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A film about a Montenegrin freedom fighter seeks to keep anti-fascist values alive

When we first told Mare Lakovic's daughter that we wanted to make her late mother the focus of a documentary marking 70 years of anti-fascism and female emancipation in Montenegro, she reacted to the idea with astonishment. “This must be some kind of a scam,” she told me and my co-author, Dragan Koprivica.

But Vidosava Lakovi?, who is now 80 years old, later came round to the idea. Five months after that initial phone call, and in large part thanks to the memories she shared with us, her mother's story now been made known to tens of thousands of Montenegrins after it was aired by Balkan country's national broadcaster on  July 12 2018.

Mare Lakovic, who was born in 1910 in the Montenegrin city of Cetinje, lived an ordinary life during extraordinary times. She was just over 30 and a mother of four children when she became a widow, after Nazi forces invaded the country then known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Her husband Bogdan, a Communist partisan. was killed in action during the battle of Pljevlja in December 1941. Mare not only witnessed the defeat of fascism in 1945, but was an active participant in the underground partisan struggle.

In the turbulence that followed the communist nation's dramatic split with the Soviet Union in 1948, she was almost interned in a political prison on a barren island in the Adriatic. It was her tireless efforts for the partisan cause during the war and her network of Balkan allies that saved her, as power-brokers at the very top of the Yugoslav hierarchy intervened. She lived to see the collapse of Yugoslavia, nearly five decades after women in the country earned the right to vote, but died 10 years before her native Montenegro gained independence in 2006.

Lakovic was not a complete unknown before we made our film. We had found her among a host of characters that featured in a gripping chronicle called “Eagle's Rock—100 years of a Montenegrin Family's Life” written by the famous Montenegrin broadcaster and publisher Nebojša Bato Tomaševi?. Tomaševi?, a survivor of the 1958 Munich air disaster that killed 23 people including members of the British football club Manchester United, died last year, at 87. But “Eagle's Rock” stands as a permanent testament to the heroic roles played by ordinary Balkan women such as his early mentor Lakovic during times of unimaginable hardship, and helped inspire the film we called Mare Bogdanova's Fight (published online with English subtitles).



By researching and sharing the story of an ordinary person's struggle, we wanted to remind younger generations how the rights that we now enjoy were won, and show that each freedom and right has its own battlefield, where huge sacrifices were made. The title reflects the Balkan custom of calling the wife by the name of the husband, which was common during her lifetime. Within her community Mare Lakovi? was known as Mare Bogdanova, meaning Bogdan's Mare.

A struggle against fascism, and patriarchy, too

Mare Bogdanova (1910-1996)

The Mare Lakovic that emerges from Bato Tomaševi?'s work is a strong role model who provides the author with his first real connection to the partisan movement in Cetinje, which was under Nazi occupation from 1941 to 44. It was Mare who assigned Tomaševi? many of his early errands in the movement, who sent him to observe public executions of captured anti-fascist resistance fighters. Informing on the behavior of those sentenced to death was important for the movement, in order to determine whether they'd cracked under torture. Mare sent him to carry food to the prisoners, to share news from the radio and to keep her informed of everything he saw on his journeys through the town.

The partisan struggle propelled women like Mare, who was illiterate at the time, into positions of quiet leadership. It proved they could be indispensable not just inside the home, but to their communities and country, and led to a gradual shift in values across Yugoslavia.

But if women like Mare formed the background of the antifascist resistance, the movement also needed its trailblazers.

Unlike Mare, League of Communist Youth and Women’s Antifascist Front member Bosa Vukovi? was steeped in political literature from a very young age. Vukovi? was a more vocal opponent of patriarchal conservatism than the vast majority of women of the time. After her participation in the anti-fascist movement, she became the editor of a magazine called “Our Woman”, which came to be viewed as vital to the education and emancipation of women in Montenegro. The women's movement in Montenegro is another focus of our film.

Don't let memories perish, reject historical revisionism

One of our main motivations for preserving the memories from this era of constant struggle was the fact so many of the people who knew Mare and her husband Bogdan are now quite elderly. Luckily we were able to talk to these vital sources of human memory, who helped us to build up a picture of a life of which there is little documentation in the state archives.

The Radio-Television of Montenegro (RTCG), the country's public broadcaster, in turn helped us build historical context into the work by providing some great footage from the era sourced from Lov?en film, Montenegro's communist-era state film studio. The fact that the public broadcaster aired the film shows that the anti-fascist struggle still resonates with society. After all, Montenegro's statehood day on July 13 commemorates the anti-fascist uprising on that date in 1941.

But despite avoiding some of the right-wing populism seen in other Balkan countries, Montenegro is not immune to the conservative trends coursing through Europe and the world as a whole that fly in the face of the anti-fascist movement's principles. The stress conservatives place on family values and religious values threatens to limit individual rights and undo much of the progress forged in extreme circumstances by Mare and others. Abortion and a potential law on same-sex partnerships are two key targets for these groups, but there is no guarantee they will stop there. The distance between various social groups in society is growing at a worrying rate, and the vulnerable are at risk of being cut adrift.

This is where education comes in. Those who create educational policies must be aware of these trends and pay more attention to civic education in schools. It is not enough to simply criticize young people for not knowing or for showing interest in the events that their great-grandparents lived through. It is the responsibility of teachers to show them that the values of anti-fascism are not just a part of history, and that history is studied not to glorify the past, but to safeguard the future.

The film Mare Bogdanova's Fight was produced with the support of the European Union by the Center for Democratic Transition (CDT) non-profit and in cooperation with Media Solution. The production is available online with English subtitles.

khojho Posted on September 22, 2018 12:31

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Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin: Costello and Bunce assess the 'new Joshua'

Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Saturday 22 September Ring walk: 21:50 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary from 20:00 BST on the BBC Sport website.

"Is Anthony Joshua going to become the biggest draw in boxing history in terms of the average crowd he attracts?"

BBC Sport's boxing correspondent Mike Costello posed the question and believes the stadium crowds Joshua now attracts makes it likely.

He duly raised the prospect with the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion as he prepares to take on Russia's Alexander Povetkin in front of around 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.

"Really? Wow," said Joshua, 28. "Sometimes you want respect while you're doing it but I think you don't get the gratitude.

"But when you're finished and we look back at what was done, you may get the credit."

In his answer Joshua gave up an issue many feel is eating away at him going into this bout. How, after 21 fights, 21 wins and with three major world titles to his name, does criticism still manage to flow his way?

"I think there's pressure on him, a weight on his shoulders," said 5 live Boxing's Steve Bunce. "There is no way it doesn't affect him when he is having the boot stuck into him."

All on the line for the 'new' Joshua


Could you match Anthony Joshua's workout routine?

Joshua - though he may deny it - looks and sounds frustrated going into his fourth consecutive stadium bout. Those angered by the failure of the Joshua camp to secure a fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder have made their voices heard.

Married to this frustration is a serious focus born out of the fact the team around him have warned him in no uncertain terms about the dangers Povetkin - with 34 wins and just one loss to his name - poses.

It has led to the champion locking himself away more and stating this may be a new version of him.

There have been subtle changes in his habits, notably a move to train when he wakes up naturally, rather than setting the traditional early alarm boxers live with. The likes of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Vasyl Lomachenko are men who have utilised the same alarm-free routine.

"There's a new Joshua emerging, he's shedding some of that old skin," Bunce added.

When they walk to the ring at 21:50 BST on Saturday, his new attitude will be tested by an old campaigner. Indeed, on the same night Povetkin, 39, suffered his only loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, Joshua was making his professional debut.

"When I look at his weight, he is one of the lighter heavyweights so that means he has a lot of speed," said Joshua, who came in at 17 stone 8lbs 5 ounces at Friday's weigh-in, more than a stone heavier than Povetkin's 15st 12lbs.

"His strengths, I've worked with people who have them. It's difficult but a good fighter will always find a way," added Joshua.

"We both have a big heart and can dig deep. I'm willing to do what it takes."

And Joshua - earning around £20m for this bout - could earn future reward. He already has Wembley booked again for 13 April, with a lucrative match-up with Wilder a possibility, while the likes of Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte remain in the frame.

"Everything is riding on it," said promoter Eddie Hearn. "I'm more fearful in this than in the last Joseph Parker fight because of Povetkin's experience. Joshua's going to have to nail him down, beat him up and knock him out."

Povetkin - movement and meldonium

Joshua's team have worked on his ability to deal with Povetkin's lateral movement. Training drills forcing the champion to respond to lights illuminating in sequences around him have circulated on social media.

But Povetkin brings experience as well as slight of foot. The 2004 Olympic champion says he is "just as strong" as Joshua and insists that his defeat to Klitschko on the biggest night of his career to date came at a time when he was "much weaker".

Povetkin, who earned his shot by becoming a mandatory challenger, has used hard-hitting British heavyweight Daniel Dubois as a sparring partner. He often stoops before throwing looping shots or hooks that are renowned for their accuracy and laced with unquestionable power.

His abilities are respected but two failed drugs tests in 2016 have marred his name. He blamed traces of meldonium in his system on the fact he took it before it was banned and later denied using muscle-boosting ostarine when it was picked up in another test.

Asked if Povetkin deserves his shot in light of failed tests, Teddy Atlas - who trained him until 2012 - told BBC Sport: "Some may say it's sour grapes as I am not with him anymore but the answer is no and would be no for everybody.

"I mean this was the biggest title in the world. It stood for honour, for something really special you could strive for and it shouldn't be tainted by anything illegal. Live by those standards, I wish this sport did."

Former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi told BBC Sport: "Guys like that should have to pay a heavy price. They don't. In doping, you have more to gain than lose. When they start to turn it around so there's more to lose than gain, they may start cleaning up the sport."

Gun-slinging - will AJ land first?

BBC Sport boxing commentator Mike Costello: "It is interesting, looking at Povetkin across fights, he has this habit of slipping punches in the same way, dipping his knees and then almost winging a shot over the top with the right hand.

"When he fought David Price, Price clipped him on the way in. Price got there first. It is a gamble to throw that hook when the gap is there left by his winging right hand. You have to get there first and hard or the momentum of his punch will come through. Surely Joshua will see that gap."

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Steve Bunce: "When I watched Joshua training last week he was working on fast, straight shots and also on nasty, little, clubbing hooks. Those are the shots that can catch Povetkin on the temple and put him down as he has a great chin."

Predictions - 'Povetkin is always game'

British heavyweight Dillian Whyte: "I think Povetkin is too short. Joshua will just keep it moving, keep the distance long and stop him inside six. Joshua will pick him off like Klitschko did."

British heavyweight David Price: "I think Joshua will win the fight, I think he has more to his game and I think he will out-muscle Povetkin and beat him late on."

Paulie Malignaggi: "I think Povetkin is one of Joshua's toughest challengers. He's very stable. Even if you knock him down he's always willing to battle.

"I just don't think he has the versatility to overtake Joshua and win a heavyweight world championship. But he has the toughness to take Joshua all the way to points and if you got a sub-par Joshua it's a risk but I don't expect a sub-par Joshua."

The undercard - Campbell eyes revenge

Luke Campbell - an Olympic champion in 2012 like Joshua - will seek to right a wrong when he faces Frenchman Yvan Mendy, who inflicted his first career defeat in 2015.

It will be Campbell's first bout since joining with trainer Shane McGuigan and the winner could be in line for a shot at WBC world lightweight champion Mikey Garcia.

"Physically, mentally, I'm all there," said Campbell, 30. "It's a must-win fight. I believe I will get it. Shane has added to my style and attributes. I am in a great place."

Elsewhere, Liverpool heavyweight David Price - knocked out by Povetkin in March - has taken the chance to face Russia's undefeated Sergey Kuzmin at short notice.

"People don't want to blink," said Price, 35. "The upside for me is potentially life changing."

And also eye-catching on the card is Rio 2016 Olympian Lawrence Okolie'schallenge of British cruiserweight champion Matty Askin.

seth Posted on September 22, 2018 07:06

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Code-cracking WW2 Bombe operation recreated at Bletchley

Computer historians have staged a re-enactment of World War Two code-cracking at Bletchley Park.

A replica code-breaking computer called a Bombe was used to decipher a message scrambled by an Enigma machine.

Held at the National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), the event honoured Polish help with wartime code-cracking.

Ruth Bourne, a former wartime code-cracker who worked at Bletchley and used the original Bombes, oversaw the modern effort.

Broken message

Enigma machines were used extensively by the German army and navy during World War Two. This prompted a massive effort by the Allies to crack the complex method they employed to scramble messages.

That effort was co-ordinated via Bletchley Park and resulted in the creation of the Bombe, said Paul Kellar who helps to keep a replica machine running at the museum. Renowned mathematician Alan Turing was instrumental in the creation of the original Bombe.

"During the war, they had about 200 Bombes," said Mr Kellar. "It was a real code-breaking factory."

For its re-enactment, TNMOC recruited a team of 12 and used a replica Bombe that, until recently, had been on display at the Bletchley Park museum next door.

The electro-mechanical Bombe was designed to discover which settings the German Enigma operators used to scramble their messages.


Image captionThe Bombe was used to work out Enigma machine settings to help read German communications

As with World War Two messages, the TNMOC team began with a hint or educated guess about the content of the message, known as a "crib", which was used to set up the Bombe.

The machine then cranked through the millions of possible combinations until it came to a "good stop", said Mr Kellar. This indicated that the Bombe had found key portions of the settings used to turn readable German into gobbledygook.

After that, said Mr Kellar, it was just a matter of time before the 12-strong team cracked the message.

Ms Bourne, who worked at Bletchley, said authentic methods had been used by the modern code-breakers but the effort lacked the over-riding stress and tension that accompanied the wartime work.

"During the war, there was a feeling of great pressure because the Enigma [encryption] keys changed at midnight so everyone was pushing to get enough information before it went out of date," she told the BBC.

"The only high spot was when your machine happened to find the 'good stop' and you felt pleased about that," she said.

Work on cracking the Engima machine was greatly aided by Polish cryptographers, said Mr Kellar. Friday's event commemorated 80 years since that information was shared with the Allies. In addition, he said, the early stages of the code-cracking re-enactment were broadcast live to a Polish supercomputer conference in Poznan.

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seth Posted on September 22, 2018 06:36

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Week in pictures: 15 - 21 September 2018

Mexican Marines walk away from a fire they'd started to destroy seized supplies of cocaine, marijuana and psychoactive pills in Acapulco.


Image captionA group dances under a shower of fireworks during the Santa Tecla festival in Sitges, Spain.


Image captionA woman waits backstage before performing at an event to raise money for the transgender community in Mumbai, India.

Image copyrightNIC BOTHMA/ EPA

Image captionTeam Koapman of the Netherlands competes at the Tug-of-War World Championships in Cape Town, South Africa. Around 1,100 athletes from 20 different countries compete across the categories.


Image captionTwo horses stand in their stalls at The Museum of Horse Culture in Jiangyin city, near Wuxi, China. The museum houses 47 breeds of horses from more than 30 countries and has won the Guinness World Record for the club with the largest collection of horses in the world.


Image captionNorth Koreans perform during an event celebrating the meeting of the president of South Korea and the leader of North Korea at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang.


Image captionPhilippe Gillet, 67, lives with more than 400 reptiles and tamed alligators at his home near Nantes, France. Here, in his living room, he feeds his alligator Ali some chicken.

Image copyrightKIRSTY O'CONNOR/ PA

Image captionA ballet dancer practises in the sunshine at the Southbank skatepark in London.


Image captionA man participates in the Diawa Irish Pairs sea angling event in windy conditions on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.


Image captionModel Madeline Stuart, who has Down's syndrome, has the final touches put to her make-up before walking down the catwalk at London Fashion Week.

All photographs belong to the copyright holders as marked.

seth Posted on September 22, 2018 06:21

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Three infants among five people stabbed at New York nursery

A suspect is in custody after five people, including three infants, were stabbed overnight at a nursery in the New York City borough of Queens.

Police were called to a home, which investigators say was operating as a nursery, at around 03:45 local time (07:45 GMT) on Friday morning.

Nine children were in the house at the time. The three injured children range in age from three days to 20 days old.

The suspect was found unconscious in the basement with a wound on her wrist.

The 52-year-old suspect, who has not been named by police, was revived after responding New York Police Department (NYPD) applied a tourniquet on her arm.

Investigators believe her injuries to be self-inflicted.

NYPD Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes said two knives were found at the scene.

A father was stabbed in the leg and a female employee suffered several stab wounds to the torso.

All of those injured were taken to hospital in "critical but stable condition", police said, and are expected to survive.

According to investigators, the attacker is believed to be an employee at the nursery.

Chief Holmes said the home was not known to police, apart from one call in 2011 of "children screaming".

It is unclear if the nursery was a legal child care facility, according to CBS New York.

Neighbours said they called police on Friday after hearing screams coming from the building in the Flushing neighbourhood of Queens.

"I got up, went and got dressed, and came out to see which house is it, because obviously I'm concerned, this is my neighbourhood," one neighbour told CBS.

"I didn't even know there was a daycare around here," the man added.

According to ABC News, a butcher's knife and a meat cleaver were recovered from the scene.

The networks added that all of the children were with their parents inside the Mei Xin Care Inc building, which police described as a "short-term residential facility".

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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 23:27

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Rihanna appointed as ambassador by Barbados

Pop singer, actress and designer Rihanna can add another accolade to her growing list of achievements after being given a new ambassadorial role by the government of Barbados.

The artist, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was named "Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary" for her home country on Thursday.

The role involves promoting education, tourism and investment.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said she was honoured to confer the title.

"Rihanna has a deep love for this country and this is reflected in her philanthropy, especially in the areas of health and education. She also shows her patriotism in the way she gives back to this country and continues to treasure the island as her home," the prime minister said in a government statement.

"She has also demonstrated, beyond her success as a pop icon, significant creative acumen and shrewdness in business. It is therefore fitting that we engage and empower her to play a more definitive role as we work to transform Barbados."

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionRihanna been a cultural ambassador for Barbados since 2008 and helped promote tourism

The singer was born in Saint Michael in Barbados, and grew up in in the capital Bridgetown.

She lived there until her teen years when she was discovered by an American record producer, who helped her break into the US charts.

Last year a street she used to live in was renamed Rihanna Drive in her honour.

In a statement accepting her new role, the singer (who is now described as Ambassador Fenty by the Barbados government) said she "couldn't be more proud to take on such a prestigious title" in her home country.

"Every Barbadian is going to have to play their role in this current effort, and I'm ready and excited to take on the responsibility. I look forward to working with Prime Minister Mottley and her team to re-imagine Barbados."

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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 23:26

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Nigeria's central bank withdraws Skye Bank's operating license, secures customers' deposit with a bridge bank.

Umar Ibrahim, chairman of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), revealed this during a press briefing in Lagos on Friday.

Nigeria's central bank has withdrawn the operating licence of ailing Skye Bank Plc, two years after removing the financial institution's management and board.

The apex bank said it has decided to establish a bridge bank 'Polarise Bank,' to secure the assets and liabilities of Skye Bank


Umar Ibrahim, chairman of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), revealed this in a press briefing in Lagos on Friday, alongside Godwin Emefiele.




Emefiele said: “As a responsible and responsive regulator and in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), we have decided to establish a bridge bank ‘Polaris Bank,’ to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye Bank”.



» more Nigeria's Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele speaks during the monthly Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, Nigeria May 22, 2018.  (REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

“The result of our examinations and forensic audit of the bank  have revealed that the Skye Bank requires urgent recapitalisation as it can no longer continue to live on borrowed times with indefinite liquidity support from the CBN. The shareholders of the bank have been unable to recapitalise it,” he said during the press briefing.


CBN took regulatory actions on Skye Bank Plc in 2016

In 2016, Nigeria's apex bank took over of Skye Bank Plc following persistent turkey to meet minimum thresholds in critical prudential and adequacy ratios.


The reasons also included the bank's huge non-performing loans (NPLs) profile as well as its low liquidity ratio.


ALSO READ: Nigerian banks illegally charged customers over N65 billion in 6 years


Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, had explained that the apex bank took a proactive step in order to save the health of the bank from further deteriorating.

Customers' deposits in safe hands

The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) will capitalise the bridge bank and begin the process of sourcing investors to buy out AMCON.



Queue at a banking hall in Ngeria  (News360 info)

The CBN chief said: “We wish to assure all depositors that under this arrangement, their deposits shall remain safe and that normal banking services shall continue in the new bank on Monday, 24th September, 2018, to enable customers to transact their businesses seamlessly.”


What is a bridge bank - Polarise Bank

A bridge bank is an institution created by a national regulator or central bank to operate a failed bank until a buyer can be found for its operations.


The task of the bridge bank is to ensure seamless continuity of banking operations.


Recall that in 2011, the Central Bank of Nigeria also revoked the licences of three banks – Afribank, Spring Bank and Bank PHB and established Mainstreet Bank Limited, Keystone Bank Limited and Enterprise Bank Limited as bridge banks in their place.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 23:17

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Canadian politician says a family can eat on $75 a week

A Canadian political leader has been caught in a dangerous election campaign trap: not knowing the cost of groceries.

Quebec Liberal leader Phillipe Couillard told a radio station this week that a family of three could eat for a week on C$75 ($57; £45).

He conceded it would be challenge and the menu would be limited.

Still, opponents pounced on the comment to accuse him of being out of touch with regular families.

Mr Couillard is fighting to keep his job as the premier of the province in the midst of a challenging election for his party.

The average Canadian family of four spends about $12,000 on food a year. Various estimates suggest families spend anywhere from a low of $140 a week to roughly $230 a week on food.

Manon Massé, a spokesperson for the left-wing Quebec Solidaire party, called Mr Couillard's comments "an insult to all the families who tightened their belts for his balanced budget".

Coalition Avenir Quebec posted an image of a stunned-looking Mr Couillard on Twitter, under the tagline "disconnected from reality".

The Liberal leader has spent two days defending the $75 figure, saying it is not ideal but he knows people who struggle but still manage to live within such a restrictive budget.

Mr Couillard is just the latest politician to fumble an answer over the price of common goods, and to face subsequent accusations that he or she has no real sense of the household budgets of constituents.

Image captionPoliticians have been known to fumble questions on grocery shopping

In 2013, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron had to defend his ignorance of the price of budget supermarket bread by claiming he prefers to bake home-made loaves.

That revelation came shortly after Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, said it did not matter that he was clueless about the cost of a price of a pint of milk or loaf of bread.

A year later, then UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband was accused of being a "champagne socialist" when he said in an interview his family of four spent about £70 or £80 on groceries a week - well below the roughly £100 average - and then tried to backtrack and clarify his answer.

US political leaders have also been accused of being out of touch with the cost of living on main street.

President Donald Trump's recent assertion that Americans need photo ID to buy groceries was widely disputed.

In 1992, President George H W Bush was ridiculed after he expressed amazement at a supermarket scanner while attending a grocers' convention.

But the White House said Mr Bush was merely impressed the machine could read damaged labels.

And former President Barack Obama fumbled when he told a rural Iowa crowd he was shocked by the cost of arugula at upscale supermarket Whole Foods.

Quebecers go to the polls on 1 October.

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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 23:16

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'Snapchat queen' Fatima Khan jailed for killing boyfriend

A woman who filmed her boyfriend dying in a pool of blood and put the video on social media has been jailed for 14 years.

Fatima Khan, 21, dubbed a "Snapchat queen", plotted with a love rival to kill Khalid Safi, 18, who she had been seeing for two years.

Mr Safi was repeatedly stabbed in the chest by Raza Khan in North Acton, London, in December 2016, jurors heard.

Khan was convicted of manslaughter after a trial at the Old Bailey.

Mr Khan remains on the run, the Met Police said on Friday.

Khan, described by her own defence barrister as "Ilford's Snapchat queen", filmed Mr Safi as he lay dying in the street and posted it on the picture-sharing app alongside an offensive message.

She wept uncontrollably as Judge Michael Topolski QC jailed her and said she had acted in a "cold and callous and despicable way".

The judge said her "disrespect for Khalid reached new and inhuman depths when in an act of grotesque contempt for him you calmly walked towards him as he lay dying".

"You filmed him in the process of dying and take a still picture of him all of which which you sent with that chilling message to all your Snapchat friends."

Image copyrightFAMILY HANDOUT

Image captionKhalid Safi was stabbed to death in December 2016

As with all Snapchat videos, the pictures would have been automatically deleted within 24 hours.

However, one of the group of friends who followed her online posts filmed the message which was used as key evidence in her trial.

Khan had denied murdering Mr Safi, saying she was "ashamed" of the video.

A jury cleared her of murder by joint enterprise but found her guilty of the alternative charge of manslaughter.

The court heard Mr Khan was "a rival for her affections" and Khan arranged for him to kill Mr Safi.

On the day of the killing, Mr Safi and Khan had gone to a Costa Coffee near to her work at Vigilant Security in North Acton.

Mr Khan then arrived in a minicab and walked up to the couple, holding a large knife.

Mr Safi produced a screwdriver and the pair fought for about 15 seconds before the victim was fatally wounded, the court heard.

Image copyrightMET POLICE

Image captionRaza Khan is wanted for the murder of Khalid Safi

In mitigation at the sentencing hearing, Kerim Fuad QC said Khan had a "pathological obsession" with her mobile phone and the Snapchat app.

"It's become an increasingly worrying aspect of society that these devices are playing such a prominent role," he added.

Mr Fuad described Khan as an "attention-seeking princess".

The court heard she had previous convictions for assault, shoplifting and fraud dating back to when she was aged 14.

Det Ch Insp Mark Cranwell reiterated the Met's appeal for information to help find Mr Khan, who is wanted for Mr Safi's murder.

He added: "A petty argument over rival affections has escalated with a tragic outcome. If you know where [Raza] Khan is, I'd urge you to do the right thing and contact the police."

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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 23:11

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Harry Uzoka death: Men jailed for rival model murder

Three men have been jailed for killing a model in a row over his girlfriend.

Harry Uzoka, 25, was stabbed in the heart by fellow model George Koh in west London in January after he went to settle the dispute.

Koh, convicted of murder at the Old Bailey in August, was given a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years.

Merse Dikanda was also found guilty of murder and jailed for at least 22 years, and Jonathan Okigbo was given a 14-year sentence for manslaughter.

Although initially friendly, the relationship between Mr Uzoka and Koh deteriorated after Koh claimed to have had sex with Mr Uzoka's girlfriend Ruby Campbell, who is also a model.

The pair then exchanged angry text messages and arranged to gather some friends and meet up in Shepherd's Bush for a fight.

Image copyrightMET POLICE

Image caption(L_R) George Koh, Merse Dikanda and Jonathan Okigbo were jailed at the Old Bailey

Koh, Dikanda and Okigbo, all 24, took at least three knives - including a machete - with them to the rendezvous.

Mr Uzoka recruited his flatmate Adrian Harper and they armed themselves with dumbbell bars.

Mr Harper told the jury he was "expecting a fist fight".

But he said when he saw his friend again Mr Uzoka said "I've been stabbed," and collapsed in the road.

Mr Uzoka was signed with London's Premier Model Management agency and counted catwalk star Jourdan Dunn among his friends.

Judge Wendy Joseph QC said he had enjoyed helping others, including Koh.

She described Koh's behaviour as swinging "between excessive admiration and spite".

The judge added: "This manifested itself in several ways. Sometimes Koh would claim to look very like Harry and tried to imitate his style of dress. At other times he contacted Harry's Instagram friends, falsely speaking ill of them."


Media captionCCTV of the attack shows Dikanda wiping a blade clean on his trousers

The judge went on to say that while the loss of any life was tragic, it was all the more so "when a victim is so young, able and generous".

She described Mr Uzoka as a young man "who overcame his own difficulties to make a great success of his young life and to be a remarkable role model for others".

"He had, with great talent, forged a successful international career as a male model. He was one of the first black British men to do so."

In a statement read to the court, Mr Uzoka's mother said her son's death was "yet another senseless killing".

"Our lives changed forever when I got that phone call. His death has left a gaping hole, a void and crack in our family.

"The trauma has affected us emotionally and financially, he was an inspiration to all, a beautiful boy who will never be forgotten. We still find it difficult to believe he is actually gone."

The judge also highlighted the impact of the murder on the wider community, saying children were becoming afraid of going out and parents "are thinking of buying their sons stab-proof vests".

seth Posted on September 21, 2018 23:00

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Africa's week in pictures: 14-20 September 2018

A woman beautifies her hands with sasla, a local plant used in the same way as henna, at a wedding in Adigrat town in northern Ethiopia on Sunday...

Image copyrightBBC TIGRINYA

Image captionOther women cook a spicy meat stew, called zigni, wearing bracelets handed out by one of the guests, BBC Tigrinya's Girmay Gebru...

Image copyrightBBC TIGRINYA

Image captionGuests use sticks to dip balls made from barley, called tihlo, into the dish usually served on special occasions.

Image captionIn the capital, Addis Ababa, one-time jailed politician Kefiyalew Tefera is dressed in the colours of the Oromo Liberation Front. He is celebrating the return of the former rebel group's leaders from exile.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionKenyan men make slippers decorated with beads at an open-air market in the capital Nairobi on Thursday.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionSierra Leonean children in the capital Freetown attend the first day of their new school year on Monday after the government launched a free primary and secondary education programme.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionWhile a woman sells second-hand books and magazines at a roadside bookshop in Ivory Coast's largest city Abidjan on Wednesday.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionStill in Abidjan, popular reggae singer Alpha Blondy gestures as he signs copies of his new album Human Race on Saturday.

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionWhile elsewhere in the city, residents show a strong community spirit by getting together to clean their neighbourhood.

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionOn Monday, a man makes his way through flood waters in Kogi state in central Nigeria. The floods have claimed the lives of about 100 people across Nigeria in the past two weeks.

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionThe next day in South Africa, storm clouds gather as a man stands in front of a shack built on unstable sand in a poor neighbourhood of Cape Town.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionOn Wednesday, a supporter of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party wears latex gloves and a T-shirt with the image of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is visiting a medical centre for people suffering from cholera in the capital Harare...

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionA day earlier, a sword-carrying presidential guard stands at attention as Mr Mnangagwa arrives in parliament...

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionHis first state of the nation address follows his victory in disputed elections in July.

Pictures from AFP, EPA, Getty Images and Reuters

seth Posted on September 21, 2018 22:56

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Hayabusa-2: Japan hopes for historic asteroid landing

Japan's space agency (JAXA) believes it has successfully landed two robotic explorers on the surface of an asteroid, making history.

"We don't have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful," project manager Yuichi Tsuda said.

On Friday, the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft despatched a pair of "rovers" to the 1km-wide space rock known as Ryugu.

Rover 1A and Rover 1B will hop around in Ryugu's low gravity, capturing temperatures and images of the surface.

Hayabusa-2 reached the Ryugu asteroid in June this year after a three-and-a-half-year journey.

Officials hope to confirm a successful landing in a day or two, when the spaceship sends data from the rovers to Earth.

Why does it matter?

While the European Space Agency has previously managed to land on an icy comet, this would be the first spacecraft to successfully place robot rovers on the surface of an asteroid.

Asteroids are essentially leftover building materials from the formation of the Solar System 4.6 billion years ago.

Ryugu is a particularly primitive variety, and studying it could shed light on the origin and evolution of our own planet.


Image captionHayabusa-2 arrived at the asteroid 162173 Ryugu in June

The diamond-shaped asteroid has a blackish-coloured surface, and rotates on its axis around once every 7.5 hours.

How did the rovers reach the asteroid?

Early on Thursday morning (GMT), Hayabusa-2 began descending towards the surface of Ryugu, preparing to eject its rovers.

The little hoppers are stored in a drum-shaped container at the base of the "mothership". Collectively, they form a 3.3kg science package known as Minerva II-1.

About 60m (196ft) from the asteroid, Hayabusa-2 initiated the release of the two robots.

Image copyrightJAXA

Image captionThe Minerva II-1 rovers move by hopping around in Ryugu's low gravity

Japanese space agency officials said that when the front of the drum is jettisoned into space, the two rovers are ejected from the container and fall independently to the asteroid's surface.

One of the principal concerns for deployment was Ryugu's rougher-than-expected surface, which is carpeted with boulders and has very few smooth patches.

What will they do there?

The 1kg rovers are equipped with wide-angle and stereo cameras to send back pictures from Ryugu. Spine-like projections from the edges of the hoppers are sensors that will measure surface temperatures on the asteroid.

They can hop and float around thanks to a motor-powered internal rotor, which propels the robot across the surface.

They will send back their data to the mothership, which will then relay the information to Earth.

"I am looking forward to seeing pictures. I want to see images of space as seen from the surface of the asteroid," JAXA project manager Yuichi Tsuda said.

When will they get samples?

On 3 October, the mothership will deploy a lander called Mascot, which has been developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) together with the French Space Agency (CNES).

And in late October, Hayabusa-2 will descend to the surface of Ryugu to collect a sample of rock and soil.

Image copyrightDLR

Image captionThe Mascot lander was built by the German Aerospace Center in conjunction with the French Space Agency

Further on in the mission, Japan's space agency plans to detonate an explosive charge that will punch a crater into the surface of Ryugu.

Hayabusa-2 would then descend into the crater to collect fresh rocks that have not been altered by aeons of exposure to the environment of space.

These samples will be sent to Earth for laboratory studies.

The spacecraft will leave Ryugu in December 2019 with the intention of returning to Earth with the asteroid samples in 2020

seth Posted on September 21, 2018 22:53

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Peggy Knobloch: Man admits dumping missing German girl's body

Prosecutors say a man has admitted dumping the body of a nine-year-old girl, whose disappearance 17 years ago is one of Germany's biggest mysteries.

Peggy Knobloch went missing in 2001 on her way home from school in Bavaria. Her remains were only found in 2016.

Manuel S denies killing Peggy, telling police he took her body from another man, then buried her in nearby woods.

He has not been charged so far but is being investigated for murder, prosecutors said Friday.

One man served jail time for Peggy's murder but was later acquitted in a retrial.

What happened then?

Peggy Knobloch disappeared when walking home from primary school on 7 May 2001.

A huge search was mounted with police and army officers searching as far as Czech Republic and Turkey, in the belief she may have been kidnapped.

She was not found until July 2016, when mushroom pickers came across her bones in a thickly wooded part of Thuringia state.

What's the latest?

The latest breakthrough in the case comes a week after police raided Manuel S's home.

In his confession to police, the 41-year-old said another man directed him to Peggy's lifeless body at a bus stop in her hometown of Lichtenberg.

After failing to revive her, the then 24-year-old wrapped her in a red blanket and drove her into a nearby forest. A few days later, he burned her satchel and jacket at home.


Image captionManuel S claims he found Peggy's body at a bus stop close to her family home

Prosecutors told reporters that the suspect had been released, as "there was no immediate suspicion". They confirmed Manuel S had named the other man at the bus stop.

They declined to reveal further information, including on possible cause of death, saying: "The investigations are progressing."

German media note that the suspect cannot be charged with anything other than murder, as the statute of limitation for lesser charges has passed.

False leads

Two years ago, DNA traces from a notorious neo-Nazi who died in 2011 were found in the woods where Peggy was found, however a connection was never proven.

In 2002, a local man with a learning disability was accused of killing her to cover up that he had sexually abused her. He withdrew his confession but was jailed for life in 2004. He spent his imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital.

Ten years later, his conviction was overturned and he was later freed.

seth Posted on September 21, 2018 22:51

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Man killed in electric scooter crash in Washington DC

A man in Washington DC has died after the electric rental scooter he was riding collided with a car, in what may be the second such death in the nation.

The victim became trapped under an SUV in the tragedy during rainy weather at the trendy Dupont Circle area.

Rescue workers were able to free the man from under the vehicle, but he later died of his injuries.

This month, a scooter rider was killed in Texas. The electric scooter craze has taken the US by storm.

A police official confirmed to BBC News that Friday morning's accident was "fatal", but said other details were still under investigation.

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DC Fire and EMS@dcfireems

#DCsBravest have extricated an adult male who was trapped underneath a vehicle at DuPont Circle NW. victim transported with critical life threatening injuries.

7:36 AM - Sep 21, 2018 · Washington, DC

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One cyclist tweeted that she arrived after the crash and saw "the scooter, a headphone and one brown shoe" at the scene.

In a follow up post, the witness said that "though this is beyond a simple injury that could be prevented by protective gear, be extra careful on scooters, helmets must be mandatory".

It is unclear whether the victim was wearing a helmet or any safety gear as he rode the Lime brand scooter.

A spokesman for Lime told BBC News that the San Francisco-based company is "deeply saddened" by the death and that "our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and loved ones".

"We have offered our full support to local authorities in connection with the investigation."


Media captionWATCH: Meet the workers who charge the scooters

Earlier this month, a 24-year-old man died while riding an electric scooter home from work in Dallas, Texas, in what is reported to be the nation's first death from an electric scooter crash.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office told the Washington Post that Jacoby Stoneking's death has been ruled an accident.

His family believe he died after being struck by a car in a hit-and-run, and are calling for further investigation.

According to the victim's brother, he was not wearing a helmet when he died.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionScooters have become an increasingly popular means of travel for commuters in US cities (file pic)

In a statement on Thursday, Lime said it had found no evidence that Mr Stoneking's scooter had malfunctioned.

Scooter companies such as Lime, Bird and Skip have been rolling out their dock-free rental vehicles in the past year.

More than 65,000 are thought to be currently on US streets, and medical officials have reported an increase in accidents since the vehicles arrived.

"An electric scooter is pretty much a moped, just a little slower," Dr Sam Torbati, the medical director of a hospital emergency room in Los Angeles, told the Post.

"It makes me real anxious when I see someone with ear buds and a cup of coffee riding without a helmet on the sidewalk," he added.

An official with the US Department of Transportation told the BBC on Friday that because the use of electric scooters is so new, the agency does not track deaths or injuries at this time.

Electric scooter users are considered a "person on a personal conveyance", the official said, adding that he was unaware if any organisation is currently tracking scooter fatalities.

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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 22:41

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Lake Victoria Tanzania ferry disaster: Divers hunt for survivors

At least 136 people have died after a ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, officials say.

Many are missing and it is feared that more than 200 people in total may have drowned. Rescue efforts resumed on Friday after being halted overnight.

The MV Nyerere ferry overturned near Ukara island on its way from Bugorora.

It is thought the overloaded vessel tipped over when crowds on board moved to one side as it docked.

Rescue operations on Africa's biggest lake have involved police and army divers, as well as small private boats and local fishermen.

The BBC's Aboubakar Famau in Tanzania says fear has gripped residents of the Mwanza region as they wait to hear the fate of relatives who travelled on the MV Nyerere on Thursday.

"I received a call telling me that I have lost my aunt, father and my younger brother," says Editha Josephat Magesa, a local resident.

"We are really saddened and urge the government to provide a new ferry because the old one was small and the population is big."

Our reporter says the ferry's engines were recently replaced after local MP Joseph Mkundi complained about the previous ones.

How did this happen?

Local media say the ferry's official capacity was 100 people, but officials say the vessel was carrying more than 400 passengers when it capsized.

It operates on a busy route, crossing eight times a day between the islands of Ukara and Ukwerewe, which are close to Tanzania's second-largest city of Mwanza.

The ferry was said to have been particularly busy because it was market day in Bugorora, on Ukerewe island.

The vessel was also carrying cargo, including bags of cement and maize, when it capsized around 50 metres from the shore.

It is thought that many of the passengers would not have been able to swim.

An official investigation will take place once rescue efforts to find survivors have ended.

Has anyone been rescued?

Tanzania's police chief Simon Sirro Mwanza, who has travelled to the area, confirmed the new death toll.

So far, 40 people have been rescued and are in critical condition, according to Mwanza Regional Commissioner John Mongella. Local officials initially reported on Thursday that 100 people had been rescued.

Exact figures, though, are yet to be confirmed - Reuters said the person who dispensed tickets for the journey also died, with the machine recording the data lost.

Five things about Lake Victoria

Image copyrightAFP

  • With a surface area greater than Switzerland, Lake Victoria is the world's second-biggest lake and the largest in Africa
  • Shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, some 30 million people depend on its resources
  • Challenges include pollution and falling water levels - biodiversity in Lake Victoria has dropped by 50% since the 1980s
  • English colonialist John Hanning Speke named it after Britain's Queen Victoria when he travelled there in 1858
  • Some have called for the lake's name to be changed - proposals include its Luganda-language name Nalubaale, and Lake Jumuiya which means "togetherness" in Swahili

Has anything like this happened before?

Tanzania has seen a number of nautical disasters, with overcrowding often playing a role.

In 2012, at least 145 people died when a packed ferry sank while transporting people to the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean.

The year before, almost 200 people died in another major incident off the coast of Zanzibar. Hundreds survived, some found clinging to mattresses and fridges.

In 1996, more than 800 people died when the MV Bukoba capsized on Lake Victoria. It was one of the the worst ferry disasters of the last century.

Image copyrightSTEPHEN MSENGI

Image captionScores of people have so far been reported rescued

Image copyrightSTEPHEN MSENGI

Image captionLake Victoria is the world's second-biggest lake and the largest in Africa

Image copyrightSTEPHEN MSENGI

Image captionLarge crowds watched rescue efforts from the shore

seth Posted on September 21, 2018 22:35

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Christine and Frank Lampard have baby girl

TV presenter Christine Lampard has given birth to a baby girl.

The Loose Women star and her football manager husband Frank Lampard have named the girl Patricia Charlotte Lampard.

It's thought she is named after Frank's mum, who he was very close to, who died at the age of 58 in 2008.

The couple announced the news with a photo on social media of the family in hospital with the caption "We're so in love".

Skip Instagram post by christinelampard


End of Instagram post by christinelampard

It is the first child for the former One Show presenter. She is step-mum to Frank's two daughters from his previous relationship.

Christine had recently been filling in for Lorraine on her morning show, finishing work at the end of August.

Image Copyright @clbleakley@CLBLEAKLEY


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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 22:31

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Former X Factor contestant Chico suffers stroke

Former X Factor contestant Chico Slimani has suffered a stroke.

The 47-year-old, who was a popular star on the second series of the show, fell ill on the way back from performing a gig at the weekend.

A statement from his publicist said he was undergoing further tests and asked for privacy for his family.

He reached the quarter-finals of the 2005 series and had a number one in 2006 with It's Chico Time. He also took part in Dancing on Ice in 2012.

He appeared in the Christmas special of Ricky Gervais's BBC One sitcom Extras in 2007, and also released a fitness DVD.

His publicist Kym Rowlingson said: "This has been a great shock to Chico, his wife and their two children, also his close friends and family.

Skip Youtube post by ChicoVEVO


Warning: Third party content may contain adverts


End of Youtube post by ChicoVEVO

"We thank you in advance for giving Chico and the family some privacy at this time."

Speaking in 2013 to mark 10 years of the X Factor Chico told the BBC: "Being on the show meant absolutely everything to me. It changed my life and my family's".

He said he had made a good career and living out of "being a novelty act".

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

seth Posted on September 21, 2018 22:27

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Game of Thrones baby names still proving popular

Game of Thrones continues to be a popular source of parental inspiration, according to the latest list of the most popular baby names in England and Wales.

A record 76 baby girls were called Khaleesi in 2017, the title enjoyed by Emilia Clarke's dragon-raising would-be queen in the award-winning fantasy TV and book series.

Three more children were called Daenarys, the real name of the show's Mother of Dragons. And more girls than ever before received the name Sansa, another significant figure on the show.

But if baby-naming is a reliable indicator, Game of Thrones' most popular character appears to be Arya, with 343 newborns given the same name as Maisie Williams' sword-wielding Stark.

That's a big increase on 302, the number of Aryas named in 2016.

Eleven baby boys, the same number as in 2016, ended up being called Tyrion, almost certainly in tribute to Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister - perhaps the show's most intelligent character.

Image copyrightDISNEY

Image captionMoana is the title character of Disney's hit 2016 animation

Animated movie Moana was released at the end of 2016, explaining why seven babies ended up receiving that particular name in 2017 - seven more than the previous year.

The Star Wars universe has also continued to wield its influence on name choices. It's likely the death of Carrie Fisher in December 2016 was a contributing factor to the big increase (to 149) in girls being called Leia.

Indeed, more children than ever before have been given names from a galaxy far, far away. Twenty-one were called Rey and 70 were called Kylo, almost certainly after the characters played by Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver in recent Star Wars instalments.

Three girls were given the name - but hopefully not the personality characteristics - of Harley-Quinn in 2017.

The DC Comics villain and Joker's girlfriend was memorably played by Margot Robbie in the film Suicide Squad.

In a similar vein, the success of the TV series Lucifer, in which the Devil leaves Hell and travels to Los Angeles, seems to have resulted in 11 boys being given the name of the show.

It began in 2016, the year the name Lucifer entered the list for the first time. Four babies were given the name that year, a figure that increased by seven in 2017.

Image captionAlexandra "Binky" Felstead spent six years on Made in Chelsea

Reality TV is also getting in on the act. Before Made in Chelsea, the name Binky had never featured on the list.

That all changed in 2014, and the number of Binkys has steadily increased with 10 newborns getting the name last year.

In case you were wondering, Binky Felstead's real name is Alexandra.

Choosing the right name for a newborn can be a tricky business. Luckily the world of TV and film is overflowing with unusual suggestions, and it's somewhere more and more parents are going to for inspiration.

What's the betting we'll see some baby girls called Toff next year, following Georgia Toffolo's triumph on 2017's I'm A Celebrity?

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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 22:22

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U.S. Lawmaker Introduces 3 Pro-Cryptocurrency Bills to Congress.

On Friday, Sept. a U.S. member of Congress announced that he will introduce three new bills aimed at supporting the development of blockchain technologies, as well as the use of cryptocurrency, within the United States.


Rep. Emmer: U.S. Must Support Blockchain Development

According to Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the initiator of this bold move, the U.S. needs to pass favorable legislation to the burgeoning blockchain industry if it hopes to remain a leader in this space.


“The United States should prioritize accelerating the development of blockchain technology, and create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and further growth, which is why I am introducing these bills.”


Overall, the new legislation will support the rapidly growing blockchain industry within the U.S. by providing clear and concise guidelines for investors companies, and businesses, as well as a safe harbor for taxpayers using cryptocurrency assets.


Rep. Emmer, who has just been named co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, also added that, “Legislators should be embracing emerging technologies and providing a clear regulatory system that allows them to flourish in the United States.”


Emmer’s Three Pro-Crypto Bills

Emmer’s first piece of legislation is a House resolution to express support for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. As mentioned, this and the other two bills are aimed at supporting the use and development of blockchain technology in the United States. According to the Emmer, and many other industry experts, the U.S. government cannot do anything to stop their development. Therefore, legislators should be stepping in to provide a clear, concise, and legal framework for their use within the country.


The second bill, the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act, confirms that certain entities such as cryptocurrency miners and multi-signature providers, who never fully take control of consumer funds, will not need to be registered as money transmitters. This is because they are only there to help validate the network’s integrity, by providing more security for those who use digital assets.




The final bill, the Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act of 2018, aims to address confusion surrounding how to report gains made as a result of cryptocurrency forks to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Previously, there was little IRS guidance on this matter, so the bill will be used to give taxpayers tight regulation about the use of forked funds. Furthermore, it will also protect individuals from facing fines until the IRS establishes some guidelines on how taxpayers are to report their digital assets.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 22:14

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Decentralized Crypto Exchange is Solution to Hacks, Will They be Ready?

Not long after the successful hacking attempts on crypto exchanges Bithumb and Coincheck, Japan’s Zaif was hacked, losing $60 million in user funds. All three exchanges were found to have poor security measures.


Coincheck in particular, which lost more than $500 million in XEM, the native cryptocurrency of NEM, outraged investors in Japan after the company’s CEO Koichiro Wada admitted that the firm did not have enough security experts overseeing the exchange.




“We were aware we didn’t have enough people working on internal checks, management and system risk. We strived to expand using headhunters and agencies, but ended up in this situation,”  said Wada.


The NEM team also stated in an official statement that while it has deployed an automatic tagging system to trace lost funds for the investors of Coincheck, the team emphasized that the exchange had extremely poor security systems in place.


Bithumb was similarly criticized by the government of South Korea and local security firms, which ultimately led the exchange to close down for over a month and overhaul its internal management systems.


Decentralized Exchanges Can Solve These Issues


Ledger wallet

Ethereum-based decentralized crypto exchanges like IDEX utilize smart contracts on an immutable blockchain network to process trades in a peer-to-peer manner. Decentralized exchanges are protected from hacking attempts and security breaches because hackers cannot possibly hack into a peer-to-peer network.


On a decentralized exchange like IDEX, users trade crypto with non-custodial wallets like Trezor, Ledger, and MetaMask. Hence, at all times, users have complete control over their funds by connecting their non-custodial wallets to exchanges.




Funds do not leave the wallets of users unless trades are executed on the mainnet of Ethereum, which is irreversible. As such, user funds are never in danger or vulnerable to external attacks.


Decentralized exchanges have already started to appeal to a niche group of traders that are interested in investing in newly launched crypto with low liquidity prior to their integration on centralized exchanges.


Newly created ERC20 tokens and crypto deploy their assets on peer-to-peer digital asset trading platforms first to gain liquidity, as it costs no capital to do so, and then aim for centralized exchange integration.


As for user experience and usability, because most decentralized exchanges are compatible with Ethereum wallets, it is not that much more complex than centralized exchanges. While it requires several more steps, traders that are already technically literate can easily shift to decentralized alternatives.


Can Decentralized Exchanges Compete Against Centralized Exchanges?

As CCN reported, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner Hester Peirce previously stated that “only a very particular type of investor can pursue the diversification opportunities such assets can provide,” stating that it requires a specific set of skills and knowledge to trade cryptocurrencies in the market.


Given that cryptocurrency trading on exchanges is already a niche market of its own, it is possible that with better user interface and more incentives, users will explore decentralized exchanges as alternatives.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 21:11

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In Tanzania At least 126 dead in Lake Victoria ferry disaster.

The death toll in a ferry capsize in Lake Victoria climbed to 126 on Friday, as Tanzanian rescue workers pressed on with the search to find scores more people feared drowned.


» more Witnesses said the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock  (STARTV/AFP)

The death toll in a ferry capsize in Lake Victoria climbed to 126 on Friday, as Tanzanian rescue workers pressed on with the search to find scores more people feared drowned.

The MV Nyerere may have been carrying as many as 200 passengers -- double the ferry's capacity -- when it capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday, according to reports on state media.


Witnesses reached by AFP said the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock.




The death toll rose to 126 by mid-afternoon Friday, according to Tanzania's transport minister.


"We are sad to report there are 126 dead," Isack Kamwele told state television, adding that a further update would be provided at 6pm local time (1500 GMT).


Mwanza governor John Mongella had earlier said the number of survivors was 40, but it was unclear whether any new survivors had been found since rescue operations resumed with police and army divers on Friday morning.


"Operations are continuing," he said.


Rescue operations were suspended overnight Thursday and hopes are fading that more survivors might still be found.


State television cited witnesses reporting that more than 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugolora, a town on the larger Ukerewe Island, where it was market day when locals said the vessel was usually packed with people and goods.


"I have not heard from either my father or my younger brother who were on the ferry. They had gone to the market in Bugolora to buy a school uniform and other supplies for the new school term," said Domina Maua, who was among those seeking information about loved ones.


Davita Ngenda, an elderly woman in Ukara, had already received bad news.


"My son is among the bodies recovered," she said, weeping. "He had gone with his wife but she has not been found yet. My God, what did I do to deserve this?"


Sebastian John, a teacher, said such tragedies had become part of life for those living on the lake.


"Since my birth, people have gone to their deaths on this lake, but what are we to do? We did not choose to be born here, we have nowhere to go," he said.


Overloading and 'negligence'

It remains unclear how many people are still missing.


Tanzania's Electrical, Mechanical and Services Agency, which is responsible for ferry services, said it was unknown how many passengers were aboard the MV Nyerere.


The ageing ferry, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible after it overturned, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas and cement, when it capsized around 50 metres (55 yards) from Ukara dock.


The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently to blame for such incidents.


President John Magufuli was "deeply saddened" by the disaster and called on Tanzanians to "stay calm during these difficult times," according to spokesman Gerson Msigwa.


The country's opposition, however, accused the government of "negligence".


"We have often raised concerns about the poor condition of this ferry, but the government turned a deaf ear. We have repeatedly denounced this negligence," said John Mnyika, deputy secretary general of Chadema, the main opposition party.


Mnyika said overloading was "another failure of the authorities" and criticised "inadequate relief efforts as well as delays" in the rescue operation.


With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles), oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.


Capsizes are not uncommon in the massive lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the region cannot swim.


The deadliest such accident in recent decades was in May 1996, when around 800 people died after their ferry sank on the way to Mwanza in Tanzania.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 20:59

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Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Unveils ‘Next-Generation’ 7nm Chip.

Bitmain, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency company, isn’t ready to relinquish its position as the dominant manufacturer of bitcoin mining chips — at least not yet.


The China-based firm on Friday announced that it had developed a new 7nm application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) mining chip for the SHA256 algorithm used by bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and many other cryptocurrencies.




Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu announced the new chip — the BM1391 — at the World Digital Mining Summit in Georgia, adding that it will be deployed in the firm’s next generation of mining rigs, the follow-up to the Antminer S9.



GMO Internet, a Japanese tech company based out of Tokyo, unveiled a 7nm chip in June. According to Wu, the BM1391 has an energy consumption ratio of 42W/TH, while GMO’s B2/B3 miners consume 81W/TH at peak.


Notably, Bitmain’s announcement came just two days after competitor Bitfury unveiled a new SHA256 ASIC chip. The “Bitfury Clarke,” while much larger than the BM1391 at 14nm, offers “unparalleled efficiency,” according to the company. Per the company, each chip can achieve a hashrate of 120GH/s with a power efficiency of 55mW/GH. Bitfury, incidentally, operates a mining farm in Georgia, where Wu announced Bitmain’s new chip.




“Bitfury is looking at all factors, including silicon packaging, chip efficiency, optimal power distribution, cooling designs and speed of development when designing our mining hardware,” said Valery Vavilov, CEO of Bitfury. “We think that this will lead to solutions that deliver the best ROI to our customers?—?regardless of ASIC size.”


The announcement also comes ahead of Bitmain’s rumored initial public offering (IPO), which will reportedly take place “very soon.”


Seemingly responding to rumors among analysts that Bitmain was at risk of losing its dominant industry position ahead of its IPO due to lagging technological development, the company said in a statement that this new chip reflects the “strength” of Bitmain’s research and development department and “further consolidates” the firm’s 70 percent market share.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 20:39

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Conor McGregor struck a big deal with UFC to promote his whiskey — and it also includes 6 more fights.

Conor McGregor will be back in the octagon for the foreseeable future, and his brand of whiskey is getting a promotional spot on the canvas.


Conor McGregor whiskey  (Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Conor McGregor inked a six-fight deal with UFC that will likely make him the richest athlete in the history of the sport.

The deal includes sponsorship for McGregor's new whiskey and begins with his fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in October.

There are plenty of great potential fights for McGregor, including a long-awaited third fight with Nate Diaz.

After a two-year absence, Conor McGregor is back in the UFC.




On October 6, McGregor will face off against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 for the lightweight championship, and regardless of the outcome, it's not the last we'll see of the Notorious one in the Octagon.


On Thursday, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported  that McGregor had signed a six-fight deal with UFC, assuring that the promotion can sell pay-per-views with its most popular fighter for the foreseeable future. McGregor's initial fight with Nurmagomedov is included within the deal.


While the exact terms of the deal weren't disclosed, McGregor and UFC president Dana White gave some details about the agreement, including the fact that McGregor's new whiskey, Proper Whiskey, would be a sponsor for all of his fights, and present in the Octagon.


"You bet your bollocks it is," McGregor said when asked if the logo of his product will have a presence in the Octagon. "On the canvas. On the canvas. Like [Nurmagomedov's] blood will be on the canvas."


There is no guarantee that McGregor will fight all six bouts of the agreement, but the deal still comes as a relief to UFC, with the promotion happy to have its star back in the picture.


"It's not hard to do a deal with Conor McGregor because we know what he's worth," White told ESPN.


There are plenty of great fights for McGregor in the lightweight division. The winner on the undercard at UFC 229 between Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis is a possible outcome, if only because they could start promoting it the same night. Additionally, a third bout with Nate Diaz is something any fight fan would love to see.


The most compelling fight McGregor could book may be a rematch with Nurmagomedov in Russia. McGregor has already teased the possibility, and should the first match between the two be a classic, the potential spectacle of putting McGregor in front of a hostile crowd feels too good for UFC to pass up.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 17:29

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In Morocco Migrants risk it all to reach Europe.

He is one of thousands of would-be migrants in the kingdom, dubbed "harraga" in Arabic, referring to those prepared to risk it all to reach mainland Europe.


» more A Moroccan youth looks out over the harbour in the Spanish city of Melilla, on September 20, 2018. Having left their homes, some of these young people try to travel to Europe by jumping on the back of a truck or a bus in the port  (AFP)

In the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Morocco, 19-year-old Issam crouches near the port after hopping over a fence across one of the only land borders bridging Europe and Africa.

He is one of thousands of would-be migrants in the kingdom, dubbed "harraga" in Arabic, referring to those prepared to risk it all to reach mainland Europe.


"Everyone wants to move," says the young man from the city of Fez, his hood pulled up and his trousers smeared in engine grease.




Fleeing "misery and injustice" at home, he says he is looking for a ticket to a "European paradise".


But his journey is not over yet.


To cross the Mediterranean, he will have to cling to the chassis of a truck boarding a boat, or to the mooring lines of a ferry leaving for Spain.


Further back from the coast in Melilla's highlands, 23-year-old Hamid stares out across the harbour, closely eyeing its criss-crossing vessels.


He left his hometown of central Meknes where he earned just over 5.50 euros ($6.50) a day laying tiles.


"You can't live in dignity with that," says Hamid, who has never learnt to read or write.


"I know fathers who have families who want to leave -- people are desperate," he adds.

'Numbers exploding'


» more Moroccan migrants try to travel to Europe by jumping on the back of a vehicle at the port city of Nador in Morocco, in hope of finding a better life on September 18, 2018  (AFP)

South of Melilla in the Moroccan coastal town of Nador, groups of young men gather on sidewalks, killing time watching busses and trucks en route to the autonomous Spanish city.


"Since the beginning of the year, the number of Moroccans like them looking to migrate has exploded in Nador," a Melilla resident tells AFP.


The number of Moroccans daring to reach Europe by sea has "increased considerably in recent months", says Aziz Kattouf, head of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH).


According to Kattouf, leaving has become "easier" and is done "often with out an intermediary... (the migrants) pitching in to buy a boat motor in front of everyone".


A lack of official data means the actual number of Moroccans making dangerous and sometimes deadly bids to reach Europe is unknown.


Since early 2018, Spain has logged more than 38,000 arrivals, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).


For their part, Moroccan authorities say that since January they have prevented 54,000 attempts to reach Europe. According to figures from the government spokesman, these included 7,100 Moroccans up to the end of August.



» more Moroccan migrants attempt to travel to Europe by jumping on the back of a vehicle at the port city of Nador in Morocco, in hopes of finding a better life on September 18, 2018  (AFP)

For weeks, Moroccan social media networks have been inundated with videos showing smiling youth brandishing the victorious V with their fingers as they board small rubber boats headed illegally for Spain.


Posts on Facebook advertise crossings to Europe for 7,000 dirhams (630 euros).


On its website, Moroccan Weekly TelQuel has dubbed the digital push illegal migration "Harraga 2.0".

'Isolated, marginalised'

On Wednesday, Morocco's interior ministry sent a memo to local media warning against videos "fundamentally intended to mislead public opinion" and announcing the launch of an investigation.


The same day, a new video appeared showing three activists from Morocco's northern Rif region on a makeshift boat.



» more Sub-Saharan migrants gesture as they leave the temporary centre for immigrants and asylum seekers in the Spanish enclave of Melilla on September 19 , 2018, departing to Malaga in Spain  (AFP)

According to the AMDH's Kattouf, most Moroccans trying to reach Europe come from that area, which has been wracked by protests in 2016 and 2017 over its marginalisation.


"There is a lack of confidence in the projects announced (for the Rif), and an atmosphere of despair has been accentuated by the severe sentences handed to the movement's political detainees," said Kattouf.


In June, activists put on trial for links to the region's social protests were handed sentences of up to 20 years.


Home to one of the continent's most developed economies, Morocco remains marred by major social inequalities, according to official statistics.


Young people in the kingdom, who make up a third of its population, have been particularly marginalised.


Some 27.5 percent of 15 to 24-year-olds -- nearly 1.7 million people -- are not at school, are unemployed or lack any skills.


More than one out of every five migrants in Morocco is under the age of 19, according to the IOM.


Mbarek, a 25-year-old bricklayer came to Nador from Tinghir, 700 kilometres (430 miles) south, to follow in the footsteps of "friends who've gone to Europe".


"In the construction sector, you're not an official employee, you're not protected -- you can die while doing your job and no one will care about you," he says, as fellow travellers nod in agreement.


From the southern semi-desert town of Zagora, 19-year-old Ismail says he has tried to make the journey twice -- each time clinging to the underside of a truck, watching "death" pass beneath him on the road to Almeria, Spain.


Both times he was caught by Spanish authorities and expelled. But he is not about to give up.


In Morocco "we're treated with cruelty. Harraga are seen as less than nothing, isolated and marginalised," he grumbles.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 15:11

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Syndicated Loan COCOBOD seals $1.3bn syndicated loan For 2018/19 season.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cocobod Joseph Boahen Aidoo said the release of about $650 million will facilitate payment of cocoa for the 2018/2019 Crop season.


The Bank of Ghana is expected to receive the first tranche of a US$1.3 billion cocoa syndicated loan in the next two weeks.

This comes after the successful signing of the cocoa syndicated loan in Amsterdam with 21 banks. The facility will ensure that adequate funds are made available to the Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) to pay cocoa farmers promptly for their produce during the 2018/19 crop year.


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cocobod Joseph Boahen Aidoo said the release of about $650 million will facilitate payment of cocoa for the 2018/2019 Crop season.




READ ALSO: Appreciate government for caring – Amewu


“This will motivate the farmers to work hard to ensure our production targets are met,” he said.


Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Aidoo said: “By appending your signature to this facility you are not only sealing the deal, but you are also indicating your confidence in the cocoa industry and, by extension, the entire economy of Ghana.


“We are indeed encouraged by this confidence reposed in us and want to assure you that it is not misplaced. Over the past 25 years, we have consistently maintained that exquisite reputation of honouring repayment of the year-after-year syndicated loan without a single default. This record in the financial market is remarkable."


 “But whilst painting such enviable credentials, we must not be deceived that all is rosy in the cocoa industry back home. Perennial pests and diseases, the ubiquitous Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease, volatility and fall of cocoa prices, climate change and poor road infrastructure linking our producing communities to markets and service centers and to the warehouses and the ports are fundamental challenges that contrive against the industry.


“Within the past dozen and half months, we have been able to reverse the declining trend of cocoa production in Ghana from 778,000 metric tonnes to 968,000 metric tonnes, and sustained the upturn because of the productivity enhancement programmes (PEPs – i.e. hand pollination and mass pruning) which COCOBOD introduced along with our conventional CODAPEC and HI-TECH measures.”


READ ALSO: Here’s why Martin Amidu can’t work effectively according to the Auditor General


“Even though the annual facility comes in handy to facilitate these PEPs and payment to cocoa farmers, hardly can it be relied upon for addressing the fundamental challenges. COCOBOD, for instance, has programmed to undertake irrigation on cocoa farms, rehabilitation of diseased and moribund farms, expansion of warehouse capacity, improvement of the conditions of roads that link cocoa communities and promotion of domestic consumption of cocoa. These are largely capital-base projects which require medium to long-term financing and not annual facility. The imperative is that so long as these fundamental challenges remain, the full and real measure of the annual facility cannot also be realized.


“It was against the foregoing backdrop that we made a call for medium to long-term financing. I am happy to note that some of our friends in the international financial sector have responded positively. We urge all others who may not have been aware of this call to join this laudable endeavour. In essence, the annual facility must be complemented with medium to the long-term facility if the former were to bring real and meaningful impact onto the cocoa industry in Ghana.


“Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to our gallant cocoa farmers who have, through their toils, enabled us to achieve this enviable record in the past 25 years. Their resilience in the face of all the challenges has ensured that we continue to produce enough cocoa of premium quality to fulfill our contractual obligations to our trading partners. If you and I are here today, then it is because of our cherished cocoa farmers. Let us together, therefore, assist them to make the industry a sustainable one,” Mr. Aidoo stated.


“We wish to assure all the Banks participating in this syndication that Ghana Cocoa Board is alive to its obligations under this loan agreement and will fully discharge them as we have always done,” the CEO of cocobod stressed.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 14:44

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Yaya Toure's agent posts controversial voodoo doll cartoon of Pep Guardiola.

Dimitry Seluk posted a controversial voodoo doll cartoon of Pep Guardiola after Manchester City's Champions League defeat by Lyon

Yaya Toure's agent Dimitry Seluk posted a controversial voodoo doll cartoon of Pep Guardiola after Manchester City's Champions League defeat by Lyon on Wednesday.


» more Yaya Toure's agent Dimitry Seluk (right) has taken another swipe at Pep Guardiola

Seluk, who has been embroiled in a long-standing feud with the City boss over his perceived treatment of Toure, uploaded the image to his Twitter feed following the Premier League champions' surprise 2-1 home defeat in their Champions League opener.




The cartoon shows what appears to be Toure dressed as an African Witch Doctor sticking pins in a voodoo doll, with Guardiola elsewhere feeling a sharp pain in his backside.



It is the latest in a series of digs at Guardiola after Toure left City under a cloud to join Olympiacos this summer.


The midfielder was a key player in two Premier League titles during a glittering start to his spell in England, but later saw his game-time reduce considerably under the Catalan boss, causing friction. He won a third title at City last season playing only a bit-part role.



» more Seluk posted a controversial voodoo doll cartoon on Twitter of the Manchester City boss

Both Toure and Seluk accused the City manager of having an agenda against African players - with the agent going a step further and suggesting that Guardiola was cursed to never win the Champions League again after his actions.


'He turned all Africa against himself, many African fans turned away from Manchester City,' Seluk said earlier this year.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 21, 2018 13:23

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'I gave birth, and got Hepatitis C'

When Jackie Britton was given a blood transfusion after childbirth, she thought it was saving her life. But the infected blood could have killed her. There are thought to be thousands like her. They often feel overlooked in the wider NHS contaminated blood scandal.

"There are still people dying, not knowing they are infected," Jackie Britton, from Portsmouth, tells the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

She gave birth in 1983.

Her baby daughter was fine but when Jackie started haemorrhaging she needed a blood transfusion.

It would be another 29 years before she realised that that blood had been contaminated with hepatitis C, for which there was no blood screening at the time.

The virus went undetected for years, slowly damaging Jackie's liver.

As she puts it: "The four units of blood that had saved my life was killing me."

Image copyrightJACKIE BRITTON

Image captionJackie had her daughter in 1983

Jackie started noticing something might be wrong only in her 50s, when she was experiencing "absolute fatigue".

"I would feel physically sick. I would start retching just stood up trying to cook a meal, because of the effort and the energy it was taking out of me.

"Hep C is just trauma after trauma."

A new generation of drugs means Jackie has now cleared the virus itself from her body - but the damage has already been done.

She has cirrhosis of the liver and needs checks every six month to make sure it has not led to cancer or liver disease.

'Treatment disaster'

The contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s is often called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Almost 5,000 people with the blood disorder haemophilia were given a treatment contaminated with hepatitis and in many cases HIV.

Then there is a second group of people who like Jackie received a blood transfusion after childbirth or an operation.

There are no solid figures available on exactly how many transfusion patients were infected before 1992.

But estimates range from about 5,000 - the same number of people with haemophilia affected - to up to 28,000, the figure suggested by a Department of Health analysis of the scandal.

It is thought there will still be some people living today with hepatitis C, contracted by blood transfusion, who have not yet been diagnosed.

Image captionBob Leary was infected following an operation for a burst intestine

For Bob Leary, now 72, it all started in 1986 with a burst intestine.

Admitted to hospital and given a transfusion, he didn't think much more of it until he had a blood test four years later.

He was told he had hepatitis C and could expect to live for another 10 to 15 years.

"As you can imagine, it was a very severe shock," he says.

By 2012, Bob's liver had started to fail. He became jaundiced and lost weight dramatically.

The following year, having been told he had just weeks left to live, a liver transplant saved his life.

He will be on medication until he dies.

"I don't want to get into the blame culture, I could be bitter all my life," he says, "but we need to make sure nothing like this happens again."

His hope is that a public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal, set to begin on Monday, will provide some answers.

It comes after years of campaigning from victims and their families.

Key issues include:

  • whether the government could have moved faster and introduced blood screening for hepatitis C before 1991
  • whether officials knew about the risks of contamination but decided not to tell the public
  • whether enough was done to find and test patients who were given a transfusion before 1992

'She loved living'

For Jackie, it is about far more than her own health.

Last year, her friend and fellow campaigner Sally Vickers died from cancer caused by the hepatitis C she contracted in 1982 following an operation.

"She loved living. I mean she fought and fought," says Sally's husband, Alan.

He remembers the moment she was given less than a month to live.

"The specialist came down and said, 'I'm sorry, it's not only severe cancer in your liver but it has spread to your lungs.

"We simply wanted to come home so that she could be with me."

Image copyrightFAMILY PHOTO

Image captionSally Vickers contracted hepatitis C from contaminated blood

The anger Alan and Sally felt, however, was not directed at doctors, or the NHS, but at the people responsible for the whole blood donation system at the time in the Department of Health.

"I want somebody held accountable for it," Alan says.

"Somebody has got to be accountable for this."

The Cabinet Office said in a statement: "The Infected Blood Inquiry is a priority for the government.

"It is extremely important that all those that have suffered so terribly can get the answers they have spent decades waiting for and lessons can be learnt so that a tragedy of this scale can never happen again.

"Government is committed to providing the inquiry with all the support it needs."

Watch the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 BST on BBC Two and the BBC News channel in the UK and on iPlayer afterwards.

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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 05:21

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India killing: 'My father ordered my husband's murder'

On 14 September, Pranay Perumalla was murdered in front of his wife, Amrutha, in an alleged honour killing. BBC Telugu's Deepthi Bathini spoke to Amrutha, whose father has been arrested for plotting the attack.

Amrutha and Pranay were high school sweethearts in Miriyalaguda, a small town in the southern Indian state of Telangana. They first met at high school.

"We always liked each other. We used to talk a lot on the phone and then we fell in love," she says with a wan smile.

Amrutha, 21, belongs to a wealthy, upper-caste family, while Pranay, who was 24, was a Dalit (formerly untouchable). In April 2016, they married despite her parents' objections. Now five months pregnant, she finds herself saying the unimaginable.

"My father killed my husband because he did not belong to the same caste as me."

There is no official data but according to one study, hundreds of people are killed each year in India in so-called honour killings - for falling in love or marrying against their families' wishes. Many families still prefer arranged marriages within their own caste and religion.

Police have arrested Amrutha's father, Maruti Rao, and six others, including Mr Rao's brother and three alleged contract killers, in connection with the murder. District superintendent AV Ranganath told reporters that Mr Rao had allegedly conspired with his brother and two other men to kill Pranay - and those men had helped him hire the contract killers for a sum of 10 million rupees ($138,000; £104,000).

He added that the attack outside the hospital was the fourth attempt on Pranay's life.

Mr Ranganath also said that Mr Rao had admitted to the charges and had said he had done this because Pranay was a Dalit and his family was not wealthy.

But Mr Rao and the other accused have made no independent statement about the charges. The BBC contacted Mr Rao's lawyer who said he had no comment. The BBC also visited Mr Rao's house but found it empty and no other members of the family have provided a response.

Image copyrightFACEBOOK

Image captionDalit groups have come out in support of Amrutha

On the day of the murder, Amrutha woke up late. Her back was aching, so she went to the hospital for a check-up. Pranay and her mother-in-law accompanied her.

When they left the hospital, she recalls asking Pranay, who was a few steps behind her, a question. When he didn't answer, she turned around and saw him lying on the ground.

CCTV footage from the hospital, which has been broadcast on national news channels, shows a man following the family as they walked out of the gate. He first hacked at Pranay's upper body with what appears to be an axe. When Pranay fell, he struck him again.

Amrutha says her mother-in-law pushed the man away, while she ran inside the hospital to get help.

"When I called my father to confront him, he said, 'so what should I do? Take him to a hospital?'" she says.

Growing up, Amrutha says, her mother discouraged her from even making friends with children from other castes. So her parents were against her relationship with Pranay from the moment they found out about it. But that didn't stop Amrutha.

"We had to run away to see each other. But I did not care about his caste or how much money his family had. What was important was that we loved each other."

At one point in April 2016, Amrutha says, her parents locked her up at home. "I did not have a way to speak to Pranay but what kept me going was my love for him," she says. Eventually, she managed to escape.

They married in January 2018 and moved in with Pranay's parents, who had accepted their marriage.

Amrutha says they were planning to move to Canada when she found out she was pregnant. They decided to wait until the baby was born.


Image captionSupporters have lit candles for Pranay outside his home

She told her parents about the pregnancy hoping it would soften their stance. But to her shock, her father asked her to have an abortion. And he said so every time she spoke to him after that.

"We always lived in fear but I never thought my father would resort to such cruelty," she says.

No-one in her family has called her since Pranay died - not even her mother, who used to phone her frequently.

"I thought it she used to call me out of concern," Amrutha says. But now, she can't help but wonder if her mother was telling her father about their conversations, perhaps without realising his intentions.

Meanwhile, Pranay's parents and Amrutha have received plenty of support.

Several Dalit rights groups and women's groups have visited the house to express solidarity. On the veranda, there is a photograph of a smiling Pranay surrounded by flower petals and lit candles. Even as Amrutha is speaking, she can hear shouts of "long live Pranay" from the veranda of the house where supporters have gathered.

Hearing this, Pranay's mother, Hemalatha, breaks down. Amrutha, who also starts crying, consoles her. "I blame my whole family. I will not go back to them. Pranay's parents are my parents now," she says.

She has started a Facebook page, Justice for Pranay, which has drawn more than 112,000 followers in just a few days. And several other pages with the same name have cropped up, all of them expressing outrage and appealing for justice.

Image copyrightNATHAN G

Image captionKausalya's husband, Shankar, was killed by her family in 2016 - for marrying her

She has been very active on Facebook, posting photographs of rallies and messages of support as well as of her and Pranay. In one photograph, they are much younger - the caption says, "Born to be together forever."

She has also shared a photograph of a police officer escorting her father - the text above it says, "do not let my father out".

Amrutha's demand for justice has caught the attention of Kausalya, another upper-caste woman whose husband, Shankar, was killed for marrying her. She has since testified against her parents and continues to campaign against caste and honour killings.

"Pranay's killing reminded me of my Shankar," she told BBC Tamil. "Her love for him will make her strong. She says that she is going to stand against caste and that she is going to get justice for Pranay. We will stand with her."

Amrutha says Pranay had always told her that caste should not stand in the way of love.

"Both of us decided to fight for our love. Now, I will fight for justice," she says. "But I am also worried that my father might harm my baby or my in-laws."

You can read the original story on BBC Telugu here.

seth Posted on September 21, 2018 05:02

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Lake Victoria, Tanzania: Dozens drown in ferry capsize


At least 40 people have died after a ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized on Lake Victoria, Tanzania.

One official told the Reuters news agency the number who drowned could be more than 200. Rescue efforts have been halted until dawn on Friday.

The MV Nyerere ferry overturned near the shore between the islands of Ukora and Bugolora.

It is thought the overloaded vessel toppled over when crowds on board moved to one side as it docked.

Officials have said the ferry was carrying more than 400 passengers. About 100 people were rescued while 32 are said to be in a critical condition.

Exact figures, though, are yet to be confirmed - Reuters said the person who dispensed tickets for the journey also died, with the machine recording the data lost.

"We pray to God to give us hope in such an accident," Regional Commissioner Adam Malima told reporters.

"We pray to God to give us hope that there has not been a high death toll."

Locals joined with emergency teams in rescue efforts on Thursday afternoon.

Tragic history

Tanzania has seen a number of nautical disasters, with overcrowding often playing a role.

In 2012, at least 145 people died when a packed ferry sank while transporting people to the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean.

The year before, almost 200 people died in another major incident off the coast of Zanzibar. Hundreds survived, some found clinging to mattresses and fridges.

In 1996, more than 800 people died when the MV Bukoba capsized on Lake Victoria. It was one of the the worst ferry disasters of the last century.

Image copyrightSTEPHEN MSENGI

Image captionScores of people have so far been reported rescued

Image copyrightSTEPHEN MSENGI

Image captionThe vessel was reportedly overcrowded

Image copyrightSTEPHEN MSENGI

Image captionLarge crowds watched rescue efforts from the shore

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seth Posted on September 21, 2018 05:00

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Philippines landslide victims 'sent texts from underneath rubble'

A landslide in the Philippines has killed at least 21 people and left dozens missing, with some texting for help from under the rubble, say police.

The slide on Thursday engulfed two villages in Naga in Cebu province.

It comes days after the north of the Philippines was hit by a typhoon, killing more than 80 people.

Typhoon Mangkhut did not directly hit Cebu province but lead to stronger monsoon rains, increasing the risk of landslides across the country.

'Like an earthquake'

The Cebu landslide took out a whole section of hillside on which people had built their makeshift homes.

"It was like an earthquake and there was this thundering, loud banging sound," resident Cristita Villarba told news agency AP.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionSome of the houses were completely covered by rubble

"All of us ran out," she said, adding that her husband and children all survived the disaster.

"Many of our neighbours were crying and screaming for help. Some wanted to help those who got hit but there was too much earth covering the houses, including my brother's," she said.

According to local media, more than 600 families from Naga were staying in evacuation centres on Thursday night.

Messages from under the rubble

Local media are citing police chief inspector Roderick Gonzales as saying that several people had been successfully rescued from inside buried houses.

"There were signs of life. Some of them managed to send text messages," he said, raising hopes that they are trapped in air pockets in the debris.

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionRescue workers continued to look for survivors on Friday

The more than 20 houses affected were on the outskirts of the town of Naga.

There were near a former limestone quarry which might have destabilised the hillside above the village.

According to local media, local authorities had previously identified the area as being landslide prone.

seth Posted on September 21, 2018 04:58

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Mylee Billingham: Murder accused dad 'did not help police'

A father accused of stabbing his eight-year-old daughter to death offered no help to police officers attempting to revive her, a court has heard.

William Billingham allegedly kicked out at an officer who was giving him first aid after he was found lying across Mylee Billingham's body.

Birmingham Crown Court heard officers entered the 55-year-old's bungalow in Brownhills, near Walsall, after finding a door key in the letterbox.

Mr Billingham denies murdering Mylee.

He is accused of killing his daughter who suffered a fatal knife wound to her chest at her father's home on Valley View on 20 January.

PC Stacey Banbery told the court she found Mr Billingham "whimpering" with self-inflicted wounds at his home.

She said her colleague PC Samantha Gray saw Mylee on the kitchen floor and kicked away a blood-stained knife, which was about 10in from Mr Billingham's head.

PC Banbery, who took hold of Mr Billingham by the hoodie and dragged him off Mylee, told the jury: "I said 'what's happened?' and 'tell me what you have done'."

Image copyrightHELEN TIPPER

Image captionWilliam Billingham denies murdering his daughter Mylee

PC Banbery treated Mr Billingham while the other officer tried to revive Mylee, who was later pronounced dead in hospital.

She said: "When I was speaking to him his eyes were flickering and every so often he would open his eyes and look at me, but when he saw that I was looking back he would close them again."

PC Banbery said the father-of-six kicked out at her, and added: "When I dragged him into the living room, he then started resisting.

"He had got control over his arms and I felt that he could control his body."

Asked if Mr Billingham had tried to help officers, PC Banbery said: "He wasn't trying to assist in any way. I never heard his voice."

CCTV footage was shown to jurors of Mr Billingham and his daughter visiting a local Costcutter store about two hours before the fatal stabbing.

The defendant and Mylee entered the shop at 18:53 GMT and left shortly before 19:00.

Mr Billingham also denies making a threat to kill Mylee's mother Tracey Taundry.

The trial continues.

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seth Posted on September 20, 2018 23:34

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Wigan boy, 4, drowns in Tenerife hotel pool

A four-year-old British boy has drowned in a packed hotel swimming pool while on holiday with his family in Tenerife.

Presley Stockton, from Wigan, was found at the four-star Hotel Paradise Park Fun Lifestyle in Los Cristianos at 15:40 BST on Wednesday.

A lifeguard pulled him out of the pool and an ambulance was called, but doctors could not resuscitate him.

His grandfather Mike Jolley said Presley was "one in a million" and the family were "broken hearted".

In a post on Facebook, he described his grandson as a "whirlwind" and added: "Fly high my little Angel".

Presley is believed to have been on a 10-day holiday with his parents and grandparents in the Canary Islands.

'Absolute tragedy'

A spokesman for the hotel said: "He was in the family pool. It was packed - we are packed.

"The pool was packed with children and families. It is not a deep pool [and] there were two lifeguards on the spot.

"One pulled him out, the other one came over and they were both doing procedures.

"Two to three minutes later an ambulance came. There were lots of ambulances, five or six doctors were trying to resuscitate.

"He could not swim and had no arm bands on. It is just tragic, an absolute tragedy."

The Canary Islands government's Co-ordinating Centre for Emergencies and Security said Presley is thought to have had "signs of drowning" and possible cardiac arrest.

A spokesman said: "Efforts to revive the youngster using CPR proved unsuccessful and he was confirmed dead at the scene."

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 23:29

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Mexico's president-elect grounded on commercial plane for hours

Mexico's President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador still plans to sell the presidential jet after spending three hours grounded on a commercial plane.

Mr López Obrador vowed to press ahead with his plans despite being stuck on the tarmac because of heavy rain.

"I won't get on the presidential plane," he said from his seat on the commercial aircraft on Wednesday.

The left-wing leader, who won the presidential election by a landslide in July, will be sworn in in December.

Mexico's de luxe presidential jet, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner costing $218.7m (£166m), was delivered two years ago after being ordered by former President Felipe Calderón in 2012.

It was said at the time to be the most modern and efficient plane used by any world leader, according to Mashable.

What do Mexicans think?

Mr López Obrador, who has pledged to run an austere government, was one of hundreds of passengers unable to fly from the southern state of Oaxaca to the capital, Mexico City.

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionThe president-elect vowed to continue using commercial flights

Footage from on board the flight and acquired by Reuters news agency shows the president-elect explaining that he would be "embarrassed" to board "a luxurious plane in a country where there is so much poverty".

"I'm not going to change my mind because of this," he said, adding: "Enough with this tomfoolery, it's over, it's over, any politician who acts arrogantly won't last."

News of the incident was met with criticism among some residents of Mexico City.

"I think that if the plane has already been purchased then he should just use it," said Alejandro Aguilar, adding that it was "not normal" for presidents to be grounded.


Media captionFive things you need to know about Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador or "Amlo"

Another, Arturo Miranda, said that while the president-elect appeared to be showing empathy with the people, "We would have to ask ourselves how would he travel when he has to attend an international event?"

Along with the sale of the country's presidential plane, Mr López Obrador has promised to turn the presidential palace into a cultural centre and live in a more modest home, cut the presidential salary, and tackle corruption.

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seth Posted on September 20, 2018 23:21

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3D-printed gun pioneer Cody Wilson charged with sexual assault

A Texas man who has played a central role in making 3D-printed weapons available has been charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl.

A warrant was issued for Cody Wilson but he flew to Taiwan before he could be detained, police in Austin said.

A 16-year-old girl alleged she was paid $500 (£380) to have sex with Mr Wilson at an Austin hotel, they said.

Mr Wilson has been at the centre of a legal battle over publishing blueprints that instruct people on making a gun.

Mr Wilson has not yet commented on the case and no lawyer has yet issued a statement.

What are the allegations against Mr Wilson?

Austin Police Commander Troy Officer told a press briefing that a counsellor who had spoken to the girl informed police on 22 August that "that a juvenile female under the age of 17 had reported having sexual contact with a 30-year-old male".

The legal age of consent in Texas is 17.

Commander Officer said the girl met Mr Wilson through the website and had sex with him in a hotel on 15 August.

Police confirmed the girl's story through "videotape and interviews", he said.

The alleged crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

What is the Taiwan connection?

Commander Officer said Mr Wilson had "left the country before we could seek an interview".

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionCody Wilson has fought a legal battle on distributing blueprints for the gun

He said: "We know Mr Wilson frequently travels for business. We don't know why he went to Taiwan.

"But we do know before he left he was informed by a friend of the victim that she had spoken to police and the police were investigating him for having sex with a minor."

He said that Mr Wilson was not in custody and that he had "missed a scheduled flight back to the United States".

Taiwan's National Immigration Agency said Mr Wilson had arrived on 6 September, Agence France-Presse reported, but that there had been no US request for judicial assistance as yet.

There is no extradition treaty between the United States and Taiwan.

What is Mr Wilson's role in the 3D saga?

Cody Wilson, a self-styled crypto-anarchist, founded the gun access advocacy group Defense Distributed.

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY

Image captionOne version of a 3D printed gun

He showed off the world's first 3D-printed gun in 2013.

The US government then banned the online posting of blueprints that gave instructions on making the guns.

Mr Wilson launched a legal battle, claiming the ruling infringed his rights to free speech and to bear arms.

The US government this year reached a settlement lifting the ban, but this was then challenged by a number of states.

Last month, a US federal judge in Seattle blocked the release of software that allows consumers to 3D-print firearms.

But Mr Wilson said this ruling applied only to free online distribution and began selling blueprints instead, leading to thousands of downloads.

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 23:06

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Maryland shooting: Woman kills three, turns gun on herself

A woman shot dead three people and injured three more before turning a gun on herself in an attack at a warehouse complex in Maryland, US police say.

The shooting happened on Thursday morning at a pharmacy distribution centre in Perryman, near Baltimore.

The attacker, Snochia Moseley, 26, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The motive for her attack is unclear.

Mass shootings by women are rare, with more than 95% of such attacks in the US carried out by men.

'Officers fired no shots'

The shooter was a temporary employee who reported for work as usual that morning, Harford County Sheriff's Office said.

But shortly after 09:00 local time (13:00 GMT) she began shooting outside, then inside the facility, with a 9mm Glock handgun that she had brought with her.

Police were on the scene within five minutes, by which time the shooter had killed three people and injured three more.

Officers found the suspect in a critical condition, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head - she died later in hospital.

She was from Baltimore County, police said.

She owned and had registered the handgun, and had taken several magazines of ammunition with her, police said.

The sheriff's office initially urged residents to avoid the area, which is about 40km (25 miles) north-east of Baltimore.

But it later tweeted that "we do not believe there is any further threat to the community".

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionFBI agents were deployed to the scene just minutes after the shooting

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seth Posted on September 20, 2018 22:57

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Avengers 4 title: Why the name reveal is 'a very big deal'

To the untrained eye a picture of a man in a film studio with the caption "look hard" might not get the heart racing.

But for thousands of people who liked an image posted by the Russo Brothers (long-time directors of The Avengers films) it's "a very big deal".

The next film in the franchise is due out in April 2019 and so far has a working title of Avengers 4.

So it's no wonder that even a slight whiff of an official name would send fans, in their own words, "a bit hypo".

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"I've got the Russo Brothers on tweet notification because they like a bit of mystery.

"Twitter just went into a frenzy when that one came up," said Cam - who's been a fan of the series for years.

Marvel meets Bond

Image captionCam thinks the production company will keep teasing fans until the release of the first official trailer

He explained followers of the Marvel universe are used to getting film names "years in advance at Comic Con or something" and that this is "the first title for ages" without an official name this close to release.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has previously said announcing the title now would have been a spoiler for the new film, but having such a long delay is Cam explains "why fans are going a bit hypo for anything new".

"They were going to split Infinity War into two parts so Avengers 4 was going to be Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2.

"But then they dropped that title and they haven't given us a new one.

"It's a different kind of guessing game now, they're always trying to find new ways to market the films.

"Withholding a title is something films like James Bond and Star Wars have done for ages. I think Marvel wanted to join in on that now and hype up the movie in a way they haven't before."

Is this the endgame?

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As for the picture, Cam said there's "all sorts of things" going on.

"There's a ladder in the shape of an A, and other hidden letters as well. Another A, an E and a G by the look of it.

"Endgame has been quite a popular name online but the Russo Brothers have said the Avengers 4 title was never spoken in the script of Infinity War and 'endgame' was said so it might not be that."

Cam suggests: "Infinity Gauntlet - using the G that some people have picked out - might be a good one."

* Spoilers from Avengers Infinity War start here*

Image copyrightMARVEL/DISNEY

Image captionJosh Brolin plays Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War

That theory is based on Avengers villain Thanos spending several years plotting to piece together his Infinity Gauntlet since he was introduced in the first Avengers movie in 2012.

He used it to kill half of all the living beings in the universe at the end of Infinity War, including 50% of the Avengers.

"After Infinity War it would be a bit more personal to be about this gauntlet that can kill half the universe, so it would make it a bit more grounded and to the point," said Cam.

*This is where the spoilers end*

Not just geeks anymore

American fan Roy thinks Endgame "could make a lot of sense".

"I looked hard and the first thing I saw was the two As in it.

"A lot of people say it could be Avengers Assemble but that was the title of the original Avengers film in the UK so I don't think it could be that without confusing a lot of people."

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Having been a fan for 15 years, Roy said he "loves seeing everybody get into" the speculation around the new film.

"It was always seen as a bit weird to read comics.

"So when everyone started getting into it and all the stories it meant a lot to me. I'm glad it's able to reach a wider fan base.

"The Russo Brothers know that they have us all by the collar. They know we'll be speculating and reading into things. I think it's a lot of fun."

Cam agreed: "It's become a much bigger culture now to get involved in superhero films.

"Everyone at some point has seen some sort of superhero film - it's not just for the 'geeks' anymore."

Follow Newsbeat on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here.

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 22:49

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James Bond: Cary Joji Fukunaga to direct next Bond film

The man behind Netflix series Maniac has been named as the director of the next James Bond film.

Cary Joji Fukunaga replaces Danny Boyle, who dropped out last month blaming "creative differences".

Producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli praised Fukunaga's "versatility and innovation".

He recently directed Netflix's dark comedy Maniac, starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, and directed season one of True Detective.

Fukunaga's work on the HBO crime drama series won him an Emmy in 2014. He also directed 2015's Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba.

And the Elba connection wasn't lost on many commentators.

Cary Joji Fukunaga - what you need to know

He came to prominence when he wrote and directed 2009's Sin Nombre, about the journey of a Honduran young girl and a Mexican gangster across the American border.

It won a British Independent Film award for best foreign film, the new director's prize at Edinburgh International Film Festival and picked up three prizes at Sundance.

In 2011, he directed an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, which starred Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell.

He also directed and executive produced the acclaimed first series of True Detective in 2014, which starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

He was also one of the screenwriters on last year's It, Andy Muschietti's adaptation of the Stephen King thriller but then left the project having been due to direct it.

Maniac comes to Netflix on Friday and has a stellar cast which includes Justin Theroux and Sally Field.

Speaking to the BBC about Maniac earlier this week, Fukunaga said he gives his actors plenty of freedom.

"I let Jonah be what Jonah wanted to be, obviously with some guidance," he said. "And the same with Emma. Justin came in with his interpretation of Doctor Mantleray, I didn't reign him in… I was kind of like, this is interesting, it's just the right amount of energy."

Bond's producers added that Fukunaga was an "excellent choice" and they were "delighted" to be working with him.

David Mackenzie, Yann Demange and Joe Wright were among the film-makers tipped to take over the director's chair, so Fukunaga is something of a surprise choice.

Filming will begin at Pinewood Studios on 4 March and the film will be released on 14 February, 2020.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionCraig is returning for the new Bond movie

Before Boyle's departure was announced, the film was set for a UK release on 25 October 2019, opening in US cinemas two weeks later.

But the change of director has inevitably led to a delay.

Craig has previously said it will be his final appearance as 007. The most recent Bond film, Spectre, came out in 2015.

What will Cary bring to Bond? By Matt Maytum, deputy editor, Total Film

Cary Joji Fukunaga is something of a surprise choice for the Bond franchise, given that he's such a distinctive filmmaking voice, and the producers tend to go for a 'safe pair of hands'. I was surprised that he was announced after Danny Boyle departed due to creative differences, as Fukunaga left the horror remake It for the same reason.

In his career so far, Fukunaga has proved himself across varied material, including immigration thriller Sin Nombre to Charlotte Bronte adaptation Jane Eyre, and he also directed the critically acclaimed first series of True Detective.

Even though he doesn't have much action movie experience, that's not generally a problem with films of this scale, as he'll be working with world class department heads who'll steer him through that side of the production, while he focuses on the storytelling.

Based on his previous work, I'd expect Fukunaga to bring a strong grasp on character and a slightly sinister tone to the upcoming Bond film.

Fukunaga's Maniac drops on Netflix on Friday and has had a mixed reception from critics.

The series follows Stone and Hill's characters as they take part in a drug trial.

Beasts of No Nation, which was watched by more than three million US subscribers, was Netflix's first cinema-quality project.

The film focuses on child warfare in Africa and to the surprise of many, neither the film or Elba were nominated for an Oscar back in 2016.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 22:46

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Diesel criticised for casting Nicki Minaj in anti-bullying advert

Diesel has been criticised for including Nicki Minaj in a new anti-bullying fashion campaign.

Some of those who have hit out at the company believe they have been bullied by Nicki online.

The advert, which also includes Bella Thorne and Barbie Ferreira, features celebrities wearing clothes with slurs they've been called by others online.

Nicki wears a hoodie with the phrase 'the bad guy' on it, while Bella wears a T-shirt that says 'slut'.

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Diesel says 'the more hate you wear, the less you care' in its advert, but viewers have questioned its casting.

Image Copyright @mrLdavis@MRLDAVIS


Image Copyright @MrLavalife@MRLAVALIFE


Image Copyright @WannasWorld@WANNASWORLD


Both Jerome Trammel and Wanna Thompson claim to have been bullied by Nicki.

Jerome claims Nicki Minaj encouraged fans to attack him after he criticised Nickifor 'slut-shaming' in an interview with Elle magazine.

When Wanna questioned the lyrics on Nicki's 2018 album Queen, she claims to have received direct messages from the rapper, who later contacted her employer and got her fired from an internship as a music journalist.

Nicki Minaj: 'I didn't respond to that lady'

Wanna told Newsbeat in August that receiving direct, abusive messages which appear to be from Nicki Minaj's Twitter account was "heart breaking" as she was a fan of the star.

"I was flabbergasted because I thought the page was fake," said Wanna at the time.

"I kept on trying to refresh my twitter to see if it was a parody page. Maybe it was someone who copied everything about Nicki Minaj's profile and they're trying to get a rise out of me, but to my surprise, it was real."

Nicki denied contacting Wanna in an interview shortly after the writer made her comments.

Diesel has responded to some of the criticism on Twitter explaining why Nicki was chosen for the campaign.

Image copyrightTWITTER

"Our enemy is hate, not haters," said another.

Nicki hasn't addressed the backlash, but said critics like to label her a 'bad guy' in an Instagram post promoting the advert.

"You need people like me. So you can point your finger and say: That's the bad guy," she wrote.

The BBC has contacted Nicki Minaj's representatives but they have not responded.

Follow Newsbeat on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here.

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 22:44

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Suspect arrested in Washington, DC jogger's stabbing death, police say

A suspect was arrested in the seemingly "unprovoked" stabbing death of a female jogger, whose slaying Tuesday evening in a “very safe neighborhood" stunned Washington, D.C. residents, officials announced Thursday.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said Anthony Crawford, 23, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder while armed in connection with the stabbing death of Wendy K. Martinez.

"It looks like it was an unprovoked attack," Newsham told reporters.

Crawford was arrested Wednesday night after he was found at a park by officers, who then took him in for questioning. Crawford, who has a criminal history, is "not cooperating" with investigators, the chief added.

Wendy K. Martinez, 35, was stabbed to death in Logan Circle on Tuesday night. Police released an image of the suspect Wednesday.  (D.C. Police Department)

The 35-year-old Martinez was jogging in Logan Circle around 8 p.m. Tuesday when an assailant stabbed her in the neck.

"This happened very quickly," Newsham said Thursday.

After being stabbed, Martinez stumbled away and into a nearby takeout restaurant, where surveillance video showed the woman appearing to alert customers to her attacker's location.

Some of those inside the eatery ran out to track down the assailant while others tried to help Martinez, who was later pronounced dead at a hospital, FOX5DC reported.

Crawford reportedly dropped the knife used in the assault at the scene, where it was recovered by investigators.


Warning: Graphic image below.

Surveillance video from the takeout restaurant showed shocked patrons attempting to save Martinez's life.  (FOX5DC)

Newsham said said Wednesday that patrons at the restaurant "did the best they could" to save Martinez's life.

A blurry surveillance video was released Wednesday showing the person believed to be Martinez’s attacker. The suspect was last seen wearing a mustard-colored shirt, dark-colored pants and sandals with white socks.

That "very distinct shirt," according to Newsham, was what helped officers identify Crawford and led to his arrest. The chief said Thursday that Crawford was living in Northwest D.C., and is not homeless. 

"Surveillance video was really the key to closing this case," he said. 

Detectives said the attack was random and that Martinez did not know Crawford. The incident was not a robbery attempt and the motive remains unclear, police added.

Martinez' death came just a week after she announced she was engaged, her family said in a statement to local news outlets.

“We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy," Martinez's family said. "Wendy Karina Martinez was the light of our lives. Not only was she an avid runner, but she was a devout Christian, a wonderful friend, and a driven professional. Everything you hope that a daughter and a friend could be. She was also excited to be planning her upcoming wedding to her fiancé, Daniel Hincapie. They were engaged just last week.”

Friends of Martinez made a statement on Thursday during a press conference announcing the arrest of Crawford. 

“Wendy should have been shopping for her wedding dress on Friday," a friend said.

Martinez, the chief of staff at FiscalNote, was described as an avid jogger who lived near Logan Circle, a popular D.C. neighborhood Newsham described as “very safe.” Martinez said in a recent interview with that she liked to unwind from work by running around the city or working out at her favorite local studio.

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 20, 2018 15:53

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Police investigate Lyon supporter's Nazi salute at Manchester City

Lyon fans celebrated a 2-1 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium

Police say they are investigating an "abhorrent hate crime" after a Lyon fan appeared to give a Nazi salute during the team's Champions League win at Manchester City.

The French club have vowed to ban the supporter for life.

Chief Inspector Gareth Parkin, of Greater Manchester police, condemned the fan's gesture.

"This is absolutely abhorrent behaviour and it has no place in our community, and no place in sport," he said.

"We are committed to policing racism at football matches, and hate crimes of any sort will simply not be tolerated."

He said officers were working with their French colleagues to identify the offender.

Lyon beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in Wednesday's Champions League Group F opener.

The gesture was caught on video and shared on social media, where it attracted widespread condemnation.

The club responded by saying it had seen the video and was working to identify the supporter.

"As soon as he is identified, he will be excluded for life," Lyon said in a statement.

Police say they are also investigating reports of fighting between fans near City's Etihad Stadium.

Footage on social media showed around 20 supporters clashing in the street outside a shop.

Meanwhile, two people were arrested for affray before the match following a disturbance in the city's Northern Quarter at about 18:40 BST.

kabby Posted on September 20, 2018 11:26

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Passengers hurt after Jet Airways flight loses cabin pressure

Flight 9W 697 carrying 166 passengers landed back in Mumbai after passengers complained of ear pain and nose bleeding.

A Jet Airways flight returned to Mumbai after dozens of passengers complained of ear pain and nose bleeding [FILE:Nicolas Economou/ Getty Images]

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A Jet Airways flight returned to Mumbai, India, when 30 passengers complained of ear pain and nose-bleeding after the plane lost cabin pressure.

Shortly after takeoff, the flight crew forgot to switch on the cabin pressure system and oxygen masks were deployed, according to India's civil aviation regulator.

Flight 9W 697, a Boeing 737 aircraft, was carrying 166 passengers when the incident took place.

Those affected were given medical attention while alternative flights were arranged, Jet Airways said.

The flight crew "has been taken off scheduled duties pending investigation", the company said in a statement.

"The airline is making alternative flight arrangements for guests on its flight," the statement added. 

People on board posted photos and videos of the calamity online, with one purported passenger, Darshak Hathi, uploading footage on Twitter showing travellers using oxygen masks.

Panic situation due to technical fault in @jetairways 9W 0697 going from Mumbai to Jaipur. Flt return back to Mumbai after 45 mts. All passengers are safe including me.

— Darshak Hathi (@DarshakHathi) September 20, 2018

Satish Nair also posted a picture and complained that passengers were not kept informed during the ordeal.

@jetairways Flight 9W 697 made an emergency landing back in Mumbai. Airplane lost pressure immediately after taking off...scores of passengers including me bleeding from staff to announcement on board to wear the oxygen mask.passengersafety completelyignored

— Satish Nair (@satishnairk) September 20, 2018 

India's Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a tweet it had sought an "immediate report" from official agencies.

MoCA has taken cognizance of the incident in flight 9W 697 earlier today and has requested DGCA to file its report immediately on the issue. The crew is being derostered. Of the 166 people on board, 30 were affected and have been given treatment.

— Ministry of Civil Aviation (@MoCA_GoI) September 20, 2018

It is the latest in a string of embarrassing incidents for the airline.

In January, two Jet Airways pilots were grounded for getting into a brawl and storming out of the cockpit briefly during a New Year's Day flight from London to Mumbai.

kabby Posted on September 20, 2018 10:32

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Rights group accuses South Sudan of 'war crimes'

Witnesses say soldiers and militiamen targeted civilians by raping them, burning them alive, and killing male infants.

About two million South Sudanese have fled the country over the past five years of war [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

more on South Sudan

South Sudan's government and its allied militias have been accused of carrying out war crimes of "staggering brutality" during an offensive earlier this year.

Witnesses described how soldiers and fighters targeted civilians by raping them, burning them alive, running them over with armoured vehicles, and hanging them from trees, Amnesty International said in a report on Wednesday.

"One interviewee said a girl as young as eight was gang-raped and another woman witnessed the rape of a 15-year-old boy," it said.

The report was based on interviews with 100 displaced people from Leer and Mayendit counties in Unity State, which have been among the hardest hit regions during South Sudan's five-year civil war.

Amnesty also documented the abduction of women and girls, and the deliberate killing of young boys and male infants. The attacks continued for a week after a ceasefire was announced.

"The government attacked dozens of civilians in these areas, burning houses systematically, killing people - including women, children, and elderly people," Amnesty's Joanne Mariner told Al Jazeera.

"We documented horrific cases in which elderly people - 70, 80, even 90 years old - were burned alive inside houses because the government was torching villages in a really systematic way."

The killings echo the type of brutality meted out to civilians that have characterised South Sudan's war since its start.


WATCH:South Sudan war crimes: UN calling for forming hybrid court (1:58)


South Sudan's government often dismisses such reports as "rubbish".

Africa's refugee crisis 

President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a new peace deal in Ethiopia last week after lengthy negotiations.

It allows the creation of a transitional government, with Machar to be reinstated as vice president.

Despite the breakthrough, many international observers remain sceptical as previous agreements have collapsed after warring parties failed to respect them.

Years of conflict in South Sudan has left more than half of its 12 million population in need of food aid for survival.

The world's newest country descended into civil war in 2013 after Kiir accused Machar, then his deputy, of plotting a coup.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people with more than two million fleeing the country, creating Africa's largest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.


In the Field

Women of South Sudan: Broken bodies, shattered dreams

kabby Posted on September 20, 2018 09:58

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Man City given Champions League wake-up call by Lyon

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta admitted the English champions were handed a wake-up call in a shock 2-1 home defeat by Lyon to start their Champions League campaign on Wednesday.

  • Published: 19.09.2018
  • Pulse News Agency International by AFP





Maxwel Cornet scored the opening goal for Lyon against Manchester City


Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta admitted the English champions were handed a wake-up call in a shock 2-1 home defeat by Lyon to start their Champions League campaign on Wednesday.

Arteta took charge for the evening with Pep Guardiola serving a touchline ban for being sent-off in last season's quarter-final exit to Liverpool.



And Guardiola could only watch on in horror as Lyon punished a sloppy first 45 minutes from the pre-tournament favourites through Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir.

Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back in an improved second-half performance, but couldn't prevent City slumping to their first defeat of the season.

"When you are not at the races at the start of a game in the Champions League after, it doesn't matter how good you are, it is too late," said Arteta.

In contrast to their stunning domestic form, City have now lost their last four Champions League games.


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was forced to watch his side's defeat from the stands



A decade into their stewardship, winning the competition for the first time may remain the holy grail for City's Abu Dhabi owners.

But it seems City's fans still need to be convinced with plenty of empty seats dotted around the Etihad and the Champions League anthem again booed before kick-off.

That flat atmosphere transferred into a City first-half display riddled with uncharacteristic errors.

"Obviously, the ideal scenario is to have a full stadium every time and to have people supporting and getting behind the team like crazy," added Arteta.

"I wouldn't like to use that as an excuse because we had this type of crowd in Champions League before and we were able to win the game."

Lyon pounce


Lyon captain Nabil Fekir fired the French side into a 2-0 lead



Lyon have won just two of their opening five Ligue 1 matches of the season, but pounced on City's sloppiness.

"We need to be capable of repeating this performance in order to fulfil the objectives we have," said Lyon coach Bruno Genesio.

"The end of the game was tougher as they brought it back to 2-1 and brought on talented players. I suffered as I was scared they'd score a second goal.

"We would have taken 2-2 before the match but given the way the game went we'd have been disappointed not to leave with the three points."

Some calamitous City defending gifted Lyon the perfect start as Fekir's low cross should have been easily cut out by Fabian Delph at the back post. However, the England international swiped at fresh air and Cornet gratefully slotted into the far corner.

Guardiola's ban meant he wasn't even allowed into the dressing room at half-time, and Arteta's team talk got an awfully lot tougher two minutes before the break when long-time Liverpool target Fekir drilled a shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner.

Arteta surprisingly resisted the temptation to make changes at the break despite having a cavalry of Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez on the bench.

And it wasn't until Sane and Aguero were summoned before the hour mark that City started to threaten.

By that point, it should have been too late as former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay hit the post with just Ederson to beat on another threatening Lyon counter-attack.

Sane's introduction moved Bernardo Silva into the central role where he has shone in recent weeks in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne and the two combined to get the hosts back into the game 23 minutes from time.

The German got to the by-line and his cut-back was swept into the far corner by the Portuguese international.

Anthony Lopes twice denied Aguero and Sane fired off target when well-placed in stoppage time, but Lyon held out to leave City with plenty of work to do in Group F to progress.

khojho Posted on September 20, 2018 08:57

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Someone’s putting electric cars on the blockchain to mine crypto while driving.

Has science gone too far? Or has economics not gone far enough?

CoinTelegraph reports CyClean is putting electric cars on the blockchain so they can mine cryptocurrency while driving – as you do.

Electric vehicles and other more eco-friendly products are supplied to CyClean with a chip that connects to the CyClean server. It then tracks how far a vehicle travels or how many watts are used and rewards the driver or user accordingly.

CyClean currently only covers electric bicycles and motorcycles, hence the name presumably, but the expansion to electric cars is said to be coming in the near future. The chip can also be incorporated into solar panels and other clean energy systems to deliver additional rewards for the amount of power produced as well as into wrist bands to reward people for running a certain distance. The vision is to create a healthy, green, environmentally conscious and almost painfully wholesome green fitness community.

The money

The system involves a fixed amount of daily rewards, which is then divided among all the users who have travelled more than a kilometre in that day or produced more than one watt. The amount of CyClean coins will be proportionate to the distance travelled or the watts produced. The total daily amount distributed is subject to change as the system evolves, its white paper says.

It's a fascinating idea that will no doubt be subject to a lot of "oh so now we have crypto mining cars on the blockchain" type criticism, even as the economic criticisms are potentially much more valid.

The token itself is intended to be useable for renting a range of CyClean products as well as other partner products over time and will be connected to carbon credit schemes. Naturally, it's also intended to be redeemable for cold hard cash at constantly varying prices, also known as sellable.

Where's the value?

The nugget of value in the entire system is intended to be CyClean's brand name and the sense of endorsement that CyClean products are expected to carry. This is what CyClean offers partners who agree to let their products be rentable in exchange for CyClean credits rather than real money. The idea is that this, in conjunction with the CyClean rewards, make CyClean products a much more tempting option for consumers.

Seems like it could work, although the anticipated volatility of CyClean coins might make it tough for CyClean to convince partners to accept it over money.

Living long enough to become the villain

There are also some seemingly self-defeating peculiarities with the system and the intended self-driving car.

"When CyClean car is complete and launched to the market, it will be one of the strongest mining capabilities thus will be like ASIC metaphorically when mining CyClean coins," the white paper explains.

In other words, it's incentivising people to drive wherever possible rather than bike, walk or take public transport. Not only that, but it's also encouraging people to drive as far as possible in any given day. If CyClean rewards ever become valuable enough for people to drive when they don't need to, the system might be undermining its own ethos. And with more people suddenly CyCleaning around the place, the rewards for those who use it as intended start dropping.

This puts a fairly stark cap on the potential value of CyClean rewards. By necessity, they can never get high enough to actually be "worth it" and will only ever be a small side benefit to help sell a specific brand of product.

There are also some lingering questions around obvious gaming of the system and how fair it will be for everyday users. It won't be long before people find the most effective way of mimicking travel times, such as throwing their CyClean electric bike and scooter into their car before driving around wearing an armband or finding a way of hacking their device's GPS tracker.

But even assuming everyone does use it as intended, the system is naturally geared towards those who will be covering a lot of ground every day. These are your full-time Uber drivers, taxi companies, delivery drivers and similar. Later on, it will be your autonomous vehicle owners; the CyClean car roadmap is intended to eventually lead to driverless cars.

The vast majority of the rewards will be going to these heavy users who cover a lot of ground in their cars. And not only is distance a strong factor, but CyClean rewards are also weighted by device type, so cars are worth disproportionately more than wrist bands, for example.

Without actually doing any calculations, it intuitively seems like the actual value of the system for an everyday CyClean user, someone who just rides an electric bike to or from work or goes jogging with the wrist band, would end up close to zero.

Remember, if the actual token value gets too high, it starts destroying the system by incentivising needless energy consumption and dropping rewards for everyone who can't be bothered gaming the system in this way. By necessity, the total value of the daily reward pool can never get too high.

These limited rewards are then distributed mainly to the most dedicated "miners," who drive full time in their own vehicle or are otherwise in a position to earn the highest rewards. The rewards for those everyday users, who make up the bulk of the market and help shore up the value of the CyClean tokens through their purchasing power, seem like they'll be too low for anyone to bother with.

In the end, CyClean products will still need to compete on quality and price to get anywhere, and without enough rewards to sway consumer purchasing decisions, these tracking systems and blockchain chips will just be extra overhead.

Slightly ironically, CyClean's green energy economy might not be sustainable.

AlbertaU Posted on September 20, 2018 08:21

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Marco Minniti: The man who cut the migrant flow to Italy

In his small office off a courtyard lined with citrus trees, 62-year-old Marco Minniti scrolls through the pictures on his phone, showing endless meetings with Libyan tribal leaders.

His office walls are lined with photos of Italian air force planes. A small pen holder, a gift from Tunisian officials, sits on his desk.

In power, Mr Minniti spoke rarely.

Now, out of office, he's keen to explain how he orchestrated a deal to reduce migration from Libya to Italy.

When he took over as interior minister in December 2016, migration was a continuing crisis. In just three years, more than half a million migrants had reached Italy after setting off from Libya by boat.

Italians angrily demanded action from the centre-left government. The new minister decided to make use of his long background in intelligence and security work.

His plan was simple: co-opt Libyan tribal chiefs into stopping migrant smugglers and traffickers.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionLibyan prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj met Mr Minniti at a conference in Rome in March 2017

His first official visit to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, was in January 2017 to meet President Serraj - and the other authorities.

"The desert tribes are fundamental," he says. "There's only so much technology and military resources you can deploy, but if you don't have the tribes, the Sahara is difficult to control."

By the summer of 2017, Marco Minniti had a deal in place with Libyan chiefs.

"We signed a small pact," he says.

"I asked them to break any links with the traffickers - and I said that Italy, Europe, and the international community were ready to help their communities financially."

Inhuman treatment?

The deal had instant results.

The Libyan coast guard began to intercept migrant boats, and numbers on this route fell by around 80%. But the Libya-Italy route remains incredibly dangerous.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionMr Minniti in Tripoli harbour, Libya, in May 2017

The UN refugee agency says that the rate of deaths along the Mediterranean route has risen sharply, and there are questions about the dangers intercepted migrants face back in Libya.

The UN has said any deal that sends migrants back to detention and mistreatment in Libya is inhuman. I ask Mr Minniti how he responds.

"Of course - if you ask me, have we sorted the issue of detention centres in Libya? Obviously not. We still have a lot to do," he says.

"But the fact that the UN are in Libya and can visit the centres is a step ahead. We need to strengthen these steps."

The dramatic fall in numbers was too late to save the centre-left government. Voters saw no need to reward an administration which, they believed, had taken far too long to act over migration.

At the general election in March, populists came out ahead.

'There is no migrant emergency'

"We lost the election for two reasons," Mr Minniti reflects. "We did not respond to two feelings that were very strong: anger and fear. We lost contact with a big part of public opinion."

The new populist administration is dominated by Marco Minniti's successor as interior minister - the far-right leader Matteo Salvini.

Mr Salvini has won headlines by turning away foreign-flagged rescue boats - and by asserting that he's the politician who's finally got a grip on migration. But in terms of reducing migrant numbers, it's Marco Minniti who's had by far the most impact - not Matteo Salvini.

I ask if he ever shouts at the TV when Mr Salvini claims he's the one who stopped migration.

He laughs.


Media captionWATCH: 'Italy only has room for migrants fleeing war,' says Matteo Salvini

"The point is this. Italy managed to show Europe and the world that you can manage migration, keeping two principles in mind: humanity and security. Now we're in another phase. There is no migrant emergency in Italy," he replies.

"But the new government can't say this - because if they did they would start liberating Italians from their fears. They need to stoke the issue, always finding an enemy."

But the populist strategy appears to work.

Matteo Salvini is Italy's most popular politician. By contrast, Marco Minniti sits in a small office in opposition.

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 06:11

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Good sex cures severe headache faster than painkillers – Doctor advises

A Ghanaian medical doctor has reaffirmed earlier research positions that sexual activities can lead to “partial or complete relief” from head pain in some migraines. This is nothing new as research conducted by various institutions across the globe have proven that sex cures headaches faster than some painkillers.

According to Dr Dennis Bortey, a Public Health professional, instead of using a sore head as an excuse to refuse sex, making love can be more effective than taking painkillers. He stressed that there is no medicine that works as fast and cures headache than sex.

He said, sex is medicinal and encourage that couples have it as often as possible to prevent ill health. Dr Bortey who said this while contributing to discussions on GhOne’s television show? ‘Duvet’, narrated how upon medical examination, directed a patient to go home and have sex. “If you have a bad headache, have sex, it is very medicinal. I asked one patient, have you had sex, you know what, go home have rough sex, go hit it. I bet anybody to try it if you have a bad headache”, he said.

The medical practitioner bemoaned the Ghanaian attitude of seeing sex as offensive thus, the subject is hardly discussed or talked about. “We need to demystify that,” he said. For couples who shunned sex or failed to engage in the activity regularly, Dr. Bortey said they may look older than their age. Using himself as an example, Dr Bortey said, people always doubt he age since he looked younger than 44.

His secret, he said, was good sex that makes him glow almost always. “Sex is a good thing, it makes you younger all the time…the more you have it, the more glowing you look be it a man or a woman,” he said. Some men have complained that their wives usually developed headaches around bedtime, leaving them with no choice than to allow the woman to have her deserved rest.

But Dr Bortey says the best cure for a headache is that three-letter word, Sex and it is as natural as it comes. Researchers have suggested that sex triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, through the central nervous system, which can, in turn, reduce, or even eliminate, a headache.

Nii Sackey Posted on September 20, 2018 06:10

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From murder capital of Europe to role model for London

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announces plans for a unit aiming to divert young people away from knife crime. The idea is based on a successful approach used in Scotland. So, what can the English capital learn?

Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) was set up to stem the tide of knife crime which saw Glasgow become Europe's murder capital.

From its formation in 2005 the VRU proposed a fresh approach to tackling the issue.

Its key message was that gang-related stabbings and slashings were not just a policing problem but a public health problem. The unit's motto was a simple one: "Violence is preventable, not inevitable."

In 2004/05 there were 137 murders in Scotland. But by 2016/17 the total had more than halved to 61.

Over the years the VRU has worked closely with partners in the NHS, education and social work.

It has stressed the importance of positive role models and its projects have been shaped by statistics.

Former director John Carnochan once showed me a jagged graph of violent crime in Glasgow. It included many spikes but at one point it plummeted dramatically.

Mr Carnochan explained: "That was Valentine's Day."

Love may virtually halt violence once a year but other factors have helped Glasgow shed its unwanted reputation as No Mean City.

BBC Scotland looks at five key aspects of the VRU's work.

Image captionSinger Frankie Vaughan addresses gang members in Easterhouse


Glasgow's gang culture was highlighted in the 1960s when singer Frankie Vaughan visited Easterhouse to speak to young people.

He famously convinced rival leaders to shake hands and give up their weapons.

Fast forward four decades and the then Strathclyde Police Chief Constable Sir Stephen House invited teenagers from some of the most deprived areas of the city to Glasgow Sheriff Court.

The symbolism was powerful as Sir Stephen urged them to renounce violence or risk returning to the court for real.

The VRU made bold statements to young people in simple, no nonsense terms. For example, chalk outlines of a body and a knife once appeared in 15 areas identified as gang trouble spots.

Officers also proactively visited suspected gang members, targeted their meeting places and monitored their activity on early social networking sites, such as Bebo.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionThe notorious MS-13 street gang was formed in LA by immigrants from El Salvador

US influence

The VRU sought inspiration from across the Atlantic in its bid to make Glasgow's streets safer.

Within two years of implementing Operation Ceasefire in 1995, Boston had reduced violent crime by about 50%.

In 2009 the VRU launched the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). It was designed to offer young people an alterative to gang membership such as youth clubs but, crucially, also the prospect of training and work.

Former offenders were drafted in to share their experiences with the next generation.

In 2011 police said the CIRV had resulted in a 50% reduction in violent offendingby those taking part.

Even among gang members who refused to participate, data indicated a 25% fall in the number of offences committed.

Image copyrightSEBASTIEN RABAS

Image captionCallum, from the east end of Glasgow, has been stabbed multiple times


In 2008 six surgeons who had witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of knife crime formed Medics Against Violence (MAV).

One of its early projects involved sending senior doctors into schools to share their harrowing experiences. MAV also produced a 15-minute film, called Your Choice, and devised lesson plans to help stimulate a debate.

The organisation encouraged knife crime victims to cooperate with the police as research showed many attacks went unreported.

It has also informed national debates, such as the case for minimum alcohol pricing. Earlier this year Dr Christine Goodall, of MAV, said more than 80% of assault victims in hospital emergency departments had been drinking, as had the people who had assaulted them.

The VRU's holistic approach was illustrated at an anti-violence conference at the Scottish Police College.

It included a session by Canadian parenting expert Cathy Gordon which highlighted the importance of empathy.

Image captionSexting has become a major problem among young people


The VRU launched a mentoring project in schools which is designed to combat the emerging threat of cyberbullying and encourage children to stay safe online.

The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) initiative is teaching young people leadership skills to help them support those falling prey to different kinds of abuse.

Former Chief Insp Graham Goulden, said the the scale of the problem should not be underestimated in light of the "sexually toxic environment" children are growing up in.

The MVP scheme, which was devised by US academic Jackson Katz, also coaches young people to challenge offensive behaviour.

During workshops, pupils are asked questions such as: "Is it sometimes OK to send a sexually explicit photo to another person?"

Under the programme school staff and partners recruit fifth and sixth year students as mentors and they then provide advice for younger pupils.

Meanwhile, VRU deputy director Will Linden has credited a dramatic reduction in school exclusions in Scotland over the last decade as a key factor in keeping children out of trouble.

Image captionOffenders must be free from drugs and alcohol to get onto the 12-month training programme aimed at turning their lives around


One of the VRU's key objectives is to offer young people an alternative path.

In 2010, Brigadier David Allfrey, a former commander of 51 Scottish Brigade in Stirling, ran an adventure and leadership training scheme with former gang members.

And two years later he handed five men, aged 18 to 25, a role in the world-renowned Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The ex-offenders, from the east end of Glasgow and Kilmarnock's Onthank estate were stationed at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh for the duration of the event. During each performance they moved props around and performed.

Brigadier Allfrey, the Tattoo's chief executive and producer, said: "There is enormous human potential wrapped up in these young men."

The VRU was also influenced by LA-based Homeboy Industries, which offers gang members employment in its cafes.

One such example is Street & Arrow in Glasgow's West End, which launched in 2016. It offers modern street food served from an airstream truck and hires former offenders for 12-month blocks.

Workers are paired with a mentor who can help them master everything from basic employment skills, like turning up on time, through to debt management and relationship issues.

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 06:00

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Top 10 tips for starting at university

The new duvet cover has been bought, posters are packed, a favourite teddy has been sneaked in and the car boot is crammed full.

It's that time of year when young people are heading off to university for the first time.

We asked graduates and older students for their top tips for starting at university.

1. Manage your workload

Kaylie Knowles, 24, studied at Nottingham Trent University, then did her PGCE at Derby University. She says staying on top of the workload is crucial.

"I got on just fine doing my undergrad at Trent, but my final year at Derby was a very stressful year leading me to four or five meltdowns across the year.

"All I'd say is prioritise your workload and make sure you take a break when you feel the workload is getting too much. "

2. Plan out a weekly budget

Mary O'Connell, 23, who did English literature at York University and an MA in Film Studies at King's College London, recommends setting yourself a weekly budget.

"Don't spend all your money on Freshers Week. If you haven't really worked before uni then you may not have seen that much money in your account before. But remember that it's still a loan that you need to be sensible with.

Image copyrightMARY O'CONNELL

Image captionMary: Learning to manage your loan is crucial

"Plan out a weekly budget. You can use an app to track your spending if you want to get an idea of how much you're spending, because it's something we usually underestimate."

Sian Reed, 25, who studied marketing at Hull University, followed by an MA in sports journalism at Sheffield Hallam, agrees.

"My first top tip would be learn to budget. I know it sounds all serious but just because your student loan has come in, doesn't mean you should spend it all at once.

"Just take half an hour or so to sit down and look at what money you have coming in and what you're spending.

"It might mean making some adjustments like boosting your income or reducing your spending (ask for a student discount everywhere, you'll be surprised at the sort of places that offer it as they don't always advertise) but it means you can live comfortably."

3. Back up your work

Peter Rogers, 22, who graduated from York University last year, says it's a good idea to back up your work in more than one place.

"We all had gmail accounts through our university, so I used Google Drive to save everything which meant it was stored in the cloud.

"One piece of advice would be to make sure you save different versions of a piece of work as you go along.

Image copyrightPETER ROGERS

Image captionPeter recommends backing up your work in more than one place

"For example, if you are writing an essay on the French Revolution, save it as 'French Revolution half' at the halfway stage, and then again as a separate version three-quarters of the way through, etc.

"That way if you do manage to delete a copy you will not have to rewrite from the beginning."

4. Make the most of the first year

Peter also says that the first year can often be a little lighter academically than subsequent years, so it's worth enjoying it.

"If your first year doesn't count towards your overall grade, make the most of the freedom that offers you," he suggests.

"I still look back and wish I had done a little less work (nobody asks me what grade I got in first year) and spent more time trying out activities, sports or just hanging out with friends.

"Obviously the academic side is important but that really amps up in second and third year anyway."

5. Don't be afraid to be choosy about friends

Emmeke Megannety 21, a second-year journalism student at Nottingham Trent University, says it's worth taking your time to find good friends.

"People starting uni need to remember that the people you meet in your first week will not necessarily be your friends for life.


Image captionEmmeke, 21, says friendships take time to evolve

"Don't think that you have to stick to people like glue just because you haven't met anyone else yet.

"Throw yourself into activities and societies, get a job, strike up a conversation with someone at the gym - you'll make so many friends throughout the year in the oddest of places."

Mary recommends joining all the societies that interest you.

"You don't just want your uni friends to be the people on your course and who you live with, so join a society to make friends there," she says.

"It's a good way to socialise cheaply, especially if you're not a big drinker. It also just makes the uni experience more fulfilling."

6. Look out for people

Sadly many students suffer with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Recent statistics show 146 students took their own lives in 2016.

Peter says it's important to keep an eye on your peers and ask searching questions.

"I was, and continue to be, regularly surprised at the number of people who would look and act fine outwardly but were actually really struggling.

"I think the key here is talking directly, especially with men. I know if I were just asked 'How are you feeling?' I'd probably just skirt around the question with a generic answer.

"But if a friend asked 'Do you think your mental health has been affected by….?' we might be tempted to answer more honestly."

7. Eat a balanced diet

Matt Broderick, 29, a graduate from Queens University Belfast, says a poor diet can affect your mood.

"Learn to cook and go to class. I did neither of these things, or very, very little.

"I spent all of my money on really unhealthy oven food or nasty takeaways and barely went to lectures.

"I didn't realise at the time but I was probably depressed because I was living in an awfully cold and dark house, eating dreadful food and only really leaving the house to go drinking with the odd class or lecture thrown in.

"I wish I could hit the reset button and go to every single lecture, do all of my readings, eat better and spend my time more wisely rather than drinking away my student loan."

8. Learn to cook on a budget

Picking up on the issue of food, Mary recommends learning how to cook on a budget.

"Stop caring about brands just because you have them at home," she advises.

"For example, if you're making something like a bolognese then buy the 'basics' version of the chopped tomatoes. It's not an ingredient you need to have a special brand for - chopped tomatoes is chopped tomatoes.

Image copyrightSIAN REED

Image captionSian says it's important to "stay true to yourself"

"Tupperware is your friend: Cook food in bulk then freeze it in meal-sized portions."

Peter adds: "Like many students I didn't really have anything other than rudimentary cookery skills before I went, and found learning to cook was reasonably enjoyable."

9. Stay in touch with friends from home

Mary says keeping in touch with family and friends from back home is a good way of keeping loneliness at bay, and a good chance to speak openly about any problems.

"Uni can be very lonely. Make sure you check in with your home friends who are also at uni and keep track of who might be having a hard time, and make sure you tell your friends if you find yourself struggling."

10. Stay true to yourself

Sian's other top tip for university is to "stay true to yourself".

"At university, students are usually living away from home for the first time which means no parents.

"You don't have to be an extrovert to enjoy the experience - don't feel obliged to go on nights out because you feel forced to (you will regret it in the morning).

"University seems to create a drinking culture so it's okay if you're not into it. Trust me, you will not be the only non-drinker on campus.

"Alternatively, if you do have a big personality, make the most of your student life, as life after uni is nowhere near as cheap."

Produced by Katherine Sellgren and Shamaan Freeman-Powell

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 05:58

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Hologram phone calls - sci-fi or serious possibility?

High-speed 5G networks could lead to big changes in how we use our mobile phones, allowing us to enjoy virtual reality on-the-go, interactive live broadcasts, and even project holograms from our handsets. But will connection "not-spots" and high costs stop many of us reaping the benefits?

Holograms have always felt like science fiction - think of the scene in Star Wars when robot R2-D2 beams a 3D hologram message from Princess Leia into thin air.

But imagine if you could project Leia from your mobile phone or tablet, anytime, anywhere.

Richard Foggie, an expert at the Knowledge Transfer Network, says this could well be possible within the next five years thanks to the arrival of 5G mobile broadband networks. These will allow devices to handle much greater amounts of data at far higher speeds.

Image copyrightYOUTUBE

Image captionProf Rahim Tafazolli conducts a phone call with a hologram of a fellow academic

"Right now, some sort of headgear or enclosed 'cave' is required to view holographics, but within five years I think we'll see AR/VR [augmented reality/virtual reality] just sprout out of the phone," Mr Foggie says.

"You could use it for video, playing games or industrial applications - even hologram phone calls."

Experiments are under way. Last year, US telecoms giant Verizon and Korean Telecom (KT) held what they said was the world's first live hologram international call over the two companies' trial 5G networks.

The demonstration saw a KT employee in Seoul converse with a live hologram of a Verizon employee in New Jersey that appeared on a monitor at KT's headquarters.

And in the UK this week, Vodafone is planning a live demonstration of a hologram phone call made over its trial 5G network to demonstrate the technology's potential.

Image copyrightYOUTUBE

Image captionProf Mischa Dohler performed a live concert with his daughter over a 5G video link

While both firms described the test as "early stage", KT has said it is working on commercialising hologram video calls that would let users "meet a person in a remote area in a real size in real time".

Another change - in theory at least - will be 5G's lower latency - the delay between issuing a command and the network responding. It could let people interact in near real-time over the web, removing the lag you get with communication tools such as Skype over lower-speed 4G.

Last year Mischa Dohler, a professor in wireless communications at King's College, London, showed what this would look like when he performed a live concert with his daughter over a 5G video link.

She sang from London's Guildhall while he accompanied her at Berlin's Brandenburger Tor, 1,000km away, with an end-to-end delay of just 20ms [milliseconds].

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionWill more of us be wearing VR headsets in the streets?

"You could have a virtual audience watching a play or a live event," says Jon Kingsbury of Immerse UK, an organisation doing research into VR and AR.

"People could also collaborate and work together in an immersive environment or have virtual conferences."

He also thinks 5G will enhance mobile video, enabling much sharper images on the go. Its superior bandwidth will mean we can enjoy data-heavy VR and AR in high definition on our phones and tablets - something not possible with 4G.

"If you use virtual reality now you are rooted in the house with your headset and your PlayStation, but 5G will let you use it when out and about," Mr Kingsbury says.

He is sceptical that everyone will start wearing VR headsets in the street, but does think it will be used for training and simulations in sectors like engineering and healthcare.

Consumers are also likely to see a lot more "immersive" content - video you can move around in or interact with. Possible examples could included more sophisticated AR games (in the vein of Pokemon Go) 360 degree films, and "smart tourism", whereby useful information is superimposed on a user's view of the real world by way of their smartphones.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionExperts say 5G could lead to more "smart tourism"

Not only will 5G be much faster than 4G, says Howard Jones, head of network communications at EE, a mobile operator owned by BT, but many more people will also be able to use it simultaneously without slowing the network down.

"It'll be like when we went from 3G to 4G and the service became much more reliable. And when you have a network with good capacity and speeds, app developers also start building for that capability."

This could particularly benefit live events and broadcasts, he says. He points to a BT Sport trial in 2015 where selected fans attending the FA Cup Final at Wembley were able to see real-time footage of the action on their tablets using advanced 4G technology.

The spectators could switch between camera angles as well as watch replays whenever they liked, enhancing their experience of the live game. They could also view updated football statistics and ask questions, such as "which player has made the most passes in the game so far?"

Image copyrightEE

Image captionCould interactive live broadcasts become the norm?

"With 5G everyone at a stadium could use this sort of app, not just a few, because it wouldn't put a strain on the network [as it would with 4G]," says Mr Jones.

"It could go further too, in effect making you your own producer. You could have access to everything we have in production, including bird's eye views of the pitch, or footage from behind the goal or the subs bench."

He says people could use it anywhere they had a 5G connection - at the stadium, at home or on the bus.

More 5G stories

5G will also make it cheaper and easier to broadcast live TV, believes Claire Harvey of Red Bee Media, which is owned by Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson. It manages video streaming services for broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV.

"5G-enabled cameras will be able to transmit raw footage straight to the internet," she says, removing the need for broadcast trucks and satellite link-ups positioned at the scene.

That will cut the costs of broadcasting big events like the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but also allow channels to screen much smaller events such as fringe music festivals or regional sporting fixtures.

"Our TV channels will become much more live," she says, "and that will help traditional broadcasters fight back against subscription video streaming services such as Netflix that are challenging their dominance."

Image copyrightJASON INGRAM

Image captionProf Dimitra Simeonidou believes many 5G services for mobiles won't arrive until 2021

Experts do see barriers to the rise of 5G apps for consumers, though. According to Dimitra Simeonidou, a professor in high performance networks at Bristol University, many people may not be able to afford the first 5G-ready handsets or accompanying equipment like VR glasses.

And that could mean media companies delay investing in new applications or simply charge us extra to access the latest 5G content.

"Even though networks will be rolled out in 2019 I think we won't see real 5G services reaching us on our mobile phones until 2021," she says.

The other issue is technical; some experts say much more investment will be needed in mobile phone towers and antennae if everyone wants to see a real difference in performance.

Also, 5G networks in the UK at least will initially be rolled out in urban areas, not the countryside. The government says this divide could be bridged over time, but will people be prepared to wait?

"There is a risk it could widen the digital divide in the short term," says Mr Kingsbury.

"You're likely to have these rich 5G experiences in cities, but it might become easier to collaborate between London and Berlin than London and rural Wales."

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 05:31

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New York inmate's golf drawings lead to exoneration in murder

A US convict whose talent for art caught the eye of a prison warden, ultimately leading to a review of his case, has been exonerated of murder.

Valentino Dixon's vivid pencil drawings of golf courses came to be featured in Golf Digest, whose reporters noticed evidence in his case seemed flawed.

Mr Dixon, 48, had maintained his innocence during 27 years behind bars for a shooting in Buffalo, New York.

He walked free after another man formally confessed to the murder.

The golf drawings

Mr Dixon had served nearly two decades at a notorious prison in upstate New York when his artistic flair attracted the notice of correctional authorities.

The warden gave him a photograph of the famed Augusta National's 12th hole in the US state of Georgia, and asked if he would draw it for him.

Image copyrightGOLF DIGEST

"After 19 years in Attica Correctional Facility, the look of a golf hole spoke to me," said Mr Dixon.

"It seemed peaceful. I imagine playing it would be a lot like fishing."

Using colouring pencils, he began to create meticulous, lush drawings of various links and fairways.

"I didn't know anything about golf. I'm from the 'hood," he told local media.

Image copyrightGOLF DIGEST

His sketches impressed the editors at Golf Digest, which featured his artwork and a profile of the prisoner in 2012.

"Maybe one day I'll get to play the game I've only imagined," Mr Dixon said in the article, describing how he drew landscapes he has never seen.

The magazine's coverage spurred wrongful-conviction advocates to look into the matter. Georgetown University law students championed his case.

The conviction

Mr Dixon was handed a minimum 38-year-to-life sentence for killing 17-year-old Torriano Jackson one night in August 1991, after an argument over a girl.

He acknowledged being at the crime scene, but said he was at a nearby shop buying beer when the gunshots rang out.

Mr Dixon said multiple witnesses could have testified he did not fire the gun.

But his trial lawyer did not call any of them as several had been accused of perjury.

Unusually, the investigating homicide detective did not testify during the trial either.

But a more serious flaw in the case was uncovered by Georgetown University's Prisons and Justice Initiative.

Prosecutors had omitted to reveal to Mr Dixon's defence attorney that a gunpowder test on his client's clothes had come back negative.

The real killer

Perhaps even more egregiously, another man, Lamarr Scott, admitted to local media only days after the murder that he shot Torriano Jackson.

Scott told a WGRZ-TV reporter: "I don't want my friend [Mr Dixon] to take the rap for something that I did."


Image captionGeorgetown University students who worked on the case greeted Mr Dixon upon his release

But he was never arrested. The victim's brother said he saw Mr Dixon open fire.

According to the Buffalo News, prosecutors conceded that Scott had been admitting his guilt in the case for a long time.

"Mr Scott has been confessing to this crime since 12 August 1991," Assistant District Attorney Sara Dee told the court.

"He has confessed to this crime in excess of 10 times."


Lamarr Scott - who is currently in jail for a separate attack - finally had the chance to formally confess to the crime on Wednesday.

Hours later, Mr Dixon was released.

"I grabbed the gun," Scott, now 46, told the courtroom in Erie, New York.

"I pulled the trigger and all the bullets came out. Unfortunately, Torriano ended up dying."

It was Erie County District Attorney John Flynn - in the job less than a year - who ordered a review of the case.

But despite Mr Dixon's exoneration, prosecutors say he did provide the murder weapon, which they described as a machine gun.

They also said he was an "up-and-coming drug dealer" in Buffalo at the time of his arrest.

"Mr Dixon is innocent of the shooting and of the murder for what he was found guilty of, but Mr Dixon brought the gun to the fight," said the district attorney.

What next for Valentino Dixon?

"It's the greatest feeling in the world," he said as he walked a free man from court in Buffalo, New York, on Wednesday.

He was greeted outside by his daughter, who was a baby when he was jailed.

The 27-year-old brought along her own 14-month-old twins.

Mr Dixon says he hopes to keep up his illustrations, and even visit a golf course in real life someday.

"With his mind and body intact, Dixon hopefully has some good years ahead," Golf Digest wrote on Wednesday.

"Maybe he'll even take up golf."

seth Posted on September 20, 2018 05:20

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