mr Pritchard died after suffering what police described as a vicious attack outside his home.

In 2005 his father Robert Stacey was charged with murdering his own son and spent 16 weeks on remand before the case against him was dropped.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Stacey said people had continued to shout abuse at him even after he was cleared, and he was scared to walk around Sunderland city centre "for fear of being accused of a crime I did not commit".

Hundreds of officers were involved in the investigation, which remained unsolved until Tunmore walked into Middle Engine Lane police station and confessed.

Image copyrightFAMILY HANDOUT

Image captionScott Pritchard died in 2004 of head injuries after being attacked in the street

Tunmore told police she had travelled to Sunderland in order to collect a financial debt from Mr Pritchard, who was not known to her.

After it became clear to her he could not pay she said she "saw red" and attacked the teenager, who was on crutches at the time, with an 18in (46cm) baseball bat before discarding the weapon.

Tunmore confessed to a friend in July that she had murdered someone and voices in her head were telling her to do it again.

With the friend's support, she confessed to police that she had attacked Mr Pritchard and gave them an account that only someone at the scene could have known.

Det Ch Insp John Bent, of Northumbria Police, said after sentencing: "Karen Tunmore has had to live with her horrifying secret for 14 years and she has finally been overcome by her guilt.

"She says she could not live with it any further, she repeatedly plays it over in her mind and that's why she made the disclosures.

"The chilling level of detail she told us gave us reason to believe she was responsible.

Justice at last

"She said she disposed of the bat that was used, washed the car mats and sold the car she used, which was blood-stained from the weapon."

Tunmore, who had a history of convictions including drunk and disorderly, public order offences, affray and carrying a blade, was genuinely remorseful, according to Stuart Graham, defending.

He said: "Perhaps something in her of a redeemable nature made her come forward and wish to have justice and be punished for her offending."

Det Ch Insp Bent added: "A murder investigation is never closed until the conviction of those involved, and Scott's parents deserved to see justice at long last."

Related Topics

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-45707524

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 20:30

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Yemen rebel court 'sentences Baha'i trio to death'

Three followers of the Baha'i faith in Yemen have reportedly been sentenced to death by a court controlled by the rebel Houthi movement.

The Baha'i community in the UK said the unnamed individuals had been convicted of espionage and apostasy.

They were being tried alongside 21 other people by a judge who sentenced a Baha'i man to death last January.

Baha'i representative Diane Alai said they had been "falsely and maliciously accused under absurd pretexts".

She urged the international community to "condemn these baseless actions in the strongest possible terms and call for the immediate release of all detained Baha'is".

In a speech in March, rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi denounced the Baha'i faith as "satanic" and claimed it was "waging a war of doctrine" against Islam.

The Baha'i faith was founded in Iran in the mid-19th Century by Mirza Husayn Ali, a man known as "Baha'ullah" ("Glory of God").

Baha'is believe that all the founders of the world's major religions have been manifestations of God and agents of a progressive divine plan for the education of humanity, and that Baha'ullah is the most recent manifestation of God.

Today, there are an estimated five million Baha'is worldwide. There are only a few thousand in Yemen, where 99% of the 27 million population is Muslim.

The Houthi movement has cracked down on Baha'is since its supporters drove the Western-backed government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa and seized control of much of western Yemen in 2015.

The UN has said Bahai's living in rebel territory have faced a "persistent pattern of persecution", including harassment and arbitrary detention.

In January, UN human rights experts urged the Houthi-led authorities to annul a death sentence handed down against a Baha'i man, Hamid Kamali bin Haydara, who was accused of "compromising the independence of the Republic of Yemen" and spreading the Baha'i faith in the country.

A number of trials against Mr bin Haydara, including the one during which the death sentence was imposed, took place without him being present, and his lawyer was not given the opportunity to contest the evidence presented against him.

The Baha'i Community of the UK said the judge who convicted Mr bin Haydara had also sentenced to death the three other Bahai's on Saturday.

They were among 24 Bahai's, including eight women and a teenage girl, who went on trial last month on the charges of spying for a foreign state and apostasy.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Houthi authorities, but on Saturday the rebel-run Saba news agency reported that a court in Sanaa had sentenced three men to death for "collaborating with a foreign country".

It said one man was accused of seeking to recruit people to fight for Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition of Arab states supporting Yemen's government in its war with the Houthis, and that the other two allegedly provided military information.

Related Topics

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45709322

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 20:19

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Contaminated bootleg alcohol kills at least 42 in Iran

At least 42 people have died after drinking contaminated bootleg alcohol in Iran, a government spokesman said.

Health ministry spokesman Iraj Harirchi said 16 people had gone blind and 170 had undergone dialysis after trying the tainted drink.

In the past three weeks, at least 460 people across five provinces have been hospitalised, with the youngest victim a 19-year-old woman.

Alcohol is illegal in Iran but bootleg booze is widespread.

However, ethanol is sometimes reportedly replaced with toxic methanol in the contaminated drink.

Police in the southern city of Bandar Abbas last week arrested a couple for allegedly producing home-made alcohol.

BBC Persian's Rana Rahimpour says it is not unusual for tainted alcohol to cause injuries or deaths in Iran, but what is surprising is the significant numbers of deaths and the spread of the problem to a number of provinces.

Analysts spoken to by the BBC's Persian service believe the economic impact of the US pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal may be playing a part.

With the collapse in the value of the Iranian currency against the dollar, people may be turning to cheap, homemade alcohol over expensive foreign imports.

Iranian anti-drugs officials believe that every year 80 million litres of alcohol worth $730 million (£559m) is smuggled into Iran.

 

Media captionIran gripped by despair as country faces economic turmoil, drought

Iranian Muslims have been barred from drinking alcohol since the country's revolution in 1979.

Article 265 of Iran's Islamic penal code states that the punishment for consumption of alcohol by a Muslim is 80 lashes.

There is however an exemption for non-Muslim citizens to produce alcohol for their own consumption or for religious purposes, like the Eucharist.


More on life in Iran:


Related Topics

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45709203

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 20:17

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Passengers stranded as airline collapses

A budget airline that began offering long-haul flights from UK airports including Stansted to the US earlier this year has collapsed.

Primera Air said it was ceasing all operations at midnight on Monday after 14 years of operations.

Two flights to Washington and New York due to leave Stansted on Monday night have been grounded.

The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that Primera had ceased operations.

Three Primera flights were in the air on Monday night, including one from Birmingham to Malaga, according to Flight Radar.

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The Icelandic-owned airline said it had failed to secure long-term financing, meaning it had "no choice" but to file for bankruptcy.

Primera's decision to start competing with other low-cost long-haul operators such as Norwegian and Wow appears to have led to its demise.

Signs that the airline was in trouble came in August, when it said short-haul flights from Birmingham to seven European destinations would end on 3 September.

It also blamed the late arrival of new aircraft from Airbus that forced it to cancel flights and lease planes.

"Weighting the potential losses due to future delivery delays ... and bearing in mind the difficult environment that airlines are facing now due to low prices and high fuel costs, we have decided to cease operations now," the company said.

When it began longhaul operations from Stansted in May, Primera was offering flights to New York's Newark airport, Boston, Washington DC and Toronto starting at £149 each way.

Most of the airline's business involved taking Scandinavian holidaymakers to destinations such as Spain, Greece, Italy, Egypt and Turkey.


Do you have a flight booked with Primera? Have you been left without a flight? Share your experience by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45712063

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 19:30

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Hackers Are Selling Botnets and Stolen ‘Fortnite’ Accounts Over Instagram.

Instagram isn’t only for exotic travel, pet, or food photos. Communities of hackers are also using the social network to sell stolen Spotify and Fortnite accounts, as well as access to botnets designed to launch distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The accounts highlight social media companies’ continuing issues with content moderation. In this case, Facebook, which owns Instagram, is having trouble preventing illegal content from being distributed on its platforms.

In particular, some people on Instagram are advertising botnets they claim to be associated with Mirai, a network of internet of things-based devices that have been repurposed to attack websites and servers by spamming them with traffic. Some are selling botnets based on other code.

“There is a lot of people in the community on Instagram,” Root Senpai, who sells various hacking-related goods on Instagram, told Motherboard in a message on Discord, a messaging platform popular among gamers.

Caption: A screenshot of one of the Instagram posts advertising a botnet. Image: Instagram Screenshot

The hackers themselves and their wares appear to be unsophisticated. One Instagram post, which includes an apparent photo of the hacker’s screen, claims to be selling access to a Mirai-based botnet, likely for attacking websites or other online services to try and slow them to a crawl. Several other users Motherboard found are selling access to other botnets, with one post advertising subscription-style plans for $5 to $80 a month (it is not immediately clear how powerful, or lackluster, these particular botnets may be.)

When asked how they obtained this botnet, perhaps by hacking into computers themselves, Root Senpai declined to elaborate for “security reasons,” they said.

Another account, using the name ghostttzzz, includes a screenshot of their botnet control panel, with the text “hmu [hit me up] for spots.”

Some of the hackers are advertising these tools in normal Instagram posts, others are advertising them using the network’s Stories feature.

Got a tip? You can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, OTR chat on jfcox@jabber.ccc.de, or email joseph.cox@vice.com.

Stolen accounts do generate interest from customers, “especially Fortnite accounts,” Root Senpai added. As the game skyrocketed in popularity, hackers have continually cracked into Fortnite accounts to sell, some of which come with rare character skins. As Kotaku reported in March, some hackers break into accounts to use the victim’s payment information to buy game upgrades, and then transfer them to other accounts.

Indeed, much of the activity from the Instagram hacker accounts overlaps with gaming communities. Some accounts, as well as posting photos of their botnet control screens, share images from Fortnite or other online games. Some of the hackers appear to be young; Root Senpai said that “there are a lot of kids on Instagram that is [sic] willing to buy botnet spots, mostly kids that play on console.”

“For me I just sell spots for fun and money because I am still to [sic] young to get a full job that can make a decent amount of money,” they added.

Finding various accounts selling access to botnets and stolen accounts was fairly trivial. Many of them follow each other, making some form of hacker community on the platform. The scale of the issue is unclear, however: Motherboard focused on one particular collection of accounts that appear to interact with and follow each other. Root Senpai did describe people in the trade of these botnets and accounts as the “ig community.”

Caption: A screenshot of one of the Instagram posts advertising Fortnite accounts. Image: Instagram Screenshot

Instagram’s terms of service says users cannot “do anything unlawful, misleading, or fraudulent or for an illegal or unauthorized purpose.” That, an Instagram spokesperson confirmed to Motherboard, includes selling access to hacked computers or accounts. The spokesperson added that Instagram is investigating the issue and will take steps to remove content violating its terms.

Motherboard did not share specific account names with Instagram. As we’ve argued before, it is not journalists’ job to act as content moderators for some of the world’s most powerful technology companies. Motherboard did share redacted screenshots with Instagram so it could see the sort of posts being shared by the hackers and provide a response.

Instagram has to deal with all sorts of offensive or illegal content on its platform. Internal Instagram documents previously obtained by Motherboard showed some of the company’s enforcement strategies and policies for combating such content.

“These are high intensity, prevalent abuse types that have led to PR fires on Instagram,” one of the documents for training moderators obtained by Motherboard reads, referring to terrorism and drug sales on its platform.

At the time of writing, all of the accounts Motherboard found selling stolen accounts or access to botnets are still online.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/43843w/hackers-are-selling-botnets-and-stolen-fortnite-accounts-over-instagram

AlbertaU Posted on October 01, 2018 14:48

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Prisoners ‘Used Drone’ To Get Chinese Takeaway Delivered

Pixabay

Prison officers believe inmates are using drones to get takeaways, and other items, delivered into the facility.

At a prison in Dublin, staff found fast food containers from a well-known restaurant in a bin in the yard of Wheatfield Prison, leading them to believe the food was delivered by a drone.

Drones are reportedly used regularly to make drop-offs over the prison walls, with bosses now investigating new ways to prevent it happening.

Google Maps

According to the Mirror, a source said:

There’s no other conceivable way a Chinese takeaway could get into the prison other than by a drone. That’s what the staff in the jail believe anyway.

The food containers were found about six weeks ago. Prison staff were left scratching their heads as to how it got there and a drone was the only possible explanation.

It goes to show inmates will go to great lengths to get what they want.

However, a spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service said they ‘have not heard of any such delivery/incident’.

The entire exercise yard at the prison is covered by nets, although inmates are apparently using ‘human pyramids’ to collect contraband delivered by drone.

The prison spokeperson added:

I won’t, for obvious reasons, go into details about the size of the holes in the nets but I can tell you they cover all the yard.

Drones aren’t just used for food deliveries, as many items of contraband are known to have been dropped off, such as mobile phones and drugs.

The source stated:

It would appear drones are being used a lot more than they ever were, it’s a regular occurrence now.

A lot of the drugs appear to be getting in that way. There’s a running joke it’s like dial-a-drug service as you just get word of what you want, cocaine, spice or whatever, and it’s delivered in by a drone.

Not all shipments get through but the vast majority of those looking for the drugs are willing to take the chance.

The use of drones to try and drop drugs into the jail yard has many staff questioning if it’s possible to get a no-fly zone about the prison.

The spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service ensured measures are in place to combat this current problem, commenting:

Existing measures include regular patrols by staff, monitoring of cameras, exercise yards have netting fitted to prevent contraband being dropped or thrown into that area.

Most areas in Wheatfield are fitted with specially designed windows which cannot be opened like a traditional window.

This assists in the prevention of contraband entering the prison, the remaining areas will be fitted with this style of window shortly.

In addition the installation of infrared and motion sensor cameras will commence shortly. The Irish Prison Service is also exploring a number of technology options to deal with the problem.

Not sure why the inmates opted for a Chinese takeaway though, they’ll only be hungry again in an hour or so.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/news/prisoners-used-drone-to-get-chinese-takeaway-delivered/

 

kabby Posted on October 01, 2018 12:02

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Nobel Prize Given To Scientists Who Have Discovered New Way To Attack Cancer

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The Nobel Prize for Medicine has been awarded to two scientists who have discovered a ‘revolutionary’ way of treating cancer.

James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo, American and Japanese respectively, found that the body’s immune system could be turned on cancers.

Professor Allison researched a protein that operates as a brake on the immune system.

He realised the prospect of of releasing the brake and the immune cells in order to attack tumours. Allison believes it could be a new avenue to treating terminally ill patients.

The Nobel committee wrote, as per the Independent:

[Professor Honjo] discovered a protein on immune cells and revealed that it also operates as a brake, but with a different mechanism of action. Therapies based on his discovery proved to be strikingly effective in the fight against cancer.

Cancer kills millions of people every year and is one of humanity’s greatest health challenges. By stimulating the inherent ability of our immune system to attack tumour cells this year’s Nobel Laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.

They added:

For more than 100 years scientists attempted to engage the immune system in the fight against cancer.

Until the seminal discoveries by the two laureates, progress into clinical development was modest. Checkpoint therapy has now revolutionised cancer treatment and has fundamentally changed the way we view how cancer can be managed.

Professor Allison said in a statement that he had made the discovery while simply looking to expand human knowledge.

He explained:

I’m honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition. A driving motivation for scientists is simply to push the frontiers of knowledge. I didn’t set out to study cancer, but to understand the biology of T cells, these incredible cells that travel our bodies and work to protect us.

The first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace.

The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Swede Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. In his will, he directed the majority of his huge fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be ‘annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.

While Nobel offered no concrete reason for the creation of the awards, it’s believed he did so out of moral regret following the savage use of his inventions in war.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/news/nobel-prize-given-to-scientists-who-have-discovered-new-way-to-attack-cancer/

kabby Posted on October 01, 2018 11:56

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Cryptocurrency and blockchain events: 8 to 14 October.

Find out what's coming up in the world of crypto and whether it's actually worth being there when it occurs.

News breaks at cryptocurrency conferences. Staying ahead of the curve often means staying on top of events.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain events often showcase game-changers before they go mainstream and present valuable networking opportunities with some of the best-known names in cryptocurrency. Even if you can't make it in person, it's often worth keeping an eye out for live streams and other ways of telecommuting there.

Here's what's coming up next week, from 8 to 14 October.

Looking for other dates? Get the comprehensive list of crypto expos

PayExpo

9-10 October 2018

London

United Kingdom

XBlockchain Summit

9–10 October 2018

Bali

Indonesia

BLOCKCON 2018

10-11 October 2018

Santa Monica

United States

FSBDAC 2018

10-11 October 2018

Portsmouth

United States

Blockchain Fair Asia

11 October 2018

Taguig

Philippines

Blockchain Unbound

14-16 October 2018

Tokyo

Japan

PayExpo

Returning for its sixth year, the United Kingdom's largest payments expo is an event to share knowledge and meet with the disruptors and innovators driving change in the ever-expanding payments sector.

There will be panel discussions and keynote addresses on open banking, the essentials of cryptocurrency, enterprise-ready blockchains, and what it will take to make consumers believe that cash is no longer king.

Retailers and merchants, gaming operators, MNOs, startups, investors and transport operators attend free.

XBlockchain Summit

This event will be held at an exclusive resort in the Nusa Dua area, on one of Bali's most famed beachfronts, adjacent to the 2018 annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group.

Some of the topics to be covered; the Internet for payments, blockchain in the face of economic change, the mainstream accessibility and future of cryptocurrencies, making blockchain real for business, financial inclusion in the age of automation, value of fans and why AI and blockchain need each other.

Speakers include Stellar Development Foundation co-founder Jed McCaleb, Republic of Lithuania Minister of Finance Vilius Šapoka, Republic of Mauritius Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance Dharmendar Sesungkur, NEM.io Foundation Council Member & Regional Head of SE Asia Stephen Chia and many more.

BLOCKCON 2018

This event, taking place in Los Angeles, will analyze and expand upon the importance of digital privacy, break down crypto baskets as investment vehicles, tackle tokenization and how to balance opportunities and challenges, consider what a young Warren Buffet would have used to manage his crypto, decentralization, AirBnB on the blockchain, ICOs, as well as discussing ways to eliminate loan sharks of the 21st century.

There's also the potential to win a free ticket to BLOCKCON 2018 by answering a Hotjar survey question.

FSBDAC 2018

Free State Blockchain Digital Assets Conference (FSBDAC) 2018, will take place in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This exclusive conference brings together the financial sector, commentators, researchers, financial innovators and other blockchain enthusiasts to explore the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for a future of tokenised assets. This year's event will also play host to the first annual New Hampshire Ravencoin Meeting.

You can check out a recap of last year's speakers here.

Blockchain Fair Asia

This event's theme is "Looking Beyond Blockchain Hype". The conference aims to explain how the latest blockchain developments prove that a major revolution is imminent. Speakers will discuss practical use cases beyond speculative investment, how to avoid cryptocurrency disasters, investment opportunities in the Philippines, the road to mainstream adoption and blockchain beyond the constraints of the financial industry.

There will be 10 venture capital firms, 20 exhibitors, 30 speakers and 1,000 attendees.

Blockchain Unbound

Early adopters, innovators and investors who have helped to shape the current landscape of the blockchain community will share the stage in Tokyo. Blockchain Unbound events are designed to drive social impact, spark business development and inspire attendees to forge meaningful relationships with fellow collaborators.

A core aspect of every Blockchain Unbound event is a focus on altruism. This year, the conference partners with Mama Hope, an international non-profit advocating for global societies. A portion of the event's proceeds will be donated to support community-led projects. Additionally, Blockchain Industries will announce a Women of Blockchain Foundation designed to aid other women around the world, specifically in emerging markets.

https://www.finder.com.au/cryptocurrency-and-blockchain-events-8-to-14-october

AlbertaU Posted on October 01, 2018 10:16

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Mysterious Cosmic Rays Shooting from the Ground in Antarctica Could Break Physics.

NASA went searching for micro black holes in Antarctica. Instead, it detected cosmic rays shooting from the ground and some physicists think it could be evidence of a supersymmetric particle.

There’s something strange happening beneath the surface of Antarctica and it’s got nothing to do with Nazi UFOs. Rather, researchers are arguing that a decade-old experiment may have furnished the first evidence of a new type of particle that has evaded detection by some of the most sophisticated particle accelerators for years. If they turn out to be correct, it would change physics as we know it.

In 2006, NASA-affiliated researchers launched Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA), a balloon experiment meant to observe high energy particles that shower the Earth from space, also known as cosmic rays. During ANITA’s flight, however, its instruments observed something that physicists couldn’t explain. In addition to detecting cosmic rays from space, ANITA also detected cosmic rays shooting from the ground as the high altitude balloon drifted over the Antarctic ice sheet.

Physicists have long known that high energy particles can penetrate deep into Earth, but none of the particles predicted by the Standard Model—the most accurate model of physics that has ever existed—should be able to pass all the way through the planet.

On Tuesday, a group of researchers led by the Pennsylvania State University physicist Derek Fox posted a new theory of these upward-shooting cosmic rays to arXiv that suggests they could be evidence of a particle that lies beyond the Standard Model. If Fox and his colleagues are correct, it would be the first evidence of a particle beyond the Standard Model of physics, the most accurate description of the universe humans have ever known.

What Did ANITA See In Antarctica?

The ANITA-IV experiment was launched in 2016 . Image: Wikimedia Commons

The first ANITA mission launched from the McMurdo base in Antarctica in December 2006. The experiment flew to an altitude of about 120,000 feet where it spent a month drifting over Antarctica. It was equipped with sensors designed to detect pulses of radiation produced when ultra high energy neutrinos—a nearly massless particle with no electric charge—interact with the Antarctic ice sheet.

In the early 60s, the Soviet physicist Gurgen Askaryan theorized that when a high energy particle interacted with a dense dielectric medium—a type of insulating material that doesn’t conduct electricity—it would produce a shower of secondary charged particles whose radiation can be detected by standard radio antennas. This interaction, now known as the Askaryan effect, allows physicists to detect particles that hardly interact with normal matter (like neutrinos) by observing their secondary effects.

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The goal of the ANITA mission was to use an array of antennas to detect the Askaryan radiation produced from high energy neutrinos interacting with the Antarctic ice sheet. Unlike photons, neutrinos don’t lose their energy as they propagate through the universe. This means that they can carry information from beyond the photon horizon (the limit that photon sources are still detectable from Earth) and provide a window onto the farthest reaches of the universe.

Furthermore, some models of physics that are “Beyond the Standard Model” predict the existence of incredibly small extra dimensions. Some of these theories predict that when cosmic rays interact with ice this produces micro black holes that open into these dimensions, which could be detected via the Askaryan effect.

The launch of the first ANITA mission in 2006. Image: UC Irvine

Although the first ANITA mission didn’t detect any evidence of micro black holes, it did detect the Askaryan effect, the first time this had ever been observed from neutrino interactions with ice. Yet the researchers working on ANITA also got more than they bargained for when they also detected cosmic rays that appeared to be shooting out of the Antarctic ice sheet.

The first ANITA mission detected two “upward-pointing cosmic ray-like events” during its month-long sojourn above Antarctica. Unlike the cosmic rays that come from space and are reflected off the Antarctic ice sheet, which produce vertically polarized pulses of radiation, the two anomalous cosmic rays had nearly horizontal planes of polarization. This suggested that they either didn’t originate in space—or if they did, the radiation was produced by particles that had traveled all the way through Earth. In either case, this type of cosmic ray had never been observed before.

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A second mission ANITA mission in 2009 as well as a third mission in 2014 detected another strange upward-pointing cosmic ray. The source of these cosmic rays remain a mystery, but a number of theories have been proposed. Some physicists think these upward-pointing cosmic rays are evidence of the decay of dark matter that exists in the Earth’s interior. Others have suggested that these cosmic rays can be explained with sterile neutrinos, a type of high energy particle that hardly ever interacts with ordinary matter.

At first, physicists attempted to explain these strange events as the result of a type of particle called a tau-neutrino decaying as it passed through Earth. This would produce an elementary charged particle called a tau-lepton, which would produce the type of signature observed by the ANITA balloons.

There was just one problem. ANITA observed the particles coming in at extreme angles—27 degrees and 35 degrees—that aren’t permitted within the Standard Model of physics. This suggested that either the Standard Model would have to undergo “significant” revisions to account for the observation—or, as Derek Fox and his colleagues recently suggested, ANITA may have observed the first evidence of a supersymmetric particle.

A penguin in Antarctica. Image: Daniel Oberhaus

What is Beyond the Standard Model of Physics?

The Standard Model of physics was cobbled together over the course of the past century and currently serves as the most accurate model of the physical universe ever created. It describes most of the fundamental forces and classifies elementary particles.

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Although the Standard Model has proven remarkably successful for making experimental predictions over the last few decades, it’s not able to explain everything. Some phenomena, such as gravity, the accelerating expansion of the universe, and neutrino oscillations are not incorporated in the model.

These deficiencies in the model have led some physicist to begin thinking about physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM). You may have heard of some of these exotic theories, such as string theory or M-theory, but so far there isn’t much evidence to support one theoretical version of BSM physics over another.

Inflating the balloon for the first ANITA mission in 2006. Image: UC Irvine

According to the paper posted to arXiv this week, however, there are strong reasons to believe that the anomalous cosmic rays seen by ANITA could be evidence of a BSM particle.

This theory relies on a version of BSM physics called supersymmetry. Unlike string theory, which is a so-called “theory of everything” that overhauls the Standard Model, supersymmetry merely extends the Standard Model by adding a new class of massive particles into the mix.

“We argue that if the ANITA events are correctly interpreted then they require some beyond the Standard Model particle,” Fox told me on the phone. “The likely properties of the particle seem consistent in at least some ways with the predicted properties of the stau in some supersymmetric models.”

In supersymmetry, each of the elementary particles in the Standard Model has a heavier “superpartner.” Thus, leptons are matched with sleptons, electrons with selectrons, quarks with squarks, and so on. None of these theoretical supersymmetric particles, or sparticles, have been produced in a lab so far, which may be because the particles require too much energy to be made by contemporary particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. Thus some physicists hope to detect them by looking to astrophysical sources, which can produce the requisite amounts of energy to produce these more massive particles.

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In the case of the upward-pointing cosmic rays, Fox and his colleagues argue that they are consistent with some of the predicted characteristics of the “stau,” the supersymmetric partner of the tau, which cannot be explained using the Standard Model of physics. The supersymmetric models predict that as a stau passes through Earth from space, it decays into a tau lepton and an as yet undetected lowest-mass supersymmetric particle before emerging on the other side of Earth—where the tau lepton could be registered by instruments like ANITA.

To arrive at this conclusion, Fox and his colleagues first demonstrated that the events observed by ANITA are not interpretable within the Standard Model. In the first place, the trajectories of the particles are “highly improbable” under the Standard Model. As Fox and his colleagues argue, to produce these trajectories using the Standard Model would require neutrino fluxes, or the number of neutrinos hitting a certain area in a certain amount of time, “well in excess” of those that have been cataloged by various cosmic ray observatories. Furthermore, they argued that the steepness of the angles of the cosmic rays are also highly improbable within the Standard Model.

A penguin colony in Antarctica. Image: Daniel Oberhaus

Earlier this year, a team of researchers from Ohio State University’s Center for Cosmology and Astrophysics posted a paper to arxiv in which they detailed simulations of staus passing through the Earth to see if they would produce the same sort of signatures observed by ANITA when emerging on the other side. In particular, the researchers were interested in seeing whether simulations of high energy neutrinos interacting with nuclei in the Earth to create staus would reproduce the steep-angled particle trajectories detected by ANITA.

“Any proposed model for new physics would need to explain why such steep events are observed in the absence of a larger number of events near the horizon, and this turns out to be quite difficult to do,” Amy Connolly, the physicist at Ohio State University who led the research, told me in an email. “Our simulations found that even ultra-high energy neutrinos capable of propagating 10,000 km through the earth still do not give a preference for steep events. You still would expect even more such events from near the horizon.”

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Nevertheless, Connolly and her colleagues argued that searching for staus with ANITA is a promising new research direction, but she cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the significance of the anomalous events seen by ANITA.

“Anytime an experiment has observed only two events of interest, there is a possibility that as more data is taken, the anomalous events may be found to be a background not previously anticipated,” Connolly told me. “Although it is exciting that ANITA can be sensitive to beyond the Standard Model physics, we must exercise caution and carry on assuming that the most likely possibility is that these events are an as yet unexplained background.”

This was a conclusion echoed by Fox, who said that it is difficult to make strong claims about anomalous events based on data from only one location. If what ANITA detected was actually evidence of a supersymmetric particle, researchers would expect to see similar signatures at other neutrino laboratories. Fox said this is why most physicists were hesitant to make any claims about the anomalous events when they were first published in 2016.

Antarctica. Image: Daniel Oberhaus

“If it was confirmed that this was evidence of a beyond the Standard Model particle then there would’ve been a lot of physicists working through the consequences right away,” Fox said. “That’s not what happened. It doesn’t feel right for a lot of people and some of them prefer to be more conservative and wait for confirmation from other facilities.”

Fox and his colleagues took the first step in this direction by examining observations from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the Arctic to see if similar phenomena was hidden among the available observational data. After adjusting for differences in the IceCube detection system and ANITA, Fox and his colleagues identified three distinct events among the data that were analogous to the upward-pointing cosmic rays observed in Antarctica.

For now, Fox and his colleagues’ theory is just one interpretation of the ANITA data among many, and more data analysis needs to be done. The researchers are hopeful that the data from the fourth and latest ANITA mission, which launched in 2016 and is now in its data analysis phase, might reveal more examples of these upward-pointing cosmic rays.

Even more tantalizing is the data from a decade of continuous observations at IceCube, which has registered far more neutrino events than all the ANITA observations combined and thus may have several upward-pointing cosmic ray events hidden among the data.

“The stau is a particle that physicists have been searching for since they first turned on the Large Hadron Collider,” Fox said. “ They’ve been looking for it, but they just haven’t seen it. What makes this so exciting is that it potentially forges a direct connection between cosmic rays and the LHC.”

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/d3jdmk/mysterious-cosmic-rays-shooting-from-the-ground-in-antarctica-could-break-physics

AlbertaU Posted on October 01, 2018 09:10

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Tupac Estate Wins Back Unreleased Music After Five-Year Legal Battle

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The estate of Tupac Shakur has won back unreleased Tupac music after a gruelling five-year legal battle against Entertainment One.

Tupac Shakur, considered by many to be the greatest rapper of all time, was shot in a drive-by on 7 September 1996 and died in hospital six days later on 13 September. He was just 25.

Since his untimely death, there has been much speculation:

After he died in the prime of his career, the recording artist’s unreleased masters have been the source of much bad blood between his family and the company.

However, the estate has now settled its lawsuit against Entertainment One, the company it accused of withholding royalties to the tune of seven figures, TMZ has learned.

Sources with direct knowledge claim Entertainment One will pay the estate a substantial 6-figure amount.

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More importantly, the settlement is said to include unreleased music too, said to be worth a fortune. But rather than focus on the fiscal value, this settlement is an emotional win for the family also.

Tupac’s mom, Afeni Shakur Davis, had been the administrator of the artist’s estate when she decided to sue Entertainment One to reclaim her deceased son’s unreleased master recordings back in 2013.

Afeni died in May 2016, aged 69, but the lawsuit continued, until it was finally settled this week.

It is not uncommon for record labels to monetise tragedy, in the deaths of their talented clients, and keep unreleased recordings which the artists themselves may not have wanted the public to hear.

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Speaking to UNILAD about the myth – and business – of The 27 Club, Jennifer Otter-Bickerdike recalled her own experience of Tupac’s unreleased work.

The music academic specialising in fandom and the cult of dead celebrity said:

I worked at Interscope for a long time and every f*cking year it seemed we had a new Tupac record. Stuff he’d done in studio but remixed and backed – stuff that he probably wouldn’t have even wanted out in the public forum.

While the music industry is a business, and a lucrative one at that, it is only right and just for the collection of unreleased master recordings made by the late, great Tupac to be returned to his estate so his nearest and dearest can continue enjoying his talents.

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Entertainment One also have had to give a six-figure settlement for unpaid royalties from posthumous releases they had managed. What his estate plans to do with the rare recording remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, a biopic documenting the life of the legendary rapper was released in the US on his birthday, (June 16). All Eyez On Me traces Shakur’s life from his rocky upbringing in East Harlem to his rise in hop-hop and Hollywood.

You can watch the trailer for the biopic, dubbed the ‘real deal’ below:

It also shines light on his connections with the Black Panther party and his relationship with his deceased mother, who was a member and eminent activist.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/sound/estate-wins-unreleased-tupac-music/

kabby Posted on October 01, 2018 07:55

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Air Traffic Controller Dies Helping Hundreds Escape Tsunami-Hit Island

AirNav Indonesia/Twitter

An air traffic controller has died after he stayed behind to help people escape a city in Indonesia which has been hit by a tsunami. 

The life-threatening wave hit the city of Palu on Sulawesi island on Friday (September 28), following a magnitude 7.5 earthquake. Anthonius Gunawan Agung was working at Palu airport at the time.

21-year-old Anthonius saved hundreds of people during the horrific events by remaining in the control tower even after his colleagues fled the airport.

AirNav Indonesia/ Twitter

The courageous man waited in the tower until the last plane carrying those fleeing from the disaster was in the air.

Just moments after the last plane took off the control tower began to crumble to the ground and Anthonius was forced to jump from a fourth story window to try and escape.

He suffered a broken leg from his jump and was rushed to hospital, but sadly died from internal injuries on Saturday morning.

AirNav Indonesia/Twitter

The Indonesian Air Navigation Twitter account has been explaining Anthonius’ story and honouring him for his bravery.

One tweet read (translated):

[Anthonius] has died while carrying out his duties as a flight navigation service personnel, Brother Anthonius Gunawan Agung, Air Traffic Controller (ATC) AirNav Indonesia Palu Branch on Saturday (29/09).

Telah wafat saat menjalankan tugasnya sebagai personel layanan navigasi penerbangan, Saudara Anthonius Gunawan Agung, Air Traffic Controller (ATC) AirNav Indonesia Cabang Palu pada Sabtu (29/09).#RIPAgung #DoaUntukSulteng#PrayforDonggala #PrayforPalu pic.twitter.com/6Wpobp3R7m

— AirNav Indonesia (@AirNav_Official) September 29, 2018

 

The thread continued:

He had not been able to get off because the plane has yet to take-off. He waited until the plane was airborne. After the aircraft was airborne, condition of the quake already getting stronger.

He finally decided to jump from the cabin tower (4th floor). As a result, he suffered a broken leg.

Soldiers carried Anthonius’ body as it was transported for burial.

#RIPAgung pic.twitter.com/hLLaLRDCCC

— AirNav Indonesia (@AirNav_Official) September 29, 2018

 

In honour of his bravery and selflessness, Anthonius’ ranking was raised two levels.

The tweets explained (translated):

AirNav Raise Rank ATC Alm. Anthony the Great Gunawan two levels as a form of appreciation outstanding dedication towards the deceased.

 

The pilot of the final plane Anthonius cleared for takeoff shared a tribute to the 21-year-old on Instagram, writing:

‘Batik 6231 runway 33 clear for take off’. This was his last transmission to me then we replied. Thank you for keeping me and guarding me till I’m safely airborne.

Then he jumped out of tower broke his leg and arm. Wing of honour for Anthonius Gunawan Agung as my guardian angel at Palu. Rest peacefully my wing man. God be with you.

Speaking at a press conference, disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 384 people were killed in the city of Palu alone.

#Indonesia Bridge At #Palu #sulawesi before and after the #earthquake and after the #tsunami that followed #PrayForDonggala #PrayForPalu #PrayForIndonesia pic.twitter.com/IXGLDCZ7h7

— Andrea Legarreta (@AndeaLegarreta) September 28, 2018

 

Speaking to reporters, he added:

The deaths are believed to be still increasing since many bodies were still under the wreckage while many have not able to be reached.

Many bodies were found along the shoreline because of the tsunami.

When the [tsunami] threat arose yesterday, people were still doing their activities on the beach and did not immediately run and they became victims.

The tsunami didn’t come by itself, it dragged cars, logs, houses, it hit everything on land.

Sending my prayers to Indonesia as strong earthquake followed by tsunami hit its https://t.co/BYtSX6gGOw least 384 people died& more to follow.I wish recovery at the earliest hours to those injured & pray for eterneal peace those who deceased! #IndonesiaEarthQuake pic.twitter.com/jKwCgftyJe

— Rinku Sheoran (@Rinku_Sheoran_) September 29, 2018

 

Rescue efforts are still underway for dozens of people trapped in the collapsed ruins of an eight-storey hotel in Palu, where voices could be heard from the wreckage.

Nugroho explained:

There are 50 people under the rubble of the building. Heavy equipment is needed for evacuation.

Our thoughts are with all of those suffering from the horrific events.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/news/air-traffic-controller-dies-helping-hundreds-escape-tsunami-hit-island/

kabby Posted on October 01, 2018 07:51

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Romantic marriage proposal up US mountain goes badly wrong

A man's dream proposal turned into more of a nightmare after he and his girlfriend got lost on a mountain.

 

Joshua Mason and Katie Davis, both from Texas, hiked up Jasper Peak in Colorado on Saturday.

 

They walked about eight miles - more than 3,000ft up the 13,000ft summit.

 

Mr Mason had been seeking a scenic and isolated spot for the couple's special moment and Ms Davis happily accepted his surprise proposal, according to CBS.

 

But it was late, getting dark and, with no clear track to follow, the couple lost their way.

 

They had no cold weather gear and only a little water, according to Boulder County Sheriff's Office.

 

When they were found by a man camping nearby, Mr Mason, 27, and Ms Davis, 28, were showing signs of altitude sickness and dehydration.

 

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The man and his friends gave them water, food and allowed them to warm up in their tent.

 

One of the women in the group, concerned about the couple's health, hiked back down from Diamond Lake to her vehicle and then drove far enough to get mobile phone reception before calling for help in the early hours of Sunday.

 

Rescuers found the campers at about 4.30am.

 

The sheriff's office said the couple were immediately moved to a lower altitude, adding: "By that point they had recovered enough that they were both able to walk down to the trail head, assisted by Rocky Mountain Rescue Group personnel.

 

More from Colorado

 

Huge hailstones kill animals in US zoo

FBI agent who dropped gun while dancing charged

Mother scares off black bear attacking daughter, five, in Colorado

Supermassive black hole 'double burps' light - then has a nap

Gay wedding cake row reaches US Supreme Court

Man arrested after three killed in Denver Walmart shooting

"Mason acknowledged that he did not allow enough time to complete the hike before dark, and they did not carry enough water or food.

 

"Deputies determined that the couple's engagement was still on, despite the memorable ordeal."

https://news.sky.com/story/romantic-marriage-proposal-up-us-mountain-goes-badly-wrong-11513908

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 22:18

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Fortune cookie's numbers help man win $1m jackpot

A US man has won $1m (£767,500) in a lottery using numbers from a fortune cookie he opened years ago.

 

Ronnie Martin, from Long Pond in Pennsylvania, is a regular lottery player but bought the lucky ticket for the New Jersey Lottery's draw on 24 July.

 

Instead of choosing birthdays or other important dates, as many players do, he placed his trust in the numbers from the fortune cookie: 1, 2, 4, 19 and 29.

 

Even though he had opened the cookie years ago, he had liked the numbers and stuck with them, hoping they would indeed bring him a fortune.

 

The day after the draw, Mr Martin stopped at the gas station where he had bought the ticket on his way to work in New Jersey.

 

When he placed the ticket under the scanner, it instructed him to go to the counter, where he was told that he had the million dollar ticket.

 

More from New Jersey

 

New Jersey could have an official life-saving microbe

Police officers investigated after woman punched in head on Jersey Shore beach

Drunk man hit with $1,635 Uber bill after 300-mile trip from West Virginia to New Jersey

'Emotional support' peacock turned away from flight

Babies born one day apart in same Burger King car park

Land Rover sinks in sand at New Jersey beach 'as driver tries to take photos'

The store worker had to scan the ticket again to prove to a disbelieving Mr Martin that he had won the million dollars (£767,500).

 

Mr Martin and his wife Shirley plan to use the money to pay off their house and bills before saving the remainder.

https://news.sky.com/story/fortune-cookies-numbers-help-man-win-1m-jackpot-11513687

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 18:14

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Malta PM at UN General Assembly: Crypto is the Inevitable Future of Money

At the UN General Assembly, Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated that blockchain technology will allow crypto to inevitably become the future of money.

 

He stated:

 

“I passionately believe technology revolutionizes and improves systems. This is why in Malta, we have launched ourselves as the blockchain island. By being the first jurisdiction worldwide to regulate this new technology that previously existed in a legal vacuum. Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies inevitable future of money. More transparent it helps filter good business from bad business.”

 

Prime Minister Muscat emphasized that recognizing the potential of the blockchain, Malta has openly embraced the crypto market and businesses within it, leading the global cryptocurrency sector with favorable regulations and practical policies.

 

Blockchain Island’s Success

Since early 2018, Malta has focused on building an ecosystem that significantly improves the businesses of crypto and blockchain-related companies.

 

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange with around 10 million users and $200 million in quarterly profit, openly praised the efforts of Malta to lead cryptocurrency regulation, relocating its headquarters to the region.

 

 

 

Changpeng Zhao, the beloved CEO of Binance better known to the cryptocurrency community as CZ, stated in March that the company is dedicated to investing in Malta  and its local cryptocurrency market to assist the growth of the local blockchain industry.

 

“After reviewing a proposal bill, we are convinced that Malta will be the next hotbed for innovative blockchain companies and a centre of the blockchain ecosystem in Europe. Binance is committed to lending our expertise to help shape a healthy regulatory framework as well as providing funds for other blockchain start-ups to grow the industry further in Malta,” said CZ.

 

Shortly after the relocation of Binance to Malta, Tron, another billion dollar company based in Beijing that oversees the development of the Tron blockchain network, disclosed its intent to establish an office in the country and invest in the local cryptocurrency market of Malta, moved by the forward-thinking approach and regulation of the government.

 

 

 

Within such a short period of time, the ambitious plan of Malta to become a leading region in the global cryptocurrency and blockchain space allowed the country’s economy to grow rapidly, solidifying the position of Malta at the forefront of blockchain development.

 

Most recently, regional governments of Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island, three major cities of South Korea, the fourth biggest economy of Asia, announced their intent to replicate the success of Malta after being inspired by its success.

 

Taking Blockchain Further

In his speech, Prime Minister Muscat further explained that the local government remains passionate about the potential of the blockchain and its ability to eliminate third party service providers to provide users complete freedom over information and money.

 

He explained that the blockchain will eventually produce solutions that can replace existing infrastructure in major industries like healthcare and charity.

 

 

 

“Blockchain can provide solutions to health care systems where patients have real ownership of their medical records. Emissions trading systems can be taken to the next level. We can help verify that humanitarian assistance is reaching its intent destination. We can make sure that nobody is deprived of their legitimate property because of compromised data,” Prime Minister Muscat noted.

https://www.ccn.com/malta-pm-at-un-general-assembly-crypto-is-the-inevitable-future-of-money/

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 18:11

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Micronesia plane crash: Man declared missing - one day after aircraft sinks

One man is missing after a plane crashed into a Pacific lagoon in Micronesia.

 

The Air Niugini Boeing 737-800 plane hit the water while trying to land at Chuuk Island airport in the Micronesia archipelago on Friday.

 

Initially, the airline had said all 47 passengers and crew had managed to evacuate the sinking aircraft safely - but on Saturday afternoon, it confirmed that one passenger was unaccounted for.

 

His age and nationality is unknown, but Air Niugini says it is working with local authorities, hospitals and investigators to try and find him.

 

 

Image:

The Air Niugini plane overshot a runway in Micronesia and ended up in the ocean

Footage has emerged of US navy sailors embarking on a rescue mission in the aftermath of the plane crash - using an inflatable boat to shuttle people ashore before the plane sank in about 100ft (30m) of water.

 

The clip shows sailors using the aircraft's right wing as a makeshift mooring for the boat. The rescuers entered the plane via its emergency door, and some of the men were wearing swimming shorts and goggles.

 

They waded through waist-deep water in the flooded cabin in search of survivors, ensuring everyone had gotten out safely.

 

After making the short journey back to the inflatable dinghy by carefully walking on the wing, just below the water's surface, one rescuer said: "They got everybody!"

 

 

Image:

Rescue operation in Micronesia around crashed plane in Pacific lagoon

Following the crash on Friday, officials said that seven people had been taken to hospital.

 

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It added that six of them, all in a stable condition, remained at the hospital on Saturday.

 

The cause of the crash and the exact sequence of events remains unclear.

 

The airline and the US navy both said the plane landed in the lagoon short of the runway.

 

 

Image:

Boats and locals come to the rescue of all passengers and crew from a plane which crashed into a Micronesia lagoon

Some witnesses thought the plane overshot the runway.

 

Bill Jaynes, one of the passengers, said the plane came in very low.

 

He said: "I thought we landed hard. Until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in.

 

"And I thought, well, this is not the way it's supposed to happen."

 

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Air Niugini is the national airline of Papua New Guinea and has operated since 1973.

 

According to data from the Aviation Safety Network, 111 people have died in crashes of Papua New Guinea-registered airlines in the past two decades, though none involved Air Niugini.

https://news.sky.com/story/micronesia-plane-crash-man-declared-missing-one-day-after-aircraft-sinks-11513407

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 14:27

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Infantino has 'support of Africa' in FIFA re-election bid

African nations would support Gianni Infantino for re-election as FIFA president, the head of the continental football federation Ahmad Ahmad said on Sunday.

 

» more FIFA President Gianni Infantino is standing for re-election next year  (AFP)

African nations would support Gianni Infantino for re-election as FIFA president, the head of the continental football federation Ahmad Ahmad said on Sunday.

 

"I feel it is my duty... to announce this support from Africa," Ahmad said at a special meeting of the Confederation of African Football Executive Committee, which Infantino attended, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

 

Infantino, a former deputy head of UEFA, was first elected in 2016 to succeed Sepp Blatter, when the scandal that engulfed the governing body of world football was at its height.

 

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The next presidential election will be held in Paris in June 2019 and Infantino has said he will stand.

 

Infantino expressed his gratitude for the African backing.

 

"It means a lot to me," said the Swiss. "Since long before my election, I had said, and since I have done everything, to make sure that the future really is Africa."

 

Infantino is believed to have supported Ahmad when he ousted the long-time CAF president Issa Hayatou in March 2017.

 

Infantino described the election as a "vote of change".

 

"It's about taking football forward, it's about making progress together," Infantino told CAF delegates, calling for "a real impact."

 

According to reports, Infantino was investigated by the FIFA ethics committee for interfering in the CAF election when he removed leading members of the committee. He later sacked the chairman and members of the ethics committee, effectively ending the probe.

 

Ahmad said that despite the failure of African nations during the World Cup in Russia, where none of the five African nations made it to the last 16, the continent needed "regular and increased" participation.

 

"Deep analysis" makes it possible to "see more clearly the various problems that undermine African football," he said.

 

Ahmad said that participation (in the World Cup) "stabilises some of the national teams of our continent... and gives them experience."

https://www.pulse.com.gh/sports/football/infantino-has-support-of-africa-in-fifa-re-election-bid-id8919724.html

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 13:34

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Cristiano Ronaldo denies rape claim as 'fake news'

Cristiano Ronaldo has dismissed as "fake news" accusations by a US woman who alleges she was raped by the Portuguese footballer in 2009.

In an Instagram video, Ronaldo said: "They want to promote [themselves] by [using] my name. It's normal."

Ronaldo's lawyers say they will sue Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, which originally reported the allegations.

The magazine wrote that Kathryn Mayorga had claimed Ronaldo, 33, raped her in a hotel room in Las Vegas.

Ms Mayorga, 34, is reported to have filed a rape report with Las Vegas police shortly after the alleged incident.

In 2010, she reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with Ronaldo involving a $375,000 (£288,000) payment for agreeing never to go public with the allegations.

Her lawyers are now seeking to declare the non-disclosure agreement void.

In a statement, Ronaldo's lawyer Christian Schertz said "the reporting in Spiegel is blatantly illegal".

He added that he had been instructed to seek compensation for "moral damages" over "probably one of the most serious violations of personal rights in recent years".

Ronaldo ready for Juventus challenge

Ronaldo 'to accept fine and suspended jail term' in tax case

Ronaldo joined Italy's Juventus from Real Madrid for £99.2m earlier this year.

The Portuguese international is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45698134

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 13:30

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Crypto Startups Move to Hong Kong Skyscrapers While Major Banks Check Out.

The real estate market of Hong Kong is said to be one of the most expensive in the world, alongside New York, London, and Sydney. Yet, crypto startups are moving into the most valuable skyscrapers in the city.

 

On August 22, CCN reported that BitMEX, a popular cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates Bitcoin and Ethereum margin trading, moved its headquarters to Cheung Kong Center’s 45th floor, renting out 20,000 square feet at $28.66 per square foot.

 

 

 

Its old headquarters were based in Victoria Harbor, a region within Hong Kong that is known for expensive residential properties. In Victoria Harbor, BitMEX paid around $3.18 per square foot and in Cheung Kong Center, BitMEX is paying $573,200 per month, at a rate of $28.66 per square foot.

 

BitMEX will operate its office in the most valuable skyscraper with Hong Kong alongside major financial institutions such as Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Bloomberg LP, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.

 

Banks are Moving Out of Skyscrapers

According to a report released by SCMP, a mainstream media outlet in Hong Kong, even major banks like Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas have started to explore cheaper locations for their offices in Hong Kong due to rising rental fees.

 

Annual office rental costs in Hong Kong Central average around US$307 per square foot a year, a rate that easily surpasses London’s West End and Beijing’s Finance Street.

 

 

 

BitMEX and Diginex Global, two crypto startups based in Hong Kong, are renting out 72,000 square feet in total, paying around $1.3 million per month.

 

“Blockchain companies show no signs of slowing their expansion in Hong Kong. These firms are leasing space in top-tier office buildings to attract and retain talent.” Philip Pang, an associate director of office services at Colliers,  told SCMP.

 

The local publication reported that Goldman Sachs is relocating from Hong Kong Central to Causeway Bay in the next few months to save 30 percent on rent. BNP Paribas has also relocated its office to Swire Properties’ Taikoo Place.

 

While JPMorgan has leased the Quayside in Kwun Tong near Victoria Harbor, the cost of rent comes nowhere close to the rent BitMEX will be paying throughout the years to come.

 

Landlords Not Confident in Crypto

Over the past nine months, despite the 80 percent drop in the valuation of the crypto market, cryptocurrency-related businesses have prospered. Specifically, exchanges have continued to generate large revenues.

 

However, local publications have reported that Cheung Kong Center demanded BitMEX to pay a year’s rent upfront, which is estimated to be around $6.8 million, demonstrating the lack of confidence in crypto-related businesses by major landlords in the Hong Kong real estate market.

 

 

 

“It’s pretty common for landlords to ask for larger deposits from tenants with weaker covenant strength. Landlords are always open to taking on new tenants, it’s just a matter of balancing rent against flight risk,” said Denis Ma, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

 

With the one year’s rent at Cheung Kong Center, it is possible to purchase multiple story buildings in many major cities like Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Min, Tokyo, and Busan.

https://www.ccn.com/crypto-startups-move-to-hong-kong-skyscrapers-while-major-banks-check-out/

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 29, 2018 14:53

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Roberto Firmino: Steven Gerrard says forward is 'the key' to Liverpool

Brazil forward Roberto Firmino is "the key" to Liverpool's "best squad for a very long time", says former captain Steven Gerrard.

Jurgen Klopp's side are top of the Premier League after winning all six of their top-flight games this season.

Firmino, 26, has two goals and two assists in the league, and also scored the winner against Paris St-Germain in the Champions League.

"Firmino is an absolute genius when you watch him close up," said Gerrard.

"He's as interested in setting up a goal as scoring one."

Rangers manager Gerrard acknowledged Liverpool's other frontline forwards - Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane - are vital to their success but added: "The key is Firmino."

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, he added: "They've got decent back-up - if they were to lose Salah or Mane, Daniel Sturridge seems to be in good shape and scoring goals and then they've got Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke."

Liverpool signed Firmino from Hoffenheim in 2015, shortly after Gerrard's final season as a Reds player. The former England midfielder returned to Anfield as a youth coach until his move to Ibrox in May.

"Every time I received the ball he was always available and looking for other players - he's a dream to play with," said Gerrard.

Gerrard won the Champions League, the Uefa Cup, two FA Cups and three League Cups during his 17 seasons at Anfield but said his Liverpool sides "were short in certain positions" in failing to win the Premier League title.

"I look at Liverpool now and can't find any weaknesses when they're at full strength," he said.

"This is a lot stronger than the team I played in - it's Liverpool's best squad for a very long time.

"The only thing they haven't got going for them is the experience. As someone who went very close, we lacked that experience."

'Milner is in the form of his life'

Gerrard also said the standard of James Milner's performances this season has given summer signings Naby Keita and Fabinho the time to "find their feet" in Liverpool's midfield.

"Milner is causing them selection problems. He's in the form of his life," he said.

"On current form he is the first name on the teamsheet."

And Gerrard added that goalkeeper Alisson, who joined from Roma this summer in a deal worth up to a reported £66.8m, and centre-back Virgil van Dijk, a £75m signing from Southampton in January, have "made a big difference".

"Liverpool have looked a different animal since Van Dijk came in and Alisson brings more composure and trust," he said.

"In time that'll be the big difference - the front three will always score goals and the midfielders back them up too - but it's all been about trying to improve defensively and they're very close."

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/45687533

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 07:23

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Brazil candidate says he will only accept results if he wins

SAO PAULO –  Brazil's far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro said Friday he would only accept the result of next month's election if he wins, suggesting that any victory by a rival would be through fraud.

Bolsonaro, a retired army captain who leads polls ahead of the Oct. 7 vote, did not provide any evidence that there will be vote fraud, but he said he doesn't trust Brazil's top electoral court.

"From what I see in the streets, I won't accept any result that is not my election," the candidate told TV Band.

 

Bolsonaro, who was hospitalized on Sept. 6 after being stabbed at a campaign event, has accused the rival Workers' Party of having fraud as its plan B in the elections.

His comments about vote fraud have been rejected by Brazil's electoral court and the Organization of American States, which is overseeing the elections.

If no one candidate wins a majority of the vote in the first round, a runoff between the two top vote-getters will be held on Oct. 28.

While Bolsonaro leads heading into the first round, several recent polls suggest he would lose a runoff to former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad, who is currently second in the race.

The conservative candidate was expected to be released from hospital on Friday, but his departure was delayed because of fever and a minor infection.

Instead, he spent most of his day denying a report in the magazine Veja in which an ex-wife accused him of fraud, tax evasion and stealing money she kept in a bank safe in Rio de Janeiro. His campaign pledged to take the magazine to court because of the report.

Bolsonaro's ex-wife Ana Cristina Valle said she was "hot headed" when she made the accusations. She is currently running for Congress using her ex-husband's surname.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/09/28/brazil-candidate-says-will-only-accept-results-if-wins.html

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 07:17

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Mickey Mouse expelled from Egypt schools

Children in a province north of Cairo may face the new school year without familiar Disney characters to cheer them up, it's reported.

The governor of Qalyubia has decreed that cartoon images of Mickey Mouse and his friends on the walls of pre-schools must be replaced by "military heroes", the Youm7 news site reports.

"We need to replace pictures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck with images of famous Egyptians and military martyrs, so that children will look up to them as role models. These characters are US-made, whereas we have our own noble figures who can deepen children's patriotism and love of country," Alaa Abdul-Halim Mohammed Marzouk told reporters.

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A Ministry of Education official in Qalyubia told Youm7 that a committee would see how the governor's orders should be implemented across the whole province.

The Egyptian government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi - a former general - is keen to raise the profile of the military in all spheres of public life, in particular education.

Soldiers killed in clashes with Islamist extremists in the Sinai Peninsula are lauded as "martyrs" in the official media, and their families are honoured at official ceremonies.

'Do our children deserve this?'

But Governor Marzouk's decree has come in for mockery on social media, with many users arguing that the authorities need to focus more on crammed classrooms and old-fashioned teaching methods.

Image copyrightTWITTER/YOUM7

Image captionYoum7 tweeted Disney images in a typical Qalyubia kindergarten

"I don't know what to say. I learned to read before going to school because of the Mickey magazine, which I still read now," tweeted one users, referring to a comic that puts Disney characters in an Egyptian setting.

Journalist Mohamed Ragab wrote "Somebody should tell His Highness the Governor that his decision has turned him into a cartoon character."

Some objected to "hanging photos of the dead on the school walls", asking "what have our children done to deserve this?"

But a few people did applaud the initiative. "It's good that we teach our children about the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the people of Egypt. My regards to the governor of Qalyubia," was one online comment.

Disney characters may strike a particular raw nerve with the Egyptian authorities, London's Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site reports. A Facebook user was sentenced to three years in jail in 2015 for posting a photoshopped image of President Sisi with Mickey Mouse ears.

Reporting by Rana Taha and Martin Morgan

Next story: Theatre poster upsets Russian bureaucrats

Use #NewsfromElsewhere to stay up-to-date with our reports via Twitter.

Related Topics

https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-45671180

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:58

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Archaeologists unearth Roman road in Netherlands

Archaeologists in the Netherlands have discovered a 2,000-year-old stretch of Roman road and the remains of a Roman village at the town of Katwijk, which once marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire.

The road is 125 metres (410 ft) long and lies close to a busy highway in the Valkenburg suburb. The Roman village comes complete with a canal and burial ground, the Omroep West regional broadcaster reports.

South Holland Province asked archaeologists to examine the whole area where the new RijnlandRoute bypass is to run, aware of the local Roman legacy and anxious to preserve any finds.

The Emperor Claudius built the city of Lugdunum Batavorum at the mouth of the Old Rhine River, which still flows through Katwijk, and ships would sail from there for Britain. But no one expected to find such well-preserved remains in Katwijk itself.

'Great surprise'

"The extent to which the Roman road is complete is a great surprise", the province says on its official website.

Even the tall oak piles that stood alongside the road to stop it from subsiding are in remarkably good condition. Archaeologists reckon the road was built in about the year 125 CE, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian.

Image copyrightPROVINCIE ZUID-HOLLAND

Image captionRoman building material with paint and plaster intact

The dig also uncovered pottery, leather footwear, coins, a fish trap and other household objects, but the rarest find is a piece of building material with fragments of plaster and paint still intact after two millennia.

The excavation will take another few weeks, and the archaeologists should complete their study of the site by end of the year. The public will be allowed to visit the dig on 13 October - Archaeology Day in the Netherlands.

World Heritage

Work on the new road is due to start in the second half of 2019 but will not disturb the site, the provincial authorities promise. The most important finds from the dig will go on display at the RijnlandRoute's information centre, and this may not be the end of the story.

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The excavations are part of the Lower German Limes - the old northern border of the Roman Empire - which the Netherlands has nominated for special UN international status, the Rheinische Post reported earlier in the year.

If the application is successful, the old boundary that runs from Bad Breisig in Germany to Katwijk - including the Roman road - will become a World Heritage Site. The UN's World Heritage Committee is to consider the bid in 2021.

Image copyrightPROVINCIE ZUID-HOLLAND

Image captionChief archaeologist Jeroen Loopik with an oak pile that stopped the road from subsiding

Reporting by Martin Morgan

Next story: Mickey Mouse expelled from Egypt schools

Use #NewsfromElsewhere to stay up-to-date with our reports via Twitter.

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https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-45678860

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:57

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'It's so sad about Tony' - the cyclist who disappeared

A cyclist who vanished in the Highlands a year ago was a "good, decent man", according to a former naval colleague.

Tony Parsons, 64, from Tillicoultry, was last seen at about 23:30 on 29 September at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.

He then headed south on the A82 towards Tyndrum on his charity ride from Fort William to his Clackmannanshire home - when he disappeared without trace.

John Pritchard paid tribute to his friend as police issued a fresh appeal for information to solve the mystery.

Mr Pritchard, 62, served on a Polaris submarine with Mr Parsons - who was then a chief petty officer - in the 1980s.

Image copyrightPOLICE SCOTLAND

Image captionIt is exactly a year ago since Tony Parsons was last seen

'Solid guy'

In later years they ended up living in the same village and joined the same rugby club.

The retired offshore worker, also from Tillicoultry, told the BBC Scotland news website: "I've known Tony for over 30 years.

"We were in the Navy together - we then lived in the same area and ended up in the same rugby club.

"He was a pretty solid guy - he was a good guy who would do you a favour any time he could. If he could help you he would.

"He was just a good, decent man."

Image copyrightPOLICE SCOTLAND

Image captionTony Parsons cycled through Glencoe village and was last seen at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel

He added: "He loved his rugby - he played, he refereed, he coached, he was heavily involved in rugby in the village.

"It doesn't surprise me that he was doing this ride for charity, that was Tony.

"It's incredibly sad and disappointing that nobody has either seen anything, or if they have they have never come forward to say they've seen anything."

The grandfather had been treated for cancer in the past and was undertaking the 104-mile (167km) ride for a charity.

Extensive searches of the area - close to the West Highland Way - were made by coastguard and mountain rescue teams in the weeks after his disappearance.

Police said there had been nothing to suggest anything suspicious had happened to him.

Image copyrightJOHN PRITCHARD

Image captionJohn Pritchard has known Tony for more than 30 years

Ch Insp Drew Sinclair said: "We have not uncovered any evidence at all of any criminality through the extensive searches and inquiries we have conducted.

"It still remains a missing persons inquiry at the moment.

"We have traced his movements from Fort William, through to Glen Coe, through to the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, and then an unconfirmed sighting about a half mile south of the hotel from another lorry driver.

"From there, there's been absolutely no confirmed sightings of Tony or the bike, which a year on, is unusual."

Police are appealing for visitors to the area over the summer, and those currently in the area, to come forward with any information that might help.

Yellow bike

Mr Parsons left an address in Ross Court, Tillicoultry, at about 09:30 on 29 September and caught a train to Fort William, leaving the town on his bike at about 16:10.

He passed through Glencoe village at about 18:00.

Police have released video footage taken from Claymore Filling Station of him cycling through the village.

The cyclist is 5ft 9in tall, of stocky build, with short hair, a moustache and glasses.

He has a tattoo of an anchor on his upper right arm and a tattoo of an eagle on his left.

He was last seen wearing a distinctive red waterproof jacket.

Image copyrightGOOGLE

Image captionMr Parsons was heading south on the A82 towards Tyndrum when he was last seen

Earlier, he was seen wearing a blue, long-sleeved cycling top, a high-viz vest, fingerless gloves, beige combat trousers, a silver and grey cycling helmet and walking boots.

He was carrying a silver and blue backpack and had a yellow-framed bike with black handlebars.

Ch Insp Sinclair said the family had suffered since Mr Parsons disappeared. He is married with two grown-up children and two grandchildren.

The officer said: "It has been an agonising year for his family, who have had to get through Christmas, New Year, birthdays and anniversaries without answers about where their husband, dad and grandfather is.

"Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time, and I want to thank the local communities for their co-operation and support throughout our inquiries."

He added: "Tony was last seen wearing cycling gear and the yellow-framed bike he was riding has not yet been found.

"I would appeal to anyone who may have seen a piece of clothing similar to that which Tony was wearing, or who could have found the bike, to please get in touch immediately."

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https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-45663082

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:36

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Facebook security breach: Up to 50m accounts attacked

Facebook says almost 50 million of its users were left exposed by a security flaw.

The company said attackers were able to exploit a vulnerability in a feature known as “View As” to gain control of people's accounts.

The breach was discovered on Tuesday, Facebook said, and it has informed police.

Users that had potentially been affected were prompted to re-log-in on Friday.

The flaw has been fixed, wrote the firm’s vice-president of product management, Guy Rosen, adding all affected accounts had been reset, as well as another 40 million "as a precautionary step".

Facebook - which saw its share price drop more than 3% on Friday - has more than two billion active monthly users.

The company has confirmed to reporters that the breach would allow hackers to log in to other accounts that use Facebook's system, of which there are many.

This means other major sites, such as AirBnB and Tinder, may also be affected.

Who has been affected?

The firm would not say where in the world the 50 million users are, but it has informed Irish data regulators, where Facebook's European subsidiary is based.

The company said the users prompted to log-in again did not have to change their passwords.

"Since we’ve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed. We also don’t know who’s behind these attacks or where they’re based. “

He added: "People’s privacy and security is incredibly important, and we’re sorry this happened."

The company has confirmed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and its chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were among the 50 million accounts affected.

What is 'View As'?

Facebook's "View As" function is a privacy feature that allows people to see what their own profile looks to other users, making it clear what information is viewable to their friends, friends of friends, or the public.

Attackers found multiple bugs in this feature that "allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens, which they could then use to take over people's accounts", Mr Rosen explained.

"Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don't need to re-enter their password every time they use the app," he added.

What does this mean for Facebook?

The breach comes at a time when the firm is struggling to convince lawmakers in the US and beyond, that it is capable of protecting user data.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on a conference call on Friday that the firm took security seriously, in the face of what he said were constant attacks by bad actors.

But Jeff Pollard, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester, said the fact Facebook held so much data meant it should be prepared for such attacks.

"Attackers go where the data is, and that has made Facebook an obvious target," he said. "The main concern here is that one feature of the platform allowed attackers to harvest the data of tens of millions of users.

"This indicates that Facebook needs to make limiting access to data a priority for users, APIs, and features."

When asked by the BBC, Facebook was unable to say if the investigation would look into why the bugs were missed, or if anyone at the company would be held accountable for the breach.


Has your Facebook account been affected? You can share your experience by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45686890

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:16

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I was on a diet for 18 years. Here's what I learned...

Diet culture is dead. Long live diet culture

Alexandra Jones28 September 2018

Health & WellbeingBody Image

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I’ve been on a diet since I was 12. I was fat, with a round face and soft, thick thighs which spread and spilled over the sides of chairs when I sat down. From the moment I became fully aware of it, my body – like most fat bodies at the time – was a problem.

It was the Nineties and my mum, very much a woman of the time, was well-versed in diets; we had bookshelves heaving with guides on everything from Slimming World to Atkins, Beverly Hills and cabbage soup. Thinness seemed to me a prerequisite of womanhood. And back then, fat seemed a simple problem to solve. You went on a diet, you controlled your appetite, you ate less, did some sit-ups and you got thin. Simple!

Somewhere between then and now, that idea has become deeply unfashionable. No one ‘diets’ anymore. Dieting is not cool. Instead, we get #strongnotskinny, do a detox or go 'plant-based'. We eat clean, get lean and follow ancient Ayurvedic principleswhich realign our chakras (and give us, like, amazing skin). Even Weight Watchers, once a regimented weight-loss programme, has rebranded. The company will now be called WW, and feature the very millennial-friendly tagline 'Wellness that Works'.

“This is just a next step, a point of validation,” said the company’s CEO, Mindy Grossman. “Like any brand we have to stay relevant...” Which seems to mean eschewing ‘weight loss’ in favour of the more nebulous concept of 'wellness'.

As she told the TODAY show, WW will aim to be the “global marque of wellness for everyone, beyond just weight...”

TODAY?@TODAYshow

A big announcement from Weight Watchers… the company’s CEO and President @mindygrossman announces they will be changing their name and explains why.

05:27 - 24 Sep 2018

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It’s a savvy move; wellness, as an industry, has a global worth of $3.7 trillion (£2.8 trillion). 

It’s hard to say exactly how ‘dieting’ fell out of fashion. As a new generation - my generation - grew up, they began to reject the exploitative, cruel and, often, anti-feminist chatter that pumped out of the industry. We began to reject thinness as the only beauty ideal. From the mid-Noughties onward, we stopped accepting size zero as the norm, and scientists made global headlines by debunking the idea that dieting would lead to sustainable weight-loss. The culmination of all this progress, it would seem, came just a few weeks ago when plus-sized model Tess Holliday graced the cover of a glossy magazine. 

 

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On the surface, it looks like progress. But the torrent of fat-phobic comments the cover elicited hints at our society's deep-rooted and persistent disdain for fat bodies. More on this later.

When I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting, aged 16 (2004), all I had wanted was to be thin. I was obese, according to my BMI (at 5 foot 5 inches, I weighed around 14st) but I didn’t care about ‘health’, or how my body felt on the inside. I just wanted the big reveal, like in films, where a curtain would be pulled back and I’d be there in my new – thin, beautiful, acceptable – body.

In Weight Watchers, each food is assigned a number of points, and you ‘spend’ those points throughout the day. In practical terms, totting-up the points and attending weekly weigh-ins with a group of fellow dieters taught me that eating a family-sized pasta bake and two Mars Bars for dinner was somewhat excessive. Especially for a person who spent eight hours a day sitting down (as I told my PE teacher, “I don’t run unless I’m being chased”). I’d been wearing adult-size 14 and 16 clothes since I was a child and had spent my teen years crashing through weird diets. As the number on the scales went down, I felt in control for the first time in my life. I lost about two stone in total and for a while, I felt like I’d ‘cracked’ it. 

In the 10 years that followed, I gained that weight back (and an additional 3lbs), then lost most of it again through a strict programme of 'super-healthy' sugar and refined-carb-free 'clean eating'. Of course, I spectacularly fell off that bandwagon too, and in the process became ever more obsessed with the food I was putting into my body. In 2015, aged 27, I was thinner by about 3 stone than I had been at 16, but by this point, I was convinced that I was not thin enough.

I was still chasing the ‘reveal’ when I signed up to an online 90-day ‘transformation’ programme run by Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach. At the time he was a personal trainer with a moderate online following. And he promised results.

The clean eating revolution was at its height, and rather than hate our bodies, we were hating the toxic ingredients that appeared in almost every food. Toxic sugar, toxic gluten, toxic refined rubbish; reports (that turned out to be false) were coming out of Australia that one girl had helped cured her brain cancer by cutting it all out. And so many of us were following suit.

BBC THREE / DAVID WELLER

The conversation around food had shifted; ‘clean’ was not a diet, but a lifestyle choice, and that choice had more to do with ‘health’ than weight or looks. Of course, the desire for ‘thinness’ hadn’t gone away, but like everyone else, I’d learned to talk about it in terms that were more in keeping with the time.

When I stumbled across this 'transformation' plan, I felt a small thrill of excitement. The marketing, those bleary before/after shots, was so compelling; I could sit for hours and scroll through pictures of semi-nude bodies – bigger on the left, smaller on the right. Their visible progress was accompanied by earnest testimonials (complete with ecstatic emojis and misspellings) about how much better they felt, how much stronger and healthier. These were people just like me, I thought. And they’d been liberated from their unhealthy bodies by Joe Wicks’ plan.

I had to try. I signed up and paid my money (which at that time was the ruinous sum of £149), then did the prerequisite ‘before’ photo, standing in the mirror in my sports bra and pants. Like that first Weight Watchers meeting, it felt like I was taking a positive step. I weighed and measured myself, then put the numbers into the online platform. When phase one of the plan pinged into my inbox, I sat down to read through the reams of information about calories and macro-nutrients. I was supposed to eat tonnes of protein and more calories; everything was prescribed – from the first pre-workout vitamin drink in the morning, to the final, single, plain boiled egg at night.

What’s funny is that I was convinced by then that dieting and body fascism were over. This new way of eating, and of working out, which focused on ‘health’, ‘getting lean’, ‘eating whole foods’ and ‘staying strong’, seemed somehow friendlier and more holistic than the years of Slimming World and cabbage soup and Atkins that my mum had endured. And that friendly veneer has proved lucrative. Three years later, in 2018, Joe Wicks is worth an estimated £14.5 million

“Ostensibly, [diet culture] is on the retreat,” psychotherapist and author Dr Susie Orbach tells me. She’s been investigating the mental-health impact of diets since her bestselling book Fat is a Feminist Issue published 40 years ago, in 1978. “Because we feel a lot of shame and embarrassment around dieting. But companies are still making huge sums of money by telling us that our bodies are a problem; and offering us solutions in the form of diets, pills and powders.”

BBC THREE / DAVID WELLER

The difference, Dr Orbach points out, between 1978 and now, is the words that we use to describe our diets. “Instead of saying ‘this is going to make me thin,’ the language takes on an almost moral quality. We talk about purity, about ‘healthy,’ ‘natural’ and ‘clean’ foods. We use euphemisms (like saying we’re undertaking a ‘transformation’) to signify that we’re going on a diet. But the effect, and the impact on us, is much the same.”

In fact, intensively obsessing over what we eat for ‘health reasons’ has become such a common phenomenon that it has been given a name: ‘orthorexia'. As dietitian Emer Delaney told the BBC: “It tends to start out as a true intention to eat healthy foods, but is then taken to the extreme... It also includes underlying motivations, such as the compulsion for complete control, the desire to be thin, improving self-esteem and using food to create an identity.”

My Body Coach ‘transformation’ went about as well as my Weight Watchers one had. That is, not very well at all. Any weight I did lose I gained back even more quickly than I had after Weight Watchers. I salute all the people who manage to make it work, but I found the sheer amount of food – and the hours of food prep – prohibitive.

Each Sunday, I’d spend hours packing kilos of boiled mince meat into plastic boxes and boiling dozens of eggs. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, but that was only ever half a week's worth. Food prep became the main event of my Wednesday and Thursday evenings too. I thought about food constantly: about which foods were 'ok,' about whether I was hitting all the right targets. 

If I was out, with no food packed, I’d panic about what I was going to eat. Better to not go out for a while, I decided. I realised enough was enough when I found myself insisting that I bring my own food to a friend's house for dinner. She made paella for everyone else; I microwaved myself a watery cashew curry. "So do you think it's working?" she asked encouragingly. I realised that even if it was, it wasn't worth the pain.

But after weeks of the plan, and of eating to the exacting standards that it demands, when I tried to stop, I also realised that I had lost all sense of when and what I should eat.

BBC THREE / DAVID WELLER

As Dr Orbach explains, this is one of the fundamental truths about all diets – or, indeed, ‘transformation’ plans. “The more we rely on advice from others, the more we lose touch with our own appetite and eating instincts. Then it becomes a cycle. Our bodies no longer know how to regulate their own mealtimes. We don’t get the normal hunger signals or fullness signals. And we don’t trust them when we do.” Basically, we become reliant on diets, and dieting becomes another coded habit we can’t quite kick.

From this complicated mindset – where we search for someone to tell us how to eat and what to eat, but at the same time reject the idea of diets as faddy and impossible to maintain – new online industries have emerged. Health and fitness influencers. #TransformationTuesday. Accounts dedicated to vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, lacto-free cooking. They all offer up an example for us to follow. Just don’t call it a diet.

In that same vein, ‘What I eat in day’ videos have mushroomed out of the vlogosphere over the past five years, a wildly popular sub-genre that seems, on the surface, innocuous enough.

They follow a pattern: on screen the person, often a model or fitness professional, looks fresh. They have scrubbed, dewy skin and a rosy flush which spreads across the apples of their cheeks. “I’m going to show you what I eat in a day…” they beam. “This is a very requested subject,” they glance down, almost bashful. “A lot of people have been asking me about my diet. But I wouldn’t even call it a diet, it’s more a lifestyle. I really just enjoy healthy eating.”

These videos are nice to watch. Highly stylised, hosted by friendly, beautiful people, talking directly to camera – directly to us – about a topic we’re all, despite our public protestations, quite obviously obsessed with. “It’s understandable in a way,” agrees dietician Rosie Saunt. She recently posted a thread on Twitter exploring why these videos are damaging...

Rosie Saunt RD@rosie_saunt

I’m fed up of these ‘What I Eat in a Day’ style videos that are extremely popular on YouTube. 1/9

12:30 - 23 Aug 2018

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As she tells me, “It’s really not cool to say that you’re on a diet anymore. So for many people, these videos represent another avenue to becoming thin; they aren’t diets in the traditional sense. But the subtext is, ‘If you eat like me, you’ll look like me,’ so I’ll bet plenty of the people who watch them go away and copy what they see. It can easily lead to obsessive or disordered thoughts about food.”

Of course, it’s not like ‘what I eat in a day’ has never existed before; we’ve been fetishizing the diets of celebrities in magazines for years. What’s different, as Dr Orbach explains, is just the language we’re using to do the fetishizing. We now call it ‘health'. But as Rosie points out, ‘healthy’ has become just a euphemism for 'thin'.

"Basically, when we use the word ‘healthy,’ we’re no longer really talking about good health behaviours. We’re generally referring to a certain body type; and that body type is thin and toned.” What’s more, she continues, "the link between ‘health’ and ‘diet’ is being used to promote toxic and fat-phobic attitudes."

It’s a fact that became particularly apparent when Cosmopolitan recently put model Tess Holliday on its October cover.

Immediately the magazine faced a backlash - particularly from broadcaster and social media provocateur Piers Morgan.

“As Britain battles an ever-worsening obesity crisis, this is the new cover of Cosmo. Apparently we’re supposed to view it as a ‘huge step forward for body positivity.’ What a load of old baloney. This cover is just as dangerous & misguided as celebrating size zero models,” he wrote on Instagram. The danger, he contended, rested on the fact that Holliday’s ‘unhealthy’ body size was being celebrated.

As dietician Helen West pointed out in a Twitter thread that got over 1,000 retweets, despite what we might believe, a person’s health status and their body size are not necessarily related.

View image on Twitter

Helen West RD@HelenlouWest

So, here's a little thread for anybody who’s feeling uncomfortable with the @Tess_Holliday Cosmo Cover. Its about health, weight, fat phobia, and weight bias. So go grab yourself a cuppa @piersmorgan and have a read - you never know, you might learn something 1/

04:33 - 4 Sep 2018

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“I was expecting some push-back to my Tweets,” she tells me. “But the reaction was very mixed and very polarised.”

As she explains, “When you’re thinking about body weight, it’s true that from a medical perspective, overweight bodies have a higher risk of some diseases. But we’re often talking about relative risk, which means compared to a lower-weight person, not absolute risk. You cannot know how healthy someone is just by looking at them. You don’t know whether they move every day, whether they eat the right foods, whether they smoke. These are all bigger predictors of someone’s overall health than their body size.” 

Our culture promotes the false assumption that everyone can be thin if they try hard enough. It’s an assumption that I’ve lived with throughout my life. “But that’s just not the case," Helen says. "And then we attack people because their fat makes them ‘unhealthy,’ but that’s not necessarily the case either. We cannot know a person’s health status. It’s just fat-phobia, pure and simple.”

Genetics, your aerobic capabilities and whether you spend all day sitting down are all better signifiers of internal health than what you look like on the outside. This, out of all of them, feels to me like the only truly radical idea to come out of any modern conversation about diet, bodyweight and health.

Helen, Rosie and Dr Orbach all argue that we need to take a more measured approach towards our bodies and our diets alike - to turn away from the #wellness industry and instead focus on our daily behaviours: “We should try and move every day – anything we can manage, count steps, go for a run, just as long as we’re moving – and eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables,” says Rosie. “Equally, though, we should consider our mentality around food.” She argues that restricting our eating and then feeling guilty or ashamed when we binge (“which will happen if you get into that cycle of restriction”), will only cause more damage. “We need to feel free to enjoy the food we have.”

And, as Helen adds, “People who accept their bodies are more likely to take care of themselves. People who feel shame and stigma are more likely to engage in risky behaviours like excessive smoking, eating and drinking.”

I’ve been on a diet since I was 12. Which is funny and tragic because I now live in a body that most people would consider ‘normal'. It is normal. I weigh 10st, I wear size 10-12 clothes, my BMI is 23.

 

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I’m probably the thinnest I’ve ever been. And ironically, the weight came off not at times when I was obsessing over what I was eating, but at times when I became lost in my work, or in a relationship, and just stopped thinking about it. Still, I’d love to say that this means I’m now at peace - that all that time fretting about how I look has culminated in some big epiphany. But that’s not really the case. The fact is, spending years being laser-focused on what you eat, how your body looks, on the numbers on the scales and the size of your clothes, will permanently impact your relationship with your body. I will always feel like it needs work.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/6b0548de-903f-4b15-8dd8-5c11bed79efc

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:10

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Malia Obama appears in New Dakotas' music video

America's former first daughter has stepped back into the limelight - with a cameo in a music video.

A beanie-clad Malia Obama has been spotted lip-syncing and apparently playing the harmonica in the latest offering by Boston's The New Dakotas.

Never heard of them? You're not alone.

Their songs have yet to make much of a splash on music app Spotify, where the most popular got just more than 2,000 listens. Their last video, meanwhile, got 1,500 views on video site YouTube.

The one featuring Barack Obama's oldest daughter - entitled Walking on Air - has racked more than four times as many in a week.

According to US website The Hill, the band attend Harvard University, which is where Miss Obama is currently in her second year.

The music video appearance is unusual - as a general rule, Miss Obama and her younger sister Sasha have kept a low profile, despite their father being one of the most famous men on the planet.

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seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:05

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Toronto police have opened an official investigation after the administrators of a Canadian sperm bank have accused a former employee of replacing hundreds of sperm donors’ specimens with his own.

 

Robert Casgrain, 58, who has worked as a janitor at the Toronto-based fertility clinic since 1996, is suspected by administrators of switching hundreds of semen specimens with his own sperm over a 20 year period.

Administrators claim in the official police report that they estimate Casgrain could potentially be the father to over 22,000 children over a period stretching two decades.

Although Robert Casgrain’s motives for replacing the sperm donors’ samples with his own are not clear at the moment, legal experts believe these revelations could unleash a potential class-action lawsuit against the former janitor.

“We cannot confirm precisely how many births have resulted from Robert Casgrain’s manipulations with registered sperm donor specimens before proper DNA analysis is performed” warned Detective Sergeant Rod Patterson of the Toronto Police Service.

Detective Sergeant Rod Patterson of the Toronto Police Service warned that “even though the precise numbers are not known”, Robert Casgrain’s sperm “may have given birth to thousands of children over a 20 year period” he said during a press conference.

“He kept bragging that half of the clinic’s babies were his,” one former coworker told reporters when reached by phone.

Administrators at the fertility clinic were warned by employees of Casgrain’s erratic behavior and installed hidden cameras in the embryology laboratory last month before eventually contacting the police.

According to one employee who witnessed the surveillance footage, Casgrain is seen emptying the vials of semen into a sink and filling one up with his own sperm while masturbating to pornographic material.

Although it is impossible at the moment to know how many births resulted of Robert Casgrain’s manipulations at the embryology laboratory, DNA tests performed on clinical samples over the next year should authenticate which specimens are from Casgrain.

Legal experts believe Casgrain could face a sentence as low as 18 months and up to three to five years in prison

https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/janitor-who-worked-at-sperm-bank-suspected-of-fathering-20000-children-over-20-year-period/according to current Canadian laws.

kabby Posted on September 28, 2018 17:10

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Eerie skull-shaped asteroid will zoom past Earth just after Halloween

An asteroid that, in certain light conditions, resembles a human skull, will fly past Earth just after Halloween.

The space rock’s official title is Asteroid 2015 TB145 and is a so-called “dead comet” that has lost most of its ice and gases. Appropriately for its ghoulish appearance, the asteroid first flew past Earth on Halloween 2015, prompting NASA to call it “The Great Pumpkin.”

In 2015, the asteroid flew past Earth at a distance of just 300,000 miles, Space.com reports. For comparison, the average distance between Earth and the Moon is 238,855 miles.

ASTEROID ROVERS SEND BACK STUNNING NEW PICTURES OF SPACE ROCK'S SURFACE

First discovered on Oct. 10, 2015 by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS-1 (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System), the “Halloween asteroid” is set to make another flyby in November, researchers say. However, it will be nowhere near as close to our planet this time.

NASA?@NASA

Dead comet that will safely zip by Earth on Oct 31 looks eerie like a skull: http://go.nasa.gov/1irRW87  #HappyHalloween

11:42 PM - Oct 30, 2015

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Asteroid 2015 TB145 will zoom past at 105 times the average lunar distance, SINC reports, citing a research study released last year.

The space rock's diameter measures between 2,050 feet and 2,297 feet, according to scientists.

PLUTO SHOULD BE A PLANET AGAIN, RESEARCHERS ARGUE

Last year, a skyscraper-sized asteroid named (441987) 2010 NY65 flew past Earth at about eight times the distance between Earth and the moon. Also in 2017, asteroid Florence, a massive 2.7-mile long space rock, passed by Earth at 18 lunar distances.

In 2016, NASA opened a new office to track asteroids and comets that come too close to Earth. The Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) formalizes the agency’s existing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth Objects, known as NEOs.

This week, Japan’s space agency released stunning new photos and video of a distant asteroid’s rocky surface that were captured by two small rovers

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/09/28/eerie-skull-shaped-asteroid-will-zoom-past-earth-just-after-halloween.html

khojho Posted on September 28, 2018 17:10

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Babysitter transported to hospital after inserting a baby in her vagina

 

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Cincinnati, Ohio | A 31-year old woman was admitted to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center yesterday after the 14-month old toddler she was babysitting got stuck in her vaginal cavity.

Latifah Brown called 911 around 9:30 PM last night, reporting that she had a baby stuck in her vagina.

The operator first assumed that she was giving birth at home and dispatched an ambulance to the site.

The paramedics had quite a surprise when they arrived on the site and saw what was actually happening.

One of the paramedics, Brian Whitmore, related the incident in an interview with WBNS-10 TV.

“The little boy wore a diaper and pyjamas, but he had his legs and abdomen stuck in the woman’s vagina.”

The paramedics spent more than an hour on the site trying to release the child from his difficult position but were unable to get the toddler out.

“I don’t know how she got the child in there! We were both pulling as strong as we could and he wouldn’t come out.”

Ms. Brown and the child were finally transported to the hospital, where doctors were able to separate them after a delicate operation.

The young boy suffers from a dislocated hip, but doctors don’t think he will suffer any sequelae from the incident.

The paramedic, Ryan Whitmore, says he was shocked when he arrived on the scene and saw the fully dressed toddler caught in the woman’s vagina.

The babysitter was interrogated by police and confessed to deliberately inserting the child in her vaginal cavity.

She explained that she was feeling depressed after her doctor told her she could never have children and wanted to know how it felt to give birth.

Ms. Brown now faces a total of 11 criminal charges, including aggravated child neglect causing bodily harm, and could spend up to 65 years in prison.

Her lawyer has asked for a psychiatric evaluation, claiming that she isn’t fit to stand trial.

Depending on the results of the evaluation, her trial could begin in June.

https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/babysitter-transported-to-hospital-after-inserting-a-baby-in-her-vagina/

kabby Posted on September 28, 2018 17:05

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