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Brit man feared dead after VANISHING in Costa del Sol floods

A pensioner has not been seen since last Tuesday just before heavy rain forced the evacuation of residents living by a river near the Spanish town of Coin. 

The man's two dogs have been taken in by a friend, but a search for the 73-year-old involving police, locals and Civil Protection workers has so far failed to find any trace of him.

Police are understood to have tried but failed to locate him via the signal from his mobile.

Acquaintances and other expats - used to seeing him on his bicycle with his pets - have appealed for information on social media.

His home - a rustic self-made property by a bridge across the Pereila River around three miles from Coin which is a 40-minute drive north of Marbella - was washed away by last week’s floods.

Spain was ravaged by "biblical" floods last week.


CHAOS: The flash floods slammed into cars and homes


A British couple, Anthony Bernon Green and Delia Mary Green were killed in a taxi in the flash floods that rocked Majorca. 

The OAP duo died when a taxi they were travelling in was swept away.

Their cab was found turned upside down when the bodies were recovered.

And the body of their driver, Juan Grande Sillero, was found a few hours later.


HORROR: Delia Mary Green and Anthony Bernon Green


BIBLICAL: Cars were swept away by the floods

The couple are in their 70s, and it's understood they were travelling to their hotel in the fishing town of Cala Bona.

Search teams have swooped on Sant Llorenc des Cardassa after the area was hit by flash floods described as "biblical".

A boy, 5, is missing and his mum, named locally as Joana Lliteras Planas, saved his sister, 7, but was found dead after their car was caught up in the horror.

jmparker Posted on October 16, 2018 11:40

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Victoria Beckham admits Elton John is the reason she quit the Spice Girls as she poses for Vogue Australia

Victoria Beckham decided to turn her back on her pop career during the Spice Girl's ill-fated reunion tour in 2008.

The singer revealed she realised she had lost her passion for performing after watching close friend, Sir Elton John singing in his Red Piano show in Las Vegas.

The fashion designer spoke to Vogue Australia about her reasons for not agreeing to the Spice Girls reunion following months of speculation about whether the group would get back together for their 20th anniversary.

Melanie Brown frequently speaks about her wishes for all five members to reunite, despite Victoria's repeated insistence she wants to put her music career firmly in the past and focus on her fashion brand.

Gallery: What you really, really want: Fun photos of Spice Girls (Photos Services)

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It was claimed this week that Mel B told Victoria to "f**k off, you b**ch" during a heated row over the reunion concerts.

Mel B is hoping to join Melanie Chisholm , Emma Bunton and Geri Horner in an upcoming tour, but details haven't been revealed yet.

© Ian West/PA Wire/PA Images Victoria Beckham departs after her London Fashion Week SS19 show in Dover Street, London. Addressing the recent speculation about a reunion, Victoria told the November issue of Vogue Australia: "I always wanted to do fashion, so I was lucky that music was never my main passion. For the other girls it was.

"Every day someone says: 'Are you going on tour? You're the one who's stopping it.' For me, there was always something else I wanted to do. Plan B, phase two."

Victoria's interest in fashion stems back to her early Spice Girls days in the late 1990s and said she found their costumes appealed more than "getting on stage and dancing around".

After disbanding in 2000, the girl group got back together for The Return Of The Spice Girls world tour in 2007-2008.

However, they faced controversy after cutting the tour short and cancelling a string of dates in China, South Africa, Australia and Argentina, blaming "personal commitments".

While on their US leg of the tour, Victoria went to see her pal Elton in Vegas and realised she didn't have the passion that he did.

© Credits: WireImage Musician Sir Elton John and Victoria Beckham She explained: "I was with Elton John this weekend and I told him: 'You're the reason why I stopped the Spice Girls.'

"I remember sitting there very near to the front and looking at him singing those songs he'd sung time after time, year after year, and his passion and his enjoyment was incredible, even after all that time."

A few days later, while performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Victoria admitted she felt "it's almost like a waste that I'm given this opportunity" to perform in front of thousands.

She lamented: "There was nothing there, other than that my kids were in the audience and I wanted them to see Mummy doing the Spice Girls."

© Credits: Victoria Beckham/Instagram Eight days later, the Spice Girls performed their last concert in Toronto, Canada. They did reunite one more time to sing at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.

Victoria met up with her former bandmates for lunch in February this year, prompting speculation she had changed her mind and agreed to tour.

Referring to the meeting, Victoria said: "I had a lunch with the Spice Girls a few months ago to see how everybody was, things spiralled out of control, and I had my lawyer trying to beat down stories that were completely ludicrous."

khojho Posted on October 16, 2018 10:31

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Fear grips Syria city seized from Kurds by Turkish-backed rebels

From kidnappings for ransom to armed robberies and torture: residents of Syria's Afrin region say they are suffering a litany of abuses at the hands of Turkish-backed rebels. 

They say the fear of harassment has kept them shuttered inside their homes since Ankara and its Arab rebel allies overran the then overwhelmingly Kurdish city in March after a two-month air and ground offensive.

Their testimonies, given under pseudonyms because of fear of retribution, paint a picture of a chaotic city with little protection for civilians.

"They robbed my son's house and didn't leave a thing -- not even the clothes," says 55-year-old resident Ahmad.

His own motorcycle and 20 gas canisters were seized by rebels, who also looted his family's liquor store.

Since Turkish troops and pro-Ankara Arab rebels captured the city from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the United Nations and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have documented widespread abuses.

Half of the enclave's 320,000 residents fled, according to a recent report by the UN Commission of Inquiry, and most are unable to return.

© Provided by AFP Turkish-backed Syrian Arab rebels loot shops in the traditionally Kurdish-majority city of Afrin after seizing it from the Kurdish People's Protection Units on March 18, 2018

Those who have often found their homes occupied by fighters or by Arab civilians displaced from other parts of Syria, the UN said.

Other returned to homes "stripped of furniture, electrical appliances, and all decor," in large-scale looting.

Related: News in pictures (Provided by photo services)

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Ahmad and his family fled the fighting but came back recently to scenes of devastation with their property looted and their hometown barely recognisable.

"When we came back, not even our tractor was left," he said.

"They don't even let us sleep at night, with all the shooting."

Kidnap for ransom

Other residents have been forced to buy back stolen cars for up to $5,000 or pay bribes at checkpoints to access their property, according to the UN commission.

© Provided by AFP Syrian Kurdish civilians live in fear of the checkpoints manned by Turkish-backed Arab rebels around Afrin where the United Nations and human rights groups have a documented a litany of abuses, including beatings, torture and kidnappings for ransom

Salim, 50, owns several olive groves in the fertile agricultural land outside the city but he can no longer reach them without permission from the new authorities.

"If you don't get a paper from the local council, you can't enter your own land," the father of three complains.

Even with authorisation, the roads are dangerous for Kurdish civilians.

"A rebel faction could find you on the way to your land and kidnap you for a ransom," ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, he tells AFP.

"Kurds don't dare leave their homes."


Both the UN and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported cases of kidnapping for ransom.

The Britain-based Observatory said it documented at least 40 people abducted and taken to "hostage houses" in recent weeks.

Detainees are tortured and beaten, their relatives asked to pay to secure their release.

Abductions have become "a way to make money," the monitor said.

© Provided by AFP A Syrian Kurd waves the banner of the YPJ, the women's section of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which was driven out of Afrin in March and is anathema to the city's new Turkish and Arab masters

Rebel factions have accused Kurdish residents of being loyalists of the Damascus regime, or members of the YPG or its Turkish rebel ally, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"They accused me once of being a shabiha (pro-government militiaman), and another time of being a PKK member," says Ibrahim, an industrial worker in Afrin.

Ankara is bitterly opposed to the YPG, which also holds swathes of northern and northeastern Syria with the backing of a US-led coalition, regarding it as an extension of the PKK, which has waged a deadly insurgency against Kurdish troops in southeastern Turkey since 1984.

"They arrested me, took me to a base outside Afrin, hung me on the balango and hit me," says Ibrahim.

The "balango" is a torture method notorious across Syria, by which the victim is hoisted in the air for hours from wrists tied behind the back.

'Blood spilt for nothing'

Turkey has denied allegations of abuses, and rebels say proven offenders are punished.

© Provided by AFP A Syrian Arab who left his home in the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus when it surrendered to government forces in April celebrates Eid al-Adha on August 22, 2018 in Afrin where he has taken over the home of a Kurdish family who fled

But residents say not enough is done to curb violations. And it is not only Kurds who have fallen victim to the lawlessness. 

Samia, an Arab student in Afrin, says she has been permanently scarred by her father's brutal killing by armed men trying to steal their family car.

"The first time they tried, my father kicked them out of the house. They came back a second time for revenge and killed him," she recounts.

Rebels investigated, but "the killer went to jail for just one month," she said.

"My father's blood was spilt for nothing."

The UN and Amnesty have also reported patterns of house appropriations by fighters and civilians bussed to Afrin during the April surrender to government forces of the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta suburb outside Damascus.

Some relocated families have opened businesses in Afrin, including the Ghouta Pastryshop and Damascene Dame restaurant.

Parts of Afrin have even been renamed to reflect its new authorities.

© Provided by AFP Turkish-backed Syrian rebels demolish a statue of legendary Kurdish resistance symbol "Kawa" in a landmark square in Afrin on March 18, 2018 after seizing the northwestern city from Kurdish forces

One is a traffic roundabout formerly called Kawa, after the legendary blacksmith and Kurdish symbol of resistance whose statue once stood there but was destroyed by the rebels after their capture of the city.

© Provided by AFP Turkish-backed Syrian Arab rebels stand guard on October 9, 2018 in the same square, now called "Olive Branch Circle" after the name Turkish commanders gave to their operation to oust Kurdish forces from the city in March

Now, a banner in Arabic and Turkish identifies it as "Olive Branch Circle," after the name that Turkish commanders gave to their operation to drive Kurdish forces out of the enclave on the border with Turkey.

Another sign reads: "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Square."

Abu Jihad, 60, misses Afrin's calmer days, before its seizure by the Turkish-backed rebels.

"Injustice, injustice, injustice, and no one is holding them accountable," he sighs.

khojho Posted on October 16, 2018 09:59

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Sorry everyone but there's no God or afterlife, according to Stephen Hawking

A new collection of Stephen Hawking's essays and articles, Brief Answers to Big Questions, have been released posthumously, and, we're sorry to say, but it's bad news for theists. 

In it, he talks candidly about the future of the human race, which is, we're sad to say, not particularly rosy. He also puts his cards on the table regards God and the afterlife. Answering these questions in the final months before his death, he said he'd come to the 'profound realisation' that there was no afterlife or supreme being. 

Writing in The Telegraph, science editor Sarah Knapton quotes Hawking as saying:

We are each free to believe what we want, and it's my view that the simplest explanation is that there is no God. 

No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realisation: there is probably no heaven and afterlife either. I think belief in the afterlife is just wishful thinking.

It flies in the face of everything we know in science. I think that when we die we return to dust.

But there is a sense we live on, in our influence, and in the genes we pass to our children.

Hawking was forever being asked the same questions throughout his life, and Brief Answers to Big Questions aims to answer these questions. He started it in the last year of his life, but didn't finish it before he died at 76, earlier this year in March. 

His family and his academic colleagues finished it from material drawn from his large personal archives, and Lucy Hawking, his daughter, spoke at its launch at the Science Museum on Monday. Speaking to AFP, she said: 

It was very emotional. I turned away because I had tears forming.

It feels sometimes like he's still here because we talk about him and hear his voice—and then we have the reminder that he's left us.

She also explained the aim of the book: 

He was deeply worried that at a time when the challenges are global, we were becoming increasingly local in our thinking.

It's a call to unity, to humanity, to bring ourselves back together and really face up to the challenges in front of us.

Hawking's 10 big questions. 

Is there a God?

There is no God. No one directs the universe.

How did it all begin?

In a hot Big Bang.

What is inside a black hole?

Falling into a black hole is definitely bad news. If it were a stellar mass black hole you would be made into spaghetti before reaching the horizon.

Can we predict the future?

No and yes. In principal the laws allow us to predict the future but in practice it is too difficult.

Is time travel possible?

Travel back in time can't be ruled out according to our present understanding.

Will we survive on Earth?

The present world order has a future but it will be a very different one.

Is there other intelligent life in the universe?

There are forms of intelligent life out there. We need to be wary of answering back until we have developed a bit further.

Should we colonise space?

I expect within the next hundred years we will be able to travel to anywhere in the Solar System.

Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?

A super-intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing goals and if those goals aren't aligned with ours we're in trouble.

How do we shape the future?

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.

ruby Posted on October 16, 2018 09:46

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Manchester Named The Best Place For A Night Out In The UK

The best night out in the UK? Tricky one, and no doubt people from all over the land will want to stake their city's claim.

However, it looks like we now have a concrete answer. A recent study by Ideal Flatmate Flatmate has revealed that Manchester is number one when it comes to nightlife, based on a survey of 1,000 people who rated UK hotspots out of ten.

Credit: Geograph

So you might have thought you'd have to drag yourself down (or up, depending where you reside) to the capital to embark on the night of your life - but northern outposts haven't only picked up the top spot. Second place is still above the midlands, with Sheffield getting some silverware.

In fact, London doesn't get a look-in until third place, with Camden's many boozey charms helping secure that bronze medal.

The survey not only picked the best city for a night out, but also worked out the cheapest city to drink in, the top up and coming places to drink... and five of the worst.

Credit: Wikipedia

Manchester may be the best night out, but it certainly isn't the cheapest as the average price of a pint cost around £2.35.

It doesn't sound like a lot (in fact, it sounds unfathomably cheap - this must be factoring in pound-a-pint pubs to lower this average, surely), but then if you head ever so slightly west, it turns out Liverpool is the way to go if you're looking for an affordable night out - there, the average price of a pint standing at meagre £1.67.

Of course, nights out in London are good, but drinking there may leave you out of pocket slightly more with the average price of a pint standing at a hefty £4.50 - I think I'll pass on getting the rounds in.

In order to get their stats on the up and coming places to go for a drink the study also asked 100 residents from each UK city to rate each of their local boroughs on different aspects, such as nightlife, up-and-coming areas and the setting for young professionals.

Taking the top spot - 1 out of 222 - was, once again, a win for the north with Manchester city centre scoring the highest. In second and third were Camden, in London, and Sheffield, respectively - flipping around from their spaces from before.

So what lies down at the bottom? Well, this time the bottom three spots were taken up by areas in Newcastle - ouch. Hey, don't shoot the messenger.

Yes, the north may have taken the top spot, but also the bottom - well, you can't please everyone.

kabby Posted on October 16, 2018 08:45

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Stephen Hawking Warns 'World Is In Danger' In Message Recorded before He Died

Stephen Hawking has sent a message from 'beyond the grave', warning the world about threats to science and education.

At the launch event for his posthumously released final book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, a message was played that the scientist had recorded prior to his death in March.

Credit: PA

In the recording, the late cosmologist said education and science were 'in danger now more than ever before' and that experts were not being respected.

"We are ... in danger of becoming culturally isolated and insular and increasingly remote from where progress is being made," he said.

"What lies ahead for those who are young now? I can say with confidence that their future will depend more on science and technology than any previous generations has done."

He also urged young people "to look up at the stars and not down at your feet ... And wonder about what makes the universe exist."

Hawking continued: "It matters that you don't give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future."

Credit: PA

Along with his warnings, he said Donald Trump's US presidency and Britain's vote to leave the European Union were part of 'a global revolt against experts', adding: "That includes scientists."

He also recognised that science is yet to overcome some pretty major challenges - including climate change, overpopulation, species going extinct, destruction to forests and the death of the oceans.

Hawking's daughter Lucy attended the book launch and said said hearing her father's 'unmistakable voice' had been 'very emotional'.

"I turned away, because I had tears forming in my eyes," she said. "I feel sometimes like he's still here because we talk about him and we hear his voice and we see images of him, and then we have the reminder that he's left us. We think he would have been very honoured to take his place in history."

Professor Hawking lived with motor neurone disease - a condition that left him paralysed and only able to communicate through a voice-generating computer - for decades, even after he had only been given a few years to live in his twenties.

He was renowned around the world for his incredible genius but also for his self-effacing sense of humour, even appearing as himself on The Simpsons, which increased his immense popularity and respect.

After he beat the ods to live to the age of 76, Hawking's family said the physicist had 'passed away peacefully' in his Cambridge home.

kabby Posted on October 16, 2018 08:36

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Khashoggi disappearance: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Riyadh

The journalist has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul almost two weeks ago.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Saudi Arabia as pressure increases on the country's leaders over the disappearance and alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Pompeo was hastily dispatched to Riyadh amid signs that the current Saudi position - a flat denial that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside their consulate in Istanbul - might be about to change.

Image: Jamal Khashoggi has not been seen for almost two weeks

The renowned journalist has not been seen since entering the building almost two weeks ago.

Speaking on Monday, Donald Trump said the Saudi leader King Salman denied "any knowledge of whatever may have happened" during a phone call.

But the US president also said "rogue killers" could be behind the disappearance and that King Salman had told him Saudi Arabia is "working closely with Turkey to find answers".

Image: Mr Trump said King Salman denied 'any knowledge' of what happened to Mr Khashoggi

Speaking to reporters as he set off for Florida from the White House, President Trump said he did not "want to get" into King Salman's mind, but added: "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers."

Reports in the US media suggest that Saudi officials are set to admit that Mr Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation that went wrong, but neither King Salman, or his son and power behind the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed, had ordered Mr Khashoggi's death.

On Monday Turkish and Saudi officials began a search of the consulate. Turkey claims he was killed and dismembered inside the building by a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" and say they have evidence to support their claims.

They have now completed their search.

Saudi officials have called all the allegations "baseless", but have offered no evidence the journalist left the consulate.

Image: Jamal Khashoggi enters the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

The international community has been near unanimous in demanding Riyadh provide clear answers over Mr Khashoggi's case.

Germany, Britain and France issued a joint statement over the weekend expressing "grave concern" and calling for a credible investigation to ensure those responsible for the disappearance "are held to account".

The US State Department also has urged a thorough investigation into the disappearance.

Last week, President Trump vowed to uncover the truth about what happened and promised "severe punishment" for those responsible.

However, given the close political and economic links between the US and Saudi Arabia it remains unclear what action he could take.

He has already ruled out halting a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia because of the impact it would have on American jobs.

AlbertaU Posted on October 16, 2018 08:33

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'She was unique': Lucy McHugh's mother on her murder

The teenager was found stabbed to death in woodland in Southampton and a family friend has been arrested but not charged.

The mother of murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh has vowed to never let her memory die as she described the pain of losing her daughter.

The 13-year-old's body was found in woodland at Southampton Sport Centre on 26 July. She had been stabbed to death.

Hampshire Police carried out fresh searches last week at the sports centre following a new lead as they attempt to piece together the teen's final moments.

Family friend Stephen Nicholson, 24, who was staying with the family, was arrested on suspicion of murder.

He has not been charged with that offence, but was jailed for 14 months in August for refusing to give his Facebook password to police.

Image: Lucy McHugh was found stabbed to death

Lucy's mother, Stacey White, described her daughter as "the most unique child I know" who was "always on the go...out with friends, family or simply in a club".

"In fact in her life, she did quite a lot of things others haven't done," she said.

"She was always full of smiles, whirling around like a hurricane, she would scoop the boys up and kiss them until they cried, and squeezed them and was always coming through the door and joked how she was late and it was because she was talking to someone or had to help someone do something.

"There was never a time when she can't, 'I won't' or too busy, no matter what she was doing she would make time."


Video: Hampshire Police have released new CCTV showing the last known movements of murdered teenager Lucy McHugh.

Lucy, who was a pupil at Redbridge Community School, loved playing with babies in her family and had set her heart on becoming a pro bono lawyer in the US to help people who could not afford to help themselves.

Ms White said at one stage she wanted to be a mechanic, then a fashion designer, but in the end she decided she wanted to study law.

She said: "I believe she would probably have achieved it, everything she set her mind to, she achieved.

"You should never plan for tomorrow what you can do today because tomorrow might not come just as Lucy found, all the plans that she had, all the things she wanted to do, she now can't do because someone took that away from her."

Speaking about finding out her beloved daughter was dead, she said: "It was a complete emptiness, overcoming you all at once, your whole world falling apart.

"People can pick up textbooks, they can read them until they are blue in the face, it is not as it is written, it is such a more complex layer of sorrow and heartache and... and then you have to think about the other children and explain it to them.

"Because every child is so different, each of them had to have it explained in a different way whilst you want to fall apart but you can't because you have to explain it to them before somebody else does.

"And then you have to help them so you really don't have a choice, you have to survive, you either allow it to destroy you or you fight."

Image: Stephen Nicholson was sentenced to 14 months over his refusal to hand over the password to his Facebook account

Image: A horse-drawn hearse carrying the coffin of 13-year-old Lucy McHugh

The distraught mother remained defiant, adding: "I will fight, I won't let Lucy's memories die, I won't let her be forgotten, I won't let this destroy any more people than it has already.

"The biggest smiling person in our lives has been taken and she's never going to come back.

"I won't let whoever has done this destroy anyone else, the destruction that has been caused is destruction enough.

"My little girl is the biggest destruction that has been caused within this already.

"No one else should crumble and that's why I've stayed as I have."

Image: Examples of the type of clothing worn by Lucy on 25 July. Pic: Hampshire Police

Ms White said the strength that has come from her family and friends "has been tremendous".

"I had to go and see Lucy and it was horrible. I would never wish it on anybody," she added.

A "We Love Lucy Day" is being held on Saturday in Mansel Park, Southampton, to keep her daughter's memory alive, with money being raised for bereavement charities and for the local community that she said has been so supportive.

AlbertaU Posted on October 16, 2018 08:31

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Humanity is ‘cutting down the tree of life’, warn scientists

Humanity’s ongoing annihilation of wildlife is cutting down the tree of life, including the branch we are sitting on, according to a stark new analysis.

More than 300 different mammal species have been eradicated by human activities. The new research calculates the total unique evolutionary history that has been lost as a result at a startling 2.5bn years.

Red panda / lesser panda (Ailurus fulgens) native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. (Photo by: Arterra/UIG via Getty Images) Furthermore, even if the destruction of wild areas, poaching and pollution were ended within 50 years and extinction rates fell back to natural levels, it would still take 5-7 million years for the natural world to recover.

Many scientists think a sixth mass extinction of life on Earth has begun, propelled by human destruction of wildlife, and 83% of wild mammals have already gone. The new work puts this in the context of the evolution and extinction of species that occurred for billions of years before modern humans arrived.

“We are doing something that will last millions of years beyond us,” said Matt Davis at Aarhus University in Denmark, who led the new research. “It shows the severity of what we are in right now. We’re entering what could be an extinction on the scale of what killed the dinosaurs.

Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) endangered species, Atlantic Forest, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by: Kike Calvo/UIG via Getty Images) “That is pretty scary. We are starting to cut down the whole tree [of life], including the branch we are sitting on right now.” Ecosystems around the world have already been significantly affected by the extermination of big animals such as mammoths, he said.

The new research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, did not simply add up the number of lost species, as this fails to capture how unique each species is in evolutionary terms.

Instead, the researchers added up the amount of time each lost species had spent evolving since it emerged, a measure called phylogenetic diversity. There are hundreds of species of shrew, for example, but just two species of elephant. Losing elephants would therefore be like chopping a large branch off the tree of life, said Davis, whereas losing a shrew species would be like trimming off a small twig.

© 2017 Wolfgang Kaehler MONGOLIA - 2017/09/21: A group of Przewalski's horses (Takhi), an endangered species, in Hustain Nuruu National Park, Mongolia. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images) From the rise of modern humans to the year 1500,2bn years of evolutionary history was lost due to mammal extinctions, the researchers calculated. Since 1500, another 500m years has been lost. If the current high rate of extinctions continues for 50 years, a further 1.8bn years of phylogenetic diversity will disappear, the scientists found.

There are still many mammal species left, but all of these would have to evolve for 5-7m years into the future to get back to the level of diversity present before modern humans arrived, the researchers estimated.

Davis said each lost species had its own intrinsic value, but the loss of the most distinct creatures was most damaging: “Typically, if you have something that is off by itself, it does some job that no other species is doing.”

The losses are already affecting ecosystems, he said, particularly the vanishing of “megafauna”. These huge creatures roamed much of Earth until humans arrived and included giant cats, deer, beavers and armadillos.

“We are now living in a world without giants,” said Davis. “So the seeds of big fruit are not dispersed any more because we don’t have mammoths or gomphotheres or giant ground sloths eating those fruits.” Another example, he said, is the widespread loss of wolves. This means smaller predators like coyotes thrive and more birds are killed, radically changing food chains.

Davis said the estimated recovery times for phylogenetic diversity are conservative: “We have no reason to assume we will ever be able to bring extinction rates back down to normal background levels.” The team only looked at mammals, as they are well studied, but extinctions in other animals are just as high.

The new work did allow the researchers to identify highly endangered species with long evolutionary histories, Davis said: “This highlights species we should try to save and could help us prioritise conservation.” The black rhino, the red panda and the indri – a large lemur – are among those highlighted.

© JOUAN/RIUS/GAMMA-RAPHO Pour signaler son territoire au groupe voisin, l'indri lance une longue plainte qui s'entend ? plusieurs kilom?tres. (Photo by JOUAN/RIUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Prof Douglas Futuyma at Stony Brook University in the US, who was not part of the research team, said: “They have made a dramatic and convincing statement of how much evolutionary diversity has already been lost. The most important point is one that I believe is already widely recognised: humans are extinguishing not only many species, but many kinds of species.” He said that while overall evolutionary distinctiveness can be recovered over time, particular species – such as elephants – would never re-evolve if lost.

“We are not merely trimming the terminal twigs of the tree of life, we are lopping off entire limbs,” said Prof Stuart Pimm at Duke University, also in the US, who said the research used better data than earlier work. However, he said prioritising distinctive species was hard in practice, as it is usually overall habitats that are protected. “There’s a lot of armchair conservationists out there,” he said.

Gallery: Species that have gone extinct in our lifetime (Provided by Photo Services)

khojho Posted on October 16, 2018 07:48

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There's a good chance you're a victim of credit card scams and you don't even know it — here's what to do

Credit card fraud is on the rise — and so are the different types of credit card scams. Credit card scammers are getting smarter, employing all sorts of tricks to obtain your personal information. Here's what to do to protect yourself.


Are you a victim of a credit card scam?

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)


  • Credit card fraud is on the rise — and so are the different types of credit card scams.
  • Credit card scammers are getting smarter — they use all sorts of tricks, from phony phone calls and emails to credit card skimmers and Wi-Fi hotspots— to obtain your personal information.
  • You could be a victim of a credit card scam and not even know it.
  • If you find a fraudulent charge on your credit card, the first thing you should do is contact your credit card company immediately.

Credit card criminals are getting smarter, and you could be at risk.

Last year, found that credit card fraud was on the rise. But it's not just the number of fraud cases occurring — the types of credit card scams are increasingly varied.

Traditionally, criminals steal credit cards or use a lost or stolen one. Now, thieves can sell authentication information like ZIP codes along with stolen card numbers on the web, according to And they're becoming more clever about how they obtain that information.

"[There is] the constant stream of phishing attacks we receive where someone is trying to lure us into providing passwords so they can steal funds or commit identity theft," Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at BankRate, the parent company of, told Business Insider.

"This includes the seemingly endless number of robocalls that we get over cell phones, fraudulently urging us to call to lower our credit card rate or answer in response to a problem with the IRS that doesn't actually exist," he said.

Other credit card scam calls, according to, can involve scammers notifying you of "suspicious charges" on your account or acting as your utility company, pretending that you're behind on your bills. You should also be wary when you're on vacation — scammers can call your hotel phone pretending that there was a problem with the hotel's computer system, asking you to provide your credit card information again.

But scams aren't just restricted to phone calls. With the rise of EMV chip-enabled credit cards, scammers are now sending emails asking you to update your information before receiving your EMV Card.

Providing your credit card details in any of these scenarios is all a scammer needs to commit credit card fraud. But they can also carry out scams without any effort on your part, unbeknownst to you.

Wi-Fi hot spots are common these days, but beware: scammers can create a free Wi-Fi hot spot without a password — if you connect to one and access your credit card online, they can steal your login details and possibly your credit card information if you make a purchase. They can also counterfeit credit cards by obtaining your credit card information with a skimmer, which often go undetected by consumers.

Once they have your personal info, fraudsters can do everything from calling your credit card company or bank posing as you and claiming the card was lost or stolen to filling out fraudulent credit card applications (a form of identity theft) and making purchases.

There's also been a rise in card-not-present fraud, according to This is when fraudsters make purchases with your name and card number, but not your actual card — think online orders. When you have your credit card in your possession, you can be completely unaware of this.

Here's what to do if you unknowingly find yourself to be a victim of a credit card scam.

1. Practice vigilance


1. Practice vigilance

(Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)


First things first, you should try to protect yourself from being scammed — or at least set yourself up with the proper tools to detect a scam early on. Vigilance is key, Hamrick says.

"One painless strategy is to download your bank's mobile apps that help us keep track of all credit and debit card transactions," Hamrick said, adding that you should avoid third-party apps. Set up mobile alerts for your transactions: "The best game plan to is to know when transactions are hitting your accounts."

He also suggests having an emergency savings account through a separate debit card or credit card. "[It] helps bridge the time gap that it takes to get a replacement card mailed if and when you have a problem with fraud on the account you use to conduct most of your personal purchases," he said.



2. Contact your credit card company


2. Contact your credit card company

(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)


As soon as you notice something's off, take action. "If you see something that doesn't look right, get in touch with your provider or financial services firm right away," Hamrick said.

Many credit card companies also have zero-liability policies, meaning you won't be responsible for fraudulent charges.

Credit cards also have great federal protection. Legally, credit-card users are only liable for up to $50 of unauthorized or fraudulent charges if the activity occurs before you report it missing, Business Insider previously reported. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if you report a lost or stolen card before it's used, the card company can't hold you responsible.

And even if your credit card isn't linked to your bank, you should still alert them — they can help you monitor your accounts and report suspicious activity.



3. Contact the credit bureaus and FTC


3. Contact the credit bureaus and FTC

(Daniel M Ernst/Shutterstock)


If you're a victim of identity theft, in which a criminal is using your personal information to commit fraud (such as applying for a credit card in your name), you need to alert the credit bureaus and place a "fraud alert" on your credit reports before contacting your credit card company, recommends

"Fraud alerts can stop a thief from opening additional accounts in your name, and also contact you before any new account is opened or an existing account is changed," according to "Note that one call to any of the three credit bureaus will be enough to place your fraud alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two. Within twenty-four hours, all three of the bureaus will be alerted."

You should also file a police report as well as a report with the Federal Trade Commission, who "can assist you in developing a 'recovery plan' to prevent further loss and get things squared away with the police and credit bureaus as necessary," according to



4. Change online passwords and PIN numbers


4. Change online passwords and PIN numbers

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


To prevent further fraudulent transactions, try to control the ways criminals can use your credit card by changing your online passwords and pin numbers.

This isn't limited to your bank account and the vulnerable credit card in question — you should also unlink it from any online websites (think Amazon) or bill pay sites (think PayPal) that it's currently linked to and change all online shopping passwords.

And don't forget to check and see if those shopping accounts have been compromised.



5. Monitor activity


5. Monitor activity

(WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock)


The first sign of credit fraud may not be your last — you'll need to monitor your bank and credit card statements for a while.

"Fraudulent charges can keep appearing on your card statements months after your card information is stolen if there was any additional information, such as login credentials, that may have been compromised," according to

You can also sign up for a credit card monitoring service that will help you track credit card reports, notifying you of suspicious activity (but don't choose one without a bit of background research).

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 12:38

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Khabib calls out FLOYD MAYWEATHER in boasting clip: 'There's only one king'

Khabib forced the Irishman into submission last weekend.

The contest was marred by a wild post-fight brawl, with Khabib climbing over the Octagon to attack a member of McGregor's team.

Now the Russian wants to fight the undefeated Mayweather, who himself pummelled McGregor with a 10th round stoppage last year.

He hasn't fought since, and Khabib has demanded a mega showdown between them.

In footage, Khabib is heard saying: "Let's go Floyd we have to fight now – 50-0 vs 27-0 – two guys who never lose. Let's go, why not?

"Because in the jungle there is only one king. Only one king.

"Of course I am the king because he could not drop McGregor and I dropped him easily. Let's go."

Standing next to him is Mayweather's promoter Leonard Ellerbe, who shakes his hand and says: "You'll get some of that work, baby."


CHALLENGE: Khabib calls out Floyd Mayweather


BRUTAL: Khabib beats Floyd Mayweather

It is not clear if he was asking for a fight in the form of boxing or UFC.

Both Khabib and McGregor will await their fate from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who have temporarily suspended both fighters.

Mayweather retired after the McGregor fight with a stellar 50-0 record, after a stunning career that spanned five weight divisions.

Rumours have swirled that he may fancy giving UFC a go, but talk has so far come to no avail.


jmparker Posted on October 15, 2018 11:33

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McDonald's lad killed by Storm Callum landslide after getting off bus to work

Corey Sharpling, 21, died when a landslide hit the A484 road in Cwmduad near Carmarthen, Wales on Saturday.

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed his identity today.

His family said: “We are heartbroken at the tragic loss of our beautiful son.”

Corey was reported to have been watching a rescue operation during the height of Storm Callum on his way to his job at McDonald's.


FREAK ACCIDENT: Corey was hit by falling rocks and rubble in a landslide caused by Storm Callum

It comes as this month is predicted to be the wettest October ever

A woman who lived nearby said: "There was a loud rumble as some of the valley side slipped down the hill.

"This poor lad was hit by the full force of it, he didn't stand a chance.

"It was a freak accident, if he'd stayed on the bus he would have been fine."

The bus was stuck in a queue of traffic waiting for council workers to cut the fallen tree up and clear the road.


HORRENDOUS: Witnesses said there was a 'loud rumble' when part of the valley collapsed

He got off the bus after a tree came down blocking the road and causing a lorry to be swept into a nearby river.

He was watching the drama unfold when he was hit by a huge landslide of rocks and earth falling onto the road.

Corey's heartbroken girlfriend Marsha Spittle, 18, said on Facebook: "Today I lost the love of my life – he was everything I always wanted.

"You have sadly been taken from me and your family by a terrible accident earlier tonight.


SORELY MISSED: Corey has been mourned by his heartbroken girlfriend

"I want you to know that I will always love you forever and always."

The branch of McDonald's in Carmarthen confirmed a much-loved member of staff had been killed in the tragedy.

Council workers were chopping up the tree blocking the A484 at Cwmduad, Carmarthenshire, when the accident happened.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: "Officers continue to deal with a landslide where tragically a man has died.

"His family are being supported by specially trained officers."


UNDERWATER: Fields covered in flood water after Storm Callum hit the town of Carmarthen

Storm Callum brought the worst flooding to the region in 30 years.

A search was launched yesterday afternoon after reports that a man had fallen into the swollen waters of the River Taff in Cardiff.

A helicopter, police and coastguards were at the scene.

Large parts of South and West Wales were under water and police to stay off the road unless their journeys were absolutely necessary.

The picturesque town of Crickhowell, Powys, was turned into an island as all access roads were under several feet of water when the River Usk burst its banks.

More than 100 sheep were killed in Carmarthen when the flock was swept away by torrential flood water.


jmparker Posted on October 15, 2018 11:12

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What began as a tongue-in-cheek April Fools’ Day joke has evolved into one of the smallest republics in the world, with its own government, constitution and currency.

Residents say that if you stare into the eyes of the Užupis Mermaid as you cross the bridge into the tiny, self-declared Republic of Užupis from the surrounding Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, you’ll never want to leave. Created in 2002 by sculptor Romas Vil?iauskas, the bronze figure welcomes visitors to the tiny republic – and locals claim that it is she who lures them here from all over the globe.


The Republic of Užupis covers less than 1 sq km within the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius (Credit: Leonard Saw)


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Located within the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, Užupis is one of the smallest republics in the world, covering less than 1 sq km. But don’t be fooled by its size – it boasts its own president, government, constitution and currency, and even has a navy consisting of three or four small boats (used mainly for ceremonial purposes). Until recently, it also had an army of around 10 men, but given the republic’s peace-loving attitude, it has been retired.

Užupis is an eclectic juxtaposition of Soviet Bloc architecture and artistic flair. Following the fall of the USSR in the early 1990s, many plinths that had held statues of Soviet icons stood empty across Vilnius. In 1995, a group of local artists used one of them to erect a statue of US rock icon Frank Zappa (despite the fact he had never been there) as a symbol of freedom and a call to democracy. Two years later, on 1 April 1997, they went a step further, declaring their neighbourhood of Užupis independent from the rest of Lithuania. Although Užupis is not recognised by foreign governments as an official nation, the micro-nation has become a source of pride in Vilnius and throughout Lithuania.

Meaning ‘beyond the river’ in Lithuanian, Užupis is separated from the rest of the city by the Vilnele River. The republic celebrates its independence annually on 1 April, known locally as Užupis Day. On this day, travellers can get their passports stamped as they cross the bridge into the republic (every other day, the border is not guarded), use the local (unofficial) currency and treat themselves to the beer that flows from the water spout in the main square (yes, really).


Residents say that if you stare into the eyes of the Užupis Mermaid as you enter the republic, you’ll never want to leave (Credit: mauritius images GmbH/Alamy)


What essentially began as a tongue-in-cheek April Fools’ Day joke for a small group of creatives is now a serious endeavour. Today, the Republic of Užupis has a constitution that has been translated into multiple languages. 

Užupis’ Foreign Minister Tomas ?epaitis, one of the micro-nation’s founding fathers, explained that the republic was born from Aristotle’s philosophy that any great city should have a limited number of inhabitants. “We wanted to create our new little country based on the old thought that a good country can have no more than 5,000 citizens, because the human mind can’t remember more faces [than that],” he said. “Everybody knows everybody, so it’s hard to cheat and hard to manipulate each other.”

The republic’s flag sports what’s known as the ‘Holy Hand’: a blue hand with a hole in the middle, making it unable to accept bribes.

“The main thing is we have nothing to hide in our hands,” Užupis’ Tourism Minister Kestas Lukoskinas, who has lived in the area for 18 years, told me.


Although it began as an April Fools’ Day joke, Užupis now has its own government, constitution and currency (Credit: Ana Flašker/Alamy)


?epaitis said he and his fellow co-founders wanted to create a place where people could disconnect from the distractions of modern life and reconnect with what’s important. “If you cross the bridge, you can become yourself. You don’t play any social role, you don’t belong to anyone, you belong to yourself. You can think about who you are and you can live without being part of that mad race that all of humanity is involved in.”

Lukoskinas agrees. “The atmosphere in Užupis is completely different,” he said. “You feel happier and more relaxed. You can go into the pub and meet the mayor of the city, or a famous basketball player or a famous artist, and everybody is just chilling. Anywhere else you go to posh bars and to posh restaurants, [and] there are restrictions, there’s a protocol, which is absent in Užupis.”

While the republic’s conception story is a light-hearted affair, the area’s history is not. During the mid-20th Century when the region was under Soviet rule, the district was derelict; a dangerous part of town for the brave or the foolish. One of neighbourhood’s main thoroughfares, Užupis Street, was once nicknamed ‘the Street of Death’, not only due to the high crime rate but also in recognition of the neighbourhood’s Jewish population, which was decimated during the Holocaust. Today, however, the winding cobbled streets feature quirky art installations and a renewed sense of life.


The symbol of Užupis is the Holy Hand, a blue hand with a hole in the middle, making it unable to accept bribes (Credit: Hemis/Alamy)


Once independence was secured in 1997, a constitution soon followed. The creed was penned by ?epaitis and Užupis President Romas Lileikis in just three hours one summer afternoon in 1998.

“We had just declared a republic, and then he [Lileikis] visited me because he had no hot water, which is why there is a clause about hot water,” said ?epaitis, referring to the second article of the constitution, which states that everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof. “After he had a bath, we thought we now have a republic so we need some document, so we sat and wrote it.”

If you cross the bridge, you can become yourself

The constitution’s 41 clauses encapsulate the essence of Užupis’ ideals of free thought, with points such as ‘Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation’ and ‘Everyone has the right to understand’, as well as, confusingly, ‘Everyone has the right to understand nothing’. Even the republic’s pets are mentioned, with clauses such as ‘a dog has a right to be a dog’, and ‘a cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in times of need’.

“I wrote about the cats, because I am a cat man. [Lileikis] wrote about the dogs, because he is a dog man,” ?epaitis explained. It is a poetic balance.

The charter, printed on large mirrored rectangles, hangs along the road known locally as the Avenue of Constitutions. More than 30 of these metal plates now line the wall, with Latin being the latest language to be hung – it was blessed by the Pope himself during his visit to the Baltics in September. The Avenue of Constitutions leads to the centre of the republic, where a statue of Archangel Gabriel, ‘The Angel of Užupis’, was erected in 2002 as a symbol of growth and rebirth, his trumpet heralding a new free-thinking age for the nation. 


Once a year, on April 1, travellers can get their passports stamped as they cross the bridge into Užupis (Credit: Luis Dafos/Alamy)


As with most things in Užupis, the government structure and the appointment of officials is a somewhat relaxed affair, with their parliament house also functioning as the local cafe-cum-pub. A core group of about a dozen ministers oversees the running of the micro-nation, but for those who want to get involved in Užupis’ politics, being an active member of the local community is key.

“The main thing is to be recognised. You can say I’m a Minister of Soccer or a Minister of Frisbee, and that’s OK, you can be. But you need to be recognised,” Lukoskinas said, adding that he understands the attractiveness of this freestyle kind of politics.

“It releases the tension of everyday life and the diplomatic protocol. You can relax and have a pint with the prime minister or the president. [But] it’s a serious game we play,” he said with a smile.

As unusual as it sounds, it is a system that works, and has done for the past 21 years. The president has held his position for that entire time (despite jokingly admitting on the odd occasion that he would like a break), as have many of his ministers, with the group meeting most Mondays. Together they’re making political waves, actively working to build ties with other countries, albeit unofficially. Užupis even houses a park known as Tibet Square. China angrily interpreted Užupis’ decision to make the Dalai Lama an honourary citizen as political rather than cultural (the citizens of Užupis neither agree nor disagree with this statement).


Translations of Užupis’ constitution are engraved on mirrored panels that line the Avenue of Constitutions (Credit: Christian Harberts/Alamy)


The Republic of Užupis has piqued tourists’ interest since its inception in 1997. The unintended consequence is that the republic has experienced some gentrification and development, which has prompted a spike in property prices.

This mixture of dream and reality is the best I could’ve hoped for when we began all this

“Right now this is the second most expensive part of Vilnius, after Old Town. No artist could allow themselves to buy an apartment now – you’d have to be famous and rich.” Lukoskinas said.

This has caused concern for some ministers, who fear the loss of their culture and way of life as tourist numbers grow and the population swells. However, ?epaitis hopes it will help Užupis’ ideals spread further afield.

“I [am] very excited to meet people who dreamed that there was such a country in the world. This mixture of dream and reality is the best I could’ve hoped for when we began all this,” he said. “They found their country, here in reality. That’s their ultimate goal and I’m very happy.”

It is no wonder the mermaid has led them here.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 11:01

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BREAKING: Man Utd chairman flying to Saudi Arabia amid TAKEOVER talk

Qatar owns French giants Paris St Germain and is hosting the 2022 World Cup.

Manchester City are owned by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour.

United have long-term links with Saudi Arabia.

Last year the club agreed a "memorandum of understanding" with the Arab country's General Sports Authority to help a “sustainable and thriving football” sector.

But the Glazer family’s public stance is always that they have no interest in selling United.

The event which Manchester United Avram Glazer is due to attend next week is nicknamed “Davos in the Desert”.

Davos is the Swiss location for the annual World Economic Forum, and the Future Investment Initiative conference is being held in Riyadh for the second time as Saudi Arabia bids to make itself an outward-looking financial and political powerhouse.

Glazer’s presence there, following other visits to the oil-rich country, has been noted with interest.

The event which Manchester United Avram Glazer is due to attend next week is nicknamed “Davos in the Desert”.


Davos is the Swiss location for the annual World Economic Forum, and the Future Investment Initiative conference is being held in Riyadh for the second time as Saudi Arabia bids to make itself an outward-looking financial and political powerhouse.

Glazer’s presence there, following other visits to the oil-rich country, has been noted with interest.


The United co-chairman is due to speak on the second day of the event, Wednesday October 24, in a forum about the power of sport and future trends for investment.

But experts believe that, behind the official agenda, the Saudis want to talk about buying into United.


Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s 2030 Vision is all about transforming Saudi Arabia and its image abroad.


CONTROVERSIAL: The Glazer family owns Manchester United

The United co-chairman is due to speak on the second day of the event, Wednesday October 24, in a forum about the power of sport and future trends for investment.

But experts believe that, behind the official agenda, the Saudis want to talk about buying into United.

Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s 2030 Vision is all about transforming Saudi Arabia and its image abroad.

It comes after the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.


WELCOME: Manchester United last visited Saudia Arabia 10 years ago


jmparker Posted on October 15, 2018 10:58

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Intermittent fasting may help fight type 2 diabetes


        Lifestyle changes are key in the management of type 2 diabetes. Scientists believe that intermittent fasting could play an essential role.

Lately, intermittent fasting has become incredibly popular.

   Type 2 diabetes is the most common type. The condition affects the body's ability to produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels.

       Diabetes is widespread in both Canada and the United States, and in the U.S., it is one of the leading causes of death. The American Diabetes Association report that the total estimated cost of treating diabetes is now over $200 billion per year.

         Lifestyle changes are crucial to managing the disease, and eating habits play a key role. Doctors normally recommend that people with diabetes follow specific diets. The effects of a specific diet may differ from person to person, but in general, those with diabetes should avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and refined carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting could be a way to manage diabetes through diet.

What is intermittent fasting?

   Intermittent fasting is a type of diet in which people cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It does not specify the foods that are allowed during the eating window.

             The most common type of fasting is known as the 16:8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours and reducing the eating window to just 8 hours. For example, a person can have dinner at approximately 7 p.m., skip breakfast the day after, and eat lunch at around 11 a.m.

          Other forms involve fasting for 2 days per week, 24-hour fasting once or twice each week, and fasting every other day.

Researchers used intermittent fasting as a method to reduce the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in a new observational study conducted in Canada and published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

      The study included three men, aged 40–67, who were taking both drugs and daily doses of insulin to manage the disease. They all had high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

"The use of a therapeutic fasting regimen for treatment of [type 2 diabetes] is virtually unheard of," the authors of the study write.

Intermittent fasting's effects on diabetes

Before the study, the men attended nutrition seminars, which gave them information regarding the development of the condition, its effects on the body, and how to use diet to manage diabetes.

Then, scientists asked two of them to fast for 24 hours every other day, while the third fasted for 3 days each week. During fasting days, the men could drink low-calorie beverages such as water, tea, or coffee. In addition, they could eat a low-calorie meal in the evening.

The trial lasted 10 months in total, and the three men stuck to their schedule without encountering any difficulties. After the fasting period, the team measured their weight and blood glucose.

The results revealed significant improvement: all three lost weight, blood glucose was lower, and they were able to stop using insulin after a month from the beginning of the trial. In one case, the person stopped after only 5 days.

Two of the men also discontinued all diabetic drugs, while the third participant stopped 3 out of 4 drugs.

The authors concluded that intermittent fasting may help people with diabetes, but the study was limited to three participants. More research is needed to confirm these findings, but they are encouraging.

"This present case series showed that 24-hour fasting regimens can significantly reverse or eliminate the need for diabetic medication," conclude the authors.

sarah Posted on October 15, 2018 10:10

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Three injured after kangaroo attacks family

An aggressive kangaroo attacked the Australian family, leaving a woman with serious injuries after she fought back with a broom.

A woman is seriously injured after trying to protect her husband from a six-foot kangaroo in Australia.

Linda Smith, 64, suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, cuts and other internal injuries after the male kangaroo attacked her husband Jim on Saturday evening.

The couple have been feeding kangaroos and wallabies from their home in Millmerran, about 125 miles west of Brisbane, Queensland, to help them survive the region's drought.

Mrs Smith grabbed a broom to fight the six-foot kangaroo off her husband - who suffered cuts and bruises - but the animal knocked the broom out of her hand and turned on her.

She said: "Jim was on the ground and the kangaroo just kept at him.

"I went outside to try and help him and took a broom and a piece of bread but he knocked the broom out of my hand then attacked me."


Video: Jim Smith reveals his injuries after the attack

The woman's 40-year-old son, Sonny, "came out to try and help me and hit him over the head with a shovel", she said.

He also suffered minor injuries.

There are more than 46 million kangaroos in Australia, according to government figures, but Stephen Jones, senior operations supervisor at Queensland Ambulance Service, said it was rare for them to attack humans.

He added: "They are known to attack and can be quite vicious, particularly the large males but it is something that is uncommon, something that I haven't come across in my 30-odd years in the service."

Brisbane's Courier-Mail reported that Mrs Smith was in a stable condition at Toowoomba Hospital.

Mr Jones said that, had she not intervened to save her husband, he might have suffered more serious injuries.

"The outcome may have even been death," he said.

The kangaroo jumped away before paramedics arrived at the scene but Mrs Smith said she did not want it to be hunted and killed.

"I am always careful, especially of the males," she said. "It's breeding time so they can be more aggressive.

"I don't want this kangaroo to be hunted down and killed, I love animals.

"I do understand what happened but I have never seen one that aggressive - it was in there for a fight and it wouldn't back off."

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 09:40

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UK-built spacecraft BepiColombo set to explore Mercury's mysteries

Europe's first mission to Mercury will deploy two orbiters packed with sophisticated technology to unravel the planet's mysteries.

A British-built spacecraft is set to blast off from Earth bound for Mercury, the scorching planet closest to the sun.

BepiColombo, the European Space Agency's (Esa) first mission to Mercury, will send two probes to explore the planet where surface temperatures reach 450C.

The four-tonne spacecraft will be launched into orbit by Esa's rocket Ariane 5 from the European spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, on 20 October.

It will then make a 5.2bn mile (8.5bn km) journey over seven years to reach its destination by 2025.

Image: NASA's Messenger probe orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015, taking photos of the surface

The spacecraft will then deploy the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), built by satellite-maker Airbus Space and Defence at its assembly centre in Stevenage, Herts, to study Mercury's surface and composition.

The second probe, the Japanese Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), constructed in Japan, will focus on the electromagnetic environment surrounding the planet.

A key instrument on the MPO, the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (Mixs), was developed and built at Leicester University.

The 13kg (28lb) metre-long device consists of two X-ray telescopes, one designed to capture images of the surface and the other to analyse its composition.

Image: How BepiColombo is expected to look in 'cruise mode' on its way to Mercury

Mercury is bombarded by high energy sub-atomic particles from the sun, causing the surface to "fluoresce" and emit X-rays. Analysing the rays provides information about what the planet is made of.

Mixs scientist Professor Emma Bunce said: "We want to understand how the solar system works and how it was formed.

"Mercury is a place of extremes; a small planet and the planet closest to the sun. Knowing how it has survived will help us piece together a bigger picture of the solar system and our place in it."

Unlike any other interplanetary spacecraft in history, BepiColombo carries a futuristic ion electric propulsion drive, also designed and built in the UK.

Four ion engines supplied by British defence and technology company QinetiQ have been fitted to the craft's power unit, the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM).

They work by "ionising" inert xenon gas - knocking an electron off the gas atoms to give them a positive charge.

The resulting "plasma" is attracted by electrostatic forces to a grid with an opposite negative charge and fired out of the thruster at 90,000mph.

Image: Mission controllers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, prepare for BepiColombo's launch

Unusually, the spacecraft will use energy not to speed up but to put the brakes on as it "falls" towards the sun.

It will achieve this both by firing the ion thrusters in the direction of travel, and by means of a complex series of "gravity-assist" fly-bys past Earth, Venus and Mercury.

Dr Jerry Bolter, project manager at Airbus Defence and Space where the MTM was assembled, said: "We recognised very early on that for BepiColumbo to do what we wanted it to do and get from here to Mercury we needed to have a very efficient propulsion system. If we relied on chemical propulsion then we'd need 17 tonnes of propellant.

"The ion drive needs just 581 kilograms of propellant and does the equivalent of 17.8 million miles to the gallon."

Only two spacecraft have previously visited Mercury. NASA's Mariner 10 flew past the planet three times in 1974-75, and the American space agency's Messenger probe orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015, taking photos of the surface.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 09:34

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Near miss involving Air Canada jet in San Francisco 'could have killed over 1,000 people,' report finds

Near miss involving Air Canada jet in San Francisco 'could have killed over 1,000 people,' report finds

Sophie Williams

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A near miss involving an Air Canada jet at San Francisco airport could have killed “over 1,000 people”, according to a report.

The Air Canada jet swooped to just 60 feet above the ground, passing over four other planes waiting to take off shortly before midnight on July 7, 2017.

National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg said: “Only a few feet of separation prevented this from possibly becoming the worst aviation accident in history.”

Shocking video footage from the incident shows the plane coming in to land passing over at least four planes before making a go-around.

According to the report by NTSB, other pilots turned on their lights to warn the Air Canada jet.

Another board member, Earl Weener said the plane came within feet of hitting another aircraft and colliding with several others.

© Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB aircanada1-0.jpg

He added: “Over 1,000 people were at imminent risk of serious injury or death.”

Related: Miraculous stories of plane crash survivors ( Provided by Photo Services)




On Thursday, the NTSB issued a final report on the incident.

It found that the pilots were slow to report the incident to superiors. By the time they did, the plane was already on another flight and the cockpit voice recording of the incident had been recorded over.

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited SanFranciscoairport1410.jpg

The pilot of the Air Canada flight said that he did not report the incident as he was “very tired” and it was late. He reported the incident the following day.

It also determined that the incident was caused by the pilots of the jet being confused as one of the two parallel runways had closed that night.

The NTSB also criticised the Federal Aviation Administration as only one air traffic controller was on duty at the time of the incident.

A spokesperson for Air Canada said: “It is noteworthy that the NTSSB’s recommendations were not directed at Air Canada specifically and address many areas for improvement.”

Air Canada has given pilots specific training to familiarise pilots with San Francisco airport and has emphasised proper procedures for landing approaches.

khojho Posted on October 15, 2018 09:05

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Saudis to 'retaliate' if sanctions imposed over missing journalist

The oil-rich kingdom's response comes after President Trump said he would unearth the truth about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.

By Sanya Burgess and Alix Culbertson, news reporters

Saudi Arabia has said it will retaliate for any sanctions imposed against it over the disappearance and suspected murder of a journalist.

The threat was in response to US President Donald Trump saying the oil-rich kingdom deserves "severe punishment" if it is responsible for Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.

It came after a turbulent day on the Saudi stock exchange, which plunged as much as 7% at one point as international concern grew over the writer who vanished on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.


Video: UK 'extremely concerned' for Saudi reporter

In a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the kingdom warned if it "receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy".

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations," the statement said.

Image: Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since 2 October

It gave no more details, but a column in English published shortly after by the general manager of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news network, said Saudi could use its oil production as a weapon.

International business leaders have steadily been pulling out of the country's upcoming investment forum, known as "Davos in the Desert".

They include the CEO of Uber - which Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars in - Richard Branson, JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon, and Ford Motor Co executive chairman Bill Ford.

Britain, France and Germany have jointly called for a "credible investigation to establish the truth".

A statement encouraged a Saudi-Turkish effort to find out what happened, and, if relevant, to identify those responsible for the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Mr Khashoggi, and ensure they are held to account.

Turkish officials say he was killed and dismembered inside the building by a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" and say they have evidence to support their claims.

They have not made any of the information they are basing their claims on public, although pro-government Turkish press reported that audio of the killing was recorded on Mr Khashoggi's Apple watch.

On Friday, it was reported that a delegation from Saudi Arabia had arrived in Turkey as part of a joint investigation.

On Sunday Saudi King Salman thanked Turkish President Recep Erdogan in a phone call for forming a joint team, saying no-one could undermine the relationship between the two countries.


Video: Mr Trump: Saudis would be 'severely punished'

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and their German counterpart Heiko Maas said: "Defending freedom of expression and a free press and ensuring the protection of journalists are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

"There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and - if relevant - to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account.

"We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi government to provide a complete and detailed response."

The statement has also been delivered directly to the Saudi authorities.

Image: Mr Khashoggi had been critical of the Saudi de facto ruler

Mr Hunt later added that the UK would react if Saudi Arabia was behind the disappearance.

He said: "I don't want to get drawn into hypotheticals because we don't know the facts yet, but we have been very, very clear that if these stories are true, that would be totally appalling and we would have to think about the appropriate way to react in that situation."

Egypt has also called for a transparent investigation, but warned against the political exploitation of the case against Saudi Arabia.

Image: Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Mr Trump promised to get "to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment".

However, Mr Trump added the US would be "punishing itself" if it cancelled military sales to Riyadh over the disappearance of the Saudi journalist.

Turkey's Sabah newspaper, which claims Turkish officials now have the audio of the alleged killing, reports the recording was uploaded to a phone he had left with his fiancee and his iCloud, a storage facility.

It also reported that Saudi intelligence agents realised after he died that the watch was recording and tried to delete the file, first by incorrectly guessing Mr Khashoggi's PIN on the watch, then later using the journalist's finger.

However, unlike iPhones, Apple watches do not have a fingerprint ID unlock function.

Image: Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate to get papers he needed to marry his fiance

The newspaper's account also did not elaborate on how the Apple Watch synced the information to both the phone and iCloud account.

Saudi officials call all the allegations "baseless", but have offered no evidence Mr Khashoggi left the consulate.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, is pushing for Saudi Arabia to become a destination for foreign investment.

Mr Khashoggi's disappearance, and suspicions he may have been targeted over his criticism of the royal, have led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of an upcoming high-profile investment conference in Riyadh.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 09:01

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Newsflash: Bitcoin Surges to $7,500 on Bitfinex Due to Tether Implosion, Real Price $6,700

The price of Bitcoin has surged from $6,300 to $7,500 on Bitfinex, a major cryptocurrency exchange that reportedly operates Tether LLC, a firm that oversees the development of stablecoin Tether (USDT).

Bitcoin is being traded with a significant premium on exchanges that have integrated USDT such as OKEx and Huobi, because traders have initiated the biggest sell-off of USDT to date.

The sudden dump of USDT led the price of the stablecoin to drop to $0.94, by around 6 percent from its peg at $1. The drop in the value of USDT formed a premium on Tether-integrated cryptocurrency exchanges.

Real Price of Bitcoin is $6,700

Still, on major fiat-to-crypto exchanges, the price of BTC surpassed the $6,700 mark, eyeing a breakout above $6,800, a resistance level which billionaire investor Mike Novogratz has observed since early August.

Given the premium on TrueUSD (TUSD), a regulated, audited, and Ethereum-based stablecoin against Tether, it is evident that traders are selling massive amounts of USDT to purchase cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and invest in other stablecoins such as TUSD, Gemini Dollar (GUSD), and PAX.

On Coinbase, Bitstamp, and Kraken, the price of Bitcoin against the US dollar is at around $6,700, up by more than $400 in the past 24 hours. It is possible that the unexpected decline in the price of Tether had an impact on fiat-to-crypto exchanges.

But, many analysts in the cryptocurrency market believe that algorithms in Asia have started to inject large amounts of cash into major cryptocurrencies, and the drop in the price of Tether is merely a coincidence.

At this point, whether the rise in the price of Bitcoin was initiated by the sell-off of Tether or an influx of capital from Asia is of less significance. Over the past 12 hours, the volume of Bitcoin has increased from $3 billion to $4.8 billion, escaping its yearly low mark.

More importantly, fiat-to-crypto exchanges have begun to see a surge in volume, which proves that the short-term rally of BTC is not wholly attributable to the imposion of Tether.

Throughout the past week, CCN emphasized that BTC needs a major catalyst to breakout of the $6,000 region due to its low volume.

“The volume of the cryptocurrency exchange market, which increased from $10 billion to $13 billion throughout the past two days amidst a sell-off, has declined back to $10 billion, which could likely lead BTC to approach its yearly low volume at $3.2 billion,” CCN’s report read.

Bitcoin’s Trajectory

If BTC can surpass the $6,800 resistance level in the short-term, it will be possible for the crypto market to initiate a long-waited rally to the upside. However, if BTC fails to breakout of a major resistance level, then there exists a possibility that the dominant cryptocurrency struggles to maintain momentum and falls back to the $6,000 support level.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 08:26

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As Petro Launch Looms, Venezuela’s Bol ivar Eyes 1.4 Million Percent Inflation

Based on findings from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the annual inflation rate for Venezuela could reach as high as 1.37 million percent by the end of 2018. Inflation estimates for the country have risen several times this year as Venezuela struggles with policies and production — and prepares to launch its Petro cryptocurrency

No Stranger To The Headlines

Venezuela has made headlines many times throughout 2018 in its current struggle with inflation. CNN reports the cause of such inflation as the result of “years of excessive government spending on welfare programs, poorly managed facilities and dilapidated farms.”

This marks the third time the IMF has increased its inflation estimates this year, with estimates from January of 13,000 percent, and from July at 1,000,000 percent. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to decrease by 18 percent for 2018. This is bad news for a country that has such a promising amount of oil reserves.

Adding to the inflation problem is the dramatic increase of minimum wage, brought on by Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president. Maduro has raised minimum wage an astounding 24 times since 2013, leading in part to many business closings.

Petro Cryptocurrency Nears Public Sale

U.S. Dollar/Bolivar

Led by Maduro, Venezuela’s government has sought a cure for its economic woes in the “Petro,” a state-issued cryptocurrency allegedly backed by barrels of oil.

In further efforts to combat the problem of inflation, Maduro has said that the government will create a fiat currency that’s pegged to the Petro, which is itself pegged to oil — as confusing as that sounds. This double-pegged fiat currency is called the Bolivar Soberano — or, in English, the Sovereign Bolivar.

Maduro explained:

“I ask for your confidence, I ask for your support, beyond ideologies and political positions, because Venezuela needs this change, the mafias are over!… We have the correct vision of what the economic future in Venezuela should be, above all, we will achieve it.”

Logically, it would be difficult to trust these statements based on previous track record.

Pushing On

Amidst skepticism, Maduro continues to be adamant about the idea of the Petro. He announced in late August that, “Venezuela will have a second accounting unit based on the price, the value of the Petro. It will be a second accounting unit of the Republic and will begin operations as a mandatory accounting unit of our PDVSA oil industry.”

Several doubts have also come to light that the Petro (and its oil backing) may not even exist at all. Additionally, no shops or stores were reportedly using the Petro, and the only buyers that could be found were anonymous online persons.

Based on recent reports, it appears that Petro adoption has been low, though this may change following the public sale in November. Meanwhile, Citizens continue to leave the country in droves.

Most recently, on Oct. 8, it was announced that Venezuelan “salary bonuses would be paid in Petros,” with Maduro explaining that he wants money made by salaried workers to have more impact.

Hopefully, the public will see a brighter future for Venezuela in the days ahead.

AlbertaU Posted on October 15, 2018 08:23

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Museveni visits site of deadly Uganda landslide

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni visited eastern Bududa Sunday after 43 people died when a landslide caused a river to burst its banks, sending water and boulders cascading downhill.

Wearing military uniform and carrying a cleft stick Museveni looked across the Sume river at the remains of Wanjenwa village which was wrecked by a torrent of rocks carried down river by Thursday's deluge.

"Who allowed them to build a market here?" he asked officials.

Related: News in pictures (Provided by photo services)

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"Building on the flood plain of the river is very dangerous. Local government have failed to implement regulations," Museveni told journalists.

After touring the site of devastation Museveni is set to address a crowd of several hundred residents, local dignitaries and Red Cross volunteers in Bukalasi village where many casualties were taken for treatment at the health centre.

Over 850 people were displaced in the disaster, caused by heavy rains.

© Provided by AFP Bududa district sits in the foothills of Mount Elgon, a high risk area for landslides

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on Sunday updated a previous death toll by one person.

"We can confirm that 43 people have lost their lives but we are continuing to search for others," he said.

In March 2010, at least 100 people were killed in the same mountainous region, which lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya and is a high-risk area for landslides.

Questioned about delays to a resettlement program which was initially announced in 2010, Rugunda blamed "minor administrative issues".

Although there may be "delays here and there they do not change the principle that these people must be resettled," he added.

khojho Posted on October 15, 2018 07:54

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Archimedeskay Posted on October 14, 2018 13:36

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Nepal says it has blocked 25,000 websites in pornography ban

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Nepalese internet providers have begun blocking thousands of pornographic websites as part of a government directive aimed at stopping sexual violence, officials said Sunday.


The government issued new criminal and civil codes this year that include regulations against the use, broadcast and publication of pornographic materials with punishment for violators of up to one year in prison.


Min Prasad Aryal of the Nepal Telecom Authority said Sunday that more than 25,000 websites have been blocked under the campaign.


"This is only the start, but a very good start," Aryal said, adding that a team of officials are monitoring internet service providers to ensure the order is followed.


He said those providers who refuse or fail to comply face a fine of up to $4,200 and risk losing their operating license.

Internet service providers say they are complying with the government order but say it would be impossible to weed out and block all such sites.


"We are following the government order and have blocked the list of websites that was provided. However, it is not practical and technically not possible to block every pornographic website," said Binay Bohra of Vianet Communications.


Bohra said they feared that with the new law service providers could easily be punished.


Media rights groups have also expressed concern at the blanket ban of websites.


"This opens up the path for the government to block any websites in the future, saying they have obscene content. This order was issued without clarifying what is obscene and why or without doing any proper study," said Taranath Dahal, who heads the Freedom Forum, a Nepal-based media rights group.


Dahal said there should be clear regulations from the government on what content is considered obscene and pornographic and what aged users should be barred.


The government issued a similar ban in 2011, but this time there are more serious punishments for violations.

AlbertaU Posted on October 14, 2018 11:43

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Italy: Migrants must leave 'friendly' town

Italy's interior ministry says all migrants in the southern town of Riace, famous for welcoming them, must be transferred away.


The migrants will be moved to other migrant centres next week.


The move comes days after the arrest of the town's mayor, Domenico Lucano, over his alleged role organising "marriages of convenience" for immigration purposes.


He has been put under house arrest amid a national debate about integration.


His arrest follows months of tougher migration enforcement from Italy's populist government.


The mayor, known as Mimmo, made headlines around the world for his unusual programme that welcomed migrants to the sparsely-populated town in Calabria, giving them abandoned homes and on-the-job training, in the hope that the new arrivals would rejuvenate the economy.


He started the system in 1998 under a previous government, and since then hundreds of migrants have joined the small town of about 2,000 people.


The success of the programme, lauded by many as a model of integration, led to Mayor Lucano being named one of the world's 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine in 2016.



© Getty Images Many of the resettled refugees have been trained by local craftspeople

His arrest earlier this month sparked protests and a national debate about the project.


Interior minister Mattei Salvini and his right-wing League party said his arrest showed their government had "declared war on the immigration business".


Mr Salvini's efforts to quash migration to Italy have won praise and criticism since the new coalition government came to power in June.


But Mr Lucano said his lawyers were to appeal against his detention, claiming the government "want to destroy us".


"How is it possible to think of destroying the 'Riace model', which has been described by innumerable people, politicians, intellectuals and artists, as an extraordinary experience?", he is quoted as saying on AFP. 


What are the charges?


The first charge against Mayor Lucano involved the arrangement of marriages of convenience to get around immigration regulations.


Prosecutors said they had wire-tapped Mr Lucano's phone and recorded at least one exchange in which the mayor appeared to suggest marriage as a solution to a woman's immigration problems, in a way they said could not be misunderstood.


One excerpt concerned a Nigerian migrant who had been denied residence three times, the statement said. Mr Lucano is reported to have said that marrying an Italian citizen was "the only way forward".



© Getty Images Mayor Domenico Lucano has defended the "Riace model"

As mayor, Domenico Lucano was in charge of the town's civil registry.


In the excerpts he is said to refer to a similar wedding in the past, and his ability to arrange a ceremony quickly. He is also quoted offering to acquire an ID card to say the woman was a resident of Riace.


Prosecutors said he was also charged with allocating rubbish collection services to two companies without going through the required public tender process.


That charge may also have a connection to the town's migrant programme. The two companies were community co-operatives established "to provide work for the people of Riace and migrants", according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.


Some government critics said the mayor's only crime had been one of humanity.

AlbertaU Posted on October 14, 2018 11:37

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Missing journalist 'recorded his killing on Apple watch'

Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi recorded audio on his Apple watch of the moments he was allegedly interrogated, tortured and then killed, according to reports. 


He has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul over a week ago after apparently giving his fiancee his iPhone, which the watch was synced with.


Turkish officials have said they believe a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" killed Mr Khashoggi there.


President Trump warned the US would inflict "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia was behind his disappearance.


He told CBS: "We're going to get to the bottom of it."


The Saudi journalist, who has been critical of the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is believed to have turned on the recording feature before he went inside the building on 2 October to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.


The new revelations by a Turkish newspaper, which have not yet been verified, put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Mr Khashoggi.


The pro-government Sabah paper, which claims Turkish officials now have the audio, reported that Saudi intelligence agents realised after he died that the phone was recording.


They apparently then tried to delete the recording, first by incorrectly guessing Mr Khashoggi's pin number on the watch, then later using the journalist's finger.


However unlike iPhones, Apple watches do not have a fingerprint ID unlock function.



© Getty Jamal Khashoggi is feared to be dead

Authorities recovered the audio from Mr Khashoggi's iPhone and his iCloud account, the newspaper said.


"The moments when Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and murdered were recorded in the Apple watch's memory," it added.


Turkish officials have alleged they also have video of him being killed, but have not explained how they obtained it, nor have they published any evidence he was murdered.


However, footage around the consulate showed a convoy of vehicles with diplomatic license plates leaving for the consul's home in Istanbul around two hours after Mr Khashoggi's arrival.


A delegation from Saudi Arabia has arrived in Turkey as part of a joint investigation.


The kingdom has said it had nothing to do with Mr Khashoggi's disappearance, without explaining or offering evidence of how the writer might have left the consulate and disappeared with his fiancee waiting outside.


Saudi interior minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif has condemned the "lies and baseless allegations" against the kingdom, although he praised the joint investigation with Turkey.


Donald Trump is demanding answers over the disappearance, and Sir Richard Branson and Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi are among the business leaders to have suspended ties with Saudi Arabia as pressure grows on the Gulf state.


A Saudi-owned satellite news channel has begun referring to the 15-man team as "tourists," without providing evidence to support the claim.


It echoes how Russia has described the men who allegedly carried out the novichok nerve agent poisonings in Salisbury in March.

AlbertaU Posted on October 14, 2018 11:32

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Snail 99 million years old stunningly preserved in amber

Even 100 million years ago, snails slimed their way across the Earth. 


An international team is investigating a remarkable juvenile snail trapped in amber. They estimate the creature to be about 99 million years old. 


The shell is easy to see, but what's truly remarkable are the preserved soft tissues, including the head, tentacle, and eyespot. 


"It is absolutely extraordinary for the fossil record to produce such stunning preservation, which is exceedingly rare for any fossil of this age, especially snails and many other animals," said paleontologist Jeffrey Stilwell with Monash University in Australia.


The university calls the discovery "the first and oldest preserved soft tissue of a snail in the fossil record from the mid-Cretaceous of Myanmar." The Cretaceous period is known for its iconic dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus rex.

The researchers described their findings in a paper for the journal Cretaceous Research. The scientists say the snail may be related to modern and fossil snails in the Cyclophoroidea family.


Stilwell says most snails would retract their delicate parts into their shells for protection when threatened. The researchers suggest a possible scenario where the resin flowed around the snail's shell in a way that prevented it from hiding inside its shell. 


The snail may have suffered a grim fate all those years ago, but it's now one of a group of remarkable amber fossils from around the same time period, including a tick encased in a spider web and a nightmare-inducing arachnid with a tail.

AlbertaU Posted on October 14, 2018 11:27

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Melania Trump says infamous ‘I really don’t care’ jacket was message for media, not separated migrant children

Melania Trump has said the infamous jacket she wore while en route to a children’s immigration detention centre was meant as a message to the media.


The first lady said it was “obvious” the coat’s slogan, which read “I really don't care, do you?”, was not aimed at the youngsters – who had been separated from their parents under the President's hard-line immigration policy.


She claimed the wardrobe choice was “for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticising me.”


Speaking during an interview with ABC News, she said: “I want to show them that I don't care. You could criticise whatever you want to say, but it will not stop me to do what I feel is right."


Ms Trump was pictured wearing the Zara coat – which caused a social media storm – while flying to and from a Texas detention centre in June.

Critics slammed the item as insensitive amid heightened tensions along the US-Mexico border following the implementation of husband Donald Trump’s immigration policy, which separated hundreds of children from their parents.


The new comments on Friday echoed what the president said at the time. He tweeted how the jacket’s message “refers to the Fake News Media", adding: "Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"


But they appeared to contradict what Ms Trump’s own spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, who said on the day: “There was no hidden message – after today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe."


In portions of the new interview released earlier, Ms Trump called herself the "most bullied person" in the world.


The 48-year-old also said women who accuse men of sexual misconduct "need to show evidence”, and claimed her husband's alleged infidelities are "not concern and focus of mine."


The first lady criticised the media's speculation on their marriage, and said "we are fine" when asked if she loves her husband.


The interview was recorded during a trip to Africa – Ms Trump’s first solo sojourn abroad since Mr Trump took office last year.

AlbertaU Posted on October 13, 2018 16:51

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What’s the difference between a comet and an asteroid?

In our solar system, there are a lot of things that circle, or orbit, around our Sun. Earth orbits the Sun about every 365 days. Seven other planets also orbit the Sun, along with their moons (which orbit planets) and lots of other items, including asteroids and comets.


But what are asteroids and comets, really?


An asteroid is just a rock orbiting the Sun. Asteroids are smaller than planets, but some of them can be really big. The largest, NASA says, is Vesta, 329 miles around. The smallest one that scientists have ever studied is just six feet around.


There are 780,290 asteroids in the solar system, but not all of them are made of the same material. Scientists sort them into three different groups based on what they are made of—they can be metallic, stony, or composed of rocks that are more clay-like or that contain silica.


We’re still trying to learn more about asteroids. Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft just arrived at the Asteroid Ryugu, and NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is en route to a different asteroid named Bennu. Each mission plans to take a sample of its asteroid’s surface and bring the dust and rocks back to Earth.


For the first time ever, astronomers have observed both gravitational waves and light (electromagnetic radiation) from the same event, thanks to a global collaborative effort and the quick reactions of both ESO’s facilities and others around the world.


This artist’s impression shows two tiny but very dense neutron stars at the point at which they merge and explode as a kilonova. Such a very rare event is expected to produce both gravitational waves and a short gamma-ray burst, both of which were observed on Aug. 17, 2017 by LIGO–Virgo and Fermi/INTEGRAL respectively. Subsequent detailed observations with many ESO telescopes confirmed that this object, seen in the galaxy NGC 4993 about 130 million light-years from the Earth, is indeed a kilonova. Such objects are the main source of very heavy chemical elements, such as gold and platinum, in the Universe.


“There are rare occasions when a scientist has the chance to witness a new era at its beginning,” said Elena Pian, astronomer with INAF, Italy, and lead author of one of the Nature papers. “This is one such time!”


Hayabusa-2 is already taking a lot of measurements of Ryugu. The spacecraft is orbiting the asteroid, and it already sent three other machines down to the surface. One of the machines was a lander, which didn’t move much and explored the surface for about 17 hours. Scientists on Earth are already looking through that lander’s measurements to find out more about how the asteroid formed. The other two machines are much smaller, and are designed to hop around on the surface. They’ve been exploring the asteroid on their own since September 21.



© ESA/Rosetta/NavCam, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO rubber duck shaped rock on black background, surrounded by light haze

Asteroids are very exciting, but what about comets? There are fewer known comets than asteroids in the solar system, with the current total resting at 3,526.


A comet, unlike an asteroid, is more like a dirty chunk of ice than a rock. The middle of the comet, called the nucleus, is fairly small,  and stays frozen solid as it travels through the outer reaches of the solar system. Comets tend to have orbits that take them far away from the Sun, where it is much colder than the area near Earth. But sometimes, their orbits bring them in close.


As it gets closer to our warm Sun, that ice heats up and starts to turn straight into a vapor, creating a cloud of dust and gas that trails after the comet’s nucleus. This is called a coma, and it makes the comet look kind of fuzzy. As the comet moves, the dust and gas trails out behind it, creating a tail that can stretch for hundreds of thousands of miles. When a comet is close to earth, this tail looks like a bright streak across the sky. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s a dramatic and beautiful sight. People around the world have recorded sightings of comets for thousands of years.


We’ve gotten pretty close to comets too. The Stardust mission flew through the tail of one comet and returned samples to Earth in 2006. And the Rosetta mission, which ended in 2016, took over 100,000 amazing photos of a comet's surface.


While there are usually a few comets that pass near Earth every year, many of them can only be seen with a telescope. When a comet has a coma bright enough to be seen with just your eyes, it's a big deal!


That’s the major difference between comets and asteroids—an asteroid is made up of rocks or metals, and a comet is made up of frozen stuff that can melt when it gets too close to the Sun.|2

AlbertaU Posted on October 13, 2018 16:49

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Snowstorm kills nine climbers on Nepal peak

All nine members of a South Korean climbing expedition were confirmed dead Saturday after a violent snowstorm devastated their camp on Nepal's Mount Gurja, one of the deadliest mountaineering accidents to hit the Himalayan nation in recent years.


The bodies of eight climbers -- four South Koreans and four Nepali guides -- were spotted among the wreckage of their camp by a rescue team early Saturday morning, but strong winds and icy conditions were hampering the search effort.


A fifth South Korean climber was initially reported missing, but officials have now confirmed that he was at the camp when the deadly storm hit and is believed to have also perished.


"A mountain expedition of five South Korean nationals and four foreigners were swept off by strong winds at the base camp during their climb to Mount Gurja. (They) fell off a cliff and died," the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement.


Helicopter pilot Siddartha Gurung was among the first people to reach the site after the deadly storm and described a scene of total destruction with the tents flattened and the climber's bodies scattered across the area.


"Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart," Gurung told AFP.


Gurung landed a helicopter just above the expedition team's camp, but icy and unstable conditions meant they were unable to retrieve any of the bodies.


Nepal's tourism department said a second helicopter was being sent to the site Saturday afternoon.


"A helicopter has been sent for second rescue attempt but we are not sure whether it can get close to the incident site," said spokeswoman Mira Acharya.


Deadliest incident


The storm is the deadliest incident to hit Nepal's mountaineering industry since 18 people were killed at the Mount Everest base camp in 2015 in an avalanche triggered by a powerful earthquake.

The previous year, 16 Sherpas were killed on Everest when an avalanche swept through the Khumbu Icefall.


Wangchu Sherpa, managing director of Trekking Camp Nepal, who organised the expedition, said they raised the alarm after they had not heard from the South Korean team for nearly 24 hours.


"After they (the climbers) were out of contact since yesterday we sent people from the village and a helicopter to search for them," he said.


The group of South Korean climbers and their Nepali guides had been camped at the foot of the 7,193-metre (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, waiting for a window of good weather so they could attempt to reach the summit.


Feted South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who in 2013 became the fastest person to summit the world's 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen, was leading the expedition, according to a government-issued climbing permit seen by AFP.


The permit listed four South Korean climbers, but a fifth member had joined the team later, according to Suresh Dakal of Trekking Camp Nepal.


Rarely-climbed Gurja lies in Nepal's Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri -- the world's seventh-highest mountain.


Gurja was first summited in 1969 by a Japanese team but no one has stood on its summit for 22 years, according to the Himalayan Database.


The South Korean team were planning to scale the mountain via a never-climbed route, according to the Korean Alpine Federation.


Four climbers have perished on Gurja's flanks and a total of 30 have successfully reached its peak -- a fraction of the more than 8,000 people who have summited Everest, the world's highest mountain.


Thousands of climbers flock to Nepal each year -- home to eight of the world's 14 highest peaks -- creating a lucrative mountain tourism industry that is a vital source of cash for the impoverished country.

AlbertaU Posted on October 13, 2018 16:38

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PSA: Hackers Are Using Fake Flash Updates to Hide Cryptocurrency Mining Malware

It has been discovered that fake Adobe Flash updates are being used to surreptitiously install cryptocurrency mining malware on computers and networks, creating severe losses in time, system performance, and power consumption for affected users.


Cryptojacking Breaks New Ground

While fake Flash updates that push malware have traditionally been easy to spot and avoid, a new campaign has employed new tricks that stealthily download cryptocurrency miners on Windows systems.


Writing in a post exposing the scheme, Unit 42 threat intelligence analyst Brad Duncan said:


“As early as August 2018, some samples impersonating Flash updates have borrowed pop-up notifications from the official Adobe installer. These fake Flash updates install unwanted programs like an XMRig cryptocurrency miner, but this malware can also update a victim’s Flash Player to the latest version.”


The implication of this unpleasant scenario is that a potential victim may not notice anything out of the ordinary while an XMRig cryptocurrency miner or other unwanted program is quietly running in the background of the victim’s Windows computer. This miner software could potentially slow down the processor of the victim’s computer, damage the hard drive, or extract confidential data and transmit it onto other digital platforms without the victim’s consent.


Technical Details of Fake Adobe Update Cryptojacking Malware

Duncan explained that it was not very clear how potential victims were arriving at the URLs delivering the fake Flash updates; however, network traffic during the infection process has been primarily related to fraudulent Flash updates. Interestingly, the infected Windows server generates an HTTP POST request to [osdsoft[.]com], a domain affiliated with updaters or installers pushing cryptocurrency miners.


He said while the research team searched for certain particular fake Flash updates, it observed some Windows executables file with names starting with Adobe Flash Player from non-Adobe, cloud-based web servers. These downloads usually had the string “flashplayer_down.php?clickid=” in the URL. The teams also found 113 examples of malware meeting these criteria since March 2018 in AutoFocus. 77 of these malware samples are identified with a CoinMiner tag in AutoFocus. The remaining 36 samples share other tags with those 77 CoinMiner-related executables.

Duncan encouraged Windows users to be more cautious about the kind of Adobe Flash updates that they try to install, stating that while the Adobe pop-up and update features make the fake installer seem more legitimate, potential victims will still receive warning signs about running downloaded files on their Windows computer.


In his words:


“Organizations with decent web filtering and educated users have a much lower risk of infection by these fake updates.”


CCN recently reported that a report from McAfee labs showed that cryptojacking surged 86 percent in the second quarter of 2018, and is up 459 percent in 2018 so far over the whole of 2017.

AlbertaU Posted on October 13, 2018 16:29

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Monero Developer’s New Startup is Launching a Free Blockchain University

South African blockchain startup Tari Labs  has unveiled a free online university that makes training accessible to local and international blockchain developers. Tari was developed and launched earlier this year by local blockchain expert and Monero promoter Riccardo Spagni alongside American investors, Naiveen Jain and Dan Teree.


Reasoning Behind New Project

Tari particularly aims to readdress the endpoint experience of digital assets such as in-game items, digital collectibles, concert tickets, loyalty points and other digitally scarce commodities. Naiveen Jain believes that digital assets are “great use case” for Blockchain technology, and in his opinion, there is “an opportunity for a frictionless experience” where users can store and most importantly, transfer digital assets in line with the rules of use preset by their sellers. The Tari protocol was created after the three concluded that none of the already existing blockchain protocols would suffice in developing their solution to address actual problems.


With the establishment of the proposed free blockchain university, their hope is that Tari Labs will be able to take part in creating the next generation of expert blockchain and open source developers who will be able to spread the Tari protocol further.

Speaking about the proposed project, Senior Contributor Cayle Sharrock said:


“Tari Labs University aims to become a go-to destination for easily-accessible learning material for blockchain, digital currency and digital assets, from beginner to advanced level. The more blockchain experts we can develop, the better it is for the ecosystem as a whole”.


Tari Labs is currently spearheading what it describes as “the most useful decentralized platform that empowers anyone to create digitally scarce things people love”, encouraging flexibility in digital asset transfer. Speaking about the proposed university, Sharrock explains that it is in the interest of Tari Labs to create an avenue for more developers to gain blockchain development skills, which will help them use the Tari protocol.


He said:


“[Tari Labs] gives talented people the chance to develop their abilities. The Tari Labs University is a natural next step in sharing knowledge and learning from the community in turn. As with any open source project, we see the learning material as living or ever-evolving. The bigger picture here is to assist in constructing an ecosystem for developers and enable them to leverage the Tari protocol.”


Johannesburg is the chosen location for Tari Labs’ proposed blockchain university because Spagni believes that much of the talent required to assist in developing Tari is already present in South Africa. Tari Labs University courses, learning materials and resources can be found here.

AlbertaU Posted on October 13, 2018 16:26

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GDPR is ‘Kryptonite’ to Google and Facebook, Brave Executive Tells EU

Brave Browser has described how a core principle of GDPR called “Purpose Limitation” can be used to prevent anti-competitive behavior by Google and Facebook.


In a recent letter to the EU Anti-Trust Chief Margrethe Vestager, the company offered its submission on the topic of shaping competition policy in the era of digitization.



It will be recalled that Brave Browser CEO Brendan Eich has repeatedly called for the US Senate to adopt the EU regulatory policy system called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the letter, signed by  Chief Policy & Industry Relations Officer, Dr. Johnny Ryan, the company points out the importance of having the purpose limitation aspect of the GDPR in the world of digitization to allow for a level playing field for all technological firms and curb the noncompetitive tendencies of other tech firms.


An excerpt from the letter reads:


 “Purpose limitation principle protects a person’s opportunity to choose to opt-in to whatever particular service they decide, and forbids a company from automatically opt-ing a person in to all of its services where this entails data processing purposes that go beyond what the person has already opted-in to. Provided that purpose limitation is enforced, it prevents dominant digital players from automatically leveraging personal data that they have collected for one purpose in one business in another business, to the disadvantage of competitors and new entrants.”


Implications for Giants and Smaller Firms

According to Dr. Ryan, Google and Facebook currently enjoy concentrated data power, and they exploit their position to engage in offensive leveraging. Without any change in regulatory position he says, it is likely that their so far uninterrupted success doing so will become a model to be emulated.


In contrast, however, the Purpose Limitation aspect of GDPR, when appropriately enforced places limitations on dominant platforms like Facebook and Google which prevent them from collecting data at one end of their business and using it on the other. This type of data collection dramatically benefits entrenched companies and throws an obstacle in the way of startups which are attempting to gain market share.

Referencing the impact of Purpose Limitation, he states in his letter:


“Facebook would have to seek consent for the various data processing purposes appropriate to its various business interests … and Google would have to seek consent for the various data processing purposes appropriate to its various business interests.”


He also points out that Purpose Limitation has positive economic implications for smaller companies like his own by creating a competitive platform for all tech firms. In his view, it also allows the consumers, the power to decide and not have things being decided for them.

AlbertaU Posted on October 13, 2018 16:16

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5 of the best superhero shows with female leads to stream now

Spiderman, Superman, Batman: when someone says superhero, chances are you’ll probably think of a man.

We’re used to seeing the people saving lives and stopping evil geniuses from taking over the world depicted as men, even though the comics that provide the source material for these films and TV shows have no shortage of women with superpowers. Luckily broadcasters and movie execs are catching up, and there are more and more superhero shows and films with female leads. 

Here are some of the best to stream right now...

Jessica Jones

If you like your superheroes sarcastic then Jessica Jones is the show for you. While her name might sound pretty ordinary, her powers are anything but. It’s part superhero show, part detective series making it perfect for those who aren’t so keen on the usual saving-the-world shtick.

Available to watch on Netflix


(Katie Yu/The CW)


While I personally wish Superman’s female equal (and cousin) was called Superwoman, I’m willing to put it to one side for Sky One’s epic take on the story of another Krypton native sent to Earth. The show, which has been renewed for a fourth season launching on 18 October, is all about Supergirl “realising her strength and potential”. Something us mere mortal strong women can certainly get on board with.

Available to watch on Now TV

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In the superhero spy agency that is S.H.I.E.L.D reside some impressively stereotype-busting female characters. There’s weapons expert Melinda May, Daisy Johnson who can create earthquakes with her mind, science whizz and authority on all human and alien life forms Jemma Simmons, and the stick twirling Bobbi Morse.

Sending out the message that, from superheroes and scientists to martial arts experts, women can be whatever they want to be.

Available to watch on Netflix


(Twentieth Century Fox)


While Elektra fans sadly won’t be seeing the trained assassin in her own Netflix spin-off anytime soon, she and her ninja skills will be popping up in The Defenders regularly. But if that isn’t enough ferocious martial arts action for you, catch Jennifer Garner as the unlikely superhero in 2005 movie Elektra.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

Wonder Woman

One of the most-hyped blockbuster releases of 2017, Wonder Woman silenced any premature (and mostly) sexist criticism by wowing audiences and critics alike. Fast, fiery and feminist through and through, relive it in all its glory and unleash your inner Wonder Woman.

ruby Posted on October 13, 2018 15:45

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10 Foods To Avoid With High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a frightening disease because it has few symptoms yet puts people at great risk of heart disease or stroke. Huge numbers of people have been diagnosed (up to 75 million in the United States alone) but many more have hypertension and don’t know it.

High blood pressure is quite manageable with diet and lifestyle changes, so don’t despair if you have been given (or even just suspect) this diagnosis

Stick with us to learn what you need to do to continue living your best life for many years to come.

1. Avoid Sugar and Salt

Sorry, but these two tasty food enhancers are major factors in hypertension. You will need to limit your intake of sugar and salt, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat only bland food for the rest of your life.

In general, a healthy person should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. When it comes to sugar, the main concern is avoiding “added” sugar. Our bodies need sugar to function properly, but most of it should come from sources like whole fruit rather than candy or even juice.

The American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of added sugar no higher than 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) for men and 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for women.

1. Canned Beans

Canned vegetables, especially beans, are high in sodium because it is used to extend shelf life. Beans that you buy dry and then soak and cook are actually a very healthy meal choice due to their protein, fiber, and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Adding beans to your meal can help keep your blood sugar steady, too. If you must eat canned beans, you can remove up to 41% of the sodium content by rinsing them in a colander before preparing.

2. Premade Soups

you may be shocked to find out how much sodium is in many varieties of premade soup. It helps to bring out the flavor of noodles and vegetables that were cooked a long time ago, as well as aids in preservation.

The sodium in soup also concentrates when it is cooked and some of the water boils off. Luckily, soup is pretty easy to make at home and it tastes better, too.

  if you’re really pressed for time, look for canned or bottled soups that are labeled as “low sodium” or “reduced salt.” Don’t forget to really read the label, though. The salt may be reduced from that product’s regular recipe, but maybe not enough for people with high blood pressure.

3. Cooked Tomato Products

have you ever noticed how different home grown tomatoes taste than the ones you buy at the store?

That’s because tomatoes grown on a huge scale are typically modified to be firmer so that they can remain unbruised throughout picking, shipping, and stacking on the shelf. This also makes them quite bland.

that’s why canned and jarred tomato products need so much sodium to make your sauce, ketchup, and paste palatable. Making tomato-based foods and condiments at home with quality tomatoes is actually quite easy and you can enjoy the flavor you crave with a fraction of the salt.

4. Packaged and Processed Meats

packaged meats including hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and lunch meat also rely on sodium to preserve the product for a long time. So not only are you getting food loaded with salt and preservatives, you are sacrificing the health benefits of eating fresh food.

Red meat is considered more dangerous to health than white meat, but even packaged chicken and turkey have too much sodium. Instead, buy your meat straight from a butcher to get a fresh product that hasn’t been soaked in a giant vat of saltwater.

Did you know that the food in frozen meals may have been cooked up to a year before you actually eat it? A massive amount of salt is used to make sure the meal still tastes mostly like food by the time you eat it.

Some brands do use high quality, low sodium recipes, but you will have to pay more. Another option is to prepare several servings of your favorite meals and freeze them yourself in single-serving containers.

5. Candy

you knew already that candy is nothing but sugar and empty calories, but it’s still a bummer for those of us with a sweet tooth.

To get your hypertension under control, or simply to live a healthier life, train your taste buds to find satiety in the natural sugars contained in whole fruit.

Bananas are an especially good choice because of their potassium content – potassium helps to regulate blood pressure. When you really need a splurge, opt for one small piece of dark chocolate to keep the added sugars down.

6. Soft Drinks

just one soda per day can push you over your daily recommended limit of added sugars, yet because you drink rather than eat them, they don’t make you feel full or satisfied.

And while caffeinated soda boosts your energy and vitality upon consumption, that feeling is very short lived and leaves you even worse off after the inevitable sugar crash.

It is better to get your caffeine from lightly sweetened tea or coffee. If it’s simply refreshment you crave, try some sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or a sprig of mint'

7. Pastries

Cookies, cakes, donuts, and other baked goodies can certainly be a hard habit to break, but they are simply loaded with sugar and fat. However, you may still be able to enjoy pastries in moderation.

When eating out, share one dessert with the whole table. When you cook at home, you can make use of a sugar substitute such as applesauce, dates, or Stevia.

Other healthier substitutes for sugar include pure maple syrup, raw honey, and coconut sugar. These are lower on the glycemic scale and also deliver important antioxidants, electrolytes, and nutrients

8. Sauces

Unfortunately it’s not just tomato sauces that are high in sugar and sodium. Most bottled sauces, dressings, and condiments are loaded with sugar no matter their base.

It is important to read labels on these products, and be aware that anything marked “low sugar” may have more sodium to compensate. We encourage you to get creative at home. Fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil may just leave you more satisfied than any bottled topping.

9. Alcohol

There is very little health value in alcohol in general, but it can be especially bad for people with high blood pressure. First, alcohol may be high in sugar itself or mixed with sugary beverages.

second, drinking too much causes dehydration and is linked to weight gain, both of which are risk factors for hypertension. And finally, drinking more than three alcoholic beverages in a sitting will spike your blood pressure on the spot.

You probably don’t need to avoid alcohol entirely, but try to choose lower sugar options and stick with just one a day.

The bad news is that reducing the amount of sugar and salt in your diet will require some extra effort. Preparing meals fresh at home is the best way to control your intake, but you can still use some packaged products as long as you get good at reading labels.

It will take some time to retrain your taste buds, but after awhile, you will start to gain an appreciation of the nuanced flavors in foods that aren’t dominated by sugar and salt.

That’s the good news – not only will your hypertension be kept in check, you will likely soon find that you don’t even miss foods with unhealthy levels of sugar and salt

ruby Posted on October 13, 2018 14:07

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Hundreds attend funeral of murdered Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova, 30, was raped and killed in the northern town of Ruse.

Hundreds of Bulgarians queued silently at a church on Friday in Ruse to pay their last respects to Viktoria Marinova, the television journalist whose brutal rape and murder shocked the country and triggered debates over freedom of the press.

The body of the 30-year-old Marinova, a host of a regional current affairs show at a local TV station, was found in a park near the Danube port of Ruse, her hometown, on Saturday. Police said she had been raped, beaten and strangled.

Marinova, who leaves a seven-year-old daughter, was buried later on Friday in Ruse Cemetery. More than 500 grieving Ruse citizens, carrying red and white carnations and funeral wreaths, flocked to the funeral service at the Sveta Troitsa (Holy Trinity) Cathedral.

People who knew her talked about her determination, responsibility and kindness, her charitable work and commitment to social causes such as support for disabled and disadvantaged children, about which she also reported.

"Viktoria's death is a great loss for the whole city," Zornitsa Koleva, 48, said. "She was so kind and ambitious at the same time. We all need to be united and show that we will do our best to prevent this from happening again in Ruse."

A Bulgarian man, Severin Krasimirov, 20, was arrested in Germany over the killing, and German authorities said he would be extradited to stand trial in Bulgaria soon.

Bulgarian prosecutors said no evidence indicated Marinova's death was related to her work. A random attack and sexual assault were the most likely motive, they said, although they were still investigating all possibilities.

"The extradition of the accused can be expected soon," the superior regional court in Celle said in a statement.

Prosecutors say the suspect, identified in Bulgaria as 21-year-old Severin Krassimirov, confessed to being under the influence of alcohol and drugs when he got into an argument with a woman he did not know in a park.

They say he told them he hit her in the face and threw her into bushes but "denied the intent to kill".


Prosecutors say Krassimirov, who was apprehended on Tuesday in Germany on a European arrest warrant, will be extradited within the next 10 days.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said on Wednesday that investigators had found DNA evidence on the clothes and body of Marinova, who was raped and strangled on Saturday in the northern town of Ruse.

"There is physical evidence to link to the murder," Marinov said.

He said Krassimirov, a resident of Ruse, had a criminal record for scrap metal theft.

'A spontaneous attack?'

The minister said investigators had spoken to Marinova's family and friends and "there is no apparent link to her work." Tsatsarov, the chief prosecutor, said the evidence suggested it was "a spontaneous attack, not premeditated".

"We cannot state at this point that her murder is linked to her professional activity. We are continuing to work on all possible options."

On Tuesday, a Romanian suspect was arrested and later released in connection with the case.

Marinova was killed by blows on the head and suffocation, the authorities said, adding that prosecutors were probing all leads - both personal and linked to Marinova's job. Her body was found on Saturday in a park.

The Bulgarian interior minister later confirmed to journalists that the victim had also been raped.

The attack has shocked the country and drawn international condemnation amid speculation the murder could be linked to Marinova's work as a journalist.

An episode of her programme aired on September 30 featured interviews with two investigative journalists from Bulgaria and Romania who had been working on corruption allegations.

She is the third journalist to be murdered in Europe in the past 12 months after Jan Kuciak in Slovakia in February and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in October 2017.

AlbertaU Posted on October 12, 2018 17:11

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$264 million superyacht that turns invisible to anyone more than 50 meters away because it is covered in mirrors

Plans for an 'invisible' superyacht which blends into the sea and makes those on board feel like they are 'floating on air' have been unveiled.


The 106-metre Mirage, which could cost as much as £200 million ($264 million), will be completely clad in specially mirrored glass which reflects the image of the sea back to onlookers.

This will make it look as if the 4,200-tonne vessel has 'vanished' to people from as little as 50 meters away - though any radar will still detect the yacht with plenty of time to manoeuvre. Meanwhile, the yacht's own radar can also look out for smaller boatson a collision course, giving the captain time to take any evasive action.

Designed to be the ultimate purchase for privacy-hungry billionaires, Mirage comes fully equipped with a helipad, spa, outdoor theatre and cinema.

The six-decked craft can sleep 14 guests and 29 crew members, and can cruise at a comfortable speed of 19 knots.

It was developed by Italian boatbuilders Fincantieri and Dutch firm Van Geest Designs to 'disappear between water and sky' and 'blend into the horizon'.

Related: World’s biggest cruise ships (Provided by Photo Services)

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Designer Pieter Van Geest said it had taken a year to develop the blueprints and would take another three and a half years to construct.

'The longest part was researching the reflective glass and how it would be built,' he said.

'The main reason in designing this yacht was to make something that belonged to its environment.'

'Most yachts nowadays stand out and break the horizon or the landscape, in a way, we have tried to minimize this effect.'

'The color variable mirrored glass is developed by a German glass manufacturer, which has never been used on yachts before.'

'All the vertical panels on the yacht will have this finish. If you were on the water it would probably be invisible from over 50 meters away.'

'If you are on the yacht itself the mirror will project the yacht's surroundings, so in a way, it will give you a floating on air effect when onboard.'

Mr Van Geest declined to put a price on the Mirage, but maritime experts suggested £200 million ($264 million) would be reasonable for such a unique, luxury vessel.

If that was an accurate price tag it would place Mirage in the top 10 of the world's most expensive yachts.

The list is currently topped by the £4 billion ($5.2 billion) History Supreme, which is made of solid gold and owned by Malaysia's richest man, Robert Knok.

AlbertaU Posted on October 12, 2018 16:50

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'Vampire child' discovered buried in Italy with stone in mouth

The discovery of a 10-year-old's body at a Roman site in Italy provides "eerie and weird" evidence of ancient "vampire burials".

Archaeologists have discovered the body of a 10-year-old child at an ancient Roman site in Italy which they believe was ritually buried to prevent it rising again from the dead.

The skeletal remains were found by archaeologists from the University of Arizona (UA) and Stanford University, alongside Italians, with a stone placed purposefully in the child's mouth.

According to researchers, the stone was intentionally inserted as part of a funeral ritual designed to stopper disease and the body from rising after being buried.

The unusual so-called "vampire burial" was described as "extremely eerie and weird" by archaeologist and professor David Soren, who has been excavating the site in Teverina since 1987.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Professor Soren, a Regents' Professor in the UA school of anthropology and department of religious studies and classics.

"Locally, they're calling it the 'Vampire of Lugnano'."

The find was unearthed at La Necropoli dei Bambini, or the Cemetery of Children, a burial site which dates back to a malaria outbreak in 400 AD which killed many vulnerable babies and small children in the area.

Image: The 'vampire burial' was of a child from 400AD in Italy. Pic: David Pickel/Stanford

Archaeologists had previously believed the cemetery was exclusively for infants, toddlers and unborn fetuses - with the eldest body found of more than 50 burials being a three-year-old girl.

However the discovery of the 10-year-old, whose age could be measured from dental development but whose sex is unknown, suggests that it may have been a burial location for older children as well, according to bioarchaeologist Jordan Wilson.

"There are still sections of the cemetery that we haven't excavated yet, so we don't know if we'll find other older kids," said Mr Wilson, a doctoral student in anthropology at UA.

Excavation director David Pickel said: "Given the age of this child and its unique deposition, with the stone placed within his or her mouth, it represents, at the moment, an anomaly within an already abnormal cemetery,"

The UA and Stanford academic added: "This just further highlights how unique the infant - or now, rather, child - cemetery at Lugnano is."

Image: The rock that was inserted into the child's mouth. Pic: David Pickel/Stanford

Previous excavations at La Necropoli dei Bambini have revealed the bones of infants and toddlers alongside objects associated with witchcraft and magic, including raven talons, toad bones, bronze cauldrons filled with ash and the remains of puppies that appear to have been sacrificed.

The body of the three-year-old girl discovered at the site had stones weighing down her hands and feet, a ritual practice used by many different cultures throughout history to prevent the dead from rising from their graves.

"We know that the Romans were very much concerned with this and would even go to the extent of employing witchcraft to keep the evil - whatever is contaminating the body - from coming out," said Professor Soren.

"It's a very human thing to have complicated feelings about the dead and wonder if that's really the end," Mr Wilson said.

AlbertaU Posted on October 12, 2018 16:39

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A grocery store pledges to stop selling NFL-branded Pepsi sodas 'as long as the athletes are allowed to bow down and disrespect the flag' (PEP)

An Alabama grocery store owner is refusing to sell Pepsi products that feature the NFL logo. "I will not bow down in order to the make a dollar as long as the athletes are allowed to bow down and disrespect the flag and country that I love," S&Z Grocery posted on Facebook.


Pepsi and the NFL have a long history.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


  • An Alabama grocery store owner is refusing to sell Pepsi products that feature the NFL logo.
  • "I will not bow down in order to the make a dollar as long as the athletes are allowed to bow down and disrespect the flag and country that I love," S&Z Grocery posted on Facebook.
  • Pepsi hasn't faced much public backlash for its $90 million NFL sponsorship, as other brands have grappled with how to respond to players' national anthem protests against police brutality.

An Alabama grocery store owner is refusing to sell Pepsi products with the NFL logo.

On Wednesday, S&Z Grocery in Athens, Alabama posted on Facebook that it would no longer sell 20-ounce bottles of Pepsi or Diet Pepsi produced with the NFL logo, even if it means losing business.

"I refuse to sell the product until the logo is removed," the post reads. "I will not bow down in order to the make a dollar as long as the athletes are allowed to bow down and disrespect the flag and country that I love."

Local news outlet WAFF 48 reports that the owner, Phillip Stewart, has also stopped selling some bottles of Gatorade that feature the NFL logo. He will, however, sell PepsiCo products without the logo.

"I pulled them myself, the customers didn’t know I was doing this," Stewart told WAFF 48. "I sold the product that I had that did not have the logo on it. And I told my rep as well as the delivery guy that I did not want those brought into the store, because I would not sell them."

Companies have been divided in their approach to NFL players' protests against police brutality. Critics saw the protest — during which many players kneel during the national anthem — as disrespectful to the military, and Trump called for players who protested during the anthem to be fired.

Papa John's sparked backlash when John Schnatter, its founder and CEO at the time, criticized the league's handling of protesting players, and the company later ended its longtime sponsorship of the NFL. (Schnatter was ousted from Papa John's earlier this year after using the N-word in a company conference call.)

Pizza Hut is now the official pizza sponsor of the NFL. Marianne Radley, Pizza Hut's chief brand officer, told Business Insider the company plans to avoid engaging in such controversy by focusing on the fans.

In September, Nike debuted its ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem before games in 2016 to protest racial inequality and police brutality. While some observers praised Nike for the new Kaepernick ad campaign, others threatened the boycott the brand.

Pepsi hasn't faced much public backlash for its NFL sponsorship. In 2011, PepsiCo and the NFL renewed the sponsorship deal with a 10-year contract, with Pepsi paying a reported $90 million for the right to be the league's sponsor.

AlbertaU Posted on October 12, 2018 15:12

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Expansion of Berbera Port begins in ernest after Somaliland and Dubai Port (DP) World signs $442 million deal

The first phase of the $101 million investment will see the port yard expanded by 250,000 square metres and modernise its facilities.

play Fishing boats at Berbera Port. (Norway.)


  • On Thursday, Somaliland president Musa Behi Abdi and DP World chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sultan bin Sulayem signed the multi-million dollar partnership at the Somaliland Presidential State House.
  • DP World holds a 51 per cent stake in the Berbera port, while Ethiopia holds 19 per cent and Somaliland the rest.

Somaliland and Dubai Port (DP) World company have officially commenced the modernization and expansion of the Berbera Port at an estimated cost of $442 million.

On Thursday, Somaliland president Musa Behi Abdi and DP World chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sultan bin Sulayem signed the multi-million dollar partnership at the Somaliland Presidential State House kick starting the first phase of the expansion project.

play Sultan bin Sulayem (right) shakes hands with Abdu Shamakh Al Shebani, the CEO of Shafa Al Wahda Contracting Company as Saad Ali Shire, Foreign Minister of Somaliland looks on at Berbera Port Expansion contract award ceremony inat the presidential state house in Hargeisa. (courtesy)


Speaking during the signing, Somaliland president Bihi Abdi said the expansion of Berbera Port is one of the long term goals the government has set out to improve the infrastructure of the country which has for year’s waged war for recognition by the international recognition since parting ways with Somalia after the break of the civil war in 1991.

This is just the beginning of a long term goal to turn around this country. We are happy to sign this deal and we welcome DP world to Somaliland,” said the president amid cheers from local leaders, businessmen and invited foreign guests who attended the function.

play The President of the Republic of Somaliland H.E. Muse Biihi Abdi. (Horn Diplomat)


The president added that thousands of jobs will be created as a result of the port expansion and that DP World will rely on the domestic security apparatus of Somaliland, which includes the police, military and coast guard, to protect the port.

“Connecting to landlocked countries such as Ethiopia and the rest of the region will reinforce the firm relationships that now exist and make Somaliland an important player in regional economic integration and growth. The importance of the Port of Berbera as a Red Sea gateway for the Middle East and Africa can now be realised, unlocking our potential as a trade hub and creating jobs across the country,” He said.

Also read: Why Somali parents must bribe their sons with Cars

play DP World Chief Executive Officer, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem speaking at a past event. (Twitter)


DP World Chief Executive Officer, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said the modernisation of the port will see Berbera regain its right as an important port and a critical maritime transportation route.

Our aim is to make this an important regional hub for the maritime industry in the Horn of Africa,” he said.

The Berbera port expansion is designed to equip the Somaliland port with ability to receive major vessels and transform it into one of Africa’s pre-eminent facilities.

Also read: Happy day for Somaliland women after country passes historic anti-rape law

play The Berbera port (Middle East Monitor)


The port’s current capacity is around 150,000 twenty-foot equivalent units [a measure of ships container carrying capacity and is set to expand to 450,000 TEUs once development is complete.

The first phase of the $101 million investment will see the port yard expanded by 250,000 square metres and modernise its facilities. Total investment of the two phases will reach $442m.

DP World holds a 51 per cent stake in the Berbera port, while Ethiopia holds 19 per cent and Somaliland the rest. In recent years, DP world has stepped up its investments in Africa in order to capture the continent’s growth potential.

AlbertaU Posted on October 12, 2018 15:09

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Usain Bolt scores twice on first start for Australia's Central Coast Mariners

Usain Bolt has scored his first goals for a professional football team, getting two on his maiden start for Central Coast Mariners in a friendly.

The Jamaican eight-time Olympic sprint champion scored the Mariners' third and fourth goals in a 4-0 win over Macarthur South West and celebrated with his trademark lightning bolt pose.

Bolt joined the A-League club in August for an "indefinite training period".

Afterwards Bolt, 32, said "dreams become reality through hard work".

"My first start and scoring two goals, it's a good feeling," he added.

"I'm happy I could come here and show the world I'm improving. I'm keen to be a Mariner, to play my best and get into the team."

For his opening goal Bolt ran on to a chipped ball played by Scotland striker Ross McCormack, held off the defender and finished powerfully low past the goalkeeper.

He capitalised on a defensive mix-up for his second, with a Macarthur defender and goalkeeper colliding to leave Bolt able to tap in from close range.

McCormack, on loan from Aston Villa, headed in the Mariners' first goal in the eighth minute.

"The best thing about Usain Bolt is he's so humble," McCormack said.

"He's fitted in well with the lads. From my first day even to where he is now, the transformation is huge."

The 100m and 200m world record holder has previously trained with Borussia Dortmund, South African club Sundowns and Norway's Stromsgodset.

He retired from athletics in 2017 and has since said it would be a "dream" to play professional football.

The Australian A-League season begins on 19 October and the Mariners are yet to confirm whether Bolt will be offered a contract.

majsdesaint Posted on October 12, 2018 14:27

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These Celebrity Couples Have Big Age Differences Between Them

George met Amal at a charity function. They instantly fell for each other regardless of the fact that George is 17 years older. In 2014 the couple got married in Venice when George was 53 and Amal was 36 years old. A few months into the marriage, the couple chose England as their home and purchased a $13,500,000 million house.

Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green

Image by S bukley / Depositphotos

When Megan Fox was just 18, she met Brian Austin Green whom the world knew from his role in Beverly Hills 90210 in the 1990s. Brian is 13 years older, but that didn't stop the couple from dating and eventually getting married in 2010 in a beautiful and luxurious Hawaii wedding. The couple has three children together.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Photo by Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock (5528221am)

Johnny and Amber met in 2011 and shortly after that, they started dating. They didn't mind that he was 23 years older than her. The couple tied the knot in 2015 when Johnny was 51 and Amber only 28 years old. The couple ended their relationship after 2 years of marriage.

Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z

Image by @beyonce / Instagram

One of the most powerful couples in the music industry, Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z have a 12 years age gap between them. Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z, was accused over the years of multiple affairs, but the couple stayed together nonetheless. They have a daughter Blue Ivy who is 5, and in 2017 the couple welcomed twins Rumi and Sir Carter.

Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo

Image by Jean Nelson / Depositphotos

Adam Levine, frontman of Maroon 5, married model Behati Prinsloo in 2014. Adam is ten years older than Behati so at the time of the wedding he was 35, and she was 25 years old. The couple has a daughter together.

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves

Image by David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock (9446173jk)

McConaughey is 14 years older than Victoria Secret's model Camila Alves. The couple met in 2006 and have been together ever since. They got married on Christmas Day in 2011. Today they live in Austin, Texas with their three children.

Kate Beckinsale and Matt Rife

Image by Imgur

Kate Beckinsale divorced her husband Len Wiseman after 12 years of marriage and found herself with a younger man -- 23 years younger. The couple started dating when she was 44 and he, Matt Rife, was only 21. In fact, he was only 3 years older than Kate's daughter. The couple split in 2017.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Image by DenisMakarenko / Depositphotos

The age difference was not the cause for divorce of the Hollywood "it" couple. In 2007 Brad and Angelina started dating and after 7 years of relationship, they got married at 2014. Brad is 53-years-old and Angelina is 42-years-old. The couple separated in 2016. They have 6 children together.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

Image by PopularImages / Depositphotos

Tom Cruise and Kate Holmes were a powerful couple in Hollywood. The 16 years age difference didn't bother Tom and Kate to fall in love and spend 7 years in a relationship before tiding the knot in 2006. The couple divorced after 6 years of marriage. The couple is parents to a girl named Suri.

Nicolas Cage and Alice Kim

Image by arp / Depositphotos

After being married twice, Cage met waitress Alice Kim and decided to try again. The couple got married in 2004 on a ranch in California. At the time of the wedding, Nicolas was twice her age: he was 40 and Alice was 20 when they got married. The couple has a son Kal-El but eventually split in 2016.

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Image by Bossmoss / Depositphotos

Another powerful Hollywood couple, Michael and Catherine managed to stay together since 2000 when they got married. It seems this couple is pretty much in love as they were on the first day. Michael is 25 years older than Catherine, and an interesting fact is that they share the same birthday.

Mary-Kate Olsen and Olivier Sarkozy

Image by Andrew H. Walker/WWD/REX/Shutterstock (9133183a)

Mary-Kate Olsen surprised everyone when she went public with her relationship with 17 years older Olivier Sarkozy, half-brother of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The couple got married in 2015 when Mary-Kate was 29, and Olivier was 46 years old.

Ashley Olsen and Richard Sachs

Image by Imgur

The twin sister, Ashley Olsen was in a relationship with Richard Sachs who is 28 years older than her. The couple kept their relationship low profile for most of the time, but eventually split up in 2017.

Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis

Image by Jean Nelson / Depositphotos

Olivia Wilde is 33 years old and she is engaged to 42 years old Jason Sudeikis. The couple has been together since 2011. In 2013 they got engaged. The couple has two children together, Alexander and Daisy.

Katy Perry and Russell Brand

Image by PopularImages / Depositphotos

In 2010 Katy Perry married Russell Brand, who is 9 years older than her. Unfortunately, the love didn't last and Katy and Russell divorced two years after they got married.

ruby Posted on October 12, 2018 13:43

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Jodie Whittaker brings ‘Doctor Who’ its biggest change in 55 years

When Jodie Whittaker got the news some months ago that she had been cast as the protagonist of Doctor Who, she went through a range of overwhelmed reactions. She cried; she caught her breath; she excitedly squeezed the knee of a colleague sitting next to her.

To be told that she would inherit the role of the Doctor, a time-travelling, space-faring adventurer who is perhaps one of the most recognisable heroes in science fiction, Whittaker says: “It wasn’t part of my mindset, as an actor, that it was possible.”

For Whittaker, 36, who until now was best known for her work on the crime drama Broadchurch, the casting decision was life-altering, as it would be for any performer – a guarantee that, when it was announced to the public, she would become instantly familiar to a global audience of millions.

In her case, however, there is an added, inescapable distinction: In the 55-year history of Doctor Who, during which 12 other actors have officially portrayed the Doctor, Whittaker is the first woman.

Doctor Who series 11- trailer


It's clear that Whittaker and her colleagues want to celebrate the show’s inclusivity without chiding the wider genre for a historical lack of representation, and also highlight how they have made the series more contemporary and more diverse – behind the camera as well as in front of it – while emphasising that its fundamental principles haven’t changed.

This is no easy feat for the series, which is accustomed to a certain scrutiny when it replaces its lead actor every few years. The series is also a prominent entertainment property in a field where efforts to diversify are often attacked by a vocal subset of fans.

Despite these challenges, Whittaker says it was a role she could hardly resist. “There’s no other job like it”, she says. “And I certainly can’t be typecast as it.”

A London-based actor who was raised in West Yorkshire, Whittaker gained early attention for her roles in films like Venus (2006), opposite Peter O’Toole, and Attack the Block (2011), with John Boyega, before her breakthrough playing the mourning mother of a murder victim in three seasons of Broadchurch.

Jodie Whittaker and her companions in 'Doctor Who' (BBC)


That proved crucial when Steven Moffat, who had been the show runner of Doctor Who since 2009, decided to leave the series, and the BBC turned to Chris Chibnall, the creator of Broadchurch, as his possible successor.

As he considered the opportunity, Chibnall recalls: “I made a list of pros and cons, and there were 10 cons and one pro – it’s Doctor Who. And the moment I start thinking, oh, we could do that story and have those characters, the show started talking to me.”

Watch more

Chibnall, who had previously written several Doctor Who episodes, says he wanted his incarnation of the series to be “incredibly emotional,” with “stories that resonate with the world we’re living in now, and I wanted it to be the most accessible, inclusive, diverse season of Doctor Who that the show has ever done.”

When it became clear that Peter Capaldi, who became the Doctor in 2013, was also leaving the show, Chibnall says he had one further stipulation: “I was seeking a female Doctor. I was really clear.”

Although actors like Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Tilda Swinton had been mentioned as candidates for the role in the past, these rumours never yielded substantive results. A change was long overdue, Chibnall says, for a character with the ability to shape-shift and regenerate in new forms.

Whittaker, who he believed could handle the character’s emotional complexity and antic humour, was among his top choices. “The precision of what she does is extraordinary, and her instincts are just so right,” Chibnall says of Whittaker, adding that she is “incredibly funny.”

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who (BBC)


Whittaker grew up on beloved 1980s genre films like Back to the Future, The Goonies  and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, never discouraged that there were so few female protagonists to identify with.

But when it came to Doctor Who, she says, “The thought that you – that I – could be in it never crossed my mind”. When Chibnall asked her to consider auditioning for him, Whittaker says: “I was like: ‘Can I play a monster with loads of prosthetics?’” After Chibnall explained that he wanted her to try out for the starring role, Whittaker says, she answered, “If I don’t get it, can I still play a monster?”

Following an audition process in which other women were also considered – Chibnall has not says who they were – the BBC revealed the selection of Whittaker in a commercial shown after the Wimbledon men’s final in July 2017.

Chibnall says he expected that it would take some time for the Doctor Who fan base to embrace this choice. “I thought it would take people a year,” he says. “We were like: ‘OK, helmets on. Hunker down.’”

In fact, the announcement of Whittaker was hailed quickly and widely but not universally. A disparaging hashtag, #NotMyDoctor, circulated on Twitter and Instagram, and the BBC received complaints from viewers, prompting the broadcaster to issue a statement that affirmed that: “The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey, and it has been established in the show that time lords can switch gender,” adding that Whittaker “is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.”

Peter Davison, who played the Doctor in the early 1980s, said at a 2017 Comic-Con appearance that he felt “a bit sad” at “the loss of a role model for boys,” while Colin Baker, his heir to the role, said those remarks were “absolute rubbish”, adding: “You don’t have to be of a gender for someone to be a role model.”

Whittaker says she had largely been spared the brunt of this debate because she is not on social media. If an online critic has a premature assessment of her, she says: “It’s not a fact — it’s an opinion. I have no issue with someone having a different opinion from me. I don’t necessarily want to have my last meal with them.”

A shot from the new series of Doctor Who (BBC)


But what if people are claiming that she doesn’t deserve the role or was given it only because she is a woman? “I know I got the role on the merits,” Whittaker says more sternly. “I didn’t get handed it. I don’t play a gender.”

David Tennant, who was one of Whittaker’s co-stars on Broadchurch  and who played the Doctor from 2005 to 2010, says that a certain amount of backlash was to be expected from Doctor Who fans.

Viewers form attachments to “their version” of the Doctor, Tennant says: “the one that they first knew, and there’s always a resistance when their lead actor changes.”

Watch more

But sure enough, they come to embrace other actors, too: “People who have loved a Doctor before and feel like they can never fall in love again, do so with alarming promiscuity,” he says. “It’s unfortunate if that gets made into a gender issue. That’s people just not seeing the woods for the trees.”

Whittaker says that if some portion of the Doctor Who audience was disappointed by the departure of Capaldi, her predecessor, that reflected well on the series.

Recalling her experience filming the scene in which Capaldi transforms into her, she says: “I’m in Peter’s costume. I’m literally in his shoes. If someone is devastated at the loss of him, that’s brilliant, because it just means the show is loved. If the fact that I’m a woman is an issue, that’s their issue. I can’t even begin to debate that.”

Throughout Doctor Who, its newest recruits say they feel invigorated by the changes taking place there and are ready to carry the show into its next era.

When the BBC announced the series’s creative staff in August, two of its five new writers were women, and two were people of colour; two of its four directors were women, and one was a person of colour.

Read more

Mandip Gill, who joins the show this season as Yasmin Khan, a young companion to the Doctor, says she also assumed that a role on Doctor Who was an unattainable goal. Being a woman of South Asian ancestry, she says: “I never really thought it was open to me.”

Even when she was told that producers specifically wanted a South Asian actor who spoke with a Northern British accent, Gill says she was skeptical: “Have they heard me?” she says, playing up her Leeds dialect. “They don’t want me in a Marvel film with my accent, let’s be honest.”

Several months ago, Gill was in Wales, shooting an episode of the medical drama Casualty in the same studios where Doctor Who is produced. When she went to get something to eat, she says, she was given a specific prohibition by a production assistant.

“We walked down the corridor,” she recalls, “and the runner said to me: ‘That’s Doctor Who. You can’t go in there.’ I just wanted the canteen!”

Now that she has spent almost a year making Doctor Who, Gill says she looks back on this incident with different eyes. “Cut to nine months later – I’m walking down the same corridor,” she says proudly. “And I’m walking through the door.”

Series 11 of Doctor Who is on Sundays on BBC1

ruby Posted on October 12, 2018 13:04

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Turkey claims to have audio and video footage of a Washington Post columnist being brutally killed by Saudi assassins

US officials reportedly say the Turkish government claimed it has audio and video recordings that suggest Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed during his visit to the Saudi Consulate in Turkey.

  • US officials say the Turkish government claimed to possess audio and video recordings that indicate Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed during his visit to the Saudi Consulate in Turkey.
  • Evidence also suggests that Khashoggi, a Saudi national who went into the consulate for official paperwork related to his upcoming wedding, was dismembered after his death, the officials reportedly said.
  • It was unclear if US officials had seen or heard the alleged recordings, but Turkish officials reportedly described its contents to them.
  • Khashoggi, who lived in Virginia under self-imposed exile, was an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia and its leader, the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • The purported recordings may put the US in a precarious position by straining its ties to a country that spends billions in arms sales.

US officials say the Turkish government claimed to possess audio and video recordings that suggest Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed during his visit to the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2, according to a Washington Post report published Thursday.

Officials said the recordings show that a team of Saudis "interrogated, tortured and then murdered" Khashoggi, according to an anonymous source. Evidence also suggests that Khashoggi, a Saudi national who went into the Consulate for official paperwork related to his upcoming wedding, was dismembered after his death, the officials reportedly said.

The recordings "from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered" the consulate, a source said, adding that "you can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic."

Men beating Khashoggi could also be heard from the recording, a source familiar with the intelligence told The Post.

It was unclear if US officials were privy to the potential recordings, but Turkish officials reportedly described its contents to them, The Post reported. Turkish officials, who immediately suggested Khashoggi's disappearance was orchestrated by the Saudis, were hesitant to release the recordings, citing security concerns.

The existence of such evidence may be the clearest indication yet of foul play. From the onset of his disappearance, Turkish officials claimed Khashoggi entered, but never left the consulate. A team of 15 Saudis that reportedly flew in from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, to visit and leave the consulate on the same day of his disappearance are suspected of playing a role, people familiar with the investigation said in a previous report from The Post.


Surveillance footage published by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet purports to show Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

(CCTV/Hurriyet via AP)


US intelligence officials reportedly intercepted communications that the Saudis discussed a plan to lure and capture Khashoggi before his disappearance, a person familiar with the situation said in the report. It was unclear whether the US warned him that he was being targeted, according to the source.

But one US official cited in The Post's recent report disputed the claim and said there was no evidence that the Saudis intended to lure Khashoggi to the consulate.

Khashoggi, who lived in Virginia under self-imposed exile, was an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia and its leader, the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi frequently wrote scathing columns about the leader that contradicted his image as a moderate reformer.

The purported recordings may put the US in a precarious position, likely straining its ties to a country that spends billions on arms equipment. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators on the Foreign Relations Committee urged Trump to determine and hold responsible those who were responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance.

"We request that you make a determination on the imposition of sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act with respect to any foreign person responsible for such a violation related to Mr. Khashoggi," Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Robert Menendez of New Jersey said in a statement.

On Thursday, Trump said the US was looking at the situation "very strongly."

"We'll be having a report out soon," Trump said. "We're working with Turkey, we're working with Saudi Arabia. What happened is a terrible thing, assuming that happened. I mean, maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised, but somehow I tend to doubt it."

AlbertaU Posted on October 12, 2018 13:00

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Eden Hazard: Chelsea star predicts Ballon d’Or winner - Messi and Ronaldo not considered

The Chelsea star is himself on the shortlist for the award, along with five time winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Hazard has hit the ground running this season after starring in the World Cup this summer, helping Belgium to a third-place finish.

But after a disappointing season with the Blues last year, Hazard has not been installed as one of the favourites to win.

The accolade of bookies favourite goes to Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric.


Eden Hazard has revealed who he thinks deserves to win the Ballon d'Or

“I don't think I'm going to win it, in my opinion, Modric deserves it”

Eden Hazard

The 33-year-old has had a wonderful year, winning a third successive Champions League crown with Real and helping his country reach a first World Cup final.

And Hazard says Modric, named FIFA's Best Men's Player last month, would deservedly win the award.

“I don't think I'm going to win it,” Hazard said. “In my opinion, Modric deserves it.

“There are three to four players. I could say [Madrid and France defender Raphael] Varane because he won a lot too.


Eden Hazard believes Luka Modric deserves to win theBallon d'Or

Eden Hazard: Modric won a third successive Champions League crown with Real Madrid last season

“I could deserve it too, let's not lie.

“But seriously, I think that Modric will win it.

“It is going to be a reward for his wonderful season in the Champions League and the final of the World Cup.”

Hazard has been linked with a move to Modric’s team, Real, in recent months and has made no secret of his desire to play at the Bernebeu someday.


Eden Hazard: Modric has already won the FIFA's Best Men's Player award

The last ten winners of the Ballon d'Or have been based in Spain, and when asked whether he needed to move there to be considered the best in the world, he said: “That's why I want to go - maybe.”

Hazard has enjoyed a prolific start to the season, scoring eight goals in 10 matches for Chelsea, and responded ‘yes’ when questioned on whether he thought he was the best player in the world.

But he admits he can still improve, saying: “You can always improve in football. More goals, more assists.

“The team is helping me a lot, but I can improve, for sure.”

jmparker Posted on October 12, 2018 12:43

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What are the Leading Causes of Diastema? Here we go!!

         Wondering why you have teeth gap or a friend of yours? and what are the causes of diastema? Well mostly it causes by an oversized labial frenum. The labial frenum is the piece of tissue that normally extends from the inside of your upper lip to the gum just above your two upper front teeth. In some situations, the labial frenum continues to grow and passes between the two front teeth.

       Diastema is defined as the spacing between a person’s teeth. This is often noticed between the two front teeth or more. This condition often affects children and should be given immediate and appropriate treatment. It occurs when there is an inordinate relationship between the size of the teeth and the jaw. Unfortunately for adults, this condition can become permanent and will already require an orthodontic correction.

        In this article, we will break down all the leading causes of diastema and the possible treatment a person with the condition can take. You will also wade through a handful of preventive actions in order to avoid this dental flaw.

Causes of Diastema

1. Teeth and Jaw Discrepancies

The size discrepancy between the teeth and the jaw is one of the most common causes of having a teeth gap. This occurs when the jaw is too big while the teeth’s size is normal or if the jaw is in normal size, but the teeth are too small.

2.Teeth and Arch Discrepancies (Dentoalveolar Discrepancies)

Another thing that causes this condition is the disproportion between the arch length and teeth size. This is basically due to the increase in arch dimensions that leads to the spacing between some teeth. The dentoalveolar discrepancy occurs when the anterior teeth are in normal size, but the bridgework arch is larger or when the anterior teeth are smaller, and the arch is in normal size.

3. Expanded Labial Frenum and Impaired Intermaxillary Structure

Expanded maxillary labial frenum is one of the reported leading causes of maxillary diastema. The eruption of a swollen maxillary incisors and canine, teeth spacing and offhand closure of atrophy, and space in the labial frenum may occur. However, this phenomenon can also not occur if the maxillary central incisors erupt wide apart from each other.

4.Physiological Dentition Development

Average teeth spacing is normally only 3mm in the lower jaw bone (mandible) and 4mm in the upper jaw bone (maxilla). Physiological teeth gap happens when the eruption of the canines closes the space between teeth.

5. Missing Teeth

Another major factor to this dental condition has a missing tooth. Having a missing tooth can lead to the spacing between each tooth to worsen as other teeth are likely to move into the space.

6. Periodontitis

This refers to the progressive form of gum disease, which is caused by bone loss that leads to the inflammation of gums. It can also result in the disruption of the supporting bone which may lead affected teeth to become mobile. Teeth mobility greatly results to teeth gap formation which will likely worsen over time if not given appropriate treatment ahead of time.

7. Heredity or Ethnicity

One of the inevitable causes of diastema is heredity. This is because the controls of teeth size are genetically driven. This theory was supported by studies showing the genetic basis of microdontia and hypodontia.

Diastema Treatments

Many patients choose to correct diastema not because it does have bad effects on the health but because of aesthetic reasons. There are a handful of treatment procedures in order to close the gaping of the teeth.

1. Invisalign – This dental treatment involves the use of clear braces. More and more people nowadays are acquiring this treatment from their local dentist just because it is invisible, and they don’t have to deal with wearing horrendous metal braces. This clear brace is removable, making it easy for you to eat, brush, and floss your teeth.

2. Porcelain Veneers Application – The treatment basically involves the application of veneer, a thin of material which is specially made to fill in the gaps between teeth. This treatment is great for a teeth gap in a smaller width.

3. Dental Bonding – This treatment is considered as the most appealing one. The procedure involves bonding materials that are made to match the teeth color. The material is sculpted around the teeth in order to close the gap.

Prevention Measures for Diastema

If the cause of the diastema is caused by physiological dentition development, then there is, unfortunately, no way you can avoid this condition. However, spontaneous teeth gap widening can be prevented by using a brace to stop the teeth from being mobile.

On the other hand, mundane dental chores such as regular flossing and tooth brushing are the best ways to prevent this condition. The practice of proper oral hygiene is the fundamental prevention measures to avoid diastema. Tooth decay and gum diseases are major factors that lead to dentition gaps spacing, which can actually be evaded if the patient observes proper dental care.

In Conclusion
There you have it – these are the important things you need to know about diastema. Getting to know the leading causes is indispensable in order to come up with the appropriate treatment or preventive measures. Having great teeth is one of the major attributes that boost our self-confidence. Hence, everyone should never neglect appropriate dental care before it’s too late.

sarah Posted on October 12, 2018 12:41

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Egypt court sentences 17 to death for attacking Christians

CAIRO — An Egyptian military court on Thursday sentenced 17 Islamic militants to death for involvement in deadly attacks on Christians, a rights lawyer said.

The court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria also issued life sentences to 19 defendants and sentenced another nine to 15 years in prison on terror-related charges, lawyer Khaled el-Masry said. Another defendant got a 10-year term, he said.

Military prosecutors had accused the defendants of belonging to the Islamic State group and plotting attacks against Christian churches and security forces, el-Masry said. The verdict, which came after an approval from Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufi, can be appealed.

El-Masry said the defendants were tried for their involvement in a suicide bombing inside a Cairo chapel adjacent to St. Mark's Cathedral, the seat of Egypt's ancient Coptic Orthodox Church, in December 2016. The attack killed at least 25 people.

Some were convicted of plotting twin suicide bombings in churches in Alexandria and Tanta, on Palm Sunday in April 2017, killing at least 45 people, el-Masry said. Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group. Some were also convicted of killing eight police in a militant attack on a checkpoint in the Western Desert in January 2017.

The Palm Sunday bombings prompted President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to declare a state of emergency that is still in place.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population. They have long complained of discrimination in the Muslim-majority nation and claim that authorities have often failed to protect them from sectarian attacks.

Rights group Amnesty International condemned the verdict, describing it as a "grossly unfair military trial" and demanding that the defendants receive a fair hearing before a civilian court.

"There is no doubt that the perpetrators of these horrific attacks should be held accountable for their crimes," said Najia Bounaim of Amnesty. "But handing out a mass death sentence after an unfair military trial is not justice and will not deter further sectarian attacks."

In Egypt, civilians accused of attacking members of the armed forces are tried before military courts, but civilians involved in militant attacks against civilians also face trials in military courts. Human rights groups criticize these trials for their hasty procedures, harsh sentences and limited transparency. The verdicts can be appealed, but any appeal would return to another military court.

Egypt has faced an Islamist insurgency since the 2013 removal of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohammed Morsi. Retaliatory attacks have damaged or destroyed dozens of churches throughout the country. Security forces have struggled to contain militants led by an affiliate of the Islamic State group in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, but attacks on the mainland have also occurred.

khojho Posted on October 12, 2018 09:02

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Mum reveals bruised and battered body after shielding her baby from huge hailstones

Fiona Simpson from Queensland posted photos of her injuries on Facebook and described her ordeal.

A young mum has posted photos of the injuries she received as she tried to protect her infant daughter from tennis ball-sized hailstones.

Fiona Simpson from Kingaroy, Queensland was in her car with her baby and grandmother, about 130 miles north-west of Brisbane when she drove into a storm.

The massive hailstones smashed through the car's windows. Fearing for her child's safety Ms Simpson put her body on the line.

Image: Fiona Simpson was left covered in bruises. Pic: Facebook

Recovering in hospital later she posted photos on Facebook of her battered and bruised back and shoulders and described what happened.

"I've learnt my lesson today, never drive in a hail storm!" she wrote. "I covered my infant with my body to stop her from getting badly injured.

"My entire back, arms and head are badly bruised. "I'm just so relieved that my daughter and grandmother are alright.

"Please, please be careful in this storm season. I know I'll be sore tomorrow, does anyone know of a cream or ointment that will help with the bruising?"

AlbertaU Posted on October 12, 2018 08:47

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Ryan Coogler Reportedly Agrees To Write And Direct 'Black Panther' Sequel

After the runaway success of the first film, it looks as if the band might be getting back together for Black Panther 2.

Ryan Coogler has signed on to write and direct a sequel to the Marvel superhero flick, according to reports.

Coogler co-wrote the first Black Panther film alongside Joe Robert Cole. It is not yet clear whether Cole will return for the second instalment.

The Hollywood Reporter said that Coogler had agreed to spend 2019 writing the follow-up movie before filming starts either in late 2019 or early 2020. Despite these rumours, the film has yet to be officially announced or given even a vague release date.

You'd be surprised if there wasn't a second film, however, given the box-office performance of the previous one.

Earlier this year, Marvel's mastermind Kevin Feige said that they were going to do a sequel, just that they've got no details to announce as of yet. He said: "Nothing specific to reveal, other than to say we absolutely will do that.

"One of the favourite pastimes at Marvel Studios is sitting around on a Part One and talking and dreaming about what we would do in a Part Two."

In an earlier interview, Feige also said: "We always say we work on one movie at a time.

"If you have any good ideas, put it in the movie you're making.

"If you don't, you might not be able to make another one. That said, Panther has been around for more than half a century in the comic books and there are many, many stories to tell."

That's encouraging. After making such a good go of the first BP film, it would be a crying shame if they ruined it by not putting enough care and attention into the second.

Meanwhile, Coogler will have his hands full with the new live action/cartoon crossover Space Jam reboot.

Any film that brings LeBron James and Bugs Bunny to the same basketball court has got to be a success, right?

That project is to begin in 2019 and Coogler has signed on to produce.

LeBron actually spoke very fondly of Coogler and said that Black Panther brought black superheroes to the table in a way that they weren't when he was a kid.

He said: "It's so much bigger. I'd just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don't just give up on their dreams. And I think Ryan did that for a lot of people,"

Let's hope he can do it all again for the sequel.

kabby Posted on October 12, 2018 08:47

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Dr. Nouriel Roubini vs. Bitcoin: Senate Hearing Breaks Down His Arguments

The United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held an informational hearing today titled “Exploring the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem.”

The speakers included Dr. Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics and International Business, New York University Stern School of Business; and Mr. Peter Van Valkenburgh, Director of Research, Coin Center. Both gave testimonies on their stances on cryptocurrencies, followed by a Q&A session with Senators.

Dr. Nouriel Roubini: Nothing Good to Say About Cryptocurrencies

In no uncertain terms, Dr. Nouriel Roubini’s testimony, who predicted the 2008 financial crash, the cryptocurrency ecosystem as “full of scams, insecure, and useless technology.” As CCN reported, Dr. Roubini has been extremely negative towards cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that underlies them.

He held strong to that sentiment during this hearing, though his comments did reveal a broad lack of understanding in blockchain technology. A common thread running through his responses was that the current banking and fintech systems already solved all of the problems that blockchain tries to solve, with even better outcomes.

His criticisms include:

“Only criminals and terrorists use crypto.”

“Mining is a huge harm to the environment.”

“Cryptocurrency users want a utopia where payments are decentralized without government or authorities, which is utterly ridiculous.”

“There is widespread corruption – pump and dump schemes, wash sales, etc.”

“Most tokens are non-compliant securities.”

“Utility tokens take us back to the stone age with bartering. Even the Flinstones knew better than cryptocurrencies: They used clams for barter.”

“Most corporations have found that blockchain technology is no better than a database.”

“No corporation or government would want to be on a public ledger.”

Question and Answer Session

When asked if the world has benefited over the last 10 years since bitcoin’s launch, Dr. Roubini said the world has not benefited at all.  Peter Van Valkenburgh, however, provided an example where a woman entrepreneur in Afganistan was able to start and maintain her business because of bitcoin. Since banks in Afganistan only allow men to open accounts, women are at a disadvantage and this woman could not pay her employees because her husband stole the company’s funds. Bitcoin allowed her to pay employees and keep her business running.

Dr. Roubini said that cryptocurrencies are a huge loophole for criminals transfer money anonymously. However, Peter Van Valkenburgh said that investigators told him that they are “delighted” to track crimes on the blockchain because of its “perfect fidelity of transactions”. This is easier than the shell accounts and international banking systems to find money laundering activies. He also mentions BTC-E as an example for how authorities were able to track criminals more easily.

Overall, Valkenburgh provided valuable education to senators about blockchain, a skill that he has made him popular.” His accommodative answers stood in contrast to the attacks from “Dr. Doom”,  Dr. Roubini’s nickname in the cryptocurrency community.

AlbertaU Posted on October 12, 2018 08:20

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