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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 09:03

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World's largest underwater restaurant nears completion.

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

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

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

Under goes under

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

Under under construction. Credit: Aldo Amoretti

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

The 'prefab' housing resurgence rolls on

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

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

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

A simple design

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

Architect creates 'prehistoric' dining experience in downtown Tokyo

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

Inside the world's quietest room

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

A detail of the construction site. Credit: Aldo Amoretti

A light touch

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

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

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

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

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

The most remote fine dining experience in the world?

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

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

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

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

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 08:53

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

BURIALS BEGIN IN QUAKE- AND TSUNAMI- HIT INDONESIAN REGION

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 08:04

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

Deposit Photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to the Department of Public Safety dispatch:

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

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

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

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

Sad news hope the bear pulls through #karma

— chris pledge (@pledge80) October 1, 2018

 

Here's hoping the bear survived.

— Peter Singh (@Smarmalat) October 1, 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bear’s revenge!

— Kathie Anderson (@Detguza) October 1, 2018

 

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

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

kabby Posted on October 02, 2018 07:46

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Scott Pritchard murder: Woman jailed for life for 2004 killing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image copyrightFAMILY HANDOUT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice at last

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

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

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

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

Related Topics

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

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 20:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Topics

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

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 20:19

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Contaminated bootleg alcohol kills at least 42 in Iran

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

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

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

Alcohol is illegal in Iran but bootleg booze is widespread.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


More on life in Iran:


Related Topics

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

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 20:17

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Passengers stranded as airline collapses

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

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

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

The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that Primera had ceased operations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 19:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 01, 2018 14:48

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Prisoners ‘Used Drone’ To Get Chinese Takeaway Delivered

Pixabay

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

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

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

Google Maps

According to the Mirror, a source said:

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

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

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

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

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

The prison spokeperson added:

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

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

The source stated:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

kabby Posted on October 01, 2018 12:02

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

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

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

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

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

The Nobel committee wrote, as per the Independent:

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

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

They added:

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

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

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

He explained:

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

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

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

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

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

kabby Posted on October 01, 2018 11:56

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Cryptocurrency and blockchain events: 8 to 14 October.

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

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

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

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

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

PayExpo

9-10 October 2018

London

United Kingdom

XBlockchain Summit

9–10 October 2018

Bali

Indonesia

BLOCKCON 2018

10-11 October 2018

Santa Monica

United States

FSBDAC 2018

10-11 October 2018

Portsmouth

United States

Blockchain Fair Asia

11 October 2018

Taguig

Philippines

Blockchain Unbound

14-16 October 2018

Tokyo

Japan

PayExpo

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

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

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

XBlockchain Summit

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

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

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

BLOCKCON 2018

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

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

FSBDAC 2018

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

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

Blockchain Fair Asia

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

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

Blockchain Unbound

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

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 01, 2018 10:16

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Did ANITA See In Antarctica?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A penguin in Antarctica. Image: Daniel Oberhaus

What is Beyond the Standard Model of Physics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A penguin colony in Antarctica. Image: Daniel Oberhaus

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

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

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

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

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

Antarctica. Image: Daniel Oberhaus

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

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

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

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

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 01, 2018 09:10

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

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

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

Since his untimely death, there has been much speculation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kabby Posted on October 01, 2018 07:55

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Air Traffic Controller Dies Helping Hundreds Escape Tsunami-Hit Island

AirNav Indonesia/Twitter

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

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

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

AirNav Indonesia/ Twitter

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

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

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

AirNav Indonesia/Twitter

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

One tweet read (translated):

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

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

— AirNav Indonesia (@AirNav_Official) September 29, 2018

 

The thread continued:

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

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

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

#RIPAgung pic.twitter.com/hLLaLRDCCC

— AirNav Indonesia (@AirNav_Official) September 29, 2018

 

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

The tweets explained (translated):

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

— Andrea Legarreta (@AndeaLegarreta) September 28, 2018

 

Speaking to reporters, he added:

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

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

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

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

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

— Rinku Sheoran (@Rinku_Sheoran_) September 29, 2018

 

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

Nugroho explained:

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

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

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

kabby Posted on October 01, 2018 07:51

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Romantic marriage proposal up US mountain goes badly wrong

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Rescuers found the campers at about 4.30am.

 

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

 

More from Colorado

 

Huge hailstones kill animals in US zoo

FBI agent who dropped gun while dancing charged

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

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

Gay wedding cake row reaches US Supreme Court

Man arrested after three killed in Denver Walmart shooting

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

 

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

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

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 22:18

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

More from New Jersey

 

New Jersey could have an official life-saving microbe

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

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

'Emotional support' peacock turned away from flight

Babies born one day apart in same Burger King car park

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

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

 

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

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

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 18:14

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

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

 

He stated:

 

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

 

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

 

Blockchain Island’s Success

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Taking Blockchain Further

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 18:11

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Image:

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Image:

Rescue operation in Micronesia around crashed plane in Pacific lagoon

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Image:

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

Some witnesses thought the plane overshot the runway.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 14:27

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Infantino expressed his gratitude for the African backing.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 13:34

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Cristiano Ronaldo denies rape claim as 'fake news'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ronaldo ready for Juventus challenge

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

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

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

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

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 30, 2018 13:30

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Banks are Moving Out of Skyscrapers

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Landlords Not Confident in Crypto

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 29, 2018 14:53

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Milner is in the form of his life'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 07:23

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Brazil candidate says he will only accept results if he wins

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 07:17

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Mickey Mouse expelled from Egypt schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Do our children deserve this?'

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

Image copyrightTWITTER/YOUM7

Image captionYoum7 tweeted Disney images in a typical Qalyubia kindergarten

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

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

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

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

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

Reporting by Rana Taha and Martin Morgan

Next story: Theatre poster upsets Russian bureaucrats

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

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

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:58

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Archaeologists unearth Roman road in Netherlands

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

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

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

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

'Great surprise'

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

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

Image copyrightPROVINCIE ZUID-HOLLAND

Image captionRoman building material with paint and plaster intact

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

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

World Heritage

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

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

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

Image copyrightPROVINCIE ZUID-HOLLAND

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

Reporting by Martin Morgan

Next story: Mickey Mouse expelled from Egypt schools

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

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

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:57

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

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

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

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

John Pritchard paid tribute to his friend as police issued a fresh appeal for information to solve the mystery.

Mr Pritchard, 62, served on a Polaris submarine with Mr Parsons - who was then a chief petty officer - in the 1980s.

Image copyrightPOLICE SCOTLAND

Image captionIt is exactly a year ago since Tony Parsons was last seen

'Solid guy'

In later years they ended up living in the same village and joined the same rugby club.

The retired offshore worker, also from Tillicoultry, told the BBC Scotland news website: "I've known Tony for over 30 years.

"We were in the Navy together - we then lived in the same area and ended up in the same rugby club.

"He was a pretty solid guy - he was a good guy who would do you a favour any time he could. If he could help you he would.

"He was just a good, decent man."

Image copyrightPOLICE SCOTLAND

Image captionTony Parsons cycled through Glencoe village and was last seen at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel

He added: "He loved his rugby - he played, he refereed, he coached, he was heavily involved in rugby in the village.

"It doesn't surprise me that he was doing this ride for charity, that was Tony.

"It's incredibly sad and disappointing that nobody has either seen anything, or if they have they have never come forward to say they've seen anything."

The grandfather had been treated for cancer in the past and was undertaking the 104-mile (167km) ride for a charity.

Extensive searches of the area - close to the West Highland Way - were made by coastguard and mountain rescue teams in the weeks after his disappearance.

Police said there had been nothing to suggest anything suspicious had happened to him.

Image copyrightJOHN PRITCHARD

Image captionJohn Pritchard has known Tony for more than 30 years

Ch Insp Drew Sinclair said: "We have not uncovered any evidence at all of any criminality through the extensive searches and inquiries we have conducted.

"It still remains a missing persons inquiry at the moment.

"We have traced his movements from Fort William, through to Glen Coe, through to the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, and then an unconfirmed sighting about a half mile south of the hotel from another lorry driver.

"From there, there's been absolutely no confirmed sightings of Tony or the bike, which a year on, is unusual."

Police are appealing for visitors to the area over the summer, and those currently in the area, to come forward with any information that might help.

Yellow bike

Mr Parsons left an address in Ross Court, Tillicoultry, at about 09:30 on 29 September and caught a train to Fort William, leaving the town on his bike at about 16:10.

He passed through Glencoe village at about 18:00.

Police have released video footage taken from Claymore Filling Station of him cycling through the village.

The cyclist is 5ft 9in tall, of stocky build, with short hair, a moustache and glasses.

He has a tattoo of an anchor on his upper right arm and a tattoo of an eagle on his left.

He was last seen wearing a distinctive red waterproof jacket.

Image copyrightGOOGLE

Image captionMr Parsons was heading south on the A82 towards Tyndrum when he was last seen

Earlier, he was seen wearing a blue, long-sleeved cycling top, a high-viz vest, fingerless gloves, beige combat trousers, a silver and grey cycling helmet and walking boots.

He was carrying a silver and blue backpack and had a yellow-framed bike with black handlebars.

Ch Insp Sinclair said the family had suffered since Mr Parsons disappeared. He is married with two grown-up children and two grandchildren.

The officer said: "It has been an agonising year for his family, who have had to get through Christmas, New Year, birthdays and anniversaries without answers about where their husband, dad and grandfather is.

"Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time, and I want to thank the local communities for their co-operation and support throughout our inquiries."

He added: "Tony was last seen wearing cycling gear and the yellow-framed bike he was riding has not yet been found.

"I would appeal to anyone who may have seen a piece of clothing similar to that which Tony was wearing, or who could have found the bike, to please get in touch immediately."

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https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-45663082

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:36

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Facebook security breach: Up to 50m accounts attacked

Facebook says almost 50 million of its users were left exposed by a security flaw.

The company said attackers were able to exploit a vulnerability in a feature known as “View As” to gain control of people's accounts.

The breach was discovered on Tuesday, Facebook said, and it has informed police.

Users that had potentially been affected were prompted to re-log-in on Friday.

The flaw has been fixed, wrote the firm’s vice-president of product management, Guy Rosen, adding all affected accounts had been reset, as well as another 40 million "as a precautionary step".

Facebook - which saw its share price drop more than 3% on Friday - has more than two billion active monthly users.

The company has confirmed to reporters that the breach would allow hackers to log in to other accounts that use Facebook's system, of which there are many.

This means other major sites, such as AirBnB and Tinder, may also be affected.

Who has been affected?

The firm would not say where in the world the 50 million users are, but it has informed Irish data regulators, where Facebook's European subsidiary is based.

The company said the users prompted to log-in again did not have to change their passwords.

"Since we’ve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed. We also don’t know who’s behind these attacks or where they’re based. “

He added: "People’s privacy and security is incredibly important, and we’re sorry this happened."

The company has confirmed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and its chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were among the 50 million accounts affected.

What is 'View As'?

Facebook's "View As" function is a privacy feature that allows people to see what their own profile looks to other users, making it clear what information is viewable to their friends, friends of friends, or the public.

Attackers found multiple bugs in this feature that "allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens, which they could then use to take over people's accounts", Mr Rosen explained.

"Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don't need to re-enter their password every time they use the app," he added.

What does this mean for Facebook?

The breach comes at a time when the firm is struggling to convince lawmakers in the US and beyond, that it is capable of protecting user data.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on a conference call on Friday that the firm took security seriously, in the face of what he said were constant attacks by bad actors.

But Jeff Pollard, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester, said the fact Facebook held so much data meant it should be prepared for such attacks.

"Attackers go where the data is, and that has made Facebook an obvious target," he said. "The main concern here is that one feature of the platform allowed attackers to harvest the data of tens of millions of users.

"This indicates that Facebook needs to make limiting access to data a priority for users, APIs, and features."

When asked by the BBC, Facebook was unable to say if the investigation would look into why the bugs were missed, or if anyone at the company would be held accountable for the breach.


Has your Facebook account been affected? You can share your experience by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45686890

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:16

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I was on a diet for 18 years. Here's what I learned...

Diet culture is dead. Long live diet culture

Alexandra Jones28 September 2018

Health & WellbeingBody Image

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I’ve been on a diet since I was 12. I was fat, with a round face and soft, thick thighs which spread and spilled over the sides of chairs when I sat down. From the moment I became fully aware of it, my body – like most fat bodies at the time – was a problem.

It was the Nineties and my mum, very much a woman of the time, was well-versed in diets; we had bookshelves heaving with guides on everything from Slimming World to Atkins, Beverly Hills and cabbage soup. Thinness seemed to me a prerequisite of womanhood. And back then, fat seemed a simple problem to solve. You went on a diet, you controlled your appetite, you ate less, did some sit-ups and you got thin. Simple!

Somewhere between then and now, that idea has become deeply unfashionable. No one ‘diets’ anymore. Dieting is not cool. Instead, we get #strongnotskinny, do a detox or go 'plant-based'. We eat clean, get lean and follow ancient Ayurvedic principleswhich realign our chakras (and give us, like, amazing skin). Even Weight Watchers, once a regimented weight-loss programme, has rebranded. The company will now be called WW, and feature the very millennial-friendly tagline 'Wellness that Works'.

“This is just a next step, a point of validation,” said the company’s CEO, Mindy Grossman. “Like any brand we have to stay relevant...” Which seems to mean eschewing ‘weight loss’ in favour of the more nebulous concept of 'wellness'.

As she told the TODAY show, WW will aim to be the “global marque of wellness for everyone, beyond just weight...”

TODAY?@TODAYshow

A big announcement from Weight Watchers… the company’s CEO and President @mindygrossman announces they will be changing their name and explains why.

05:27 - 24 Sep 2018

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It’s a savvy move; wellness, as an industry, has a global worth of $3.7 trillion (£2.8 trillion). 

It’s hard to say exactly how ‘dieting’ fell out of fashion. As a new generation - my generation - grew up, they began to reject the exploitative, cruel and, often, anti-feminist chatter that pumped out of the industry. We began to reject thinness as the only beauty ideal. From the mid-Noughties onward, we stopped accepting size zero as the norm, and scientists made global headlines by debunking the idea that dieting would lead to sustainable weight-loss. The culmination of all this progress, it would seem, came just a few weeks ago when plus-sized model Tess Holliday graced the cover of a glossy magazine. 

 

INSTAGRAM

On the surface, it looks like progress. But the torrent of fat-phobic comments the cover elicited hints at our society's deep-rooted and persistent disdain for fat bodies. More on this later.

When I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting, aged 16 (2004), all I had wanted was to be thin. I was obese, according to my BMI (at 5 foot 5 inches, I weighed around 14st) but I didn’t care about ‘health’, or how my body felt on the inside. I just wanted the big reveal, like in films, where a curtain would be pulled back and I’d be there in my new – thin, beautiful, acceptable – body.

In Weight Watchers, each food is assigned a number of points, and you ‘spend’ those points throughout the day. In practical terms, totting-up the points and attending weekly weigh-ins with a group of fellow dieters taught me that eating a family-sized pasta bake and two Mars Bars for dinner was somewhat excessive. Especially for a person who spent eight hours a day sitting down (as I told my PE teacher, “I don’t run unless I’m being chased”). I’d been wearing adult-size 14 and 16 clothes since I was a child and had spent my teen years crashing through weird diets. As the number on the scales went down, I felt in control for the first time in my life. I lost about two stone in total and for a while, I felt like I’d ‘cracked’ it. 

In the 10 years that followed, I gained that weight back (and an additional 3lbs), then lost most of it again through a strict programme of 'super-healthy' sugar and refined-carb-free 'clean eating'. Of course, I spectacularly fell off that bandwagon too, and in the process became ever more obsessed with the food I was putting into my body. In 2015, aged 27, I was thinner by about 3 stone than I had been at 16, but by this point, I was convinced that I was not thin enough.

I was still chasing the ‘reveal’ when I signed up to an online 90-day ‘transformation’ programme run by Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach. At the time he was a personal trainer with a moderate online following. And he promised results.

The clean eating revolution was at its height, and rather than hate our bodies, we were hating the toxic ingredients that appeared in almost every food. Toxic sugar, toxic gluten, toxic refined rubbish; reports (that turned out to be false) were coming out of Australia that one girl had helped cured her brain cancer by cutting it all out. And so many of us were following suit.

BBC THREE / DAVID WELLER

The conversation around food had shifted; ‘clean’ was not a diet, but a lifestyle choice, and that choice had more to do with ‘health’ than weight or looks. Of course, the desire for ‘thinness’ hadn’t gone away, but like everyone else, I’d learned to talk about it in terms that were more in keeping with the time.

When I stumbled across this 'transformation' plan, I felt a small thrill of excitement. The marketing, those bleary before/after shots, was so compelling; I could sit for hours and scroll through pictures of semi-nude bodies – bigger on the left, smaller on the right. Their visible progress was accompanied by earnest testimonials (complete with ecstatic emojis and misspellings) about how much better they felt, how much stronger and healthier. These were people just like me, I thought. And they’d been liberated from their unhealthy bodies by Joe Wicks’ plan.

I had to try. I signed up and paid my money (which at that time was the ruinous sum of £149), then did the prerequisite ‘before’ photo, standing in the mirror in my sports bra and pants. Like that first Weight Watchers meeting, it felt like I was taking a positive step. I weighed and measured myself, then put the numbers into the online platform. When phase one of the plan pinged into my inbox, I sat down to read through the reams of information about calories and macro-nutrients. I was supposed to eat tonnes of protein and more calories; everything was prescribed – from the first pre-workout vitamin drink in the morning, to the final, single, plain boiled egg at night.

What’s funny is that I was convinced by then that dieting and body fascism were over. This new way of eating, and of working out, which focused on ‘health’, ‘getting lean’, ‘eating whole foods’ and ‘staying strong’, seemed somehow friendlier and more holistic than the years of Slimming World and cabbage soup and Atkins that my mum had endured. And that friendly veneer has proved lucrative. Three years later, in 2018, Joe Wicks is worth an estimated £14.5 million

“Ostensibly, [diet culture] is on the retreat,” psychotherapist and author Dr Susie Orbach tells me. She’s been investigating the mental-health impact of diets since her bestselling book Fat is a Feminist Issue published 40 years ago, in 1978. “Because we feel a lot of shame and embarrassment around dieting. But companies are still making huge sums of money by telling us that our bodies are a problem; and offering us solutions in the form of diets, pills and powders.”

BBC THREE / DAVID WELLER

The difference, Dr Orbach points out, between 1978 and now, is the words that we use to describe our diets. “Instead of saying ‘this is going to make me thin,’ the language takes on an almost moral quality. We talk about purity, about ‘healthy,’ ‘natural’ and ‘clean’ foods. We use euphemisms (like saying we’re undertaking a ‘transformation’) to signify that we’re going on a diet. But the effect, and the impact on us, is much the same.”

In fact, intensively obsessing over what we eat for ‘health reasons’ has become such a common phenomenon that it has been given a name: ‘orthorexia'. As dietitian Emer Delaney told the BBC: “It tends to start out as a true intention to eat healthy foods, but is then taken to the extreme... It also includes underlying motivations, such as the compulsion for complete control, the desire to be thin, improving self-esteem and using food to create an identity.”

My Body Coach ‘transformation’ went about as well as my Weight Watchers one had. That is, not very well at all. Any weight I did lose I gained back even more quickly than I had after Weight Watchers. I salute all the people who manage to make it work, but I found the sheer amount of food – and the hours of food prep – prohibitive.

Each Sunday, I’d spend hours packing kilos of boiled mince meat into plastic boxes and boiling dozens of eggs. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, but that was only ever half a week's worth. Food prep became the main event of my Wednesday and Thursday evenings too. I thought about food constantly: about which foods were 'ok,' about whether I was hitting all the right targets. 

If I was out, with no food packed, I’d panic about what I was going to eat. Better to not go out for a while, I decided. I realised enough was enough when I found myself insisting that I bring my own food to a friend's house for dinner. She made paella for everyone else; I microwaved myself a watery cashew curry. "So do you think it's working?" she asked encouragingly. I realised that even if it was, it wasn't worth the pain.

But after weeks of the plan, and of eating to the exacting standards that it demands, when I tried to stop, I also realised that I had lost all sense of when and what I should eat.

BBC THREE / DAVID WELLER

As Dr Orbach explains, this is one of the fundamental truths about all diets – or, indeed, ‘transformation’ plans. “The more we rely on advice from others, the more we lose touch with our own appetite and eating instincts. Then it becomes a cycle. Our bodies no longer know how to regulate their own mealtimes. We don’t get the normal hunger signals or fullness signals. And we don’t trust them when we do.” Basically, we become reliant on diets, and dieting becomes another coded habit we can’t quite kick.

From this complicated mindset – where we search for someone to tell us how to eat and what to eat, but at the same time reject the idea of diets as faddy and impossible to maintain – new online industries have emerged. Health and fitness influencers. #TransformationTuesday. Accounts dedicated to vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, lacto-free cooking. They all offer up an example for us to follow. Just don’t call it a diet.

In that same vein, ‘What I eat in day’ videos have mushroomed out of the vlogosphere over the past five years, a wildly popular sub-genre that seems, on the surface, innocuous enough.

They follow a pattern: on screen the person, often a model or fitness professional, looks fresh. They have scrubbed, dewy skin and a rosy flush which spreads across the apples of their cheeks. “I’m going to show you what I eat in a day…” they beam. “This is a very requested subject,” they glance down, almost bashful. “A lot of people have been asking me about my diet. But I wouldn’t even call it a diet, it’s more a lifestyle. I really just enjoy healthy eating.”

These videos are nice to watch. Highly stylised, hosted by friendly, beautiful people, talking directly to camera – directly to us – about a topic we’re all, despite our public protestations, quite obviously obsessed with. “It’s understandable in a way,” agrees dietician Rosie Saunt. She recently posted a thread on Twitter exploring why these videos are damaging...

Rosie Saunt RD@rosie_saunt

I’m fed up of these ‘What I Eat in a Day’ style videos that are extremely popular on YouTube. 1/9

12:30 - 23 Aug 2018

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As she tells me, “It’s really not cool to say that you’re on a diet anymore. So for many people, these videos represent another avenue to becoming thin; they aren’t diets in the traditional sense. But the subtext is, ‘If you eat like me, you’ll look like me,’ so I’ll bet plenty of the people who watch them go away and copy what they see. It can easily lead to obsessive or disordered thoughts about food.”

Of course, it’s not like ‘what I eat in a day’ has never existed before; we’ve been fetishizing the diets of celebrities in magazines for years. What’s different, as Dr Orbach explains, is just the language we’re using to do the fetishizing. We now call it ‘health'. But as Rosie points out, ‘healthy’ has become just a euphemism for 'thin'.

"Basically, when we use the word ‘healthy,’ we’re no longer really talking about good health behaviours. We’re generally referring to a certain body type; and that body type is thin and toned.” What’s more, she continues, "the link between ‘health’ and ‘diet’ is being used to promote toxic and fat-phobic attitudes."

It’s a fact that became particularly apparent when Cosmopolitan recently put model Tess Holliday on its October cover.

Immediately the magazine faced a backlash - particularly from broadcaster and social media provocateur Piers Morgan.

“As Britain battles an ever-worsening obesity crisis, this is the new cover of Cosmo. Apparently we’re supposed to view it as a ‘huge step forward for body positivity.’ What a load of old baloney. This cover is just as dangerous & misguided as celebrating size zero models,” he wrote on Instagram. The danger, he contended, rested on the fact that Holliday’s ‘unhealthy’ body size was being celebrated.

As dietician Helen West pointed out in a Twitter thread that got over 1,000 retweets, despite what we might believe, a person’s health status and their body size are not necessarily related.

View image on Twitter

Helen West RD@HelenlouWest

So, here's a little thread for anybody who’s feeling uncomfortable with the @Tess_Holliday Cosmo Cover. Its about health, weight, fat phobia, and weight bias. So go grab yourself a cuppa @piersmorgan and have a read - you never know, you might learn something 1/

04:33 - 4 Sep 2018

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“I was expecting some push-back to my Tweets,” she tells me. “But the reaction was very mixed and very polarised.”

As she explains, “When you’re thinking about body weight, it’s true that from a medical perspective, overweight bodies have a higher risk of some diseases. But we’re often talking about relative risk, which means compared to a lower-weight person, not absolute risk. You cannot know how healthy someone is just by looking at them. You don’t know whether they move every day, whether they eat the right foods, whether they smoke. These are all bigger predictors of someone’s overall health than their body size.” 

Our culture promotes the false assumption that everyone can be thin if they try hard enough. It’s an assumption that I’ve lived with throughout my life. “But that’s just not the case," Helen says. "And then we attack people because their fat makes them ‘unhealthy,’ but that’s not necessarily the case either. We cannot know a person’s health status. It’s just fat-phobia, pure and simple.”

Genetics, your aerobic capabilities and whether you spend all day sitting down are all better signifiers of internal health than what you look like on the outside. This, out of all of them, feels to me like the only truly radical idea to come out of any modern conversation about diet, bodyweight and health.

Helen, Rosie and Dr Orbach all argue that we need to take a more measured approach towards our bodies and our diets alike - to turn away from the #wellness industry and instead focus on our daily behaviours: “We should try and move every day – anything we can manage, count steps, go for a run, just as long as we’re moving – and eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables,” says Rosie. “Equally, though, we should consider our mentality around food.” She argues that restricting our eating and then feeling guilty or ashamed when we binge (“which will happen if you get into that cycle of restriction”), will only cause more damage. “We need to feel free to enjoy the food we have.”

And, as Helen adds, “People who accept their bodies are more likely to take care of themselves. People who feel shame and stigma are more likely to engage in risky behaviours like excessive smoking, eating and drinking.”

I’ve been on a diet since I was 12. Which is funny and tragic because I now live in a body that most people would consider ‘normal'. It is normal. I weigh 10st, I wear size 10-12 clothes, my BMI is 23.

 

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I’m probably the thinnest I’ve ever been. And ironically, the weight came off not at times when I was obsessing over what I was eating, but at times when I became lost in my work, or in a relationship, and just stopped thinking about it. Still, I’d love to say that this means I’m now at peace - that all that time fretting about how I look has culminated in some big epiphany. But that’s not really the case. The fact is, spending years being laser-focused on what you eat, how your body looks, on the numbers on the scales and the size of your clothes, will permanently impact your relationship with your body. I will always feel like it needs work.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/6b0548de-903f-4b15-8dd8-5c11bed79efc

seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:10

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Malia Obama appears in New Dakotas' music video

America's former first daughter has stepped back into the limelight - with a cameo in a music video.

A beanie-clad Malia Obama has been spotted lip-syncing and apparently playing the harmonica in the latest offering by Boston's The New Dakotas.

Never heard of them? You're not alone.

Their songs have yet to make much of a splash on music app Spotify, where the most popular got just more than 2,000 listens. Their last video, meanwhile, got 1,500 views on video site YouTube.

The one featuring Barack Obama's oldest daughter - entitled Walking on Air - has racked more than four times as many in a week.

According to US website The Hill, the band attend Harvard University, which is where Miss Obama is currently in her second year.

The music video appearance is unusual - as a general rule, Miss Obama and her younger sister Sasha have kept a low profile, despite their father being one of the most famous men on the planet.

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seth Posted on September 29, 2018 06:05

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Toronto police have opened an official investigation after the administrators of a Canadian sperm bank have accused a former employee of replacing hundreds of sperm donors’ specimens with his own.

 

Robert Casgrain, 58, who has worked as a janitor at the Toronto-based fertility clinic since 1996, is suspected by administrators of switching hundreds of semen specimens with his own sperm over a 20 year period.

Administrators claim in the official police report that they estimate Casgrain could potentially be the father to over 22,000 children over a period stretching two decades.

Although Robert Casgrain’s motives for replacing the sperm donors’ samples with his own are not clear at the moment, legal experts believe these revelations could unleash a potential class-action lawsuit against the former janitor.

“We cannot confirm precisely how many births have resulted from Robert Casgrain’s manipulations with registered sperm donor specimens before proper DNA analysis is performed” warned Detective Sergeant Rod Patterson of the Toronto Police Service.

Detective Sergeant Rod Patterson of the Toronto Police Service warned that “even though the precise numbers are not known”, Robert Casgrain’s sperm “may have given birth to thousands of children over a 20 year period” he said during a press conference.

“He kept bragging that half of the clinic’s babies were his,” one former coworker told reporters when reached by phone.

Administrators at the fertility clinic were warned by employees of Casgrain’s erratic behavior and installed hidden cameras in the embryology laboratory last month before eventually contacting the police.

According to one employee who witnessed the surveillance footage, Casgrain is seen emptying the vials of semen into a sink and filling one up with his own sperm while masturbating to pornographic material.

Although it is impossible at the moment to know how many births resulted of Robert Casgrain’s manipulations at the embryology laboratory, DNA tests performed on clinical samples over the next year should authenticate which specimens are from Casgrain.

Legal experts believe Casgrain could face a sentence as low as 18 months and up to three to five years in prison

https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/janitor-who-worked-at-sperm-bank-suspected-of-fathering-20000-children-over-20-year-period/according to current Canadian laws.

kabby Posted on September 28, 2018 17:10

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Eerie skull-shaped asteroid will zoom past Earth just after Halloween

An asteroid that, in certain light conditions, resembles a human skull, will fly past Earth just after Halloween.

The space rock’s official title is Asteroid 2015 TB145 and is a so-called “dead comet” that has lost most of its ice and gases. Appropriately for its ghoulish appearance, the asteroid first flew past Earth on Halloween 2015, prompting NASA to call it “The Great Pumpkin.”

In 2015, the asteroid flew past Earth at a distance of just 300,000 miles, Space.com reports. For comparison, the average distance between Earth and the Moon is 238,855 miles.

ASTEROID ROVERS SEND BACK STUNNING NEW PICTURES OF SPACE ROCK'S SURFACE

First discovered on Oct. 10, 2015 by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS-1 (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System), the “Halloween asteroid” is set to make another flyby in November, researchers say. However, it will be nowhere near as close to our planet this time.

NASA?@NASA

Dead comet that will safely zip by Earth on Oct 31 looks eerie like a skull: http://go.nasa.gov/1irRW87  #HappyHalloween

11:42 PM - Oct 30, 2015

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Asteroid 2015 TB145 will zoom past at 105 times the average lunar distance, SINC reports, citing a research study released last year.

The space rock's diameter measures between 2,050 feet and 2,297 feet, according to scientists.

PLUTO SHOULD BE A PLANET AGAIN, RESEARCHERS ARGUE

Last year, a skyscraper-sized asteroid named (441987) 2010 NY65 flew past Earth at about eight times the distance between Earth and the moon. Also in 2017, asteroid Florence, a massive 2.7-mile long space rock, passed by Earth at 18 lunar distances.

In 2016, NASA opened a new office to track asteroids and comets that come too close to Earth. The Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) formalizes the agency’s existing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth Objects, known as NEOs.

This week, Japan’s space agency released stunning new photos and video of a distant asteroid’s rocky surface that were captured by two small rovers

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/09/28/eerie-skull-shaped-asteroid-will-zoom-past-earth-just-after-halloween.html

khojho Posted on September 28, 2018 17:10

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Babysitter transported to hospital after inserting a baby in her vagina

 

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Cincinnati, Ohio | A 31-year old woman was admitted to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center yesterday after the 14-month old toddler she was babysitting got stuck in her vaginal cavity.

Latifah Brown called 911 around 9:30 PM last night, reporting that she had a baby stuck in her vagina.

The operator first assumed that she was giving birth at home and dispatched an ambulance to the site.

The paramedics had quite a surprise when they arrived on the site and saw what was actually happening.

One of the paramedics, Brian Whitmore, related the incident in an interview with WBNS-10 TV.

“The little boy wore a diaper and pyjamas, but he had his legs and abdomen stuck in the woman’s vagina.”

The paramedics spent more than an hour on the site trying to release the child from his difficult position but were unable to get the toddler out.

“I don’t know how she got the child in there! We were both pulling as strong as we could and he wouldn’t come out.”

Ms. Brown and the child were finally transported to the hospital, where doctors were able to separate them after a delicate operation.

The young boy suffers from a dislocated hip, but doctors don’t think he will suffer any sequelae from the incident.

The paramedic, Ryan Whitmore, says he was shocked when he arrived on the scene and saw the fully dressed toddler caught in the woman’s vagina.

The babysitter was interrogated by police and confessed to deliberately inserting the child in her vaginal cavity.

She explained that she was feeling depressed after her doctor told her she could never have children and wanted to know how it felt to give birth.

Ms. Brown now faces a total of 11 criminal charges, including aggravated child neglect causing bodily harm, and could spend up to 65 years in prison.

Her lawyer has asked for a psychiatric evaluation, claiming that she isn’t fit to stand trial.

Depending on the results of the evaluation, her trial could begin in June.

https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/babysitter-transported-to-hospital-after-inserting-a-baby-in-her-vagina/

kabby Posted on September 28, 2018 17:05

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Why are people still not wearing seat belts?

Figures showing that more than one in four car occupants who were killed in crashes in Britain last year were not wearing a seat belt have been described as "shocking" by both road safety campaigners and the government.

The Department for Transport data shows the proportion of deaths has reached its highest level since records first started being kept in 2013.

But what could lie behind the rise - and can attitudes be changed?

Britain remains one of the safest places to drive in Europe. And following steep falls between the late 1970s and 2000s, the number of road deaths has remained fairly constant.

The latest figures show that of the 787 drivers or passengers who died in 2017, 27% were not wearing seat belts, a rise from 20% in 2016.

A 2014 survey found 91% of rear seat passengers in England and Scotland wore seat belts - compared with 98% of drivers and 97% of front-seat passengers.

But the government's road safety campaign Think! cites research which shows younger drivers and passengers are less cautious - with those aged 17-34 having the lowest seat belt-wearing habits combined with the highest accident rate.

Yet despite warnings that people are twice as likely to die in a car accident if they do not buckle up, some are still willing to take the risk.

According to the Department for Transport, adults who do not wear a seat belt include those who occasionally forget as well as others who actively choose not to wear one.

Some people told researchers they found seat belts uncomfortable or inconvenient to wear. Others said it depended on the type of journey. For example, they would wear one on a long or unfamiliar route or if they were on a motorway.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

According to the road safety charity Brake, government "inaction" on road safety is breeding "an environment of complacency" among drivers and passengers.

Pete Williams, the RAC's road safety spokesman, says the rise in crash victims who were not wearing seat belts warrants further investigation.

He said a decline in roads policing over the last 10 years may have encouraged people to feel they can get away with illegal driving behaviour.

"It is surprising that anyone these days would get into a car without belting up," he said.

"Drivers generally may also feel more cocooned and less at risk because of the level of safety features in their cars such as air bags, automatic braking and side-impact protection."

Mr Williams added: "We have generations of drivers who have grown up without seeing the 'clunk-click' messages that many of us frequently saw on our screens and made putting on a seat belt second nature."

The DfT maintains it is always looking at ways of making roads safer and said this year's Think! campaign is aiming to teach young people the "importance of wearing a seat belt".

Its data shows the proportion of fatalities not wearing a seat belt varied between 19% and 22% in the years 2013 and 2016, although not all police forces reported figures.


Can audible seat belt reminders help?

Brake cites examples of research papers which argue that audible seat belt reminders have the "proven potential" to increase the seat belt wearing rate.

2006 European Transport Safety Council report found front seat reminders can be provided at minimal cost because the same sensors are used in airbag systems - but rear-seat systems are more costly.

However, regulations requiring car manufacturers to put seatbelt reminder systems in all front and rear seats on new vehicles are set to come in force from September 2019.


Seat belts and the law

  • Use of a seat belt by drivers and front seat passengers in cars was made compulsory in the UK in January 1983
  • Rear seat belt use was made compulsory for children in 1989 and adults in 1991
  • Drivers and passengers caught without wearing a seat belt could be hit with an on-the-spot Fixed Penalty Notice of £100, rising to a fine of £500 if the case goes to court
  • The driver is responsible for ensuring each child passenger aged up to age 14 wears a seat belt and could be fined for each child without a seat belt

Source: Department for Transport

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seth Posted on September 28, 2018 16:02

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Bear Market? CoinMarketCap Hits Milestone with 2,000 Active Cryptocurrencies Listed

The great cryptocurrency bear market of 2018 may have put a damper on speculative investor interest in this nascent asset class, but it does not seem to have led to much of a slowdown in the number of new altcoins being released on the market.

CMC Reaches 2,000 Listed Cryptocurrencies

To wit, cryptocurrency resource site CoinMarketCap hit a new milestone on Friday, as its market cap rankings now include data on more than 2,000 active coins and tokens, an increase of more than 600 since the beginning of 2018.

A significant percentage of this increase stems from the increasing popularity of tokens, cryptocurrencies which run on another coin’s blockchain and are secured by its network. Even projects which eventually launch their own blockchains now often start as initial coin offering (ICO) tokens on Ethereum, Stellar, or another network.

At the time this article was written, CoinMarketCap had 2,008 cryptocurrencies listed on its market cap index. The site does not provide data on how many cryptocurrencies it delists, but, according to its website, indexed projects must be listed on a public cryptocurrency exchange with a functional API and have non-zero trading volume.

Cryptocurrency market cap charts on May 9, 2013 | Source: CoinMarketCap/Internet Archive

That’s not a high bar. PayCoin, an outright scamcoin whose founder was recently sentenced to 21 months in prison, has managed to cling to a $157,000 market cap on the back of $7 in daily trading volume.

Even so, the attrition rate is not insignificant. For instance, three of the 10 largest cryptocurrencies on May 9, 2013 — the earliest date that the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine crawled the site — are no longer listed on the site. Inexplicably, a cryptocurrency called “BBQCoin,” which was ranked 11th on that date, didn’t manage to achieve mainstream adoption.

Bitcoin: Still the King after All These Years

With so many cryptocurrency projects actively throwing their hats into the ring on a daily basis, it’s even more remarkable that bitcoin — the project that started it all — still accounts for such a large share of the overall market.

As of Friday morning, bitcoin controls a 52.1 percent share of the cryptocurrency market cap. In other words, BTC is not only the most valuable cryptocurrency but is also worth more than the other 2,007 combined.

Source: CoinMarketCap

This hasn’t always been the case. After holding a 97 percent market share in late 2013, bitcoin dominance experienced a moderate decline over the next several years but consistently held above 80 percen. That changed in 2017 when — bolstered by the emergence of ICOs — ethereum briefly challenged bitcoin for its crown. At one point, altcoins controlled two-thirds of the market cap, but this year’s bear market has cemented bitcoin’s dominant position in the crypto ecosystem.

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https://www.ccn.com/bear-market-coinmarketcap-hits-milestone-with-2000-active-cryptocurrencies-listed/

seth Posted on September 28, 2018 16:00

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Tsunami hits Indonesia's Palu after strong earthquake

A strong tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake has hit a coastal Indonesian city, officials say.

Waves of up to 2m (6.6ft) high swept through Palu on Sulawesi island, not long after authorities had lifted a tsunami warning.

Video on social media shows people screaming and fleeing in panic and a mosque amongst the buildings damaged.

Officials have reported five deaths - but it is not clear if those were as a result of the tsunami.

Last month, a series of earthquakes struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, killing hundreds of people - the biggest on 5 August killed more than 460.

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Indonesia geophysics agency says Sulawesi quake caused a tsunami. This video is doing the rounds. We believe it is real.

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The 2004 tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra killed 226,000 across the Indian Ocean, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because it lies on the Ring of Fire - the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.

More than half of the world's active volcanoes above sea level are part of the ring.

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  • https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45683630

seth Posted on September 28, 2018 14:15

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The woman who accidentally ticked: 'I am a terrorist'

Cancer patient Mandie Stevenson had to postpone a bucket list trip to New York after she accidentally labelled herself a terrorist on her visa waiver form.

The online application asked if she was seeking to or had ever engaged in terrorist activities or genocide.

Mandie, from Falkirk, mistakenly answered "yes".

The 29-year-old, who was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2015, only realised her error when her application was rejected.

It meant she had to postpone a dream break to New York and make an emergency trip to the US embassy in London to persuade officials she was not a security threat.

After a couple of intense interviews, a full visa was granted - but the US authorities could not guarantee it would arrive in time for her flight.

Image copyrightLUDOVIC MARIN

Image captionMandie will be making her dream to New York in a couple of weeks

Mandie was advised to rebook her trip, which she was taking with her boyfriend Ross, for a later date.

It cost her more than £800 to rearrange the trip for next month.

Mandie told Mornings with Stephen Jardine she was amazed when her application was rejected.

"At first I thought it was a bad dream and then I realised what I had done," she said.

Image copyrightRICHARD BAKER

Image captionMandie had to go to the US embassy in London to explain her error

The Esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is an online form, which UK citizens can use to waive their need for a full US visa.

One of the questions reads: "Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?"

Mandie said she first attempted to fill in the form on her tablet, but it had crashed - so she tried again at work the next day.

She said: "I believe I ticked 'no' and then when I have scrolled down to click confirm, I think it has nudged and moved. That's the story I'm sticking to.

"A lot of people have said 'how on earth could you do that?' but to me I've done it really easily."

Image copyrightGARY HERSHORN

Image captionThe trip to New York included a visit to the Empire State Building

Mandie said the mistake was "embarrassing" but she thought it would be easy to correct.

However, the American embassy in London told her it was "the worst box you could have ticked".

Mandie had to go to London and pay £320 for an appointment to get a full visa.

After a couple of interviews her application was accepted, but she was told it would take three to five days to be granted.

Mandie said she told them she would miss her flight but the officials advised her to change her plans.

"I pleaded but they just said 'change your holiday'."

Mandie said she had hoped the embassy or the holiday firm would be sympathetic because she has cancer.

"I live in 12-weekly cycles because I get scanned every 12 weeks," she said.

"I book my holidays in very specific times and this New York trip was going to be before I get another set of scan results, so I was really looking forward to it.

"It was stress that I didn't need.

"I thought because it was a genuine error it would be quite an easy fix but I was quite wrong."

'Completely unforgiving'

Simon Calder, travel editor of the Independent, said the question on the Esta visa waiver form was "completely pointless".

"Nobody who was engaged in terrorism, espionage or genocide would ever tick 'yes'," he said.

"I don't imagine that anybody has ever deliberately ticked this box.

"But once you are on that list you are never going to get off it."

He said: "America is completely unforgiving. If that box gets ticked for whatever reason, immediately it's as though the alarms go off, the shutters go down and you are into a spiral of despair."

He said the consequence was a stressful interview and the extra cost of applying for a visa rather than a much cheaper Esta.

He said the best advice was not to book a trip until you have all the paperwork in order.

Mandie told BBC Scotland her bucket list also includes a trip to Canada, meeting football star Steven Gerrard and a visit to Thailand.

But first she will get her trip to New York.

"I'm happy again and I'm keen to get going," she said.

Related Topics

  • Falkirk
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-45678517

seth Posted on September 28, 2018 14:13

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Phone-use driver jailed over Dumfries death crash

A recovery driver caught on camera checking his phone prior to a fatal crash has been jailed for five years.

David Shields, 34, crashed into Yvonne Blackman's car in a line of traffic on the A75 in Dumfries last February.

He had previously admitted a charge of causing the mother-of-four's death by dangerous driving.

Footage captured Shields, of Drongan, East Ayrshire, focusing on his phone for a full 18 seconds in the lead-up to the fatal crash.

Mrs Blackman, 66, of Lockerbie, never recovered and died weeks later in hospital.

She was on her way to meet friends when the accident occurred.

Her husband said he hoped the sentence given to Shields would deter other drivers from similar behaviour.

Image copyrightCROWN OFFICE

Image captionThe crash happened on the A75 in Dumfries in February last year

She ended up getting caught in heavy traffic on the A75 Gretna to Stranraer road at about 08:30 on 8 February 2017.

The court previously heard Shields was driving in the area while working for 911 Rescue Recovery.

He met the same line of traffic before ploughing into the back of Ms Blackman's Toyota Yaris.

His defence counsel John Scullion QC said: "He has asked me to apologised to Mrs Blackman's family and is ashamed of his actions that day."

Image copyrightPOLICE SCOTLAND

Image captionYvonne Blackman died weeks after the accident

In addition to his jail term, Shields was banned from driving for seven years and six months.

On sentencing, Lady Stacey said that as a professional driver he should have seen the queue of traffic and stopped but had not because he had focused his attention on his phone.

"I have seen a video of the crash and know you were paying heed to your mobile phone for 18 seconds," she said.

"It was a very dangerous thing to do.

"I know you did not intend the catastrophic result, but you should have known the terrible risk you were taking."

Image captionMrs Blackman's husband spoke outside court following the sentencing

Ralph Blackman said he hoped the five-year jail term in relation to his wife's case would send out a message.

"I hope this sentence deters any drivers from doing the same," he said.

"They should realise the suffering and hurt it causes to the victim's family.

"I've was a professional driver for 40 years and I've never used my mobile phone. If I'm driving I just let it ring."

He said he understood the dangers and other drivers needed to do so too.

"Only a second's inattention can be dangerous and he had 18 seconds with his eyes off the road," he said.

'Avoidable crash'

Ms Blackman, a mother-of-four, had 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her husband said: "She was very bubbly and fun-loving. She had a long life to live."

Commenting on the sentence, Sgt Paul Dodds from Police Scotland said: "This tragic and entirely avoidable crash clearly demonstrates the fatal consequences which can occur when a driver allows themselves to be distracted by another device whether handheld or otherwise.

"Sadly, Yvonne Blackman, being a wife, mother and friend lost her life owing to the inattention of Mr Shields who needlessly allowed himself to be distracted from the road ahead and instead chose to focus his attention on a cradle mounted mobile phone."

Related Topics

  • Lockerbie
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-45665100

seth Posted on September 28, 2018 14:12

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THE FUTURE OF SMS IS HERE!

Welcome to the future of texting, TELBOT. 

TELBOT stands for text messaging on any device combined with great SMS features that you can’t find in your default SMS app.

TELBOT gives you the chance to send messages to more than a million recipients all over the world with just a click.

All you need to do is to input their contacts in the recipient box and type your message.

It also provides a section that makes you the sender anonymous if you wish to.

A text to anyone under normal circumstances costs ghc0.14 to the same network but with TELBOT, you can send messages to anyone anywhere for just 0.5Paxex per the current rate, which is ghc0.7

You can enjoy this new service by visitingwww.telbot.me. Welcome to the future of texting, TELBOT. 

TELBOT stands for text messaging on any device combined with great SMS features that you can’t find in your default SMS app.

TELBOT gives you the chance to send messages to more than a million recipients all over the world with just a click.

All you need to do is to input their contacts in the recipient box and type your message.

It also provides a section that makes you the sender anonymous if you wish to.

A text to anyone under normal circumstances costs ghc0.14 to the same network but with TELBOT, you can send messages to anyone anywhere for just 0.5Paxex per the current rate, which is ghc0.7

You can enjoy this new service by visitingwww.telbot.me.

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 28, 2018 13:54

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Scientists Want to Send Holographic Messages to Nearby Stars on Light Sails The unique properties of holograms could be used to stabilize spacecraft and carry huge amounts of data to the universe.

Image: Breakthrough Starshot

Imagine a fleet of light sails, imprinted with holographic messages, embarking from Earth to the stars beyond. This tantalizing vision is now actively being developed for potential use in projects like Breakthrough Starshot, an interstellar mission concept that aims to send 1,000 tiny spacecraft across four light years to Alpha Centauri, our nearest stellar neighbor.

Unveiled in 2016 by Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking, Breakthrough Starshot envisions deploying a fleet of stamp-sized “StarChips” attached to light sails in orbit, and accelerating them to about 20 percent the speed of light using massive laser arrays on Earth.

As if that isn’t mind-bending enough, scientists and artists have recently started exploring the futuristic idea of embossing holograms on the light sails. This is not just to make the sails look trippy; it’s also a potential solution to the technical challenge of stabilizing and steering the sails.

To reach their target speeds, Starshot’s sails are supposed to be blasted for several minutes by 50 to 100 gigawatts of energy provided by a laser beam on the Earth’s surface (for comparison, the average nuclear power plant produces one gigawatt, according to the US Department of Energy). But because the laser would be moving due to the rotation of the Earth, some mechanism is needed to keep the sails within the beam as it drifts; otherwise they will float out of the light, failing to accelerate.

“The sail is so lightweight that you can’t really put a control system on there to fire little jets and otherwise correct for the relative position of the sail and the light,” Mason Peck, a professor of aerospace engineering at Cornell University, told me over the phone. “So rather than making the sail follow the light beam with some sort of robotic approach or thrusters, you might make it do so with optical or photon pressure.”

One approach to channel that photon pressure is to create sails with spherical or conical shapes—theoretical studies show that those shapes provide a self-correcting force that could nudge sails back into the beam if they begin to drift off. But spherical sails would more easily collapse under the intense pressures of heat and acceleration, compared to flat square sails.

That’s where the holograms come in. By embossing a hologram shaped like a cone or a sphere onto a flat sail, it might be possible to essentially trick photons into reacting as if the structure were really curved. Meanwhile, the flat design would be better equipped to withstand the enormous forces exerted by the beam.

“If [the hologram] is conical or spherical, that photonic force will push it back in the center [of the beam], but from the point of view of the inertial forces, it’s a flat shape, so it won’t collapse,” physicist Greg Matloff, a light sail expert who serves on the advisory board of Breakthrough Starshot, told me in a phone call.

In other words, a holographic image on a sail may prove to be the best of both worlds, though it will take many years of experimentation to find out for sure. But beyond the potential stabilization and propulsion applications, holograms are also a promising vector for sending messages from Earth into the wider universe.

Matloff and his partner, artist C Bangs, have been ruminating on holographic message plaques for nearly two decades. In 2002, at the suggestion of physicist Robert Forward, the pair co-authored a NASA proposal that detailed how images and information could be encoded into a hologram on a sail. It’s a similar concept to the Voyager Golden Records, the phonographs onboard the Voyager probes launched in 1977, except that a holographic message could contain far more information and would also serve as propulsion for the spacecraft.

Image: C Bangs

Breakthrough Starshot has given Matloff and Bangs the opportunity to resurrect this concept in earnest. In 2017, they consulted with hologram expert Martina Mrongovius, the creative director of the NYC HoloCenter, about the potential to emboss holographic data and artwork onto light sails and other spacecraft platforms.

“It is a space probe tradition to include a message plaque,” Mrongovius told me in an email. “Holograms have a massive information capacity to open up the types of imagery we could send into space. With holographic imaging, you can multiplex hundreds images together and create animations as well as record depth and dynamics.”

Such a platform could contain mountains of data about humans, Earth, and any other subjects we’d want to send out into the cosmos on light sails. Whether or not these messages would ever be intercepted by an alien species that could interpret them is an open question, and also somewhat beside the point.

“Considering how other beings could sense is an aspect of designing deep space messages, as well as longevity,” Mrongovius said. “The more immediately addressable question is how we represent ourselves as inhabitants of Earth. Sending a message is an opportunity to collaborate and build our identity as a species. Sending these messages is humanity’s way of reaching out into space, of saying we understand propulsion, are creative creatures, and that we come in peace.”

Bangs shares this view. “Basically when we do message plaques, we’re doing them for ourselves—we’re not doing them for aliens,” she told me over the phone. “We’re talking about really representing who we collectively feel that we are, and sending it out there.”

Read More: NASA's Newest Interstellar Concepts Rely on Huge Laser Arrays and Gravity Surfing

This tantalizing idea is about to start earning real-world experimental stripes. Earlier this year, NASA greenlit the launch of the Alpha 1U CubeSat, a small satellite developed by Peck and his team at Cornell’s Space Systems Design Studio. On track for launch within the next year or two, the spacecraft will deploy four “ChipSats” attached to a light sail. Six holograms created by Bangs and Mrongovius will also be attached to the side panels of the square satellite, and perhaps even imprinted on the sail.

Fish hologram for Alpha. Image: C Bangs

The iridescent images will be based on sculptures made by Bangs that depict DNA, a fish, a moth, and other life-centric themes. Mrongovius will create holograms based on photographs of these art-pieces. (Bangs and Matloff will be presenting a lecture on the project over the weekend in London, at a meeting for the Initiative for Interstellar Studies.)

“The holograms we are creating look very different to the robotic aesthetic of most satellites,” Mrongovius said. “The CubeSat rotates as it orbits so we are recording multiple images into each face that replay when illuminated by the sun at different angles.”

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The team hopes that the project will inspire interdisciplinary ideas about holographic applications in space, beyond Breakthrough Starshot. “For the humans who inhabit the ISS and future space bases, interiors with holographic art can expand visual space, enable dynamic light, and bring the aesthetics of nature into small artificial environments,” Mrongovius said, noting the work of artists Setsuko Ishii and Betsy Connors.

“Holographic art is a confluence of physics and imagination—so is space exploration,” she added. “While enabled by technology, both endeavors are driven by curiosity and vision.”

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/a387kp/scientists-want-to-send-holographic-messages-to-nearby-stars-on-light-sails

AlbertaU Posted on September 28, 2018 12:56

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A National Park Is Airlifting Hundreds of Mountain Goats That Have Gone Crazy for Human Pee.

Mountain goats in Olympic National Park are obsessed with human urine and are now a public nuisance.

Image: National Park Service

Outdoor enthusiasts have a storied history of wrecking nature with their excrement and now, hikers are apparently driving mountain goats crazy with pee.

At Olympic National Park in the state of Washington, hundreds of mountain goats are being airlifted by helicopter and moved to forests in the North Cascades. The reason? They’re too thirsty for human piss.

According to the national park, the fluffy ungulate has begun harassing visitors at campsites “where they persistently seek salt and minerals from human urine.” Goats are known to “paw and dig” where people have relieved themselves, causing the animals to become a nuisance.

The park estimates that 375 goats will be relocated this way, according to its final management plan. It’s possible that between 275 and 325 goats will be “lethally removed” by shooting them with rifles over three to five years, though the park says capture and release is its top priority. (“There is no intention to leave rotting carcasses within sight or smell of visitors,” the park clarified.)

Read more: Bad Goats Removed by Helicopter

Successfully captured goats are blindfolded, tagged, and fitted with GPS collars. Once loaded into crates, they’re transported in pairs to nine release sites throughout Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and on land owned by Seattle Public Utilities.

“The plan is to reach a zero population level of mountain goats in the park and adjacent Olympic National Forest lands…[removing] approximately 90 percent of the projected 2018 mountain goat population, or approximately 625 to 675 mountain goats,” the plan states.

Mountain goat removal project area. Image: Olympic National Park

Mountain goats are attracted to sources of salt and minerals to supplement their diet. And in Olympic National Park, where the goats are not a native species, these nutrients are harder to come by.

Yet, while normally shy, mountain goats have become habituated to humans. Many hikers are tempted to feed the animals from their salty palms. Urinating on trailsides is also discouraged, since it causes goats to associate people with their sodium-rich pee. (“Never urinate within 50 yards of a hiking trail,” the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife warns.)

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In 2010, a 63-year-old man was gored by an aggressive ram and died in the park.

Authorities have tried to control mountain goat numbers before, removing more than 500 during the 1980s, and even using a border collie to herd them away from visitors. The animals are unable to be sterilized, since no approved chemical contraception exists. The park is unable to introduce predators, such as gray wolves, to eat them, as they are “not effective predators on mountain goats” and would negatively impact other prey animals, such as elk and deer. Hunting within the park is also illegal.

Several alternatives were considered by Olympic National Park. Doing nothing, for instance, focusing instead “on preventing unacceptable mountain goat behavior,” the plan states. But this scenario would have ultimately caused goat numbers to increase.

The relocation project is being led by the National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service. It was developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with assistance from the National Park Service Environmental Quality Division, and input from local tribes and residents.

Similar, pee-related problems have also been reported in Montana’s Glacier National park.

Mountain goats were introduced to the area during the 1920s and have colonized the entire region. Here, they pose a threat to vegetation, cause soil erosion, and compete with native wildlife.

The goats will be relocated to the North Cascades where they are a native species.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zm5zz8/a-national-park-is-airlifting-hundreds-of-mountain-goats-crazy-for-human-pee

AlbertaU Posted on September 28, 2018 09:24

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NASA solves mystery of cigar-shaped UFO, believed to carry alien life

Scientists have uncovered the truth about a mysterious space rock called Oumuamua which has been hurtling through Earth’s solar system and was spotted last year.

A group of acclaimed astronomers, including members from NASA, the European Space Agency and the German Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, released a report this week on the origins of the cigar-shaped asteroid which was first observed in October 2017.

The name Oumuamua is Hawaiian for “messenger from afar arriving first” and was named by the site who first spotted it.

According to the report, “a fast moving object on an unbound orbit was discovered close to the Earth” by a high-powered telescope, located in Hawaii.

The report claims Oumuamua is a metallic or rocky object, approximately 400 metres in length and about 40 metres wide.

It has a “comet-like density” and a dark red surface.

“(The red surface suggests) either an organic-rich surface like that of comets and outer solar system asteroids, or a surface containing minerals with nanoscale iron, such as the dark side of Saturn’s moon Iapetus,” the report said.

The report suggested Oumuamua left its home millions of years ago and was likely sent on its lonely journey when it was “ejected during planet formation and migration” and has been linked to four possible star systems.

It was also calculated that Oumuamua moved faster than the existing laws of celestial mechanics.

The report has been accepted into The Astrophysical Journal.

The discovery of Oumuamua sparked international debate when it was first discovered, as scientists struggled to explain what exactly the long, thin asteroid was and why it was flying so close to Earth.

The discovery even prompted suggestions that the rock was actually an alien spaceship or probe, used to explore our solar system.

But one fact has remained uncontended: Oumuamua is the first object ever observed travelling into our solar system from deep space.

The report found that Oumuamua is likely “one of many” interstellar objects that pass through Earth’s solar system on a regular basis.

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/09/27/nasa-solves-mystery-cigar-shaped-ufo-believed-to-carry-alien-life.html

khojho Posted on September 28, 2018 08:54

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Rattlesnake emerged from water in Florida, beachgoers say.

 

Snakes swimming in North Carolina flood waters

Griff Jenkins spots a snake in the flood waters while reporting on Florence.

Florida beachgoers spotted a rather unusual creature Tuesday emerging from the ocean: a possible diamondback rattlesnake.

Photos captured by local resident Rhonda Saunders show the serpent emerging from the water onto the Pensacola Beach.

The snake appeared to be “exhausted” and “trying to keep its head above the water,” Saunders told the Pensacola News Journal, adding a shocked crowd began to surround the creature. It's unclear where the snake came from.

'TIME CAPSULE' WARSHIP WRECK DISCOVERED

Local animal control officials were called and the snake was eventually removed.

"[An animal control officer] scooped him up with a long-handled net, and dropped him into a carrier," Saunders told the Pensacola News Journal.

“Not much fight left in him,” she said of the snake.

While many beachgoers said the serpent was likely a diamondback rattlesnake, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was unable to formally identify the snake based off photos alone, biologists with the organization told the newspaper.

3,500-YEAR-OLD BRONZE HAND UNEARTHED, MAY HAVE BEEN 'BRONZE AGE CYBORG'

Diamondback rattlers are capable of swimming, according to Reptiles magazine. These serpents are the largest venomous snakes in North America, National Geographic reported, noting they “generally live in dry, pine flatwoods, sandy woodlands, and coastal scrub habitats from southern North Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana.”

 

Rhonda Saunders was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fox News on Thursday.

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/09/27/rattlesnake-emerged-from-water-in-florida-beachgoers-say.html

khojho Posted on September 28, 2018 08:34

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12 Fascinating Facts About Your Favorite Foods.

You are what you eat, is the weird half-truth that is spat out again and again. Luckily, it’s not entirely accurate, because otherwise we’d all be mint fudge chocolate chip ice cream, smokehouse BBQ, and meat lovers pizza. What is true is that what we put into our bodies dramatically effects the way it operates. From our thought processes to our fitness level; even our sex drive is influenced heavily by all we consume. Yet, most of us don’t have the first idea what we’re putting into our bodies. And the truth is, what we don’t know might be hurting us.

Processed foods are known to generally be bad for people, since the further one moves away from nature, the fewer nutrients we receive with every swallow. Then again, even in the natural world there are some strange additives that we might not be too keen on filling our gullets with. Sometimes interesting, sometimes revolting, sometimes enticing, here’s 12 fascinating facts about foods we eat every day.

 

Oreo Filling

via sassyradish.com

The second best creamy goo in the world – behind Nutella of course – is Oreo’s cream. Smooth and sweet, it makes the otherwise ordinary cookies with the cult symbols imprinted on them a special kind of delicious. That signature milkiness could be attributed to actual milk, and sometimes it has a cream cheese base, but most often, Oreo’s cookie filling is made mostly of Crisco. The popular pan greaser has such a delightful consistency that Nabisco decided to add a load of sugar to the fat and dunk it in milk.

Gummy Candies

via stuffpoint.com

Vegetarians and vegans are already hip to this lovely fact: Most anything made with standard gelatin is constructed out of the skin and bones shaved off of slaughtered animals, then rendered into the chewy goodness we all enjoy. Loads of sugar is naturally part of the recipe as well, but what’s really important are the colorful dyes. They make the tub of boiling skin and bone look cheery and edible, to say nothing of utterly hilarious when made into an erotic shape.

Check some of our videos

Twinkies Taste

via spoonuniversity.com

The little, yellow, indestructible, undigestable snack cakes are certainly loaded with fat of questionable origins, but that’s not strange. Every fatty sack of deliciousness has a shady backstory. What is interesting is that Twinkies didn’t always taste like Twinkies. Prior to the second world war – WWII: Nazi Boogaloo – they were banana flavored. During the fighting, banana trade was brought almost wholly to a halt, which forced Hostess to change the taste, since it needed to keep making money off heart disease and diabetes. Ultimately, the vague yellow cream cake is what was settled on, based largely around what supplies were available at the time.

Bananas

via quirkyscience.com

Speaking of the yellow fruit, it’s good to note that a bushel of bananas is called a “hand.” A single banana is also known as a “finger.”

Olive Oil

via healthfacts.ng

It’s easy to believe that olive oil shouldn’t have too many problems behind the scenes. After all, you get some olives, you milk the oil out, bottle, sell, and repeat. But why do that when you can use any kind of oil, so long as you can pass it off as Olive? The entire olive oil industry is only slightly more corrupt than Big Tobacco, and has been described as “comparable to cocaine trafficking, with none of the risks,” by a European Union official. Only about 30% of the “olive oil” on the shelves is actually what it says.

Orange Juice

via reddit.com

As the world moves toward a more organic future, people are taking stock of what they eat and drink. This has led many to seek out more “honest” 100% juices. Among the most popular is orange juice, the beloved drink of Piko Taro. Names like Tropicana and Simply Orange have been touting their “not from concentrate” juices as superior. While they do actually come from oranges, the flavor doesn’t. All that citrus goodness is completely manufactured and comes from sugars mixed in.

Bread

via cooking.nytimes.com

Anyone who’s ever whipped up a loaf of home-baked bread is likely aware that it tends to turn to mold many times faster than stuff that’s store bought. The reason is preservatives, as anyone could have guessed. But the particular preservative in bread is what’s interesting. It’s an amino acid called “L-cysteine” that is found in hog and human hair, cow horns, and duck feathers. It’s an oily liquid similar to the grease on your scalp, though you can’t taste that when eating a ball of Wonder Bread.

Vanilla

via topfoodfacts.com

As with olive oil, vanilla should be an easy ride. Get the vanilla beans, crush them up, milk them out, grind them up, or ferment them until you get what you need. In some cases, that’s exactly how it works. In cases of synthetic vanilla, the truth is a little more ick-inspiring. The taste and smell of many vanilla-flavored items comes from the anal glands of beavers. It’s a thick, brown substance called castoreum which melds together urine and secretions from their anal and castor glands. If you doubt, one sniff under a beaver’s tail will reveal the baked-in truth.

Shredded Cheese

via southernfoodways.org

Pre-shredded cheese operates differently than cheese you shred at home. A clump of freshly grated Colby is a sticky mass, but when it comes out of a store-bought bag, it pours easily and moves without clotting. That bit of marketable magic is cellulose, known to most of us as wood pulp. That mildly gritty consistency of pre-shredded cheese it flecks of timber mixed in for a more pulpy nacho.

Milt

via tomokoimadedyen.com

This is an FYI for travelers who’ve never heard of the delicacy milt. It’s fish sperm, so eat at your own risk.

Ranch Dressing

via foodnetwork.com

Titanium is a marvelous metal. It can stand up to abuse, patinas beautifully over time, and is light enough for any EDC item in your repertoire. But, titanium dioxide, a molecule with both Ti and O atoms is a white powder that is mixed into ranch dressing – among other white foods – to make it look cleaner and more appetizing. There’s no cause for it other than pure manipulation of human buying practices.

Jelly Beans

via wallpaperup.com

While any Jelly Beans made with gelatin suffer from the same issue as gummy candies, they also have another dire ingredient: insect secretions. That shiny shellac on the outside, that makes the beans glimmer enticingly, is pulled from the stuff that oozes out of the Kerria lacca insect.

https://www.thecoolist.com/weird-food-facts/

AlbertaU Posted on September 28, 2018 08:11

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Man With Bionic Penis Went Into 5-Day Coma Week After Having Sex For First Time

 

 

ITV

A man who was born without a penis fell into a coma for five days after having sex for first time.

Andrew Wardle, 45, was fitted with a £50,000 bionic penis after an intensive, 10-hour surgery. He has described the appendage as ‘ridiculously big’, and has said he and his girlfriend, Fedra Fabian, are delighted with the results.

However, just a few days after having sex for the first time, Fedra found Andrew collapsed on the floor. She rushed him to hospital where he remained in a coma for five days.

Andrew’s publicist, Barry Tomes, told MailOnline:

He had a fever for days and was vomiting. They thought he had a neurovirus.

He was supposed to be catching a train down to London to do an interview with This Morning. But Fedra rang to say she had found him unconscious. She was terrified. She has no family here to rely on.

They spent the next five days in limbo. He was so ill they couldn’t do any scans. They even tested for pancreatic cancer but thankfully it wasn’t.

It’s been quite terrifying. Their biggest worry was that the damage had been caused by having sex.

Fortunately, the issue was not caused because of the couple having sex, but was caused by ‘a gall bladder issue’, for which Andrew is now receiving treatment.

It’s been three months since Andrew underwent the surgery to be fitted with a penile implant. He had to live with an erection for ten days before the implant could be deflated, and had to wait a further six weeks before having sex.

Andrew was born a rare condition called bladder exstrophy, which can affect one in every 40,000 people.

Three months after a number of operations, including one to construct Andrew a new bladder, Andrew was able to use his ‘bionic penis’ for the first time.

Speaking to The Sun, Andrew said:

Fedra had booked a romantic trip to Am­s­t­erdam for my birthday, but I felt that would have been too much pressure.

I had to test out the function every morning and night and leave it erect for 20 minutes.

So, one morning, two days before we went away, it just happened. It was nice and natural — and that’s how I wanted it to be.

After what Fedra and I have been through, it’s the cherry on the cake.

Surgeons used skin, muscles and nerves from Andrew’s left arm to construct the penis, as well as veins from his right leg.

Andrew also thanked surgeon David Ralph and his team for the hard work.

He said:

I’m just looking forward to having a fresh start. It’s like I’ve been through a war and I’m just healing and getting my head straight. I owe it to my amazing surgeons to go out and enjoy my life.

I want to thank everyone past and present in the NHS who has got me to this point in my life – I would not be here without you today.

Andrew is receiving treatment for the gall bladder complications, and will soon be on the road to recovery.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/health/man-with-bionic-penis-went-into-5-day-coma-week-after-having-sex-for-first-time/

kabby Posted on September 28, 2018 08:09

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Lil Wayne Finally Releases Tha Carter V

Getty

Three years since his last album, and seven years since the last Carter album, Lil Wayne has finally released his much anticipated Tha Carter V.

The new album features guest appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj and XXXTentacion, as well as others. The last track, Let It All Work Out, also features a sample from the Mercury Prize-winning Sampha.

Tha Carter V has been highly anticipated since Wayne announced it in 2012, following the release and success of 2011’s Tha Carter IV. The record began in 2004, when Wayne was just 22, but it’s release was delayed for over five years due to issues with his label.

Universal Music

The fifth instalment was then supposed to be out in 2014, but days before its release the rapper announced his label boss had ‘refused to release’ the record. Taking to Twitter at the time, Wayne said he was ‘a prisoner and so is my creativity’.

Then, in January 2015, Lil Wayne sued the label, Cash Money, demanding $51 million and the right to cut his ties with the record label, as Rolling Stone reports.

In response, Lil Wayne released his Free Weezy Album through Tidal in an attempted dig at his label Cash Money. The label hit back, however, allegedly trying to sue Tidal for $50 million over the project, though the lawsuit was later dropped.

Earlier this year, the rapper revealed to Billboard that the legal disputes between himself and the label had been settled for an undisclosed sum, meaning the path was finally clear to release Tha Carter V.

As part of the new deal, Wayne is now the sole owner of Young Money Records, his own imprint, as well as maintaining a relationship with Universal Music Group.

The Carter series of albums have been Lil Wayne’s defining records. In 2008, Tha Carter III became the last rap album to sell 1 million copies in the US in a single week. Tha Carter IV missed that mark by less than 40,000 copies in 2011.

In 2012, when he announced the fifth instalment, Lil Wayne suggested it would be his last, and that he’d probably retire after its release. However, he has now said: ‘I do think about retirement. I think about how I don’t think I ever will.’

Getty

Within the new album, the 36-year-old rapper also addresses the time he sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound when has was just 12. In the past he has called this an accident, but now suggests it was a suicide attempt.

On new track Let It All Work Out he says:

I shot it, and I woke up with blood all around me
It’s mine, I didn’t die but as I was dying
God came to my side and we talked about it
He sold me another life and he made a prophet

Wayne had previously alluded to this in his verses on the Free Weezy Album track London Roads, and in his feature on Solange’s track Mad.

Now, however, he is focussed on new music and, of course, his role as a father of four.

He said:

My four jewels – when I FaceTime one of them, man, everything goes away.

Welcome back, Lil Wayne.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/sound/lil-wayne-finally-releases-tha-carter-v/

kabby Posted on September 28, 2018 08:04

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Placenta complications: 'Women must know the risks'

Expectant mothers should be told that the risk of placenta complications rises after a caesarean or fertility treatment, according to top doctors.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) guidelines said early diagnosis of conditions placenta praevia and placenta accreta was vital.

They added doctors should discuss with women the safest way to give birth.

The conditions can lead to heavy bleeding and sometimes put mother and baby's lives at risk.

TV personality Kim Kardashian developed placenta accreta when pregnant with her daughter North West.

TV presenter Amanda Holden suffered from the rare placenta praevia-accreta when expecting her youngest daughter Hollie.

Placenta praevia happens when the placenta attaches in the lower part of the uterus (womb), sometimes completely covering the cervix (neck of the womb).

Placenta accreta is a rare but serious condition when the placenta is stuck to the muscle of the womb and/or to nearby structures such as the bladder.

Both conditions can cause heavy bleeding, particularly towards the end of the pregnancy, because the placenta is low down in the uterus.

This can sometimes require blood transfusions and lead to the loss of the uterus.

The RCOG has produced an online leaflet with information for women who may develop or have these conditions.

It says the rates of placenta praevia and placenta accreta have increased and are likely to continue to increase as a result of rising rates of caesarean births and the use of assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF.

This is because potential scars in the uterus created by caesareans and fertility treatment mean any subsequent pregnancies are more likely to implant in the scar, causing problems with the placenta.

The highest rates of complication for both mother and baby occur when these placenta complications are only diagnosed at delivery, the RCOG said.

And it encouraged more scans and specialised care to help reduce any risks.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

'Discuss risk factors'

Prof Eric Jauniaux, lead author of the guidelines, said: "We hope this updated guidance will support healthcare professionals during discussions with women and their partners who may be considering assisted reproduction, particularly IVF, or an elective caesarean birth.

"These are both risk factors that can increase risk of developing these serious complications of the placenta."

Prof Jauniaux, professor of obstetric and foetal medicine at University College London, said the guidelines should also help doctors to diagnose the complications early and discuss the safest way for women to give birth.

Dr Geeta Kumar, chair of the RCOG patient information committee, said: "It is important for women to be aware of these complications of the placenta, but they should be reassured that these are very rare and specialist care is available.

"Early diagnosis is key to reduce harms associated with placenta praevia and accreta to ensure the safest possible outcome for mother and baby."

What does the placenta do?

The placenta develops together with the baby in the uterus during pregnancy.

It attaches to the wall of the uterus and provides a connection between mother and baby.

Oxygen and nutrients pass from the woman's blood through the placenta and into the baby's blood.

The placenta is delivered shortly after a baby is born, and is sometimes called the afterbirth.

How common is placenta praevia?

It is more common if a woman has had previous caesareans, fertility treatment or if they smoke.

If you have placenta praevia, your baby will probably need to be born by caesarean.

One in 200 women have the condition at the end of their pregnancy.

How common is placenta accreta?

It is a complication which affects between one in 300 and one in 2,000 pregnancies.

This is more common if a woman has previously had a caesarean.

It may cause heavy bleeding at the time of birth.

What is vasa praevia?

Vasa praevia is a very rare condition affecting between one in 1,200 and one in 5,000 pregnancies.

It is where blood vessels travelling from your baby to your placenta, unprotected by placental tissue or the umbilical cord, pass near to the cervix.

If these blood vessels tear, this can be very dangerous for your baby.

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seth Posted on September 28, 2018 05:33

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Africa's week in pictures: 21-27 September 2018

Actress Passant Shawky strikes a pose for a photo shoot by the Red Sea during the Egypt's El Gouna film festival on Tuesday.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionOn the same day, Namibian boxer Paulus Ambunda faces off with Singapore's Muhamad Ridhwan ahead of their upcoming IBO Super Bantamweight title fight in Singapore.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionOn Saturday, Sudanese judo fighters compete at a women-only event in the capital, Khartoum.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionA life-size statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela is unveiled at the UN's headquarters in New York City on Monday....

Image copyrightAFP

Image caption..South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) said the statue would serve as a reminder of Nelson Mandela's and South Africa's determination to help create a better world for all.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionThe next day, a snake keeper shows off a python at an agricultural fair in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's capital, Kinshasa.

Image copyrightANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

Image captionOn Wednesday, believers gather in Addis Ababa to celebrate the first festival of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian calendar year...

Image copyrightANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

Image caption..Meskel Festival marks the moment when St Helena is said to have discovered the cross that Jesus was crucified on.

Image copyrightNURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Image captionOn Monday, schoolboys play football in the street of Egypt's capital, Cairo.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionOn the same day, Ugandan pop star and opposition MP Bobi Wine hosts a media conference at his Kampala home days after returning from the US where he had medical treatment.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionAlso on Monday, Afrikaner communities gather and perform a folk dance called the Volkspele to mark South Africa's annual Heritage Day.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionA capella singers compete at the National Isicathamiya Competition in Durban the day before...

Image copyrightAFP

Image caption..the event is rooted in migrant Zulu culture from the 1950s and features a style category - these men waiting backstage are taking part in the category called oswenka ("swank").

Image copyrightCORBIS NEWS/GETTY IMAGES

Image captionA mosaic from the House of Amphitrite at Bulla Regia, a Roman archeaologial site in Tunisia, is pictured on Friday.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionA couple stand on the dance floor ahead of a performance by Nigerian Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen on Saturday in Italy.

Image copyrightCORBIS NEWS/GETTY IMAGES

Image captionThe same day, a passerby by is pictured on the street of Ain Draham in Tunisia.

Pictures from AFP and Getty Images

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  • Photography
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-45668401

seth Posted on September 28, 2018 05:27

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Air travel 'without your passport leaving your pocket'

New technologies are helping to tackle one of the great scourges of air travel - airport queues. But at what cost to our privacy?

Queues to check-in and drop your bags, at security, at passport control and finally queues at your boarding gate.

Air travel can be a frustrating business, even if these queues are largely a result of airports trying to ensure our safety.

And as more of us fly - 4.4 billion passengers are forecast to take to the skies in 2018 - airports are being pushed to their limits.

So the industry is hoping technology can streamline the process, with increasing use of biometrics such as facial recognition - and not just at passport control.

Image copyrightELIZABETH NEEDHAM-BENNETT/BBC

Image captionPassport control queues are an all-too-common experience for air passengers

For example, British Airways uses facial recognition when boarding passengers on domestic UK flights, as well as for some international flights out of the US.

Travellers flying from Heathrow are photographed when going through security. A second photo is taken at the boarding gate - and if the image matches the original one and the data confirms they are at the right gate, it automatically opens.

The US system combines check-in information with biometrics - images and fingerprints - and biographical data from passports and visas. When a passenger arrives at a boarding gate, a new photo is taken and compared to the data on record.

Raoul Cooper, digital airport design manager at British Airways, says this approach can halve the time it takes to board 240 people onto an international flight, with a consequent 10% improvement in flight punctuality.

Image copyrightBA

Image captionYou can now board some domestic flights without showing your passport at the gate

Image copyrightBA

Image captionBritish Airways operates biometric self-boarding gates at Heathrow Terminal 5

"We believe that this starts to prove how we can use identity services more widely and is an important part of our ambition to create a seamless journey," says Mr Cooper.

"One day, a traditional passport scan or swipe may no longer be needed."

Similar face-scanning technology is being trialled at Singapore's Changi airport, where one potential application could be spotting lost passengers who've missing the final boarding call for their flight, the airport operator says.

Changi's Terminal 4 is already using the tech for self-service check-in, bag drop, immigration and boarding.

In the US, Delta Airlines is planning to use facial recognition at check-in, security, boarding and customs at the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal at Jackson Atlanta airport, doing away with passport checks altogether for some international travellers.

Research consultancy Frost & Sullivan reckons airport spending towards improving the passenger experience will reach $4.2bn (£3.2bn) by 2020.

"Technology integration into airport functions is driven by a growth demand in air travel and shrinking terminal capacity," says Renjit Benjamin, the firm's industry analyst for aerospace, defence and security.

"The tendency to employ technology is not regionally limited - cities around the globe have ongoing projects that effectively deploy digital technology for seamless passenger management and process efficiency."

 

Media captionFrom hi-tech airport sensors to the solar palm tree that charges your phone

Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates also has big - and quirky - plans for biometric technology.

The airport intends to replace traditional security desks with aquarium-like tunnels featuring up to 80 face-scanning cameras disguised as fish. As passengers walk through they are scanned from every angle while they look at the images, and the captured data is compared with existing ID photos.

The first tunnels are due to be installed by the end of 2018, with all terminals to be equipped with the tech-aquariums by 2020.

Tech start-up VChain believes blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies, will help provide us with secure, verifiable digital identities that could make airport queues a thing of the past.

Its software generates a signal - a mathematical version of the red, orange, green of a traffic light - about a passenger's passport, helping authorities verify the passenger's identity and build a "reputation" and trust score around that travel document.

These mathematical signals are stored on the blockchain, preventing tampering and achieving verifiable consensus.

The more times the passport and passenger data is verified, the better its reputation becomes, such that inaccurate data entered on a booking website - a common occurrence that contributes to delays - could be corrected automatically, the company hopes.

"[Blockchain is] the best approach we have developed to date as a civilisation for record keeping," claims VChain's chief executive Irra Ariella Khi.

"And good records are good for security, because your risk assessment is always only as good as the records it's based on."

More Technology of Business

The VChain platform is being tested by IAG - the global airline group that owns BA, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling.

"The airport of the future will see passengers breezing through without annoying queues or document checks, with their passport never leaving their pocket," she says.

But wherever biometrics is deployed, concerns about privacy and data protection are sure to follow. Image recognition is getting better, but it is far from infallible, with human rights campaigners such as Privacy International and Human Rights Watch warning about misidentifications and the potential for abuse by authorities.

For its part, BA says it does not hold any passenger ID data, but transfers it to the US Customs and Border Protection identity system, which then sends back anonymised "match" or "no match" signals.

And as long as air passengers benefit from the increased convenience of queue-less air travel, privacy concerns may remain muted.

  • Follow Technology of Business editor Matthew Wall on Twitter and Facebook

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seth Posted on September 28, 2018 05:18

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Air Niugini plane comes down in Micronesia lagoon

A passenger aircraft has come down in a lagoon off Chuuk International Airport in Micronesia after it overshot the runway, say airport officials.

Images circulating online showed the Air Niugini plane, from Papua New Guinea, sitting in shallow water just off the coast.

None of the 35 passengers and 12 crew onboard flight ANG73 suffered serious injuries.

The cause of the crash is unclear, but investigations are due to begin soon.

Image copyrightDR JAMES YAINGELUO

"The plane crashed in the lagoon, about 160 yards away from the runway," Chuuk airport manager Jimmy Emilio told the BBC.

"Right now we don't really know what happened. Investigations will start earliest tomorrow, but [for now], operations are starting again as usual in the airport."

Mr Emilio said all those onboard the Boeing 737-800 aircraft were taken to hospital for checks, saying he believed some suffered from "minor injuries".

Image copyrightREUTERS

The aircraft was flying from the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, stopping at Micronesia's Weno island on the way.

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seth Posted on September 28, 2018 05:11

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