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Power company puts up its prices just for cryptocurrency miners

An American company is introducing a special rate, to offset the huge electricity demands from crypto miners…

 

A power company in America has seemingly had enough of the electricity drain coming from cryptocurrency miners, and has made changes to its pricing structure as a consequence.

 

Grant County Public Utility District, in Washington, America, has now specifically raised its electricity prices just for crypto miners. The area had seen a boom in those heading their way and setting up mining operations, with the key attraction being the relatively low electricity prices in the region. As such, miners have been setting up extensive computer hardware rigs to mine coins, and the number of enquiries that Grant Country has received about crypto mining operations has shot up.

 

The new rate has thus far been introduced, with local commissioner Tom Flint reportedly telling some cryptocurrency miners that the move has been made to protect local ratepayers. Furthermore, he’s also said to have commented that the cryptocurrency mining industry is ‘risky’ and ‘unregulated’.

 

All of this comes at a time when the return for cryptocurrency miners is in decline, given the fall in crypto prices since the start of the year (hardware board manufacturer Nvidia is getting out of the crypto industry for one, having seen a sharp decline in revenues for its related products this year).

 

Furthermore, there are growing concerns about the environmental impact of mining too, given the rocketing amount of electricity that’s required to power some of the computing rigs involved around the clock.

 

One way to combat that? Put the price of the electricity itself up – and that’s just what’s happened now in Washington…

https://cryptonewsreview.com/power-company-puts-up-its-prices-just-for-cryptocurrency-miners/

Archimedeskay Posted on September 04, 2018 05:13

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Markets Update: While Cryptocurrency Traders See Gains, Shorts Stack Up

ound $10.8B. Over the last 24 hours, BCH markets have seen around $399M in global trade volume. The top trading platforms swapping the most BCH include Lbank 16.47%, Coinex 13.65%, Okex 13.29%, Binance 10%, and Huobi 8.55%. The top currencies paired with BCH today include tether (USDT 46%), BTC (26.7%), ETH (12.4%), USD (8%), and QC (2.4%).      

 

Markets Update: While Cryptocurrency Traders See Gains - Shorts Stack Up

 

BCH/USD Technical Indicators

Looking at the 4-hour BCH/USD chart on Bitfinex and Bitstamp shows some differences between the BTC/USD chart. For instance, the two SMA trend lines show the longer-term 200 SMA is well above the 100 showing the least resistance is toward the downside. The RSI oscillator for BCH/USD charts is meandering around 62 which indicates some uncertainty after some expected pull back. Looking at order books towards the upside shows from now until $680 there is heavy resistance. Towards the downside, strong support can be seen between now and $610, and at $550.

 

Markets Update: While Cryptocurrency Traders See Gains - Shorts Stack Up

 

The Verdict: Enthusiasts Seem Positive, But Traders Are Betting Against BTC as Shorts Near Last August’s ATH

Cryptocurrency proponents seem optimistic the bearish trend will end soon, based on the sentiment to be observed on social media, Telegram trading chat groups, and forums. However looking at future markets on Bitfinex, Bitmex and others show people are betting heavily against BTC’s price going up. BTC/USD short contracts on Bitfinex are slowly approaching the all-time high (ATH) that took place on August 21.

 

Markets Update: While Cryptocurrency Traders See Gains - Shorts Stack Up

 

There was a small short squeeze that took place the following day but the squeeze was short-lived. Right now there are 33,408 shorts on the exchange and only 25,974 long positions. Again, either two things could happen: either the shorts bring the price down and bears get their way or lots of short positions will be squeezed which is what happened last April.

Archimedeskay Posted on September 04, 2018 03:31

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Pakistan to Get New President Today, Odds in Favour of Imran Khan’s Pick Arif Alvi

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday completed preparations for the election. Polling stations have been set up in all four provincial assemblies in addition to the National Assembly. Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan will serve as the Returning Officer.

 

Islamabad: Pakistani lawmakers are set to choose a new President on Tuesday, an election in which the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party's candidate Arif Alvi is expected to win as the Opposition parties failed to field a joint candidate.

 

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday completed preparations for the election. Polling stations have been set up in all four provincial assemblies in addition to the National Assembly. Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan will serve as the Returning Officer.

 

 

Outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain's tenure ends on September 8. He had declined for re-election to a second 5-year term. Apart from Alvi, the Pakistan Peoples Party's Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan and Jamiat-e-Ulema (F) chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman are also in the race.

 

Alvi is a Karachi-based dentist-turned-politician, who reportedly stood by prime minister Imran Khan during his political career. The joint Opposition was to field a single candidate to give tough time to Alvi and but failed to do so. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) last month nominated renowned lawyer and veteran politician Ahsan as a candidate.

 

 

Other opposition parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Aml (MMA) opposed the move. As the differences persisted, they nominated Rehman.

 

The Opposition parties excluding the PPP met in Lahore on Sunday to discuss the presidential elections. Rehman sought the support of PML-N to convince PPP to withdraw its nominee.

 

He asked the PPP to withdraw its candidate and avoid damaging the joint Opposition. 

 

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the division in the ranks of the Opposition will only benefit the ruling party.

 

He also hinted that the PPP could meet incarcerated former premier leader Nawaz Sharif to get his party's support for Ahsan.

 

The PML-N has opposed the candidature of Ahsan as he had used harsh language against Sharif.

 

Since the PTI controls the National Assembly and has majority in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and has support of the ruling Party in Balochistan, its candidate Alvi is in strong position.

 

But the Opposition parties are in majority in Senate. A joint opposition candidate can change the whole game, if he gets the support of some PTI back-benchers or disgruntled lawmakers.

 

At least two PTI lawmakers have recently criticised its leadership for neglecting them.

 

Being the highest elected official, president is a symbol of the federation in Pakistan but exercises powers on the recommendations of the prime minister.

 

The president of Pakistan is elected in a secret ballot by the provincial and national assemblies. There are total 706 assembly members who will elect the president.

 

The ruling party has the highest number of party votes in the electoral college for elections to the office of the president scheduled for September 4.

 

PTI is now the only party with members in all the elected houses. It has a total of 251 votes of its party members in the 706-vote-strong electoral college and its tally goes up to 314 if the votes of members of its allied parties the Balochistan Awami Party, Grand Democratic Alliance, Pakistan Muslim League, Awami Muslim League, Balochistan National Party, BNP-Awami and Jamhoori Watan Party are also counted.

 

On the other hand, the joint tally of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the PPP comes to 260 and if votes of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National Party are added, it climbs to 321.

 

The MQM had voted for the PTI candidate in the election of prime minister. Of the independent votes, 15 senators had defeated the PML-N candidate in the election of Senate chairman. It is likely that most of these 42 votes will go in favour of Alvi, making him unbeatable.

Archimedeskay Posted on September 04, 2018 02:39

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SHRINK FIBROID WITH ALOE VERA RECIPE

indeed aloe vera is beneficial to treat fibroids. This is an aloe vera recipe that you can try: mix ¼ cup of aloe vera juice with 1 cup of beet juice in a glass. Add some lemon juice and 1-2 tablespoons of un-sulphured blackstrap molasses. Pour enough water to fill a glass. This mixture helps shrink fibroids.

realsurfer76 Posted on September 03, 2018 23:10

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Can Instagram save offline shopping?

The first hint of what was to come was the new colour scheme. At the start of 2018, Rhea’s Café in San Francisco was painted in dull sandy yellow and sage. But by mid-March it was more eye-catching: bubblegum pink and lilac. Soon, long queues of laughing women began to form. Waiting in line they would pose for selfies before going inside, sitting down to plates of buttermilk-fried chicken and perusing the pots, tubes and vials of make-up tastefully arranged in stem glasses and under glass cloches. People paused while applying blusher to admire themselves in scalloped mirrors emblazoned with a slogan: “YOU LOOK GOOD”.

The company responsible was Glossier, a beauty brand aimed at millennial women. Although it is principally an online retailer based in New York, Glossier has built its reputation on elaborate pop-up stores. Last year it unveiled a space in Manhattan decked out in red velvet curtains to coincide with the launch of a new perfume (main image). Visitors were invited to enter a tiny room inside and push a big red button, which opened an aperture in the wall. Then a hand in a red rubber glove would emerge and spray perfume on the visitor’s wrist. One woman filmed her visit and posted it on YouTube. “This is the future,” she said, “and I don’t know what I think of it.” Glossier’s stores, inspired by immersive theatre and performance art, are typical of a new approach to shop design which is changing what shops look like and what they’re for.

Shop design has been getting more imaginative for years. When Aesop, an Australian cosmetics company, began expanding from its base in Melbourne in the early 2000s, it wanted to operate like a chain without looking like one. For each new shop they opened – there are now well over 100 – the company commissioned an original design, which would draw on the culture of the location. Their shop in the Century City district of Los Angeles is covered with blue tiles the exact colour of a David Hockney swimming pool. The walls of their shop downtown are corrugated with the cardboard cores from discarded rolls of fabric, a nod to the garment factories that once dominated the area. Aesop hopes that the sophistication of these designs flatters customers into thinking that the company appreciates their neighbourhood, signals that Aesop products are for people who are aesthetically discerning, and encourages newcomers into the appealing shops, where, perhaps, they will buy an expensive bottle of shampoo.

Now store design is entering a new phase. “In the late Nineties, there was a fear that clicks were going to replace bricks, and everybody was freaking out about it,” says Lara Marrero, the head of retail strategy at Gensler, an international architecture firm. Though online purchasing did cannibalise sales from shops, brands found it difficult to lure customers by digital means alone. “No matter how many emails you send with the recipient’s name on, you can’t personalise a brand online,” Marrero says. “It’s like the difference between writing a letter to somebody and then meeting them in person.” An increasing number of companies are opening shops, not so much to sell things – there’s the internet for that – but to advertise their ethos and to entertain.

Supreme, a cult brand that makes streetwear, recently opened a new shop in Brooklyn. The brick façade has patchy rendering and the remnants of old graffiti. Inside the walls are covered in layers of old paint. Hoodies and T-shirts are in short supply and shunted off to the side. Instead the space is dominated by a wooden skateboarding bowl that resembles an upturned igloo. The atmosphere is ultra-cool and casual. But it is also exclusive: the skate bowl can be used by invitation only and security guards allow a trickle of people inside at any one time. Getting in, says Neil Logan, the New York architect who designed the shop, “has to be a whole planned event”. It seems to have worked. Supreme’s fans queue up to visit, snap a selfie, post it on social media and bask in the reflected glow of the brand – which is valued at $1bn.

Social media have given companies new ways to track how effective their branches are, beyond simply footfall or year-on-year sales. They can see how much attention a store generates on social media and then follow that trail to online sales. “The average influencer”, Marrero says, “can get 26 people to buy something, even if they themselves buy nothing.” But achieving this means giving people an experience worth telling their friends about. Recently Marrero went to the new Glossier shop in Los Angeles, where they have decorated a room to look like the bottom of the Grand Canyon, which has become the selfie room. “There was a queue 30 minutes long of kids waiting to take a photo so they can say been there, done that.” It’s buzz like this that Glossier reckons has driven a 99% increase in its year-on-year sales to April 2018.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 22:26

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The Beckhams Cover The October 2018 Issue Of British Vogue

I’m always especially excited when a piece lands on my desk that really encapsulates everything we stand for here at Vogue. This month, that honour goes to a young model with enormous charisma called Selena Forrest. I’ve known Selena since she exploded onto the fashion scene three years ago, with her distinctive walk and unusual charm.

Earlier this year, I included her in a group of nine new models reshaping the fashion industry for the cover of our May issue. But as the turbulent times we live in continue to prove, a beautiful face and striking sense of cool are only the beginning of the story. When I asked if Selena would write about her sexuality – like many of her generation, she isn’t keen on precise labels, but is an out-and-proud presence in the industry – I was fascinated to discover that she is the third generation of women in her family whose relationships haven’t all been straight. What I love about her piece, "Owning It", is that while her outlook feels very much of today, with all the benefits of this decade’s new language and acceptance of love, in talking about her mother and grandmother’s experiences she shows that sexuality has always been fluid. There is such relevance in her story for women of all ages.

Selena is just one arresting personality in this issue. Eighteen-year-old actress, activist and Harvard student Yara Shahidi takes Vogue to her neighbourhood haunts in Los Angeles to share her world view. Oprah Winfrey tells me she is sure that one day Yara will be President of the United States (who am I to argue with Oprah?). Meanwhile, a host of voices take on the subjects of the moment: Sarah Mower writes a state-of-the-nation report on minimalism, Isabelle Huppert gives her take on the art of ageing and French chic, and Adwoa Aboah discusses her career as a model in the wake of the #metoo movement. I’m also thrilled that this month Kate Moss makes her modelling debut for me as editor-in-chief, in photographer Nick Knight’s fabulous riff on Saturday night (and Sunday morning). Kate also oversaw the styling, bringing her inimitable eye to bear on the best of the season’s evening looks that dazzle at both 6pm and 6am. A true icon at work.

Then, of course, we come to the Beckhams. I am so grateful to Victoria, David and the children for agreeing to allow Vogue to capture the first set of magazine photographs of them together as a family for our very special cover story. As Victoria’s eponymous brand arrives at London Fashion Week for the first time, after a decade showing in New York, we celebrate all that makes Britain’s “second royal family” remarkable. What has been obvious to me in getting to know them over the years is that beyond the paparazzi flashbulbs, masterful personal branding, social-media savvy, and fashion and sporting prowess, lies the day-to-day business of family life. I am so fond of them and, like many in this country, will be looking forward to following their story for years to come.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 22:17

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Fortnite Nintendo Switch Performance Issues to Be Fixed in Version 5.40

Highlights
  • Fortnite on Nintendo Switch suffers from rendering issues
  • Hitches also persist
  • Epic says it's working with Nintendo for a fix

 

Fornite creator Epic Games is working with Nintendo to address performance issues reported on the Nintendo Switch version of the battle royale shooter. According to Epic, Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch suffers from issues where models and environment don't render properly. Furthermore, Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch also suffers from hitches that have gotten worse with each subsequent update. To make matters worse, loading performance has also suffered with each update. While all of these issues make the Nintendo Switch version worse than what it is on Android and iOS, Epic Games says a fix is on the way with Fortnite version 5.40. No surprise considering we felt that Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch is the worst way to play the game. Until then however, a temporary fix involves storing the game on your SD card.

Fortnite Nintendo Switch performance fix

"Installing to an SD card makes a significant difference to building load times. If you’re seeing issues with buildings or skins not loading quickly, we recommend you install the game to system storage rather than an SD card as a workaround. To do this, archive the game and re-download it with the SD card removed," Epic Games claims on its Trello board (via Nintendo Everything).

Previously, Epic detailed Fortnite’s newly-announced ‘High Stakes’ event on Sunday, which includes a limited-time mode called Getaway, a new outfit known as Wild Card, and several challenges. In this mode players will team up with others to find a 'jewel' that’s stored in a safe somewhere on the map. Once they pick it up, they must get to a van – and get away – to finish the job, while battling opponents who are tasked with stopping them.

The Wild Card outfit has four different face masks, one for each member of the getaway team. The briefcase in question is a back bling, and there’s also a new glider made up of a bank vault, bags of cash, and gold bars and coins. The upcoming event will also bring a new tool in the 'Grappler', which will allow Fortnite players to cover distances faster.


If you're a fan of video games, check out Transition, Gadgets 360's gaming podcast. You can listen to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS, or just listen to this week's episode by hitting the play button below.

 

 

 

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 22:09

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Latest programming technologies of 2018

Now enhance and drive your business operation even more effectively and efficiently by coping with these programming trends.

 

Technology has made this world a synchronized global village. In this fast -changing world of technology, the pace of evolution is especially quick when it comes to field of software development. Out of all fields of information technology, software development is the most dynamic and advancing. Today many software development companies in the industry are striving to keep them up to date in the market in order to make survival possible.

With the world of technology accelerating at a great speed, a number of popular programming technologies might go obsolete within the coming few years. The arena of software development services will not be an exception to this upheaval of current technologies and methodologies. All these programming methodologies will be now overshadowed by newer trends which deliver faster development and wider capabilities. The change in these programming trends is driven by various factors including increased customisation, better efficiency and ease of use. Here are the top programming trends of 2018 likely to be followed by the mobile app developers in order to use the multiple technologies, which gives them the quick and easy solutions in building a software.


 

 


Sneak of Java:

Java is the most popular programming language of present times for many mobile app development companies though it has been tweaked a lot over the past fifteen years to smoother it out as well as improve its efficiency. Being a most deployed software for developing native Android applications, Java is setting its own trend that might continue this year as well. It not only provides unmatched readability and simplicity but also keeps the legacy Java applications functional and more efficient to the users as well as for developers.

Increased Usage of PHP:

PHP- a most popular tool in the world of web development as an open source web programming language, is gaining a strong hold in the domain of website development. PHP is the most used and most important tool for web development industry. It has become so common to use PHP as a web developing tool that you will find it almost anywhere in this busy internet world. This trending programming language in 2018 has been used extensively by the mobile app developers for developing a large number of websites.

Emergence of Dockers:

Dockers- an open source tool, is mostly used by the mobile app developers. Dockers is nothing but a container, which is used to run your applications anywhere after development. It enables virtualization for building and shipping software applications. Now it is becoming a prime trend of programming, because of its small size, better functionality and effective deployment


 

 


Ruby on the rails programming:

Ruby on Rails Technology is an emerging and most widely used technology in the web development world with its tremendous surge in the coming years. It is actually an OOP or object-oriented programming language, which is similar to the Perland Python. It is different from other web development frameworks due to its user-friendly and amazing speed, cost effectiveness, customisations and flexible features.

Spark:

Spark- an upcoming trend in the 2018 IT industry, is widely used for processing both structured and non -structured data. Spark framework is actually a simple Java web framework where developers don't have to know XML and allows very fast and rapid development. Moreover, it is somehow similar to Hadoop and also popular because of its ease of use, simple and straightforward architecture.

Android Programming:

Android programming is a fast- emerging platform in the technology era and has a really fast rising mobile market. It is an amazing open operating system that invites hardware and software developers to work on it in an absolutely free atmosphere. The openness of the Android operating system enhances the creativity of developers with new trends, technologies and method in the next digital year 2018. Because of its openness of the software, it is easy to modify the programming according to the preferences of the user and the new technologies.

Conclusion:

All the above-mentioned programming trends are about to rule the software development world in the upcoming year of 21st century. Now enhance and drive your business operation even more effectively and efficiently by coping with these programming trends.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 21:57

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BA passengers are being shunted onto a budget Belgian airline this week

Passengers booked to fly British Airways to Cairo this week will find themselves boarding not one of the most advanced aircraft on the planet but instead a plane belonging to a Belgian budget airline.

The UK flag carrier is continuing to suffer from engine issues on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes, normally used on the five-hour route to the Egyptian capital, and so has been forced to “wet-lease” an aircraft and its crew from Air Belgium, a Brussels-based airline with just four planes to its name, all Airbus A340s and all just over 10 years old.

BA said outbound flights from Heathrow on September 3-5 and in-bound on September 4-6 will be affected. Would-be customers are alerted to the change by an “operated by Air Belgium for British Airways” note on its website underneath the flight details.

Air Belgium began operating its A340s this summer Credit: Air Belgium 

 

Air Belgium, which only began operations in June this year and does not yet have a Skytrax rating, is based in Brussels’ South Charleroi airport and flies only to Hong Kong. Its economy fares include checked baggage but passengers must pay extra for seat reservations or a “comfort kit”. It has previously operated flights for Air France and Suriname Airways.

A spokesperson for British Airways said it was in touch with customers affected and had offered them “a range of options” should they not wish to travel, adding: “We’re doing everything we can to make sure our customers travel as planned, in light of continuing issues with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines which are affecting many airlines around the world. In order to fly as many customers as possible on their original dates of travel, we have leased an aircraft from Air Belgium.”

A British Airways 787 Dreamliner Credit: British airways 

BA is one of a number of airlines around the world to have its flights affected by ongoing issues with the Trent 1000 engines on the Boeing Dreamliner aircraft.

It has previously “wet-leased” aircraft - when one airline rents a plane and its crew from another or a specialist charter airline - from Qatar Airways, one of its Oneworld partners, and Titan Airways, required to cover some of the extra slots at Gatwick the airline acquired when Monarch went bust.

Telegraph Travel writer Claire Wrathall was caught unawares on a flight to Sicily in July that was wet-leased to Titan Airways at the last minute.

 

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 21:41

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US President Donald Trump to visit Ireland in November

The US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland in November, the White House has announced. It will be the first visit to the island by the US President since his election in 2016. Politicians and activists have said they will be holding a protest during the visit. Mr Trump will travel to Paris to for commemorations on November 11 marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. It is unclear if he will travel to Northern Ireland as part of the trip. Opposition to the visit has been expressed, with the leader of the Labour Party in the Republic of Ireland, Brendan Howlin, saying Mr Trump is "no friend of democracy or human rights". He said his party would strongly oppose the visit.

Nii Sackey Posted on September 03, 2018 21:36

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How Venezuela Came to Be One of the Biggest Markets for Crypto in the World

Venezuela has been living with hyperinflation since at least 2014. Its national currency — the Venezuelan bolívar — hit an official inflation rate of 57.3 percent in February 2014, while independent currency analysts were reporting that, by that September, the real inflation rate had already topped 100 percent. In other words, the bolívar (VEF) was depreciating rapidly in value, and ordinary Venezuelans needed something to fill the void it had left as a one-time viable means of exchange.

By definition, hyperinflation is a state in which, as described by the International Accounting Standards Board, "the general population prefers to keep its wealth in non-monetary assets or in a relatively stable foreign currency." However, due to capital controls that had been in place since 2003, Venezuelans were restricted in their ability to obtain U.S. dollars or any other foreign currency. They had no freely accessible outlet for their devalued VEF, with the Venezuelan economy expected to contract in 2015 by 1 percent, according to the IMF.

It was into this economic quagmire that Bitcoin and altcoins (particularly Dash) entered, providing struggling Venezuelans with stores of value and mediums of exchange they could rely upon more than the nosediving bolívar. Ever since 2014 and the onset of hyperinflation, they've seen marked increases in ownership and trading, with impressive rises being witnessed in the past few months, as Venezuelan inflation topped an eye-watering 46,000 percent and as the IMF predicted an inflation rate of 1,000,000 percent by the end of 2018.

However, as the following will show, the meteoric rise of crypto in Venezuela doesn't simply result from the desire to avoid the worst effects of hyperinflation. It also stems from the proactive attempts certain cryptocurrencies have made to establish themselves within Venezuela, as well as from a desire among the population to resist and circumvent an authoritarian government, which has used capital controls as one way of starving likely opponents of funding.

Bitcoin growth

As an indication of the extent to which crypto usage has grown in Venezuela, it's worth looking at the trading charts provided by the Coin Dance website for the LocalBitcoins exchange, which enables peer-to-peer trades between any two parties anywhere in the world.

In November 2013, around the time Venezuela had an official — i.e., massaged — inflation rate of 'just' 43 percent, a grand total of two Bitcoin were traded for VEF on the LocalBitcoins exchange. This modest volume, however, quickly rose almost as soon as the country firmly entered hyperinflation territory, with the peak for 2014 being the 64 Bitcoin traded in December, at a time when the BTC value had sunk to as low as $311 — after having stood at around $932 at the beginning of the year. It was at this time that inflation was at 63 percent, according to the government, and given that the country had been caught in hyperinflation for well over a year, many groups and individuals were beginning to recognize the vital role crypto could play in giving Venezuelans a lifeline.

One Venezuelan Bitcoin trader told Reuters in October of that year:

It was into this economic quagmire that Bitcoin and altcoins (particularly Dash) entered, providing struggling Venezuelans with stores of value and mediums of exchange they could rely upon more than the nosediving bolívar. Ever since 2014 and the onset of hyperinflation, they've seen marked increases in ownership and trading, with impressive rises being witnessed in the past few months, as Venezuelan inflation topped an eye-watering 46,000 percent and as the IMF predicted an inflation rate of 1,000,000 percent by the end of 2018.

However, as the following will show, the meteoric rise of crypto in Venezuela doesn't simply result from the desire to avoid the worst effects of hyperinflation. It also stems from the proactive attempts certain cryptocurrencies have made to establish themselves within Venezuela, as well as from a desire among the population to resist and circumvent an authoritarian government, which has used capital controls as one way of starving likely opponents of funding.

Bitcoin growth

As an indication of the extent to which crypto usage has grown in Venezuela, it's worth looking at the trading charts provided by the Coin Dance website for the LocalBitcoins exchange, which enables peer-to-peer trades between any two parties anywhere in the world.

In November 2013, around the time Venezuela had an official — i.e., massaged — inflation rate of 'just' 43 percent, a grand total of two Bitcoin were traded for VEF on the LocalBitcoins exchange. This modest volume, however, quickly rose almost as soon as the country firmly entered hyperinflation territory, with the peak for 2014 being the 64 Bitcoin traded in December, at a time when the BTC value had sunk to as low as $311 — after having stood at around $932 at the beginning of the year. It was at this time that inflation was at 63 percent, according to the government, and given that the country had been caught in hyperinflation for well over a year, many groups and individuals were beginning to recognize the vital role crypto could play in giving Venezuelans a lifeline.

One Venezuelan Bitcoin trader told Reuters in October of that year:

"Even though Bitcoin is volatile, it’s still safer than the national currency."

While Gerardo Mogollon, a business professor at the University of Tachira, told the news agency:

"I’m teaching people to use Bitcoin to bypass the exchange controls."  

 

2015 was an even better year for Bitcoin, despite — or rather because of — it being a worse year for VEF and for Venezuelans. Annual inflation reached as high as 335 percent in June 2015, according to currency economist Steve Hanke, while 319 Bitcoin were traded on LocalBitcoins for VEF in the month of February alone. This figure excludes volumes on Venezuelan exchanges such as Surbitcoin, which in 2015, was reported by Bitcoin Venezuela as being the "second largest in transaction volume in Latin America after Brazil." It also pales in comparison to the number of Bitcoin traded over the entire year, which — at 2059 — was 983 percent bigger than 2014's total (190) and was worth around $1,281,223 (based on a crude average annual price for Bitcoin of $622).

In 2016, the total number of Bitcoin traded via LocalBitcoins was 8624, a 318.8 percent increase over the previous year that coincided with Venezuela's annual inflation rate reaching as high as 500 percent. In 2017, the total number of BTC traded on LocalBitcoins rose again, ramping up to 21,556 — a 150 percent increase over 2016's total. Given that Bitcoin itself became more expensive in 2017 — rising to $19,000 in December — this expansion offers a stark indication of just how sought-after Bitcoin and crypto had become, as inflation surged to yet another peak of 1,369 percent, according to figures released by the opposition-led Venezuelan parliament.

Because of Venezuela's economic misery, many locals had begun finding it difficult even to secure enough food to eat, as the wages they were paid (in VEF) increasingly dwindled in value. "It’s like an obstacle course. You have to find money to buy food, a place to buy it and then get there in time," one Venezuelan told the Guardian in August 2017. Meanwhile, the percentage of children suffering from acute malnourishment sneaked from eight percent in the previous October to 12 percent that July. "They are getting younger, and the cases more serious," explained Susana Raffalli, the leader of a Caritas project aimed at combating youth malnutrition in the country.

With most Venezuelans going to bed on an empty stomach, the need to source alternative currencies was acutely felt by the population, not least because the national poverty rate had climbed from 48 percent in 2014 to 82 percent in 2016, and then 87 percent in 2017. And it's likely to climb yet again this year, given the quintuple-digit inflation currently in motion — something which has unsurprisingly kept the Bitcoin-buying rate noticeably high.

According to Coin Dance, 14,886 Bitcoin have been purchased with VEF on LocalBitcoins between the beginning of 2018 and Aug. 18. This is almost 1,000 fewer than the 15,868 BTC purchased over the same period last year, yet there has been a distinct upswing in trade volumes over the past month — just as the country's economic crisis has reached a new fever pitch, after the government devalued the bolívar by 95 percent in August. Already, before figures for the final week of August are even available, the total number of Bitcoin traded on LocalBitcoins has reached 2,532, in contrast to the 1,558 traded for all of August in 2017.

This could presage an accelerated rise as Venezuela sees out the rest of the year. Either way, trade volumes are high, and Bitcoin's reputation as an alternative to the bolívar is firmly cemented in the eyes of many Venezuelans. "Luckily, I've always been a fan of Bitcoin and the blockchain technology," wrote one Venezuelan Bitcoin user in a Reddit AMA from July:

"I spend my spare time teaching people how to change their bolivares to crypto so the inflation doesn't wreck their money. So far, I've helped many [businesses][…] i.e, restaurant owners who try to sell dishes every day and the next when they're trying to buy some meat there's no profit (sometimes they can't even afford it), because inflation hits us so hard. Right now the inflation is 1.000.000 percent++. I'm looking forward to a plan [to] help people get food through crypto […] I'm pretty much focused on training on Bitcoin use and saving [whomever] I can from hyperinflation, I believe Bitcoin is the solution!"

Dash

This linear picture of Bitcoin's rise is, however, complicated by three simple facts: a) it's not the only cryptocurrency available to Venezuelans, b) its growth was hindered by a government crackdown on Bitcoin mining between March 2016 and January 2018, and c) it has suffered (particularly in 2017) from relatively high transaction fees and confirmation times. As a result, Venezuelans have increasingly dabbled in other coins as their economic crisis has unfolded, including Ethereum and Zcash.

However, it's Dash that's leading the charge as the most popular altcoin — and possibly the most popular cryptocurrency.

In August 2016, Dash was added as a tradable cryptocurrency to the Caracas-based Cryptobuyer exchange, which was reporting "soaring demand" for cryptocurrencies at the time. "Our partnership with Dash is valuable," explained Cryptobuyer CEO Jorge Farias in a press release, "especially for customers using unstable fiat currencies, and the perfect example can be found in Venezuela right now. Alternatives for accessing money without traditional banks are gaining traction fast, and we are incredibly confident that Dash will flourish in this economy."

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find websites that offer specific volume data on the DASH/VEF market, so there's no objective and publicly available reading of just how quickly Dash usage has expanded since the end of 2016, or of how it compares to Bitcoin volume. Nonetheless, the indications that are available suggest that it has become enviably popular since 2016, with the Dash Core Group announcing on Aug. 22 that Venezuela was the cryptocurrency's second biggest market, after the United States.

And as Dash Core's CEO, Ryan Taylor, told Cointelegraph, this success is once again partly a result of Venezuela's economic and monetary difficulties:

"We’ve found that regions of high inflation rates and industries in which cash handling or credit card chargeback rates are high have been most excited to adopt the technology. For us, we focus on those segments in which cryptocurrency can offer the most benefit, and that’s one of the reasons growth in acceptance is so high."

In fact, Dash's superiority over Bitcoin, in terms of transaction fees and confirmation times, is such that the cryptocurrency is now reportedly the most popular in Venezuela among merchants — or at least this is what Dash claimed in a July article, without providing comparative figures. At the very least, Ryan Taylor states that over 800 merchants in Venezuela now accept Dash, and while there isn't an authoritative source for the number of merchants now accepting Bitcoin, Coinmap currently lists a little over 160 merchants in the country that accept BTC (as reported to the website by users, so the actual number may be slightly larger).

Ryan Taylor explains Dash's greater popularity in terms of its greater cost-effectiveness in relation to Bitcoin:

"From the perspective of merchants and businesses, Bitcoin has many uses, including as a means of payment [for] online purchases and for transferring money cross-border at low cost. However, Bitcoin transactions are not instant, which means they are not useful for live transactions such as at a register or for online transactions that customers wouldn’t want to wait [for] — such as a digital media purchase. Bitcoin is also too expensive for micro transactions."  

Yet, what's interesting about Dash's rise to prominence isn't simply that it has benefitted from user friendliness and from rampant hyperinflation, but that it has made a concerted effort to drive and encourage its adoption throughout Venezuela. Distinguishing it from other coins, 10 percent of its block rewards go to a treasury fund that allocates finances to projects voted for by Dash master nodes. As a result, the Dash Core Group has been able to invest around $1 million of such funding to promote and raise awareness of Dash in Venezuela, with this funding going toward such things as billboard ads and sales representatives. For example, Dash Caracas — the self-proclaimed first Dash community in Venezuela — began running educational conferences in September 2017, which now accommodate around a thousand attendees. Its leader Eugenia Alcalá Sucre said last September:

"We had a team receiving the attendees and giving them a folder with sheets to take notes, a pen, [instructions] to set up their Dash Wallets and paper wallets with $10 in Dash. Then they got into the hall, where they watched a welcome video, where they also got instructions for their wallets (phone and paper)."  

Such evangelism is clearly having an effect on Dash adoption rates, and it's also something that Bitcoin advocates have been doing in Venezuela, even if Bitcoin's lack of a "Core Group" and a treasury has resulted in its propagation being less unified or organized.

Clearly, with Bitcoin and Dash advocates providing support to Venezuelans just when there's a vacuum of hope and help, it's little wonder that the cryptocurrencies have risen to the heights they've witnessed so far in 2018. Not only have these and other cryptocurrencies been in the right place at the right time in Venezuelan history, but they've positioned and promoted themselves in a way that maximizes the advantage they've reaped from the country's situation. Put differently, crypto's rise in Venezuela isn't just about inflation or capital controls, but also about entrepreneurship and evangelism.

Petro and the government

And funnily enough, cryptocurrencies in Venezuela haven't been boosted solely by crypto groups, but also by the Venezuelan government itself — despite the hard line it had initially taken on Bitcoin miners. Given the economic meltdown the nation was going through, and given that cryptocurrency had already enjoyed such an impressive ascendancy in the preceding months and years, the government announced in early December 2017 that it would issue its own oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro. While the Petro has been dissected and denounced by crypto experts and the Venezuelan opposition alike, it has at least had the inadvertent effect of providing a more favorable environment for non-centralized coins to flourish.

To begin with, its creation resulted in the Venezuelan government declaring in January that crypto mining was "perfectly legal," despite having prosecuted miners for over a year prior to that. From that point onward, those "people who have been victims of seizures and arrests in previous years will have charges dismissed," according to the nation's new cryptocurrency superintendent, Carlos Vargas. And since then, cryptocurrency mining appears to have continued increasing its popularity, with a May Bloomberg article's headline — perhaps not without some exaggeration — reading, "There’s a Crypto-Mining Machine in Every Home in Caracas."

And as the government prepared for the Petro's ICO and eventual release into circulation, it launched free cryptocurrency lessons for the Venezuelan population. Beginning from the end of February, Venezuelans were able to register at the Granja Laboratorio Petro in Caracas for a course that would, according to instructors, cost them between $500 and $800 anywhere else in the world and that would instruct them on how to "buy, sell and mine digital currencies." One teacher of the course, Carmen Salvador, told a local news outlet that the course was intended to reach the widest possible audience:

"Many of our young people here find it impossible to have this amount of resources, [but] the Venezuelan state is guaranteeing that all can participate through these plans."  

There are no statistics available on the number of enrollments in this course, but in view of how popular cryptocurrency had already become among Venezuelans, it's reasonable to assume that signup was relatively high. So, even if the government may have continued to put up some resistance toward cryptocurrencies that weren't the Petro (e.g., closing two crypto exchanges in April, although apparently more for disseminating 'false information' about the VEF exchange rate than for permitting trades in crypto), its desire to cultivate a favorable social attitude toward the Petro most likely had the collateral effect of increasing the profile of Bitcoin, Dash, Zcash and Ethereum even further.

And on the subject of inadvertent effects, there's a direct — though unquantifiable — link between the Venezuelan government's authoritarian tendencies and the attraction cryptocurrency holds for many locals. For one, the imposition of capital controls in 2003 was in part a move by then-President Hugo Chávez to cut off potential funding from any of his opponents who might be tempted to organize a repeat of the attempted coup d'état of 2002, or a repeat of the anti-government strike that precipitated it. As he declared during a televised address announcing the controls, "Not one dollar for coup-mongers."

Venezuelan business leaders were quick to denounce the controls, with the then-leader of the Federation of Chambers of Industry & Commerce, Carlos Ferna?ndez, telling that the "exchange control is an instrument of repression. When he says that they will not give dollars to businesses that participated in the strike, this signifies that 80 percent of the companies would not receive dollars."

In the face of such an "instrument of repression," those Venezuelans wanting to resist or subvert the political order had to find an alternative monetary framework for surviving, and as all of the foregoing implies, they found cryptocurrency. Caracas-based programmer John Villar told Reuters in late 2014:

"Bitcoin is a way of rebelling against the system."  

That said, there's no indication that cryptocurrency is being used to fund actual opposition groups, while Villar went on to tell Business Insider in December 2017 that cryptocurrency in Venezuela "is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of survival." However, when Bitcoin is being accepted by Venezuelan businesses (and even being used to pay employees in a few cases), and when business has often been 'the opposition' in Venezuela in recent years, there's undoubtedly an underlying political edge to their use of crypto.

The future

As the situation in Venezuela worsens, with President Maduro's approval rating continuing its plunge from 55 percent in 2013 to around 20 percent today, it's only likely that more businesses and individuals will turn to cryptocurrency. Since the beginning of this year, there has already been a 344.6 percent rise in the number of Bitcoin traded for Venezuelan bolívars on the LocalBitcoins exchange, a percentage made even more impressive by the fact that it disregards other exchanges and other cryptocurrencies — such as Dash. Seeing as how the recent devaluation of the bolívar is unlikely to make a positive difference in Venezuela's economic situation, it's highly probable that this situation will deteriorate further, leaving people with even fewer options for survival. In turn, cryptocurrencies will be traded even more heavily.

Although it's likely that much of the Venezuelan trade in cryptocurrencies up until now has come from the country's middle classes — i.e., the 60 percent of the population with internet access, as well as those who know how to mine and program — the near future may see a wider distribution of people involving themselves in crypto. There's little question that Dash-, Bitcoin- and other crypto-evangelists will continue doggedly raising awareness among Venezuelans about the benefits of cryptocurrencies. Their efforts have been highly fruitful so far, providing an important model that they and other currencies can follow if — or when — another nation is unfortunate enough to experience something akin to Venezuela’s crisis. And for as long as the Venezuelan government continues to impose capital controls (which have been one of the main factors in hyperinflation, among others), there's nothing to suggest they won't continue bearing fruit in the coming months and years.

 

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 21:24

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In a Mixed Crypto Market, Bitcoin Inches Upward but Ethereum Remains Shy of $300

Monday, September 3: crypto markets are mixed today, with scattered corrections on a minor scale, as Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at around $7,255 at press time, down a fraction of a percent on the day to consolidate its freshly won gains, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Having reclaimed the $7,000 mark August 31, the top coin has been solidly rising to a yet higher price point, now pushing $7,300. Bitcoin is trading $525 higher than its value at the start of its weekly chart, bringing its 7-day gains to a strong 8.32 percent. On the month, Bitcoin is now also in the green, up 3.62 percent.

Bitcoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $287 at press time, seeing a 2.27 percent loss on the day. After a volatile week, the top altcoin yesterday came tantalizingly close to reclaiming the $300 price point — soaring as high as $298.32 — but has today failed to break through.

Last week’s reports that the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) plans to launch ETH futures by the end of 2018 hardly budged the asset’s price, although Ethereum has nonetheless seen some growth over a week of market-wide green. On its weekly chart, Ethereum is now up a solid 5.15 percent, with monthly losses closed down to 29.86 percent.

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The top ten coins listed on CoinMarketCap are mostly seeing minor percentage changes — both green and red — of within a 1-2 percent range. The exception is Monero (XMR), now ranked 10th by market cap, which has soared 8.34 percent on the day to trade at $130.63 at press time. After a brief dip to as low as $97 August 30, Monero has seen a strong, if jagged, ascent over the past several days.

Monero’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has more or less consolidated its major September gains, down just 2.36 percent on the day to trade around $624 at press time. After a stagnant week circling the $560 range, BCH saw a major boost in price performance following its successful stress test September 1.

Monero’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has more or less consolidated its major September gains, down just 2.36 percent on the day to trade around $624 at press time. After a stagnant week circling the $560 range, BCH saw a major boost in price performance following its successful stress test September 1.

Monero’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has more or less consolidated its major September gains, down just 2.36 percent on the day to trade around $624 at press time. After a stagnant week circling the $560 range, BCH saw a major boost in price performance following its successful stress test September 1.

Bitcoin Cash’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Dogecoin (DOGE) has kicked back against yesterday’s hefty correction, during which it lost close to 20 percent on the day. DOGE is today up 2.2 percent and is trading around $0.0051 at press time.

Since August 30, the altcoin has skyrocketed upwards, and even after yesterday’s dent has sealed a 112 percent gain on its weekly chart. Crypto commentators have attributed DOGE’s startling price performance to an impending infrastructure development for a project dubbed Dogethereum, the demo for which is set to take place Sept. 5.

Dogecoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $236.5 billion at press time, up almost $18 billion on its weekly chart.

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Today, September 3, iPR Daily — a media outlet specializing in intellectual property — released a report that revealed that China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and tech conglomerate IBM top the global rankings for filings of blockchain-related patents to date. The report further showed that  Mastercard, Bank of America, and China’s central bank, People's Bank of China (PBoC), are all global leaders in patenting blockchain-related innovations.

 

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 21:05

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Samsung is shaking up its mid-range smartphone lineup to attract more millennials

September 3rd, 2018 at 4:19 PM

Samsung has a plan to get more millennials interested in its handsets, a new strategy that appears born partly out of a global slowdown in smartphone sales with rivals like Huawei and Apple nipping at Samsung’s heels.

 

DJ Koh, the CEO of Samsung’s mobile business, has told CNBC the crux of the new strategy is this: Bring new cutting-edge technology to the South Korea-based company’s cheaper phone models, like those in its Galaxy A series, first. Before the tech ends up in the company’s much pricier flagship models later.

 

 

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This plan to shakeup the middle range of its smartphone lineup is not just being talked about as some kind of a future possibility inside the company. Indeed, the first devices under this new strategy are coming later this year, according to CNBC.

 

“In the past, I brought the new technology and differentiation to the flagship model and then moved to the mid-end,” Koh told the network. “But I have changed my strategy from this year to bring technology and differentiation points starting from the mid-end … So we are very much focusing on millennials who cannot afford the flagship. But how can I deliver meaningful innovation to our millennials? That’s the reason I’m trying to differentiate the mid-section.”

 

We’ve reported a fair bit now on the global slowdown in smartphone sales, which is arguably stinging Samsung more than most as it’s the top handset maker as ranked by sales. In the second quarter, though, mobile sales at Samsung were down 20 percent year-over-year, with the company blaming a tepid response to the Galaxy S9.

 

Meantime, Huawei has come out strong, not only gaining market share and outpacing Apple but making clear its ambition is to eventually dethrone Samsung, possibly as soon as next year. “Despite a global slowdown for smartphones,” according to CNBC, “some markets like India and other countries in Southeast Asia are growing, but consumers there are after cheaper, but still high-spec, handsets. That’s the market that Samsung is trying to go after with its upcoming device.”

 

Koh apparently changed up Samsung’s mobile research and development organization, as well as its product planning efforts, earlier this year in anticipation of this strategy shift. At this point, he’s also thinking the newer mid-priced handsets might be released more often than once a year.

 

While that shift is under way, the company still has a chance to wow customers at the higher end, a chance that’s coming up very soon. We’re already on record as raving about the upcoming Galaxy S10, which we’ve called “the most exciting smartphone Samsung has released in years.” So here’s Samsung trying to attract very different customers, all at once. More budget-minded, younger buyers who can’t afford flagships, and then customers who want nothing but the latest and greatest, like the S10 with its new design, new fingerprint sensor, triple-lens camera and so much more.

Archimedeskay Posted on September 03, 2018 21:01

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Bank crisis: Over 2000 security men of 5 dead banks sacked

- Consolidated Bank Ghana has laid off 2000 security guards in its restructuring program

 

- Reports show the bank has cancelled the contract with ACS Security Services for Vizico Security Company Limited

 

- The new receiver of all five collapsed banks has so far sacked 1700 workers

 

Close to 2000 security personnel of all recently collapsed local banks have lost their jobs. This follows the restructuring program by the new receiver - Consolidated bank of Ghana.

 

This follows a report from MyNewsGH.com which show that these officers under ACS Security Services Limited were sacked last Friday, August 31, 2018, after managers of Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG) revoked the contract of the security company.

 

"In the case of the defunct Beige Bank, ACS Security Services Limited deployed 4 security guards to each of the over 90 branches with two operating in the day and the others for night and swap simultaneously," the portal further reported.

 

READ ALSO: Massive layoffs shake some major companies in Ghana

 

Meanwhile, the new bank has rather employed the services of Vizico Security Company Limited as the new service provider.

 

The trend of layoffs in recent times

 

The third quarter of 2018 has seen massive layoffs especially in the private sector. YEN.com.gh has gathered that major firms, especially media establishments, are either slashing down salaries of workers or laying them off completely.

 

BXC Company

 

Already, management of energy supply firm, BXC Company says at least 200 workers of the company will be sacked in the coming days.

 

The human resource manager of the company, Anastasia Ankrah, has explained that the massive layoffs is because of the distribution system lose reduction agreement by state-owned power distributor Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) under the concession arrangement.

 

“So basically out of the 600 workers, 400 workers have been laid off. The 200 that are left are still being paid but by September they’ll also be laid off. The reason being that the 400, no job presently for them to do. The 200 that are even left we have very few jobs on hand now to do, and they’re being paid till the end of September when we will terminate their employment based on the letter we received from the lawyers of ECG,” she revealed.

 

Vodafone

 

The Herald newspaper has claimed that management of Vodafone is issuing out dismissal letters to workers as it allegedly prepares to sell the telecom to yet another firm.

 

The Herald Newspaper claims the huge number of layoff, became necessary because they want the company’s balance sheets to look good to the potential buyers. The number of people going home it is said, constitute 40 percent of Vodafone’s total number of employees in the country.

 

EIB network

 

YEN.com.gh has learned through close sources at EIB network that the salaries of workers and lead presenters have been slashed by half as the media company struggles to stay afloat its financial woes. Resignations have already started with the latest being the presenter for the morning show, Baisiwa Dowuona-Hammond.

 

TV Africa

 

All programs on TV Africa have been suspended effective Monday, September 3rd. This report, coming from Star FM, claims that the rebranded television station is struggling with its finances and also not able to pay salaries of workers. The owner of the business has told senior management members that he is unable to pay workers going forward.

 

This development has happened just two years ago after a private financial holding company, the Ideal Groupe, acquired a majority share in the TV station after 13 years of operation under the management of Kwaw Ansah.

 

GN Media

 

YEN.com.gh has also learned that Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom’s GN media a subsidiary of his Groupe Nduom, has laid off about 30 workers. A letter signed by the head of recruitment and selection at the GN media subsidiary thanked workers for their contribution to the company and also further offered them their one month salary in advance.

 

 

Archimedeskay Posted on September 03, 2018 20:55

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Against the 'Putrid' Euro, Naples' Mayor Plans to Launch Autonomous Cryptocurrency

Naples’ mayor, Luigi de Magistris, has posted an impassioned pledge to launch an autonomous municipal cryptocurrency that, he says, would unshackle the city from “anti-southern discrimination” and “unfair” debt, on his Facebook public profile September 2.

De Magistris argued for the new currency as part of a threefold plan of action that would reclaim political and fiscal autonomy for Naples — the capital of Italy’s southern Campania region.

While yesterday’s rhetoric-laden post did not explicitly outline details, the mayor’s previously discussed plans to launch a municipal cryptocurrency tied to the city’s economy has led to a ferment of local blockchain activity: details of the Municipal Administration’s work group for blockchain and crypto are even announced on the city’s official page.

The mayor’s latest post has contextualised this vision for a municipal cryptocurrency within a political effort to enfranchise southern regions and bolster self-determination against the “potentates who rule in Rome.” As the mayor notes, this push for greater local power has been preempted on the other side of Italy’s north-south faultline — in the north, “the separatists screamed first.”

The central government, in his view, has been working to the north’s advantage:

“Before a government with obvious anti-south traction, [which is] strengthening the Lombard-Veneto axis… and is work[ing] to hijack most of the resources towards the rich, giving [only] alms to the south, we must launch an historic challenge, never thought nor implemented so far.”

The mayor also made a forceful rebuke to the city’s creditors, saying that Naples does not recognize its debt — due in a “putrid” currency, the euro  — inveighing, “we in fact are victims and should be compensated, rather than paying debt to the usurpers!”

De Magistris’ post further highlighted Naples’ considerable capital that derives from tourism, pledging to encourage innovative forms of popular shareholding — a sentiment that echoed calls to upend traditional economic structures with blockchain-enabled, distributed and incentivized (tokenized) ecosystems.

As Cointelegraph has reported, the synergy between the cryptocurrency revolution and autonomous governance has been recognized by many — with crypto actively being proposed as a system that would unfetter secessionist movements from being held ransom by sovereign governments.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 20:29

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Coin Race: Top 10 Winners/Losers of August

The bear run of August left many traders mauled, but a cautiously optimistic sentiment remains. The month ended with many coins trying to get on an upwards slope, although only three of them registered a positive net change within those 31 days. Let’s have a closer look at the top 50 coins by market capitalization and how August treated them.

Top 10 Winners:

Dogecoin’s rally took it soaring into the heights as the coin gained 87.55% on its price. It is followed by NANO and ETP (Metaverse), with a net increase of 61.34% and 59.57% respectively. The others are winners only in the sense that they lost the least: the last of the winners is EOS, having lost 12.6%. Bitcoin is also near the end of the list. July and August share only Dogecoin and Bitcoin in this list, where Dogecoin has moved up and Bitcoin down.

Top 10 Losers:

Meanwhile, the losers all lost more than 30% in total, with the biggest victim being Global Utility Token (OKB) at 49.12%. Ethereum is another major coin with a downtrend of 34.48%. Augur’s REP coin has also suffered a significant loss at 34.58%. Golem, Qtum and Bytom mark another month in the top 10 losers list. All three suffer even bigger losses than in July.

Winners & Losers from Top 100/200:
The biggest winner in the top 100 coins by market cap has more than doubled its price: a whopping 157.29% increase belongs to TaTaTu (TTU). In the top 200, even TTU is overtaken by Switcheo (SWH) who marks a net increase of an incredible 278.01%.

The loss department is not too different from the top 50. In the top 100, the biggest loss belongs to Aurora (AOA), while CasinoCoin (CSC) holds that position in the top 200 at 78.23% in red. CSC held that very same position in July too.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 20:22

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Almost All Top 100 Cryptocurrencies Solidly in Green, Dogecoin Skyrockets Over 40%

Saturday, September 1: crypto markets are multiplying recent gains today, with 97 out of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap solidly in the green, as data from Coin360 shows.

Bitcoin (BTC) continues to climb steadily over the $7,000 mark, seeing 2.52 percent gains over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin is trading at about $7,216 at press time, up 7.2 percent over the past week. 

The largest cryptocurrency by market cap broke the $7,000 point for the second time this week amidst news from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) reporting a decline in bearish positions for non-commercial Bitcoin futures contracts.

Ethereum (ETH) is grazing the $300 price point, trading just under it at $299.66, up almost 6 percent over the 24 hour period. The largest altcoin has, like Bitcoin, also seen about 7 percent growth on the week, though it is still facing 28.7 percent losses on the month. 

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has reached $238.4 billion point for the first time since August 8 and is continuing to grow, seeing a slight spike during the hours to press time.

Of the top 25 cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin (DOGE) has seen the most notable growth, up a whopping 41 percent over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap. Altcoin Dogecoin has seen a significant upswing since August 30, up a stunning 135 percent in the past three days.

DOGE is currently ranked in 21st place on CoinMarketCap, trading at $0.0061 and with a market capitalization of $708 million.

To explain DOGE’s massive growth this week, commentators on Twitter point to an impending infrastructure development for the project dubbed Dogethereum, the demo for which is set to take place Sept. 5. The protocol refers to a smart contract that will act as a so-called bridge letting people move Dogecoins to and from the Ethereum blockchain.

In the top ten coins, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC) have seen the most growth, up 14.7 and 8 percent respectively.

The wave of green across crypto markets has increased as the reports surfaced that the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) is planning to launch Ethereum futures by the end of 2018.

Also this week, the central bank of India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), confirmed its plans to set up an inter-departmental group to evaluate the feasibility of issuing a rupee-backed central bank digital currency.

Earlier this week on August 29, Cointelegraph reported announced that Yahoo Finance was displaying buy and sell options for several major cryptocurrencies on its website. The company then confirmed to Cointelegraph that the new service will be only available on its iOS app and will let users trade cryptos including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dogecoin on their preferred exchanges via an integrated third party service.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 20:17

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Why Hitting the Gas on Car Tariffs Could Stall Everyone

Highlights
  • The United States will continue to threaten tariffs on the imports of automobiles in an attempt to gain leverage in critical trade negotiations, although it's possible that Washington will eventually enact such tariffs.
  • Mexico and Canada might escape strong measures since they would also inflict domestic harm due to the nature of NAFTA integration, but Washington will strive to extract concessions from the two countries by threatening such measures.
  • Germany and the European Union — which has little overall integration with the U.S. auto market — are most likely to face tariffs, even if Brussels has sought to escape the measures by offering a trade deal to the United States.
  • At moderate risk of tariffs, Japan and especially South Korea will hope to avoid U.S. measures by highlighting their automakers' investments in the United States.

  Today, much of the Western world is holding its collective breath, wondering what comes next as U.S. President Donald Trump threatens to pummel the global auto industry with tariffs on imports. In 2017, the United States imported $350 billion worth of vehicles and parts, most of which came from Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Japan and South Korea — all U.S. allies. But just as he did with steel and aluminum, Trump is threatening to levy tariffs totaling as much as 25 percent on the vehicles and parts of his country's closest allies as part of a Section 232 national security investigation. In doing so, Trump is threatening to upend seven decades of consistent integration in the global automotive industry — something that could have grave ramifications for all.

Integration Gives Way to Indignation

The U.S. automotive industry grew rapidly starting in the 1950s, thanks to the country's post-war economic boom and the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956, which established interstate highways. Initially, Detroit's big three automotive manufacturers, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, dominated the U.S. and Canadian automotive industries to the degree that the latter's auto manufacturers pushed for a complete integration between the two countries' car industries. Since the 1965 Auto Pact (APTA), the two have become so intertwined that Washington does not even bother distinguishing between American and Canadian production for some statistical purposes.

But Canada was just the first country to strive for a slice of the U.S. automotive pie. Because of the 1973 Oil Crisis, Detroit's gas-guzzling cars became a drain on consumers' pocketbooks, offering an average fuel economy of no more than a paltry 11.9 mpg. Across the Pacific, carmakers in Japan — a country dependent on oil imports — had already prioritized small cars with a higher fuel economy, enabling them to enter the U.S. market after the oil crisis. Unsurprisingly, the influx of Japanese cars engendered resentment from U.S. automakers and elicited threats from Washington. In response, Tokyo agreed to limit the number of Japanese vehicle exports to the United States.

To circumvent these constraints, many Japanese carmakers began to invest in new final assembly plants in the United States and Canada, creating a legacy that continues to this day — even as their North American competitors have flown the roost for other shores. Of the 20 best-selling light-duty vehicles in the United States in 2017, just five featured a significant number of components (50 percent or more) that were produced in the United States — and all five models were Japanese.

More change occurred in the 1990s, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the emergence of the World Trade Organizations. NAFTA effectively transformed the APTA into an automotive bloc with Canada, Mexico and the United States. And because Mexico — then as now — offers lower wages than its northern counterparts, many labor-intensive aspects of the automotive value chain (such as parts with intricate wiring) have moved there.

 

From a purely macroeconomic perspective, the globalization of auto value chains has doubtless benefited the United States and many others by keeping prices stable for consumers. From a political perspective, however, the repercussions have been enormous since imports and other factors such as automation have decimated local industries, eliminating jobs. Even if assembled domestically, foreign cars provide a visible representation of the rise of imported cars and — for communities dependent on manufacturing — the related elimination of domestic industries and jobs. And it is, of course, such communities that Trump is now vowing to protect.

The Links Between: The Global Auto Industry Today

The globalization of the auto sector has also aided global automakers, who have necessarily integrated to reduce costs and handle turbulence. Today, just 14 companies produce the vast majority of the planet's top-selling car brands. Given such integration, it is no surprise that none of the United States' big three automakers or organizations lent their backing to Trump's tariffs during public hearings in the country — in stark contrast to the U.S. steel industry's enthusiastic support for tariffs in similar hearings.

Similar to North America, European carmakers have also integrated since World War II. As a result of the European Union's eastward expansion, Western Europe's auto juggernauts like BMW and Volkswagen have constructed deep and complex value chains that penetrate the Continent, taking advantage of a cheap labor supply in Central and Eastern Europe — areas with long-established auto sectors. 

Supply chains elsewhere, however, do not rival those in North America and Europe in terms of complexity. For example, just 14.5, 10.2 and 4.3 percent of the inputs for the respective South Korean, Japanese and Chinese auto industries come from overseas, according to estimates from the World Input-Output database. By contrast, the figures for the European Union's largest car producers (France, the United Kingdom and Germany) are each 33 percent or higher. The difference stems from the Asian development model, in which each country erects high trade barriers — either through tariffs or non-tariff barriers — to protect domestic industry, thereby reducing integration with neighbors (who they also view as competitors). Nevertheless, South Korea and Japan are naturally heavily dependent on exports, and many of their companies are integrated into global supply chains.

Today, the United States remains heavily dependent on vehicle imports, as just 52 percent of the cars sold in its market last year were produced domestically. As a result, the United States applies a tariff of just 2.5 percent on light-duty vehicle imports (in contrast to the EU level of 10 percent) — a level that makes sense given its production restrictions. Even if U.S. vehicle assembly lines operated at 100 percent efficiency, the country would still need to import roughly one-third of its vehicles, meaning any large tariff on such imports would represent nothing more than a tax on U.S. consumers.

The United States imported 8.3 million automobiles in 2017 and exported just 2 million, producing a trade deficit in the auto sector of $195.4 billion, or a third of the country's total trade deficit. And given Trump's abhorrence of trade deficits, it should come as no surprise that the president has prioritized an ostensible rectification of the automotive trade imbalance while demanding global auto producers reduce their barriers to match those of the United States.

Trade Barrier Threats as a Tool in Talks

At heart, Trump may be a protectionist who is willing to inflict short-term pain at home on the U.S. economy — especially as it enjoys some of its strongest recent economic growth — in the hope of solving what he views as a long-term problem: a persistent U.S. trade deficit. Trump may accordingly follow through on his threats to enact the Section 232 tariffs, but even if not, the threats alone might be enough to achieve his goals at present during trade negotiations.

Ultimately, however, Washington's goals depend on the trading partner in question.

NAFTA

The NAFTA talks, the United States' biggest current priority, stalled prior to the latest push by Mexico City and Washington to seal a quick deal. In terms of the auto sector, Washington has demanded that workers earning at least $16 per hour produce 40 percent of NAFTA-eligible vehicle content — a factor that could greatly hurt Mexican auto workers, who make less than $5 per hour on average. The U.S. threats, however, have forced Mexico to cave into some U.S. demands: Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo said last week that his country had begun to negotiate wage requirements that would be included in rules about NAFTA vehicle eligibility.

Canada, however, has been slow to accept some of the United States' demands. The level of confrontation in the pair's auto negotiations has decreased since Washington dropped a demand for a U.S. content requirement, but Ottawa is gearing up for more contentious fights. Canada wants to protect its dairy supply chain management system and softwood lumber industry — two areas the Trump administration has specifically highlighted — and is hoping to protect a NAFTA dispute settlement mechanism, unlike the United States. In the end, Washington is likely to use the threat of vehicle tariffs to push Canada to finalize a NAFTA deal and cave on other issues. After all, auto tariffs could plunge Canada into a recession and put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a vulnerable position ahead of 2019 elections.

Ultimately, the degree of integration in NAFTA might make U.S. tariffs against the Mexican and Canadian auto sectors more trouble than they're worth. Indeed, a Center for Automotive Research study released in July reported that if the United States slapped a 25 percent tariff on all vehicles and parts, it would cost the country at least $59.5 billion in gross domestic product and eliminate 715,000 jobs — even before trading partners enacted any retaliation. In contrast, if the United States carved out exemptions for Mexico and Canada, the hit would total just $15.3 billion of GDP and 197,000 jobs before retaliation. The United States could allow NAFTA-eligible cars and vehicles to go unscathed, while still applying higher tariffs to vehicles that do not meet the criteria to qualify for NAFTA conditions but are still imported from NAFTA members. (These are a relatively small percentage of total U.S. auto imports.) But if the United States' immediate neighbors can rest relatively easily, South Korea, Japan and the European Union all face sleepless nights ahead.

Asia

In Asia, the United States' demands are vaguer, suggesting the ultimate goal may be more about protecting the U.S. market than anything else. Seoul believed it had finalized a new South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), but an agreement has proved elusive — and could even be rendered moot if Trump enacts tariffs on Korean cars. To the east, the United States could be using the threat of tariffs against Japan to bring Tokyo to the table for a bilateral deal. The two had hoped to start talks soon after Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) last year, but Tokyo has been hesitant due to Washington's onerous demands on other trade matters. If Tokyo can avoid vehicle tariffs during trade talks — talks which, according to U.S. law, would last nearly a year even based on an accelerated timeline — it may behoove it to do so. Still, some of Japan and South Korea's biggest carmakers assemble 40 percent or more of their vehicles in the United States, meaning they could escape some of the wrath that their European counterparts will not.

Europe

Though the United States and European Union have played up talks of a trade truce, the sense of disagreement is palpable on both sides of the Atlantic. Brussels has said that ongoing comprehensive trade talks include auto tariffs, but Paris has balked at any inclusion of agriculture, saying that any agreement would only cover industrial goods. Berlin, which stands to lose the most if Washington imposes auto tariffs, has entertained hopes that a small trade deal on industrial goods could appease the United States.

Yet, contrary to Berlin's expectations, the U.S. demands don't appear to center on the auto sector but rather on other barriers, including agricultural ones. Because the carefully worded language of the agreement announced at a recent meeting between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Trump excluded both agriculture and vehicles, it is likely that the United States is holding back on vehicle tariffs in exchange for agricultural concessions. Such an exchange makes sense from Washington's perspective because it knows that even if the European Union's auto tariffs drop to zero, the United States does not have the spare auto manufacturing capacity to export large volumes to the bloc and will never be competitive in areas dominated by Germany. Its agricultural exports, on the other hand, are more competitive, but a deal might prove difficult due to the unlikelihood that France and others will accept U.S. demands on agricultural imports and standards — meaning the United States could ultimately impose vehicle tariffs.

Who Blinks First

The Trump administration's heavy-handed strategy may produce trade deals, but it also carries many risks. To understand the potential repercussions, one need look no further than the national security investigations on steel and aluminum, in which talks collapsed and the United States imposed tariffs, triggering retaliation. Other nations might not play ball with the United States and some, including Canada and the European Union, have already threatened to respond in kind and/or begin drafting lists of U.S. goods to target in retribution.

The potential for damage will vary from company to company and country to country depending on who — if anyone — receives exemptions. Japanese and Korean carmakers like Toyota, Kia, Nissan, Subaru, Honda and Hyundai are best-placed to ride out the storm thanks to their many final assembly plants in North America, even if their import parts from back home could be hit by tariffs. In contrast, German carmakers — and, accordingly, automakers in Central and Eastern Europe — stand to fair the worst as Volkswagen, BMW and Audi all have little manufacturing presence in the United States.

Naturally, the rest of the world's major auto producers will attempt to mitigate the impact of the tariffs. Already, the United States' turn toward protectionism has facilitated a raft of new trade deals among other countries; Mexico City and Brussels inked a tentative deal in April, followed three months later by a pact between Japan and Brussels. The biggest deal, however, occurred in March, when members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement that the United States abandoned last year signed a successor agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The deals have reduced multilateral trade barriers on automotives and other trade — as well as U.S. exporters' competitiveness around the world. And while all such CPTPP signatories might feel some short-term pain from U.S. tariffs, the countries, workers and companies affected will be better able to survive Washington's trade measures if they become long-standing.

As U.S. leaders consider their next course of action, the stakes surrounding potential auto tariffs are higher than they were for steel and aluminum. If the United States provides no exemptions when imposing a 25 percent tariff on auto sector imports, it could cost over a million U.S. jobs and even plunge the country into a recession, especially amid China's retaliation against previous U.S. tariffs. Needless to say, such a scenario could devastate chances for Trump and the Republican Party in 2020 elections. And unlike the steel and aluminum industries, the U.S. auto sector opposes the tariffs, while proposals in Congress to restrict the president's authority on Section 232 investigations continue to gain momentum.

The most likely proposal thus far may be one in the Senate by former U.S. Trade Representative during the Bush administration, Rob Portman. His proposal wouldn't require Congressional support to move forward with 232 tariffs like previous ones, but it would make the Pentagon, rather than the Department of Commerce, responsible for the initial determination of whether imports harm national security. It would also allow Congress to pass motions of disapproval on the tariffs that would nullify them if they get a two-thirds majority.

Many moving parts remain in the national security investigation. Given the United States' reliance on imports, the Commerce Department could push back on Trump and recommend more narrow tariffs. A reduced tariff — at around 10 percent, and only targeting non-NAFTA members — would do far less damage to the world, and the United States, than the more extreme scenarios. The Commerce Department could also only back tariffs on finished cars, not parts, so as to not hurt U.S. assembly plants. Still, it's possible that Trump will decide to follow through on his threats anyway, prompting an event with repercussions that would reverberate around the world.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 18:59

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'Avengers 4' May Offer An Ending For 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2′WALT DISNEY

 

Today is Sept. 3, which means (barring a date change), we are exactly ten months away from the domestic release of Avengers 4. To Walt Disney and Marvel’s credit, we have almost no real information concerning how that Russo Bros.-directed sequel will play out. Yes, Sony will still release Spider-Man: Far from Home two months later, so we know that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will presumably be resurrected (or rescued from the Soul Stone or whatever. But otherwise, we don’t really know anything about the movie.

 

 

The melodrama concerning Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may help (in the short term) the next Avengers movie. Dave Bautista has become a one-man army of righteous anger and “IDAF” commentary concerning Disney’s arguably rash (and certainly rushed) decision to fire James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after old tweets involving bawdy humor involving (among other things) pedophilia surfaced thanks to a politically-motivated attack.  And since he has a movie opening on Sept. 14 (a Die Hard knock-off entitled Final Score), he will be promoting it and presumably dropping more jump cover-worthy tidbits.

 

The latest, from a televised interview, merely notes that A) the Guardians of the Galaxy do in-fact return in the fourth Avengers film and B) there may be changes to the overall fate of the Guardians of the Galaxy as a result of the now-delayed third Guardians movie. The correct decision to not announce any Phase Four movies prior to the release of Avengers 4 has proved useful in weathering the James Gunn storm. While we all assumed that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would be the summer 2020 kick-off flick, nothing has officially been announced.

 

 

Come what may, it won’t look that bad if they throw in another Phase Four sequel (like Doctor Strange 2) in its place. Alas, Guardians 3 was supposed to be the kick-off movie to the entire Phase Four (and beyond) MCU narrative, setting up years’ worth of stories and plot threads. Sure, they can still use Gunn’s completed script, but delaying the film means either changing the long-term plotting, tossing that worldbuilding into a different MCU movie or making sure that any MCU movie that debuts prior to Guardians 3 is explicitly stand-alone.

 

It is a little ironic that one of the most stand-alone MCU franchises now finds itself imperiling the entire franchise because its third film was a key mythology episode. The good news is that, for the moment, the Guardians of the Galaxy drama may make Avengers 4 more anticipated. Prior to the firing, the movie was merely supposed to resolve the Infinity War cliffhanger, bring the first “Iron Man to Avengers 4” arc to a close and set up the new status quo going forward. And all of that still applies.

 

It now may have to also offer a resolution to the (still dead or otherwise) Guardians of the Galaxy. Bautista stated that there were still reshoot days left to be done. He speculated out loud whether Marvel and friends will use those reshoots to change the fate of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Bautista) among others. That may be untrue, but if Marvel does keep a lid on spoilers up to the release, then it’ll be another implied selling point for the summer 2019 blockbuster.

 

 

Even if the Guardians situation is resolved by May of 2019 (a new director, a firm commitment to producing it, etc.),  Avengers 4 may still act as a kind of backdoor pilot for the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie. As noted before, Disney doesn’t need to force the core human actors to show up in a third Guardians movie if they really don’t want to, and anyone can voice Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Racoon or Vin Diesel’s Groot well enough to placate general audiences. The sequel can set-up or introduce a rejiggered team of outer-space adventurers.

 

Avengers 4 will answer your Infinity War-related questions, and it will presumably offer a finality to the whole MCU arc. Now, it may also (and we won’t know

 

Archimedeskay Posted on September 03, 2018 18:38

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Apple insists developers ramp up their privacy commitments

Developers must now say how they collect data, what they do with it, and take responsibility for how it is treated if it is sold on.

Apple recently told the U.S. Congress that is sees customer privacy as a “human right,” though the explanation didn’t at that time extend to how third-party developers treat data they get from iOS apps. Now it does.

Privacy for the rest of us

Starting October 3, Apple will insist that all third-party apps (including new apps and app updates) submitted to the App Store include a link to the app developer’s own privacy policy.

This is a big change, as until now only subscription-based apps needed to supply this information — and it also extends to the privacy policy itself, which Apple insists must be clear and explicitly in explaining:

  • What data the app/service collects
  • How this data is collected
  • What is done with that data
  • How data is stored
  • How users can revoke consent and demand deletion of their data

[ Related: Apple's mobile privacy letter to Congress omits an awful lot of context ]

The policy must also promise that any third party to which that data is shared must provide the same or equal protection of user data as explained in the developer’s privacy policy.

Building an evidence trail

The policy states that developers must:

“Confirm that any third party with whom an app shares user data (in compliance with these Guidelines) — such as analytics tools, advertising networks and third party SDKs, as well as any parent, subsidiary or other related entities that will have access to user data — will provide the same or equal protection of user data as stated in the app’s privacy policy and required by these Guidelines.”

This means Apple is insisting developers make verifiable and actionable promises about the data they gather, what they do with that information, and whom they sell that data to.

Any app developer whose primary business is selling people’s data to those vast unregulated data warehousing firms may find these steps make things a little trickier.

This is a massively important step, and I predict that some apps — potentially including some relatively popular apps — may find themselves unable to make these promises, following legal advice.

[ Take this mobile device management course from PluralSight and learn how to secure devices in your company without degrading the user experience. ]

(I’m not pointing any fingers, but any app developer whose primary business is selling people’s data to those vast unregulated data warehousing firms may find these steps make things a little trickier.)

The whole widget

In technology, the weakest security target is always the user. That’s why criminals try to target users with sophisticated and personalized scams.

The same is true of marketing – do you think billions would be spent on advertising if it didn’t make a difference? In the online age, marketing has become increasingly sophisticated and personalized. Until now (as the scandalous behavior of Cambridge Analytica and others of that ilk shows), those marketing techniques may have crossed the line into criminal.

“We’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people, that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources, should exist,” Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said.

They can be “abused against our democracy,” he observed.

Apple has always insisted that it values its user privacy, but critics (often the same critics who have never concerned themselves regarding privacy when other firms have exploited it for profit) have pointed out that just because Apple is privacy-secure doesn’t mean those third-party developers are being so.

Those apps claiming your private data may lack Apple’s commitment to user privacy, they argue, before insisting Apple should do something about it.

Apple has done something about it

Apple already collects much less data about customers than any other big tech firm, and what it does collect tends to be heavily anonymized.

“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer. ... We’ve elected not to do that. We’re not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty,” Cook has said.

Apple is now moving to extend those privacy protections a little, and it has made several moves to try to prevent abuse of personal data for marketing and other forms of social engineering in recent months:

  • It has made it much easier for customers to check all the data Apple holds on them.
  • A new Data & Privacy screen gives a clearer explanation of how Apple uses your data.
  • In macOS Mojave, it will block the tracking code buried in comment threads or social media like buttons.
  • Safari now prevents Share buttons and comment widgets on web pages from tracking you without your permission.
  • Safari now prevents "fingerprinting," in which data companies determine who you are and follow you online based on system configuration.
  • Safari also automatically creates, autofills and stores strong passwords for you and lets you know when you are reusing passwords on different sites and services.
  • New data protections require apps to get user permission before using the Mac camera and microphone or accessing personal data like user Mail history and Messages database.
  • It has made it much harder to hack into iOS devices using the USB port.
  • It has introduced support for third-party password managers.
  • Apple as a company also has an extensive privacy governance structure, which is described here.

Apple’s new move to insist its developers also work to protect end user privacy may have profound consequences, as it implies that it will now monitor and pursue those developers who do not meet the commitments they make.

This will pose some inconvenience for companies whose business is built on gathering and exploiting user data, of course, but it also creates an even bigger divide between those platforms that do care about personal privacy and those that don’t.

Who knows how this could impact future platform choice?

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and get involved with the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

Got a story? Please drop me a line via Twitter and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know about new articles I publish and reports I find.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 18:07

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Electric shock collars for pets to be banned

But government shies away from outlawing 'invisible fencing' systems

Electronic collars that can give dogs and cats shocks are to be banned in England, the Government has announced.

Animal charities have long lobbied for the devices to be outlawed, arguing they are needlessly cruel.

Remotely controlled training devices – e-collars or shock collars – can trigger an electronic pulse of up to 6,000 volts to a dog’s neck, and can shock an animal for up to 11 seconds at a time, according to the Dogs Trust.

Other e-collars emit a painful sound or spray a chemical that is noxious to a dog’s acute sense of smell.

The Kennel Club pushed for a ban, arguing that pets respond to shocks out of fear of further punishment.

Use of electronic shock collars is banned in Wales, and Scotland has begun moves towards prohibiting them.

I urge pet owners to instead use positive-reward training methods

Michael Gove

In England the crackdown follows a public consultation that ran in March in April and attracted more than 7,000 responses.

Environment officials said that as well as being misused to inflict unnecessary harm and suffering, there was also evidence that e-collars can redirect aggression or generate anxiety-based behaviour in pets – worsening underlying behavioural and health problems.

However, the government has shied away from outlawing “invisible fencing” systems designed to keep pets, particularly cats, away from roads. The animal is given a static pulse if it breaches the boundary of a property, so learns to stay away.

Although a ban on shock collars is widely supported by animal lovers, those who defend their use say they are painful only when misused.

Some supporters say they allow the handler to correct or stop a dog as it commits a “crime” such as chasing livestock – when dogs risk legally being shot dead.

A Czech online shop that sells the collars says on its website: “What is wrong with dog getting spanked on his butt when he done something wrong? Nothing. What has changed with the start of electronic collar?” It says no collar has ever killed an animal. “Yes it hurts but it’s the same for punishment by your hand,” it says. 


 


Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “The use of punitive shock collars causes harm and suffering to our pets.

“This ban will improve the welfare of animals and I urge pet owners to instead use positive-reward training methods.” 

Many people who responded to the consultation expressed concern at the number of pet owners who use the hand-held devices incorrectly and without proper training.

The Dogs Trust, which says training methods such as food rewards are the best technique, said it was delighted by the ban on e-collars but saddened that the move did not cover “containment” fences.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 16:52

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US Open 2018: Novak Djokovic seeking quarter-final tie with Roger Federer

Former champions Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will set up a mouth-watering US Open quarter-final if they win their matches on Monday.

Sixth seed Djokovic faces Portuguese Joao Sousa in the fourth round, while Federer plays Australian John Millman.

The former world number ones have not faced each other so early in a Grand Slam since 2007, when Federer won to reach the Australian Open last eight.

First Djokovic must beat Sousa, making his debut at this stage of a Slam.

The world number 44 has already knocked out two seeds - Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the third round and Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta in the second.

"He's a fighter, he's a grinder," Djokovic said. "He will not hand you the victory, you've got to earn it."

Federer's opponent Millman, the world number 52, is also competing in unknown territory after knocking out 14th seed Fabio Fognini in the second round.

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 03, 2018 16:51

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Glasgow dog swallows 8-inch metal skewer


 

A dog had to be operated on after it swallowed an 8in (20cm) metal skewer at a barbecue.

The six-year-old female sharpei, called Hoshi, had eaten the skewer along with a chicken kebab.

Vets were shocked when they found the metal inside the dog when they took X-rays to investigate a lump in its side.

Hoshi has made a "good recovery" since the skewer was removed in an operation at the Roundhouse Veterinary Hospital in Glasgow in July.

Veterinary surgeon Ruth Greening carried out the procedure.

She said: "We were astounded when X-rays revealed that the swelling on Hoshi's abdomen was the point of a large metal skewer piercing her ribs, which she had apparently swallowed at the barbecue."

The dog spent two to three days recovering in hospital before coming home.

'Hidden dangers'

Hoshi's vegetarian owner, Sandra Kin, said that although the dog had previously eaten things it should not have, she did not expect her to eat the "huge" metal stick.

She said: "We are very fortunate that she didn't end up much worse, thanks to the surgery performed by The Pets'n'Vets Family.

"Hoshi's a little bit crazy; but I guess that's why we love her."

Ross Allan, a vet at the Roundhouse Veterinary Hospital, said it was quite common for dogs to swallow items such as stuffed toys but a skewer was unusual.

He urged people to take care with sharp objects near pets.

He said: "Barbecues are very popular at this time of year and, with the warm weather set to return, we would urge owners to be aware that all pets will often eat any food left unguarded rapidly and without being aware of any hidden dangers, such as sharp skewers."

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 16:41

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Luka Modric: Real star should win Best FIFA Men's Player, says Man Utd great

(CNN) — Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel expects Luka Modric to beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah to the Best FIFA Men's Player award for 2018, as the final shortlist of nominees were announced in London Monday.

Real Madrid's Modric faces tough competition from Juventus' Ronaldo and Liverpool's Salah, but Denmark's former shot-stopper thinks the creative midfielder has an extra edge over his competitors.

"Luka Modric was so incredibly good in every department of how you have to judge a good player," Schmeichel told CNN Sport.

"First of all his history is incredible. The story that he can tell from when he was a young kid and what he has done with his football career, it makes him an interesting guy."

Luka Modric of Real Madrid celebrates winning his fourth UEFA Champions League

Who do you think should be named FIFA's best player? Have your say on our Facebook page.

'Incredible' World Cup

The "incredible" history Schmeichel speaks of refers to the midfielder's childhood growing up during the Balkan war.

His father joined the Croatian army, his grandfather was shot by Croatian Serb rebels and his house was burned down, forcing the family to flee to the Adriatic coast. "The war made me stronger," the 32-year-old once said.

The Croatian was in imperious form for both club and country last season, winning a fourth UEFA Champions League title and inspiring Croatia to its first World Cup final.

Though Croatia were beaten by France in the final, Schmeichel -- who is a member of the FIFA Best Goalkeeper judging panel -- believed Modric's performances at Russia 2018 set him apart from the other candidates.

"What he did in the World Cup, together with the coach and his teammates, in producing this amazing result for Croatia is just incredible," said Schmeichel, a five-time English Premier League winner with Manchester United.

"He was scoring goals, he was creating goals, he was fighting. He was just an incredible player in that period."

Croatian soccer star grew up amid conflict 03:21

Ronaldo, so used to scoring hattricks, is aiming to win his third consecutive Best FIFA men's award after adding another European title to his already glittering trophy cabinet.

But both he and Modric will face stiff opposition from Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. The 26-year-old enjoyed a record breaking debut season at Anfield, scoring 44 goals and spear-heading his side's journey to the Champions League final.

READ: Can Ronaldo and Juve win the Champions League?

Celebrating the best

The Best FIFA Awards celebrate excellence in both the men's and women's game and winners are chosen based on a combination of votes from fans, national team coaches and captains.

This is the third edition of the awards, with football's governing body having ended its association with the Ballon d'Or in 2016.

The winners will be announced on September 24.

The final shortlists

BEST MEN'S PLAYER: Luka Modric, Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo

BEST WOMEN'S PLAYER: Marta, Dzsenifer Maroszan, Ada Hegerberg

BEST MEN'S COACH: Zlatko Dalic, Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps

BEST WOMEN'S COACH: Sarina Wiegman, Asako Takakura, Reynald Pedros

BEST GOALKEEPER: Thibaut Courtois, Hugo Lloris, Kasper Schmeichel

Archimedeskay Posted on September 03, 2018 16:39

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Best Goal.

Bale’s goal against Liverpool in the Champions League Final and Cristiano’s goal against Juventus are nominated for FIFA’s Puskas Award.

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 03, 2018 16:38

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US cancels $300 million aid to Pakistan over its inaction against terror groups

The Trump administration says Islamabad is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies.

The US military said it has made a final decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over Islamabad's perceived failure to take decisive action against militants, in a new blow to deteriorating ties.

The so-called Coalition Support Funds were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year, when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with "nothing but lies & deceit."

The Trump administration says Islamabad is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies.

But US officials had held out the possibility that Pakistan could win back that support if it changed its behavior.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in particular, had an opportunity to authorize $300 million in CSF funds through this summer - if he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after insurgents. Mattis chose not to, a US official told Reuters.

"Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 (million) was reprogrammed," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said.

Faulkner said the Pentagon aimed to spend the $300 million on "other urgent priorities" if approved by Congress. He said another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million.

The disclosure came ahead of an expected visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top US military officer, General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad. Mattis told reporters on Tuesday that combating militants would be a "primary part of the discussion."

Experts on the Afghan conflict, America's longest war, argue that militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents in Afghanistan a place to plot deadly strikes and regroup after ground offensives.

 

INCREASING PRESSURE

The Pentagon's decision showed that the United States, which has sought to change Pakistani behavior, is still increasing pressure on Pakistan's security apparatus.

It also underscored that Islamabad has yet to deliver the kind of change sought by Washington.

"It is a calibrated, incremental ratcheting up of pressure on Pakistan," said Sameer Lalwani, co-director of the South Asia program at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington.

Reuters reported in August that the Trump administration has quietly started cutting scores of Pakistani officers from coveted training and educational programs that have been a hallmark of bilateral military relations for more than a decade.

The Pentagon made similar determinations on CSF in the past but this year's move could get more attention from Islamabad, and its new prime minister, Imran Khan, at a time when its economy is struggling.

Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves have plummeted over the past year and it will soon decide on whether to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or friendly nations such as China.

"They are squeezing them when they know that they're vulnerable and it is probably a signal about what to expect should Pakistan come to the IMF for a loan," Lalwani said. The United States has the largest share of votes at the IMF.

Khan, who once suggested he might order the shooting down of US drones if they entered Pakistani airspace, has opposed the United States' open-ended presence in Afghanistan. In his victory speech, he said he wanted "mutually beneficial" relations with Washington.

A Pakistani official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he was unaware of a formal notification of the US decision on assistance but said one was expected by the end of September.

Pakistan has received more than $33 billion in US assistance since 2002, including more than $14 billion in CSF, a US Defense Department program to reimburse allies that have incurred costs in supporting counter-insurgency operations.

Pakistan could again be eligible next year for CSF.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 16:36

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U.S. President Trump attacks top union leader

 

      In this Aug. 27, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump talks on the phone with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)                                                                                            

       WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump started his Labor Day with an attack on a top union leader, lashing out after criticism from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

        Trump tweeted Monday that Trumka "represented his union poorly on television this weekend." He added: "it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!"

        The president's attack came after Trumka appeared on "Fox News Sunday" over the weekend where he said efforts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement should include Canada. Trumka, whose organization is an umbrella group for most unions, said the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico are "integrated" and "it's pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal."                                                                         Trump said Saturday on Twitter that there was "no political necessity" to keep Canada in NAFTA. But it's questionable whether Trump can unilaterally exclude Canada from a deal to replace the three-nation NAFTA agreement, without the approval of Congress. Any such move would likely face lengthy legal and congressional challenges.     

         Trump administration negotiations to keep Canada in the reimagined trade bloc are to resume this week as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada's dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition.

           Trump wants to get a trade deal finalized by Dec. 1.

      Trumka also said of Trump: "the things that he's done to hurt workers outpace what he's done to help workers," arguing that Trump has not come through with an infrastructure program and has overturned regulations that "will hurt us on the job."

      Asked about the low unemployment rate and economic growth, Trumka said "those are good, but wages have been down since the first of the year. Gas prices have been up since the first of the year. So, overall, workers aren't doing as well."

       On Monday, Trump touted the economy, saying "Our country is doing better than ever before with unemployment setting record lows." He added, "The Worker in America is doing better than ever before. Celebrate Labor Day!"The unemployment rate of 3.9 per cent is not at the best point ever -- it is near the lowest in 18  years.https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/u-s-president-trump-attacks-top-union-leader-1.4078011.

ruby Posted on September 03, 2018 16:02

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Russian Police Seize 22 Cryptocurrency ATMs under Central Bank Request.

Russian police have recently seized cryptocurrency ATM machines under orders from the country’s central bank.

According to local publication RBC, the ATM developer impacted by the seizure plans to appeal the action, and has incurred economic damage and costs to its reputation, said Sarkis Darbinian, an attorney for the Center of Digital Rights, which defends the company.

Artem Bedarev, head of BBFpro, told RBC the company does not understand the action and did not receive any preliminary inquiries from the prosecutor.

Bedarev said one of the employees conducting the seizure said an investigation will take place for six months. The employee also said the Prosecutor General’s Office took the action based on a letter from the Bank of Russia.

22 Terminals

The company operated 22 terminals in stores, bars and shopping centers in nine cities. An official from Snegir, a shopping center where a unit was installed, confirmed the seizure on Aug. 29.

A Central Bank representative did not answer questions about the seizure. The representative did say the regulator performs systematic actions to determine and correct illegal financial activities. The chance for uncontrolled cross-border transfers brings the risk of cryptocurrency involvement in illegal financial activities, the representative said.

Darbinian, the attorney for the Center of Digital Rights, said there is no rule against buying cryptocurrency, and that the company abides by statutory procedures, identifies users and pays taxes.

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 03, 2018 15:59

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Where Do The Richest Americans Live?

Have you checked the newest "Forbes 400: The Full List of The Richest People in America" yet?

Surprise, Bill Gates, with a net worth of $81 billion, is ranked No. 1 for the 23rd year running. Meanwhile, his friend Warren Buffett fell to third place for the first time in 15 years with a net worth of $65.5 billion.

Thanks to soaring stock prices of hot tech firms, CEOs at the helm of those companies seem to have been accumulating wealth at a much faster pace than others. Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos gained $20 billion to boost his net worth to $67 billion, making him the second-richest person in the U.S.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg jumped into fourth place, his highest rank ever, with a net worth of $55.5 billion. However, Oracle founder Larry Ellison landed at No. 5 for the first time since 2007. His net worth is $49.3 billion.

Standing on the No. 6 spot is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CEO of the eponymous firm Bloomberg L.P., who has a net worth of $45 billion.

These six richest multi-billionaires have a combined $363.3 billion at their withdrawal, most of which is still held as stakes in the companies they founded. However, part of their fortune is vested in real estate. Mr. Gates, for one, owns a Washington mansion worth about $170 million, several horse ranches across the U.S. and shares in some luxury hotel chains through his private investment firm, Cascade.

Here, take a look at the residences the six richest moguls call home:

1. Bill Gates Worth: $81 billion Home: Medina, Washington

Mr. Gates, 60, spends most of his time at his 66,000-square-foot Medina, Washington, mansion, nicknamed Xanadu 2.0 after the title character's estate in Citizen Kane. The mansion overlooks Lake Washington. It took Mr. Gates seven years and $63.2 million to build this house, which is filled with lots of high-tech features. He purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988, but it's now worth an estimated $170 million, according to public records.

2. Jeff Bezos Worth: $67 billion Home: Medina, Washington

Mr. Bezos, 52, in the process of building his e-commerce empire, scooped up a vast amount of real properties over the years, earning him the No. 26 spot on The Land Report's list of America's largest landowners last year. In terms of residences, he has a 165,000-acre ranch in West Texas, a waterfront house in Washington state, three linked apartments in Manhattan's Century Tower, and a 12,000-square-foot Beverly Hills estate that boasts Tom Cruise as a neighbor, according to Forbes.

His home at Medina, Washington, close to Amazon’s headquarters, boasts 5.35 acres and about 29,000 square-foot of living space. Aside from the main home, there’s also a caretaker’s cottage and a 4,500-square-foot boathouse on Lake Washington.

3. Warren Buffett Worth: $65.5 billion Home: Omaha, Nebraska

Although the shrewdest investor on earth holds multiple real estate investments, Mr. Buffett, 86, is known for living humbly.

His home sits on a corner in Omaha, Nebraska, which he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Mr. Buffett has lived there ever since. The house, originally built in 1921, underwent several expansions to make it a cozy and comfortable 6,500-square-foot home for the man who has a net worth of over $65.5 billion.

4. Mark Zuckerberg Worth: $55.5 billion Home: Palo Alto, California

The youngest richest entrepreneur docks most of his wealth in schools, health and other philanthropies. His real estate portfolio include his home in Palo Alto and a 9.9-million pied-a-terre near Dolores Park in San Francisco.

Mr. Zuckerberg, 32, purchased his first Craftsman-style 5,000-square-foot home in Palo Alto in 2011 for $7 million. He snapped up four of the houses surrounding his home in the following years for about $43.8 million to better keep his privacy. But his plan to tear down and rebuild those four homes has been stalled.

5. Larry Ellison Worth: $49.3 billion Home: Woodside, California

Oracle executive chairman Larry Ellison, 72, has an extensive real estate portfolio. He has bought up large parts of whole neighborhoods in Malibu and around Lake Tahoe. He owns a $70-million Beechwood Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island; a garden villa in Kyoto, Japan; and 98% of the land of Lanai, Hawaii's sixth-largest island, which he purchased in 2012 for $500 million, according to published reports.

His estate in Woodside, California, with an estimated value of $110 million, is modeled after 16th-century Japanese architecture, complete with a man-made 2.3-acre lake.

6. Michael Bloomberg Worth: $45 billion Home: Manhattan, New York

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 74, has more than a dozen of properties worldwide. He spends most of his time at his Upper Estate Side townhouse, but he also owns estates in the Hamptons in New York, as well as in London, Bermuda, Colorado and Florida.

Mr. Bloomberg’s townhouse, located at 17 East 79th St., spans five stories with a limestone exterior. During his three terms as mayor, Mr. Bloomberg lived in the townhouse instead of Gracie Mansion. However, he apparently has a plan to turn it into a mega-mansion. Since 1989, he has been gradually buying up units at 19 East 79th St., the townhouse co-op that’s right next door to his current residence. Out of the six units in the white 1880 Greek-revival-style building, Bloomberg now owns five of them, according to The New York Observer.

 

majsdesaint Posted on September 03, 2018 15:42

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Die Hard 6’s Title Is McClane – Exclusive

30 years on from Die Hard and the NYPD’s finest, John McClane, still has plenty of juice in the tank. The cop-vs-terrorists action saga is set to continue in an upcoming sixth film, simultaneously following Bruce Willis as a 60-year-old McClane and a younger incarnation of McClane in his 20s. And while the project has long been rumoured to be called Die Hard: Year One, the script has a different, cleaner title: McClane.

“You can tell our intention by the fact that the title page we handed in says, ‘McCLANE’,” producer Lorenzo diBonaventura told Empire. “We want you to get invested in John McClane more than ever before.” He added that, despite rumours that the prequel section would take up more of the runtime, the sequel-prequel approach will feature Bruce Willis just as much as his younger incarnation. “I don’t know how you do Die Hard without Bruce,” he said. “The idea that he’s not very significant in this movie is not accurate at all. We are gonna explore John McClane in his twenties. But just as prominent is the 60-year-old version.”

With the script handed in to the studio in July and Len Wiseman on to direct, expect the project to gear up in the coming months. In the meantime, pick up Empire’s Ultimate Autumn Preview issue to read the ultimate guide to the original classic Die Hard, with director John McTiernan and writers Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza talking through every major moment. The issue hits newsttands on Thursday 6 September.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 15:37

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Dave Bautista ‘Doesn’t Know’ If He Wants To Return For Guardians Of The Galaxy 3

Of all the cast members of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Dave Bautista has been one of the most outspoken when it comes to the firing of director James Gunn. The filmmaker was ousted by Disney over the emergence of historic offensive joke posts on his Twitter account, putting the third Guardians film on hold – and following Bautista’s frequent disgruntled tweets) about Gunn’s firing, the actor has thrown his future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe into question. While the entire film is on hold, if production does kick back into gear it's not certain whether Drax the Destroyer will be back.

Speaking on the Jonathan Ross Show, Bautista told the presenter: “It’s a bitter-sweet conversation. Um, no it’s a bitter-bitter conversation because I’m not really happy with what they’ve done with James Gunn. They’re putting the movie off. It’s on hold indefinitely. To be honest with you I don’t know if I want to work for Disney.”

Following a fan campaign calling for his reinstatement and a group statement from the Guardians cast showing support for Gunn, Disney boss Alan Horn reportedly met with Gunn to “clear the air” – but reiterated that the director wouldn’t be re-hired. It was previously thought that Disney would hire an alternative director and use Gunn’s completed Guardians 3 screenplay, with possible rewrites, but with Marvel Studios not yet having announced the Phase 4 slate of the MCU, the future of the Guardians as a whole remains very much in question. INFINITY WAR SPOILER WARNING. Following Thanos’ attack, Drax is one of the characters currently consigned to the dust – so the possibility remains that he could well be written out of future MCU instalments.

Either way, it sounds like there's plenty more patching up to be done before the Guardians regroup.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 15:34

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Bad Times At The El Royale – Exclusive Images From Drew Goddard's Mystery Thriller

When filmmaker Drew Goddard gets an original idea, you can really bank on the word ‘original’. The man who cooked up an all-new take on the horror genre alongside Joss Whedon in The Cabin in the Woods is back, cracking open a brand new pulp fiction-inspired mystery thriller, filled with all kinds of shadowy characters. Bad Times at the El Royale is looking like a genre-literate blast, boasting a cast including the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and Cynthia Erivo, all guests at the titular lodging who check in for a night they’ll never forget.

Not only does the film take star billing in the new Empire’s Ultimate Autumn Preview, but we’ve got two brand new images from it right here for you to analyse. First up is Chris Hemsworth’s cult leader Billy Lee, unloading a bag full of cash. And is that two of the other hotel’s inhabitants, tied up and gagged? We’re going to guess Billy’s got bad plans.

Next up, here’s Jeff Bridges as Father Daniel Flynn. Except, he doesn’t seem to be your typical priest because he’s got Lewis Pullman’s concierge in some kind of chokehold. Maybe he got bad room service?

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 15:31

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The untold truth of Jean-Claude Van Damme

During the '80s and '90s, it seemed no action film was complete without Jean-Claude Van Damme kicking butt and doing splits on camera. JCVD was in numerous successful action and sci-fi films during his tumultuous career, but has since faded into the direct-to-DVD bin. Thus, there's a lot of cool stories about the King of Kicks that people either don't know or have long forgotten. Such as …

The titular alien in the Predator movies was initially meant to be played by none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme. He obviously didn't, and ended up leaving the film when he found out that he was little more than a stunt man, and couldn't do any of his martial arts in his epic battle against Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently, stalking and clicking are poor artistic substitutes.

At the time of his departure, the Predator looked very different from how we know it today, and there was no way JCVD could have performed any spectacular stunts while wearing the suit. As he explained it to AV Club, "My feet were in the cast of the alien. My hands were in the forearms, my head was in the neck. I was moving everything with cables. It was a very unsecure, very dangerous type of outfit." His movement would have been very limited and impractical, not to mention the fact that the story just didn't call for cool Van Damme-y movement.

JCVD was hired less for his agility and the fluidity of his movement, and more to play a special effect, and little more. This just didn't sit well with the Muscles from Brussels, so he walked after only two days of production, which is a theme that has played heavily throughout his career.

The titular alien in the Predator movies was initially meant to be played by none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme. He obviously didn't, and ended up leaving the film when he found out that he was little more than a stunt man, and couldn't do any of his martial arts in his epic battle against Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently, stalking and clicking are poor artistic substitutes.

At the time of his departure, the Predator looked very different from how we know it today, and there was no way JCVD could have performed any spectacular stunts while wearing the suit. As he explained it to AV Club, "My feet were in the cast of the alien. My hands were in the forearms, my head was in the neck. I was moving everything with cables. It was a very unsecure, very dangerous type of outfit." His movement would have been very limited and impractical, not to mention the fact that the story just didn't call for cool Van Damme-y movement.

JCVD was hired less for his agility and the fluidity of his movement, and more to play a special effect, and little more. This just didn't sit well with the Muscles from Brussels, so he walked after only two days of production, which is a theme that has played heavily throughout his career.

The titular alien in the Predator movies was initially meant to be played by none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme. He obviously didn't, and ended up leaving the film when he found out that he was little more than a stunt man, and couldn't do any of his martial arts in his epic battle against Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently, stalking and clicking are poor artistic substitutes.

At the time of his departure, the Predator looked very different from how we know it today, and there was no way JCVD could have performed any spectacular stunts while wearing the suit. As he explained it to AV Club, "My feet were in the cast of the alien. My hands were in the forearms, my head was in the neck. I was moving everything with cables. It was a very unsecure, very dangerous type of outfit." His movement would have been very limited and impractical, not to mention the fact that the story just didn't call for cool Van Damme-y movement.

JCVD was hired less for his agility and the fluidity of his movement, and more to play a special effect, and little more. This just didn't sit well with the Muscles from Brussels, so he walked after only two days of production, which is a theme that has played heavily throughout his career.

It happens all the time — two people get together to work on an incredibly terrible movie (1994's Street Fighter), and end up having an affair. It happened to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, so why not Kylie "Cammy" Minogue and Jean-Claude "Guile" Van Damme?

It wasn't confirmed for the longest time, and the rumor mill was rampant for nearly two decades on whether or not the two got frisky while on set in Thailand. Damme had been asked about it for the previous 18 years and even walked out of an interview once, sick of being asked about it so often. Finally, in 2014, after years of speculation, JCVD finally admitted to it in an interview with The Guardian: "Yes. OK. Yes, yes, yes. It happened. I was in Thailand, we had an affair."

He then made it clear it was 10/10, would affair again: "Sweet kiss, beautiful lovemaking. It would be abnormal not to have had an affair, she's so beautiful and she was there in front of me every day with a beautiful smile, simpatico, so charming. I knew Thailand very well, so I showed her my Thailand. She's a great lady." And you're a great orator of euphemisms, Jean.

The affair wouldn't have been such an issue had JCVD not been married at the time to his fourth wife, Darcy LaPier. It isn't likely that his affair with Minogue led to his divorce, though, since LaPier didn't find out about it until he admitted to it in his interview. "I was shocked he would talk to the press about this all these years later to gain some notoriety," she said. "I didn't know about it, I have had my feelings hurt and I feel betrayed." Jean-Claude Van Damn, son. That's cold.

He has been married five times

Despite not being great at the whole "faithful" thing, JCVD has been married a total of five times. From 1980-84, he was married to Maria Rodriguez, after two years of dating. He then married Cynthia Derderian in 1985, but the two divorced the following year after only three months together. His third wife, Gladys Portugues, was married to him in 1987, but the two divorced in 1992. They would later remarry in 1999 — after 15 years, she would again file for divorce from the action star (though they reconciled shortly thereafter). Plus, as mentioned before, he was married to Darcy LaPier from 1994-1997.

Through all of these marriages, JCVD sired a son Kristopher and daughter Bianca with Portugues, plus another son, Nicolas, while married to LaPier. Kristopher is now an action star who has worked on many of his father's projects under the name Kristopher Van Varenberg (JCVD's birth surname) as well as Kris Van Damme.

His daughter, Bianca, has followed in her father's footsteps even moreso than Kristopher, and is not someone you would want to mess with. That's because…

His daughter could kick his ass (and yours)

Bianca Van Damme is certainly not someone you would want to mess with. Though she may not look the part, with her brown locks and full, model-esque lips, she is an extremely capable martial artist. "I want to show little girls and little boys that you can be physical and feminine. That you can cross your legs at the dinner table and then kick ass in a nice, feminine way." Protip: don't let her use your 206 bones to prove her point.

Growing up, she hated martial arts, and was forced into it at the age of seven by her bodybuilder mother, in order to help with self-discipline. Her interests at the time lay more on the side of ballet and speed-skating, but an injury forced her into another path. She embraced martial arts and worked alongside her father in 2008's The Shepherd: Border Patrol. She went on to film six additional movies with her father, and continued to hone her craft.

She started her road in Hollywood as Van Varenberg, to help distance herself from her famous father, but eventually settled on her namesake and is now billed as Bianca Van Damme. While she hasn't competed professionally like her father did before his movie career kicked off, she's been training in martial arts for nearly 20 years, and is just as quick and agile as her dad, which presumably a much bigger "everybody underestimates me" chip on her shoulder.

He was a successful martial artist (and ballerina) long before he became an actor

JCVD didn't just get off a bus in Los Angeles and find work in Hollywood, like so many people have tried to do. He was an active fighter for years before finally breaking into the film industry. His fight record stands at 18-1 in kickboxing, with all 18 wins attributed to knockout. In semi/light contact fights, he holds 44 wins to 4 losses, so his skills in the ring are well-known.

Many have attributed his fighting style and graceful movement to his training in ballet. Yes, the Muscles from Brussels is a trained danseur (That's what a male ballerina is called — don't feel bad, we had to look it up too), but you probably shouldn't try mocking him for taking part in something most often associated with women — you wouldn't want to make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

He was the inspiration for Mortal Kombat and Johnny Cage

When Midway released its popular fighting game Mortal Kombat in 1992, few people realized that the game was initially intended to be an homage to none other than JCVD. Shortly after the success of Universal Soldier, the producers approached Midway Games with the hopes of making a game based off the movie. Midway wasn't interested, but they did want to work with JCVD, so they worked out a deal with him to make a game more akin to his film Bloodsport. Unfortunately, the deal fell through, and they never finished working the project.

They eventually turned their idea into Mortal Kombat, and based the Johnny Cage character off of Van Damme. JCVD and Johnny Cage share some similarities — their appearance is similar, as is their back story. Cage is a narcissistic Hollywood actor, not unlike the subject of this article, and his initials of J.C. mirror those of Mr. Van Damme as well. Obviously, since the licensing deal fell through, the character was modeled off another actor, leaving Johnny Cage more of an homage to the Muscles from Brussels, rather than a direct representation of him.

He burned a lot of bridges in Hollywood

Sometimes, we let our egos get the best of us — this can cause a lot of problems when trying to work well with others. A lot of actors have this problem when they experience a string of success, and JCVD is no exception. Fresh off the success of Timecop, he was offered a three-picture deal worth $12 million per film. $36 million is certainly nothing to kick at, but JCVD felt his star power deserved the financial rewards of, say, Jim Carrey, who was commanding $20 million per film at the time. Problem is, when he mentioned this over the phone, they simply hung up on him. So … that's a maybe?

Recalling that particular incident years later, he admitted, "I was completely f**ked up and I made a bad mistake and I was on the blacklist in Hollywood for years."

Even when he did take on a project, he was notoriously difficult to work with. Coming from the world of professional fighting, it was difficult at first for him to not make contact with his on-screen opponents. Twice, while filming No Retreat, No Surrender, he knocked out his co-star, Peter Cunningham. He could also be something of a diva — as we stated before, he left Predator after only two days, and would get into arguments with producers and directors if he was supposed to lose a fight on camera.

There was even a rumor going around Hollywood that he refused Sylvester Stallone's offer to appear in The Expendables, because he didn't want to lose a fight to Jet Li. JCVD denies this, indicating that he was hard at work editing a recent film, and that's why he wasn't able to make the film. He did end up appearing in the sequel, playing the bad guy, and he was actually happy to lose that fight. At least he understands how happy endings work.

He had a cocaine addiction that nearly killed him

One of JCVD's biggest problems once his career began to take a nosedive, was due to the stuff he was snorting up his nose. He has admitted to having a 10-gram-per-day cocaine habit, which cost him around $10,000 a week. By 1999, he had racked up a DUI charge and even tried rehab, but left after only seven days. He eventually relapsed a few years later, and continued his destructive habits.

During this time, JCVD made some rather horrible films, and even did an unnecessary sequel to Universal Soldier. Most of his work went direct-to-DVD, and few people ever saw them. Here's a fun challenge: see if you can name anything JCVD filmed between 1999 and 2008 without Googling. Probably you can't — he made 14 films during this time, and they were all bombs. These poor career choices earned him the nickname "Jean-Claude Van Desperate" — for Hollywood types, that's pretty clever.

It wasn't until he starred in his namesake film, JCVD, in 2008 that he started to make a comeback. He had finally kicked his cocaine habit, and was reflecting on his own life. The film was well-received, and helped to bring him back into the mainstream of Hollywood.

He was suicidal and diagnosed bipolar

JCVD's substance abuse problem has been linked with his bipolar disorder, which went undiagnosed for years. Before he was diagnosed, he would turn to training for help. "When I didn't train for a couple of days, I felt so low and nothing could make me happy." Except for drugs, unfortunately.

JCVD was finally diagnosed with Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder in 1998, and he began to take sodium valproate — a mood stabilizing drug — to help him with his condition. He's been very open about his disorder in interviews, and was expressive while playing himself in JCVD, where he exposed himself as a broken man.

Like others with this condition, he was even suicidal at one point, but was able to get the help he needed. As he put it, "I didn't have any reasons to live … I was not excited about anything. Then you have to find back your self-esteem. And then, slowly, every piece of yourself becomes precious again … It's not the drugs, it's a problem with yourself, which you have to cure." After he finally kicked his cocaine habit (cold turkey, at that), he started to move forward. This also helped him reconcile with his third wife (the one he remarried) and he's been dealing with his condition positively ever since.

He's worth $30 million despite not being in a major blockbuster in over a decade

For most people who have five marriages under their belt, a major cocaine habit costing up to $10K a week, and a string of duds at the box office, that would all equal "broke". That's not the case for JCVD, who still has an estimated net worth of $30 million. While he hasn't made many great movies since his heyday in the '90s, he's continued to work constantly since that time. He has been off drugs for nearly two decades, and has devoted much of his life to his work and getting back on top.

He no longer commands the $12 million salary per film he once did, only pulling an estimated $100,000 per film. However, he tends to make several films a year, so he's still pulling in more money than most working-class Joes. Along with his $30 million net-worth, he also has a house valued at just under $10 million, a separate home and gym valued at around $3.5 million, and a McLaren 375 P1s valued at $1.15 million.

Even with his celebrity status experiencing problems over the past 20 years, JCVD has done very well for himself, and he continues to work hard at rebuilding his image, his celebrity status, and his name in Hollywood. Also, money or none, fame or none, he can still beat you senseless.

He's had a rough relationship with his youngest son

Van Damme doesn't have a perfect relationship with all his children, unfortunately. He had been estranged from his youngest, son, Nicholas, for years. Van Damme had an ugly divorce with Nicholas' mother, Darcy LaPier, who worked to keep father and son separate for years. But in the past few years, things were starting to look up — Van Damme's other two kids, Bianca and Kristopher, used Facebook to connect the star with his then-17-year-old son. Van Damme even took the time to get his son in his film, Kickboxer: Retaliation. As Van Damme put it in an interview with tabloid The Sun, "The UFO spaceship took away the mother and kids and now we are all safe. Now everything is back together." Why would he say such a thing, even jokingly? Because you don't get kicked in the head for 40 years without tossing at least a little word salad.

Sadly, it appears the estrangement didn't do wonders for young Nicholas' psyche because in September 2017, he was arrested for allegedly threatening his roommate with a knife. According to The Independent, this roommate says after police had arrived to investigate reports that Nicholas had punched an elevator, he held a knife to the roommate, angry that he let cops in the house. He's been charged with unlawful imprisonment, aggravated assault, and marijuana possession. Van damn, son.

His interviews can be unpredictable and confusing

As his UFO talk hinted at, Van Damme has interesting ways of speaking and thinking. This often pours over into his interviews and press conferences, where he tends to utter just the weirdest turns of phrase you've ever heard. Some choice nuggets (as compiled by Buzzfeed) include, "Air is beautiful, yet you cannot see it. It's soft, yet you cannot touch it. Air is a little like my brain," and "A cookie has no soul, it's just a cookie. But before it was milk and eggs. And in eggs, there's the potential for life." Sometimes, as he did with The Sun, he'll follow his off-the-wall up with, "Belgium jokes, I got ya." That way you know he doesn't really believe cookies are soulless.

That said, try not to ask him the same questions everyone else asks — he hates that, as he'd rather talk about how he gets non-sexual orgasms from walking on the beach. (Yes, he said that.) According to The Independent, he cut off a July 2016 press conference in Australia after reporters kept asking him questions he's sick of. He stormed out, saying, "Sorry guys, I cannot do this anymore. … Those questions you've been asking me, they've been asking me … for the last 25 years: Kylie, 'How's your training,' 'How's your this,' 'How's your that?' So I'm coming to Australia to maybe do something kind of different with the audience." He then wrapped up his interview by exclaiming, "What the f**k is going on with Australia?" Sounds like someone needs a cookie.

He wants to fight professionally again

Van Damme retired as a professional fighter in 1982, both because his acting career took over and because at some point, every fighter gets too old to have their head kicked in for real. But in recent years, Van Damme has expressed interest in fighting again, despite being well over 50 years old. But he doesn't want to fight just anyone: he has a specific somebody in mind.

Around 2010, Van Damme started expressing interest in returning to kickboxing, to face then-37-year-old Somluck Kamsing, who won gold in the 1996 Olympics. Why would he want to do such a thing? To hear Van Damme tell it, it's because "it's kind of dangerous, but life is short." But to hear ESPN theorize in an article about this potential fight, Van Damme wants, or wanted, to turn his comeback into a reality show. In today's world, if it's not on reality TV, it's not reality.

The fight hasn't happened yet, though Van Damme keeps trying to promote it. As reported by Vice, in one weird case (weird for Van Damme, even), he jumped into the ring during one of Kamsing's fights and began fanning him with a towel. This almost resulted in a disqualification for Kamsing, as it meant too many cornermen, but one left to allow the movie star to freely be weird. Whether the fight ever happens is still a mystery, but it sounds like a reality show would be a slam dunk either way.

He was sued by a guy who claims he can't fight

While people may not agree on Van Damme's acting ability, most everyone can agree he's a great fighter who would kill any of us if we stepped up to him. But as it turns out, there's at least one person convinced Van Damme can hardly fight a lick: the guy who inspired Van Damme's first major film.

As the Las Vegas Sun reported, in 1997 Frank Dux, the kickboxer who Van Damme portrayed in Bloodsport, sued Van Damme for $50,000 (later upped to $1.5 million). He said the star didn't pay him for helping co-write his 1996 movie The Quest. During the suit, Dux made sure to dig at Van Damme, saying the man has no idea how to fight. As he claimed, "I asked Jean-Claude to do a simple forward roll [when tutoring him for Bloodsport], and he landed on his head." As for that legit kickboxing career, the one with footage to back it up, Dux insists "Van Damme … lied to the public that he was a martial arts champion."

Unfortunately for Dux, the lawsuit went nowhere. The next year, a jury cleared Van Damme, saying the star didn't owe anyone anything. Dux was optimistic about an appeal, saying, "If you remember Rocky, he didn't win his first fight either." But it doesn't seem like Dux ever filed the appeal, which is like Rocky staying retired and working with Adrian at the pet shop instead.

 

 


 

majsdesaint Posted on September 03, 2018 15:04

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Christina Grimmie's mother dies after battle with cancer

The Grimmie family is mourning another loss. 

More than two years after singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed at her Orlando, Florida, concert, her mother, Tina Grimmie, who fans affectionately called “Mama Grimmie” has also passed away.

Christina Grimmie’s Family Reaches Out to Families of Las Vegas Victims: ‘We Truly Understand’

The family released a statement about the devastating loss on Sunday, revealing she had lost her battle with cancer. 

“Tina fought a courageous and brave battle with cancer for many years, even until her final hours with her family by her side,” the statement reads. “While this is a bittersweet moment for us as a family, particularly after losing Christina two years ago, we rejoice at the thought that Tina and Christina are united once again in the presence of our Lord and Savior.”

Christina Grimmie's Mother Thanks Fans in Emotional Video One Year After Her Death

STATEMENT FROM THE GRIMMIE FAMILY REGARDING THE PASSING OF TINA GRIMMIE

We are saddened to announce the loss of our beloved Tina, also affectionately known as “Mama Grimmie” to the millions of fans of Christina Grimmie around the world. She will be missed immensely. ???? pic.twitter.com/Kmx22iMDub

— Christina Grimmie (@TheRealGrimmie) September 2, 2018

Calling Tina a “powerful and shining example of motherhood,” the family remarked on her “laugh, energy, passion and joyful spirit” and her support of others. 

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 14:55

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Village Voice shuts down after 63 years

A year after halting its print publications, the infamous weekly The Village Voice is folding due to financial woes, ending a 63-year run.

Publisher Peter Barbey made the announcement on Friday, saying that the now digital-only publication is shutting down because of finances and that most of the 18 remaining staffers have already been laid off.

"Today is kind of a sucky day," he told staff members.

The Voice was the country's first alternative newsweekly, founded in Greenwich Village in 1955 by a group that included writer Norman Mailer. It once had a weekly circulation of 250,000 copies and was home to some of New York's best investigative journalists and music writers.

The combative, left-leaning paper became known for its brash political reporting and its coverage of music and theater. It also became a powerful advocate for New York's gay community.

It won three Pulitzers, for editorial cartooning and feature writing in the 1980s and for international reporting in 2000 for a series on AIDS in Africa.

Barbey, also president of the Reading Eagle newspaper in Pennsylvania, bought The Voice in 2015 in an attempt to save it following a series of ownership changes, staff departures and losses in readership and advertising that had left it, like many other newspapers, in a state of perpetual peril.

He tried to stem the paper's losses by giving up print publication last summer and publishing online only — a step that removed The Voice from the sidewalk boxes that were a fixture on New York street corners for generations.

The move, however, failed to stop the financial bleeding.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 14:14

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Theresa May calls for immediate release of journalists jailed for seven years in Myanmar

Theresa May has called for the immediate release of two Reuters journalists jailed for carrying police documents, saying the verdict undermines press freedom.

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were jailed for seven years after being found guilty of breaking state secrets laws while investigating the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Mrs May's spokesman criticised the verdict, saying she was "extremely disappointed" by it, and the sentencing.

The spokesman said: "As our ambassador to Burma, who attended the hearing, has said, we are extremely disappointed with this verdict and sentencing.

"We call for the journalists to be released immediately.

"In any democracy, journalists must be free to carry out their jobs without fear or intimidation. This verdict has undermined freedom of the media in Myanmar."

Britain's foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, tweeted that he would raise the case on an upcoming visit to the country.

He said: "Imprisoning journalists who write about inconvenient truths is an unconscionable blow to press freedom, and indeed everyone's freedom.

"Will be raising the extremely serious case of the two Reuters journalists on my forthcoming visit to Burma (Myanmar)."

syllasasante Posted on September 03, 2018 14:09

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The Best Trading Platform in 2018.

CofredCoin is the easiest and secure way to buy, sell and store digital currency. CofredCoin provides easy payment methods by allowing its users to link their Visa, MasterCard and Mobile Money wallet to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. 

CofredCoin is a service of Cofred which has been a secure and quick payment service provider since 2013. Cofred is a truly global company with its headquarters based at Kasoa, Ghana and our other office at Lagos, Nigeria with a staff straight of over 100 representing Ghana and Nigeria.

The exchange started its operations in July 2013 after raising a significant amount in its ICO. The cryptocurrency exchange supports the trading of an impressive number of digital currencies. It is possible to trade well-known coins such as bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, paxexcoin, bitcash and litcoin as well as smaller and lesser known digital currencies and tokens.

CofredCoin supports over 20+ cryptocurrencies. This is an advantage for users who want to trade in tokens that are not easily available on other exchanges.

Moreover, over 100+ counties across Africa and Worldwide trade on cofredcoin platform. Indeed,   8000+ Users worldwide already trust the CofredCoin trading platform, because it is the easiest and secure way to send, receive and store digital currencies.

Cofedcoin boasts of one of the lowest trading fees in the cryptocurrency market. The trading fee is not based on a tiered structure as is common amongst other platforms. Cofredcoin trading features are advanced and require an existing understanding of trading platforms.

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 03, 2018 11:44

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Hundred Escaped Libya - BBC

Some 400 prisoners have escaped from a facility near the Libyan capital Tripoli amid deadly violence between militia groups in the city, police say.

 

"The detainees were able to force open the doors" in order to leave the Ain Zara prison, the local police said.

 

They added that guards, fearing for their lives, were unable to prevent the breakout following riots at the jail.

 

Clashes between militias in the city have led Libya's UN-backed government to declare a state of emergency.

 

The incident on Sunday took place during armed violence between rival factions around the facility, which houses only male inmates.

 

Many of the prisoners held at the Ain Zara prison in south-east Tripoli were reportedly supporters of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and had been found guilty of killings during the uprising against his government in 2011.

 

Separately on Sunday, two people were killed and several others were injured when rockets hit a camp in Libya's capital housing hundreds of displaced people, according to emergency services and witnesses.

 

Libya's Ministry of Health reports that some 47 people, including civilians, have died in rival militia clashes in Tripoli over the past week, with dozens more injured.

 

A UN-backed government is nominally in power in the capital, but militias occupy much of the rest of the country.

 

Why is there violence?

 

The violence broke out last week when militias from a city to the south of Tripoli attacked southern areas, leading to fighting with local militias that support the internationally recognised government, the Government of National Accord (GNA).

 

The GNA has described the clashes as "an attempt to derail peaceful political transition" in the country, adding that it "could not remain silent over the attacks on Tripoli and its suburbs, which is a violation of security in the capital and of citizens' safety".

 

Human Rights Watch has also condemned the violence, adding that at least 18 of the dead were reportedly civilians, among them four children.

 

Hundreds of migrants trapped by the fighting have been moved to other detention centres, while the city's airport was closed for two days on Friday.

 

Libya has faced continuing chaos since Nato-backed militia forces, some of them rivals, overthrew long-serving ruler Colonel Gaddafi in October 2011.

 

What has the international community said?

 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the "indiscriminate use of force is a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law" and has urged "all parties to grant humanitarian relief for those in need".

 

On Saturday, the US, UK, France and Italy called for an immediate end to deadly violence in Libya's capital.

 

A joint statement said attempts "to weaken the legitimate Libyan authorities and hinder the ongoing political process are not acceptable".

 

"We are calling on the armed groups to immediately stop all military action and warn those who seek to undermine stability, in Tripoli or elsewhere in Libya, that they will be made accountable for it," the joint statement read.

 

However successive attempts at a truce have so far failed to stop the fierce fighting between several militias.

 

 

Source: BBC

Archimedeskay Posted on September 03, 2018 11:39

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Drake Rewards Fan $25,000 For Successful Half-Court Basketball Shot During Tour

Drake rewarded a fan with $25,000 for landing a successful half-court basketball shot during his latest performance on tour. The OVO rapper, who is currently on The Aubrey & The Three Migos tour, witnessed the stunning shot in front of a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Barclays Center.

During the tour, Drake has been inviting fans on stage, which transforms into a basketball court, to take on the challenge and gave one lucky fan one chance to win $25,000.

After the shot went in, Drake rushed back onto the stage to congratulate the fan. He is reportedly the first person to successfully land the shot, after Drake previously raised the prize money from $10k to $25k. The Aubrey & The Three Migos tour has been very eventful so far, with fans witnessing surprise performances from Travis Scott and Cardi B, who performed live for the first time since having her baby with Offset.

Nii Sackey Posted on September 03, 2018 05:52

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Aretha Franklin funeral bishop apologizes to pop star Ariane Grande for name joke, inappropriate touching

The bishop who officiated Aretha Franklin’s funeral, Charles H. Ellis III, apologized Friday to Ariana Grande for how he touched her onstage and a joke he made about her name.

Accompanied by her fiance Pete Davidson, Grande traveled to Detroit to attend the ceremony and perform one of Franklin's signature hits, "(You Make Me Feel Like) "A Natural Woman," which she previously sang on the "Tonight Show" on Aug. 16 shortly after Franklin's death.

After Grande's performance, Ellis , the officiant leading the service, brought the singer to the podium, where he cracked a joke about her name sounding like a Taco Bell menu item and awkwardly greeted her on stage.

Images of the moment showed Ellis’ hand holding Grande well above her waist, with his fingers pressing against one side of her chest.

The preacher apologized in an interview with The Associated Press at the cemetery where Franklin was interred late Friday.

"It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. … I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her," Ellis said, adding: "Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize."

He added: “The last thing I want to do is to be a distraction to this day. This is all about Aretha Franklin.”

Many people posted close-up images of the moment on Twitter, tagging it #RespectAriana.

Ellis also apologized to Grande, her fans and Hispanic community for joking about her name.

"I personally and sincerely apologize to Ariana and to her fans and to the whole Hispanic community," Ellis said. "When you’re doing a program for nine hours you try to keep it lively, you try to insert some jokes here and there."

Grande's fiery rendition even moved her ex-boyfriend, Big Sean. The rapper was also in attendance at the funeral and was spotted swaying to Grande's singing and giving her a standing ovation when she finished. 

source: USATODAY.COM

kojoskb Posted on September 01, 2018 12:18

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Goalkeeper Allison threesome Goalkeeping Exploit

New Liverpool record signing goal keeper has been involved in a threesome after an amazing kick start of his career in England. More details to follow.

sly Posted on August 31, 2018 22:32

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10 goals that changed the history of football

Football is all about goals and these goals have quite simply changed the history of this beautiful game. A goal in the world cup final, or a last minute winner to win the League or a goal in a final to start an epic comeback, all these goals have all changed the very fabric of the game we love.

There are plenty of important and beautiful goals to choose from and choosing the best 10 out of the numerous historic goals scored is no easy task. However, we at Sportskeeda have decided to go ahead and pick the top 10 goals. Sit back, enjoy and watch the moments which changed the beautiful game:

#10 Steven Gerrard’s goal in the Champions League final against AC Milan (2005)

The 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul was quite simply one of the greatest matches to have ever been played in the history of football. Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool side headed into the 2005 Champions League final as underdogs against Carlo Ancelotti’s amazing AC Milan side.

The first half lived up to the form book as Milan demolished Liverpool with Maldini scoring the opener and Crespo scoring a brace to give the Serie A side a 3-0 lead. However, what followed in the second half is the stuff of legends and still gives Liverpool fans goosebumps.

Liverpool inspired by their captain fantastic, Steven Gerrard made a stunning comeback and scored 3 times in the space of 6 minutes to make it 3-3 in the second half. They later held on till penalties and secured a famous Champions League victory.

The match became so famous that it is now popularly known as the ‘miracle of Istanbul’ and Steven Gerrard’s opening goal was the catalyst for the miracle. The video below gives a brilliant interpretation of the famous Champions League final:

#9 Mario Gotze’s goal in the World Cup final against Argentina


Joachim Low substituted 36-year-old Miroslav Klose with Mario Gotze in the 88th minute and said: "Show the world you are better than Messi and can decide the World Cup." Mario Gotze went on and did just that.

The “German Messi” scored the only goal of the match in the 113th minute, to break Messi’s and Argentina’s hearts and give this talented German side their first major international trophy after 1996. 

Scoring the only and winning goal in the second half of a World Cup final definitely catapulted Gotze’s goal to this list and Joachim Low’s Germany side could finally win a major international trophy after years of missing out on the top prize by narrow margins.

#8 Sergio Ramos’ last minute equaliser against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 UCL final


Any match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid is always huge. Make it in a Champions League final with Madrid aiming for their historic ‘La Decima’ and it is a match of epic proportions. The Rojiblancos were well on their way to a historic Champions League triumph, but Sergio Ramos had other ideas.

1-0 ahead with 93 minutes played and just a few seconds left on the clock, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid were already dreaming of lifting the elusive Champions League trophy, but Ramos rose tallest in the 93rd minute to equalise and take the final into extra time.

In extra time, Real Madrid absolutely dominated a shell-shocked Atletico Madrid and secured a comfortable 4-1 victory. Ramos’ last minute equaliser in the final helped Real Madrid and Ancelotti wrap up the historic ‘La Decima’ making them the first team in history to win Europe’s premier competition 10 times.

#7 Pele’s famous bicycle kick against Belgium in 1968


Watching a successful bicycle kick is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world of football and arguably the best player in the history of football, Pele made the bicycle kick popular with a stunning goal against Belgium in 1968.

The player received a cross from the left wing but instead of facing the goal, he had his back towards it. As everyone wondered what the footballing genius was up to, he tilted his body backward and sprung in the air to unleash a shot with his highly renowned right foot.

Like the keeper, the rest of the world were stunned with this piece of absolute genius as it redefined the norms of conventional football. Here is the bicycle kick recreated in slow motion:

#6 Michael Thomas’ last minute winner against Liverpool to win the league for Arsenal


The final match of the 1988-89 English football league season was contested on 26th May 1989 at Anfield between the division’s top two sides, Liverpool and Arsenal. With Arsenal needing to win with a margin of 2 clear goals to claim the title, not many expected the Merseyside giants to crumble at home.

Despite being labelled underdogs, Arsenal’s Michael Thomas scored an incredible second goal in the 89th minute to give the Gunners the League title at the home of their title challengers making it one of the most dramatic matches in the history of English football.

Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool were left heartbroken in their fortress at Anfield, while Michael Thomas wrote himself into Arsenal folklore with his title winning goal. Here is the highlights of that incredible game:

#5 Sergio Aguero’s last minute winner against QPR to win the Premier League (2012)


Balotelli to Agueroooooooooooo! Who can forget the goal and the incredible scenes which followed after Sergio Aguero’s winner in the 93rd minute for Manchester City which won them the Premier League title after 44 years.

Heading into the final day of the 2012 season, City only needed to win at home against lowly QPR, but, City seemed to be staring down the barrel when they were 2-1 down after 90 minutes.

An equaliser from Edin Dzeko and a last minute winner from Sergio Aguero raised the roof of the Etihad (yes it was actually full that day) and the rest, as they say is history. The video below displays brilliantly the impact Sergio Aguero’s goal on Manchester City fans. Aguero’s goal ensured that City were more than just ‘noisy neighbours’.

#4 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winner in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich (1999)

Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘Fergie time’ is famous all over the footballing world and it was very evident on that fateful night at Camp Nou when Manchester United came from 0-1 down to win 2-1 against Bayern Munich in the last 3 minutes of the 1999 Champions League final.

Manchester United fans would have been happy with an equaliser in the last minute, and when Sheringham equalised in the 90th minute, many of them would have taken a penalty shootout right there and then, but Ferguson and Solskjaer had other ideas.

Buoyed by the equaliser, United pushed on for a winner and they were rewarded handsomely when the Norwegian scored to give United a famous treble in 1999. Here is the full highlights of the epic Champions League final:

#3 Andres Iniesta’s World Cup final goal against Netherlands


Spain had a big history of underachieving in the World Cups and when they went into the 2010 World Cup, Spain knew that it was one of their best chances to win football’s premier prize.

Spain were blessed with an amazing squad and were looking to cement their place in history as one of the greatest teams in history of football. In the World Cup final against Netherlands, Spain struggled to break down the Orange until the 116th minute when Iniesta popped up to score one of the most iconic goals of recent times.

That goal was important as it cemented Spain’s legacy and made that generation of the Spain squad one of the greatest of all time. Iniesta’s goal united a nation and heralded in an era of dominance for the La Roja.

 

#2 Marco van Basten’s iconic volley in the 1988 Euro final against Soviet Union

Van Basten was undoubtedly one of the greatest talents to ever play the game. The Netherlands international had his greatest moment in the 1988 Euro final where he scored a stunning volley to give Netherlands their only major international trophy.

Van Basten played a starring role in UEFA Euro 1988 scoring 5 times which included a hat-trick against England, a goal in the semi-final against bitter rivals Germany and the stunning volley against Soviet Union in the final. With one of history’s most gilded touches, he smashed a volley in with all of his elegance and grace to score of the greatest goals anyone has ever seen. The Netherlands won 2-0, and they have not had anyone who could affect a final like that ever since, or ever before.

#1 Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘hand of god’ goal against England in the 1986 World Cup
(and that team-beating solo effort)

Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore him. Diego Armando Maradona is one of the greatest if not the greatest player ever to grace the game. Maradona played in four World Cups, but the one he is remembered most for is the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.Maradona captained the Argentina team to victory in the 1986 World Cup where he absolutely stole the show thanks to his brilliant play and dribbling skills.

Maradona completely made the 1986 World Cup his own. His most famous game was against England where he scored the infamous “hand of god” goal and followed it up 4 minutes later with what is dubbed as the “best goal of all time” when he single-handedly dribbled past the whole English defence to score.

The England game was played in the backdrop of the Malvinas war and Maradona in his inimitable style had this to say:

“It was as if we had beaten a country, more than just a football team. Although we had said before the game that football had nothing to do with the Malvinas war, we knew they had killed a lot of Argentine boys there, killed them like little birds. And this was revenge.”

A goal which meant more than just a goal, a goal which a made Maradona a household name, a goal which altered the history of the game, Maradona’s brace against England is easily one of the most iconic moments in football history:

 

 

majsdesaint Posted on August 31, 2018 16:45

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Theresa May plot: Man jailed for life for Downing Street murder plan

A man who plotted to kill the prime minister in a suicide attack has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 30 years.

Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, 21, from north London, was convicted last month of preparing acts of terrorism.

Rahman had planned to detonate a bomb at the gates of Downing Street and then kill Theresa May with a knife or gun.

Sentencing him, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said Rahman "would have carried out his attack" had he not been arrested.

Rahman was captured by an undercover operation involving the Metropolitan Police, MI5 and FBI.

He was arrested moments after collecting a bag and jacket from an undercover operative that he believed had been fitted with explosives.

The judge said: "I am sure that at all material times Rahman believed the devices to be real and capable of causing serious harm."

He added that the undercover officers involved in the case were "scrupulous" at all times and Rahman was the "instigator and author" of his own actions.

How Rahman was caught

By BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani

Rahman made contact with IS recruiters via social media - but unbeknown to him the contact was actually an FBI agent.

That agent referred Rahman to an MI5 team of online role players who convinced him that they were genuine IS figures.

"I want to do a suicide bomb on Parliament," Rahman told the MI5 role players.

"I want to attempt to kill Theresa May. All I need now is a sleeper cell to lay low for now."

Rahman, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said, had been "told and believed" that the rucksack bomb given to him was "capable of causing casualties on a scale comparable to those caused at the Manchester Arena", where 22 people were killed.

Rahman's lawyer argued he had been brainwashed by his uncle - who was later killed in a drone strike while fighting for the Islamic State group in Syria - and said his client had not intended to go through with the plot.

But a probation report read to the court by the judge revealed that Rahman had admitted in prison he would have carried out the attack had he been able to.

A pre-sentence report described him as a "clever and cunning" young man who had the potential to "operate below the radar to dreadful effect".

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave told Rahman he would have "plenty of time" to study the Koran in prison, adding that Islam was "a religion of peace".

The judge added that Rahman - originally from Birmingham - was a "very dangerous individual" and it was hard to predict if he will ever be de-radicalised.

During his Old Bailey trial, Rahman pleaded guilty to a separate charge of engaging in conduct which assisted the preparation of terrorist acts, which related to a "sponsorship" video he filmed for an associate who allegedly wanted to join IS in Libya.

In addition to the life sentence, Rahman was handed six years in prison for the IS sponsorship video.

The sentences will run concurrently, rather than consecutively.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45373487

 

paxex Posted on August 31, 2018 16:34

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The untold truth of Malia Obama

Despite the fact that she spent eight years living in the White House, attending speeches and state dinners, and rubbing shoulders with some of the most important people in the world during her father President Barack Obama's tenure, the eldest Obama daughter, Malia, managed to keep a pretty low profile during her time in Washington, D.C. Now college-aged, and trading in the White House for a Harvard dorm room in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the former president's daughter is starting to branch out and make headlines of her own. 

From what she did with that gap year between high school and enrolling at Harvard, to what really went on during Lollapalooza (in 2016 and 2017), Malia Ann Obama is more than just a former president's daughter. Here's some insight into everything you never knew about the first daughter and her life before, during, and after her eight years in the White House. 

Here's proof that she was never spoiled

Just because she was the first daughter, doesn't mean Malia Obama was spoiled. While she and her sister did "sorta, kinda" get an allowance, it wasn't much, and it came with responsibilities. Malia's father told People, "Originally, we were giving her a dollar a week as long as she did all her chores."

And if you thought the girls got special treatment once they moved into the White House, you'd be mistaken. According to The New York Times, the Obama daughters still had to make their own beds and clean their own rooms. Malia's father told Barbara Walters on ABC News that, while his daughters are special to him and their mother, "they're not special, you know in terms of having to do their homework or having to do chores." Her mom Michelle added that the first thing she said to the White House staff was: "Don't make their beds. Make mine." While she may have said it with a laugh, we're pretty sure she wasn't joking.

She loves this sport, even though she's not a natural

Prior to moving into the White House, the Obama girls were already pretty busy. According to People, that included "soccer, dance and drama for Malia, gymnastics and tap for Sasha, and tennis and piano for both."

During another People interview with their father, he told the magazine how happy he was that his daughters were interested in things they weren't good at. "Malia loves soccer, but she's still so tall and gangly compared to some of these little kids who are zipping around her, although she's getting better. The fact that she's not good at everything right away … means learning lessons about having to work hard at something and improve." Always a supportive dad, he even made time during his presidency to watch her soccer games. 

Malia and her sister are also apparently fans of professional soccer and wanted to meet Argentinean player Lionel Messi when they traveled to Argentina with their father. Unfortunately, not even the U.S. president can disrupt an international sports schedule, and the Obama daughters were unable to meet the soccer star.

She never has (and never will) have a birthday of her own

America's birthday is a time when American politicians are expected to take part in all the fanfare, picnics, and parades — events that are almost as important to the 4th of July as the fireworks. So when your father is one of those politicians and you happen to share a birthday with America, well, your birthday gets a little upstaged. Such has always been the case for Malia. 

According to a 2009 Chicago Tribune piece, she spent many birthdays in hotel rooms, celebrating between her father's appearances. In 2007, for instance, she "spent her birthday following her father around southern and central Iowa," according to the Tribune. Things weren't much different in 2008 when, the Tribune reports, "She spent the evening in a Holiday Inn Express hotel room in Montana. During a break in campaigning, the family partied in the hotel room, ordering in dinner and a birthday cake and dancing to her favorite songs from artists such as the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana." 

She still managed to have some epic birthdays

always made sure she knew her birthday was special, and she had some pretty amazing celebrations. Her actual birthday was often spent in hotel rooms, so her parents would throw a big sleepover party with all her friends once they were back home. 

Another shocker: According to a 2008 interview with People, her mother Michelle said that they don't do birthday presents in their family. "We spend hundreds of dollars on a birthday party and movie tickets and pizza and popcorn," she said, her husband adding, "That sleepover is enough. We want to teach some limits to them. And their friends bring over presents." 

In 2009, as the Chicago Tribune reports, she was the first in her family to have a birthday in the White House, with 20 of her girlfriends joining her at Camp David. Not too shabby, Malia. Not too shabby at all. Of course, does any of that compare to an 18th birthday with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monae? That's a tough call.

The Secret Service taught her how to drive

Coming of age in the White House means things the average kid takes for granted aren't necessarily a guarantee. Take, for instance, that sitting presidents aren't allowed to drive. That means Malia had to get behind the wheel for the first time without her dad's guidance. Sure, she might have Secret Service available to drive her around wherever she wants and whenever she wants, but like any teen, Malia was excited to learn how to drive herself when the time came. 

"Driving for Malia, I think, gives her a sense of normalcy, like the rest of her friends are doing," Michelle Obama said in an interview with Rachael Ray (via CNN). "And my kids have got to learn how to live in the world like normal kids." But don't assume that means Michelle took the reigns in teaching her oldest daughter. Michelle revealed that the Secret Service wouldn't even let her get in the car with Malia and took on the task themselves.

Those Lollapalooza videos, though

Malia's first scandal started at Lollapalooza in 2016: A video surfaced of her smoking what appeared to be a joint. "You could smell the marijuana smoke," eyewitness Jerrdin Selwyn told Radar Online. Just a few months later, someone took another controversial photo of Malia at a frat house, according to Radar Online. The image shows Malia in a "smoking kills" t-shirt, ironically standing beside a bong. According to David Maranis' book Barack Obama: The Story, the former President Obama also had an interest in marijuana when he was younger, so he might not have been majorly concerned.

None of these controversies stopped Malia from attending the music festival again in 2017. While no nosy onlookers caught her smoking anything this time, she drew attention to herself with her wild dance moves. TMZ got video of Malia rocking on with friends, and even rolling around on the ground at one point. TMZ also has video of Malia getting whisked out of the festival on a golf cart, implying that she might've gone a little too hard. 

Getting political during her gap year (with a splash of fake news)

Instead of heading to college right after graduating from high school in 2016, Malia took a year off before attending Harvard. To say that Malia was busy during her gap year is an understatement. First, she interned at the U.S. Embassy in Spain. It's unclear whether Malia has any interest in a political career as there wasn't much news about the internship. Real news, that is. 

In the summer of 2017, fake news started circulating that she was fired from her internship for smoking marijuana. The now-defunct website that first "reported" the incident supposedly had an "About Us" page that claimed it "uses facts that don't exist and relies more on imagination than the truth." Unfortunately that didn't stop people from latching on to the rumor.

Regardless of her career ambitions, it's clear Malia has a penchant for political activism considering she protested the Dakota Access Pipeline. In an interview with Seth Meyers, Shailene Woodley (who famously got arrested for her involvement in the DAPL protests) revealed that Malia attended the Sundance Festival "to hear what the chairman from Standing Rock… and some of the water protectors had to say."

She's a total movie buff

Malia has no shortage of interests. In fact, one of her biggest passions seems to be film. While you may think her passion lies in television after those internships as a production assistant on Extant and on the set of HBO's Girls, Malia spent part of her gap year between high school and college learning more about the film industry at The Weinstein Company. Just before beginning her Weinstein internship, she was also spotted at the Sundance Film Festival at a screening of the film Beach Rats. 

It probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise though, because Malia's mother Michelle told People all the way back in 2012 that her movie buff daughter had an interest in film. "Malia has expressed some interest in filmmaking," Michelle said. "Just like her father, she is an avid reader, and she enjoys movies. But she's a [high school] freshman, so she also knows she has years in college to explore her interest." This is probably one reason that Malia toured colleges known for filmmaking, such as New York University, before ultimately deciding on Harvard.

That stealthy secret trip to South America

While the public knew that Malia was going to be spending part of her gap year vacationing with her parents, and part of it working in film, no one knew that she was also going on a three-month gap year program to Bolivia and Peru through a Colorado-based group called Where There Be Dragons. When we say that no one knew she was going, we really mean pretty much no one other than her family and the Secret Service, and that includes the guides. While they knew someone in their midst was important (due to the need for American bodyguards), they didn't know who the important person was. 

One guide told The New York Times, "There was a blonde girl, and we assumed she was the important one," only later learning, long after the trip was over, that it was Malia Obama who had joined them on their trek. In retrospect the guide called Malia "very humble" and "chatty," noting that she "spoke Spanish very well" and was "mesmerized by the Bolivian landscape."

President Obama wasn't ready to say bye to Malia, his best friend

Like most other teenaged high school graduates, Malia couldn't wait to fly the coop (even though that coop was the White House). "Malia is more than ready to leave," her father said during an interview with Ellen Degeneres prior to Malia beginning her freshman year at Harvard. However, both of her parents were anxious about Malia's departure, and likely grateful that she delayed it for a year with her gap year between high school and college.

In an interview with People, Michelle full on side-eyed her husband for calling Malia a grown woman, asserting, "she's still a baby!" Yep, sounds like the Obamas are just like any other family. The former president, on the other hand, says the hardest part about Malia leaving for college is that he's losing his best friend. "It's going to be hard for me not to have her around all the time," he told Ellen. "But she's ready to go. You can tell."

Rapper Swae Lee is interested... and has already planned their dream date

As a beautiful and charismatic woman in the public eye, Malia has undoubtedly garnered some attention from people looking to win her heart — and rapper Swae Lee is one of them. Lee described his dream date with Malia to TMZ, saying he wants to take her to the Bahamas. "We gonna go on a dinner date, 200 feet in the air at a 5-star restaurant," he said. Don't worry, Mr. President: Lee said he plans to go full gentleman and ask your permission first.

It seems, however, Lee is going to have to stand in line if he wants to date Malia. While attending her first Harvard-Yale football game in November 2017 as a freshman at Harvard, Malia was spotted locking lips with fellow student Rory Farquharson. While it's unclear if Farquharson has spent time with the rest of the Obama family, there doesn't appear to have been any permission granted by the former president. So maybe Lee still has a chance after all.

Who is Malia Obama's boyfriend?

Malia Obama began attending Harvard University in the fall of 2017. According to W Magazine, Obama had the gap year many college students could only dream of. She partied in Amsterdam, attended Lollapalooza in Chicago, and began her internship in New York City at Weinstein Company — thankfully now no longer run by Harvey Weinstein himself. Obama has also been spotted at clubs and hitting the streets of New York City with her bodyguards in tow. Though with her confidence and height of over six feet tall, Obama could probably handle her own!

As a student at Harvard University, where she enrolled in the fall of 2017 after that epic gap year, Obama has been getting to know her classmates — and the city of Cambridge — a bit better. After a couple months of getting used to Harvard life, pictures of Obama with a mystery man began to surface, which begs the question — just who is this guy?

Meet Rory Farquharson

The Harvard-Yale football rivalry has been ongoing since the first game (then a rugby match) in 1875, when Harvard beat Yale 4-0. It is still widely celebrated each year on the date of the annual football game, by students and alumni from both schools the world over. So of course Obama got in on the Harvard-Yale action, and she wasn't alone. 

Shortly before Thanksgiving in 2017, TMZ released a video of Obama briefly locking lips with someone while tailgating her very first Harvard-Yale football game. That's one way to kick off a game.

At that point in time, the press didn't know who this young man was. However, it didn't take long to figure it out. He's now known to be Obama's rumored boyfriend, Rory Farquharson. Dating the former president's daughter doesn't exactly create the best opportunity for anonymity but the couple seems to still be going strong regardless. Here's everything you should know about Farquharson.

He's a smoker

Now that her reported beau has been revealed, Obama no longer has to hit the streets of New York City with just her bodyguards in tow. Just a few months after the Harvard-Yale game, Obama and Farquharson were photographed smiling at one another while walking and talking in SoHo, New York City in January 2018. 

The two looked happy in the photos — yay! — but there was something disconcerting about what was revealed in them nonetheless. In virtually every picture from their outing, Farquharson can be seen with a cigarette in hand. 

Perhaps this isn't necessarily too surprising as an estimated one-third of college students smoke, according to ABC News. Either way, it's not exactly a healthy habit. It may also go without saying that the effects secondhand smoke are quite awful too! But hey, at least the lovebirds are also carrying around bottled water to stay hydrated, right?

Is Farquharson a bad influence on Obama?

Unfortunately, Obama also seems to have developed the addictive smoking habit. Is Farquharson a bad influence on Obama? Maybe, maybe not. There's really no telling who started smoking first, but pictures have confirmed that Obama was the first one seen with a cigarette. 

In an interview with Michelle Obama from 2012 reported by USA Today, she discussed Barack Obama's former smoking habit, "I know that his ability to ultimately kick the habit was because of the girls, because they're at the age now where you can't hide. I think that he didn't want to look his girls in the eye and tell them that they shouldn't do something that he was still doing."

Whether she picked up the habit from her dad or developed a "social smoking" habit, it's hard to say. Either way, let's hope both the former first daughter and her alleged boyfriend quit soon!

He goes to Harvard

Whether or not you think of Farquharson as a bad influence on the former president's daughter, there's no denying that he attends a good school. Like Obama, Farquharson is a student at Harvard University, one of only eight Ivy League schools.

According to The Telegraph, this is likely where the lovebirds first met. Though Obama is a freshman in the 2017-2018 school year after taking her gap year, Farquharson — who is the same age as Obama — is a registered sophomore in the 2017-2018 academic year.

While it is not known what Obama is studying, it seems her interests center around the arts. Farquharson, on the other hand, may be following in his father Charles' footsteps. Charles Farquharson obtained a law degree from Cambridge University and is now a chief executive at an investment firm in London. The Telegraph further reported that Farquharson followed quite a few banking-related accounts on Twitter so, if nothing else, the interest is there.

He's British

If you swoon over Brits, you aren't alone; it's no secret that most Americans love English accents. Obama may be part of that majority as her rumored love interest just so happens to be British. 

The Telegraph reported that Farquharson grew up across the pond and attended a private boarding school where he was a member of the chemistry club. He was also deemed "Head of School" during the 2015-2016 school year. Not only was Farquharson a bit of a brain, he was also a jock as he played both rugby and golf. So that's what the Harvard application takes.

Much like Obama, Farquharson also interned before attending Harvard University. As opposed to New York, he spent time in Northern Ireland at the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building.

Obama's rumored man definitely seems ambitious! Would you expect anything less from the daughter of the former President of the United States? Those are big shoes to fill.

He's loaded

According to Harvard University's site, tuition begins at $43,280 per school year. Add room and board, and you're up to around $63,000. While the Ivy League school accepts financial aid and has made headlines for the far-reach of its financial aid initiative in recent years, Harvard definitely seems to favor the rich. Farquharson is no exception.

Rugby School, the prestigious boarding school that he attended in England, costs £11,584 ($14,339) per term, according to The Telegraph. Not exactly chump change, to be sure. The Telegraph also reported that the home where Farquharson spent much of his childhood is a £1.6 million ($2.27 million) house in Martlesham, Suffolk. That isn't the family's only abode, however, as the publication also notes a Farquharson home in London.

With a son in Harvard, an executive father, and a mom who is both an accountant and a lay person for London's Upper Tribunal, the Farquharson family seems to be doing quite well financially.

The royals and the Farquharsons go way back

Just because Farquharson is British, that doesn't mean he knows the Queen, right? Well, he just might. You may already view Farquharson as quite the privileged young man, but, believe it or not, he also has links to the British royal family. 

As it turns out, Obama's main squeeze is the second cousin of Andrew Farquharson, Express reported. Andrew had a lengthy career of working alongside the Queen, first as her courtier and then as her Assistant Master of the Household at Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth II even made him a member of her own order of chivalry — pretty cool, wouldn't you say? In 2006, Andrew took on a similar role for Prince Charles before being let go in 2009 due to, as Clarence House claimed, a "review of costs." Hmm. 

While his relative was working for the royal family, you have to wonder if Rory Farquharson ever got to meet the Queen. 

Once upon a time he was a "lanky, over-confident public school boy"

Farquharson didn't mince words when it came time to write a letter to his 16-year-old self for his school's publication, Meteor. In it, he wrote, "You're a lanky, over-confident public school boy, desperately trying to prove to your friends how much of a 'lad' you are and have failed miserably." Ouch. He went on to tell himself to get a haircut because his "floppy mop" wasn't appealing to the ladies. Well, it seems he hasn't yet taken that advice, but, luckily for him, Obama must not mind much. 

Farquharson's letter wasn't all mean. He advised himself to be open to change, stay true to himself, take responsibility for his own future, and care for his family and friends. "You'll have various relationships and constantly meet new people," he wrote, "You'll even spend time living abroad." Apparently Farquharson is stellar at predicting the future. Still, we bet he didn't think he'd end up dating one of President Obama's daughters!

He's fashionable

Sure, Farquharson has the British accent that makes Americans weak in the knees, but does he have the look to pull off street chic? Of course! Vanity Fair claims that he and Obama both have "mastered New York City street style."  

During his outing with Obama in SoHo, Farquharson was photographed in a puffy blue jacket, a basic gray tee, and dark pants, but all eyes were on his sunglasses — his tiny sunglasses. A popular trend in the '90s is being revitalized by the likes of Selena Gomez, the Kardashian and Jenner clan, Rihanna, and now, of course, Farquharson. Love 'em or hate 'em, if the college kids are jumping on a trend, you're probably going to be seeing more if it.

Will Obama follow suit with a pair of tiny sunglasses all her own? Time will tell but, even if she doesn't, she's fashionable enough without them.

He's not a Trump supporter

Although Farquharson was raised in the United Kingdom, he certainly still has his opinions on American politics. As Obama's supposed suitor, you'd have to assume his political leanings are Liberal rather than Conservative, right? Well, no matter his actual political affiliations, he's definitely not a fan of Donald Trump if his one-time social media activity is any indication.

According to The Telegraph, Farquharson has shared his criticism of President Trump via social media in the past. At one time, Farquharson even retweeted a post that speculated Trump's popular appeal would decrease throughout the year after being elected — a statement echoed by many. 

While we can only speculate whether or not Obama has introduced her reported beau to her family, if Farquharson was a Trump supporter, dinners with the Obamas would probably get a little awkward. That is, if the smoking — and Michelle Obama's probable feelings about it —weren't already awkward enough, ahem.

He deleted all of his social media accounts

It seems there is always a cost associated with dating a public figure. Page Six reported that since he began dating Obama, Farquharson deleted his social media. While you may be disappointed to learn that all of his social media accounts — aside from very few pictures on Facebook — have been wiped out, it is understandable given the scrutiny that comes with high-profile relationships. Just ask Meghan Markle.

According to ABC News, when her relationship with Prince Harry became serious, Markle deleted her blog, stopped sharing photos of her life on Instagram, and stepped away from Twitter. A royal source told ABC News, "Ms. Markle is grateful to everyone who has followed her social media accounts over the years." 

Although Farquharson is not set to become a duke nor prince, dating the former president's daughter is probably the closest you can get to the United States' version of royalty. 

What would President Obama think?

While President Obama hasn't commented specifically on their relationship, he has discussed his thoughts about his daughters growing up and dating. When asked in a telephone interview by ABC News, "What are you going to do when the girls start dating?" President Obama responded, "Oh… that happened. You know, the truth is I'm pretty relaxed about it." 

Obama continued, "For two reasons, one is Michelle… She's such a great example of how she carries herself, her self esteem, not depending on boys to validate how you look or, you know, not letting yourself be judged by anything other than your character and intelligence. And hopefully I've been a good example in terms of how I've shown respect to my wife so, I think, I don't worry about it because they're really solid smart girls — young ladies now." Obama then joked, "The other reason is because they've had secret service. There's only so much they can do!" 

Now that Obama is no longer president, is Malia still protected? The Washington Post explained that, by law, the U.S. Secret Service can offer protection to presidents' children up to ten years after leaving the White House. Though it's unclear what the former president has decided. The Washington Post further explained that Malia's decision to take a gap year could very well mean that she won't take advantage of the Secret Service protection.

Nevertheless, there's no doubt that most everyone — including her alleged beau Farquharson — will be looking out for her well-being.

 

 

majsdesaint Posted on August 31, 2018 13:45

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Yahoo Finance Now Offers Trading of 4 Cryptos on Its iOS App.

Yahoo Finance, one of the world's largest news sites for real-time stock quotes and market information, has added a feature allowing cryptocurrency trading on its platform.

According to a blog post on Thursday, the company now supports trading of four types of assets – bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, and dogecoin – on its iOS mobile app.

The announcement came amid various tweets online yesterday indicating the service appeared to be also available on the desktop version of Yahoo Finance – although, the feature is not visible on desktop browsers at the moment. Yahoo Finance said in the announcement it plans to extend the service to Android, desktop and mobile web platforms in the future.

For the new feature, Yahoo partnered with TradeIt, a platform that integrates with brokerage services to act as a hub for trading financial assets. TradeIt notably integrated with the U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase last year, according to a statement at the time; though it isn't yet clear which brokerage Yahoo is connected with for the new offering.

The financial news service first started its partnership with TradeIt in September 2017, letting users carry out in-app trading of traditional financial assets. The exposure to cryptos at the time was limited to data on prices and portfolio performance.

The site first started tracking bitcoin's price in 2014, as CoinDesk reported. Last year, the company expanded its price tracking service to cover over 100 cryptocurrencies across all its platforms globally.

Dominic Solomon Posted on August 31, 2018 12:17

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Champions League draw

Champoins League is back again, and Man Utd face Juve, Spurs take on Barca,Liverpool do have a difficult group - Paris St-Germain and Napoli

Dominic Solomon Posted on August 30, 2018 17:27

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Crypto Exchange Huobi Acquires Public Firm for $70 Million

Crypto exchange Huobi has become the largest shareholder of a public firm listed in Hong Kong, inching a step closer to a possible back-door listing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Pantronics Holdings, the acquired firm, released a statement on Aug. 29 saying Huobi Group had completed the deal by purchasing about 199 million of its shares via two of the group's subsidiaries – Huobi Capital and Huobi Universal.

With that amount, Li Lin, chairman of Huobi Group and controller of the two subsidiaries, now own 66.26 percent of Pantronics and is effectively the largest individual substantial shareholder.

The deal could further give Huobi the opportunity of a back-door listing in the future – a process where a private firm enters the secondary financial market by purchasing a major number of shares of a public company.

Based on the announcement, the transactions were made at an average price of HK$2.72 (or $0.35) per share with a total amount close to $70 million. However, the number of shares acquired appears to fall short of what the exchange intended.

As CoinDesk previously reported, in a disclosure of interests filed by Pantronics on Aug. 21, Huobi was seeking to purchase 73.73 percent of the firm's ordinary shares which would have cost a total of $77 million. Pantronics' shareholding disclosures were further amended on Aug. 28 to reflect the change.

A spokesperson for Huobi Group declined to comment on the issue and said the firm is not authorized to disclose information other than what was in the announcement.

Further, the latest document on Wednesday offered a peek into Huobi's corporate structure, such as the stakes held by notable investors of Huobi.

Based on the document, while Huobi Capital is fully owned by Li himself, Huobi Universal's largest owners include Techwealth (58.44 percent), Sequoia Capital CV IV (23.32 percent) and Zhen Partners Fund I (7.46 percent). Among them, Techwealth is an investment company, of which Li owns 89.09 percent.

Meanwhile, Sequoia Capital CV IV is a fund that's solely owned by Sequoia Capital China and Zhen Partners is a venture capital firm launched by Chinese entrepreneur Xu Xiaoping together with Sequoia Capital China.

Dominic Solomon Posted on August 30, 2018 17:14

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Boeing Dreamliner nose dives on its way to Tokyo’s Narita airport

This is the terrifying moment a passenger plane nosedives while landing during a typhoon. In dramatic footage, the plane’s nose can be seen suddenly dropping before rectifying itself on approach to Japan’s main airport. The incident happened as Typhoon Cimaron barrelled across Japan, bringing winds of 134mph.

The plane, believed to be a Boeing Dreamliner, is seen on approach to one of the runways at Tokyo’s Narita airport. As it attempts a difficult landing, the pilot is forced to fight against the winds to stop the plane ploughing straight into the tarmac. Typhoon Cimaron caused chaos over Japan last week and commercial airlines cancelled around 300 flights on Thursday and Friday. The typhoon made landfall late on Thursday and passed over the islands of Japan overnight.

As well as winds of almost 134mph, it also dumped 600 millimetres (24 inches) of rain in 48 hours, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Television pictures showed torrential rain, flooded streets and some structural damage with roof tiles blown off and one lorry overturned on a bridge by the high winds. Television footage also showed a 60-metre (198-foot) wind turbine felled by gusts on Awaji island, western Japan, crushing two nearby power pylons. The storm left nearly 100,000 households without power.

As well as hundreds of cancelled flights, bullet train services in the region were temporarily cancelled. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 30 people were injured while non-compulsory evacuation orders and advisories were at one point issued to more than one million people in western Japan. Cimaron followed Typhoon Soulik, which passed through southern Japan earlier last week, bringing heavy rain to parts of the main southern island of Kyushu. The typhoon is the latest weather front to batter Japan, which has also been sweating through a record and deadly heatwave. This followed devastating heavy rain in central and western parts of the country in July that killed more than 200 people.

https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/29/terrifying-moment-plane-goes-into-nosedive-as-it-lands-in-typhoon-7892034/

paxex Posted on August 30, 2018 16:49

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Mother warns others not to sleep with their babies after she woke to find her 'beautiful' six-week-old son dead

A 'deeply heartbroken' mother has warned of the horrific consequences of co-sleeping with young babies after the death of her six-week-old son. 

Rowan Leach accidentally fell asleep while feeding her 'beautiful baby boy' Hadley, only to find he was unconscious and face down beside her when she woke up.

Winchester Coroner's Court heard Hadley was not breathing when his mother woke at around 8am on September 10 last year.

Ms Leach, 20, immediately rang 999 and began performing CPR before paramedics arrived and rushed her six-week-old to hospital.

However, despite their best efforts Hadley could not be revived and was pronounced dead a short time after.

Ms Leach said the death of her son (pictured) had left her 'deeply heartbroken'

Ms Leach, who was raising Hadley with the help of her mother, had brought him into her bed from his cot at around 3am for a feed when she felt dizzy and fell asleep.

Hadley had been on his back on his mother's pillow when he was being fed, but was found lying on his front when she woke.

Senior coroner Grahame Short was unable to establish exactly how Hadley, of Southampton, Hants, had died but said he had no criticism of Ms Leach as a mother.

Detective Sergeant Matt Parker, who was tasked with investigating the death but found there were no suspicious circumstances.

And Pathologist Dr Sam Holden told the inquest she was unable to find a definitive cause of death.

Recording an open verdict, senior coroner Grahame Short said: 'I have considerable sympathy for a mother caring for a baby in these circumstances, particularly when they don't have a partner to help.'

Addressing Ms Leach, he added: 'I find there is no criticism of you as a mother.'

Following the inquest, grieving Ms Leach said: 'Although there was no conclusive evidence to suggest bed-sharing impacted on this tragic event, I am hoping more can be done in future to raise awareness of the risks of bed-sharing to prevent any more parents suffering as I have.

'The loss of my precious son Hadley has left me deeply heartbroken. I was hoping this inquest would provide me with some answers surrounding his tragic death.

'Unfortunately, no conclusion could be reached. However, we do know that it was not accidental and could not have been prevented.

'My baby boy's life was short but beautiful, all he ever knew was love. We miss and love him more than I can possibly explain.'

An average of 133 babies have died each year over the past five years in cases where co-sleeping is a factor, according to Department for Education data.

It revealed a total of 141 children died while co-sleeping in 2017.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6114297/Heartbroken-mother-wakes-six-week-old-son-lifeless-her.html

paxex Posted on August 30, 2018 16:02

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Footballer Gareth Bale ‘calls off wedding’ to childhood sweetheart

English footballer Gareth Bale has reportedly called off his wedding to his childhood sweetheart, Emma Rhys Jones amid family turmoil.

The couple have been engaged for two years and planned to wed in a ceremony this summer.

However, they decided to call a stop to the proceedings until she could make up with her father.

Martin Rhys Jones was released from prison on financial fraud charges in September, after spending five years behind bars.

‘There’s so much family turmoil right now, they want things to settle down before tying the knot,’ a source alleged to The Sun.

They added that Gareth and Emma are still very much besotted with one another. Emma’s father has reportedly struck up a romance with a new woman.

The source continued to say that she wants to meet the woman before she turns up to their wedding.

Gareth and Emma have three children together – five-year-old Alba, two-year-old Nava and newborn Axel who they welcomed two months ago.

They are expected to exchange vows in Italy next summer.

https://evoke.ie/2018/07/23/showbiz/gossip/footballer-gareth-bale-childhood-sweetheart

 

paxex Posted on August 30, 2018 15:44

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