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Did Tron Mislead Investors by Claiming Partnership with Baidu? Experts Weigh in

On October 15, a trusted cryptocurrency source in China reported that the partnership Tron secured with Baidu was not really a partnership.


CnLedger reported that according to local publications, Tron acquired the services of Baidu to launch, build, operate, and debug blockchain-based products on Baidu Cloud.


“The ‘partnership’ between Baidu and Tron is basically about Tron buying cloud computing resources from Baidu. ‘The two parties have made no contact at the blockchain business level.’ According to the ODaily, recently, Baidu Cloud and Tron have reached cooperation in the field of basic cloud business. Tron will build, operate and debug blockchain products based on Baidu Cloud in order to ensure compatibility and optimize development experience.”


Experts Comment

Tron is a client of Baidu Cloud that compensates the China-based Internet conglomerate to utilize its cloud computing infrastructure. Hence, it is not appropriate for Tron to claim that it has secured a formal partnership with Baidu.


For instance, ICON, South Korea’s most valuable blockchain project, signed an MoU with LINE, the biggest messaging app in Japan, to develop blockchain apps and integrate decentralized systems for the Japanese conglomerate. Such a relationship is considered a partnership because both parties benefit from it.

Ari Paul, the co-founder of Blocktower and a prominent cryptocurrency investor, wrote:


“Assuming the below is accurate, this deserves to be called out as misleading marketing. If I buy a computer with Microsoft Windows installed, I should not claim to have partnered with Microsoft without clarifying the limited nature of the ‘partnership.’”



Tron’s “partnership” with Baidu isn’t quite what it initially seemed.

Last month, the government of Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation launched the “Red Belly Blockchain” on the Amazon cloud computing network.


“AWS Cloud provides innovative organisations of all kinds with a global network of compute power, allowing organisations like Red Belly Blockchain to quickly conduct large-scale experiments that break new ground,” Simon Elisha, Head of Solutions Architecture, Amazon Web Services Public Sector, Australia and New Zealand, said.

The CSIRO and the government of Australia directly collaborated with AWS Australia and New Zealand to test the Red Belly Blockchain and still, the Red Belly development team did not claim it had partnered with AWS as it merely obtained the services of Amazon.


Cryptocurrency analyst Boxmining further emphasized that Baidu operates its own blockchain network called Xuperchain and as such, it does not have strong motivation to rely on the blockchain protocol of external projects.


“Tron partnership is equivalent to buying cloud services and not ‘blockchain business level.’ What do expect when Baidu has their own chain ‘Xuperchain?’ Thanks to CnLedger for getting this to light.”


Which Part Was Misleading?

The Tron Foundation did not formally announce its “partnership” with Baidu. But, Justin Sun, the founder and CEO of Tron, wrote to the investors of Tron that for the first time in the company’s history, it partnered with an industry giant.


“Finally, First time to partner with tens of billions USD valuation industry giant. Guess the name.”


For transparency, it is important for blockchain projects to explicitly describe the intricacies of the partnerships they engage in, as misleading investors to purchase cryptocurrencies could be considered as a dishonest activity that could hinder the reputation of projects.

AlbertaU Posted on October 18, 2018 16:55

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China to launch ‘artificial moon’ into SPACE to replace STREET LIGHTS

CHINA is set to launch an artificial moon into space in 2020 with the aim to replace street lights, as the communist country’s space programme becomes increasingly more powerful.

China is two years away from sending a lighting satellite to space, according to Wu Chunfeng, chairman of space contractor Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co (CASC).

The device has been designed to illuminate an area as large as 80km and works by complementing the light of the moon at night, Mr Wu explained during a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship activity held last week.

And the precise illumination range will be controlled within a few dozen metres, Mr Wu added.

The device's power of illuminating the Earth will be eight-time stronger than the one of the real moon, enough to replace the lights on the street. 

The artificial moon will focus its light on the city of Chengdu, in southwestern China.

The project was the idea of a French artist, who imagined placing a row of mirrors on the Earth to reflect the sunlight on the streets of Paris all year round.

China's plans have not been been unanimously welcomed, with some people living in the area expressing concerns about the impact a constant full moon could have on the daily routine of animals and astronomical observation, according to Chinese news outlet People’s Daily Online.

Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace at the Harbin Institute of Technology, played down their worries, arguing the light of the satellite will be similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not create any negative effects. 

China is set to launch an artificial moon to replace street lights (Image: GETTY)

CASC’s latest announcement comes after Russia and China declared they are considering joining their resources to build a base on the Moon.

Speaking earlier this month to Channel One Russia, the head of Russia’s space programme Dmitry Rogozin said: "I don’t rule out that as soon as we agree on the outlines of our lunar programme with the Americans, it is time for our manned lunar programme.

“The formation of a research station on the Moon’s surface is likely to be carried out with our Chinese partners.

“They can be equal partners already in the coming years.”

China and Russia are rushing to close the distance with the US’ achievements in space - the only country which has led a manned lunar mission. 

The artificial moon will focus its light on the city of Chengdu (Image: GETTY)

China carried out its first manned space mission in 2003 (Image: GETTY)

China carried out its first manned space mission, which lasted 21 hours and saw astronaut Yang Liwei travelling around the earth, in 2003. 

Since then, China has made incredible progress with its space programme.

From 2000 to November 2012, the country sent a total of 111 rockets and hundreds of satellites into space.

It also conducted four manned spacecraft with eight Chinese astronauts and launched one space laboratory in the sky. 

The US is the only country which has led a manned lunar mission (Image: GETTY)

CASC is a state-owned space and defence giant counting more than 170,000 employees, eight large academies and a dozen listed companies.

It was ranked 343rd in the Fortune Global 500 list in 2018, making it the fourth largest aerospace enterprise in the world by revenue after Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin.

Vendy Posted on October 18, 2018 12:10

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My cheating boyfriend gave me HIV - here's how I got justice

Diane Reeve didn't expect to find love again after her 18-year-long marriage fell apart. But in 2002, at the age of 50, she did. It turned out, though, that her new partner, Philippe Padieu, was sleeping around - and had given her HIV.

I'd kind of given up on love, but then a couple of people convinced me I was too young to do that and said I should get back out on the market - they suggested online dating. It was pretty brutal and I was just about to give up when I got an enquiry from Philippe.

It was just a brief, "I like your profile, would like to meet," but I was intrigued. He was French and very nice looking, and I thought, "OK, one last time, and that's it."

We met at my martial arts school - he was also a martial artist - and then we went over to a local restaurant and had drinks and appetisers and sat for an hour and talked. I was fascinated and I guess he was too.

He had cool stories and told me a lot about himself. That was kind of refreshing because usually it's the other way around, where the woman does all the talking, and I found that exhausting.


On that first date I was pretty interested in him, but I couldn't really tell if he was feeling the same thing. But then he made this one flirtatious comment and I thought, "Oh, OK, he is interested," and it went from there, we started dating fairly regularly.


Image caption

Diane and Philippe shared an interest in martial arts

Philippe was a security analyst for a large company but he was laid off a year after we started dating. While he was looking for a new job I asked him to help me out at the school.

When he was teaching for me we'd usually go out after work and then spend the night together. We had had the talk about being exclusive pretty early on in the relationship, so I was seeing him three or four times a week and the rest of the time I was busy with the school.

I was happy, he was happy, it was good, and we were together for four-and-half years.


In 2006 my daughter was getting married and we had a wonderful ceremony.

Philippe was there - he took a video of the big family occasion - and we were all going for a family dinner afterwards. But then he called me from his cellphone and said, "I can't go, I'm not feeling well."

Image copyrightDIANE REEVE

He didn't call from his home phone, which made me suspicious, and I was furious because the dinner was very important to me.

I went by myself, but on my way home I thought I'd go by Philippe's and check on this poor sick man who couldn't make it to my family dinner.

The door was locked, the house was dark, and his car wasn't there. I sat in the driveway and cried for a long time, and then I started to get angry.

Because I'd been paying for his cellphone I was able to get into his voicemail. Two different women had left him messages and it was obvious from the voicemails that these were women that he had plans with.

I waited for a good hour-and-a-half or more and then finally I saw him coming around the corner.

When he saw my car he immediately sped away - he knew that something was up - so I followed him up and down the neighbourhood streets until he finally got on the highway. He was going 90 mph and I was right behind him. I thought, "I can chase you all night, I got a full tank of gas."

Eventually he pulled over. I yelled and screamed and accused him of cheating. He said, "You shouldn't have hacked into my voicemail!" and it went back and forth. He was so angry and started beating on the car and that scared me, so I decided that was it.

Find out more

Diane Reeve spoke to Jo Fidgen on Outlook on the BBC World Service

You can listen again here

We broke up on a Saturday. The following Monday I had a well-woman examination and when the results came back there were some anomalies in the cervical cells.

They said it was human papilloma virus (HPV). I'd never had that before so I knew that he had given it to me. That shocked me and made me afraid - I had to have surgery to remove the abnormal cells and I didn't know if it would progress into cancer or not.

I wondered if I should warn the other two women. I went back through the nine months' of Philippe's cellphone records that I had, trying to find them again. I would call numbers and whenever a woman answered, I would ask, "Are you seeing Philippe Padieu?" and if they said "Yes," I would say, "Well, I need to talk to you a little bit."

I found nine other women who were also seeing him that way.

Some of them were angry, some of them hung up on me, some of them were very interested, and some of them were appreciative - I got all kinds of different responses.

A lady who had been seeing Philippe, who lived close to him, was so angry that she and I decided to meet with another couple of women. We had quite an interesting lunch comparing notes and we took a picture of ourselves making an obscene gesture and sent it to him.


There was another woman who I contacted later on. We met at a little jazz bar. She'd been seeing Philippe three times a week for about a-year-and-a-half.

She did not have an exclusive relationship with him, but she was waiting for that to happen, I think. I told her everything that had happened to me - how romantic things had been with us for years, how we were building a house together, how we were going to move in together but then broke up. I told her about the HPV and that I was continuing to have health problems.

She listened very intently to what I had to say.

I said, "This is your decision and if you want to continue to see him then that's your business," and I thought that would be the last time we would talk.

Three months later I got a call from the health department who said that I needed to come in for testing. I panicked because I had been having a lot of health problems in addition to the abnormal cervical smear.

I had kept Philippe's phone in case somebody called and I could warn them too. I looked at it again after I was contacted by the health department and noticed that the last person to call it was the woman that I'd met at the jazz bar.

I called her and I said, "I just got a call from the health department, what can you tell me about this?"

She said four words that I will never forget: "We need to talk."



Media captionDiane Reeve describes the moment she learned that her partner had infected her with HIV

She had continued to see Philippe after we'd met but she'd then decided to break it off. She'd started to worry about sexually transmitted diseases and had gone to get tested. Her doctor had called her and told her that there was bad news, she was living with HIV.

At that point I just knew that everything that I had gone through over the last six months - the health problems, not having any energy, things that I had attributed to getting a little bit older - all these puzzle pieces fitted together and I knew what I was facing.

The next day I had an appointment with my gynaecologist and they took some blood. The following day they called me with the results.

"Diane, I'm sorry. It's positive."

I dropped the phone and fell to my knees. I thought I was going to die.

I had not followed HIV closely - I remembered when there was no cure, and I knew that there was medicine now, but I didn't really know how effective it was. And I knew that I was really, really sick.


Image caption

Diane Reeve today

That was January 2007.

When I went for further testing I found out that I had Aids. That means that your immune system is damaged to the point that you are very vulnerable to illness. Your body just won't fight back because the virus has damaged the cells which fight off infection.

I had health insurance because I was self-employed; I had just changed policies about two months before I got the diagnosis. There was a disclaimer at the end of the policy which said, "Please be aware that we do not cover HIV," which I had signed happily, because I knew I didn't have HIV. Except two months later I found out that I did.

So I had insurance that did not pay for HIV and the medicine was about $2,000 (£1,500) a month and I couldn't afford it.

Almost immediately after getting the results I went to counselling. I really needed some help to process things. I was terribly depressed, I was very fearful and I was homicidally angry.

I decided to talk again to the woman I'd met at the jazz bar. We cried together, and we got angry together. When she had got her diagnosis she'd immediately called Philippe to let him know. He'd said: "Hey, no big deal, everybody dies of something. Why don't you just go and live your life and leave me alone?"

It was a very odd reaction for someone who should have been shocked.

We suspected that Philippe had given it to both of us and we thought there had to be something that could be done about it. We did some research and within weeks of my diagnosis we decided to file a police report.

We wanted the police to stop him. We wanted them to find out if he actually did carry the virus and we wanted to find out if there was something that we could do to keep him from hurting other women.

The police were very sympathetic and understanding but said that because there were only two of us we weren't going to be able to prove it. But if four or five women came forward, they said, then they might be able to get the district attorney to take a look.

Image copyrightDIANE REEVE

We went back through the cellphone records. The first person I called was the woman who lived in Philippe's neighbourhood that I'd met earlier. She got tested and was also diagnosed with HIV.

She helped us by watching the house and writing down licence plate numbers of cars that were in Philippe's driveway overnight. We were kept pretty busy because he was with a different woman every night, it was incredible.

I had a friend that could run the licence tags and get a name and address, and once we had that we would go and visit them.

Altogether, we found 13 women who were diagnosed with HIV.

I was devastated that this had been going on for so long. I'd been seeing Philippe since 2002, but some of the women I talked to pre-dated me and with a different car in the driveway every night countless women had been exposed.

As the case progressed, the police department and the DA started to get involved.

To try to prove that Philippe knew that he had been diagnosed the police set up what is called a pretext phone call. I sat at the police station and called him to try to get him to admit that he knew that he was living with HIV. It didn't go very well.

He said, "How the BLEEP did you get this number?" and it went downhill from there.

I said, "Hey, I heard that you weren't feeling well and I was just calling to check on you," and he hung up on me.


There was a lady at the health department who was helping us track down the women. I'd asked her, "Have you ever seen this guy?" but nothing rang a bell.

Then I remembered that Philippe sometimes used an alias, the name Phil White, and she remembered that. The timeframe that she'd seen him was around the same time that I remembered sending him to the doctor because he felt like he had kidney stones.

I thought, "I wonder if that's when he got that diagnosis?"

It was 2005, about a year-and-a-half before we broke up. He had gone to the doctor and had some tests done.

I had paid for that medical treatment so I pulled those cheques and took them to the district attorney - that was the first time I ever saw her smile. The cheques gave her "probable cause" to subpoena the medical records - which she did. Without that it would have been very difficult if not impossible to obtain them, due to privacy laws - and that's how we proved that he'd been diagnosed with HIV.

Of the 13 women we found who were diagnosed with HIV only five agreed to testify in court, because of the stigma associated with the virus. We formed a support group and were able to meet at my house on a routine basis. We all got through it together.

One motive for going through with it was that the state of Texas will pay for medical care that is needed as a result of a crime, and they were prosecuting Philippe for "assault with a deadly weapon".

It was a long process, five to six months, of us tracking down women. Just about every day of the week we were on stake-out. It was exhausting - I still had Aids - but we were determined to stop him doing this to anybody else.


The trial finally began in 2009, three years after Philippe and I had broken up and two years after my diagnosis.

The district attorney had warned us that we would be raked over the coals, that anything that Philippe knew about us that was dirty laundry would be aired in public. Although I was prepared for it, I didn't know that it was going to be as brutal as it was - I was on the stand for about an hour, but I got through it.

After the sentencing, we gathered all of our friends and families together and we celebrated because we knew he was not going to be able to hurt anybody else again.

Philippe never took responsibility. He said that it was me that gave everybody HIV, which was obviously ludicrous - we found a woman in Michigan who he had transmitted HIV to in 1997. And we also did a DNA study that was very well controlled and scientifically proven that showed that the virus that was in each of us had a common source - and Philippe was the common source.

I suspect that he had knowingly been transmitting HIV to women for years before I met him, and that the 2005 diagnosis was not his first.

I have struggled with the forgiveness thing, but I'm at peace about it because, frankly, I took a lemon situation and made it into lemonade.

But one of the things that I resent most about what Philippe did to me and the other women is that he destroyed my ability to trust and that makes relationships really hard. I'm working my way past it, but it's been a long struggle.

I'm really lucky that I have a good relationship now with somebody who understands and loves me and accepts me. We first started seeing each other in 2008 and I disclosed to him on the second date. I started crying and he held me and said, "It's OK, my brother died of Aids," and that was a very healing experience for me.

The medicine has come so far that it's one pill a day now for most people - I've been on one pill a day for a long time. I have undetectable viral load which means the virus is not detectable in my blood. It's been shown that if you are a living with HIV and you have an undetectable viral load consistently over six months there is zero transmission risk - that was a game changer for all of us.

I'm still in contact with a lot of the other women. I went to the Grand Canyon on vacation with one of them last year - the woman from the jazz bar.

If I had not met her she would have never thought to get tested and if she had not given my name to the health department I would have never gotten tested. We seriously saved each other's lives.

Written by Sarah McDermott

Philippe Padieu was convicted of six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon - his bodily fluid - and sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Standing Strong: An Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case that Made History by Diane Reeve is published by Health Communications.

AlbertaU Posted on October 18, 2018 10:02

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NASA Finally Shut Down Moon Landing Conspiracies Once And For All

On July 20, 1969, as he stepped onto the surface of the Moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong said ‘that’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind’.

These words are now some of the most famous in history representing just what ‘mankind’ is capable of, making the impossible seem possible as Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon.

A moment that changed the world, director Damien Chazelle’s (Whiplash and La La Land) latest film First Man tells the riveting story behind what is often regarded as one of the greatest events in history.

You can watch a trailer for the movie here:



Focusing on the life of Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, First Man looks at what drove the man who took that step onto the Moon to embark on the fateful mission.

Speaking to UNILAD, NASA’s chief historian Bill Barry, who also worked as a consultant on the film, revealed the film will give people ‘a more rounded picture’ of the true story.

He explained:

I think everybody sort of knows the Neil Armstrong story of Apollo 11 and how he was the first man on the Moon but not many people about his personality and what it was like for the families and people on the inside.

The standard narrative of how the Moon missions went is that family members were supportive and there weren’t any problems.

A movie like this gives you a much more intimate look at what was really going on and how those people handled the incredible stresses and strains. It is a reminder of the cost.


For the astronauts aboard Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the mission meant they had to face great sacrifice for the sake of pushing the frontiers of science, knowledge and technology.

Embarking on the craft with ‘a very limited set of objectives’, the mission was really ‘a test run’ to see if mankind could reach the Moon.

As Barry explains, following the success of Apollo 11 NASA became ‘much more ambitious’:

With Apollo 11 there was talk about what they were planning on doing when they got to the Moon thinking one guy would get out on the surface, pick up some rocks, turn around, get back home and launch again. They found though that there was time to do some experiments, time to set some equipment up.

Things got much more ambitious afterwards. Apollo 11 had a kinda general landing area to go to. The Apollo 12 mission, which happened just a few months later, was going to try land next to something we had already put up there. They had something to retrieve so they had to handle a pinpoint landing which they did.

As things went along missions became more complex; they stayed on the Moon longer, did more moonwalks, did more research.

Things became much more ambitious once we had proved the constant distraction, you can do this and successfully operate on the Moon.


Celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, NASA has done a lot of amazing things since the organisation’s 1958 formation.

For Barry though, landing on the Moon is the agency’s ‘signature accomplishment’ becoming shorthand for what mankind is capable of – seemingly anything.

In 1961, only three years after NASA was formed, the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy said NASA will take man to the Moon within a decade, and so they did.


For Barry, this ‘defining event’ didn’t just change the way we looked at space, but also altered our understanding of our home planet too.

He said:

In the grand scheme of things it was one step along the way of what was born from the Hubble space telescope and completely redefined our view of the universe.

We have visited, with probes, every planet in our solar system and a few dwarf planets, asteroids, and comets. We underwent a reconnaissance of the solar system.

With NASA now inventing instruments which could be put on spacecraft to send to other planets, someone one said why don’t we put these on Earth and figure out how our own planet works and so we redefined our understanding of Earth and are still trying to understand how complex it is.

The first pictures of the Earth floating in space had an impact on people on a lot of different levels, the world may seem to be a big place but it is actually a small and fragile place. We all have a responsibility to make sure our spaceship is still functional.

We do indeed Barry!


Despite all the research NASA has undertaken and the evidence provided, various individuals and groups have alleged NASA, in association with other organisations, faked the Moon landings knowingly misleading the public and destroying much evidence in the process.

The conspiracists all have their different stories of what really happened and these ideas are still popular in 2018.




Asking Barry what he thinks of these conspiracy theories, he shot them down explaining NASA at the time didn’t have the technology to fake the landings.

He also added people will look back on these beliefs with embarrassment in the future:

Well the people on social media who do say that sort of stuff are going to be really embarrassed when their grandchildren are visiting the Moon and Apollo memorial landing site, the museum on the Moon in 30/40 years.

When they look at their grandparents Twitter feed they will say ‘boy, you are really stupid’. I think that will happen.

Ultimately there were 400,000 people working on the Moon programme all over planet Earth, it would have been really hard to fake it and technologically we didn’t have the capacity to do so.

Nowadays you can simulate a lot of stuff and make it look good but at the time we couldn’t. We had hours and hours of photos and 800 pounds of rock brought back to planet Earth.


Barry does understand why people may have believed in the conspiracy theories, pointing to the fact at the time much of the information surrounding the landings was classified.

As things became declassified though, it allowed us to learn more about the Apollo missions opening up our understanding of what was really going on in space during the 1960’s and 70’s.

For example, only now are we learning about how close the space race between the US and Soviet Union really was.

Barry emphasised the Soviet determination to beat the United States to the Moon to UNILAD, keeping their competitive programme very secretive.

Commissioning a robot to be built which will land on the Moon and bring back a soil sample, the first one was sent up in June 1969 which blew up.

A month later they launched their second attempt, Luna 15, which was orbiting around the Moon at the same time the Apollo 11 mission arrived.


This of course led to a very tight race to see which one could bring back a sample from the Moon first as Barry explains:

Neil and Buzz landed on the Moon, did their spacewalk, they went back to the Apollo to try to sleep before they launched the next morning and while they were sleeping the Luna 15 tried to land and actually crashed.

If it had successfully landed on the moon and brought a sample back, which later they actually did, if that one had succeeded though their samples may have got back at a similar time to ours.

They could have said ‘hey, we did it cheaper and didn’t endanger people by sending them up there’. So the race to the Moon which most people think never happened, well it was really close.

In fact it all came down to the last minute on July 20 1969 when the Soviets’ spacecraft crashed – now that must have been tense.

Since the Apollo missions, NASA’s attention has been drawn to Mars. In 2004 US President George Bush Jr. announced a plan to send humans to the Red Planet.

Although this is still NASA’s focus, Barry added that the Moon is still very much on the agency’s mind with plans to send members of the public there.

In fact, with NASA working on sending people to the Moon within the next decade, your trip may not be that far away:

We plan to send people to to the vicinity of the Moon within the next decade or so, in the 2020’s we will be orbiting the Moon working with both commercial and international partners, able to send people to the surface of the Moon.

Then it is working out everything for a trip to Mars. Depending upon budgets etc, maybe we can get to the vicinity of Mars in the 2030’s.

We will eventually have people walking on Mars and a much more robust economy with multiple space stations and people even working on the moon. That is where the US government has told NASA to go, we are talking to the UK space agency etc and they are all on board with the idea.

Honestly, I can’t wait to see where humanity goes next in space!

First Man is showing in UK cinemas now.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via


khojho Posted on October 18, 2018 09:32

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Stephen King Says 'The Haunting Of Hill House' Is 'Close To A Work Of Genius'

Stephen King is an icon, his books have terrified audiences of film and TV for decades - it's fair to say if he ever had something good to say about any thriller or horror it would be a HUGE compliment.

Now, imagine how the all those - the director, cast and production team - behind the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House must feel when the man himself calls the show 'close to a work of genius'.

The 71-year-old author took to Twitter to give his thoughts on the terrifying series, saying: "THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, revised and remodeled by Mike Flanagan. I don't usually care for this kind of revisionism, but this is great. Close to a work of genius, really. I think Shirley Jackson would approve, but who knows for sure."

This is pretty mega coming from the man came up with absolute corkers like The Shining, IT, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption.

In his tweet King references Shirley Jackson, the late author of the book the series is based on, which was published in 1959.

Along with the tweet being a massive compliment to the series, it's probably pretty accurate - not just because King said it either.

The Haunting of Hill House - which follows the story of five siblings in the Crane family, each of whom are dealing with repressed trauma, family anguish and PTSD following their childhoods growing up in the super creepy Hill House - has gained 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is said to be one of the best Netflix original's to be released.

The show uses flashbacks to the past, with episodes based on individual the family members.

The Netflix show show stars Carla Gugino, Michiel Huisman, Timothy Hutton, Mckenna Grace and Victoria Pedretti, with Flanagan, the filmmaker behind Gerald's Game, Oculus and Hush, directing all 10 episodes.

khojho Posted on October 18, 2018 09:22

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Cobalt Air collapse: Thousands of Cyprus holiday plans wrecked after another budget airline ceases operations

Cobalt, the Cypriot airline, has collapsed overnight. Tens of thousands of passengers are waking up to find that their tickets for future travel to and from Cyprus and Greece are worthless.The airline told the Cyprus Ministry of Transport at 9pm on Wednesday night that it would shut down shortly after midnight on Thursday. A brief message on its website reads: “Cobalt regrets to announce that it will be cancelling all flights as of 23:50pm on October 17, 2018 due to indefinite suspension of Cobalt’s operations.“As a result, future flights or services provided by Cobalt will be cancelled and will no longer operate.“Passengers who have un-flown tickets are instructed not to go to Larnaca Airport or any departure airport tomorrow, 18 October 2018 as no Cobalt flights will operate and no Cobalt staff will be present.“For refunds, please contact your credit card provider or travel agent.”Cobalt flew from Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester to Larnaca, its main hub, and from Gatwick to Athens. It offered connections to Beirut and Tel Aviv, and also served Frankfurt, Moscow and Paris.The airline had been flying for barely two years. It was set up with the help of Chinese investors after Cyprus Airways shut down in January 2015.The national carrier was grounded after the European Union ordered it to repay €100m (£87m in today’s money) in illegal state aid.In response to the Cobalt collapse, the Cyprus Ministry of Transport said it was hoping for a “smooth and best possible operation for the repatriation of stranded passengers”.Passengers booked to travel on Thursday were told to buy an alternative single ticket and seek reimbursement from the ministry.Travellers booked in the coming week have been told to await further announcements.

UK passengers who are stranded in Cyprus by the Cobalt failure are likely to be offered “rescue fares” by other airlines, notably British Airways and easyJet. After Cyprus Airways stopped flying, BA flew people home from Larnaca for £75 one-way.Travellers with future bookings who paid by credit card should be able to recoup the cost of tickets. But thousands of British passengers with half-term bookings to and from Cyprus will now be desperately looking for alternative flights.The cheapest return on easyJet from Gatwick to Larnaca on Saturday 27 October, returning a week later, is £350, but this fare is likely to rise sharply once news spreads of the failure.Travellers with bookings for Cobalt flights as part of a package holiday should be re-booked on an alternative airline at no extra cost.Cobalt had six Airbus A319 and A320 jets, and had announced plans to acquire wide-bodied jets to fly to China, South Africa and North America.Airlines across Europe are suffering from weak demand and the rising price of oil. Cobalt was also up against strong competition to and from the UK and on its key route between Larnaca and Athens.Reports in local media suggest that Cobalt’s chief executive, Petros Souppouris, had been seeking funds from an investor.The airline stopped flying after talks broke down. Its main asset is a pair of slots at Heathrow, which it inherited from Cyprus Airways.The Cyprus Ministry of Tourism statement ended by expressing “deep sorrow for the cease of operations of Cobaltair Ltd and for the inconvenience that will be caused for passengers”.At the start of October Primera Air collapsed, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded on either side of the Atlantic.

ruby Posted on October 18, 2018 09:12

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Police: Dispute over Bitcoin Account Led to Connecticut Home Invasion

Two women have been  arrested in connection with a March home invasion in Killingly, CT, where victims were not only robbed but also allegedly pistol-whipped and attacked with an electric cattle prod. The incident, police said, was the tragic culmination of a dispute involving a bitcoin account.


Incident Details

Apparently, the home invasion occurred because a female victim opened a bitcoin account for one of the alleged home invasion suspects, Monique Delannoy-Jodoin, 59, who police said is a resident of Manville, RI. Police also stated that Ms. Delannoy-Jodoin was already under investigation for narcotic sales and delivery through the postal system. The other suspect was Beatriz Viruet, 38, who is a resident of Providence, RI.


The female renter claimed to recognize two of the home invaders, who then pistol-whipped one occupant on the head, and utilized an electric cattle prod on another occupant. The female renter was able to escape to a neighbor’s house, but not one of the suspects was able to force entry into the bathroom, where the renter was hiding, using a hammer.

The suspects stole money, cell phones, and a television, according to local authorities. Allegedly, one of the suspects, told the other to “shoot the victims,” as well.


Crypto Crime

Many have criticized the fact that cryptocurrency can be used for money laundering, considering that it can often be harder to trace than fiat currency. The sector is often accused of fraud, and there are even international task forces organized to target ICOs worldwide.


This is a still-rare-but-increasingly-more-common instance where there is a violent crime associated with cryptocurrency. Indeed, it is not the only violent incident that has happened in relation to bitcoin. Earlier this year, there was a  shooting in downtown Miami in connection with a bitcoin deal gone awry.

According to police, Monique Delannoy-Jodoin wanted money and passwords related to her bitcoin account. She was ultimately charged with home invasion, risk of injury to a child, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree assault with a weapon, second-degree breach of peace, criminal use of a weapon, and sixth-degree larceny, among other charges. Beatriz Viruet was charged with home invasion, first-degree robbery, and second-degree breach of peace.


Delannoy-Jodoin was held on a $250,000 bond, while Viruet was held on a $100,000 bond. The women are both are due to appear Monday in Danielson Superior Court.

AlbertaU Posted on October 18, 2018 08:51

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Norwegian Man Brutally Murdered Following In-Person Bitcoin Trade

A Norwegian man was brutally stabbed to death shortly after completing an in-person cash-for-bitcoin exchange, and investigators believe that the two events may be linked.


According to Norwegian news organization TV 2, the stabbing occurred on Monday morning at the 24-year-old victim’s apartment in Majorstuen, an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, likely between 7:50 am and 12:10 pm — when one of his roommates discovered the crime scene.

Sources within the Oslo police department told TV 2 that the murder victim had completed a bitcoin trade shortly before the tragic incident and that others within his social circle were aware of his cryptocurrency dealings.


Grete LIen Metlid, the leader of the Oslo police department’s head of intelligence and investigations unit, told the publication that investigators were aware of a tip involving a possible bitcoin connection, but he declined to elaborate further.


“We are familiar with a tip about Bitcoin, but at this time we will not provide more information about the investigation,” said Metlid, according to a rough translation, adding that the department investigates “widely” and that “economic motives” are always a primary area of interest for investigators.


As of the time of writing, the police did not have any suspects, nor had they made any arrests. Per local reports, forensic analysts continued to investigate the scene on Wednesday night.

AlbertaU Posted on October 18, 2018 08:43

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Unarmed brother of Facebook executive dies after being tased by police

Unarmed brother of Facebook executive dies after being tased by police

By Ray Sanchez and Stella Chan, CNN

Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT) October 17, 2018

Chinedu Okobi with his daughter.

(CNN)The death of unarmed black men at the hands of police is not an issue often broached in the epicenter of the technology industry.

But Ebele Okobi, Facebook's public policy director for Africa, hopes the death of her 36-year-old brother, Chinedu, can begin to change attitudes in the clubby and largely white world of Silicon Valley.

The Morehouse College graduate died earlier this month after being tased during a confrontation with sheriff's deputies near San Francisco.

"It doesn't matter what school you went to," said Ebele Okobi, 44. "You can go to Harvard. You can work in tech. Every black American will tell you they live in a state of constant anxiety. Every black man will tell you they can work at Google, they can be a senior person at Facebook or Apple but when you're driving and you're a black man, you recognize the danger that you're in."

Chinedu Okobi with his family at his 2003 graduation from Morehouse College in Atlanta.

The circumstances surrounding Okobi's death on the afternoon of October 3 remain unclear.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said deputies encountered Okobi "running in and out of traffic" on a street in Millbrae, a city about 30 miles northwest of Silicon Valley.

Okobi "immediately assaulted" a deputy who got out of his vehicle, the statement said. There was a struggle with other deputies who responded.

Okobi was taken into custody and transported to a hospital, where he died. A deputy was treated for injuries at a hospital, the sheriff's office said.

Tasers were discharged at Okobi three to four times, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaff.

One or more deputies fired Tasers. It's unclear how many times Okobi was struck, he said.

An autopsy has been completed but investigators were awaiting toxicology reports, which could take four to six weeks, Wagstaff said.

The district attorney's office, which investigates officer involved deaths, was still interviewing witnesses and combing through surveillance footage in the area, according to Wagstaff.

"We have hit a period of great concern regarding Tasers," said Wagstaff, adding that Okobi's death was the county's third since December during law enforcement encounters that involved the high-voltage stun guns.

Wagstaff said it's still unclear if the Taser contributed to Okobi's death.

The district attorney said his office will release video of the incident by mid-December.

Ebele Okobi, whose family has retained an attorney, said prosecutors told her there was drone video of the encounter. She said the family's first contact with authorities was Wednesday.

Prosecutors would not tell the family whether her brother can be seen assaulting a deputy in the video, she said.

The sheriff's office said four deputies and a sergeant were involved in the incident. Deputies in "critical incidents where a death occurs are routinely placed on paid administrative leave, pending investigation," the office said.

"When the district attorney's office completes an investigation of sheriff's office staff, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office will often conduct a separate administrative investigation in regards to compliance with our policies," the statement said.

Chinedu Okobi graduated in 2003 with a degree in business administration from Morehouse College in Atlanta.

He grew up in the San Francisco area as the youngest son of a Nigerian-American family, Ebele Okobi said.

Chinedu Okobi with his mother.

Chinedu Okobi, who has a 12-year-old daughter, spent the last decade struggling with mental health issues and may have stopped taking medications earlier this year, according to his sister.

"He was really gentle," Ebele Okobi recalled. "He was someone people connected to all his life. He was a kind person. He loved poetry. He recorded poetry. He recorded rap. He was also very spiritual and deeply religious."

She marveled at the support from executives and others at Facebook.

"There definitely something insular about tech and definitely something insular about Silicon Valley," she said.

"But my colleagues at Facebook basically organized themselves and just kept telling the story and saying, this is important. Facebook's mission and Facebook's power to do good in the world -- that's the reason I work there. I've never seen this kind of solidarity and this kind of care."

Ebele Okobi said that as a black woman she long feared losing a loved one in a violent police encounter.

In 2014, after the birth of her son, she moved her family to London.

"I think it takes a huge amount of emotional courage to raise black children here and I knew that I didn't have it," she said. "I don't have the emotional fortitude to have a black husband and a black son in America. It's not as if I could take everyone I love with me."

She said she hopes her brother's death resonates in Silicon Valley's corridors of influence and privilege.

"People who never thought this could happen to anybody they know, now know that it can," Ebele Okobi said.

"I hope this becomes a catalyst for more informed conversations" about police encounters with unarmed black men and the mentally ill as well as the use of Tasers on suspects. "My hope is that now that more people are proximate to these problems that they do something about them."

memorial fund to make donations to the Equal Justice Initiative was set up in Chinedu Okobi's name.


joewalash Posted on October 18, 2018 00:12

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Teacher accused of sex with pupil in plane toilet on school trip WON'T face retrial

A TEACHER accused of sex with a pupil on a school trip won't face a retrial after the case collapsed last week.

Former teacher Eleanor Wilson will not face a retrial over claims she had sex with a student in a plane toilet as they returned from a school trip, the Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed.

She was alleged to have had sex with the 16-year-old while coming home from an overseas camping trip in August 2015. Wilson also allegedly kissed and cuddled the boy on three other occassions.

Last week, a jury trying the case at Bristol Crown Court was discharged after the foreman said there was no "realistic prospect" they could reach majority verdicts on any of the four charges against Ms Wilson. The teacher denied all four counts of sexual activity with a child under 18 while in a position of trust.

After failing to reach a verdict after 10-and-a-half hours of deliberations the jury of six men and six women were discharged by the judge at Bristol Crown Court.

Prosecutors had asked for seven days to consider whether to seek a retrial.

Ms Wilson, who resigned after a school investigation, denied all the alleged offences and called the boy’s claims a “distorted fantasy”. She was accused of “beckoning” the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, into a toilet where she had sex with him before the plane landed at Heathrow Airport in London in August, 2015, the court heard. The boy told police she “pulled her trousers down” and was “standing on one leg” while they had sex, jurors at Bristol Crown Court were told.

When rumours of their affair “let the cat out of the bag”, Ms Wilson told the boy she had fallen pregnant as a result of their sexual encounter, prosecutors said. 

POLICE: Eleanor Wilson told cops the claims sounded like a 'weird porn film'

In a police interview heard by the court, Ms Wilson said she met with the boy outside of school because she was "lonely" and "saw him as a mate more than a pupil".

Defence lawyers accused  the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, of fabricating the story, suggesting the toilet was too small to have sex in.

Ms Wilson told police: "It sounds like a description of a weird porn film – it doesn't sound like something that would happen. "That amount of detail has come from his imagination. That would tell you it didn't happen."

CROWN COURT: Eleanor Wilson's trial collapsed as the jury couldn't reach a verdict

She added: "I was on my period, the last thing I would think about is 'Yeah let's take a chance with this'. "I know it's against the law. I have not broken a law or gone beyond a friendship. "I've not kissed him on the lips – it makes me feel sick thinking about it."

The boy, who bought chocolates and flowers for Wilson, “thought he was in a relationship with his teacher”, the court heard.


joewalash Posted on October 17, 2018 23:45

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Woman claims she has drunk nothing but Pepsi since 1954 and wouldn't touch water even if dying

A great-gran has declared she wouldn’t drink water even if she were dying... she’d stick to her favourite Pepsi like she has done for 64 years.

Jackie Page, 77, has had nothing else to drink but four cans of the fizzy pop a day since her first taste aged 13 in 1954.

And she insists she has always been slim, fit and healthy despite consuming the equivalent of three million sugar cubes.

“I don’t call it an addiction. It’s just something I like and I can’t help it if I don’t like anything else,” says the retired housekeeper and mum of four.

“Some people might think it’s weird and that nowadays you shouldn’t drink Pepsi. But I don’t care and I won’t settle for anything else. I wouldn’t drink water – no way. Not even if I was dying. And I won’t drink tea or coffee.”

Jackie reckons her love of the canned fizz – she won’t drink it from a bottle – hasn’t had any affect on her health over the years.

“I have always been really, really slim until about five years ago – but I think that’s because I am not as active as I was,” she says.

“Right up until I was 60 I was still doing line dancing and I was pretty fit, but I can’t get out to do that now. They say Pepsi is bad for your teeth – but I am a wartime baby and there’s not many of us without rotten teeth so I wouldn’t know.”

© Credits: Kennedy News

The craving that has led her to down more than 93,000 cans at a cost £65,800 began as a teenager. Up to then her mother had a nightmare getting her to drink anything.

“I didn’t like milk or water. My mum used to say ‘you have to drink something’. I know she used to give me lemonade or cherryade,” says Jackie, now a carer.

Ditch the Diet Coke! Artificial sweeteners in the popular drink are TOXIC to gut bacteria, study warns.

“I wouldn’t drink to enjoy it. Until I tasted Pepsi, drinking was just something I put up with.”

She reveals the only interruption to her Pepsi passion came when she was in hospital giving birth to her four children in the Sixties – because it was banned from the maternity ward. “They wouldn’t let me have it in with me so I had to go without,” says Jackie.

“But I’ve been to hospital since for some major operations and I was allowed to have it there.

“Much to their disgust, the staff even allowed me to keep my Pepsi in the kitchen fridge because I wouldn’t drink anything else. My kids used to come up to visit me in hospital with supplies of it so that I stayed hydrated.”

Now even her 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren are under strict instructions not to drink her stash when they visit her at her home in Carshalton, Surrey.

© Credits: Kennedy News

Jackie – who once had a dog called Pepsi and admits to hating rival brand Coca-Cola – says: “I have a cold one as soon as I wake up each day straight from the fridge.

“It’s like when someone says they want to drink a lovely cup of tea first thing in the morning. I drink up a lovely can of Pepsi instead.

“I even have it when we’re eating out as I don’t like alcohol either. If the restaurant doesn’t have it I just pull a can from my bag. Sometimes they get a bit funny about it. But I just know what I like – and that’s Pepsi.”

(Slideshow: Famous brands that started out with different names)

khojho Posted on October 17, 2018 16:56

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Big bluefin tuna make comeback after 80-year hiatus off California coast

Large Pacific bluefin tuna not seen in California waters for decades have reappeared, to the delight of fishing enthusiasts and scientists, as global conservation efforts have proven effective for one of the ocean's priciest and most sought-after fish.

Overfishing of bluefin tuna spurred by a growing global appetite for sushi resulted in a critical decline in stocks over decades. But measures by the United States, Japan, Mexico and others to limit their take have led to population growth, though tuna populations are still below historic levels.

Gerard DiNardo, director of the Fisheries Resources Division at Southwest Fisheries Science Center, a division of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in La Jolla, California, said there has been an increase in population as well as size of the bluefin because of those efforts.

"This is management and effective management and it actually is working'" said DiNardo.

The Center for Biological Diversity said in August 2017 that the Pacific bluefin had been overfished to less than 3 percent of its historic population. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced in October 2016 that it was considering listing the Pacific bluefin, but it subsequently concluded that protections were not warranted.

Related: Species that have gone extinct in our lifetime (provided by photo services)

Full Screen

Record-breaking temperatures in San Diego this past summer and the warming of the ocean off the California coast provided a feeding ground for the bluefin, which can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In early January, an 890-pound (403.7 kg) bluefin fetched $323,000 at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

"They're here to feed," said Heidi Dewar, a fisheries research biologist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. "If we want to understand the dynamics of what's going on here... we really need to look at what they're feeding on."

Scientists said there have been discussions within the fishing community for years about the seeming disappearance of the fish.

But DiNardo said, "They've always been here. It's just that they've been in low numbers for a number of decades."

Local sport fisherman have welcomed their resurgence.

"When the bluefin went away our sexy fish became the sword fish and striped Marlin,' said John Talsky, manager of the Tuna Club of Santa Catalina Island. "But now that the bluefin is back, we have had to change the rules for all of our tournaments. It’s a wonderful problem to have."

In early September, Ryder Devoe, 19, who dives to spear big game fish, emerged from the deep blue waters 68 miles off the California coast in his camouflaged wet suit, shouting: "I think I got him." Devoe had speared a 200-pound bluefin as a school swam 60 feet below.

“With a rod and reel you can’t catch them if they aren’t hungry," said Ed Heller, Devoe's boat captain. "But they will always eat a spear.”

(Reporting by Mike Blake; Writing by Diane Craft; Editing by Dan Grebler)

khojho Posted on October 17, 2018 14:30

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Bernie Sanders Is Quietly Remaking the Democrats’ Foreign Policy In His Own Image

Bernie Sanders is used to being outside the mainstream. His 2016 presidential campaign was predicated on that idea, and his foreign policy positions, to the extent that they were articulated, fell into a similar pattern—the independent senator from Vermont criticized what he saw as a failure in Democratic thinking that had led the party to fall in line behind costly adventures abroad. Hillary Clinton played herself up as the foreign policy candidate in the Democratic primary, but Sanders saw an opening: “I do question her judgment,” he said at one of their debates. “I question a judgment which voted for the war in Iraq—the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country.”The Clinton campaign, backed by the entire Democratic foreign policy establishment, responded in kind. Listing Sanders’ foreign policy positions, Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan put it bluntly in January of 2016: “When you look at all these ideas, it’s pretty clear he just hasn’t thought it through.” A public letter signed by nearly 20 former government heavyweights railed against his “continued lack of interest in and knowledge of essential foreign policy and national security issues.” Given the bitterness of that primary contest and the extent to which Sanders’ line of critique on foreign policy was adopted by the Donald Trump campaign, one could be forgiven for assuming that bad blood persists to this day.One would be wrong. Senator Sanders, who hasn’t ruled out launching another bid for the presidency in 2020, has begun to roll out a much more robust foreign policy platform, including a speech at Johns Hopkins University last Tuesday where he argued that progressivism on the homefront is not only a moral imperative, but a crucial part of any effort to stem the international tide of authoritarianism.“In order to effectively combat the forces of global oligarchy and authoritarianism, we need an international movement that mobilizes behind a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all people, and that addresses the massive global inequality that exists, not only in wealth but in political power,” Sanders said last week as he steamed to his conclusion. “Our job is to reach out to those in every corner of the world who shares these values, and who are fighting for a better world.”And over the last year and a half, according to a Sanders staffer, the senator has convened semi-regular groups of foreign policy thinkers and academics to help him develop the argument beyond mere rhetoric. Sanders’ new focus on the global dimensions of crony capitalism, corruption, and human rights has earned him some unlikely fans—one of whom is none other than Jake Sullivan.“In 2016, I would say Senator Sanders’ main focus was on the past,” Sullivan said in an interview. “When you shift the frame from the past to the present and the future, in some ways almost necessarily that shift comes with an inclination to step up, and respond to threats, and to take on the challenges out there, and I think we’ve seen that in the way he’s been dealing with foreign policy over the last two years.”Sullivan isn’t alone in his judgment. Van Jackson, a foreign policy expert and adviser to the Pentagon during the Obama administration, described Sanders’ global-minded makeover: “I’m a progressive but couldn’t bring myself to vote for Sanders in 2016 because I thought he wasn’t serious about national security. He was basically silent on it… Not only does Sanders now seem to take national security seriously—he’s literally the only politician accurately diagnosing the threat landscape America faces,” he said in an email.Strong words in favor of a politician Clinton described as having a “fundamental misunderstanding of what it takes to do… patient diplomacy.” But the authority and progressive credibility Sanders brings to his vision of a Democratic foreign policy have put him in a position to which he’s not accustomed, building a rare and tentative consensus between the progressive and “establishment” spheres. If Democrats hope to challenge Trump’s particular brand of direct, transactional, easy-to-follow world politics in 2020, Sanders’ grand unified theory may prove their best tool with which to do it.When Sanders began his 2016 campaign, those in his orbit could name off the top of their heads the number of dedicated foreign policy aides on his staff: zero. Compare this to the “several hundred” pencil-pushers the Clinton campaign deployed to flesh out the former secretary of state’s foreign policy, drowning in an endless sea of memos the goals of which would never see fruition. The Sanders campaign chose instead to consult with a looser, much more modest in size brain trust of mostly academics who were sympathetic to Sanders’ progressive worldview.“Part of the Clinton inevitability strategy was to lock down the usual suspects in left-liberal foreign policy,” said Dan Nexon, a Georgetown professor who served as one of those informal Sanders advisors. Nexon described how he, along with others like Sean Kay (who had previously assisted the 2008 Obama campaign in a similar capacity), eventually convinced the Sanders campaign to hire at least *one* full-time foreign policy staffer. That ended up being Bill French of the National Security Network, a now-defunct progressive foreign policy nonprofit. French’s mandate, according to a Foreign Policy report at the time, was to wrangle the ad hoc network of advisors and on top of their knowledge build out Sanders’ messaging. (French did not respond to a request for comment.)French departed after the end of the 2016 campaign, but was succeeded on Sanders’ senatorial staff by Matt Duss, the former president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and left-leaning foreign policy wonk who now serves as Sanders’ official foreign policy advisor. Nexon described the transition from the campaign, and Sanders’ evolution on foreign policy more broadly, as a slow awakening to the encroaching illiberalism represented by actors like Russia.“With what we started to understand about Russia late in the campaign, you saw very quickly that while Sanders was someone who ran on a balanced foreign policy toward Russia, and who still isn’t interested in going to war, [that attitude] shifted after what we’d understood Russia had done. With the way in which those strands became highly salient and highly visible, we had more information by early 2017, and it came together quite naturally for someone concerned with domestic inequality, capital mobility and how they undermine liberal values,” Nexon said.One would be wrong. Senator Sanders, who hasn’t ruled out launching another bid for the presidency in 2020, has begun to roll out a much more robust foreign policy platform, including a speech at Johns Hopkins University last Tuesday where he argued that progressivism on the homefront is not only a moral imperative, but a crucial part of any effort to stem the international tide of authoritarianism.“In order to effectively combat the forces of global oligarchy and authoritarianism, we need an international movement that mobilizes behind a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all people, and that addresses the massive global inequality that exists, not only in wealth but in political power,” Sanders said last week as he steamed to his conclusion. “Our job is to reach out to those in every corner of the world who shares these values, and who are fighting for a better world.”And over the last year and a half, according to a Sanders staffer, the senator has convened semi-regular groups of foreign policy thinkers and academics to help him develop the argument beyond mere rhetoric. Sanders’ new focus on the global dimensions of crony capitalism, corruption, and human rights has earned him some unlikely fans—one of whom is none other than Jake Sullivan.“In 2016, I would say Senator Sanders’ main focus was on the past,” Sullivan said in an interview. “When you shift the frame from the past to the present and the future, in some ways almost necessarily that shift comes with an inclination to step up, and respond to threats, and to take on the challenges out there, and I think we’ve seen that in the way he’s been dealing with foreign policy over the last two years.”Sullivan isn’t alone in his judgment. Van Jackson, a foreign policy expert and adviser to the Pentagon during the Obama administration, described Sanders’ global-minded makeover: “I’m a progressive but couldn’t bring myself to vote for Sanders in 2016 because I thought he wasn’t serious about national security. He was basically silent on it… Not only does Sanders now seem to take national security seriously—he’s literally the only politician accurately diagnosing the threat landscape America faces,” he said in an email.Strong words in favor of a politician Clinton described as having a “fundamental misunderstanding of what it takes to do… patient diplomacy.” But the authority and progressive credibility Sanders brings to his vision of a Democratic foreign policy have put him in a position to which he’s not accustomed, building a rare and tentative consensus between the progressive and “establishment” spheres. If Democrats hope to challenge Trump’s particular brand of direct, transactional, easy-to-follow world politics in 2020, Sanders’ grand unified theory may prove their best tool with which to do it.When Sanders began his 2016 campaign, those in his orbit could name off the top of their heads the number of dedicated foreign policy aides on his staff: zero. Compare this to the “several hundred” pencil-pushers the Clinton campaign deployed to flesh out the former secretary of state’s foreign policy, drowning in an endless sea of memos the goals of which would never see fruition. The Sanders campaign chose instead to consult with a looser, much more modest in size brain trust of mostly academics who were sympathetic to Sanders’ progressive worldview.“Part of the Clinton inevitability strategy was to lock down the usual suspects in left-liberal foreign policy,” said Dan Nexon, a Georgetown professor who served as one of those informal Sanders advisors. Nexon described how he, along with others like Sean Kay (who had previously assisted the 2008 Obama campaign in a similar capacity), eventually convinced the Sanders campaign to hire at least *one* full-time foreign policy staffer. That ended up being Bill French of the National Security Network, a now-defunct progressive foreign policy nonprofit. French’s mandate, according to a Foreign Policy report at the time, was to wrangle the ad hoc network of advisors and on top of their knowledge build out Sanders’ messaging. (French did not respond to a request for comment.)French departed after the end of the 2016 campaign, but was succeeded on Sanders’ senatorial staff by Matt Duss, the former president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and left-leaning foreign policy wonk who now serves as Sanders’ official foreign policy advisor. Nexon described the transition from the campaign, and Sanders’ evolution on foreign policy more broadly, as a slow awakening to the encroaching illiberalism represented by actors like Russia.“With what we started to understand about Russia late in the campaign, you saw very quickly that while Sanders was someone who ran on a balanced foreign policy toward Russia, and who still isn’t interested in going to war, [that attitude] shifted after what we’d understood Russia had done. With the way in which those strands became highly salient and highly visible, we had more information by early 2017, and it came together quite naturally for someone concerned with domestic inequality, capital mobility and how they undermine liberal values,” Nexon said.America’s borders (and maybe those of their current political office). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) earned herself a high-profile spot on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee after the 2016 election, and her first foreign trip as a senator in 2014 was to Israel, a politically critical U.S. ally. She even swung by Kuwait and Iraq over the Fourth of July this year, bolstering her national profile with a markedly “presidential” visit to the troops. But Warren has yet to publicly lay out a sustained foreign policy vision of her own, as Sanders has now done.Meanwhile, Sanders is making inroads even among centrists who might previously have been more intervention-minded, or at least more ambivalent about its costs. It’s a large part of the growing realization that the progressive left and the mainstream Democratic Party may have more in common on foreign policy than they think.“When progressives start talking about the defense of democratic values, it’s something that [the centrist] wing always is supportive of, and [that wing has] also realized that the stomach for some of the emphasis on military instruments in the Democratic movement just isn’t there anymore,” said Nexon. “I think there’s a sense that’s the way the wind is blowing, and for good reason—it’s hard to look back on last 16 years and feel like the use of force has wound up producing good results.”Even Sullivan agrees, with an eye on 2020, that the two wings are likely to have more in common than not regarding foreign policy after living with the hard-won lessons of the War on Terror and what’s followed.“I predict in the primary that you’re not going to see huge divides on foreign policy… the notion there’s going to be an isolationist wing and internationalist wing and they’re going to clash is, I think, not correct.”If Sullivan is correct, after laying the groundwork for a new Democratic status quo on foreign policy, Bernie Sanders might find himself in a position with which he’s quite unfamiliar—dead in the center.

ruby Posted on October 17, 2018 10:06

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Roseanne Barr's character killed off in first episode of sitcom reboot

In the first episode of the show it is revealed Barr's character died from an overdose of painkillers she took for a knee injury.

Roseanne Barr's eponymous character has been killed off in the first episode of The Connors, the rebooted version of her now-cancelled show.

Barr was fired from sitcom Rosanne after sending a racist tweet in which she compared Valerie Jarrett, a former Barack Obama aide, to an ape.

The actress later apologised and said she had written the tweet while under the influence of the sleep-inducing medicine Ambien.

Image: The Connors picks up three weeks after Roseanne's funeral. Pic: ABC

The Connors centres around the working class American family featured in Roseanne but with Barr's character written out.

In the first episode of the show it is revealed Barr's character died from an overdose of painkillers she took for a knee injury.


Video: Roseanne: I made a mistake

After the show, Barr released a joint statement with her Rabbi saying the method of her character's death "lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show".

"After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness," the statement added.

Roseanne Barr: I'm not racist, I'm a creative genius

The actress posted a racist tweet comparing ex-Obama aid Valerie Jarrett to an ape

Barr also tweeted separately: "I ain't dead, b*****s!!!!"

The first episode addresses the opioid crisis in America, which in 2016 claimed 42,249 lives.

ABC initially cancelled Roseanne but then transformed it into a spin-off.

Roseanne's husband is still played by John Goodman and the action starts three weeks after her funeral.

Albert Ulebe Posted on October 17, 2018 10:00

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Maribe: I have cooperated with police, free me

In an affidavit filed in court through lawyer Katwa Kigen, Ms Maribe said she was not involved in the murder of Ms Monica Kimani, was not at the crime scene, and did not know Ms Kimani.

Further, she said, she allowed the police into her house, handed over her mobile phone, and has co-operated with the police during the investigations. She said she has not been in contact with any of the intended prosecution witnesses.


“I have co-operated with investigators and any association against me with the alleged murder, if any, is wholly weak circumstantial association,” she said in the affidavit.

Ms Maribe, 30, was arrested on September 29 over the murder of Ms Kimani, 28. She and her fiancé, Mr Joseph Kuria Irungu, have denied killing Ms Kimani, whose body was found in the bathtub at her Lamuria Gardens apartment on September 19.

Although the prosecution opposes their release on bond, Ms Maribe said she is not a flight risk and willingly availed herself on nine occasions to the police.

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

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Single mother

“I am a well-known TV journalist. Most Kenyans are conversant with my job and can easily spot me anywhere, making it impossible to jump bail,” she said.

She added that she is willing to surrender her passport to the court, adding that as single mother she is the sole provider for her child.

But prosecutor Catherine Mwiniki opposes her release on bond through an affidavit, saying several witnesses set to testify against the two need protection, and that the investigations go beyond Kenya.

The two will appear in court today for the hearing of their bail application.

Another suspect

In an affidavit filed in court, the investigating officer said investigations so far has placed Mr Irungu at the scene of crime, but they are yet to arrest a suspect who was with him in the vehicle after he allegedly committed the crime. The affidavit says that the vehicle used after the crime was Ms Maribe’s.

Further, the officer said, the investigations will go beyond Kenyan borders. Ms Kimani had just arrived from South Sudan the day she was killed.

Among the witnesses set to testify is a person who saw Ms Irungu burning some clothes on the night Ms Kimani was murdered. The clothes were allegedly burnt at Ms Maribe’s house in Lang’ata and the witness, who was in their company, positively identified the clothes.

She argues that her child will suffer if she remains in custody until the conclusion of the trial.

khojho Posted on October 17, 2018 09:50

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Anna Burns wins Booker Prize with Troubles tale 'Milkman'

LONDON — Anna Burns won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction Tuesday for "Milkman," a vibrant, violent story about men, women, conflict and power set during Northern Ireland's years of Catholic-Protestant violence.

Burns is the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the 50,000-pound ($66,000) prize, which is open to English-language authors from around the world. She received her trophy from Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during a black-tie ceremony at London's medieval Guildhall.

The 56-year-old Belfast-born novelist said she was "stunned" to have won. Burns said her books took a long time to complete, and she has often struggled financially since her first novel, "No Bones," was released in 2001.

Related: In photos- Man Booker Prize 2018 longlist (provided by photo services)

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"I just wait for my characters to come and tell me their stories, and I can't write until they do," Burns told reporters. "Also, as with a lot of writers, they don't earn much money. So that gets in the way of the creativity."

Burns said that with her prize money, "I will clear my debts and live on what's left."

The writer said the germ of "Milkman" came to her in the image of a teenage girl walking down a street in a divided city while reading the novel "Ivanhoe."

"Milkman" is narrated by a bookish young woman dealing with an older man who uses family ties, social pressure and political loyalties as weapons of sexual coercion and harassment. It is set in the 1970s, but was published amid the global eruption of sexual misconduct allegations that sparked the "Me Too" movement.

"I think this novel will help people to think about 'Me Too,' and I like novels that help people think about current movements and challenges," said philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, who chaired the judging panel. "But we think it'll last — it's not just about something that's going on in this moment.


"I think it's a very powerful novel about the damage and danger of rumor," he added,

Burns beat five other novelists, including the bookies' favorites: American writer Richard Powers' tree-centric eco-epic "The Overstory" and Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan's "Washington Black," the story of a slave who escapes from a sugar plantation in a hot-air balloon.

The other finalists were U.S. novelist Rachel Kushner's "The Mars Room," set in a women's prison; Robin Robertson's "The Long Take," a verse novel about a traumatized D-Day veteran; and 27-year-old British author Daisy Johnson's Greek tragedy-inspired family saga "Everything Under."

Founded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers. Americans have been eligible since 2014, and there have been two American winners — Paul Beatty's "The Sellout" in 2016 and George Saunders' "Lincoln in the Bardo" in 2017.

A third consecutive American victor would have revived fears among some U.K. writers and publishers that the prize is becoming too U.S.-centric. But Appiah said neither the nationality nor the gender of the authors was a factor in the judges' deliberations on the shortlist of four female authors and two men.

"If we had been drifting towards thinking that one of the men on the list was the best one, I wouldn't have said 'No guys, we're going to get in trouble for this' any more than if we'd been drifting towards an American," he said. "We picked the one ... most deserving of the prize."

The Man Booker has a reputation for transforming writers' careers, and the one who will emerge from the field to beat other finalists is always subject to intense speculation and lively betting. Previous winners include Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Arundhati Roy and Hilary Mantel.

It's likely to bring a big boost to Burns, who has published two previous novels, but is hardly a household name.

"Milkman" appears on the printed page with few paragraph marks, which has led some to label it experimental and challenging. But Appiah said the vivid, distinctive Belfast language in Burns' book was "really worth savoring."

"If you're having difficulty, try reading it out loud," he said. "The pleasure of it really has to do with the way that it sounds.

"It's challenging in the way a walk up (mount) Snowdon is challenging. It's definitely worth it, because the view is terrific when you get to the top."

khojho Posted on October 17, 2018 09:01

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Tether Found a New Bank, and it Might be in the Bahamas: Report

Tether, the controversial issuer of the USDT cryptocurrency, may have found a new banking partner in the Bahamas.

Tether May Have a New Bank

As first reported by The Block’s Larry Cermak, Tether — whose USD-pegged cryptocurrency has a market cap in the billions of dollars — is said to be holding its fiat reserves at Deltec Bank, which is based out of Nassau.

Those reserves, according to the company, are quite large. As of Tuesday morning, there are more than 2.25 billion USDT tokens in circulation, representing $2.25 billion in physical assets. At one point, USDT was worth nearly $2.9 billion, though hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the cryptocurrency token has been yanked out of circulation in October.

Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitfinex Unveils ‘Distributed Banking Solution’

Tether reportedly shares a management team with cryptocurrency exchange giant Bitfinex, and, concurrent with Cermak’s report on the stablecoin issuer’s new banking partner, Bitfinex introduced a “new, improved and increasingly resilient fiat depositing system” that utilizes a “distributed banking solution.”

Previously, both Bitfinex and Tether were said to be holding assets at Noble Bank, a financial institution located in Puerto Rico. However, Noble Bank is now reportedly up for sale as the result of monetary struggles of its own.

Bitfinex did not reveal any details about its new banking partner(s). However, screenshots allegedly taken from within the new fiat deposit system suggest that the exchange does not want this information to become public.

“This banking information is being provided to you for purposes of contributing good faith funding to your account on Bitfinex,” reads the message in the screenshot posted by widely-followed cryptocurrency investor WhalePanda. “This banking information is commercially sensitive and confidential. You should be very careful with this information. You are asked to keep this information to yourself and to not share it except with your financial institution. Divulging this information could damage not just yourself and Bitfinex, but the entire digital token ecosystem. Accordingly, you are cautioned that there may be serious negative effects associated with this information becoming public.”

As CCN reported, the tether price has slipped below the $1.00 mark in recent days, perhaps in part due to lingering concerns over the long-term ability to redeem USDT for physical currency. After slipping as low as $0.92 on Monday, tether’s global average had recovered to about $0.98 by the time of writing.

A Tether representative did not immediately respond to CCN’s request for confirmation on its alleged banking relationship with Deltec.

Albert Ulebe Posted on October 17, 2018 08:38

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Five Brightest Planets in the Solar System Have Aligned

For the second time this year, the five brightest planets can be seen at the same time. You can catch them by looking towards the western sky after sunset. The planets will form a line rising up from the horizon.

Mercury and Venus are low to the west, with bright Jupiter shining just above. Higher up in the northwestern sky is Saturn, and completing the set of five is the red planet Mars, high overhead.

On Friday, October 12, a beautiful crescent Moon sits just to the right of Jupiter. Keep watching the planets night after night and you can track the progression of the Moon. As the Moon zips around Earth each month, its apparent motion in the sky is much faster than the more leisurely motion of the planets in their orbits around the Sun.

By Monday October 15, the Moon will have moved higher in the sky to sit near Saturn, and a few days later, on October 18, the Moon will partner with Mars.

That will also be a perfect evening to see the planets, as Venus and Mercury will be sitting side by side. Of all the five planets, Mercury is the faintest and therefore hardest to see, so having bright Venus as a signpost to Mercury is always an advantage.

In about a week’s time, Venus, which has been the bright evening star for most of this year, will move into the glare of the Sun and out of the night sky.

Five planets, two groups

The planets have been doing a merry dance in the night sky over the past few months.

Back in July, they also came together in the evening sky, but on that occasion they were stretched right across the sky. Mercury and Venus could be found in the west, while Jupiter, Saturn and Mars were rising in the east.

© iStock As Mercury and Venus are the inner planets, orbiting closer to the Sun than Earth does, we only ever see these two low to the west after sunset, or low to the east before sunrise. They are the planets either following or leading the Sun.

In contrast, the outer planets of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can drift right across the sky, which is exactly what they have been doing since July. The trio has moved from east to west, and now they join Mercury and Venus to put on the five-planet show.

There’s more in store

It may seem like a common occurrence, since the five planets have come together again in the space of just a few months. But it’s only possible because Jupiter and Saturn are currently on the same side of the Sun and therefore near each other, relatively speaking.

The five planets have come together twice this year and twice in 2016, but before that there was a decade when it just wasn’t possible. The two gas giants were too far apart.

Video player from: YouTube (Privacy Policy)

As Jupiter and Saturn pair up in the sky, it’s only a matter of time before the other planets fall into the right configuration to bring them all together.

The next time this occurs will be in July 2020, but it will be harder to see compared to this week. The planets will be stretched across the sky rather than all clustered together in the west as they are right now. So it’s still special to spot the five planets coming together. There’s great satisfaction in being able to tick off all five planets in a single viewing.

Up for a challenge?

Not only are the five easy-to-see planets visible in the evening sky, but they are joined by Uranus and Neptune to complete the planetary set.

© NASA Uranus and Neptune

These two ice giants that orbit beyond Saturn are modern-day planets. They were not known in ancient times because their discovery needed the aid of a telescope and an understanding of gravity to know how the Solar System works.

But while they may not be seen with the naked eye, Uranus is low in the east at sunset and Neptune is higher up, about midway to Mars.

Practised observers, viewing the sky from a dark country site, have been able to see Uranus with the naked eye by knowing exactly where to look. Through binoculars, Uranus appears like a faint star but a good telescope will show its slightly bluish disc.

Related: Coolest space discoveries (provided by photo services)

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It is best to wait until later in the evening, when Uranus has risen higher, to try to observe it. But now is an ideal time, as the planet is approaching opposition on October 24, when it will be at its best.

Neptune is about the same size as Uranus but much further away, making it harder to see. Even with a modest telescope it appears as a bluish star, while the right observing conditions and a high-quality telescope are needed to reveal Neptune’s disc.

Lastly, and not to be left out, even the dwarf planet Pluto joins the crowd. It’s much too small and distant to be seen but currently sits about midway between Saturn and Mars.

Even with a high-quality telescope Pluto only ever appears as a faint star-like object, and it will be a challenge for most to find it in its current position among all the stars near the bright Milky Way.

If you are up for the challenge, a free astronomy program such as Stellarium is ideal to help locate the planets. But it’s just as rewarding to enjoy the five bright planets, observed since ancient times, briefly coming together in the western sky.

khojho Posted on October 17, 2018 08:37

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'I wear the pants': Lady Gaga reveals reason behind oversize suit in powerful speech

© Michael Kovac Lady Gaga speaks onstage during ELLE's 25th Annual Women In Hollywood Celebration on October 15, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. © Michael Kovac Christian Carino and Lady Gaga attend ELLE's 25th Annual Women In Hollywood Celebration on Oct. 15, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Lady Gaga was making more than a fashion statement during Monday night’s Elle Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration.

Donning an oversize Marc Jacobs pantsuit, Gaga took the stage to deliver an emotionally raw acceptance speech that touched on sexual abuse, mental health and the burdening beauty standards place on women in Hollywood.

"I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today, I wear the pants," she said onstage. 

Her outfit offered a striking contrast to the glamorous gowns she's worn while promoting "A Star is Born," a role that has generated major Oscar buzz. The pop star said her preparation for the event, formed to honor powerful women in entertainment, began the same way.

Related: Lady Gaga career in pictures (Photo services)

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"I tried on dress after dress today getting ready for this event, one tight corset after another, one heel after another, a diamond, a feather, thousands of beaded fabrics and the most beautiful silks in the world," Gaga said. "To be honest, I felt sick to my stomach."

In that moment, Lady Gaga began to question why she cared so much about what others thought about her. 

"And I asked myself: What does it really mean to be a woman in Hollywood? We are not just objects to entertain the world. We are not members of a giant beauty pageant meant to be pit against one another for the pleasure of the public," she said. "We women in Hollywood, we are voices. ... We have the power to speak and be heard and fight back when we are silenced."

After trying on nearly a dozen designer gowns, the pressure to please others melted away when she in love with the Marc Jacobs suit that allowed Lady Gaga to be herself. 

"This was an oversized men’s suit made for a woman. Not a gown. And then I began to cry," she recalled. "In this suit, I felt the truth of who I am well up in my gut."

The singer and actress, who referred to her boyfriend Christian Carino as her "fiance" onstage, made note of current events and called her outfit an act of freedom to resist the norm.

"I had a revelation that I had to be empowered to be myself today more than ever," she said. "To resist the standards of Hollywood, whatever that means. To resist the standards of dressing to impress. To use what really matters: my voice."

khojho Posted on October 17, 2018 08:01

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5 things every girl wants her man to do for her Interestingly, they never ask for these things.

Love is of course a two way street, but here are some insights on what can help make a difference, or even change the direction of your relationship.

Ladies have high and unrealistic expectations when it comes to their view of relationships. We can thank the "Telenovelas"and their "diaries", for that. The funny thing is that they often don't even communicate most of these things because they expect their partners  to know it like their date of birth.

READ ALSO:Your guy is 'Mr. Right' if he does these 7 things

There’s a long list of things that we really want from you all and we will never ask for, but here are just a few that will really brighten our day:

1. Sacrifice your manly ego for her when need be



Girls love it when they now their men humbly succumb their ego to them and make them their out most priority.

2. A listening ear



Fully pay attention to her when she is sharing her future plans with you. Not only that but also listen to their "unnecessary" nagging an so on.

3. Gifts



Like they see in movies, girls like to be  surprised from time to time with lavish and romantic gifts like flowers, perfumes and perhaps shopping occasionally.

4. Compliments

Anyone, who has ever been in love, knows how important compliments are to ladies . Tell her she’s beautiful daily because sometimes she really needs to hear it.

5. Regular checkups

A sweet text to wake up to in the morning.

AlbertaU Posted on October 16, 2018 13:38

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Prague VS Vienna: Which One to Visit?

Prague and Vienna are both wonderful and exciting cities bristling with modern cosmopolitanism and ancient history and culture. But if you’ve got a European vacation planned in the future and are trying to decide which one of these amazing cities to visit, it can be daunting for sure.

Both have their charms as well as distinct advantages and disadvantages with regards to getting around and depending upon how much time you have.



While both cities are rich in sightseeing adventures, Prague is considered by many travel experts to be more scenic. Vienna is a hotbed of history, home to such great sites such as The Hofburg, Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

But Prague is definitely more beautiful as a city. You can stroll along the Danube River for breathtaking views, sit in one of the many cafés that dot the urban landscape, and breath in the amazing architecture – both old and modern – that makes up this Central European metropolis.


You most likely didn’t travel all the way to Europe just to go shopping. But, if you happen to be a shopaholic, Vienna is definitely better. But be warned: fine goods you buy in Vienna will sometimes be three times more expensive than what they are in the United States or Canada.


When it comes to great dining, both cities are equally enticing. Austrians are known for their love of sweets and pastries, which is reflected in the many bakeries, cafés, and restaurants scattered around Vienna. Some restaurants in either city offer local cuisine, though you’re more likely to be eating a combination of Western European or even Americanized food. Bear in mind that Prague (being that it is in Central Europe) will be far less pricey than Vienna.


What do you hope to see on your trip? Palaces? Medieval Cathedrals? The Opera? How about museums? If you do happen to visit both cities, you’ll find that culture equally as enriching. However, Vienna has more world-class museums and showcase the rich history of the area.

Differences between the two cities

Every world-class city has its own feel, or atmosphere if you will. And Vienna and Prague are no different. Vienna feels more modern, stately and polished while Prague feels slightly undeveloped and more old-fashioned.

One thing is for certain: people in both cities are exceptionally friendly. Many speak English and will be willing to help you if you need directions.

Here is something else to keep in mind: if you plan on spending a week in either city, you might want to rent a car for some day trips. It is becoming more common for tourists to rent cars in Vienna to visit the scenic Melk and Wachau valleys. From Prague, the closest day trip is to the gorgeous Cesky Krumlov, which is part of the South Bohemian Region. Here, you’ll find many old castles and charming houses.

How much time do you have?

Are you going to be on a rushed trip? If so, Prague might be your better option. The city isn’t as spread out as Vienna and is easier to travel around in. On the other hand, if you’ve got lots of time and perhaps wish to spend more money on upscale entertainment, Vienna will be better for you.

jmparker Posted on October 16, 2018 11:57

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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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