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Six Pack Abs Diet: 6 Foods You Must Have To Get Those Ripped Abs

Building a six-pack abdomen is not an easy task. It requires tremendous discipline and unrivalled commitment levels, combined with a targeted training program that not only burns the excess fat but also tones the abdominal muscles with greater accuracy. HIIT workouts and strength training are the order of the day if one is looking to activate the core and reduce the fat around the waistline.

However, a targeted training program is not all you need for a six-pack abdomen; a proper dietalso plays a crucial role in building those sculpted abs. Ensure that the diet has minimal quantities of added sugars and has good amounts of protein, which is quintessential for muscle building and recovery.

Without any further ado, let us look closer at the six foods that you must have to build a sculpted abdomen.

#1 Milk

Benefits: Milk is one of those few foods that contains most the essential minerals and vitamins required by the body. Being a good source of protein, milk is great for muscle building and recovery, making it a must-have after an intense workout.

Nutrients: One glass of non-fat milk provides around 83 calories of energy, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein. Additionally, it is a rich source of Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium along with vitamin B12.

Quantity to be taken: Two glasses of milk per day.

Alternatives: Soy milk or any other dairy products.


#2 Eggs

Benefits: Eggs find themselves on various diet programs as they are low on carbohydrates, which is quintessential for controlling tummy fat. Studies have shown that having eggs on a regular basis could reduce the HDL levels in the body while also reducing the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular ailments.

Nutrients: One large boiled egg provides around 78 calories of energy, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and less than 1 gram of carbohydrates. Eggs contain good amounts of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Selenium, Zinc and Copper along with vitamins A, D, B6 and B12.

Quantity to be taken: Two eggs each day.

#3 Almonds

Benefits: Being a rich source of dietary fibre, almonds and other nuts aid in digestion and go a long way towards improving the feeling of fullness, which ultimately, ensures that you consume less food during the day. Almonds and a rich source of antioxidants and could help maintain blood pressure.

Nutrients: Almonds are very calorie-dense as one cup of this food provides just over 800 calories of energy, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 30 grams of protein and 71 grams of fat. These nuts are also rich sources of many essential minerals such as Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Iron.

Quantity to be taken: Structure your diet such that you have at least a fistful of almonds for every couple of days.

Alternatives: Walnuts, Cashew Nuts.

#4 Blueberries

Benefits: Unlike other fruit, blueberries only contain a moderate amount of sugars, making them an ideal fruit for people who are looking to build a six-pack abdomen. Furthermore, they are a rich source of antioxidants and are very effective in controlling blood sugar while also maintaining good cardiovascular health.

Nutrients: One serving of blueberries provides around 85 calories of energy, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein and negligible quantities of fat. Blueberries are loaded with essential nutrients such as Magnesium and vitamin C and K. Also, they are a good source of dietary fibre.

Quantity to be taken: One cup per serving.

Alternatives: Strawberries and raspberries.

#5 Quinoa

Benefits: Quinoa is a very rich source of dietary fibre, which not only promotes a feeling of fullness but also improves digestion. It is a good source of protein and is one of those plant-based foods that contain all the essential amino acids required by the body. Furthermore, having quinoa on a daily basis could help maintain blood sugar levels.

Nutrients: One cup of cooked quinoa provides around 220 calories of energy along with 40 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein. It is a rich source of Manganese, Phosphorous, Iron, Copper and Magnesium, along with a host of vital vitamins including Thiamin, Folate, Riboflavin and vitamins A, B6 and E.

#6 Oatmeal

Benefits: Oats contain tonnes of antioxidants, which are quintessential for maintaining blood pressure. Furthermore, oats help in digestion due to the high fibre content present in the food.

Nutrients: One cup of cooked oats contain around 160 calories of energy, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat. Additionally, they are a very good source of vitamins A and B6 along with Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium.

Quantity to be taken: Have one cup of oatmeal peppered with berries or other fruit as your breakfast


majsdesaint Posted on October 05, 2018 13:20

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Lopetegui needs to fix Real Madrid's attacking woes

The excitement that came with the start of the new season and the Julen Lopetegui era seems to have dissipated at Real Madrid. After a barnstorming start to the season, there are troubling signs that he will need to fix. 

In the Derbi de Madrileno against local rivals, Atletico Madrid, Real looked ponderous in front. Although the Atleti backline was excellent as usual, the Los Merengues' attack failed to threaten Jan Oblak's goal consistently.

There was a distinct lack of cutting edge in the attack. Once again, Karim Benzema failed to do anything meaningful. The midfield failed to create many clear-cut chances as well. Worse was to come. In the UEFA Champions League clash against CSKA Moscow, Real failed to muster enough chances after they had gone behind in the 2nd minute. Too many times, the front line failed to get into position to harm the Russian army side.

This has become a pattern to the team's play. In the early days, against the lesser lights in La Liga, Lopetegui's style looked like it would work a treat. In the tougher games, the possession-based style does not seem to be working. In the La Liga games against Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol, Sevilla and Atleti, Los Blancos have only scored two goals.

Injuries to players like Gareth Bale and Isco have not helped. However, a change of approach and tactics from Lopetegui may be needed. Karin Benzema as the attack's focal point is just not working. The Frenchman has not had a shot on target in six games. His mopey, distracted style keeps breaking down moves and making life difficult for the midfielders.

Now will be the time for Lopetegui to give Mariano Diaz an extended run as the team's main striker. The former Lyon man has shown drive and hustle in the games he has played. His drive and aerial abilities will give players like Marco Asensio, Luka Modric and others something to aim for.

With games against Alaves, Levante (La Liga) and Viktoria Plzen (UCL) before the 28th of October El Clásico clash with FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou, these games will provide the perfect opportunity for Lopetegui to try different formations and tactics before the drama/tension associated with the Clasico.

Lopetegui is surely regretting not adding more attacking quality in the summer. January is a notoriously bad time for buying strikers with reportedly main targets Mauro Icardi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe definitely not joining in the winter transfer window.

The current setup and style aren't working. Given Real Madrid and Florentino Perez's record with patience is not great so Lopetegui will need to fix the goalscoring issues as soon as possible.


majsdesaint Posted on October 05, 2018 12:32

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The World’s Most Precise Clock Reveals the Nature of Time and the Universe.

Physicist Jun Ye built the world’s most precise clock and is part of the group of scientists who changed our understanding of time itself.

THE MOST UNKNOWN is Motherboard's love letter to the scientific process. For the next nine weeks, we'll be profiling the people trying to answer science's most difficult questions. Our feature-length documentary is now available on Netflix, and bonus episodes are available on YouTube.

The question Jun Ye gets asked the most is: why would you want to make the world’s most precise clock?

For many of us, who live our lives by the day, hour or, if we’re lucky, by the moment, it’s difficult to understand the use in splitting time up into smaller and smaller chunks.

But as the Colorado University, Boulder physics professor explained to me over Skype, the endeavor of studying time is anything but futile. Time, Ye said, isn’t just at the heart of everything we do, but at the very core of understanding how the universe functions.

“Time is one of the most fundamental tools that connects us to nature” Ye said. The passage of the sun across the sky allowed ancient Egyptians to track their work hours, the pull of gravity kept pendulum clocks ticking to allow seafarers to navigate the oceans, and the vibration of quartz under stress brought timekeeping on to people’s wrists. Measuring time has always been at the heart of human society, Ye explained, but how we do that has changed considerably.

As measurements became more precise, scientists discovered that these natural timekeepers were fickle and inconsistent. They searched for clock mechanisms that wouldn’t fall behind or need to be reset as often.

The search led physicists to atoms, which “tick” naturally thanks to their physical properties. Inside each atom are even smaller particles that are arranged like a solar system. In the core are protons and neutrons, the sun, and orbiting them at increasing distances are electrons, the planets. In the tiny, subatomic world, atoms obey the laws of quantum physics. Electrons can jump between orbits and, when they do, they give off or absorb a tiny jolt of microwave radiation and change into a different energy state. This happens many times every second and each jump back and forth is the atom’s transition frequency, or clock tick.

The physicists Louis Essen and Jack Parry found a way to harness the atoms of the soft, silvery-gold metal cesium to make one of the first atomic clocks. In doing so they literally redefined time. A second is now defined as the transition frequency of cesium 133 atoms, roughly 9.2 billion cycles. Essen and Parry’s clock, now a museum piece, used atoms to reset quartz clocks by giving the mineral a nudge if its vibrations slowed down. It would have neither gained nor lost a second in 300 years, if it had stayed in operation that long.

This chart shows the accuracy of various atomic clocks over time. Image: Engineering and Technology History Wiki

Over time, scientists found ways to use cesium atoms on their own. They’d prod the atoms with microwaves tuned to cesium’s exact frequency to make the atoms change to their high energy form. This new generation of clocks improved the stability (how much time is lost or gained) a million times over.

If you glance down at your cellphone or computer right now, the time you see has been synced with more than 500 atomic clocks all around the world. That means throwing in an extra leap second every 19 months or so to allow the time taken based on Earth’s rotation to catch up with the more precise atomic time.

Time isn’t just the subject of Ye’s research; good timing has played at least a small part in his path to building the world’s most precise clock.

He was born in Shanghai, right at the end of China’s Cultural Revolution and at the beginning of its education system revival. Soon after he decided to pursue an educational path emphasizing science and technology, over his other great love, literature, he was selected to represent his school at a national physics competition. That serendipitous event would set him on the road to life as a physicist.

Jun Ye in his office. Image: Lindsay Blatt/Motherboard

“I did reasonably well,” he recalled in an interview for his university’s webpage, “and, I discovered that physics was exciting for me.”

As timing would have it, Ye was in the right place at the right time when physicists figured out how to solve one of the biggest hurdles to making an even more precise clock. Precision depends both on how small you can make the chunks of time but also on how well you can read those chunks. Previous clocks relied on converting an atom’s super-fast microwave radiation to slower radio waves that the electronics of the time could read. That meant you could only see larger “chunks” of time, like having a clock you know ticks every second but with a face that only has hour and minute hands.

When Ye was hired as a physicist for the National Institutes of Standards and Technology and assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1999, he was meant to be taking over from eminent physicist, and Ye’s PhD adviser, John Hall. But Hall and his colleague Theodor Hänsch from the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany were on the verge of solving this clock-reading puzzle.

Around the turn of the century, they invented the optical frequency comb, a time ruler made out of light frequencies from a laser, then retired a few years after that. Now, scientists could read atoms that vibrated at even higher frequencies, including those in the optical range—frequencies between 430 and 770 trillion hertz (for comparison, a pendulum clock swings at a frequency of one hertz).

Ye described this as a “breakthrough” for science that opened up new avenues of exploration. He speaks about this discovery like a great explorer might speak of encountering a new land.

The blue atoms of Ye's clock. Image: Screengrab/Motherboard

“We were basically coming up to [the edge of] a slope where you look down and there’s just wildflowers everywhere in the valley and you can just go down and pick these beautiful wildflowers,” Ye told me.

Soon, Ye was leading breakthroughs of his own. He developed an atomic clock made from strontium 87, a soft, silver-white yellowish metal. Strontium 87’s atoms tick at femtoseconds—that’s 1 million billion times per second. His latest version of the clock has thousands of supercooled strontium atoms arranged in a three dimensional lattice (imagine M&M’s sitting on the peaks and troughs of an egg carton.) The atoms are prodded to start vibrating using a red laser tuned to strontium’s frequency and then an optical frequency comb reads out that vibration.

This is the most precise clock in the world. If it had been running since the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago, it would only have only strayed by one second. Ye shows off the clock in the Motherboard feature, The Most Unknown. He leads Caltech geobiologist Victoria Orphan through a maze of wires to a cavern illuminated by the blue glow of the strontium clock. To the average person, it looks a little like a Rube Goldberg machine.

I struggle to imagine the scale that Ye works on and how or even why he studies what he does. Ye explained that, just like the first sundials allowed people to plant and harvest crops at the right time, atomic clocks hide beneath the conveniences of everyday life.

Take GPS systems, for example. Whether or not your Uber driver brings you to the right place relies, at least in part, on atomic clocks. GPS devices work by calculating how long it took for messages from satellites around Earth to reach it. From there the device can figure out how far away it is from each satellite and then work out your position. Any little error in time measurement and you might end up on the other side of town. A single millisecond error translates to a distance error of 300 kilometers. Ye envisions that atomic clocks will underpin the navigation systems of autonomous vehicles or even the vehicles that are sent further afield to Mars and beyond.

Ye. Image: Screengrab/Motherboard

Ye also thinks there’s great scientific value in creating super-precise clocks.

“Measurement is at the heart of science,” he said “we should be able to reveal the very core of nature.”

In particular, he thinks atomic clocks will allow scientists to figure out how the weird properties of quantum physics, like particles being in two places at once or in superposition, relate to the classical physics we experience everyday.

“There has to be a place where quantum physics and classical physics connect” he reasoned. “Once the universe knows a quantum system is in superposition, somehow it will conspire to break that and turn it into a classical world. It sounds a little like superstition but quantum mechanics is a little bit like that.”

Understanding quantum systems better could help scientists could figure out how to make big things, not just tiny ones, act in a quantum way. That’s the idea behind quantum computing, to run computer bits in all their superpositions at once, instead of one after the other.

Ye thinks that would be possible if there was a clock precise enough to measure how time changes near the tiny dips in spacetime around a particle. Take it one step further and if you measure how other objects are pulled into those dips, you can measure gravity in a super precise way. That could allow geophysicists to predict volcanic eruptions, Ye said, by sensing when masses under the surface of the Earth move by a tiny fraction.

The more we delve into the depths of atomic time, the more endless the possibilities seem. Even Ye himself said he doesn’t believe there’s a limit to a clock’s performance and the leaps forward that accompany it.

“I’ve thought of many road blocks but fundamentally I couldn’t think of any limit,” he said.“My interest, although it’s always been there, is actually growing stronger because of the recent 10 to 15 years of advancement. It makes the whole community feel more and more courageous to ask those deep, insightful questions.”

It’s hard to imagine what a world with such a precise clock would be like but, perhaps, that’s the point. With every leap forward in how we measure time comes some notable technical or societal leap. The pendulum allowed people to cross the atlantic. Atomic clocks enabled GPS and the internet.

The beauty of these clocks is that they, as Ye described, give us the chance to peer over a new mountain and see what wildflowers might be on the other side.

AlbertaU Posted on October 05, 2018 11:04

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How to Make Your Boyfriend Go Crazy over You

Whether you are in a new relationship or if you are a long-term couple, everyone wants their boyfriend to be attentive and attracted to them. As relationships grow and change, it is common for the crazy passion you once had for each other to slow down or be expressed in other ways. Sure he likes you or even loves you, but there are ways to make him go crazy over you. You want him to feel desired, and you also want to encourage this passion by being a desirable partner.


Part 1

Making Your Boyfriend Feel Desired

  1. 1

    Compliment him. Complimenting your boyfriend is an important way to help him feel appreciated and loved. By complimenting him, you will show him that you accept him as he is and that you like the things that he says and does. [1] It is important to compliment your boyfriend for his big accomplishments, but you should also try paying your boyfriend compliments when he does little things as well. For example:
    • “Wow, that was an amazing kiss.”
    • “You looked so sexy and manly out there cutting the grass.”
    • “You were so good in the game today; it’s such a turn on watching you play.”
  2. 2

    Lock eyes with him. Eye contact is a great nonverbal way to show your acceptance of someone. When we like people, we are more likely to make eye contact with them.[2] Show your boyfriend that you love and accept him by gazing into his eyes. If he returns your feelings, then he should gaze into you eyes in return.

  3. 3

    Kiss with passion. Kissing is one of the ways that we evaluate our partners, so being a good kisser is really important. Kissing can also help to improve your boyfriend’s feeling of attraction and connection to you. To be a good kisser, try to keep some things in mind: [3]
    • It’s okay to start off a kiss with your mouth closed and move into a more passionate kind of kiss if the mood is right.
    • Make sure your teeth are clean and your breath is fresh before you attempt a kiss.
    • Focus on him and nothing else when you are kissing. Being distracted while kissing can be a big turn-off.
    • Try touching the back of his head or neck or stroking his arm while you kiss. These extra touches can be a great way to enhance a kiss.
  4. 4

    Surprise him. Nothing helps spark or reignite passion like a little spontaneity. It can help break up your normal routine and show him that you feel crazy about him, which could inspire him to go crazy over you. Be flirty and live in the moment at all times, and he will always feel excited to be around you. Some spontaneous ideas to consider:
    • If your car breaks down in the rain, don’t just sit in the car waiting for him to fix it. Jump out and dance with him on the side of the road.
    • If you normally watch his favorite sports team at home, surprise him with tickets or take him out to a local restaurant with huge TVs to watch the game instead.
    • Take on a sexy alter ego and stay in character during your entire date.
  5. 5

    Encourage him. One huge part of sparking desire in your partner is helping him feel good about himself. Encourage him in his goals like you would encourage a friend. Make sure that he knows that you are there for him and that you support him.
    • For example, if your boyfriend is worried about a job interview, then you can encourage him by saying something like, "You are going to be great! They would not have called you for an interview if they did not already think you were a good choice for the job!"
    • Being a Desirable Partner

    • 1

      Show your confidence. Confidence is a really sexy quality for most people, so feel free to be your most confident when you are with your boyfriend. You can demonstrate your confidence by doing things like sharing your accomplishments and acknowledging your strengths.
      • Keep in mind that some people find confidence a little intimidating. If your boyfriend has low self-confidence, then projecting your confidence may not increase his desire for you.[4]
    • 2

      Tell him about yourself. Revealing things about yourself will help to enhance your boyfriend’s feelings for you.[5] Tell him all about yourself, including your interests, your goals, and your family. Be careful not to reveal too much too soon, though. Keeping some aspects of your life, goals, and feelings can add mystery to your relationship, which may help to increase his interest in you.

    • 3

      Pay attention to what your boyfriend is attracted to. Your boyfriend may have some specific things that attract him, so try to pay attention when he tells you that you look sexy. Perhaps your boyfriend loves lingerie, or maybe he thinks you look sexiest right after a workout. Some things that might help include:
      • Wearing eye makeup. Eye makeup has been shown to make women seem more attractive to some men.[6] Try wearing some eyeliner or eyeshadow and mascara when your boyfriend is around.
      • Using unscented or lightly scented products on your body. It is important for your boyfriend to be able to smell your natural scent. This scent can help him to experience strong feelings of attraction.[7] Try wearing unscented deodorant and using unscented bath products so that your boyfriend can smell your natural scent.
      • Wearing red clothing now and then. One study found that men are more attracted by the color red than any other color.[8] Get a red dress or sweater to wear on a date with your boyfriend and see what happens.
    • 4

      Keep your time together light and fun. In addition to being sexy and desirable, another great way to drive your boyfriend wild is to just be a fun loving person. You want him to want to hang out with you, and showing him that you are the type of person who is up for a good time is a great hook. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, but know that there are a lot of ways to have a good time. Some ideas include:
      • Go for a hike and race him to the top for the last leg. Laughing through a competitive situation will bond you and endear you to him.
      • Go out to watch a sports game with him and his friends and impress them with your knowledge of the game.
      • Play a game of truth or dare to show him you can be silly and fun.

      Part 3

      Increasing His Desire

    • 1

      Stay close by. Proximity has been found to increase feelings that people have for each other. In other words, the more that you see someone, the more likely you are to like that person.[9] To make this work for you, try stopping by your boyfriend’s locker on the way to class, suggest some regular study sessions, or find ways to see more of him.

    • 2

      Respect your boyfriend’s personal space and enjoy yours as well. A great way to make your boyfriend go crazy over you is to make sure that you give him a chance to miss being with you all of the time. Some of the initial spark and passion fizzle out because you get too comfortable with each other. You want him to miss you, but you also want him to know that he isn’t your sole source of happiness.
      • Make plans to spend time with your girlfriends one night per week and encourage him to have a guys night.
    • 3

      Mirror his movements. Mirroring someone’s movements can increase their feelings of attraction for you.[10] To make this work for you, try to copy his physical position now and then. For example, if your boyfriend readjusts himself in his seat and leans on his right hand, wait a few seconds and do the same. Make sure that you are leaning on your left hand so that you look like a mirror image of him.
      • Try to be subtle about this. Mirroring often happens without people noticing they are doing it and it is important to avoid making it too obvious or it might seem strange.
    • 4

      Play hard to get. Even though you are already dating, you can increase your partner’s desire for you by playing hard to get.[11] Some easy ways to play hard to get with your boyfriend include:

ruby Posted on October 05, 2018 10:16

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I am a mother without a baby.

In the UK, an average of nine babies a day are stillborn.

BBC journalist Fiona Crack became pregnant with a longed-for baby girl last year, but her waters broke early and her daughter died.

This is her story of a year of grief and healing and of five extraordinary women who shared her experience.


When I was eight, my cousin had a baby. My Mum knew I loved babies so she dropped me off at her house for a few days “to help”.

I must have been useful because when another cousin had one, I was dispatched again. I walked the babies up and down the hall and deflected swipes from jealous siblings.

I helped with the bath-and-bed routine for our neighbour. I couldn’t wait to be 12 when I could babysit for all the kids in the village. I couldn’t wait to be a mother myself.

But by 29 I had cervical cancer. The operation I needed to save my life would rob me of my chance to carry a child. I found another operation in a medical paper that would allow me that chance - I found a consultant who could do it. When my referral didn’t come through I just turned up to beg.

Several gruelling years of IVF and miscarriage followed. And then finally, one Thursday morning, the baby I had longed for was wriggling around in my last scheduled ultrasound scan. The midwives waved me off wishing me good luck for the birth.

That afternoon I was at work eating a piece of lemon drizzle cake to mark a colleague’s leaving do when I felt hot gushing liquid soak through my trousers. My waters had broken two months early.

The hospital admitted me and said we had to delay labour for as long as possible, allowing the baby to grow stronger. Ten days later they said we were doing well and could go home the next day. But shortly after midnight, the umbilical cord dropped through me, compressing my baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients. In the six minutes it took to get to the operating theatre, nurses running and shouting, wheeling my bed through empty corridors, our baby died.

I didn’t sleep for 48 hours. I paced. I refused drugs. My precious longed-for baby was curled and silent in my womb - the cord that had bound us hung from me. When my feet ached from pacing I lay on my side facing Tim, my partner.

I remembered a story of a mother who was told her baby had died, but was born healthy. I rang the buzzer to summon a nurse, I asked if they could have got it wrong. Twenty minutes later my partner rang the same bell, asked the same question.

They gave me a C-section the next morning. As I breathed through the mask and felt the anaesthetic injected into my vein I thought: “I have dreamt of looking into my child’s face for 30 years, and when I wake, I will.”

When she - a baby girl - was given to me, my heart expanded in love. She was beautiful - 30cm tip to toe. She had been dressed in a little white dress and hat, and draped in a white hand-knitted blanket. Her fingers and toes rested neatly in perfection. She was long-limbed like us both. We named her Willow.

I imagined I heard Tim’s heart shatter when he said her name. I looked at her in wonder. I couldn’t understand why she was dead.

The midwives and doctors came. There were no answers to our questions. Maybe they weren’t the right questions. We were at the edge of the delivery wing, and I had to listen to women in labour and to the mewling newborns.

My arms ached. I thought I had a blood clot, but the doctors told me it was normal - a biological response to the shock that there was no living child for me to hold. I sobbed. My milk came through, marking my T-shirt, and I was too exhausted to be embarrassed.

In the bereavement suite there was a kitchen, to make cups of tea I couldn’t imagine any bereaved parent could ever stomach. I found myself looking at the cleaning rota - such a stark reminder of the other families who had been there. I thought of their loss. I focused on their survival.

Stillbirth is much more common than people might think but it’s rarely talked about because pregnancy is a time of joy and hope.

We stayed another four nights, our daughter in a refrigerated cot. No-one ever suggested we left but I knew when it was time. I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to the midwives who sat with us through that night, who dressed our daughter for us. There were no words of thanks big enough, so they just cried, and we cried, and nodded our heads and left.

We had two matching cuddly lambs in hospital - one that we slept with, one for Willow in her crib. On the drive home I clutched our lamb, damp with tears. I whispered words to it and imagined my daughter could hear them.

Grief folded and stretched time. The midwives had reminded us we were legally required to register Willow’s birth. So one day we travelled to a register office and an official asked quiet sad questions. We left holding legal proof she was here, she was real. Birth and death shared the paper, the only document she will ever have.

Post piled up and I looked away from it, from other people’s kindness and awkwardness. Some friends came. Some family. I put my maternity jeans back on and exchanged platitudes, but there was nothing anyone could say so I went back to bed. We planned a funeral in place of a christening.

Dry-eyed (there seemed to be nothing left), I delivered a eulogy to a crematorium filled with weeping family. The flowers were too big for the little lid of Willow’s casket. We asked them not to close the curtains at the end. When I finally managed to leave I carved off part of my soul to stay with her, my first child.

Two weeks later Tim returned to the sanctuary of work and I was left alone in the house. Our grief took different paths, and my loneliness and isolation increased. I scared myself reading about the rates of relationship breakdown after the death of a child, and decided to find a bereavement counsellor. I found a lot of help on offer for mothers, very little for fathers, but eventually found someone who would help us together, and whom we still see now.

My period came and I raged at the betrayal of my body. I deleted friends on Facebook who had healthy babies the same age as Willow, or friends pregnant with a second or third child. The algorithms made social media a dark place for me, with adverts for baby food, prams and clothes flooding my feed. I became angry, bitter and withdrawn.

One day I took three trains to a house in the far north-east corner of England to visit my 103-year-old grandmother, Nancy. I let myself in and sat at her feet, my head in her lap. She herself had a stillborn baby more than 60 years ago. She stroked my hair and said she was “sorry about the baby” - the baby she didn’t know we originally planned to name after her. It was the hardest visit I made and yet somehow it was the start of my healing.

I did a lot of sleuthing. I applied for my notes from all the hospitals I’ve been treated in over the last decade and researched every stage of my medical treatment and pregnancy, cross-referencing and breaking the codes of doctors’ scribbles. At the heart of my obsession was guilt, a fear that somehow the stillbirth was my fault. A fear that was wrong, but that other parents of stillborn babies seem to feel too.

I found a nine-week-old puppy and brought her home. She weighed 2kg, the weight of a newborn. Her needs made me feel useful. During night-time toilet trips we stood shivering in the dark, and she jumped at me like a child wanting to be picked up. When I called across the park for her, I occasionally called her Willow.

Christmas loomed but I averted my eyes, hastily shoving money into cards for nieces and nephews. We escaped the dreams of our first family Christmas by hiring a remote shepherd’s hut in Suffolk. We walked miles every day, taking it in turns to carry our puppy. On Christmas Eve I went to a magical midnight mass in a small rural church. I cried silently throughout the service. The old lady next to me, a stranger, reached out to hold my hand.

A stillborn baby provides the mother with the same rights and protection as a newborn baby, and as I was entitled to maternity leave, I took it, returning after four months. Work was an easier place than home. I could hide from my loss. And so good did I become at compartmentalising that I was occasionally surprised by colleagues asking if I had had a boy or a girl. I got used to replying “my daughter was stillborn”, and then patting them on the arm and saying “it’s OK, please don’t worry”.

In the long evenings at home I drank too much red wine. I watched Modern Family on a loop. But throughout the winter, there were glimmers of hope, like the snowdrops bravely poking their heads up. Some days I could feel positive again, some days I could see my friends and laugh. Sometimes I was ready to smile when Tim opened the front door. Many times I think we both just tried, not for ourselves, but for each other.

My coping mechanisms are all about doing stuff and so I planned a part of our garden to dedicate to Willow, buying graph paper and poring over garden design books. We started landscaping in the coldest wettest week in February. We hired a 1.5 tonne digger. Friends and family came to help us in snow and frost, in driving rain, forking through piles of wet soil and stones to remove weeds.

Our joyful little puppy Pina played in the mud at our feet and then stamped paw prints all over the kitchen floor. I found an artist to make a sculpture out of willow branches. We visited favourite beaches to collect stones to pave the path. We exhausted ourselves with manual work.

In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, I stood watching the children leave the local village school. On the day itself, I opened the door to the nursery for the first time. I unfolded and refolded the babygros, and then lay down on the floor with the last one, placing it between my collar bone and navel. The dust motes floated in the afternoon sunlight. I thought of the email telling me the curtains for the nursery were waiting. When I had replied that we no longer needed them, they had simply written back: “We will send when you are ready.” I wondered if the saleswoman herself had lost a baby.

I cried and cried and eventually fell asleep. When I woke up it was dark. I found two Mother’s Day cards. One from my Mum, the other from Tim, saying that I was and will always be a brilliant mother to Willow. From that day on, I left the nursery door open, and the air now circulates better through our house.

We prepared for Willow’s first birthday by planning a party in her garden to raise funds for stillborn charities. One of the charities we want to help provides memory boxes to hospitals for bereaved parents. We were given one for Willow and I found the courage to look at it again.

This is what was inside:

A white knitted blanket

Willow’s hospital bracelet

Photos of Willow when she was born

Willow’s foot imprints

A babygro from Willow’s nursery.

Some of these things had been in the box when I received it, others I had added myself. I wanted to find other women who would understand the power of this box. In the weeks leading up to Willow’s birthday I began a journey around the UK to visit bereaved women who were connected with these five objects.

Here are their stories:


Val Isherwood runs the Tigerlily Trust, which provides hospitals with blankets, wraps and gowns for stillborn babies

Everything went great with my pregnancy until probably 16 or 17 weeks. We got that phone call that started with: “Are you on your own?” The hospital told me my baby had something called Edwards’ syndrome and not to expect her to live past 28 weeks.

She got to 32 weeks, and then I was getting something out of one of the bureau drawers in the lounge and felt a stab of pain. We went into hospital and her heartbeat had stopped.

Even though we tried to prepare for that moment I can't really remember much about that day. I remember them saying they would give me this tablet and I'd go home and come back the next morning.

I went through this phase later on where I thought: ‘Was I ever pregnant?’

I suddenly felt very scared that I had a dead body inside me and how cruel it was to send me home. But I'm so glad for that time, because it gave us that last night together. And come Tuesday morning I didn’t want to go back into hospital. I just wanted to keep her forever safe inside and felt like no-one should take her from me.

But that time in hospital was just beautiful. Friends came and met Lily which was really important, because I went through this phase later on where I thought: “Was I ever pregnant?”

I'd bought clothes for her early on in the pregnancy, and they were far too big, so we didn't have anything to put her in, and the hospital didn't offer us anything. So when I was in early labour we went out into town and the only thing we could find was a little T-shirt, and my Mum sewed it in the hospital into a little dress.

One of my regrets is that the dress was cremated with her - I really wish that I still had what she'd been wearing. That's why now we give outfits in matching pairs so that parents can keep the one the baby has worn.

We tried to have another baby as soon as we could after Lily, and we did think about IVF, but with my age the odds were stacked against me. I was 46 at the time and I didn't think I could go through all that and it not work out. So I thought a lot about acceptance - my message to myself was if it's not meant to be then that's my story. I knew I needed to find positive ways to channel all that love and energy that would have gone into raising Lily.

Everything to do with the Tigerlily Trust is inspired by what I wish had been there for me.

So I started appealing for knitters who would help us create the clothes I wished I had been given. People then asked if they could donate their wedding dresses to turn into little gowns, so we've got a lovely seamstress on the Isle of Man who makes them.

Some of the women who had a stillborn baby before we existed were just told to go and buy a doll's dress which they felt was so insulting. Now a lot of the parents who get in touch can't believe someone has gone to those lengths to knit something to put their baby in and to give them that dignity.

I have about 380 names on my list of people who have contributed in some way. Some of them are grandmas whose daughters have lost babies.

My advice to other parents going through this is let yourself grieve hard. Don't be afraid of your grief - share it with people. That's almost precious time before the world sort of expects you to be OK. Let yourself have that time.


Rachel Hayden runs Gifts of Remembrance, which trains midwives to take photos of stillborn babies - this section contains an image of her son Rowan who was stillborn

Rowan was one of triplets, which was a bit of a surprise to me at 40 with two kids already. But the interesting thing is that when I found out I was pregnant I got a sense of him, so I felt like I already knew who he was.

I went in for a scan at 31 weeks and they discovered there was no heartbeat for him. It’s a moment which I’m sure all parents of stillborn babies relate to. There’s just that stillness on the monitor.

We can end up grieving not only for the fact our babies died, but... for the fact we never saw them

I remember the way the nursery nurse spoke to him and handled him and it made me feel I could do the same. So it was “hello and what’s your name?” and “I bet your Mum wants to give you a cuddle”, and all this was great for me because I was utterly clueless.

But I didn’t even think to ask to be involved in the memory making.

She took him away and took handprints and footprints and dressed him and lay him in his Moses basket, and then took two photos of him lying there.

I didn’t know what he really looked like naked or what he was wearing under his little knitted gown, and she took no photographs of him being held - he looked so alone.

Although I was remarkably grateful for what I had, I later came across the work of Todd Hochberg, an amazing US photographer, and realised I could have had so much more. Not only was I blown away by the photographs and how emotional they were, but it was the stories they told - and I found myself comparing.

What I say to the midwives in the training is you need to think for the future, and guide the parents through a process of gathering up details and stories, and saying: “This may feel too much now but it's going to be important later.”

Very little of my training is actually about taking photographs - a big chunk of it is about midwives empowering parents, and saying the right things, and giving them time.

I'll talk about how you have photographs that you might share with people, but there are plenty of photographs that just help you remember - every single photograph is going to be of importance to the family.

This is actually a therapeutic intervention you are doing to help families make sense of what's happened. You're saying: “This is what happened to you in all its mess.” Midwives and nurses clean things all the time but I say just hand over everything as it is. The most precious thing to me of Rowan's is his hat because it smelt like him, so we challenge that approach.

A photo of Rachel's baby, Rowan

If you try and protect us then we can end up grieving not only for the fact our babies died, but we can be grieving for the fact we never saw them. A really poignant story was a mum who said she had never seen her baby girl’s bottom - she said that her other children had birthmarks on their bottoms and she never knew if she had one.

When we look back on things there'll be moments that we will even identify in terms of joy, because you're saying hello to your baby, as well as goodbye.


Ruth Rodgers used to work in finance but was inspired to retrain as a midwife after the stillbirth of her daughter Scarlett. She has just started her first posting, having qualified this summer.

Scarlett was born in November 2011 when I was 31 weeks pregnant. I realised she wasn’t moving so much, but I wasn’t really that worried - I did a full day of work before I went to the hospital. And they couldn't find a heartbeat pretty much straightaway.

I had this amazing bereavement midwife, Jane, who I spoke to on the phone. During the two days before I went into labour she told me not to worry about things like funeral arrangements and post-mortems, but just to think about how I wanted to spend time with my little girl - helping me focus on the most important things at the right times.

There's some amazing care out there, but there are also some poor things that happen repeatedly that are so easy to fix

I also had a brilliant labour ward midwife. It's funny the things that you worry about - I assumed that she would have rigor mortis. I was frightened about how I might feel when I saw her.

And she said: “She'll just look like a baby. She'll be a bit small, her skin might be quite thin, and she'll probably not have her eyes open, but otherwise she'll just look like your baby.” That was all I needed to hear to just carry on.

Of course there were moments of utter misery, but I also have strangely fond memories of watching Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor, and eating lasagne with one hand and holding the gas and air with the other!

She was born just before six in the morning, and I remember thinking it was amazing that she was still warm and I needed to remember the way that felt because she wouldn’t stay like that.

I fell pregnant again seven weeks after I'd had Scarlett, and miscarried again, having miscarried before. And that's when I became really obsessed with how having a baby works, with how all the embryology works. I read textbooks, I read research papers, I emailed professors in recurrent miscarriage - that's the way I approach life.

I had another two miscarriages after that, and throughout out it all Jane was basically there the whole time and we developed a really special relationship. I guess that’s really where the idea of me training to become a midwife myself started - that supportive relationship between a woman and her midwife.

I was lucky enough to go on to have two beautiful boys, one just before I started training, and one in the middle of my degree. The first of these was an incredibly anxious pregnancy, and I received the most fantastic care from Jane, my consultants and my community midwife, all of whom knew my history and understood the way I felt. I could not have got through it without them, without suffering significant mental health consequences.

In my third year of training I did a long stint on a labour ward and there was a lady who came in thinking she was in labour, only to find her baby had died. It was incredibly fulfilling to care for that woman and her baby and help her through everything.

I think it's rarely appropriate to talk about your own experience to somebody else. If a woman specifically asked me if I’d had a stillbirth then I’d tell them, but I would never volunteer that, because the moment then would become about me and not about them.

But I do suggest things that I found helpful, or that I know others did. I've met so many people over the last few years through online groups who've dealt with their grief and the process of having a subsequent baby all very differently. How you deal with having a stillbirth is incredibly personal.

There's some amazing care out there, but there are also some poor things that happen repeatedly that are so easy to fix. The classic ones are not reading the mum’s notes before an appointment, or not calling the baby who died by their name.

The research very clearly says that grief isn't necessarily related to gestation - there is a link, but actually the link is more to do with the “assignment of personhood”. If you have assigned a person to the baby inside you, you have created a relationship with that person that means that you feel the grief more acutely when they're gone.


Publishing graduate Aliyah makes bespoke wall prints through her online shop, which help parents celebrate their baby’s name and birth date and is working on a bespoke memory book. She is expecting another baby at the end of October.

One of the hardest parts is that we had bought everything for Aamiya - we had loads of clothes ready, we had her cot set up in the bedroom, everything was washed and ready for her.

I had swelling but they just told me it was normal pregnancy swelling. Because I didn’t have any other symptoms I don’t think anyone was overly concerned. And then I woke up one morning and I didn’t feel anything and I just thought I should go and get checked out. And that’s when they told us she’d passed away and I found out I had pre-eclampsia.

They told me my blood pressure was really high and there was lots of protein in my urine and they rushed me into delivery really fast.

I must have fallen asleep because when I woke up she was already bathed and dressed, and next to me in the refrigerated cot. And that’s one thing I regret - obviously it wasn’t in my control to stay awake, but I feel like I missed out on dressing her and that time after birth - the little things you always imagined doing for your baby.

There’s that awkward moment when people don’t know what to say or do, but with my friends it was OK because they all know me so well, and they made the effort to come round and bring me flowers and chocolates. It was nice to know people cared, even if I didn’t want to speak or do anything.

I’ve always been creative, and I first started with the memory book which I’m making for Aamiya. And then I found out about the baby loss community on Instagram.

I got talking to a lot of mums from all over - from America, Canada - just sharing stuff that I’d done in my day and projects that I was working on. And then quite a few people started asking if I could make something for their babies too.

At some point after Aamiya was born I had this overwhelming feeling of wanting everything in the house to reflect her - for everyone to remember she was here. And I think that was a way of dealing with grief - creating stuff so I could put her around the house.

You can spend hours designing things and it just takes your mind off things.

There have been times when I’ve thought it isn’t healthy to just be consumed by one moment in time, so I’ve put the memory book project off for a bit and focused on getting back to work and seeing friends more, but there are times when I go back to it.

I’m definitely more anxious about being pregnant again since I hit the 30-week mark.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, while I was happy and felt blessed that I was able to conceive another child, there were definitely feelings of guilt as you don't want your angel baby thinking they will be forgotten, because they never will be - my partner and I think about Aamiya every single day.

However, as time has gone on these feelings of guilt have subsided - I truly believe this baby was sent by Aamiya. It's been a good pregnancy. Anxiety does get the better of me at times but I try and remain positive. My partner and I will make sure this baby grows up knowing all about their big sister Aamiya.


Megan Evans began a vlog about stillbirth just weeks after the death of her son Milo - this section contains images of him

Before Milo I thought I wasn't maternal - I've got two older brothers who wound me up about pregnancy and how painful childbirth was, so I always said I'm not having children.

When the pregnancy test came back positive, I just thought I'm not supposed to have children.

Because I was so young and petrified, I went straight on to YouTube and typed in “19 and pregnant” but there wasn't much there. There were a few videos but they were by 19-year-olds who had money. I needed to see someone who was just normal and working class, so the next day I told my Mum I was just going to start vlogging about my own situation.

As soon as I started making those videos I had women getting in touch saying they felt the same - how they didn't have their own house and a stable financial situation either. So the vlog all started from there, and I really enjoyed having people get in touch saying “me too” which made me feel comfortable with my situation.

And as time went on then everything just fitted into place.

It's funny how your maternal instincts just kick in and you wouldn't imagine it any other way.

One day I realised that I hadn't felt Milo move all day, and I thought I'd better get checked just in case.

The midwife started to monitor me and she couldn’t find a heartbeat. And the sonographer came in, but so did a midwife, a nurse, a doctor, a consultant. So it was a whole string of people standing at the end of my bed and that's when I really clocked that something was wrong.

It was as if I'd been shoved into a world that I had absolutely no idea how to navigate.

The next day I spent all day seeing my family and discovered my Nan had had a son who died a few days after he was born. I asked her how I was going to survive it and she said: “Take lots of pictures, and make the most of the time you have with him.”

When I went into hospital to be induced I was very scared about what he was going to look like, so I asked my Mum to see him first. She said “oh my god, he’s just perfect” and showed him to me. It was the moment I realised that was the baby I’d been carrying for eight months. Death doesn’t change anything - this was the first time I was going to meet my son.

But it was also devastating. I was holding everything that I was waiting for but I knew I would have to give my baby back. My future was being erased before my eyes.

I said to one of the midwives: “I feel like I'm the only person in the world this is happening to.” She replied: “It's just one of those things that nobody speaks about.”

Three days after I came out of hospital I started thinking about my vlog. People were still commenting on my previous videos saying “wow I'm pregnant too”.

Again I looked for vlogs about stillbirth and again I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

I wasn’t expecting so many people to watch the videos because I didn’t realise how common stillbirth is.

It helped me by telling his story but it was also comforting to see other people say his name.

If someone you know experiences a stillbirth you don't need to know the right things to say. You just need to acknowledge their pain, acknowledge their grief, understand that you're not going to understand, and let them talk and talk until they've finished.

As time's gone on, I've met a lot of people who've understood, and I've found my feet in grief which helps a lot.

A year on

Rowan, Scarlett, Aamiya, Lily, Milo, and Willow. As I lay stones in their memory in a special baby loss garden in Staffordshire, I realise that even though they didn’t see the world, they have changed it through the action they have inspired in their mothers.

But I also know that for each of these women there are many more who choose to hold their memories privately, who mourn behind closed doors.

One in 225 pregnancies in the UK will end in stillbirth. And the death of a baby will not just affect the parents, but the grandparents, the siblings, the family and friends. A bereaved mother, in the process of getting physical care, gets emotional care throughout, but this risks men feeling sidelined, and powerless to help.

The parents I speak to agree that the taboo and silence around stillbirth seems to be gradually easing, but there are still many people who have simply never spoken to me about Willow, never said her name.

My arms no longer ache like those first hours, but they are still empty - I am a mother without a baby

I have, though, felt support from so many people, especially women, many of whom I’d never even met before. As a journalist I have specialised in women’s stories around the world for many years, and yet only this has made me feel an invisible solidarity, a wall of history, of empathy, of strength from women around me.

Over the past year my need to remember and memorialise Willow has jostled with my need for self-preservation. A year on, grief can still occasionally floor me, slicing behind my knees, but I can feel it coming and I can prepare, knowing I can survive its brief but powerful kick.

Willow’s birth made me a Mum and Tim a Dad. My arms no longer ache like those first hours, but they are still empty. I am a mother without a baby.

I think about my own mother. For weeks she sat in our house, the horrific shadow of bereavement hanging over us, my hacking sobs punctuated by the clack of her knitting needles.

She made a beautiful pure white blanket for a baby box which will be opened at a time of immense loss. She knitted it for a stranger who at the time of knitting was an excited expectant mother-to-be, but whose baby would come too early, too sick, or simply stillborn for no known reason.


That baby - we will never know his or her name - will be rocked and mourned in their parents’ arms and will also, thanks to my Mum, have an extra layer, wrapped also in my family’s love - our endurance and our hope.

AlbertaU Posted on October 05, 2018 08:46

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Chicago braces for verdict in trial of cop who killed black teen.

Jason Van Dyke, a white officer, is charged with two counts of first degree murder in 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald.

Chicago, Illinois - A jury in Chicago began its deliberation on Thursday in one of the most closely-watched murder trials in recent memory, in a city riven by racial divides, gun violence and police brutality.

Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago police officer, shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times on the night of October 20, 2014, as the African American teen, carrying a knife and ignoring police commands, appeared to walk away from him along a roadway.

At first, Van Dyke claimed to have acted in self-defence, but dashboard camera footage of the incident released a year later after a Freedom of Information Act request appears to show otherwise, prompting massive public outcry and protests.

Van Dyke is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery, and one count of official misconduct. Three other officers are separately on trial for allegedly covering up Van Dyke's actions.

The trial has riveted Chicago after years of fallout from the video's release, including the firing of the city's police chief, the removal of the Cook County State's Attorney and a federal investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

Dramatic moments

The last few days in court included some of the trial's most dramatic moments.

On Wednesday, Van Dyke stuck by his claim that he feared for his safety because McDonald was advancing on him with "bugged out" eyes, raising and pointing his knife. He said he needed to keep shooting because McDonald continued to clutch the knife while he was on the ground.

But the prosecution highlighted how many other officers did not shoot McDonald and instead had called for a taser to subdue him.

In another key moment, a psychologist said Van Dyke told him in a post-incident evaluation that he told his partner that they would "have to shoot this guy", a possible indication of the officer's intent before he encountered McDonald.

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke during his murder trial as a monitor displays a scene from a police vehicle dash cam video, moments after the shooting death of Laquan McDonald [John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Reuters] 

Robert Clarke, a criminal lawyer and former alderman in the city, said the verdict could go either way.

"Much of the testimony in [Van Dyke's] defence was not borne out of the details off the video. You don't see someone slashing and waving a knife in the direction of the police," Clarke told Al Jazeera. "On the other hand, how can you get into the mind of a police officer who feels that someone can run at him with a weapon in his hand? ... I can see it from both ways."

A potential "compromise" could be to convict Van Dyke of second-degree murder, meaning Van Dyke unreasonably acted in self-defence, said lawyer Tony Thedford, who previously sued Van Dyke in a separate case and specialises in police misconduct cases.

"If I was representing Van Dyke, that's what I would be attempting to achieve," Thedford told Al Jazeera of a second-degree charge, adding that if convicted of second-degree murder, the maximum he would serve behind bars would likely be half of a 20-year sentence. The first-degree charge carries a minimum 45-year sentence.  

Communities, schools, police prepare for verdict

The city is bracing for the verdict and its potential aftermath. 


Laquan McDonald: Black teen remembered as white cop goes on trial

Activists have already called for a demonstration outside City Hall for after the verdict is announced.

William Calloway, a black activist who filed the Freedom of Information Act request that led to the release of the dashboard camera video, said protesters should "completely shut down the city" if Van Dyke is not convicted.

"[If he is convicted] I think it will be a spirit of jubilee throughout the city, particularly in the African American parts of the city, and people will start to have a sense of hope in law enforcement," he told Al Jazeera.

"It will be the polar opposite if he is acquitted or there's a hung jury. The jubilee will turn into anger and we've seen what anger can turn into in the past in other cities where police shootings have occurred."

Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Department Officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014 [File: Paul Beaty/AP Photo]

Police beefed up their presence across the city on Thursday, including along Michigan Avenue, an upscale thoroughfare where protesters blocked traffic and holiday shopping in late 2015 after the dash cam footage was released.

The Chicago Police Department told local media that it had a "comprehensive operating plan to ensure public safety in all of our neighbourhoods while simultaneously protecting the rights of peaceful demonstrations".

Schools are also gearing up for "potential civil unrest", said Leeandra Khan, CEO of Civitas Education Partners, which operates four Chicago schools including three on the city's mostly black south and west sides.

Khan told Al Jazeera she has been in touch with the Chicago Police Department, who are deploying more officers around schools and preparing to make safe passageways in case students walk out in protest of the verdict.

She said her schools are also preparing for the trial's impact on campus by holding after-school forums with social workers for students to "get off their chest" any feelings related to the shooting and the trial. They've also given teachers additional lesson plans to help facilitate sensitive discussions during class time.

"We know this is gonna come up in classrooms," she said. "At one of my schools a lot of my students come from the west side, so it will be  talked about a lot in the community, and when they come back to school there will likely be a response."


Fault Lines

The Contract: Chicago's Police Union

AlbertaU Posted on October 05, 2018 08:07

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Indonesia's race to find survivors after earthquake and tsunami.

As the number of dead climbs to 1,558, the deadline for finding survivors after the earthquake and tsunami is fast approaching.

More than 1,558 people are thought to be dead, missing or injured after the 7.5 magnitude tremor and tsunami in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the UK government has pledged to match the first £2m of public donations to the Disaster Emergency Committee's earthquake appeal, taking the government aid up to £5m.

And a plane carrying shelter kits, solar lanterns and water purifiers took off from Doncaster Sheffield Airport on Thursday night, bound for Sulawesi, where 70,000 people have been left homeless.

Sky's Siobhan Robbins is on the island, where the desperate search for survivors continues.

Image: Rescuers are continuing to search the rubble for victims

At the edge of a crumbled office block we're witnessing what Indonesia's recovery operation looks like up close.

A team has been sent in to retrieve a body in Palu.

We've attached our camera to one of their helmets, so we can see what they see.

Around them, the concrete has been pulverised, metal girders are twisted and bent.

:: 1,000 earthquake and tsunami victims still missing in Indonesia

First a digger is sent in to move the biggest pieces of debris, then the team scrapes at the smaller bits of rubble until the young mother trapped there is revealed.

Image: Mother Ween Megawati has left behind a three-year-old son

Ween Megawati, 35, was at work when Friday's earthquake hit.

She didn't have time to get out before the building collapsed.

Her family is watching the recovery operation anxiously- after six days of waiting, they want to bring her home.

"I want to her body back so we can have a funeral," her mother, Marsiati Longulo tells me.

"Her father has already seen the body but I can't."

A coffin is brought to the edge of the wreckage as a priest watches on.

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Indonesia earthquake: 'My husband's body was swallowed by the ground'

The risk of disease means Surianti cannot take him home - he must lie with hundreds of others killed in Indonesia's disaster.

Image: Ween's father cries when they find her body

Ween's three-year-old son is too young to understand that his mother is gone, his grandmother too angry to mourn.

"I'm really disappointed that the search team came too late, so my daughter couldn't saved," she says.

The damage caused to the office block by last Friday's earthquake is catastrophic.

Image: There was just 20% chance of survival in this situation

The second and third floor crashed down, crushing the people below, there was no time to escape.

"In this situation, the chance of survival is just 20%," explains the search and rescue unit commander, Rusmadi Adi Putra.

The team pulls Ween's phone from the wreckage and hands it to her brother.

From his face you can see his heart is breaking.

It's a familiar scene across Palu where the bodies have been piling up.

Image: Ween's brother looked heartbroken when her phone was found

Why the ground turns to liquid in an earthquake


The deadline for finding people alive under the rubble is fast approaching.

Officials say a week on from the quake-tsunami the chance of survival will have dropped to almost zero.

After hours digging, rescuers call for a bodybag; the recovery is over, it's time for a young mother to go home.

Her father sobs as her body is laid in a coffin and carried to a waiting ambulance.

Image: An aid plane left the UK on Thursday night for Indonesia

His grief is raw and overwhelming.

It's a grief which has taken a hold of Palu city, where more than a thousand are already confirmed dead.

More from Indonesia

And with possibly a thousand more people still unaccounted for, many more families will have to make the journey Ween's family is making, as more of the missing are recovered.


Video: The Disasters Emergency Committee has launched an appeal following the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami.

:: Donations can be made at, on the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900; or by texting the number mentioned above. People can also give money over the counter at any high street bank or post office.

AlbertaU Posted on October 05, 2018 07:45

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Grinders, Hoagies And Wedges: What You Call A Sub Sandwich Reveals Where You're From

Hoagie, zeppelin, wedge ? these might sound like meaningless words to you, or depending on where you’re from, they might mean “sub sandwich.” We call the classic sub different names all across this country, but with the exception of a few variations that require certain ingredients, every term points back to an overall American love of a long, crusty roll piled high with meats, cheeses, lettuce and tomato.

To help you understand how different regions of the United States specialize in their own takes on the sub, we’ve collected some of the country’s most interesting names for the bread-and-fixing combos, from the popular to the storied to the strange.

Grinder: New England (Connecticut And Massachusetts, Specifically)

Brian Cleland, owner of Richard’s Grinders in West Springfield, Massachusetts, specifies that the term “grinder” is more prevalent in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“I could be wrong, but I bet there are a few parts of New England that still think a ‘grinder’ is something that shreds coffee beans,” he says.

His thoughts on the term’s origins echo one somewhat-popular theory, as the history is hard to pin down: “Grinder” was a slang term for an Italian-American dockworker. A common belief is that subs are harder to chew than a typical sandwich made with softer bread, so your teeth have to “grind” in for a bite. Whatever the backstory, the grinder is a source of regional pride.

“In this area, ‘grinder’ is the only term we know for ‘subs,’ ‘hoagies,’ ‘heroes,’ ‘wedges,’” Cleland says. “We know that when we order grinders, we are home.”

Wedge: Westchester County, New York, And Fairfield County, Connecticut

The “wedge” is one of the stranger sub sandwich terms because of two factors. First, the term is used only in two very specific regions, and secondly, its name implies a triangular wedge shape when the sub is decidedly not wedge-shaped.

There are explanations, although as with most of these monikers, none of those explanations can be 100 percent proved. The wedge shape might come from the sandwich being halved diagonally or because a wedge of the bread’s top half is removed to make room for fixings. Or, geometry might not play a role at all, and “wedge” simply may be short for “sandwich.” It’s believed that a Yonkers deli owner coined the term, which would also account for the wedge’s regional domain there.

In nearby Fairfield County, Connecticut, the name speaks to the sandwich’s two “wedges” of bread.

Hoagie: Philadelphia And Southern New Jersey

While Philadelphians might bristle at anyone confusing a “hoagie” with a “hero” (the latter is a distinctly New York term), the connection between a “hoagie” and a “sub” is clear: They’re made with a variety of meat, cheese and toppings on loaves of French or Italian bread, usually served cold. Hoagies may lean a bit more Italian, though.

Some like the origin story that “hoagie” comes from workers called “hoggies” at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, nicknamed “Hog Island.” Others argue the term came about after Hog Island was closed and that “hoagie” comes from jazz musician Al De Palma, who said you had to be a “hog” to eat the sandwich: Again, “hoggie” becomes “hoagie.” Whatever the story, the classic hoagie has mortadella, ham, salami, capicola, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, sweet and hot peppers, and oil and vinegar.

Court Street Grocers

Court Street Grocers co-owner Eric Finkelstein (whose hero is pictured above) explains that a hero isn't a type of sandwich but the type of bread one orders it on.

Hero: New York City

“One thing that we like so much about the hero sandwich is that, unlike the hoagie or the po’ boy, there are effectively no rules regarding its construction and it has no fanatics,” Court Street Grocers co-owner Eric Finkelstein tells HuffPost. It’s a typically New York attitude: no fuss, no fanfare, just focus on the food.

“In New York City there is no pride at all in the hero as a specific construct; like a bodega coffee in a Greek or Big Apple cup, our pride is in the utility of the thing more than in the thing itself,” he says. Finkelstein explains that a hero isn’t a type of sandwich but the type of bread one orders their sandwich on; it can have any combination of ingredients.

As far as how it got its name? Surprise, surprise, the history is debated. Many credit food writer Clementine Paddleworth for naming it in 1936 by writing that you had to be a “hero to finish one.”

Blimpie: New Jersey

In the same way we call any adhesive tape “Scotch tape” and any tissue a “Kleenex,” many New Jerseyans have taken to calling a sub a “blimpie.” The sandwich chain Blimpie got its start in Hoboken and named its sandwiches for blimps to indicate that they’d be bigger and better than the typical sub. The quintessential blimpie is stacked with Italian meats and cheeses, and it’s so specifically geographic that it’s an instant giveaway of where you’re from.

Crabby Jack's

Po’ Boy: Louisiana / Poor Boy: The Southern Midwest

Louisiana’s “po’ boy” — which is called the “poor boy” in parts of the southern Midwest — has its own murky history, but both of its possible origin stories start with brothers Benny and Clovis Martin. One legend has it that the Martins fed their half-loaves of French bread stuffed with a variety of fixings to striking streetcar drivers in New Orleans in 1929. Whenever they saw another striker heading for a free sandwich, they’d say, “Here comes another po’ boy.” A newspaper story about the Martins’ sandwich shop in 1933, however, attributed the term to the hard-pressed truck farmers who sold their produce in town.

The original po’ boys often featured oysters, but the sub can include any ingredients. The specifications are that those ingredients are hot, and that French bread is used, which is what sets the po’ boy apart from Italian-bread subs. Today, shrimp po’ boys are especially popular and the go-to for Brandi Faulk of New Orleans institution Crabby Jack’s.

“For me, the mark of a true New Orleans po’ boy is when there’s enough shrimp left on the paper for another sandwich,” Faulk tells HuffPost.

Italian: Maine

Locals trace the “Italian” back to Portland in 1899, where an Italian baker, Giovanni Amato, invented the sandwich as a cheap, easy, filling lunch for construction workers. Amato’s is still a Portland go-to for Italians. An outsider might mistake an Italian for any other sub, but Mainers have guidelines. It’s a soft roll with American cheese and ham, topped with onions, tomatoes, pickles, onions, salt, pepper and oil. The fixings are a departure from the Italian ingredients that earned the sub its name, but this particular mix has fans waxing poetic about the sandwiches and their vendors.


Cutty's meat spuckie (left) and its vegetarian eggplant spuckie (right).

Spuckie: Boston

“Spuckie” was a general term for a sub that faded from popularity before being revived a bit more specifically by a few Boston institutions. “Spuckie” comes from “spucadella,” a long Italian sandwich roll made locally. When city pride inspired favorite spots like Cutty’s to spotlight the spuckie, they honed the fixings: Cutty’s features mortadella, finocchiona (a sort of dry, fennel salami), hot capicola, fresh mozzarella, and olive and carrot salad. There’s also a vegetarian version that swaps eggplant for meat.

“Our spuckies are nontraditional; they’re a new take on the local classic,” says Rachel Toomey Kelsey, who owns Cutty’s with her husband, Charles. “Only a handful of places still use the term, but we wanted to bring it back. Plus, it’s just fun as hell to say.”

Torpedo: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

The nickname “torpedo” is much more clear-cut than the “wedge.” The shape of the bread that the sandwich is on, well, looks like a torpedo. Just as real torpedoes are slimmer than real submarines, it’s thought that torpedo sandwiches are slimmer than subs. For some reason, the term “torpedo” never spread past New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Quizno’s used to have a section of its menu dedicated to “Toasty Torpedos” that looked like baguettes stuffed with sub fixings.

Zeppelin: Eastern Pennsylvania

The birth of the “zeppelin” isn’t too far from “hoagie” land in Philly. In Norristown, Pennsylvania, subs are named “zeppelins” using similar logic as the “blimpie”: shape and size. There are some rules with the zeppelin, as have been laid out by local purveyors Lou’s Sandwich Shop and Eve’s Lunch. There can only be one kind of meat, no lettuce and the bread (Italian) had better be fresh. The classic combo is considered to be salami, provolone cheese, tomatoes, onions and olive oil. You can get pretty much any fixings in there, but zeppelin devotees tend to stick to the classic.

bonchan via Getty Images

This is a chicken spiedie, featuring cubes of meat that have been marinated in an Italian dressing-like marinade. This version features melted cheese, but most versions are served without it.

Spiedie: Binghamton, New York

Binghamton’s “spiedie” is strikingly different from what you’d imagine as a typical sub, but it’s a regional favorite. The star ingredient is marinated cubes of meat, and that’s it ? there usually aren’t any toppings or condiments.

“It was traditionally made with lamb, then it went to beef, pork, and our claim is that we started the chicken spiedie in the ’80s,” Sam Lupo, owner of area favorite Lupo’s, tells HuffPost. The sandwich features Italian bread with cubed, marinated meat from a skewer and little else, though Lupo notes things are getting more liberal and some people like to add cheese, mushrooms or hot sauce.

“True spiedie people eat it plain,” he says. The term comes from the Italian “spiedino,” or “skewer” in English. The man behind the spiedie is thought to be Agostino Iacovelli, who sold them in the late 1930s at his Endicott, New York, restaurant. The spiedie is so beloved in the Binghamton area today that it has its own festival.

Cuban: Florida

Perhaps the most specific set of rules belongs to the Cuban. It must be made on Cuban bread, spread with mustard and stuffed with ham, pork (and salami if in Tampa), Swiss cheese and pickles, and heated in a press that makes it juicy and crispy.

While everyone can agree on its preparation, Miami and Tampa debate which city is responsible for its birth. The sandwich has been traced back to Cuba in the 1500s, when it was made with fish and bird meat in casabe, a crackery bread. The Spaniards arrived with pork and ham, and then Cubans brought that updated version to Florida in the 1800s when the tobacco industry developed. The addition of salami in Tampa is thanks to Italian immigrants getting in the mix, but it’s unclear which city can say it was doing the Cuban first.

Sub: Everywhere

If you’re from anywhere else, you probably just call it a sub. On their long rolls, “subs” look like subs, or submarines. The story could end there, but there are a few different theories on when sub sandwiches first got their nickname.

Shopkeeper Benedetto Capaldo made sandwiches for the workers building submarines for World War II, and they ordered so many that people started calling them “subs.” The Naval Sub Base was known as the “New London Sub Base” after that Connecticut town but was technically in Groton, so both Connecticut cities argue for sub fame. However, printed records of the first mention of a “sub” sandwich date back to 1940, before the U.S. was making submarines for WWII.

ruby Posted on October 04, 2018 16:14

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Kenya’s retail sector is one of the most attractive locations for long-term investors in sub-Saharan Africa

Global supermarket chains including France-owned Carrefour and South African Massmart which operates under the Game brand have all pitched their tents in Kenya.

  • Kenya’s retail sector is one of the most attractive locations for long-term investors in sub-Saharan Africa despite cash flow challenges.
  • Global supermarket chains including France-owned Carrefour and South African Massmart which operates under the Game brand have all pitched their tents in Kenya.

If you are considering setting up a retails store or supermarket you might want to set it up in Kenya.

This is because Kenya’s retail sector is one of the most attractive locations for long-term investors in sub-Saharan Africa despite cash flow challenges that have hurt once retail giant Nakumatt Holdings on the brink of collapse, a new report suggests.

With a formal retail penetration estimated at 30 per cent, ahead of peer economies such as Nigeria and Tanzania, the Kenyan market is uniquely positioned to offer investors strategic access to the growing spend not only in Kenya but also the wider eastern Africa,” analysts at financial advisory firm StratLink said in their monthly report update.

play LC Waikiki Area Manager Kremena Pencheva (middle) cuts the tape during the official opening of their third store in Kenya at City Mall in Nyali Mombasa on Friday. (the star)


According to the report, the interest in Kenya’s retail sector is largely fuelled by the sector’s growth due to rising households’ disposable income and as a result has outperformed the economy in the last five years.

It is no wonder then that in recent years global supermarket chains including France-owned Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer by revenue after Walmart of the US, and South African Massmart which operates under the Game brand have all pitched their tents in Kenya.

Carrefour franchise, which launched its first store in Nairobi in 2016 and now operates five stores, last year for instance recorded Sh8.2 billion ($81m) in sales from its local business riding on accelerated expansion of the supermarket chain.

play Karen-based mall, the Hub. (Capital FM)


This trend is backed by wealthy quarterly and annual reports which all arrive at one conclusion that is, Kenya is among the countries that continue to churn out super-rich individuals at the highest rate.

According to latest report by Wealth-X, a firm that publishes the annual World Utra-Wealth Report, the number of Kenya’s ultra-rich -- defined as people worth $30 million (Sh3 billion) or more -- grew by 11.7 per cent last year, ahead of India, Hong Kong and the United States.

Realtor Knight Frank also published a report mid this year showing that Kenya created 180 new dollar millionaires in 2017 alone, increasing the number of persons with net-worths of more than Sh500 million to 1,290.

play Kenya’s Rosslyn Riviera Shopping Mall (Pulselive.)


All these is but good news for the retail sector investors and more supermarket chains are expected to call Kenya home and hang ‘open for business’ banners on their doors  in the  near foreseeable future.

Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager early this year acquired Kenya’s Rosslyn Riviera Shopping Mall for USD8m.

It’s not all rosy though and Kenya’s once largest retail chain, Nakumatt holding which at its peak was  East Africa’s biggest supermarket chain with more than 60 outlets spread across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda before it came tumbling down continue to serve as a warning to investors to be smart and strategic.

AlbertaU Posted on October 04, 2018 16:13

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‘I cut out dairy and gluten and got rid of my terrible heartburn’ I had crazy heartburn, and had no idea why. It wasn’t something I wanted to talk about with my friends at lunch.

play ‘I cut out dairy and gluten and got rid of my terrible heartburn’ (LAURA FORD PHOTOGRAPHY)

When I was 16 years old, I started experiencing acid reflux several times a week. I'd feel food coming up from my stomach to my throat, a sour taste in my mouth, and a burning sensation in my chest.

I had crazy heartburn, and had no idea why. It wasn’t something I wanted to talk about with my friends at lunch.



I dealt with the the symptoms until they got bad enough when I was 19 that I started taking Prilosec, an over-the-counter drug that prevents your stomach from producing excess acid.

It was a huge relief at first, but eventually I realized the OTC stuff just wasn't going to cut it. A few months later, I started taking a stronger prescription medication every day.

'I thought this was my new normal...until I went to a friend's wedding a few years later.'


I forgot to pack my medication for the trip. Knowing that even just a bite of food could make me taste bile, I scrambled to find someone else with heartburn medication, hoping they'd packed extras. I didn’t have a car, so I had to run-literally-to a friend's hotel to get the medicine before the wedding started.

That moment made me realize that I didn’t want to rely on those pills to live my life anymore. I wanted to fix the cause of my acid reflux, rather than just mask the symptoms.

'I'd about how dairy sensitivities could cause GI issues like mine.'

But it was hard for me consider giving up dairy, because it was such a big part of my diet. I loved to snack on yogurt, eat cereal and milk for breakfast, and make pots of pasta. I loved cheese, and I kept a family-sized parmesan shaker in my fridge at all times. (Yes, just for me.) I didn't want to believe my favorite foods could be messing with my digestion.

Finally, I decided to sign up for a seven-day detox led by a health coaching company. I eliminated corn, soy, refined sugar, caffeine, gluten, and dairy. Generally elimination diets require at least a month to see results, but I definitely felt better after that first week. So when the detox was over, I decided to try to ditch dairy for good and limit my intake of gluten, too, since those two foods commonly trigger GI issues.

With the help of a nutritionist, I committed to changing my diet, while weaning myself off of my heartburn meds.

'I haven't taken my meds in years-and I'm basically symptom-free.'


I had a few flare-ups in the months after I stopped taking my heartburn medication in March 2013, but by the fall of that year, I was completely free all symptoms. No more burning in my chest and throat, no more upset stomach, no more sour taste in my mouth. And for the most part, I have been symptom-free ever since.

I've also made a few other changes that I think have really helped my GI problems. I started seeing an integrative medicine doctor, who added probiotics and digestive enzymes to my regimen as well (so I can better digest the foods I eat). I saw another functional medicine doctor who prescribed hydrochloric acid pills, citing low stomach acid as a possible cause of heartburn and reflux.

Aside from the supplements, I drink a glass of water before meals and chew my food slowly to help with digestion. I keep liquified aloe vera leaf on hand, which helps soothe my stomach if I’ve eaten something that upsets it.

'I don't miss my parmesan cheese habit (mostly).'


Though I'd always been a huge cheese-lover, I’ve never felt deprived on my new diet. Here’s what an average day of eating looks like for me:

  • For breakfast, I make a smoothie with berries, protein powder, collagen powder, and non-dairy milk like almond milk.

  • For lunch, I try to eat a serving of fermented foods, which are full of probiotics and great for helping with digestion. Sauerkraut is a go-to for me, and I usually put some in my salad along with leafy greens, chickpeas, and any veggies that I have on hand.

  • I cook dinner for myself and my husband almost every night. Some of my favorites are roasted vegetables, egg frittatas, and turkey chili. A few years ago, I trained in culinary nutrition, and it helped me feel a lot more excited about cooking. I’ve learned to love experimenting with gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, coming up with my own, and sharing them on my blog.

I’m 34, and it’s been five years since I stopped eating gluten and dairy. Now, I don’t even have heartburn pills in my house anymore. I never thought I would be able to have a meal without taking one first, let alone be able to forget about them completely. I’ve never felt better, and I wouldn’t be able to feel how I do now without an open mind, patience, and a commitment to change. Even if it meant throwing out the parmesan shaker.

Rachel Druckenmiller works in corporate wellbeing and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She writes about her experience with GI problems and shares gluten-free and dairy-free recipes on her blog, Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen.

AlbertaU Posted on October 04, 2018 15:51

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The Richest WWE Superstars Today

The world of sports entertainment is extremely lucrative in today’s world. Even though it did not begin with a lot of money, the WWE today is spending billions of dollars annually to make the company the biggest and the best in the business.

As a result of that, a lot of people who were stuck in menial jobs have managed to become world-renowned superstars who have millions of dollars in their bank accounts. After tasting success in the wrestling business, some have even moved on to other careers and managed to find a lot of success in those businesses too.

With that said, a lot of superstars have managed to amass enough money to live a comfortable life after sacrificing a lot inside and outside the ring. The WWE has awarded such superstars generously which is the reason why every wrestler tries to jump up the ladder and move on from their current promotion to the WWE.

Let’s take a look at the wrestlers who have managed to make the largest fortune from their in-ring and out of the ring activities.

#10 The Undertaker – $17 Million

Mark William Calaway will always be known as The Undertaker. Being the longest tenuredwrestler in the WWE today, The Undertaker has dedicated his entire life to making it big and becoming the company’s most famous wrestler.

His periodic appearances at Wrestlemania to defend his already damaged Streak, along with one-off appearances on Raw, SmackDown, and major pay-per-views outside the US to sell the show, are reasons enough to make him a part of the list.

He has several specialty matches such as the Buried Alive matches, Casket Matches and Last Ride match to his name, and thus he has a net worth of $17 million.

#9 Shawn Michaels – $17 Million

Joining The Undertaker on the list is another top superstar who is behind the success of the business and the sport itself. The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels has seen unparalleled success in his time with the WWE, remaining with the company for decades.

The four-time world champion and consecutive Royal Rumble winner of 1995 and 1996 is undoubtedly the most gifted wrestlers of all time. He was the company’s first ever Grand Slam Champion. This has ensured that he has at least $17 Million in assets to his name, making him the ninth richest wrestler today.

#8 Chris Jericho – $18 Million

He wasn’t the tallest superstar in the WWE, nor the strongest, or the most muscular. However, he’s one of the most talented and skilled in-ring competitors in the world. Not just that, he is also one of the only men in the business who is multi-talented and has made a name for himself outside the ring through his music.

Chris Jericho is worth $18 million today, and the figures will surely increase with time. He’s still competing inside the ring and rocking heads outside of it. Along with that, Jericho has also written two New York Times bestsellers and appeared on the television show Dancing with the Stars which has significantly boosted his net worth. 

#7 Big Show – $20 Million

Paul Wright signed his first WWE contract back in 1999 and has been with the lucrative company ever since. The Big Show is the gentle giant of the business who is one of the largest athletes in the world. He has had iconic moments in the business with the likes of Shaquille O’Neil and Floyd Mayweather.

Even though Big Show’s age and injuries have caused him to think about retirement, he has still bagged a good amount of money to live a peaceful life ahead. At $20 Million, he is the seventh man on the list. The seven-time world champion has also starred in a few movies, especially his own feature movie called Knucklehead.

#6 Kurt Angle – $25 Million

Kurt Angle is the only Olympic Gold Medalist on the list. Having won the gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Angle made the right decision to switch to professional wrestling. The great push he received from the WWE resulted in him winning the Intercontinental Championship, the European Championship, King of the Ring and the WWE title belt all within his first year in the business.

Angle also got roles in different movies, such as Warrior, which helped him increase his net worth. Today, Kurt Angle serves as the General Manager of Monday Night Raw and still makes periodic in-ring appearances taking on his old nemesis. He’s worth $25 Million and is sure to retire with a lot more than just a gold medal.

Special Mention: The Bella Twins – $12 Million

A special mention in a list dominated by men, The Bella Twins combined are the richest female superstars in the WWE today. With $6 million each in their bank account, the beautiful duo is worth a total of $12 million today.

A significant chunk of their wealth has come from modeling, acting in movies, and sponsorships. Along with that, their show Total Bellas and their appearances in other shows have boosted their earnings. Couple that with a very good WWE contract, and we have the divas with the highest net worth in the WWE today.

#5 Triple H – $25 Million

Triple H is the son-in-law of Vince McMahon and running the NXT division as nobody else can. He’s led the yellow brand to new heights and is definitely the heir to the throne of WWE. Triple H has been wrestling and playing different roles in the company for almost two-decades now which has helped him grow in his career.

Being one of the top stars of his time, Triple H has headlined many pay-per-views and also the grandest stage of them all WrestleMania a few times. Apart from that, he’s been a part of a few movies too though they haven’t really shown his talent. Today, he’s number 5 on the list with $25 million in his pockets and is sure to climb the ladder to the top three pot soon.

#4 Hulk Hogan – $25 Million

An iconic name in the world of wrestling. “The Real American” is a name known to even non-wrestling fans, and his persona has been copied by many wrestlers and fans alike. Today, he’s worth over $25 million even though he fought in an era when huge money wasn’t associated with wrestling.

The main reason for his wealth is not only wrestling, but acting, sponsorships, advertisements, and a few business ventures. Even though his divorce cost him half of his money, he still has enough in his bank account to live a comfortable life.

Special Mention: Shane McMahon – $35 Million

Most will consider him a wrestler, while die-hard fans won’t. Shane has had many different roles and gimmicks in the company being the son of the Chairman. He’s fought in some crucial matches and put his body on the line each time. Other than that, he has been in various managerial roles for the company.

All this has allowed Shane McMahon to amass $35 million without any need for inheritance. Being a wrestler, a promoter, and also having a few business ventures, has allowed him to secure his future without much financial help from his billionaire father.

#3 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – $45 Million

He may be known as Stone Cold, but his bank account is still red hot! Retiring from wrestling after a neck injury and due to his ailing knees, Steve Austin has still managed to make a fortune and is No.3 on the list with $45 million.

Steve Austin made it big in the WWE and is still regarded as one of the finest performers the company has ever seen. His attitude and persona led the company forward in the 1990s. Apart from wrestling, Austin has made a fortune from a number of small appearances he makes in WWE, from movies he has starred in such as The Expendables and The Longest Yard, and his own Podcast.

#2 John Cena – $55 Million

There is no doubt that WWE has never seen a bigger star than John Cena. Everything he has touched has turned to gold, and that has allowed him to lift the company’s gold a record 25 times! That has made him main event hundreds of events and earn a truckload of money from the company.

Outside the ring, Cena has made his name in a number of other entertainment fields. He’s starred in a number of movies and continues to do so today, released some music, been the face of many brands, and has signed numerous sponsorship contracts. This has allowed him to become the second richest wrestler today with $55 million and is the only real contender to threaten the No.1 person on the list.

#1 Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – $220 Million

Not just a superstar, but a super-duper-megastar. The Rock is still one of the biggest names in the wrestling business. However, he has managed to become the biggest name in a number of other fields too. That has allowed him to become the richest man to ever take to the squared-circle (apart from Mr. Vince McMahon of course), and have assets worth over $220 million.

Johnson has a number of sources of income, the most major one being Hollywood. Johnson earned $124 million from June 2017 to June 2018, just by acting which makes his earnings from the WWE a small percentage of his total net worth.

There’s very little hope for any other person on the list to match up to The Rock’s earning.

majsdesaint Posted on October 04, 2018 12:27

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Trump Administration Asks SCOTUS To Block Top Officials From Explaining Census Citizenship Question

The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to step in and block two top officials from having to speak under oath in a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census.

In a petition filed Wednesday, the Justice Department asked the high court to prevent Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and John Gore, the acting head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, from having to sit for depositions in the case. A coalition of activist groups, cities and nearly 20 states, led by New York, say the Trump administration was predisposed to adding the citizenship question, and say it violated federal law by not following the proper procedure for doing so.

Getting information from Ross and Gore is crucial to the lawsuit because Ross, who oversees the Census, has said he added the question at the request of the Justice Department. DOJ said it needed the question, which has not been asked on the decennial survey since 1950, to get better citizenship data so it can better enforce the Voting Rights Act. But documents disclosed as part of the litigation show that Ross wanted to add the citizenship question even before the Justice Department requested it, and that it was Ross who initially approached DOJ officials about making the request.

Leah Millis / Reuters

The Trump administration is fighting to block Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from having to speak under oath about the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.


Critics say adding the citizenship question will depress the response rate among immigrants who fear sharing their immigration status with the Trump administration. Data collected by the Census is strongly protected by federal privacy laws and must be kept confidential.

A lower court in New York has ordered depositions of Ross and Gore, saying they possess unique and relevant information that can’t be obtained from other sources. In its Wednesday filing, the government said the lower court’s ruling was incorrect, and that the case should be evaluated based on an “administrative record” of documents compiled by the government detailing why it made its decision.

“The court thought Secretary Ross’s testimony uniquely vital because he was personally involved in the decision to reinstate a citizenship question and the decision is of great importance to the public,” U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in the brief. “The Secretary’s personal involvement in a significant policy decision is not exceptional, and the importance of the Secretary’s decision in this case does not distinguish it from many other decisions of national importance that Cabinet Secretaries make.”

The information that the government has disclosed in the lawsuit so far has raised significant questions about the decision to add the citizenship query. The documents show Ross and top aides discussing the addition of the citizenship question, and a memo in which the bureau’s top scientist advised against adding it.

Justice Department lawyers have been fighting to block the plaintiffs in the case from gathering information beyond the documents that government officials voluntarily compiled about the decision. However, they have been largely unsuccessful. On Sunday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, the trial judge overseeing the case, said the government’s most recent request was “particularly frivolous — if not outrageous.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit is also considering whether to block Ross from having to sit for a deposition, but said last week that Gore could be deposed. A trial in the case is scheduled to begin at the start of November.

“The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to block discovery in our suit ? and courts have repeatedly rejected their attempts. You have to wonder what they’re trying to hide,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D). “We’ll get to the bottom of how the decision to demand citizenship status was made, as we continue our case to ensure a full and fair Census.”

ruby Posted on October 04, 2018 10:18

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1,000 earthquake and tsunami victims still missing in Indonesia

About 1,000 people are still missing in three areas after the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, Sky News has learned.

The number of those still unaccounted for is an estimate by the national disaster agency and is made up of those believed to be missing from the areas of Petobo, Balaroa and Sigi, neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the hard-hit city of Palu.

A spokesman said that most victims in Petobo are in flattened homes buried under at least three metres of mud that has now solidified.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said: "The liquefaction damage is unprecedented in Indonesia, despite high seismic activity."

It comes as the number of dead rose to 1,424, while more than 70,000 have been left homeless.

Indonesia earthquake: 'My husband's body was swallowed by the ground'

The risk of disease means Surianti cannot take him home - he must lie with hundreds of others killed in Indonesia's disaster.

Thousands more are believed to be missing from other areas, with people trapped under rubble or mud due to the process of liquefaction which sees the earth loosen due to the earthquake then turn into what looks like a heaving liquid.

Authorities have set a a tentative deadline of Friday to find anyone still alive under the rubble. At that point, a week after the disaster, the chances of finding survivors is almost zero.

The 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Sulawesi island on Friday and was followed by a tsunami as high as 6m (20ft) which destroyed homes and left hundreds of thousands desperate for food and water.

Six days after disaster struck survivors are still begging for handouts and loot shops as aid has been slow to get to many areas.

Why the ground turns to liquid in an earthquake


The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which brings together 14 UK aid charities, has launched an appeal to raise money for survivors.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said the charities and local partners were working with Indonesian authorities "to get aid to those who urgently need it, as well as helping survivors to cope with the trauma of the last few days".

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"There is an urgent need for clean drinking water, food, medical care and shelter," said Mr Saeed.

"Please give generously and let's save the survivors."

It has set up a number - 70000 - where people can easily donate £5 by texting SKY.

Image: Ruins of houses in the Balaroa sub-district in Palu, Indonesia

The UK government is also sending thousands of shelter kits, solar lanterns and water purifiers to the disaster zone, with a loaded plane leaving the UK on Thursday.

Six experts have been sent to Sulawesi to help coordinate the aid effort and the government offered to send HMS Argyll from Singapore to help.

Indonesian authorities said the ship was not yet needed.

???????? #UKaid to send shelter kits, solar lanterns and water purifiers to the disaster zone in Indonesia

???? Flight loaded with #UKaid is due to leave today


— DFID (@DFID_UK) October 4, 2018

Ruined bridges, damaged roads and landslides have slowed down the rescue and aid effort, says Sky News' Mark Stone, who is in the disaster zone.

He said that so far he had not seen "any coordinated government response" - despite the UN saying 200,000 people urgently need help.

A lack of heavy machinery to move the rubble has also caused problems, while there are safety concerns for those trying to help after around 1,200 inmates escaped from two prisons.

khojho Posted on October 04, 2018 09:55

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A 15-year-old's horrific death from an allergic reaction prompted Pret a Manger to completely change how they label food.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died shortly after eating Pret A Manger's baguette sandwich, which contained sesame, to which she was allergic but wasn't labeled on the product package. The chain said on Wednesday that it will start labeling all its ingredients and allergens on products from November.


Natasha Ednan-Laperouse's brother and parents.

(Sky News)


  • Pret A Manger will start labeling all ingredients and allergens on its products from next month onwards.
  • The decision comes after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from an allergic reaction to sesame after eating the chain's baguette sandwich which didn't list sesame as an ingredient.
  • A coroner in the UK said Pret A Manger's food labeling was "inadequate."
  • Pret A Manger now wants to make it as difficult as possible for people with allergies to not see the warning signs, Business Insider understands.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May also said she would look into UK food-labeling regulations as well as "the responsibility of individual companies" in light of the death.

Pret A Manger is completely changing the way it labels its food allergens after a 15-year-old died after eating a sandwich that didn't label her allergens.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died in 2016 after eating the chain's baguette sandwich with artichoke, olive, and tapenade.

The baguette contained sesame seeds — to which the teen was allergic — but it was not specifically labeled on the sandwich's packaging, an inquest in the UK heard last week.

She bought the sandwich at London Heathrow Airport before flying to Nice, France, and collapsed about 20 minutes into the flight, went into cardiac arrest, and died of an anaphylactic shock within hours.

The coroner, Dr Sean Cummings, said that Pret A Manger's allergy labeling was "inadequate."

Pret A Manger announced on Wednesday that it would label all its ingredients, including allergens, on all its products in the UK. The announcement follows the conclusion of Ednan-Laperouse's inquest, Pret A Manger said in a statement sent to Business Insider.



(Getty Images)


Business Insider understands that the chain plans to roll out full ingredient labeling on product packaging worldwide, starting with the UK. The chains will be rolled out in British shops from November onward, Pret A Manger said in its Wednesday statement.

Over the next few weeks, it also plans to place allergen warning stickers on all individual freshly made products, display allergen warning signs in shops, and list a full ingredient information, including allergens, online and in shops, the company said.

The company's goal is to make make it as difficult as possible for people with allergies to not see the warning signs, Business Insider understands.

At the time of Ednan-Laperouse's death, Pret A Manger had a guide detailing allergens in its foods posted in its shops and on its website, but not on product-shelf tickets, Business Insider also understands. The chain had signs on fridges and at registers advising customers to speak to a manager to see the allergen guide.

UK food-labeling regulations do not require restaurants that make and package food onsite, like Pret A Manger, to label allergen information on each individual product, the BBC reported.

Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday said she would "look at" rehauling food-labeling regulations in the UK in light of Ednan-Laperouse's death.

She told the BBC: "This was an absolutely tragic case and our thoughts are with [Natasha's] family and friends over what happened.

"We have obviously to look at this issue, we have to look at the responsibility of individual companies as well.


A screengrab of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse on the flight to Nice, France, shortly before she died of an allergic reaction.

(The Telegraph)


The inquest also heard that Pret A Manger was warned at least six times that its baguettes could cause allergic reactions in the year before Ednan-Laperouse's death.

Ednan-Laperouse's father, Nadim, said his daughter foamed at the mouth and said she couldn't breathe. Those symptoms persisted after he administered two EpiPen shots to his daughter and a doctor administered CPR to her throughout the flight, he said.

Ednan-Laperouse's mother, Tanya, also described listening to her daughter's final moments over the phone.

Clive Schlee, the chief executive of Pret A Manger, said in a statement:

"I want to say again how deeply sorry we are for the loss of Natasha. I said we would learn from this tragedy and ensure meaningful changes happen.

"I hope these measures set us on course to drive change in the industry so people with allergies are as protected and informed as possible. Nothing is more important to Pret right now."

AlbertaU Posted on October 03, 2018 16:08

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Westminster attack inquests: Families say police and security services made key failings

Families of those caught up in the Westminster terrorist attack believe more could have been done by the authorities to prevent the tragedy.

During weeks of often harrowing evidence at the inquests, legal representatives of the five people who died and the dozens of others who were injured, pointed to what they claimed were several key failings by police and security services.

The hearing at the Old Bailey is drawing to a close on Wednesday, with several interim conclusions likely to be made by Judge Mark Lucraft QC, the chief coroner.

Image: The victims. Top: Andreea Cristea and Pc Keith Palmer. Bottom: Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes and Kurt Cochran

The inquests revealed much about the lives of those who died, about the events that led to their deaths, but also raised questions about whether some things, if done differently, might, have helped prevent the tragedy.

Terrorist Khalid Masood used a 4x4 Hyundai to plough through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on 22 March last year, before running to the Houses of Parliament and stabbing to death police officer Keith Palmer.

Masood was shot dead by a police close protection officer.

Counsel for PC Palmer's family criticised a decision by senior officers not to put armed officers at the main gate where Masood attacked. Instead, they were encouraged to carry out roving patrols in the general area.

Dominic Adamson, representing the officer's widow, said his murder was "entirely predictable".

Image: Khalid Masood murdered five people in the attack

Image: Masood did a reconnaissance trip on the bridge a few days before

The hearing was told how PC Lee Ashby and PC Nicholas Sanders, the armed officers on patrol at the time of the attack, had not been near Carriage Gates, where Mr Palmer was stationed, for nearly an hour before Masood struck.

This was despite official guidelines that said they should be "in close proximity" to the gates when they were open.

Mr Adamson accused senior officers of trying to "pass the buck".

He said: "The Metropolitan Police has failed to identify the fact that its armed officers were not doing what they were supposed to do.

"And to this day it has failed to properly acknowledge the failings that it was responsible for in allowing that state of affairs to persist."


Video: Masood was seen joking with hotel staff the day before the attack

The security services were also questioned about whether they could have done more to stop Khalid Masood before he carried out his attack.

He had been investigated as a potential extremist in 2010, but the first trace of him in their records dates back to April 2004.

The inquest heard his phone number appeared in the contact list of someone known to Operation Crevice, which smashed a plot to blow up the Ministry of Sound nightclub and a Kent's Bluewater shopping centre, in April 2004.

At the time, Masood was living in Crawley, West Sussex, which was the epicentre of the investigation that prevented what was then the biggest terrorist plot in Britain.

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He appeared on MI5's radar again six years later as a potential facilitator for extremists travelling to Pakistan through Saudi Arabia.

An MI5 officer, known only as witness L gave evidence at the hearing, revealing that Masood was designated as an MI5 "subject of interest" (SOI).

Image: Masood was shot after he left the car and stabbed PC Palmer

By the end of the year, investigators decided he was not a threat and he was removed from the live SOI list.

Over the next four years he intermittently popped up as a contact of people involved in the banned network once headed by the hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

Witness L said that the atrocity could not have been stopped.

"There simply wasn't enough intelligence for us to work on that would have allowed us to identify his plot and work with the police to frustrate it," he said.

The authorities were also criticised over a lack of action to protect Westminster Bridge and other potentially vulnerable sites from a vehicle attack.

The inquests were told how those tasked with protecting so-called "crowded places" did not regard Westminster Bridge as a crowded place, despite the large numbers of tourists and others who flock there.

The Westminster attack happened just months after terrorists used vehicles as weapons in attacks in Berlin and Nice.

Despite those events, no barriers were erected on the bridge.

Senior police and Transport for London witnesses told the inquests that the bridge was seen as no more or less at risk than many other tourist attractions across the capital.

Today, barriers run the entire length of the bridge - but it took another vehicle attack to change the risk assessment.

Just days after terrorists struck on London Bridge, authorities finally began erecting barriers at several river crossings.

Whether mitigation measures might have saved some or all of the Westminster victims we can never really know for sure.

Dominic Solomon Posted on October 03, 2018 15:42

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Girls’ Academic Successes Are Undercut By Sexual Harassment

Christine Blasey Ford introduced herself to America on Thursday as the promise of gender equality fulfilled. She’s a graduate of an elite girls’ school, a successful scientist and a professor who could name-check parts of the brain, and explain their function, as she was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the GOP’s handpicked prosecutor.

She also exuded compliance with old-school rules of femininity. She smiled. She is a married mother hosting Google interns in her home. She’s blonde, and in the words of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), “attractive” and “pleasing.” She said she wanted most of all to do her “civic duty” and to be “helpful.” Mulling a break in her testimony, Ford was deferential, asking senators: “Does that work for you?”

Ford, more than most, has made good on the promise of public gender equality. She embodied exactly what is expected of girls and women today, walking the identity tightwire of being smart but not too smart, assertive but not aggressive, pretty but not sexy, confident but not arrogant.

Yet her exacting compliance with the rules of femininity were still not enough to shield her from vicious attacks on her credibility. Immediately following her testimony, GOP senators dismissed her account as a Democratic ploy, and President Donald Trump tweeted, “this process has been a total sham.”

POOL New / Reuters

As Kavanaugh’s nomination churns toward all-but inevitable confirmation, girls have heard a searing message: Your minds may know no limit, but your bodies still don’t belong to you. Even if you do everything that is expected of you, there is a limit to how much power we will give you.

Indeed Ford’s account ? a smart, ambitious girl violated by equally smart, ambitious boys ? is hardly a relic of the 1980s. A new study from Plan International USA confirmed that girls’ public successes are undercut by unremitting sexual degradation.

On one hand, the researchers found, girls have pulled even with boys in valuing a career, and are just as likely as boys to say math or science is their favorite subject. In a remarkable shift, more girls than boys say being a leader is an important life goal. They are as likely as boys to have considered running for public office.

At the same time, in the classrooms where girls supposedly dominate, a majority hear boys making sexual comments or jokes about girls ? not unlike the ones Brett Kavanaugh memorialized in his high school yearbook? at least several times each week. What’s more, three-quarters of girls ages 14 to 19 said they feel judged as a sexual object or unsafe. 

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

This data shows the paradox of girls’ lives is profound: More high school girls go to college than boys, but not before some 68 percent of them experience sexual harassment in high school.

How far have our daughters come if their entitlement to equality is conditional and doesn’t extend beyond the classroom? 

As the Me Too moment has unfolded, there has been scant public discussion of the youngest victims and perpetrators of assault. As lifelong advocates for girls, we find this puzzling ? and a missed opportunity.

After all, sexual crimes committed by adults do not spontaneously appear in the workplace. The permission to violate another person, and the pressure to remain silent and comply, are first made clear in childhood, where boys and girls learn a social script that positions them to act as perpetrator and survivor.

Early in childhood, boys learn the unwritten rules of so-called toxic masculinity, a performance of manhood that prizes toughness and mocks vulnerability. A “real man,” boys learn, defines his value in terms of conquest, whether it be through sex, money or fists.

Meanwhile, girls learn that to be liked matters more than anything else, including their own feelings.

It’s a desire that today’s teen girls know well. In last week’s study, teen girls said they still feel “a lot of pressure” to put others’ feelings before their own. While over half of boys have heard their fathers or other male family make sexual jokes or comments about women, one-third feel pressure to dominate or be in charge of others. Boys, the researchers concluded, are “receiving the same messages as girls do ? that girls should be valued for their physical traits and sexuality rather than their abilities or intelligence.”

By age 18, one in four girls experiences sexual abuse or assault. 

In order to tackle sexual harassment and violence, we have to address the root cause of them. These deeply entrenched norms harm girls and each of us ? youth, educators, parents, and others ? has a role to play in creating a culture that no longer tolerates sexual harassment in any form, and that values and promotes the dignity of girls and all young people.

“For me and my friends, his past is our now,” a 17 year-old girl told a reporter this week.  

At stake when senators vote is not just a Supreme Court nomination. It is a moment to let boys know that their behavior in high school counts. It is a refusal to accept that we only value girls’ voices when they don’t directly threaten the status quo. It is a chance to let girls know that the invitation to equality that we have given them extends to their bodies as well as their minds.

Otherwise, the message to girls is clear: we believe in you. We just don’t believe you.

Rachel Simmons is the co-founder of Girls Leadership and director of the Lewis Leadership program at Smith College. Judy Vredenburgh is president and CEO of Girls Inc.


ruby Posted on October 03, 2018 14:19

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Haiti's amputee footballers seek glory abroad, acceptance at home

Football has long been a national obsession in Haiti, and following the devastating 2010 earthquake, which spurred the creation of a national disabled team, the country is now dreaming of World Cup glory.

A 15-member squad is in the midst of intense training for the amputee World Cup set to take place in Mexico October 24-November 6, far from the media frenzy generated by the World Cup for able-bodied footballers.

"We won against the United States at the Copa America, and we also beat Germany, Italy and Russia," coach Pierre Rochenel said.

"Since we need seven players for a game, and it's on a smaller field, amputee football is very demanding technically."

The team's participation in the World Cup next month is the latest chapter in the rise of amputee football in Haiti, which accelerated in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that left 200,000 people dead. Of a further 300,000 people wounded, 4,000 were amputees.

Eight members of the Haiti team heading to Mexico are amputees resulting from the earthquake.

Haiti's national amputee football association was launched to help motivate the wounded, many of whom became one-legged, as they faced harsh stigmatization in society.

"Here, people still hide at home their loved ones who are disabled," said association president Ariel Valembrun, himself an arm amputee.

"But when they see the team out in the field, people can't get over themselves. Everywhere we go, the public applauds and sees that what we are doing is good for the disabled community."

"Want to live more"

© Provided by AFP Players change in the locker room

Alain Israel, who was born without part of his left leg, grew up in the country's second city, Cap-Haitien, and was often subjected to discrimination.

The 27-year-old says that playing in Haiti's football team has given him a sense of pride.

"People think about the efforts they need to make to play soccer well, so when they see me, a disabled man, they can't believe it," Israel said.

"I had enough of people's stares in the street, but when everyone is looking at me on the field, I feel proud. It really makes me want to live more."

Beyond disabled rights, the amputee players hope to promote equality among all citizens.

Among the 47 countries with an amputee football team, only two have a group of female players: Haiti and Mexico.

© Provided by AFP Football is the king of sports in Haiti, but its amputee version only emerged after the January 2010 quake that killed more than 200,000 and wounded 300,000 others, at least 4,000 of whom were amputated

Marie-Sophonie Louis is incredibly proud that his country, still dominated by a macho culture, is for once ahead of the game on the world stage.

"We have very few able-bodied women play football here," said the volunteer who trains the women's amputee football team.

"Ninety percent of our players were victims of the January 12 earthquake. It's a powerful message for all able-bodied women here and abroad: why fall back? You can do a lot and nothing is impossible."

No state support

© Provided by AFP The players are in the midst of intense training for the competition set to take place in Mexico October 24-November 6, 2018

All the players and members of the amputee football association show as much motivation as their technical and financial support is scarce.


"We have a few private partners, media that back us, but nothing from the state," said Valembrun, who is temporarily sharing his modest home with 18 players as they prepare for the competition.

The team and its staff are only asking the minimum: a bus to travel to the stadium on the other side of the capital and doing everything so that all the players have their passports in time.

Israel rolls his eyes when he hears talk of integration.

"We are not on the fringes of society," said the young player, who dreams of holding the winner's cup in his hands in Mexico.

"Yes, some people have deficiencies, but it's the stares and the behavior of others that makes them disabled."

khojho Posted on October 03, 2018 13:12

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Has Australia Abandoned the Salad Sandwich?

       Once a stalwart of Australian school lunches and milk bars and sandwich shops and cafes, the salad sandwich was unavoidable for decades. CreditCreditPetrina Tinslay for The New York Times.

Some foods are so ordinary and ubiquitous that we fail to even notice them. This seems especially true in Australia when it comes to our more plebeian offerings. Some, admittedly, become iconic, like the meat pie or Vegemite. But while American food writing celebrates the tater tot, ranch dressing and Hot Pockets, Australia lets many edible components of its collective childhood slip by, unsung and unexamined.

Nostalgia is only heightened when you’re homesick, which might explain my preoccupation with the minutia of Australian life of the 1970s and ’80s. I left the country in the early ’90s, and spent the last two decades in a state of constant yearning. I was surprised, upon my return, to find many of the staples of my childhood gone, and was shocked that some have slipped away or languished without mention. America’s taste for Froot Loops has diminished significantly, but their waning popularity and influence and import has not gone undocumented.

Imagine then, a symbol of American childhood as common as a PB & J — and as revealing of the economic and moral climate of its creation — that few food scholars have considered, and is virtually absent from books about the national diet.

The Australian salad sandwich is just such an item. A stalwart of school lunches and milk bars and sandwich shops and cafes, the salad sandwich was unavoidable for decades. Its basic components: sliced bread, butter or margarine and layers of shredded lettuce or alfalfa sprouts, shredded carrots, sliced or shredded cucumbers, and — the key ingredient — canned red beetroot. Magenta beetroot juice seeping through white bread is instantly recognizable as a portrait of Australian lunch.


At South Dowling Sandwiches in Sydney, they make a wonderful version that’s not classic at all, full of grilled eggplant, lentils, sweet potato fries and about a dozen other things, including — of course — sliced beetroot. CreditPetrina Tinslay for The New York Times

At its best, the sandwich is a thing of strange beauty, one of those foods that somehow transcends the sum of its parts — I loved salad sandwiches long before I liked almost anything that came inside a salad sandwich. In particular, I hated canned beetroot (or beets, as they’re known in the United States), but it is their sweetness, density and slight fudginess that give the sandwich its gravitas, challenging the fresh crunch of all the other vegetables and creating balance.

“For me, they say summer,” said Donna Hay, the prolific Australian cookbook author and television personality. “Like so many other Aussies, they’re a staple for when my boys and I pack up a picnic for the beach, or to take with us on a bike ride; they’re part of that whole Australian outdoor lifestyle.” Despite all this, Ms. Hay has never published a recipe for one in any of her 27 cookbooks, or in her self-titled magazine that she ran for 17 years.

Why does nobody talk about this essential Australian lunch? How did this sandwich arise and become so commonplace? And how did beetroot get such a prominent role?

Why does nobody talk about this essential Australian lunch? How did this sandwich arise and become so commonplace? And how did beetroot get such a prominent role?CreditPetrina Tinslay

The Australian love of canned beetroot is well-documented, particularly as it relates to their prominence as a component of the Australian hamburger. This beetroot affection can be traced to the 1930s, when Australia had a canning boom, and to World War II, when the New South Wales company Edgell’s was permitted to continue canning beetroot, even as production of other canned goods halted because of wartime restrictions.

“The earliest reference I can find dates back to 1887,” said Jan O’Connell, who wrote the book “A Timeline of Australian Food: From Mutton to Masterchef.” Early references seemed to refer to a more American-style salad sandwich, she said, using “what you might call a salade composée, where the ingredients were chopped and mixed with mayonnaise, like the U.S. tuna salad sandwich.”

[Sign up for the weekly Australia Letter to get Besha’s column and more Australia coverage from the Times in your inbox.]

When I searched for recipes containing beetroot, the earliest example was in a salad sandwich recipe in 1905, while the first layered version I was able to find dates to 1945 (though it calls for ham). Ms. O’Connell admits to not having paid the sandwich much thought at all until I asked her about it. “I didn’t realize the salad sandwich was uniquely Australian,” she said.

School-provided lunches are not as much of a part of Australian life as they are in America — they were never legislated or mandated here — but “tuck shops” often operated a few days a week, run by parents, selling simple lunches to grade-school children. Since at least the 1960s, tuck shops have offered salad sandwiches: In 1964, as part of a campaign to protect children’s teeth, the Australian Dental Association suggested a menu that included a salad sandwich, along with some other meat-filled options.



At its best, the sandwich is a thing of strange beauty, one of those foods that somehow transcends the sum of its parts.CreditPetrina Tinslay for The New York Times


Its basic components: sliced bread, butter or margarine and layers of shredded lettuce or alfalfa sprouts, shredded carrots, sliced or shredded cucumbers, and — the key ingredient — canned red beets.CreditPetrina Tinslay for The New York Times

My guess is that the sandwich came about because of a confluence of things: the Briticism of tea sandwiches, that famous love of beetroot and the Oslo diet. Introduced in 1930s Norway as a nutritious way to feed school children, the Oslo diet (or lunch) became popular in Australia in the early 1940s. It called for fruit slices, buttered bread and salad items like carrots and lettuce. Add beetroot, and you have the basic building blocks of the salad sandwich.

My American mother said that when she arrived in Australia in the mid-1970s, vegetables in general — other than potatoes and peas and boiled carrots — were seen as a bit suspicious. The salad sandwich was the exception, and one that persisted for the next decade. To be a vegetarian in Australia in the late 1980s, as I was, had considerable challenges. The options were excruciatingly slim, but I found my savior. I once took a bus ride from Brisbane to Melbourne and ate nothing but salad sandwiches at the petrol stations and lunch counters along the way.

There are still a few places to get an old-fashioned version, especially in rural parts of the country. In Melbourne, I was able to find a decent one, ironically, at an American barbecue restaurant called Big Boy BBQ. In downtown Sydney, The Sandwich Shop has a classic version, with the addition of hummus. At South Dowling Sandwiches, also in Sydney, they make a wonderful version that’s not classic at all, full of grilled eggplant, lentils, sweet potato fries and about a dozen other things, including — of course — sliced beetroot.

But I was honestly shocked at how difficult it was to find this once-ubiquitous sandwich. The death of the milk bar must be a factor, and the alternative lunch options are now so diverse; Australia arguably has some of the best vegetarian food in the world these days. But it would be sad for this humble fixture of the last century to slip away unacknowledged.

Cultural cringe comes up a lot when I talk to people about Australian food — the idea that the country has been so misunderstood and undervalued by the world that we tend to want to put our best foot (and food) forward. We have serious, fancy restaurants. Why talk about the daggy old salad sandwich?

I think we’ve come far enough that it’s O.K. to relax a little. I think we can celebrate the low along with the high. I think we can be proud of all of our culinary heritage, including white bread stained pink from canned beetroot.





ruby Posted on October 03, 2018 12:22

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Catalan government accused of playing 'dangerous' game after unrest

Catalonia's separatist executive came was Tuesday accused of playing a "dangerous" game after the regional leader encouraged radical independence activists to carry out disruptive acts on the anniversary of a banned referendum that culminated in clashes.

Hundreds of separatist protesters knocked down barriers at the regional parliament in Barcelona on Monday evening, clashing with police in stark contrast with the usually peaceful nature of Catalonia's independence movement.

Analysts said this reflected the movement's divisions and lack of direction, with some pushing for direct confrontation with Madrid and others calling for moderation, while at the same time trying to keep the spirit of last year's secession bid alive.

Reacting to the clashes, Catalan government spokeswoman Elsa Artadi acknowledged it was "the first time that we are faced with this situation within the independence movement."

She told Catalan television that a "minority" took part in the unrest.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez rapped regional leader Quim Torra, asking him to "not endanger political normalisation by encouraging radicals to lay siege to institutions which represent all Catalans."

"Violence isn't the way forward," Sanchez, who is attempting to negotiate with Catalan leaders and also depends on separatist lawmakers to prop up his minority government, said in a tweet.

Very dangerous

Related : News in pictures (Provided by Reuters)

Monday's clashes forced the leader in Catalonia of anti-secession party Ciudadanos to leave the building under escort in unrest that topped a restive day in the northeastern region that remains sharply divided on independence.

Radical activists called by a group naming itself the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs), many of them hooded, cut roads and railway lines, encouraged by Torra -- a staunch independence supporter himself.

"The (independence) movement is divided between radicals and an executive that isn't sure where to go, and which is also divided," said Oriol Bartomeus, politics professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

"I think Torra shares the CDRs' ideas but he knows perfectly well that the independence movement will lose if it goes down that road.

"Torra is in the middle," he said, describing the situation as " very dangerous."

In an editorial, Catalonia's El Periodico daily wrote that "much has changed, it seems, in just one year," accusing Torra and his regional ministers of playing a "double game" it described as "unsustainable."

Catalonia's banned independence referendum on October 1, 2017 was marred by a violent crackdown by police ordered to stop peaceful voters from casting their ballot, in footage that went around the world.

A year later, the tables appeared to have turned with images of radical independence supporters cutting roads and railway lines, muscling their way into a government building and clashing with police.

Violence condemned

Miquel Iceta, head of the Socialist party in Catalonia, told Spanish radio the unrest "highlighted that a regional president cannot encourage mobilisation if he is then unable to guarantee security."

He said it also showed "that the Catalan government's discourse, as it is far from reality, generates frustration and violence among its most radical followers."

© Provided by AFP Chronology of Catalonia's political crisis Even former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-exile in Belgium after last October's secession bid, condemned the violence.

"If they are hooded they're not from the 1-0," he tweeted in reference to the referendum last year, which went ahead despite a court ban and eventually led to a short-lived unilateral declaration of independence on October 27.

That prompted then conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy to sack the regional government, dissolve the Catalan parliament and call snap local elections.

"If they use violence they're not from the 1-0. We did it with our faces uncovered and in a peaceful way," Puigdemont added.

khojho Posted on October 03, 2018 11:33

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Boko Haram exposes the cracks in Nigeria’s military strategy

For nearly three years the Nigerian government has stuck to its claim that it has “technically defeated” Boko Haram. Recently though, the terror group demonstrated its renewed audacity with strikes at hard (military) targets.

The government’s response was to reorganise its key military leadership in the troubled north-east of the country – a strategy that appears largely cosmetic. The game changer is more likely to come from dealing with several blind spots in the military’s approach to Boko Haram.

Altering military commanders each time there’s a problem has been tried before, with little impact on the counter-terrorism effort. Over the last two years, leadership has changed on four occasions.

This time the most significant reshuffle was of the Theatre Commander overseeing the campaign against Boko Haram. The new head of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Abba Dikko, replaced Major General Rogers Nicholas who occupied the position for less than a year.

Beyond leadership, three top concerns undermine the army’s current position. First, the military must investigate why a number of its bases have suffered attacks in close succession. Second, the use of intelligence must be deepened to include closer collaboration with local community actors who are familiar with the terrain in which Boko Haram operates. Third, the grievances of soldiers must be addressed to improve morale.

With regard to attacks, on 13 July Boko Haram insurgents ambushed a military convoy in Borno state, Nigeria. Then on 19 July soldiers were attacked as they escorted traders close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon. And on 21 July troops again fell victim to insurgents. Over a six-week period, four military bases were attacked, one of which was staffed by over 700 soldiers.

In addition to military targets, Boko Haram has launched deadly assaults on civilians. The extremist group’s offensives have been relatively sophisticated – probably executed by the faction of Boko Haram led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi who has a penchant for targeting the military. Nigeria’s army needs to investigate whether these attacks are the result of weak security at its bases, or because of Boko Haram’s growing strength and tactical advantage.

The new military commander faces long-standing challenges when it comes to intelligence. While the rights of ordinary citizens must be safeguarded, the problem posed by Boko Haram’s spies within communities should be recognised. More than ever, this issue merits attention in light of recent revelations by apprehended members of Boko Haram.

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

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Some of these individuals infiltrate townships under the guise of various professions, like taxi drivers. Countering this is not easy, as the challenge of dealing with al-Shabaab and its “Mata Hari” spy network involving sex workers in Kenya showed.

A closer working relationship is needed between the military and civilian groups who can provide critical information about Boko Haram’s tactics. The Nigerian army realised this back in 2013 when it started working with the Civilian Joint Task Force, a network of vigilante groups supporting the security forces against Boko Haram. More of such alliances are needed, with a wider range of local actors, including Islamic clerics.

The army has made some progress in regard to the recovery of territory from Boko Haram. However, much more is needed to thwart the group. To consolidate military gains, grievances among troops on the ground must be attended to.

Part of the solution lies in dialogue to understand concerns of those on the battlefront. For instance, some units lament the delays in getting weapons and supplies when their detachments are under attack. Regrettably, these have been met with warnings by the authorities against soldiers accused of abandoning their posts when faced with insurgents.

Threatening battle-worn troops is counter-productive and echoes past mistakes. At the height of the Boko Haram insurgency in mid-2014, troops staged a mutiny and fired at the vehicle of an army major general. In August this year, soldiers protested at the Maiduguri airport in Borno state. The latest demonstration was over unjust redeployment and over-extended periods of battle on the front lines.

The boldness of Boko Haram to strike military targets will gain traction as the group discerns cracks in the Nigerian army’s approach. With the emergence of a Boko Haram faction that targets the military, creative solutions will be needed that go beyond replacing army commanders. The extremist group is less concerned about who leads the Nigerian army’s efforts than about exploiting the army’s vulnerabilities.

As long as they persist, Boko Haram will exploit weaknesses in the military’s situation. With a recognition that shifting leaders won’t address the problems, and more attention to intelligence and troop morale, the army will suffer fewer setbacks.

Until then, declaring that Boko Haram has been “technically” defeated is not justifiable. DM

Akinola Olojo is a Senior Researcher, Transnational Threats and International Crime, ISS Pretoria

khojho Posted on October 03, 2018 10:48

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New mother told her baby’s crying is ‘unacceptable’ by United Airlines employee

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited A United Airlines passenger was left “beyond infuriated” when a cabin crew manager said her baby’s crying was “completely unacceptable” during a flight from Sydney to San Francisco on Tuesday 25 September.

Krupa Patel Bala was travelling with her eight-month-old son and husband in business class on flight UA 870 when the infant began to cry in his bassinet.

After five minutes, the flight attendant manager came over and, according to Bala, “yelled” at her husband, saying it was “absolutely unacceptable” for the baby to cry for so long.

The first-time mum wrote a lengthy Facebook post about the experience from the plane, paying $28.99 for inflight wi-fi to share her story.

Bala said she raised the issue with the crew member, Linda, explaining that being told to make her baby stop crying was quite stressful.

Linda said they could discuss it in economy class, where Bala claims she was told it was part of the rule book that babies are not allowed to cry for more than five minutes as it “really stresses the crew out”.

Bala wrote: “Funny; it also really stresses me out when the baby cries – I don’t actually enjoy it, go figure. 

“Oh, and we asked a few other crew members if we disturbed them and they had zero idea what we were talking about.”

Bala, who worked for Facebook before having her son, said there were more constructive ways the manager could have managed the situation: “She could have asked us to walk the baby around, tactfully shared that it was starting to disturb passengers, or really ANYTHING with a smile that acknowledged that we weren’t out to make everyone (including us) suffer.

© Getty Representational picture

“Her response to that was to tell me that it didn’t matter because it was just unacceptable for the baby to cry and as the parent, I need to control him.”

She said the family would “never fly United again”.

“Parents of newborns have it hard enough already travelling with a baby and we certainly don’t need crew managers piling on when we are doing our best to ensure we’re containing our children and their cries,” she added.

United Airlines apologised for the incident in a statement: “We’ve been in touch with our customer via social media and United representatives met the family upon arrival to apologise, offer a refund and make clear that the experience she relayed doesn’t reflect our commitment to serving our customers, including our youngest customers.

Related: What air travel will look like in 2030 (Provided by Love Exploring)

“Young families are welcome on our flights, including in business class. We are continuing to review the incident internally and the flight attendant is being held out of service pending the investigation.”

Bala updated her Facebook post after United had been in touch, saying: “Over the last day, we have spoken with numerous representatives from United. Like the captain and rest of the cabin crew, they are all lovely, kind, wonderful humans.

“(The flight attendant) is the exception and not the norm – and for what it’s worth, she remains unapologetic. From what I understand, United is handling the situation and ensuring that no one else ever has an experience like ours

where a flight attendant makes up her own rules.”

khojho Posted on October 03, 2018 09:38

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The bell ringing for Zinedine Zidane to replace Jose Mourinho is getting louder at Manchester United

United were held to a drab goalless draw in the Champions League by Valencia at Old Trafford


Charlie Nicholas says there will be a growing clamour to appoint Zinedine Zidane

Jose Mourinho's days as Manchester United manager are numbered with calls to replace him with Zinedine Zidane set to get louder, according to Charlie Nicholas.

United were held to a goalless draw by Valencia in the Champions League group-stage match at Old Trafford on Tuesday, meaning Mourinho has now gone four consecutive home games in all competitions without a win for the first time in his managerial career.

There is a growing sense that Mourinho's time at United is coming to an end, and Sky Sports pundit Nicholas expects the calls for Zidane to replace the beleaguered Portuguese boss will grow in the coming days

Mourinho is coming under increasing pressure after a run of poor results

He said on Soccer Special: "Well it's a really tame, poor performance that lacked any real desire.

"Defensively they were OK, but this was another poor, boring, and dull Manchester United performance.

"Of course, all the pressure is going to come on the manager. There will be a bit that will get to [Alexis] Sanchez's door because he was taken off again, and [Paul] Pogba's door, but these players can go home tonight, they can turn up tomorrow and they'll get on with it.

"The questions will be asked, and it'll be Jose who's going to have to face the music.

Zidane has been tipped as the likely replacement after leaving Real Madrid

"It's running down, I didn't expect him to finish this season but I didn't see it ending like this. I don't see this lasting.

"I think we might come back from the international break and if Jose is in the pain that he looks in, I think there'll be a deal done. Everyone is ringing this Zidane bell at the moment. It's going to get louder this week."

United are winless in their last four games in all competitions at Old Trafford, their longest such run since December 2015.

The damning statistics all point towards a group of players that are losing faith in their manager with United having run fewer miles than any of their opponents this season.

Mourinho has failed to get the best out of Alexis Sanchez during his tenure

Alexis Sanchez was once again a peripheral figure in the Valencia stalemate, losing the ball on 26 occasions - more than any other United player.

The Chilean has had just 10 shots on target in his last 20 matches, and Nicholas doesn't expect the forward to win over the United supporters.

"I always said this when he was at Arsenal," he added. "He sat on that left-hand side, and sulked and sulked and sulked. He was a street-fighter, a warrior. That's gone, those days have gone. Sanchez is no more.

"He's got to get out of Manchester United because these fans aren't interested in watching him."

khojho Posted on October 03, 2018 09:04

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Microsoft unveils new Surface devices, smart headphones

Fall is the season for new gadgets. Apple (AAPL) recently announced its latest iPhones, Amazon (AMZN) showed off new smart speakers and even an Alexa-activated microwave, and Google is hosting its own product launch event next week.

But Tuesday is all about Microsoft (MSFT), which unveiled a slew of devices ahead of the holiday shopping season. Its lineup includes a new version of its desktop computer, called the Surface Studio 2, and its first pair of smart headphones. It also announced the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2.

The first Surface desktop, an iMac competitor focused on creativity, was introduced in October 2016. Its successor, the Surface Studio 2, offers improved graphics performance and Microsoft says it's the fastest Surface device ever made. It has a 28-inch display and USB-C support. It's available for pre-order on Tuesday starting at $3,499.

The Surface Headphones ($349) offer adjustable noise cancellation and automatic pause and play, which will stop the video you're viewing when you take them off. Microsoft's voice assistant Cortana is built in and can read your emails aloud or start a conference call. Surface Headphones will be available later this year.

Microsoft's new Surface Studio 2 is all about creativity.


Meanwhile, Microsoft says the Surface Pro 6 is 67% faster than its predecessor but with the same battery life (up to 13.5 hours). Microsoft also says it's easy to toggle between laptop, studio and tablet mode. It comes in black and platinum and starts at $899.

The Surface Headphones are Microsoft's first premium and smart headphones.


The original Surface Pro in 2012 was marketed as a tablet. It looked kind of like an iPad, but with the addition of a keyboard cover. Microsoft (MSFT) has since shifted its pitch to a laptop with a touchscreen. This 2-in-1 format is aimed at people like doctors, pilots and students who need tablets for note-taking or reading, but a laptop for full functionality.

The Surface Pro 6 is faster than its predecessor.

The Surface Laptop 2 (starting at $999) comes with faster and quieter typing and up to 14.5 hours of battery life, according to Microsoft. It's 85% faster than its predecessor, and the Surface Laptop 2 comes in a new color (black), as well as the existing options burgundy, platinum and blue.

The Surface Laptop 2 has faster and quieter typing.

"More and more, devices are permeating your whole life. We build these things to appeal for your work and personal life," Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's corporate VP of modern life and devices, told CNN.

The company also unveiled its next-generation Windows software -- called Windows 10 October 2018 Update -- which has a focus on productivity. For example, the Your Phone App brings texts and photos from your Android phone to your PC. (Apple allows such an integration for its iMessage service.) You can also integrate a To-Do list with, and drag an item into an open slot on your calendar to block time to finish it.

Microsoft's main audience for these new devices is enterprise business professionals, according to Andrew Hewitt, an analyst at research firm Forrester. Ahead of Tuesday's event, he noted Microsoft has heavily invested in productivity elements including Timeline, which lets you go back to where you left off on files and websites, and Focus Assistant, a feature that limits distractions like notifications.

"There is a sense that Microsoft is trying to compete with Apple on the creative front, with new capabilities for picture and movie editing," Hewitt said. "But the other features are much more aligned with Microsoft's mission to empower employees to be productive."

khojho Posted on October 03, 2018 08:55

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Heterosexual couples to be allowed to choose civil partnerships over marriage The government's announcement comes just three months after a couple won a Supreme Court ruling to have the legal union.

Heterosexual couples in England and Wales will be able to choose a civil partnership over getting married.

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a change to the system, which currently leaves the option open only to same-sex couples.

The move will give greater financial protection to cohabiting partners who are currently not eligible for tax reliefs and exemptions for spouses and civil partners, including the inheritance tax exemption and the marriage income tax allowance.

The decision comes three months after Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41, won a legal bid at the UK's highest court for the right to have a civil partnership instead of marriage.

Mrs May said: "This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship but don't necessarily want to get married.

"As home secretary, I was proud to sponsor the legislation that created equal marriage.

"Now, by extending civil partnerships, we are making sure that all couples, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, are given the same choices in life."

Equalities minister Penny Mordaunt said: "This is an important step forward for equality.

"There are all sorts of reasons why people may choose not to marry.

Image: Theresa May says the move will help those who 'don't necessarily want to get married'

"By giving couples this option we hope to give them and their families more certainty and security.

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"I pay tribute to all who have campaigned for this change and will introduce the change as swiftly as possible."

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who have two young daughters, had been prevented from having the union because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 said only same-sex couples were eligible.

The academics, from Hammersmith in west London, have "deep-rooted and genuine ideological objections to marriage" and were "not alone" in their views, according to their lawyer.

Image: Dr Steinfeld and Mr Keidan have 'deep-rooted and genuine ideological objections to marriage'

Many unmarried couples in a long-standing relationships believe that they have acquired rights similar to those of married couples but in fact there is no such thing as "common law marriage", no matter how long a couple have lived together, even if they have children together.

In addition to ineligibility for tax exemptions, surviving cohabitants have no automatic right to inherit their partner's estate, meaning they might not be able to afford to stay in the family home.

Unmarried couples also do not have a guaranteed right to ownership of each other's property if their relationship breaks down.


More from UK

Sign up to the leaders' debate campaign

Sky News is calling for an independent Leaders' Debate Commission to oversee and organise election debates

Same-sex civil partnerships became law in 2004, and homosexual partners have been allowed to enter into marriage since 2014.

The announcement comes as the Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced new measures to tackle forced marriage.

This includes proposals to refuse spousal entry to the UK where there is evidence one has taken place.

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 17:17

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The top 15 US cities where clean energy jobs are booming.

Cities are increasingly turning to clean energy jobs, which help boost local economies and keep electricity bills low. In the United States, 50 metropolitan areas account for half of all clean energy jobs, according to a recent report by Environmental Entrepreneurs. Take a look at the top 15 areas:

Cities are increasingly turning to clean energy jobs to boost their economies and keep electricity bills low.



In the United States, 50 metropolitan areas account for half of all clean energy jobs, according to a recent report by Environmental Entrepreneurs.

About 1.8 million clean energy workers are employed in these 50 cities, working in construction, manufacturing, and transmission and distribution — with a focus on employment in solar energy, wind energy, and advanced biofuels.

In California, the country's largest solar market and home of the top-ranked Los Angeles metropolitan area, more than 500,000 people work in the solar industry. The growth of jobs in New York City, which ranked second, is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's statewide commitment to renewable energy. Earlier this year, the governor also announced that companies such as Granada Solar, Cypress Creek Renewables, and others would build more than 20 solar farms throughout the state.

Environmental Entrepreneurs' report features 33 states and Washington, DC. Take a look at the top 15 metro areas for clean energy jobs:

15. Phoenix, Arizona — 41,722 clean energy jobs.


15. Phoenix, Arizona — 41,722 clean energy jobs.

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


14. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — 45,733 clean energy jobs.


14. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — 45,733 clean energy jobs.



13. Seattle, Washington — 45,820 clean energy jobs.


13. Seattle, Washington — 45,820 clean energy jobs.

(Chris Helgren/Reuters)


12. Atlanta, Georgia — 49,330 clean energy jobs.


12. Atlanta, Georgia — 49,330 clean energy jobs.

(ESB Professional/Shutterstock)


11. Detroit, Michigan — 53,477 clean energy jobs.


11. Detroit, Michigan — 53,477 clean energy jobs.

(Rebecca Cook/Reuters)


10. Miami, Florida — 54,394 clean energy jobs.


10. Miami, Florida — 54,394 clean energy jobs.

(Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock)


9. San Diego, California — 56,291 clean energy jobs.


9. San Diego, California — 56,291 clean energy jobs.

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


8. Dallas, Texas — 56,484 clean energy jobs.


8. Dallas, Texas — 56,484 clean energy jobs.



7. Houston, Texas — 60,088 clean energy jobs.


7. Houston, Texas — 60,088 clean energy jobs.

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


6. Washington, DC — 83,456 clean energy jobs.


6. Washington, DC — 83,456 clean energy jobs.

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


5. San Francisco, California — 87,695 clean energy jobs.


5. San Francisco, California — 87,695 clean energy jobs.



4. Boston, Massachusetts — 88,480 clean energy jobs.


4. Boston, Massachusetts — 88,480 clean energy jobs.



3. Chicago, Illinois — 95,287 clean energy jobs.


3. Chicago, Illinois — 95,287 clean energy jobs.



2. New York City, New York — 136,997 clean energy jobs.


2. New York City, New York — 136,997 clean energy jobs.

(T photography/Shutterstock)


1. Los Angeles, California — 162,688 clean energy jobs.


1. Los Angeles, California — 162,688 clean energy jobs.


AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 16:33

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Here's how much the typical worker makes at 15 retail companies, from Amazon to Walmart.

Are you underpaid? America's biggest public companies are now required to disclose their workers' median annual salary. Find out how much retail jobs pay, ranked from rank from companies with the lowest pay to highest pay.


After a new requirement, America's biggest public companies are beginning to disclose their workers' median annual salary.

(Noah Berger/Reuters)


  • Amazon recently announced it's raising its minimum wage to $15.
  • The news comes the same year that America's biggest public companies are now required to disclose their workers' median annual pay.
  • The median worker pay for a job at a public retail company varies across the board.
  • Based on 2018 proxy statements, we ranked the median retail worker's pay at different companies from lowest to highest.

Amazon recently announced it's raising its minimum wage to $15 — twice the national minimum wage of $7.25.

The move comes the same year that America's biggest public companies are required to disclose their workers' median annual salary — and how it compares to the pay of their CEO — for the first time. The result is the company's pay ratio, which is the division of a CEO's annual compensation by the median employee's annual pay, in an aim to highlight the pay gap between executives and the typical worker.

While not all companies have yet to release this data, some have gotten the ball rolling — and the median worker pay is quite enlightening, especially for those in retail jobs.

We took a look at the 2018 proxy statements released this year by Forbes 500 public retail companies to see how the median retail worker's pay compares across the board.

Scroll through below to see where companies rank from lowest pay to highest pay. Note that some companies define their median worker differently than others by including part-time and seasonal employees.

15. Gap Inc.


15. Gap Inc.

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Median annual worker pay: $5,375

GAP Inc. determined the median employee to be a part-time sales associate located in Alabama. The employee did not work the full year, but the company did not annualize employee compensation.



14. McDonald's


14. McDonald's

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Median annual worker pay: $7,017

McDonald's identified its median employee by annualizing one month's base compensation for both full-time and part-time employees working for the company across the globe. It's median employee is a part-time restaurant worker in Poland.



13. Foot Locker


13. Foot Locker

(Phil Long/AP Photos)


Median annual worker pay: $8,554

The median employee at Foot Locker is defined as a part-time sales associate who worked an average of 18 hours per week.



12. TJX Companies


12. TJX Companies

(Paul Morigi/Shutterstock)


Median annual worker pay: $11,243

TJX Companies — which include TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and others — counted all full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees in its global operations and found the median employee to be a part-time hourly retail store associate.



11. Macy's


11. Macy's

(Kena Betancur/Getty Images)


Median annual worker pay: $13,810

Macy's identified the median employee using 2017 Form W-2 compensation for all employees working in the US, whether employed on a full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary basis. More than half of their workforce is comprised of part-time or seasonal employees.



10. Advance Auto Parts


10. Advance Auto Parts

(Mike Mozart/Flickr/Some rights reserved)


Median annual worker pay: $18,460

Advance Auto Parts included all team members in their analysis of the median employee, including part-time, full-time, and seasonal team members.



9. Walmart


9. Walmart

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Median annual worker pay: $19,177

To determine the median associate, Walmart used calendar year 2017 gross earnings for wages, overtime, bonuses, and value of any equity awards. They then used statistical sampling to identify a group of associates paid within a range of .5% above or below what was estimated to be the median gross earnings amount. The median compensated associate was chosen from this group.



8. Home Depot


8. Home Depot

(Rick WIlking/Reuters)


Median annual worker pay: $21,095

Home Depot based the median-paid associate upon its total workforce without regard to their location, compensation arrangements, or full-time, part-time, or seasonal status. The median-paid associate was an hourly employee.



7. Lowe's


7. Lowe's

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Median annual worker pay: $23,905

Lowe's included full-time and part-time employees to determine the median employee and collected actual base salary, bonus or commission paid, and any overtime.




6. Ulta


6. Ulta

(Jean-Marc Giboux)


Median annual worker pay: $27,235

Ulta identified the median employee by taking a look at all employees, calculating their individual cash compensation, and ranking the employees from high to low by compensation and selecting the median cash compensation. The company then added in the value of employer paid health care benefits.



5. Amazon


5. Amazon

(Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)


Median annual worker pay: $28,466

To identify the median compensated employee, Amazon took into account salary, bonus, and grant date fair value of RSUs. They then annualized this compensation for employees who did not work the entire year, except for seasonal or temporary employees.




4. Nordstrom


4. Nordstrom

(Elaine Thompson/AP Photos)


Median annual worker pay: $30,105

Nordstrom included full-time, part-time seasonal, and temporary employees to identify the median employee. The company used the total compensation as reported on the 2017 W-2 for all US employees, but did not annualize compensation for permanent full-time and part-time employees who weren't employed for the entire fiscal year. Roughly 56% of its workforce is part-time or seasonal.



3. Office Depot


3. Office Depot

(Derek Richardson/AP Photos)


Median annual worker pay: $30,977

To identify the median employee, Office Depot compared the salary and wages paid to all employees as reflected in payroll records for the 2017 calendar year. Compensation was annualized for employees hired in 2017, excluding seasonal and temporary employees.



2. Tiffany & Co.


2. Tiffany & Co.

(Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)


Median annual worker pay: $32,055

Tiffany & Co. identified a median employee from its population of all employees, including seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees, using annual cash compensation.



1. CVS


1. CVS

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Median annual worker pay: $38,372

CVS identified the median employee by ranking total compensation based on W-2 information for all employees, including part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. The median employee was determined to be a full-time, hourly employee.

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 16:26

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She wanted to be president, but ended up jailed instead

Kigali, Rwanda -- In the darkness of the Kigali night, Eric walks through a maze of cement homes crowned in corrugated metal. Using his phone he lights the road under his feet, a path of compressed red earth still drying out from the rainy season.

After nearly an hour of walking through a series of dizzying hills that make up the Rwandan capital, he reaches his safe house. Eric -- whose name has been changed for his safety -- says he's being watched by the government.

Staying more than one night is too risky. Tomorrow he'll move again.

                             "Eric" and another Rwigara supporter at their safehouse in Kigali.

          Inside a two-room house, illuminated by a single light affixed to a cement wall, he starts his story. It begins with one name: Diane.

            Diane Rwigara is a former presidential hopeful and women's rights activist who is currently in prison outside central Kigali awaiting trial.

         The 37-year-old accountant, a fierce critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, launched her election bid three months ahead of the August 2017 vote. She was Kagame's sole female challenger in the poll.

          But her campaign was short-lived. Electoral authorities disqualified her, claiming she doctored the number of signatures needed to qualify and accusing her of submitting the names of dead people, which she denied.

         With her presidential bid over, Rwigara launched the People Salvation Movement (Itabaza), an activist group to "encourage Rwandans to hold their government accountable." Shortly after its inception, she was arrested on charges of incitement and fraud, which her family and supporters say are politically motivated.

                            Diane Rwigara, far left, is seen in a family portrait at the Rwigara home in Kigali.

        Rwigara's supporters like Eric, who fear for their lives, say a state-sanctioned atmosphere of harassment, censorship and threat of violence make it nearly impossible to speak out against the government.

     After Rwigara's August arrest, Eric was detained overnight with around 10 other supporters. Speaking to CNN in a Kigali safe house, he molds his hand into the shape of a gun and places two fingers inside his mouth. This, he says, is how he was told by police to stop supporting her.

       Another Rwigara supporter who was with Eric at the time says he watched an officer threaten him with a gun, adding that he was beaten by another group of police also on the scene.

         Rwanda is often described as the best place in the world for women in politics, with more female lawmakers in parliament than any other country, but it's not the case if you challenge President Kagame, Eric says.

         Last year, Kagame won the presidential election Rwigara had hoped to contest with almost 99% of the vote.

     The 60-year-old -- who in 2015 cleared the way to potentially stay in power until 2034 -- has been president since 2000, but has long been an instrumental leader in the country's modern history.

           Kigali's expanding skyline. Rwanda has become more financially prosperous and stable under Kagame's leadership, but endemic poverty remains an issue nationwide, with around 51% of the population living under the international poverty line.

       In 1994, Kagame led the armed wing of the Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF (what is now the ruling party) into Kigali.        That act helped to bring an end to a genocide that saw an estimated 800,000 people killed -- mostly from the Tutsi ethnic group -- in just 100 days. Two million people also fled the country.

      Since then, Kagame has been widely credited with the nation's remarkable turnaround. His fiscal and social policies are widely touted by supporters -- and many in the international community -- as a blueprint for success in the region.

    Part of that success has been measured by his commitment to gender parity. A post-genocide population skewed Rwanda's female population to 70%. Kagame placed value on women's roles and spearheaded many reforms to help build women's capacity in civil society.

    The most notable is a constitutional law that requires at least 30% of all parliamentary seats to be occupied by women. Today, Rwanda far surpasses that quota, with 61.3% of its parliament made up of female lawmakers (compared with the global average at 23.8%). Four out of seven Supreme Court justices are women, and the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion ensures gender representation and equality in local politics across the country.

                                     Women make their way to a morning market in Kigali.

            Female lawmakers have been praised for supporting policy changes around domestic violence, land rights and inheritance. But Rwigara's supporters say this is a veneer masking a lack of real opposition and freedoms.

        In a modern, luxurious Kigali villa only miles away from Eric's hideout, Rwigara's sister Anne and brother Arioste explain more.

           Diane Rwigara lived much of her life outside Rwanda, traveling between California and Kigali. A family photo hanging on the wall of the living room shows a young, smiling Rwigara holding onto the shoulders of her father. She, like her father Assinapol Rwigara -- a successful businessman -- were at one time strong Kagame supporters.

          "Blinded by how clean the streets are, how beautiful the city is... she thought it was the miracle country that had been talked about," Anne says.

                                "But when she got on site it was a different story."

              In 2015, Rwigara returned to Rwanda from California after her father died in a car crash in suspicious circumstances. The official police report said that a truck driver had crashed into Assinapol's car, which resulted in his death. But the Rwigaras allege that members of Kagame's party harassed Assinapol -- who was an important financier of the RPF in the early 1990s -- after he refused to allow the government to seize control of his business and that he was killed on the president's orders.

                                             Arioste and Anne Rwigara, at home in Kigali.

         The Rwigaras wrote to Kagame calling the crash an assassination and asking for a full and transparent inquiry.

                       "They will come in and take over what you worked for your whole life," Anne says.

            "Next thing you know you won't have that business, you will be working for them... at best... they will kick you out of the business."

               Rwanda's National Police, the Office of the President and the RPF have not responded to CNN's request for comment.

                             Anne Rwigara looks outside, beyond the metal gates that guard the house.

        There, two stationary cars, sit for hours at a time watching the residence. Anne and Arioste say they are government surveillance vehicles.

        The 2018 World Bank Doing Business Report named Rwanda the second-best place to do business in sub-Saharan Africa and it's ranked among the least corrupt countries on the continent, according to Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index.

     But when Rwigara sought to learn more about her father's death, her family says she found a very different picture.                                      This was the "catalyst" for Diane's political awakening, her siblings say.

              She questioned what she saw as suspicious deaths and disappearances of prominent businessmen, lawyers, journalists and a former intelligence official, among others, Anne says. Groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International previously have highlighted those cases.

         Rwanda's National Police and the Office of the President have not responded to CNN's request for comment on those cases.

                       A photo of Assinapol Rwigara, who died in 2015, is displayed at the Rwigara home.

             In the lead-up to her presidential bid, Rwigara traveled outside Kigali, where most Rwandans live below the poverty line. She garnered support from many young people in rural areas and worked with volunteers like Eric to gather enough signatures to run for president.

            Her press conferences and meetings were well attended by young people and journalists alike. That support was a surprising concern to some ruling party leaders, say her family and a local journalist who attended the meetings.

          "There was a lot of fear surrounding what she was exposing about the country," Anne says. Young people who attended her meetings would "see themselves in her," she adds.

             "Diane would talk about things they'd (the ruling party) been trying to hide away from public eye: famine, persecution, etc. She could sense their pain and they wanted to support her. They were really behind her... a lot of people thought: 'enough was enough' at this point, what do we have to lose?'"

      Diane Rwigara knew her political aspirations would amount to "suicide," Anne says, referring to a political climate marred by violence and jail terms. But she was willing to risk it. When Diane told her family she was planning to run for president, they were against it. They were concerned for her safety and her future.


    Diane, they say, responded: "Is this a life? Do you even think you are living?"

         Her brother Arioste Rwigara says that "in Rwanda, speaking of any injustice like that is a crime -- it's a sin," adding that Rwandans have accepted a status quo of censorship because they are afraid to voice their opinions.

           Anne Rwigara: "We don't hide... you just reach a point and stand still and face what comes your way. They use a lot of pressure and fear to just silence people. You get to a point you realize you can't take it, you can't keep running and hiding. You feel better, when you are speaking the truth."

      Arioste, like many of Kagame's critics, believes the president uses the context of the genocide to quash any dissent, using Rwanda's "Law relating to the punishment of the Crime of Genocide Ideology" -- which is designed to prohibit hate speech -- as a muzzle for any oppositional voices.

          "I think the genocide is used as a pretext, as a justification for everything they do," he says.

                    The Office of the President has not responded to CNN's request for comment.

       It came as no surprise to her family when shortly after Rwigara announced her candidacy, nude photos, allegedly of her, were spread across the internet. Rwigara and her family say the images were part of a smear campaign.

      "They are fake nudes, altered in Photoshop, and it is one of many tactics that has been used to silence me," Diane Rwigara told CNN in an August 2017 interview. A spokesman for Kagame's party at the time denied to CNN having anything to do with the photos.

  After Rwigara was disqualified, Rwanda's Revenue Authority slapped her family's business with a tax bill of 5.7 billion . Rwandan francs (approximately $6.5 million) according to Anne, the company's representative.

     "He really likes to send a message. He likes to remind people, warning them, don't even think about it," Anne says of Kagame.

     The Office of the President and the National Public Prosecution Authority have not responded to CNN's request for comment.

          Anne was initially arrested along with Diane and their mother Adeline on tax evasion charges and charged with incitement against the government. The tax evasion charges were eventually dropped, but only Anne was released and freed of all charges. Adeline now faces charges of discrimination and sectarian practices and inciting insurrection, based on WhatsApp messages exchanged between her and her sister, who lives outside Rwanda. The prosecution has called those private chats -- in which Adeline and her sisters criticized the government -- "dangerous meetings." Diane has been charged with forgery and inciting insurrection.

          The family say police bashed in this door and damaged other parts of their property when Diane, Anne and Adeline Rwigara were arrested.

         While Rwigara and her mother await trial, the government has seized the family's business, selling off their assets for more than 1.7 billion Rwandan francs (approximately $1.9 million) in auctions in March and June 2018, according to                        Anne Rwigara, the company's representative.

      With their cash flow now squeezed, a trial that has been pushed back three times and concerns over legal fees, the siblings are more worried than ever. They believe that the likelihood of the Rwigaras' release -- and a chance for a woman from the opposition to run for president of Rwanda -- are slim.

      Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes says that "criticizing the government is not a crime," and has called on the Rwandan judiciary to "ensure that this trial does not become just another means to persecute government critics."

         For now, Diane and her mother, Adeline, are in separate cells at the newly constructed Mageragere Prison, a 30-minute drive from central Kigali. There, they spend most of their days alone, with short, highly supervised visits allowed once a week, according to the Rwigara family and other supporters who have visited them.

                        Attempts by CNN to speak with Diane Rwigara have been unsuccessful.

          Most of Rwigara's supporters have stopped visiting the pair in prison, fearful of retribution. One supporter says he stopped visiting her after his phone and laptop were confiscated by authorities who, he says, beat him and told him: "I will kill you if you continue to do this."

          In June he fled Rwanda, fearful to return to imprisonment, or lethal violence, he says. Some of Rwigara's supporters have gone missing and he worries they could have been killed.

                      It is not clear how the trial, postponed until September 24, will unfold.

        Although Rwigara was seeking to run as an independent candidate and was not connected with a political party, her story is similar to other opposition politicians.

         Seven years before Rwigara attempted to stand against Kagame, lawyer and leader of the opposition FDU-Inkingi party Victoire Ingabire returned from the Netherlands, where she had been living in exile, to contest the 2010 election.

      Ingabire, a Hutu, was arrested shortly afterward on charges that included collaborating with a terrorist organization and "genocide ideology." She was initially handed an eight-year prison sentence that was later extended to 15 years.                   Kagame went on to win that election with 93% of the vote. Ingabire, now 49, is still in prison.

     A former FDU-Inkingi treasurer who lives in exile and asked to remain anonymous because of safety fears says "anyone who will come out and try to say something different will end up in a prison or dead."

                             "This is the reality of Rwanda," the former treasurer says.


                                            Early morning traffic near Kigali's Nyabugogo bus station.

         But many female lawmakers from Kagame's ruling coalition, including Senate Vice President Jeanne d'Arc Gakuba, do not agree.

      Gakuba believes the Rwandan political model is inclusive to all women, saying that it "absolutely" accommodates for female candidates from all backgrounds, including those with dissenting voices. She points to her own beginnings as a city councilor when she says she was supported in her bid to enter politics.

      Margaret Nyagahura, a senator in the Rwandan parliament who was personally appointed by Kagame, agrees.

           "It definitely has nothing to do with her being a woman or vying for the position of President," Nyagahora says of Rwigara's case.

         Gakuba and Nyagahura, like many others, do not even want to speak about Rwigara or her case. Some female lawmakers scoff at the suggestion that the Kagame challenger was a legitimate candidate to begin with, using "that woman," or "the young girl," dismissively.

                        Kagame himself has made his thoughts on Rwigara known.

         Shortly after he was re-elected, he spoke to an incoming group of ministers, many of them female. He referenced Rwigara.

        "Even if you have been or want to become president of the country, you are not immune from prosecution. Those who are listening better be hearing me," he said.

     In June, Anne and other members of the Rwigara family appealed to Kagame for Diane and her mother Adeline's release. They say both are in imminent danger in jail. But they believe their plea won't be heard.

    Many of Rwigara's supporters fear the same. Eric remains on the run, swapping political activism for protecting his personal safety.

                     "If you want to go to prison, you can speak the truth," he says.

        Others have fled the country, convinced that returning would eventually lead to a death sentence.

                       "She wanted everyone to feel free," one supporter, now in exile, said.

                                      "When she went to prison, we lost something."

ruby Posted on October 02, 2018 15:43

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Credits: © UNHCR/Will Swanson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 15:22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 15:18

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The 8 Most Important Steps To Start Your Own Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 14:56

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Lesbian 'witches' chained and raped by families in Cameroon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 14:53

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Sierra Leone military truck flips over, killing 13

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

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

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

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

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khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 14:39

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



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

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

What Ripple x Santander Means For XRP

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

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

Metzger said:

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

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

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

Source: Santander.

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

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

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

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

Santander Partnership Will Impact Japan and South Korea

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

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 14:02

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


sarah Posted on October 02, 2018 13:20

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

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

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

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

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

What is Melania Trump doing in Africa?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Image copyrightAFP

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

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

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

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

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

The first lady's trip which ended in disaster

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

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

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

Elizabeth Ohene:

Image copyrightELIZABETH OHENE

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Fashion ambassador?

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

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

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

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

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

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

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

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

Dominic Solomon Posted on October 02, 2018 11:55

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Cristiano Ronaldo rape allegation: Las Vegas police reopen case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dominic Solomon Posted on October 02, 2018 11:47

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A higher minimum wage could benefit everyone over the long term

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 11:18

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

What is listing by introduction?

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

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

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

MTN is facing forex and tax tussles with Nigerian authorities

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

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

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

Also from Business Insider Sub-Sahara Africa:

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 11:10

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

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

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

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



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

LeBron James' Diet for Weight Loss

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


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

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


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

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


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



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


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

LeBron James' Training Diet

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

LeBron James' Cheat Day Diet

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

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 11:02

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

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

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

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


Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

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


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


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


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

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


Instagram/ @kanyewest

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



James Devaney/GC Images via Getty Images

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


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

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

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



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

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


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


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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 10:44

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

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

Tweaked tablets

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

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

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

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

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

FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited — en Español

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

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

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

Availability and pricing

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 10:28

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


Daisy Phillipson in  News

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

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

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

Credit: HotSpot Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit: HotSpot Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit: HotSpot Media

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

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

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

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

Well, fair dos.

kabby Posted on October 02, 2018 09:32

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



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

Wyoming Blockchain Group Mulls Bitcoin-Friendly Bank

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


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

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

Bridge to the Old World

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

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

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

Membership Standards

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 09:19

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Singapore abolishes school exam rankings, says learning is not competition



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kabby Posted on October 02, 2018 09:06

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AlbertaU Posted on October 02, 2018 09:03

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World's largest underwater restaurant nears completion.

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

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

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

Under goes under

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

Under under construction. Credit: Aldo Amoretti

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

The 'prefab' housing resurgence rolls on

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

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

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

A simple design

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

Architect creates 'prehistoric' dining experience in downtown Tokyo

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

Inside the world's quietest room

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

A detail of the construction site. Credit: Aldo Amoretti

A light touch

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

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

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

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

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

The most remote fine dining experience in the world?

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

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

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

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 08:53

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

khojho Posted on October 02, 2018 08:04

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

Deposit Photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to the Department of Public Safety dispatch:

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

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

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

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

Sad news hope the bear pulls through #karma

— chris pledge (@pledge80) October 1, 2018


Here's hoping the bear survived.

— Peter Singh (@Smarmalat) October 1, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bear’s revenge!

— Kathie Anderson (@Detguza) October 1, 2018


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

kabby Posted on October 02, 2018 07:46

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Scott Pritchard murder: Woman jailed for life for 2004 killing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image copyrightFAMILY HANDOUT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice at last

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

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

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

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

Related Topics

seth Posted on October 01, 2018 20:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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seth Posted on October 01, 2018 20:19

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