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Binance to launch a “live money beta testing” of Singapore Fiat Exchange

The CEO of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao is in the cryptocurrency industry conference “Cumberland Summit” (September 14th – 16th) in Singapore. The summit consists of major names of crypto space like Thomas Lee from Fundstrat, Tyler Winklevoss, representatives from Binance and many more.

On Saturday, 15th Sep, CZ announced on Twitter that Binance is going to launch a “live money beta testing” of Singapore FIAT exchange, starting from Sept 18th. He tweeted on the second day (out of three) of Cumberland summit, occurring in Singapore:

“I just slipped that we will begin #Binance Singapore fiat exchange live money closed beta testing on Sept 18th, in 3 days. Invitation only first. Exciting!” 

It can be assumed that before the year’s end, Binance would support Singapore Dollar (SGD) pairs including foreseen alternatives like SGD/ETH pair and SGD/BTC pair.

Currently, the SGD pairs will be solely accessible in closed beta, i.e. this feature is relied upon to be available on the basis of invitation only, beginning on September 18. Well CZ did not declare that when will the rest of the Binance community get access to these pairs.

Binance progress report month 14

Binance has established in 2017, and within one year it turned into the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. It increased its daily trading volume to nearly $822 Million, and as of January 2018, it was largest crypto-exchange with a BNB market capitalization of $1.3 billion.

The organization was established in China, however, moved its servers and central station out of China and into Japan ahead of time of the Chinese government prohibition on cryptocurrency trading in September 2017, and recently it relocated to Malta.

Recently, Binance released its monthly audit report for the Month 14 (August 15 to September 14). In the report, the organization declared the noteworthy changes and upgrades that occurred throughout the month.

Recently, it listed GoChain (GO), the token that was the victor of the Round 9 of the Binance Community Coin of the Month and was listed on September 12 on the platform.

It presented bolster for the Polish dialect on its site and included a Polish Telegram station as well.

The organization had updated the Android and iOS applications to let users convert the dust to BNB straightforwardly from the Binance Android and iOS apps.

Binance Opened Deposits and Withdrawals choices for Bitcoin Diamond (BCD).

Binance Labs has propelled the Binance Labs Batching Program to help groups in the early stages of development put their best ideas to work.

Binance launched an academy to educate people about cryptocurrency and blockchain.

Binance, announced its launch of fiat-to-crypto exchange, Binance LCX in Liechtenstein.

IPO specialist Wei Zhou joined Binance as CFO. Beforehand Wei was serving as CFO of and Charm Communications and drove these organizations through their IPO listings on the NYSE and NASDAQ.

Binance has marked an MOU with Malta Stock Exchange to launch a security tokens exchange platform.

Binance had Worldwide Meetups in Hanoi(Aug. 16), Ho Chi Minh City (Sep. 8), Lodz, (Sep. 9), and again in Ho Chi Minh City (Sep. 14), Jeju (Sep. 15).

Their upcoming Global Meetups scheduled as Istanbul (Sep. 19), Guatemala City (Sep. 22) and many more.


The news of launching a “live money beta testing” of Singapore FIAT exchange is exceptionally energizing for traders in Singapore who have been sitting tight for Binance to support the Singapore Dollar (SGD).

Since most cryptocurrency exchanges rely upon ETH or BTC as a base resource for liquidity, the posting of crypto tokens combined with FIAT will without a doubt be another remarkable step towards crypto adoption.

Archimedeskay Posted on September 16, 2018 14:06

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Storm Florence: 'Epic' amounts of rain unloaded on Carolinas

US east coast communities face "epic amounts of rainfall" from tropical storm Florence, which has been linked to at least 12 deaths.

It has caused catastrophic flooding since arriving as a category one hurricane on Friday.

Some towns have already seen 2ft (60cm) of rain in two days, with totals forecast to top 3.5ft (1m) in places.

It is feared that more communities could become deluged as the storm crawls west at only 2mph (3km/h).

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Saturday.

He urged against residents attempting to return home, warning that "all roads in the state are at risk of floods".

A disaster has been declared by US President Donald Trump in eight counties in North Carolina - a move that will help free up federal funding for recovery efforts.


Media captionGusts & floods: the impact of the storm

The president may travel to the region next week, the White House says.

What do we know of the victims?

US media say 12 people have died as a result of the storm.

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionOfficials say some people have had to be winched to safety in places

Among the fatalities in North Carolina:

  • A mother and her seven-month baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington on Friday, also injuring the infant's father
  • A 78-year-old man was electrocuted in Lenoir County while attempting to connect extension cords
  • A 77-year-old man in the same county died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs
  • A woman died from cardiac arrest in the town of Hampstead after emergency responders had their route to her blocked by downed trees

In South Carolina, a 62-year-old woman died when her car hit a tree that had fallen across a road in the town of Union.

Two others died in the state from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a generator inside their home, according to a local coroner.

The storm in numbers

  • Florence is 350 miles (560 km) wide and has travelled 4,000 miles across the ocean from west Africa
  • It was packing 120mph winds (193km/h) on Thursday but weakened from a Category 3 hurricane to Category 1 before it hit the coastline on Friday
  • Duke Energy, the area's biggest utility company, warned that three millionpeople could end up without power and restoration could take weeks
  • About 10 million people could be affected by the storm as it moves further inland in the days ahead

Read more about its impact

How bad is the damage?

The storm is still leaving a path of destruction across the two states, despite its top sustained wind speeds weakening to 45mph.

About a million customers in the two states are without power, the New York Times reports.

A spokesman for the South Carolina Highway Patrol warned on Saturday that conditions remained treacherous on roads.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionReports from the National Weather Service suggest rainfall may have broken North Carolina state records

"You know the areas that don't have power, it's hard to see the power lines in the road way," said Trooper Bob Bers.

In Fayetteville in North Carolina, officials warned people living by swollen rivers that the worst was yet to come.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionThe dramatic flooding in New Bern, North Carolina created spectacular damage in places

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionJerry King, in New Bern, cleans the mess from his home caused by a 4ft storm surge

"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible," Mayor Mitch Colvin said.

Scores of residents had to be rescued from flooding by emergency responders and volunteers in New Bern, North Carolina, on Saturday.

Colleen Roberts, city public information officer for the area, told BBC World News more than 4,000 homes had been "destroyed or completely damaged" there, based on calls they had received for emergency services.

"That's preliminary at this point. And we have 300 businesses that are damaged or destroyed."

Where is the storm heading now?

The centre of the storm moved slowly westward on Saturday across the Carolinas, bringing further heavy rain and flooding, the US National Hurricane Centre says.

It is expected to weaken gradually as it moves inland, heading northwards through the Ohio valley by Monday.

The Federal Emergency Management Authority has said motorists should not attempt to drive through floodwaters.

"Just turn around and don't drown," officials said.


Are you in the area? If it is safe to do so please tell us about your situation by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist.

You can also contact us in the following ways:

seth Posted on September 16, 2018 08:22

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Is buying a house a better investment than the stock market? We did the math, and the answer is clear.

Whether real estate is a better investment than the stock market is an ongoing debate. Owning a home is often the biggest financial commitment someone will make, while investing in stocks is generally a key component of building wealth. We compared the two over the past three decades.


» more Real estate or stock market: Which is the better investment?  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Owning real estate is often the biggest financial commitment someone will make, while investing in stocks is generally a key component of building wealth.

Using data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Yahoo Finance, we compared housing prices and stock prices over the past couple of decades.

In that time, stocks have clearly had higher returns — but there are a few caveats.

This is a simplified comparison meant to reflect on past performance. The best decision for your money depends on your individual circumstances and needs.

Home ownership is one of the biggest financial commitments most Americans will make, while investing in stocks is widely seen as a key component of building wealth.


We decided to take a look at how housing prices and stock prices have fared over the years.


Using house-price indexes from the Federal Housing Finance Agency and prices for the S&P 500 from Yahoo Finance going back to 1991, we looked at how the two compared at various times in the past 27 years, as well as how housing prices in some of the biggest cities in the US have fared against stocks.


In most cases, stocks have outperformed housing prices over the decades, as a nine-year bull market continues to roar.


It's worth noting that this is a very simplified comparison. Stocks and houses are, of course, two very different types of investments. Home ownership comes with property taxes and upkeep costs, but also provides the key service of being a place for someone to live that stocks clearly do not. Stock ownership can involve brokerage and other fees.


Further, stock prices tend to be more volatile over time than housing prices. While it is possible to accrue great riches in the stock market, it's also quite possible to lose it all. Housing prices have tended to rise more steadily over time, but as the mid-2000s housing bubble and subsequent bust showed, that increase is far from guaranteed.


Given those caveats, here's how two of the most important financial markets for ordinary Americans have evolved over the past three decades.

Since the start of the FHFA series in January 1991, stocks have dramatically outperformed housing prices.


» more Since the start of the FHFA series in January 1991, stocks have dramatically outperformed housing prices.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Even with the dot-com crash and the stock-market crash in the wake of the financial crisis of the late 2000s, the cumulative gains in the stock market since the beginning of the 1990s have resulted in a gain of over 700%, while housing prices have increased 164% in that time.




But timing matters. Starting at the top of the dot-com bubble in September 2000 leads to a narrow edge for housing prices.


» more But timing matters. Starting at the top of the dot-com bubble in September 2000 leads to a narrow edge for housing prices.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Housing prices are up about 85% while stocks are up 79% since September 2000, when the stock market peaked during the tech bubble.




Buying at the post-tech-bubble bottom for the stock market had the opposite effect.


» more Buying at the post-tech-bubble bottom for the stock market had the opposite effect.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Housing prices are up 60% and stocks are up 233% since October 2002.

Stocks have also understandably outperformed house prices since the top of the housing bubble.


» more Stocks have also understandably outperformed house prices since the top of the housing bubble.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Stocks are up 93% since the FHFA house-price index topped out in March 2007, while housing took a long time to recover. Housing prices are up just 17% in the past 11 years, with the FHFA index not fully recovering until 2016.




Stocks reached their peak a few months after housing did amid the financial crisis.


» more Stocks reached their peak a few months after housing did amid the financial crisis.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Housing prices are up 21% since November 2007, while stocks are up 76%.




The stock market has generally been on a tear since the post-crisis bottom in 2009.


» more The stock market has generally been on a tear since the post-crisis bottom in 2009.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Stocks are up 273% since hitting a low in March 2009, while housing prices are up 36%.




Housing prices have generally been on the rise since 2011, but stocks have still outperformed.


» more Housing prices have generally been on the rise since 2011, but stocks have still outperformed.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Housing prices are up 48% from May 2011, when the FHFA index hit its post-crisis low, while stocks are up 99%.




Location also matters. Here's how New York City housing prices have fared compared with stocks since the start of the FHFA series.


» more Location also matters. Here's how New York City housing prices have fared compared with stocks since the start of the FHFA series.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Stocks are up nearly 700% since January 1991, while housing prices in the New York-Jersey City-White Plains metropolitan division are up 174%.




Miami was an epicenter of the housing bubble. At the bubble's height, housing price growth since 1991 briefly surpassed stocks.


» more Miami was an epicenter of the housing bubble. At the bubble's height, housing price growth since 1991 briefly surpassed stocks.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

As of the second quarter of 2018, housing prices in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall metropolitan division are up 297% since Q1 1991.

Denver had the biggest total increase in housing prices since 1991 among the 20 biggest metro areas and divisions tracked by the FHFA.


» more Denver had the biggest total increase in housing prices since 1991 among the 20 biggest metro areas and divisions tracked by the FHFA.  (Business Insider/Andy Kiersz)

Housing prices in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area are up 413% since Q1 1991, still below the nearly 700% increase in stock prices.




In most time intervals and metro areas, stock prices have outperformed housing prices in the US over the past couple of decades.


» more In most time intervals and metro areas, stock prices have outperformed housing prices in the US over the past couple of decades.  (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

The numbers are only one thing to consider, and it's important to bear in mind that past performance can't predict the future.


This doesn't mean that stocks are always the best investment for everyone at every time, or that buying a home is the wrong choice. Everyone has different financial and housing needs, with several factors involved in making these kinds of decisions.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 16, 2018 00:52

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Big Brother ending is 'not a great loss', says ex-winner

Big Brother being axed is "not a great loss" because it was going in an "awful direction", says one former winner.

Brian Belo, who won series eight, believes the UK "definitely needs a break" from the reality TV show.

"The direction they were going in was so salacious that the true fans of Big Brother couldn't be with the show anymore," Brian told Newsbeat.

Channel 5, which announced on Friday the current series would be the last, said it didn't wish to comment.

Big Brother first appeared on screens in 2000 and was initially a huge success for Channel 4.

Image captionThis Morning presenter Alison Hammond was on series three of Big Brother

Several former contestants went on to become famous names - including the likes of Jade Goody and This Morning presenter Alison Hammond.

But it failed to hang onto audience figures when Channel 5 took it over in 2011.

Brian says Big Brother was a "social experiment" and original fans loved this.

However, he says Channel 5 was trying to appease the "casual viewer" so he thinks it's "absolutely brilliant" it's coming to an end.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionAisleyne Horgan-Wallace says being on Big Brother helped her buy a house

Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace, who was on the seventh series of the reality TV show, describes Big Brother as a "national treasure".

But she says it went from being a social experiment to a "stepping stone to fame".

"People can call me a hypocrite because I still work in the media off the back of being in Big Brother but that was genuinely never the reason I went in there.

"I wanted to see what it was like to test myself and live in that environment.

"I think it was more of an organic show back then and people didn't crave fame or know it was going to come.

"So they were more real. Now people go in there with an agenda."

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionEx-Corrie actor Ryan Thomas won the final series of Celebrity Big Brother which finished on Monday

Aisleyne told Newsbeat she was "devastated" to hear it was being axed and we wouldn't have reality TV shows like Love Island or TOWIE if it wasn't for Big Brother.

She believes the show might make a comeback on another TV channel.

"It paved the way for every single reality TV show.

"Listen, we're the originators of this, you can't get rid of us. We're here forever."

In a statement, Endemol - which makes Big Brother - said it was "disappointed not to reach an agreement with Channel 5" over the future of the show.

The production company did hint that it might not be the end entirely as it added "the decision opens up a new chapter and we are excited about future possibilities for Big Brother in the UK".

Follow Newsbeat on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here.

seth Posted on September 15, 2018 22:52

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Gulliver's World: 21 trapped on rollercoaster

Twenty-one people, including several children, were rescued after a rollercoaster at the Gulliver's World theme park became stuck.

Fire crews used ladders and scaffolding to rescue the stranded passengers, which stopped 50ft (15m) in the air.

Crews were called to the venue in Warrington, Cheshire, at about 13:10 BST and spent about two hours rescuing the passengers.

Witnesses described seeing crying children on the ride.

'Wheels came off'

A mother described how it stalled while her seven-year-old daughter was on the rollercoaster.

"Two wheels came off the ride and it stopped suddenly.

"Kids were screaming and staff just stood there basically not knowing what to do for 20 minutes," said the woman, who asked not to be named.

"I'm just glad she's safe but as a mother it was one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen.

"The ride looks unsafe and needs to be shut."

Firefighters used two ropes to lower three people to safety, and said everyone had been rescued by just after 15:30 BST.

A Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service spokeswoman said no-one was injured in the incident.

Gulliver's World could not be reached for comment.

seth Posted on September 15, 2018 22:24

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Israeli missiles target Damascus airport: State media

 An Israeli missile attack targeted the Syrian capital's airport late on Saturday (Sept 15), activating air defences which shot down a number of the projectiles, state news agency Sana reported.

"Our air defences responded to an Israeli missile attack on Damascus international airport and shot down a number of hostile missiles," a military source said, quoted by Sana.

The agency, without giving any information on casualties or damage, posted footage and images of the air defences being activated.

In a shaky video, a small, bright explosion is seen in the night sky, with city lights in the distance.

AFP's correspondent in Damascus heard a loud blast late on Saturday, followed by several smaller explosions.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the incident.


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said Saturday's strikes hit a weapons depot outside the airport.

"The missiles, suspected to be Israeli, destroyed an arms warehouse near the Damascus international airport," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

He had no immediate information on casualties.

Israel has vowed to prevent its arch-foe Iran, which is a main backer of Syria's government, from gaining a foothold in neighbouring war-torn Syria.

Earlier this month, Israel acknowledged having carried out more than 200 strikes in Syria over the past 18 months, mainly against Iranian targets.

It has also admitted to striking Syria to prevent what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to Lebanon's Hezbollah, an armed movement backed by Iran and which fights alongside Syrian troops.

The last reported Israeli strikes on Syria took place on Sept 4, when Syrian state media said the military's air defences downed several missiles in the coastal province of Tartus and in central Hama.

The Observatory also reported those raids and said they killed three Syrian soldiers.

Syria's conflict erupted in 2011 and has since killed more than 360,000 people, with millions more displaced internally and to neighbouring countries.

After losing swathes of territory to rebel groups, President Bashar al-Assad's troops have regained the upper hand and are now in control of around two-thirds of the ravaged country.

They were bolstered by nearly three years of air strikes by their key ally Russia and Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese, and other foreign fighters on the ground.

Soldiers and other loyalist fighters had been amassing around Idlib, the largest rebel-held zone left in Syria, for several weeks.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied that Syrian troops were planning a major offensive for the area.

Eric9090 Posted on September 15, 2018 20:52

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US Coast Guard employee removed for 'white power sign' on air

The unnamed team member was seen sitting in the background as MSNBC interviewed the Coast Guard commanding officer

The US Coast Guard has removed a team member from duty after he was accused of making a "white power" sign on air.

The unidentified employee was seen glancing at the camera during an MSNBC interview on Friday night before briefly making the hand gesture.

He was at a desk in the background as the cable channel spoke to Coast Guard Commanding Officer Capt John Reed in Charleston, South Carolina.

The agency responded swiftly to the ensuing social media backlash.

The incident occurred as MSNBC covered the emergency response to deadly tropical storm Florence, which is drenching the Carolinas.

"Whatever that symbol means, it doesn't reflect the Coast Guard and our core values," Coast Guard Lt JB Zorn told NBC News.

"It won't be tolerated."

Skip Twitter post by @TheEuniceBurns

Eunice Burns@TheEuniceBurns

@AngryBlackLady Just saw this on MSNBC during interview with Coast Guard. Check out white-power in background. @uscoastguard

1:03 PM - Sep 14, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post by @TheEuniceBurns

The Coast Guard tweeted that it was aware of the "offensive video" and was investigating the matter.

In a statement, the agency said it was a "frustrating distraction".

Skip Twitter post by @USCG

U.S. Coast Guard?@USCG

We are aware of the offensive video on twitter - the Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response. His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard.

5:51 PM - Sep 14, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post by @USCG

A number of Twitter commentators were in no doubt about the nature of the momentary hand gesture.

One user, @jgobble, tweeted: "Did you all see this guy flash White Power on TV? OUR OWN COAST GUARD!!! This needs to be investigated and this man needs to be ousted/removed/discharged!"

Another, @OKCopyThat, posted: "That was flat out blatant! Lord have mercy on us. These evil people are among us."

Yet another, @TomAmestoy, tweeted: "The Coast Guard is filled with heroes and apparently at least one racist bringing shame on an honorable crew."

But not everyone was convinced.

One Twitter user, @Dpatcorb, said: "Bahahahahaha. You seriously have the mental capacity of a 2 year old if you think that's a white power sign."

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionFormer Trump administration official Zina Bash (L) was accused of making the 'white power' symbol (not pictured) during a Senate hearing this month

It is not clear how the thumb-and-forefinger 'OK' hand gesture became associated with "white power".

It apparently began as an online hoax before it was adopted by far-right sympathisers and even some Trump supporters to goad liberals.

Earlier this month, left-wing activists accused a former Trump administration official of making the symbol during a Senate hearing.

Zina Bash was pictured sitting in the background during a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Ms Bash, who is of Jewish-Mexican heritage, was branded a "neo-Nazi" or "white supremacist".

Her husband, Texas prosecutor John Bash, angrily pointed out his wife is the grandchild of Holocaust survivors.

"Everyone tweeting this vicious conspiracy theory should be ashamed of themselves," he said.

"We weren't even familiar with the hateful symbol being attributed to her for the random way she rested her hand during a long hearing."

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seth Posted on September 15, 2018 18:00

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Teenager Borja Garces scored a 94th-minute equaliser for Atletico Madrid against Eibar to prevent his side losing a second league game in a row.

Spaniard Borja was making his first senior competitive appearance

Teenager Borja Garces scored a 94th-minute equaliser for Atletico Madrid against Eibar to prevent his side losing a second league game in a row.


Borja, 19, came on as a second-half substitute and fired home from 10 yards in the last minute of injury time.


Atletico had missed a number of chances and looked to be heading for defeat after Sergi Enrich scrambled in an 87th-minute goal for the visitors.


Atletico have now only won one of their opening four La Liga matches.


The 2013-14 champions are fourth in the table, four points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid who both have a game in hand.



Match Stats

Live Text

Home TeamAtl MadridAway TeamEibar





Shots on Target






khojho Posted on September 15, 2018 14:48

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Week in pictures: 8 - 14 September 2018

Retired sprinter Usain Bolt and veteran astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy, CEO of Novespace, shared a moment of weightlessness in zero-gravity conditions during a promotional flight in a specially modified plane above Reims, France.


Image captionThe Tribute in Light memorial lit up Lower Manhattan near One World Trade Center in New York City, as the US remembered the 2,977 people who were killed in the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.


Image captionTennis legend Serena Williams comforted Japan's Naomi Osaka, who was left in tears after the crowd at the US Open tennis final in New York booed when Williams was penalised for her behaviour during her defeat to the 20-year-old.


Image captionA soldier is captured eating an ice cream during a visit to a zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea, in a photo taken during a government-organised visit for foreign reporters as North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country.


Image captionIn Kenyan capital Nairobi, a mall was demolished by government bulldozers after it was declared to have been illegally built on a river bed. People salvaged construction material from the precariously tilting rubble.


Image captionA Syrian child tries on an improvised gas mask made by his father in preparation for any future raids in Maar Shurin, in rebel-held Idlib province. The father used YouTube videos to learn how to make the masks from charcoal, wood, paper cups, cotton, nylon plastic bags and tape.

Image copyrightTIZIANA FABI / AFP

Image captionA member of a rugby team composed of refugees kissed Pope Francis during the weekly general audience at St Peter's Square in Vatican City.

Image copyrightRT / REUTERS

Image captionTwo Russians claiming to be the men accused by the UK of poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury appeared on Russian state television to deny the allegations, saying they were merely tourists sightseeing.

Image copyrightKIRSTY O'CONNOR / PA

Image captionWorkmen installed a sculpture called Head Above Water on the South Bank next to the River Thames in London. The artwork, by British designer Steuart Padwick, is in support of the Time to Change mental-health campaign.


Image captionA nature conservation agency in Banda Aceh, capital of the province of Aceh in Indonesia, seized a two-month-old siamang, or black-furred gibbon, from a villager suspected of being an animal trader.

All photographs belong to the copyright holders as marked.

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seth Posted on September 15, 2018 08:57

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Chicago: Three artists challenging African-American stereotypes

The work, by artists Alanna Airitam, Endia Beal and Medina Dugger can be seen in an exhibition called How do you see me? at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.

Here is a selection of highlights.

The Golden Age, by Alanna Airitam

Alanna Airitam addresses the absence of black people in the history of Western art, with rare appearances showing dark-skinned people "represented in paintings and films as domestic workers, slaves or barbarians".

In her series The Golden Age, the artist invited African-Americans to pose in the style of classic Dutch portraiture, to celebrate black identity and highlight the racial divide seen in art history.


Image captionSaint Lenox, 2017

Airitam said: "When I see the beauty and power in the eyes of the people in the portraits, it immediately counters all the negative stereotypes and narratives we receive on a daily basis.

"It is (and always will be) especially important for me to combat the barrage of dehumanising messages black people face through media with messages that clearly state that we are beautiful, powerful, valuable, worthy human beings and we're here to stay."


Image captionSaint Sugar Hill, 2017


Image captionDapper Dan, 2017

Airitam pays homage to the Harlem Renaissance, a period of American history in the early 20th Century that saw a boom in African-American social and cultural expression, centred around Harlem in Upper Manhattan, New York.

The image above is named after Dapper Dan, the Harlem-based clothes designer who defined hip hop fashion in the 1980s and 90s.

Many of her images are named after places in Harlem.


Image captionSaint Minton, 2017

Airitam says that the absence of black people in Western art made an impression on her as a child going into museums and galleries.

"I never saw anyone who looked like me. We were not on the walls (unless shown in a way in which we were serving white people). We did not work there (unless we were cleaning or acting as security; again, serving).

"I remember being young and feeling confused, sad, and embarrassed about that."

The portrait below, named Queen Mary, is of a model named Mary. Her family is from Saint Croix, an island in the Caribbean Sea.

Mary shared a story with Airitam about three women who led a successful rebellion against Dutch colonialism in Saint Croix in 1878. One of the women was called Mary Thomas.

Airitam decided to name the portrait Queen Mary in honour of the story. The model is symbolically showing that the key to abundance is self-love, beauty, majesty.


Image captionQueen Mary, 2017

Am I What You're Looking For? by Endia Beal

In her series, Endia Beal positions her models against a fake backdrop of a traditional office setting, wearing an outfit that the model would choose to wear in the workplace.


Image captionSabrina and Katrina, 2015

Beal, a professor at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, has spent the last four years using photographic narratives and video testimonies to examine the personal stories of minority women working within the corporate space.

The artist's previous personal experience of working in mostly white corporate workplaces includes people talking behind her back and making comments about her hair, which did not conform to their view of beauty.


Image captionTianna, 2016

She says of the creative industry: "As a black, female photographer, I witnessed the under-representation of contemporary minority stories within fine art circles and photojournalism."

Many of the subjects in her series are students at the university where she works. She also travelled around North Carolina and photographed women in their childhood homes.

"These environments foster comfort allowing the women to be open about their concerns. I asked each woman to wear what she would love to wear to an interview and imagine she is waiting for the interview."


Image captionChristian, 2016

The women shared their personal difficulties in gaining employment after graduation: "Employers would tell them that their natural hair was unprofessional or their name was too difficult to pronounce and would suggest they alter themselves for the job.

"Rarely are these stories shared to colleagues or management in fear of rejection or lack of opportunities."


Image captionMelanie, 2016

Chroma: An Ode to JD 'Okhai Ojeikere, by Medina Dugger

In her portrait series, Medina Dugger pays homage to Nigerian photographer JD 'Okhai Ojeikere, who spent 40 years creating black and white photographic studies of African women's hairstyles.


Image captionPurple Kinky Calabar, 2017

Ojeikere's work helped establish modern celebration of black hair culture, documenting African hair-braiding methods that date back thousands of years.

Nigerian hair culture is often an extensive process, which begins in childhood, with methods and variations being influenced by social and cultural patterns, historical events and globalisation.

Traditionally, Nigerian hairstyles can be purely decorative or convey deeper meaning and symbolism around social status, age and family traditions.


Image captionBlue Coiling Penny Penny, 2017

Dugger said: "As a white American living in Nigeria, creating work on Nigerian hair culture, I understood from the beginning that I first needed to learn about the history of the practice and knew that I wanted the process to be collaborative in nature."

In her portraits, Dugger experiments with historical and imagined hairstyles inspired by Ojeikere but also by Nigerian hairstylist Ijeoma Christopher, along with hairstyles she has seen in Lagos.


Image captionBlue Beri Beri, 2017

The women in the photos helped decide on the vibrant colours to suit their personal preferences.


Image captionOrange Koroba with Pony, 2017


Image captionYellow Tip Twist, 2017

The exhibition How Do You See Me? runs at the Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, until 27 October.

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seth Posted on September 15, 2018 08:54

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The clock atop The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, is almost always three minutes fast (Credit: Francesco Dazzi/Alamy)

You may also be interested in:
• The clock that changed the meaning of time
• The town that wakes the world
• The isle you can only visit once a year

While the clock tower’s story is legendary in Edinburgh, it remains a riddle for many first-timers. To the untrained eye, the 58m-high landmark is simply part of the grand finale when surveyed from Calton Hill, Edinburgh’s go-to city-centre viewpoint. There it sits to the left of the Dugald Stewart Monument, like a giant exclamation mark above the glazed roof of Waverley Train Station.

Likewise, the sandstone baronial tower looks equally glorious when eyed from the commanding northern ramparts of Edinburgh Castle while peering out over the battlements. It is placed at the city’s very centre of gravity, between the Old Town and the New Town, at the confluence of all business and life. Except, of course, that the dial’s big hand and little hand are out of sync with Greenwich Mean Time.

It is a calculated miscalculation that helps keep the city on time

This bold irregularity is, in fact, a historical quirk first introduced in 1902 when the Edwardian-era building opened as the North British Station Hotel. Then, as now, it overlooked the platforms and signal boxes of Waverley Train Station, and just as porters in red jackets met guests off the train, whisking them from the station booking hall to the interconnected reception desk in the hotel’s basement, the North British Railway Company owners wanted to make sure their passengers – and Edinburgh’s hurrying public – wouldn’t miss their trains.

Given an extra three minutes, they reasoned, these travellers would have more time on the clock to collect their tickets, to reach their corridor carriages and to unload their luggage before the stationmaster’s whistle blew. Still today, it is a calculated miscalculation that helps keep the city on time.


The Balmoral’s clock is purposefully fast to allow travellers extra time to catch their trains from the neighbouring Waverley Station (Credit: Simon Hart/Alamy)


The sky was overcast and the air bitingly cold on the day I visited to learn this history, guided by the hotel’s security manager Iain Davidson. After a quick briefing, I followed his echoing footsteps into the dimly lit brickwork turret, a transition from front of house to backstage. In between the sixth floor’s suites, we entered a door that could well have led to a broom cupboard. Above that, beyond the water storage tanks, a black spiral staircase corkscrewed into the tower’s crown through a series of wooden landings. Each step up was a step back in time.

“Visually, this is one of Edinburgh’s most interesting, if secretive, places,” said Davidson, reaching the top as daylight flooded in to reveal a brickwork gallery embellished with four symmetrical clock faces. Around us, the airy attic featured slit windows that afforded views of central Edinburgh’s commercial hodgepodge, raising us to the level of the castle and the chimneys of the Royal Mile. “Everyone always wonders what it’s like up here when they’re on the street below. Isn’t it marvellous?”

Everyone relies on it being wrong

While exploring the nooks and crannies, Davidson explained that the only major change over the past 116 years is the clock was manually wound until the 1970s, when it was electrified. “It means the tower doesn’t get as many visitors as people might think.”

That the clock is wrong every day of the year is not technically true, either. Its time is stretched to accommodate an annual event. On New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay as Scots call it, the tower welcomes a special one-off house call, when an engineer is dispatched to remedy the timekeeping error. “Plain and simple, the clock needs to be right for the traditional countdown to the midnight bells,” said Davidson, leading our two-man party back down to the hotel’s grand lobby. “Beyond that, everyone relies on it being wrong.”

While the turret clock has remained dependably inaccurate over the past century, the hotel has understandably moved with the times. Following World War Two and the 1948 nationalisation of Britain’s railways, the golden age of steam was over, and so, too, was the era of the railway-owned hotel. Where once stood 112 hotels on the map in 1913, there are now but a handful left. For its part, the North British Station Hotel severed links with the railway in the early 1980s, before being rebranded as The Balmoral in 1990. Two refurbishments totalling £30m and a change of ownership to the Sir Rocco Forte Group followed, and yet the clock’s time was left unaltered.


Until the 1970s, the clock was wound by hand (Credit: Mike MacEacheran)


To learn more, I contacted Smith of Derby, a fifth-generation family-run clockmaker, which has maintained The Balmoral’s turret clock for almost a century through its Broxburn-based subsidiary James Ritchie & Son.

Among the other world-famous clocks under its guardianship are those aloft on St Paul’s Cathedral and the elegant Victorian dial at St Pancras Station in London; and the 64m tower anchoring the Majlis Oman, the parliament in Muscat. Smith of Derby’s greatest achievement, however, is the world’s largest mechanical clock, a 12.8m-diameter, pendulum-operated timepiece that decorates the Harmony Clock Tower in Ganzhou, China.

“We look after 5,000 different clock towers around the world, and to say The Balmoral’s is peculiar is a massive understatement,” the firm’s Tony Charlesworth told me. “It’s hard to believe, but it’s the only one we’re paid to keep wrong.”


New Year's Eve, or Hogmanay, is the only time the clock is accurate (Credit: Richard Newton/Alamy)


Charlesworth has other stories, too. In 2012, the clock ran 90 minutes late after a power cut caused by tram workers, when Princes Street saw the return of electric tracks. Another episode, two years earlier, saw it inexplicably stop for the first time in 108 years. And for those romantics, a story lingers that the clock runs fast to give departing lovers longer to kiss before saying their goodbyes.

“There’s never been a time when we’ve been asked to make it right,” Charlesworth said, matter-of-factly. “People have smartphones and watches, of course, but you’ll be surprised by how much they rely on public clocks, especially when they’re in a rush. There’s still a need for it, and for the foreseeable future it’ll still be wrong.”


Tony Charlesworth: “There’s never been a time when we’ve been asked to make it right” (Credit: Ian Rutherford/Alamy)


Today, the wrong time is taken for granted in Edinburgh, not because of retrospective sentimentality, but because familiarity breeds affection. Or at least that’s how Charlesworth sees it. “There’d be a public outcry if it was ever on time,” he said. “Remember, this is Scotland. People wouldn’t put up with it.”

There’d be a public outcry if it was ever on time

In this city of meticulous town planning, dependable tourist crowds and annual festivals, that’s something you could set your watch by. Those extra three minutes reveal everything about living here, right now.

seth Posted on September 15, 2018 08:33

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Puerto Rico hurricane: How was the 3,000 death toll worked out?

United States President Donald Trump has disputed official findings that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of last year's hurricane.

He added that the death toll had been inflated by adding people who died of other causes.

"If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them on to the list," he tweeted.

Image copyrightTWITTER

Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

Donald J. Trump?@realDonaldTrump

.....This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!

5:49 AM - Sep 13, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

So is he correct to say this figure is wrong?

Nearly every study and report into the hurricane estimates a significantly higher toll than the early official estimates mentioned by the president.

The number of nearly 3,000 was released last month after an independent study by the George Washington University (GWU) in July, which was commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico.

It found that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria.

Since the hurricane struck in September last year, several investigations by academics and journalists suggested the death toll was much higher than the official count, which for months stayed at 64.

For the first few weeks, the death toll was only put at 16.

The task of counting the dead immediately after or in the months following a major disaster is not an exact science.

There are also no state or federal guidelines in the US for calculating storm or hurricane-related deaths.

The GWU study concluded the initial death toll only included those killed directly by hurricanes Maria and Irma - either by drowning, flying debris or building collapse.

GWU researchers also counted those who died in the six months following as a result of poor healthcare provision and a lack of electricity and clean water.

How did they get their figure?

The key part of the research is an estimate of "excess mortality" from September 2017 to February 2018.

Put simply, this is the difference between the predicted normal death rate if the hurricane had not struck (estimated using historical data), and the actual death rate for the period afterwards.

The researchers also factored in migration away from Puerto Rico in the wake of the storms.

"Overall, we estimate that 40% of municipalities experienced significantly higher mortality in the study period than in the comparable period of the previous two years."

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Recording the deaths

One important issue the GWU study raises is the process of recording deaths after the hurricane.

"Most physicians receive no formal training in death certificate completion, in particular in a disaster," it states.

Some of those they interviewed showed a reluctance to record deaths as hurricane-related.

The report also points to major communication and infrastructure problems which delayed the relaying of important information about health issues and procedures for recording deaths.

"Physician unawareness of appropriate death certification practices.... and the government of Puerto Rico's lack of communication about the death certificate process...substantially limited the count of deaths related to María."

How reliable is the study?

Head of statistics for BBC News, Robert Cuffe, describes the GWU report as "comprehensive".

He says it is more robust than an earlier study by Harvard University that concluded there could be a death toll ranging anywhere from 793 to 8,498.

Most media reporting of that study used the midway figure of 4,645 "excess deaths" - the number of deaths over and above what would be expected for the period from 20 September to 31 December 2017.

However, the Harvard researchers pointed out they were not giving a precise figure, and that there was an element of uncertainty in their estimates.

Mr Cuffe adds: "Can we say that every extra death that happened up to six months after the hurricane was caused by it? Not definitively.

"Some extra people will have died of old age earlier than they would have if there'd been no hurricane."

But does that mean the hurricane killed them?

Read more from Reality Check

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seth Posted on September 15, 2018 08:30

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Here is the full text of Kemi Adeosun's resignation letter as Nigeria's finance minister.

Adeosun said those she trusted presented her the fake exemption certificate.


» more Kemi Adeosun, former Nigeria's finance minister  (Premium Times)

Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari's cabinet following weeks of pressure over forgery allegations.

In a statement released by the Presidency on Friday night, the president thanked the Minister for her services to the nation and wished her well in her future pursuits.


Below is the full text of Mrs Adeosun’s resignation letter:


14th September, 2018

His Excellency

Muhammadu Buhari

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

State House

Aso Villa



Dear Excellency,


Let me commence by thanking you profusely for the honour and privilege of serving under your inspirational leadership. It has been a truly rewarding experience to learn from you and to observe at close quarters your integrity and sense of duty.


I have, today, become privy to the findings of the investigation into the allegation made in an online medium that the Certificate of Exemption from National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) that I had presented was not genuine. This has come as a shock to me and I believe that in line with this administration’s focus on integrity, I must do the honourable thing and resign.


Your Excellency, kindly permit me to outline some of the background to this matter. I was born and raised in the United Kingdom, indeed my parental family home remains in London. My visits to Nigeria up until the age of thirty-four (34) were holidays, with visas obtained in my UK passport. I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of thirty-four (34) and when I relocated there was debate as to whether NYSC Law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of thirty (30), I was exempted from the requirement to serve. Until recent events, that remained my understanding.


On the basis of that advice and with the guidance and assistance of those, I thought were trusted associates, NYSC were approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question. Having never worked in NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to nor familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine. Indeed, I presented that certificate at the 2011 Ogun State House of Assembly and in 2015 for Directorate of State Services (DSS) Clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening. Be that as it may, as someone totally committed to a culture of probity and accountability I have decided to resign with effect from Friday, 14th September, 2018.



Kemi Adeosun  (360Plugs)

Your Excellency, It has been an exceptional privilege to have served our nation under your leadership and to have played a role in steering our economy at a very challenging time. I am proud that Nigeria has brought discipline into its finances, has identified and is pursuing a path to long term sustainable growth that will unlock the potential in this great economy. Under your leadership, Nigeria was able to exit recession and has now started to lay the foundations for lasting growth and wealth creation. Repositioning this huge economy is not a short term task and there are no short cuts, indeed there are tough decisions still to be made but I have no doubt that your focus on infrastructural investment, revenue mobilisation and value for money in public expenditure will deliver growth, wealth and opportunity for all Nigerians.


I thank His Excellency, the Vice President and my colleagues in the Federal Executive Council for the huge pleasure and honour of working with them. I also thank most specially, the team in the ‘Finance Family’ of advisers and heads of agencies under the Ministry of Finance. Your Excellency, this group of committed Nigerians represent a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and ages. They have worked we

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 14, 2018 22:59

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Surrender or Else: Thai Authorities Slap Mastermind of $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud with Deadline.

The prime suspect in Thailand’s multi-million dollar bitcoin fraud case now only has a few days to make plans for his surrender or else efforts to extradite him will kick off.

Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division has given Prinya Jaravijit, who is believed to be the mastermind behind the fraudulent scheme in which a Finnish investor named Aarni Otava Saarimaa lost 5,564 bitcoins worth nearly 800 million baht (approximately US$24 million) at the time, until September 17 to surrender.

Initially reported by the Bangkok Post, Prinya had previously been summoned by investigators for a meeting on September 14 but he failed to show up. His lawyer instead requested a postponement arguing he needed more time to compile evidence for his defense.

Extradition Proceedings

According to the deputy commander of the Crime Suppression Division, Chakrit Sawasdee, failure to surrender on Monday will see extradition proceedings started against Prinya Jaravijit. Per Sawasdee, this was not the first time summons had been postponed.

“The suspect was then asked to come in on Monday and if he still ignores it, relevant agencies will be contacted to try to bring him back to face prosecution,” said Sawasdee.

Prinya, who is thought to be holed up in the United States, is currently the only suspect on the run. Other suspects in the bitcoin fraud case including Prinya’s siblings and parents have already appeared before the police. Prinya’s younger brother, Thai actor Jiratpisit ‘Boom’ Jarajivit, has already been charged in court, released on a US$60,000 bail and banned from traveling outside the country as CCN reported.

Jiratpisit’s bank account allegedly received US$649,000 from Prinya but he continues to plead innocence saying his elder brother used his bank account without his consent. Prinya also wired US$4.2 million to his younger sister, Suphitcha, but she has also pled innocence and indicated a willingness to transfer the amount back to her brother.

Keeping it all in the Family

Additionally, the police are also considering summoning Prinya’s father Suwit Jarajivit and his mother Lertchatkamol since there is evidence showing that they received approximately US$1.8 million from their son.

Other suspects who had been mentioned in the fraud case include famous stocks trader Prasit Srisuwan and businessman Chakris Ahmad. In an agreement he had reached with Prinya, the Finn was to invest his money in companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand as well as in Expay Software where Ahmad is a major shareholder. However, once Saarimaa transferred the bitcoins to Prinya’s wallet, the money was diverted to the bank accounts belonging mostly to the family members of the alleged mastermind.

Earlier in the month, Saarimaa reached an agreement with Srisuwan and Ahmad where he withdrew the complaint against them, setting them free from the charges that had been drawn against them.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Dominic Solomon Posted on September 14, 2018 18:00

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The 19 TV shows that have won the most Emmys.

HBO's "Game of Thrones" has shot its way up the list of TV shows with the most Emmy Award wins.

While some Emmy darlings are expected and obvious, you might be surprised that some of your favorite shows of all time don't have as many Emmys as you think think — or any at all.

"Friends" only won six Emmys during its run and "Seinfeld" only won ten. How about HBO's critically-acclaimed series "The Wire?" Zero wins, two nominations.

But some audience and critic favorites do make the list for the most Emmy wins ever. "Game of Thrones" is incredibly close to breaking "SNL's" record. "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men," and "Frasier" were also consistent favorites during awards season, and it shows in their double-digit wins and for some, three-digit nominations.

The 70th annual Emmy Awards begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Monday night, and will air live coast-to-coast on NBC.

Here are the 19 shows with the most Emmy wins:

"Breaking Bad" — 16 wins and 58 nominations


"Breaking Bad" — 16 wins and 58 nominations



"Breaking Bad" won outstanding drama series twice for the fifth and final season, since it was split in two. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul won three Emmys for their roles.



"30 Rock" — 16 wins and 103 nominations


"30 Rock" — 16 wins and 103 nominations



"30 Rock" was once an Emmys darling. Its first season got ten Emmy nominations, and it got 17 in its second season. The show won outstanding comedy series three years in a row.



"Mad Men" — 16 wins and 116 nominations


"Mad Men" — 16 wins and 116 nominations



Jon Hamm had a lot of competition in the lead actor in a drama category, so after seven nominations, he didn't get his first win until his final shot in 2015. In its first four seasons, "Mad Men" won outstanding drama. The show also won several awards for writing, directing, and hairstyling.



"Murphy Brown" — 18 wins and 62 nominations


"Murphy Brown" — 18 wins and 62 nominations



"Murphy Brown" received five nominations for outstanding comedy series, winning twice in 1990 and 1992. Candice Bergen won five times for her leading role as Murphy Brown, famous investigative journalist and news anchor. Bergen shares this record with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mary Tyler Moore.



"Taxi" — 18 wins and 34 nominations


"Taxi" — 18 wins and 34 nominations



"Taxi" won three times for outstanding comedy series. The show focuses on the everyday lives of a handful of New York City taxi drivers and their abusive dispatcher. Some of its actors won Emmys including Carol Kane, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, and Judd Hirsch.



"NYPD Blue" — 20 wins and 84 nominations


"NYPD Blue" — 20 wins and 84 nominations



The Emmys loved "NYPD Blue" because on top of being well written and acted, it was unlike any other thing on television. The police procedural set in New York City won the award for outstanding drama series in 1995, while receiving nominations from 1994 to 1999. Dennis Franz was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a drama series every year between 1994 and 2001, and won four times in 1994, 1996, 1997, and 1999.



"24" — 20 wins and 68 nominations


"24" — 20 wins and 68 nominations

(Daniel Smith/FOX)


"24" received nominations for outstanding drama from 2002-05, and won the award in 2006. Kiefer Sutherland received nominations from 2002-07, and won in 2006.



"The Sopranos" — 21 wins and 112 nominations


"The Sopranos" — 21 wins and 112 nominations



"The Sopranos" was nominated for outstanding drama series every year it was eligible, and won in 2004 for its fifth season. It was the first cable series ever to win the award. The show won outstanding drama again for the second part of its sixth and final season in 2007. "The Sopranos" also won outstanding writing for a drama series every year it was nominated, except 2000. Total, the show received nine Emmys for acting.






"All in the Family" — 22 wins and 55 nominations


"All in the Family" — 22 wins and 55 nominations



"All in the Family" broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for television including racism, women's liberation, rape, religion, abortion, the Vietnam War, and more. The series was groundbreaking and influential, and the Emmys honored that. It is the first of three sitcoms in which all the lead actors won Emmys for their performances. The other two are "The Golden Girls" and "The Simpsons." In addition to several writing awards, "All in the Family" won outstanding comedy series for its first three seasons, and again for its penultimate season in 1978.



"Modern Family" — 22 wins and 81 nominations


"Modern Family" — 22 wins and 81 nominations



ABC's hit sitcom "Modern Family" won the Emmy for outstanding comedy series in each of its first five seasons. Its actors have won several awards for their performances, including Ty Burell, Eric Stonestreet, and Julie Bowen.



"ER" — 23 wins and 124 nominations


"ER" — 23 wins and 124 nominations



NBC's medical drama ran for 15 seasons (and helped make George Clooney famous). In 1996, it won the Emmy for outstanding drama series. The majority of its Emmy wins are for technical awards, such as sound mixing, sound editing, and graphic design.



"The West Wing" — 26 wins and 95 nominations


"The West Wing" — 26 wins and 95 nominations



Aaron Sorkin's NBC serial political drama explored the Oval Office controversies of a fictional president and won the Emmy for outstanding drama series four consecutive times between 2000 and 2003. Sorkin won an Emmy for outstanding writing in the show's first season, but he lost his four other nominations in the field.



"Hill Street Blues" — 26 wins and 98 nominations


"Hill Street Blues" — 26 wins and 98 nominations



CNN once called "Hill Street Blues" the " target="_blank"most influential TV show ever," as the show's mix of handheld camera, overlapping story structure, and ensemble cast was highly innovative and copied frequently following its on-air run from 1981 to 1987.



"Cheers" — 28 wins and 117 nominations


"Cheers" — 28 wins and 117 nominations



NBC's hit sitcom "Cheers" was nominated for outstanding comedy series in each of its 11 seasons — which ran from 1982 to 1993 — and it won the award four times. Many of the show's cast members won Emmys. Rhea Perlman won twice for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series, and Ted Danson also won twice for outstanding lead actor.



"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" — 29 wins and 67 nominations


"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" — 29 wins and 67 nominations



Mary Tyler Moore's CBS sitcom was revolutionary in that it featured as its central character an independent, single career woman in her thirties. The show ran from 1970 to 1977, and it won the Emmy for outstanding comedy series three times in consecutive years. Moore herself won four individual acting Emmys for the show as well.



"The Simpsons" — 32 wins and 89 nominations


"The Simpsons" — 32 wins and 89 nominations



The longest-running primetime animated series in US TV history, "The Simpsons" has won 10 Emmy Awards in the category of outstanding animated program — the most of all time.



"Frasier" — 37 wins and 108 nominations


"Frasier" — 37 wins and 108 nominations



NBC's massively successful "Cheers" spin-off "Frasier" won the Emmy for outstanding comedy series five times over the course of its 11-season run, which lasted from 1993 to 2004. The show's stars, Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce, each won four Emmys for their performances.



"Game of Thrones" — 38 wins and 128 nominations


"Game of Thrones" — 38 wins and 128 nominations



Now the winningest drama series in Emmys history, HBO's "Game of Thrones" has a chance to surpass the number one spot on most Emmys ever.



"Saturday Night Live" — 54 wins and 242 nominations


"Saturday Night Live" — 54 wins and 242 nominations

(Dana Edelson/AP)


Over the course of 42 seasons, "Saturday Night Live" has raked in the most Emmys ever — and in a multitude of categories. Lorne Michaels' show won the award for outstanding variety, music, or comedy series twice, in 1976 (its first year) and 1993.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 14, 2018 17:01

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Ghana and Nigeria Can Now Buy Airtime Using the CofredPay App.

Ghana and Nigeria can now buy airtime directly from via the CofredPay app to top up their mobile phones.
The CofredPay app is a service-based mobile banking app, targeted at the unbanked population. The app allows users to operate their mobile money account, send and receive money within the network, and now also to top up their phones. All this is done without seeking help from any second party.

On the App, users can choose to buy airtime for themselves or for a third-party, both from a single touch of a button. The airtime features, which have just been introduced to the platform for Ghana and Nigeria users.
CofredPay is a secure online payment solution system that allows its users to send and receive payments! CofredPay also features easy bills payments, money transfer, merchant and person to person payments by allowing its users to link their Visa or MasterCard or mobile money wallet to make payments.
CofredPay is a service of Cofred which has been a secure and quick payment service provider since 2013. Cofred is truly a global company with its headquarters based at Kasoa, Ghana and its other office at Lagos, Nigeria with a staff straight of over 100 representing Ghana and Nigeria.…he-cofredpay-app/

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 14, 2018 15:56

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5 of the easiest countries to become a citizen.

Becoming a citizen of another country may be easier than you thought. Citizenship eligibility can depend on ancestry, a valuable work trade, religion, and years lived in a country. Here are five of the easiest countries to become citizens.

  • Becoming a citizen of another country may be easier than you thought.
  • For instance, if your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent is an Irish citizen, then you may be eligible for citizenship in Ireland.
  • Citizenship eligibility can depend on ancestry, languages spoken, and number of years lived in the country of interest.
  • Here are five of the easiest countries to become a citizen.

After Donald Trump's victories in the Super Tuesday primaries in 2016, American interest in emigration surged — Google even noted a spike in searches for "How to move to Canada."

According to the Financial Times, the net number of US citizens who migrated to New Zealand in 2017 grew by 65%. Additionally, about 2,000 more Americans than the yearly average have moved to Canada since the election, Global News reported.

Becoming a citizen is easier in some countries than others. Here are five of the easiest countries to gain citizenship.

1. Mexico


The largest amount of American emigrants are living in Mexico.

(Diego Grandi/Shutterstock)


The Migration Policy Institute created a map of countries' immigrant and emigrant populations based on the UN Population Division estimates for 2017. The results reveal that the largest number of American emigrants living abroad — 899,000 of them — are living in Mexico.

According to the US Library of Congress, people can apply for Mexican citizenship after five years of residency in the country. This period can be reduced to two years if the applicant is of Mexican descent, has Mexican children, has been married to a Mexican spouse for two years, or has contributed (culturally, athletically, socially, scientifically, artistically, etc.) to Mexico.

Applicants must also speak Spanish, prove understanding of Mexican history and culture, and give up citizenships in other countries.



2. Canada


How well you know Canada is important to your citizenship application.



The Migration Policy Institute map shows 306,000 US citizens have migrated to Canada as of 2017, making it the country with the second-biggest population of US emigrants.

To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must have permanent resident status and have lived in Canada for 1,095 days in the five years before the date you sign your application.

You must also meet your personal income tax filing obligations in three tax years that are within the five years before you apply for citizenship.

Lastly, how well you know Canada is important to your application of citizenship. In addition to being able to speak the native tongue of either English or French, you'll have to take a test to demonstrate your knowledge of the country's history, values, institutions, and rights.



3. Ireland


Irish heritage goes a long way for acquiring citizenship.



As of 2017, 33,000 US residents migrated to Ireland, according to Migration Policy Institute.

Those with Irish heritage could have a leg up in gaining citizenship in Ireland — being of Irish descent has heavy pull, according to the Irish Department of Justice and Equality.

For instance, if you have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was born in Ireland, then you may be eligible for citizenship.

You can also become a naturalized citizen by living in Ireland for one year continuously, as long as you have a minimum of four years of residency accumulated in the eight years preceding your one continuous year, Investopedia reported.




4. Paraguay


You can obtain Paraguayan nationality by naturalization.

(Jose Luis Stephens/Shutterstock)


If you are of Paraguayan nationality, you can become a citizen of Paraguay after two years of naturalization.

To apply for Paraguayan nationality by naturalization, you must be an adult, have lived a minimum of three years in Paraguay, contribute to the country through your profession, trade, science, or art, and have a good record of conduct.

Although there are no restrictions on the country of origin, most Paraguayan immigrants are from nearby Brazil and Argentina, according to the Migration Policy Institute's map.



5. Israel


The Law of Return enables Jewish people to acquire Israeli citizenship through religious affiliation.

(John Theodor/Shutterstock)


In some cases, your religious affiliation can make you eligible to acquire citizenship. That's the case with Israel's Law of Return, which gives every Jewish person the "right to aliyah," or the right to immigrate to Israel.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, any Jewish person can move to Israel and become a citizen. You may also acquire citizenship if you were born one or more parents who are Israeli citizens.

Otherwise, you can acquire Israeli citizenship through naturalization if you've lived in Israel for three years out of the five years before you applied, you've given up any other citizenship in hopes of becoming an Israeli citizen, and are planning to reside in Israel permanently.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 14, 2018 15:46

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Jose Mourinho: Man Utd boss defends Marcus Rashford playing time.

Marcus Rashford is serving a three-match ban after being sent off against Burnley

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has defended his treatment of striker Marcus Rashford.

Mourinho has been criticised for not playing the 20-year-old, who scored twice for England during the international break, enough in United's opening four Premier League games.

But the Portuguese said Rashford's playing time compares favourably with young English players at rival teams.

"People speaking about his minutes, they are a bit confused," he said.

In his news conference before Saturday's league match at Watford (17:30 BST), Mourinho outlined his use of Rashford over the past two seasons.

He said the forward has played 5,744 minutes in 105 games in all competitions.

"Marcus Rashford is not [Liverpool striker] Dominic Solanke. He's not [Chelsea midfielder] Ruben Loftus-Cheek. He's not [Everton forward] Dominic Calvert-Lewin," said the 55-year-old.

"He's Marcus Rashford, Manchester United player, with an incredible number of appearances and an incredible number of minutes played at the highest level in the best possible competitions."

Figures from football statisticians Opta show no player currently aged under 21 has played more competitive minutes for a Premier League team than Rashford (7,280) since his debut in February 2016.

Mourinho highlighted the club's record in bringing through young British players, while listing Rashford's appearance statistics since he took charge at Old Trafford in 2016.

He added: "So, Manchester United supporters. For you - and just for you - to know what we are doing with Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay. That's what we are doing here."

On England duty, Rashford scored the opener in the 2-1 Nations League loss to Spain and the only goal in a 1-0 friendly win over Switzerland, resulting in questions on the forward's playing time at United.

During Friday's news conference, Mourinho joked he would be "criticised for not playing Rashford tomorrow" against Watford, despite the striker being suspended for three games after being sent off in the Reds' win over Burnley.

He said: "Some of the boys are really obsessed with me and, some of them, I think they have a problem with some compulsive lies."

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Rashford (right) has played 5,865 minutes, while Jesse Lingard (left) has played 5,070

More minutes under Mourinho than Lingard

BBC Sport's Simon Stone has analysed Rashford's playing time under Mourinho, including his four appearances this season, which the manager omitted from his total (5,744).

There has been a lot of debate over the past few days about Rashford's development - and whether his career would be better served by a loan move.

You can prove anything with statistics of course, but it seems Rashford has fared better than comparable youngsters since Jose Mourinho's arrival at Old Trafford in the summer of 2016 - and that includes United and England team-mate Lingard.

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, 20-year-old Rashford has played 5,866 minutes in all competitions. Lingard, 25, has been involved for 5,070 minutes.

Chelsea's Loftus-Cheek, 22, has managed 2,341 minutes, and that includes his spell on loan at Crystal Palace.

The argument for Rashford is that if he moved somewhere like Everton, he would get more game time.

However, they don't play as many matches, so 21-year-old Calvert-Lewin, one of the most used of the Toffees' group of talented youngsters, has only been involved for 3,793 minutes.

It won't make the argument about how much playing time England's younger players are getting - but maybe Rashford is not the right example

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 14, 2018 15:26

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Zambian government denies plans to handover power firm, ZEWASCO, to China.

Finance minister, Margaret Mwanakatwe, said the country has not offered any State Owned Enterprise to any lender as collateral for any borrowing.

  • Zambian government has denied plans to cede its main electricity company, ZEWASCO, to China.

  • Zambia President Edgar Lungu 'received' another $30 million grant at the just concluded Africa-China summit despite warning.

  • The country’s outstanding debt as at March 2018, stood at $9.3 billion.

The Zambian government has denied plans to cede its main electricity company, ZEWASCO, to China over defaulting loan repayment, Reuters reports.

The country's finance minister, Margaret Mwanakatwe, stated this in a press statement issued on Thursday, September 13, 2018, responding to a publication by London-based Africa Confidential magazine.



Africa Confidential report on debt trap in Zambia

Africa Confidential in its September report, titled “Bills, Bonds and even Bigger Debts” claimed that Zambia risks losing its sovereignty to China which is bound to seize its national assets once the government defaults on loans.

The report also stated that a number of projects in Zambia are financed by China even though the amount of debt has been piling over the years.

"Since President Edgar Lungu came to power, Zambia has signed off on at least $8 billion in Chinese project finance. Over $5 billion of this has not been added to the total because Zambia insists the money has not been disbursed, and more large loans are in the pipeline," the report indicated.

ALSO READ: Nigeria dismisses talk of a possible takeover of its economy by China over the bilateral loan

Zambian government dismisses report on debt-trap

But the Zambian government dismissed the insinuation, saying it has not offered any State Owned Enterprise to any lender as collateral for any borrowing.


President Xi welcoming Lungur to China



The finance minister also dismissed assertions in the same report that it was in talks about a debt/asset swap deal with creditors, including the Chinese.

Zambia says it has made interest payments worth $341.82 million in 2018

Mwanakatwe said the country has made interest payments worth $341.82 million in the first half of the year, dismissing the $489 million figure in the Africa Confidential report.

ALSO READ: China is tightening its grip on Kenya's economy as loans to the East African nation hit Sh478 billion

Background of the story

IMF changes Zambia rating from moderate to “high risk of debt distress”

In May 2018, the International Monetary Fund changed the rating for Zambia from moderate to high risk of debt distress over gap deficits in Chinese loan.

The international organisation warned Sub-Saharan African nations over the pace of debt and the huge gap deficits.

In its report, it further stated that about 40% of low-income countries in the region are now in debt distress or at high risk of it, despite an overall uptick in economic growth.

Zambia government asks China for more loans



President Xi Jinping held talks with President Edgar Lungu of Zambia at the Great Hall of the People, 2015

(China embassy)


Despite the warnings, Zambia is one of the African countries whose leaders were in China recently for the 2018 China-Africa summit.

Zambia President Edgar Lungu was reported to receive a grant of $30 million for the Lusaka East Multi-facility Economic Zone electrification project from a number of Chinese companies.

Zambia’s outstanding debt as at March 2018, stood at $9.3 billion up from $8.7 billion at the end of 2017.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 14, 2018 12:21

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IBM, Hacera Create Distributed 'Yellow Pages' for Blockchain Networks..

IBM has teamed up with enterprise blockchain firm Hacera to launch a yellow pages-like directory aimed to make it easier for interested companies to participate in worldwide blockchain applications.

Jerry Cuomo, vice president at IBM Blockchain, wrote in a blog post on Thursday that the directory – called Unbounded Registry – is now up and running, and aggregates a list of decentralized platforms built on various blockchain networks.

The goal, as explained by Cuomo, is to have an information hub that can inform companies who are looking to adopt blockchain what options are out there and how they can participate in projects, especially those built on private networks that are invitation-only.

Currently listed on the registry are efforts launched by both startups and major financial and technology giants such as IBM, Huawei, Oracle, SAP and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

For each project, the registry provides a brief explanation and a list of recent news events. It further offers a channel – after a sign-up process – for interested parties to directly message the respective teams.

Built on top of the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, Unbounded Registry itself is an open-source application that allows blockchain projects to register their information in a distributed fashion.

Cuomo added that the registry also interoperates with major blockchain platforms, so far including Hyperledger Fabric, R3 Corda, EEA Quorum and Stellar.

Explaining the reasons for the directory, he wrote:

"We realized from the start that you cannot do blockchain on your own; you need a vibrant community and ecosystem of like-minded innovators who share the vision of helping to transform the way companies conduct business in the global economy.":

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 14, 2018 12:08

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Hong Kong Jeweler Introduces Blockchain App for Diamond Authentication.

Hong Kong jewelry company Chow Tai Fook has partnered with Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to create a blockchain-based app that will enable customers to ascertain the origin and authenticity of stones purchased.

This development brings closer the blockchain implementation processes to regular individuals through a more conversant user interface, the app.

Provenance Using Blockchain

Transparency and the ability for stored data to remain eternally immutable are some of blockchain qualities that set it apart as an exceptional piece of technology. The application of these qualities in storing and tracking data on decentralized ledgers appears as one of the key aspects where blockchain is increasingly finding implementation.

Prior to this time, renowned Anglo American diamond unit, De Beers had embarked on the implementation of blockchain processes towards effective provenance of the identity of its precious stones. The process aims at tracking gems each time they change hands, starting from when they are dug out of the ground.

Tackling Controversies Around Precious Stones

The controversy surrounding precious stones, especially diamonds is no secret even at a global level. Cases of theft and socio-political consequences that exist in the jewelry industry, especially as it concerns diamonds is a well known phenomenon. Illegal mining which is rampant in conflict zones has been identified as a serious issue with regards to financing violence in what today is popularly known as “blood diamond”.

In order to track and prevent such global vices, measures that prove the sources and identity of precious stones, and the real-time confirmation of ownership has become essential.

Despite the initial efforts towards using blockchain to solve this perennial problem, introducing a familiar avenue for regular users to access such services surely represents a huge step towards a lasting solution.

This initiative by Chow Tai Fook will see diamonds sold in its T Mark-branded stores “graded” for customers, by the respected Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a non-profit industry research body.

Boosting Consumer Confidence

Besides theft and illegal sourcing of diamonds, dubious acts that involve passing off synthetic materials as original stuff is a practice that De Beers has been involved in fighting prior to this time. The establishment also focuses on selling technology across the industry to help prevent anyone trying to pass off synthetic stones as natural, while working with the rest of the industry and governments to support the Kimberley Process set up in 2003 to increase transparency and eliminate trade in conflict diamonds.

Consumer confidence is an important factor in any kind of business, it is even a more crucial factor in exclusive industries like jewelries and precious stones. Being able to prove the origin and authenticity of an item certainly introduces the industry to an era of “fresh air”. However, making such services easily accessible via familiar user interfaces like apps is indeed a monumental step for the industry.

Blockchain technology offers numerous implementation opportunities. However, its ability to enhance transparency and provenance it a quality that will be appreciated across various ecosystems in the coming years.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 14, 2018 10:40

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Indian Central Bank Argues Cryptos 'Not Valid' as Currency in Court Battle.

The Reserve Bank of India argued Wednesday that bitcoin cannot be recognized in the country before the nation's Supreme Court.

In a case that has been brought by a number of exchanges against the Indian central bank for blocking their access to banking services five months ago, the RBI stated in an affidavit that current legislation means that cryptos cannot be considered either currency or money.

The RBI stated:

"It is submitted that crypto-currencies fall short of being true currencies. It is further submitted that RBI does not consider virtual currencies such as Bitcoins as 'currency' under the extant laws. There are no enabling provisions under the extant law to treat Bitcoin as currency."

Further, according to a report from CNN's News 18 and, the RBI continued to say that, as cryptos are peer-to-peer networks and not controlled by a service provider, "They can't even be considered as a valid payment system."

In order to be recognized as a "valid currency" the bank said instruments should "possess identical or similar characteristics of cheques, postal orders and money orders."

The next hearing on the case is scheduled for September 17, the news source indicates.

Back in April, the central bank ordered domestic banks and financial institutions to stop working with the country's crypto exchanges within three months.

Later that month, a petition was lodged against the RBI by Kali Digital Ecosystems, an Indian firm that had been planning to launch an exchange called CoinRecoil in August.

According to the text of the petition, Kali was seeking "an appropriate writ, order or direction quashing the [RBI's] circular." It stated that the ban is "arbitrary and unconstitutional" and that the company is unable to begin operating due to the RBI's restrictions.

The issue has since addressed by petitions from other exchanges seeking to overturn the ban, which the Supreme Court is hearing at the same time.

Since the RBI circular was issued, exchanges have been forced to drop rupee-to-crypto trading services, relying instead on crypt-to-crypto trading. However, trading volumes have taken a big drop and the companies face an uncertain future unless the court rules to overturn the ban.…-in-court-battle/

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 14, 2018 10:28

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Bloomberg: Morgan Stanley Plans Bitcoin Trading for Clients.

Bloomberg: Morgan Stanley Plans Bitcoin Trading for Clients.

U.S. banking giant Morgan Stanley is planning to offer clients Bitcoin trade swaps, anonymous sources told Bloomberg Thursday, September 13.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the publication reveals the U.S. multinational will follow in the footsteps of fellow Wall Street players in pursuing Bitcoin exposure options.

According to the sources, Morgan Stanley “will deal in contracts that give investors synthetic exposure to the performance of Bitcoin.”

“Investors will be able to go long or short using the so-called price return swaps, and Morgan Stanley will charge a spread for each transaction,” they added.

The news marks the latest commitment to Bitcoin interest from Wall Street giant, Goldman Sachs last week refuting claims it had dropped plans for a Bitcoin trading desk.

A Morgan Stanley spokesperson declined to comment to Bloomberg about the plans.

In addition to the unconfirmed Morgan plans, the past week has also seen banking giant Citigroup insiders hint it is planning an entry into Bitcoin trade products.

Like similar potential offerings from Morgan and Goldman, Citigroup’s clients would be able to gain exposure to Bitcoin markets without holding any of the cryptocurrency directly, in what is known as non-custodial trading.

Reactions to the apparent influx of institutional investors via non-custodial methods have been met with criticism from cryptocurrency figures, notably Nick Szabo and Andreas Antonopoulos

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 14, 2018 08:35

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Kofi Annan hailed as 'conscience of the world' at burial in Ghana

 Kofi Annan, the soft-spoken diplomat who served as the first United Nations secretary-general from sub-Saharan Africa and died Aug 18 in Switzerland at 80 after a short illness, was laid to rest on Thursday (Sept 13) in Ghana.

Annan was one of Ghana's prominent public figures, and his death triggered an outpouring of grief in the West African nation.

More than 6,000 mourners attended his funeral at an auditorium in the capital, Accra, and many more gathered outside the venue where traditional drummers and dancers paid tribute.


The service and his burial mark the end of Annan's three-day state funeral, with citizens, diplomats and traditional leaders filing past his casket on Tuesday and Wednesday to bid him farewell.

Many commuters in the streets of Accra wore black on their way to work as a sign of respect.

"He brought considerable renown to our country by his position and by his conduct and comportment," President Nana-Akufo Addo told mourners, who included UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and African leaders such as Liberian President George Weah and Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara.


"He gave his life to make peace where there was conflict, to defending the voiceless who were powerless, to promote virtue where there was evil."


Annan devoted almost his entire working life to the UN, steering the organisation through multiple wars in the Middle East, the breakup of former Yugoslavia and a raft of other crises over a career that spanned more than five decades.

He was the co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, along with the UN, to recognise "work for a better organised and more peaceful world."

His opposition to the Iraq War in 2003 endeared him to anti-war groups and drew sharp criticism from US Conservatives, including John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN who became national security adviser to President Donald Trump.

Annan began his career at the UN as a budget officer in Geneva and rose through the ranks to become head of finance in New York before his appointment as secretary-general in 1996.


that spanned more than five decades.

He was the co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, along with the UN, to recognise "work for a better organised and more peaceful world."

His opposition to the Iraq War in 2003 endeared him to anti-war groups and drew sharp criticism from US Conservatives, including John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN who became national security adviser to President Donald Trump.

Annan began his career at the UN as a budget officer in Geneva and rose through the ranks to become head of finance in New York before his appointment as secretary-general in 1996.

Four years after stepping down in 2008, he published a memoir in which he wrote that an atmosphere of "stultifying corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency" prompted him in 1974 to resign from a civil servant job in Ghana, which was then under military rule.

Although broadly admired as a bureaucratic reformer and quiet insider, Annan was often described as being ineffective. He was criticised for his handling of UN peacekeeping operations at the time of Rwanda's genocide in 1994 and the killing of Muslims from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica the following year. His reputation was tainted further by a corruption scandal that touched his family and a failure to help resolve the Syrian crisis in 2012, when it was in its infancy.

Nonetheless, Annan maintained his stature in world diplomacy and in 2016 was appointed to head a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

"Kofi Annan was both one of a kind and one of us. He was an exceptional global leader," said Guterres, who said they were good friends.

"He opened the doors of the United Nations, bringing the organisation closer to the world's people. Kofi Annan was the United Nations, and the United Nations was him."

Eric9090 Posted on September 13, 2018 22:47

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‘Organic’ Really Matters. Here’s Why

“Organic” has somehow earned a reputation over the years for being a trendy new way to eat and live. But the truth is that growing crops with pesticides, raising cattle in cramped conditions and other “conventional” methods — these are the new way of doing things.

Organic farming is closer to the way our ancestors grew crops and raised livestock. It may not be as efficient or cost effective as the new way, but there’s a good reason we’re stepping back.


Organic vs. Conventional

Conventional farming practices use chemicals and methods that make their farming operations highly efficient. This helps the farms to produce higher quantities of food and crops at a lower cost. From an economic perspective, that’s fantastic and is what every business wants!

Unfortunately conventional farming methods are short-sighted. Their efficient practices pollute the environment, introduce unsafe chemicals to our food and water supply and drain the land of life-sustaining nutrients without giving any back. The practices are also inhumane toward animals and endanger the health of farm workers and consumers.

Organic farming practices minimize pollution, enhance the quality of the environment, reduce water usage and help to protect the health of people, animals, plants and soil life. Chemicals and farming methods that endanger these goals are prohibited on organic farms.

In contrast to conventional farms…

Organic farms DO:

  • Use cover crops and animal manure to add nutrients to the soil.
  • Manage weeds, fungus, disease, and insects through crop rotation and other biological controls.
  • Allow livestock to graze on healthy pastures and accommodate natural foraging behaviors.
  • Feed livestock 100% organic grass or grain when they are not grazing outdoors.
  • Raise livestock naturally without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics.

Organic farms DO NOT:

  • Use genetically modified organisms (GMO), synthetic fertilizers or sewage sludge.
  • Irradiate their agricultural products.
  • Employ synthetic pesticides, except those on the USDA’s approved list.

What can be certified organic?

When we talk about farming practices, we’re not just talking about food — we’re talking about any agricultural product. If your bed sheets are a mix of cotton (natural) and polyester (synthetic), then they contain an agricultural ingredient (cotton) that may have been grown using either conventional or organic farming practices.

The same goes for shampoo, lipstick, aftershave lotion, carpeting, wine, and flowers. Any agricultural ingredients in these products may be either conventionally or organically grown. Food, flowers, clothing, textiles, alcohol and personal skin care items may all be made from agricultural ingredients and, depending on how they were produced, may eligible for organic certification.

Organic labels

Products can contain multiple ingredients, some agricultural and some synthetic. As a result, there are varying degrees to which a product can be certified organic.

Multi-ingredient foods or products

  • 100% Organic: If the label specifically says “100% organic”, then the product does not contain any synthetic ingredients. Every ingredient is agricultural and each has been grown using certified organic farming methods.
  • Organic: If the label just says “organic”, then at least 95% of the product’s ingredients are agricultural and certified organic. The remaining 5% may be conventionally grown agriculture or approved synthetic materials.
  • Made With Organic Ingredients: If the label says the product has been “made with organic ingredients” then more than 70% of the product’s ingredients are agricultural and certified organic. You can check the ingredients list to see which ingredients are certified.
  • Ingredients list: Products with fewer than 70% certified organic ingredients may call out specific organic ingredients in the ingredient list, but their label cannot claim the product to be “organic” and cannot boast that it is “made with organic ingredients”.


Single-ingredient items

  • Single-ingredient items such as milk, flowers or fresh fruit are either 100% organic or not organic at all. They cannot be partially organic and they do not contain any synthetic additives.
  • Meat, poultry, eggs, and milk that are certified organic come from animals that have been raised according to standards intended to promote their health and welfare.

Source: Greenopedia

Philjeffreys Posted on September 13, 2018 22:16

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BBC solves World Cup streaming delay

The BBC says it has worked out how to eliminate "streaming lag", which causes live TV to be delayed by several seconds when watched online.

Many online viewers of football's World Cup in the summer heard neighbours cheering goals they had not yet seen happen, because the online stream was a few seconds behind the TV broadcast.

BBC Research & Development said it has now managed to "eliminate" the delay.

However, its software is not ready to be rolled out to the public yet.

Live TV watched online is often behind by several seconds because it takes longer to reliably send video over the internet than to broadcast it.

The issue has also affected Amazon's broadcast of the US Open tennis tournament. Analysts from streaming firm Phenix said the online broadcast was often up to 45 seconds behind the TV transmission.

When video is streamed online it is broken up into small packets, which are reassembled by the recipient's device.

If each segment is very short, processing them becomes inefficient. However, if they are too long, there is more of a delay between the TV broadcast and online stream.

The BBC said it found ways to create smaller segments that can be passed through the system more quickly. It said viewers of the resulting online streams would see action "at the same time as they would see it if they were watching on TV".

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionFrance went on to win the World Cup in 2018

"With sport, it's irritating if you're watching something that is 20 or 40 seconds behind live TV," said Jake Bickerton, technology editor at the industry magazine Broadcast.

"The BBC also did trials at the World Cup streaming 4K [ultra high-definition] HDR content. Not only was there a delay, but consumers had to have really good broadband at home.

"It isn't going to be simple to get something compressed to a point where it can get to viewers at home through broadband very quickly. If the BBC is able to reduce latency, then it's a great thing going forward."

The innovation will be on show at the International Broadcasting Convention, which starts on Thursday in the Netherlands.

However, the BBC said it would need the co-operation of the whole broadcasting industry to get the system up and running.

It suggested the technology may be available by the time of the next World Cup in 2022, and could be delivered to existing equipment with a software update.


seth Posted on September 13, 2018 21:16

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Netflix drama Insatiable renewed for a second series

Controversial Netflix drama Insatiable has been renewed for a second season.

Its first series caused a lot of debate after viewers accused it of fat shaming, but on Wednesday it was confirmed it will return in 2019.

The show is centred around Patty (Debby Ryan) a bullied teen who seeks revenge after losing weight.

Netflix's decision to renew the revenge comedy has been met with a mixed reaction on social media.

Skip Twitter post by @insatiable_


grab your caboodle. season 2 is coming in 2019.

4:00 PM - Sep 12, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @insatiable_

The show has previously been labelled as a satire by its makers but was criticised for its handling of sensitive topics like fat shaming and eating disorders.

It has also been accused of reinforcing views that girls and women need to be thin in order to succeed in life.

Some believe it has been renewed because of "hate watching" - where people watch a show despite not liking it or to see what the fuss is about, which nonetheless contributes to viewing figures.

Skip Twitter post by @Arielrocks5


hey idiots

instead of hate watching insatiable

why not watch

- next gen
- stranger things
- okja
- disenchantment
- the meyerowitz stories
- girlboss
- the little prince

you know

stuff that's good and deserves your attention

7:52 PM - Sep 12, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @Arielrocks5

Skip Twitter post by @yorgosIanthimos


your hate-watching worked wonders huh


‘Insatiable’ Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix 

4:04 PM - Sep 12, 2018

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Skip Twitter post by @ladyteruki


A 712th reminder that hate watching is still watching. That watching "just to see if it's that bad" is still watching. That watching "because everyone is talking about how bad it is" is still watching. …

Hollywood Reporter?@THR

.@Netflix's controversial "revenge comedy" #Insatiable – starring @DebbyRyan – will be back for another round in 2019 

9:10 PM - Sep 12, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post by @ladyteruki

The renewing of the show has also thrown up a number of issues - a lot of fan favourites on the streaming site have not been given a second series.

Twitter user Dani shared a picture of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, showing how the series Everything Sucks had a much higher score than Insatiable, but was yet to be renewed by the network.

Other examples pointed out online were Shadow Hunters and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which were also both not recently renewed.

Skip Twitter post by @poeticlary


Netflix renewed "Insatiable" for a season 2. that show doesn't deserve to exist but you decided to give another season??
But Shadowhunters is still cancelled, wow.

1:08 AM - Sep 13, 2018

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Skip Twitter post by @gbassick15

Grace Bassick@gbassick15

Insatiable getting picked up for a second season is actually worse than 13 Reasons Why getting a third. @netflix all we want is a better movie section. Please. We're begging

8:25 PM - Sep 12, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @gbassick15

Image copyrightNETFLIX

Image captionWriter Lauren Gussis has defended the series, saying it is based on personal experience

Writer Lauren Gussis recently defended the topics discussed on the show and told The Hollywood Reporter that the storylines were reflective of her personal experiences of growing up.

"I wanted to poke at all those issues through comedy.

"But every single one of the issues that these characters struggle with - from eating disorders to body dysmorphia, to sexuality to needing outside power and validation, to wanting to be perfect, to mental illness - I have struggled with every single one of those things," she said.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

seth Posted on September 13, 2018 20:57

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Rihanna praised for 'diverse' NYFW lingerie show

Ri Ri has been praised for bringing New York Fashion Week to a close by inviting women of a "diverse" range of shapes, sizes and colours to model her Savage x Fenty Lingerie range.

Among the lineup were sisters Bella and Gigig Hadid, as well as pregnant model Slick Woods.

The women all held hands at the end of the show in a display of "solidarity", as the singer-turned-designer herself arrived to receive her acclaim from the crowd to the strains of Elvis Presley's Love Me Tender.

Watch below and check out the full 17 minute show over on Rihanna's YouTube page.


Rihanna thanks the audience as her #SavageXFenty show closes out New York Fashion Week

6:15 PM - Sep 12, 2018

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Getty Images

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Chin Lu ????@ChinHuaLu

wow #SavageXFW18 I don't think I've ever seen another lingerie collection use very visibly pregnant models before! This fashion show is diverse in so many different ways

5:43 PM - Sep 12, 2018

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Christina Binkley?@BinkleyOnStyle

Slick Woods fully pregnant in lingerie at @SavageXFenty ! And EVERY other body shape and color as well. Watch and learn.

5:43 PM - Sep 12, 2018 · Manhattan, NY

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Karen Civil?@KarenCivil

Rihanna showcased an inclusive line with flexible lingerie for everyone. Concluding it with the models holding hands showing solidarity . #SAVAGExFENTY

6:02 PM - Sep 12, 2018

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seth Posted on September 13, 2018 20:36

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Energy Giant Engie Backs 'Blockchain Studio' With $2.3 Million Funding.

French energy company Engie and business consulting group Maltem are launching a new blockchain development spinoff for commercial clients, the companies announced Friday.

Dubbed Blockchain Studio, the new venture will target clients in Asia and Southern Europe, Engie said in a press release. Its first product is a software suite that "accelerates and industrializes the implementation of blockchain projects."

"Most blockchain projects stagnate at the 'proof of concept' stage and this technology still remains the domain of experts and specialists," the company said in its release.

The tools will help in developing smart contracts, "making it accessible to users with no technical knowledge," as well as managing "the establishment of blockchain infrastructure accessible in the cloud or directly on the company's server."

The startup secured 1.9 million euros (roughly $2.3 million) in seed funding. The team now includes 10 people and is going to grow up to 25 by the end of 2019, Engie said. The company also plans to open a branch in Singapore sometime next year.

Last March, Engie joined a group of energy companies and Grid Singularity, a Vienna-based blockchain startup, in the Energy Web Foundation (EWF) aiming to foster blockchain projects in the energy sector for commercial deployment.

In July, Engie's corporate research center, Engie Lab CRIGEN, through its Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The IOTA Foundation to explore test the possible use of blockchain in energy management, smart cities, smart buildings and mobility.…-million-funding/

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 13, 2018 17:23

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How Kenya's new police uniform compares with other East African nations' police uniforms.

While unveiling the new uniform President Uhuru said; "We want to have better visibility of the officers by introducing the new uniforms,"

On Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched a new police uniform for the Kenyan police service.

Speaking during the National Security Conference while launching the policy framework and strategy on reorganization of the Kenya national police service, Mr. Kenyatta said 24,572 Administration Police Service officers will join 39,680 Kenya Police Service and together form General Duty Police.

play President Uhuru Kenyatta poses with police officers donning the new Kingston blue uniform. (PSCU)


These officers will conduct their operations in the new all Kingston blue uniform and will be under the command of Deputy Inspector General.

"We want to have better visibility of the officers by introducing the new uniforms," he said.

At the same time, Mr. Kenyatta abolished 12 positions in the National Police Service (NPS).

“All police wards posts and out-posts formerly under the administration police service shall fall under the General Duty police. Those who thought that AP cannot take you to court you will see it take effect,” he said.

play Kenya police officer clad in their new Kingston blue uniform. (PSCU)


The scrapped  positions are; Administration Police Service regional commander, Police Service regional commander, DCI regional commander, County co-ordinating commander, Police Service county commander, AP county commander, DCI county commander, AP sub-county commander, DCI sub-county commander, Police Service OCPD, District AP Commander and AP Ward commander.

"These reforms are aimed at making the police a service that is respected rather than a force that is feared," he added.

play President Uhuru Kenyatta shaking hands with police officers clad in their new Kingston blue uniform. (PSCU)


The new police uniform however, didn’t impress a large section of Kenyans who labeled them ugly, dull, old fashioned and uninspiring, some going even as far as labeling it a cheap imitation of the Chinese national police uniform.

For the better part of the day Twitter was lit with Kenyans criticizing the new uniform under #PoliceReforms.


Business Insider SSA takes a look at police uniforms in East Africa and examines just how they compare with the Kenya’s new general unit police uniform.


play Rwanda police officers. (twitter.)


Rwanda police officers dress in a dark blue uniform and honestly they look beautiful in them.


play Tanzanian police officers (bbc.)


There is nothing to write about Tanzania’s police officers uniform apart from they would look good if they were forest rangers instead.


play Uganda Police Force (Twitter)


Kenya’s new police uniform might be dull and ugly but it doesn’t compare with Uganda’s.

Uganda police are dressed in a single beige uniform from head to toe, and look like a ragtag under-equipped colonial force the British forgot to dismantle.


play Burundian police officers (Wikipedia)


Kenya might have looked towards Burundi while picking up the new police uniform because they do share some uncanny resemblance.

Burundi’s police uniform is ugly, dull, old fashioned and uninspiring just like Kenya’s.

South Sudan

play South Sudan national police service (SSNPS) (CGTN Africa)


South Sudan police officers dress in light green uniform complete with white gloves and white spats which deeply contrast with their beautiful black skin tone.


play Ethiopia Federal Police (Rapidbliz)


Ethiopia Federal Police officers dress in a grey with light blue spots military like fatigue which they have learned to own and now look like action heroes.

play Ethiopia Federal Police officers (leadership.)

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 13, 2018 16:44

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Manufacturing Giant Rostec to Manage Data on Waves Blockchain Platform.

Rostec, the Russian state-owned manufacturing conglomerate, is entering the blockchain fray.

The corporation, which holds stakes in 700 industrial entities in Russia, is working with the Waves platform to develop a blockchain system to manage data on its vast holdings, which include the carmakers Autovaz and Kamaz and the firearms manufacturer Kalashnikov.

Announced Thursday, Rostec has signed an agreement with Vostok, a startup founded by the Waves platform team. The two partners will invest a combined $2 million to bootstrap the project, but Rostec's share was not disclosed. Over the next month, the joint team will present a roadmap for the project.

The project will pave the way for the application of blockchain technology to Rostec's operations – specifically, for standardizing, collecting and analyzing data about the products manufactured under Rostec's supervision, which include both military and civilian goods.

The information coming from these disparate locations to Rostec's head office is not standardized and thus difficult to parse. Blockchain is expected to improve the organization and security of this data, some of which is sensitive military information.

Smart cities

The project will also seek to develop solutions for so-called smart cities, which leverage data to manage urban resources more efficiently. To that end, the project would facilitate the sharing of data via blockchain between federal and municipal government bodies and citizens.

Rostec has already been piloting smart city technology in several Russian cities designed to automatically regulate and adapt power consumption, traffic management, the work of street cameras with face recognition and other systems. These systems will be migrated to blockchain rails, a press representative of Rostec told CoinDesk.

For Waves, the deal is a high-profile partnership that offers the opportunity to reach major players in the Russian economy.

"Working together with Rostec, which is the main provider and driver for projects in digital economy, will not only get us access to the wide range of corporate and government clients but also will give us a strong impulse for the further development," Waves' and Vostok's CEO Sasha Ivanov said in a statement.

Rostec was created in 2007 as a state-funded corporation responsible for accelerating technological development in Russia and is chaired by Sergey Chemezov, one of the closest public officials to president Vladimir Putin.

Rostec was assigned a key role in Digital Economy,  the national development program designed by the Russian government to promote innovation in the country. In March 2017, blockchain technology was officially included in the program when prime minister Dmitry Medvedev issued an order to explore the possible use of the tech for managing Russian economic and governance practices.…ckchain-platform/

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 13, 2018 16:26

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The top leading Ghana, Nigeria and Africa Fintech Company, Cofred, has introduced a service on CofredPay platform, called Cofred investment that enables users to do instant investment from their various banking accounts, mobile money accounts and CofredPay accounts from the entire world.     

About investment.

In an economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth. In finance, an investment is a monetary asset purchased with the idea that the asset will provide income in the future or will later be sold at a higher price for a profit.

However, Cofred has made it possible for its users to enjoy a secured investment and unprecedented percentage. At cofredpay investment, users will be able to buy their dream assets both tangible and intangible assets, after you have invested.

About CofredPay

CofredPay is a secure online payment solution system that allows its users to send and receive payments! CofredPay also features easy bills payments, money transfer, merchant and person to person payments by allowing its users to link their Visa or MasterCard or mobile money wallet to make payments.

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

CofredPay is a financial technology service provider that supports an E-Commerce marketplace, a P2P money transfer service and is a payment service provider for third parties.

The service gives users access to services like buying airtime, electricity bills, water bill, DStv and GOtv subscription and many other services.

Over the past five years, CofredPay has been providing a convenient and secure way for the residence of Ghana, Nigeria and Africa to pay their bills and services. We continue to focus on making payments seamless and efficient by creating new innovative products. In line with the broader cashless agenda, this was truly the next step in the evolution of our platform – a simple, real-time and efficient way to transfer funds to ease the way we do business in Ghana, Nigeria and Africa.

Customers of Cofred can enjoy this new product by downloading the CofredPay app and login in or signing up.

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 13, 2018 16:13

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E. coli 'caused Egypt hotel couple's deaths'

E. coli caused the deaths of a British couple who died after falling ill at a holiday resort in Egypt, the country's authorities have said.

John Cooper, 69, and his wife Susan, 63, from Burnley, died in the Red Sea city of Hurghada on 21 August.

In an official statement, the Egyptian general prosecutor said post-mortem examinations showed E. coli bacteria was a factor in both deaths.

But the couple's daughter described the findings as "absolute rubbish".

Kelly Ormerod, who was at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel with her parents, told the BBC she did not believe the symptoms her parents showed were consistent with E. coli infection.

She added further post-mortem examinations of her parents' bodies would be carried out in the UK, on direction from the Home Office.

Image captionThe couple's daughter Kelly Ormerod was on holiday with them

According to the Egyptian general prosecutor's statement, tests showed Mr Cooper suffered acute intestinal dysentery caused by E. coli, and Mrs Cooper suffered a complication linked to infection, likely to have been caused by E. coli.

He also said drinking water samples taken from the hotel were clear of any harmful bacteria and the bodies showed "no criminal violence".

How dangerous is E. coli?

By Philippa Roxby, BBC Health reporter

Any strain of E. coli capable of causing the couple's deaths so quickly would have been very toxic.

E. coli is a type of bacteria present in the gut of humans and animals.

Most strains are harmless - but some can cause cramps and diarrhoea, and others severe illness if damaging toxins are produced.

Prof Brendan Wren, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, says they were "very unlucky because these strains are very rare".

But E. coli has killed before, often after people have consumed contaminated food, such as meat, bean sprouts or salad leaves.

In these rare cases, the effects can be particularly nasty and the toxins can have an immediate effect.

The internal organs, like the liver and kidneys, are affected and simply start to shut down.

Travel firm Thomas Cook said it noted the statement from the prosecutor and said it would continue to support the Coopers' daughter and the rest of their family.

"We have not yet seen the full report and we will need time for our own experts to review it," a spokesman said.

Dr Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt's minister of tourism, said the health and safety of tourists to Egypt was "paramount".

"We will review the Attorney General's autopsy reports in fine detail to determine our next course of action to look after the welfare of our visitors," she said.


Image captionThe couple fell ill at the Red Sea resort last month

Earlier, a report in The Times claimed that the room in the hotel next door to the one the couple shared had been fumigated.

But the head of the firm that carried out the work, Namaa Services, denied any wrongdoing and said it used authorised concentrations of chemicals.

The Egyptian prosecutor's report, issued on Wednesday, also said the smell in the couple's room, which had been mentioned by Ms Ormerod, was that of an insecticide used in an adjacent room.

It said the chemical was non-toxic and there were no traces of it discovered in samples taken from Mr and Mrs Cooper's bodies.

Last week, hygiene tests at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic found high levels of E. coli.

Thomas Cook said at the time the independent experts it had commissioned to carry out the tests did not believe the results "shed any light" on the cause of death.

Mr Cooper died in his room, while Mrs Cooper, a Thomas Cook employee, died after being taken to hospital.

seth Posted on September 12, 2018 21:11

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German Catholic priests 'abused thousands of children'

More than 3,600 children in Germany were assaulted by Roman Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014, a leaked report has revealed.

The study was commissioned by the Church itself, and was due to be published on 25 September.

According to the report, some 1,670 clergymen in Germany committed some form of sex attack on 3,677 minors, German outlet Spiegel Online reported.

A Church spokesman said it is "dismayed and ashamed" by the findings.

Only 38% of the alleged perpetrators were prosecuted, with most facing only minor disciplinary procedures, German media said. About one in six cases involved rape.

Most of the victims were boys, and more than half were aged 13 or younger.

Predatory clerics were often moved to new communities, where no warning was issued about their actions.

The study was compiled by three German universities, using 38,000 documents from 27 German dioceses. Its authors said the true extent of the abuse may be even greater, as some records were "destroyed or manipulated".

How has the Catholic Church reacted?

"We know the extent of the sexual abuse that has been demonstrated by the study. We are dismayed and ashamed by it," said Bishop Stephan Ackermann, a spokesman for the German Bishops' Conference, which commissioned the report.

The aim of the study was to shed light on "this dark side of our Church, for the sake of those affected, but also for us ourselves to see the errors and to do everything to prevent them from being repeated," he said.

"I stress that the study is a measure that we owe not only to the Church but first and foremost, to those affected," the bishop added.


Media captionPope Francis and Irish PM Leo Varadkar spoke out on the abuse last month

Bishop Ackermann said the report had been leaked to the press before the Church itself had seen it. He said the Church had planned to provide counselling helplines for people affected by its contents.

What is the Church doing about abuse claims?

The Vatican did not immediately respond to Spiegel's account of the report. But elsewhere on Wednesday, Pope Francis summoned Catholic bishops to the Vatican for a discussion on how to protect children in February next year.

The damning German study is the latest in a series of blows to the Roman Catholic Church.

Claims of clerical sex abuse have been levelled around the world, and with them allegations that Church leaders hushed up or ignored the wrongdoing.

Pope Francis was caught up in the scandal last month, after a former Vatican diplomat accused him of ignoring allegations against a US cardinal for five years.

The Pope's supporters vehemently question the credibility of this accusation, which the pontiff has refused to respond to.

In August, the Pope condemned the "atrocities" of child sex abuse in a letterto the world's 1.2bn Roman Catholics.

It came after a grand jury report detailed seven decades of abuse in the US state of Pennsylvania. The investigation found more than 1,000 children had been abused by 300 priests there. It found evidence of systematic cover-ups by the Church.


Media caption"It's your word against God's": The office of the attorney general in Pennsylvania released video testimony from three victims

seth Posted on September 12, 2018 19:08

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Vodafone broadband adverts banned for being 'misleading'

Adverts for Vodafone broadband have been banned for misleading customers over speeds and reductions in bills.

The television and radio ads, featuring actor Martin Freeman, stated: "Vodafone guarantee your home broadband speeds or money off until it's fixed."

But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints - including from rival BT - that the claims could not be substantiated.

Vodafone said it was "disappointed" by the ASA's ruling to ban the ads.

The ads featured Mr Freeman playing an online video game, only to have his internet "drop out" at a key moment.

His opponent in the game tells him to "just get Vodafone" and on-screen text tells viewers they can claim a discount if speeds are below certain thresholds.

And Vodafone's website stated: "Our Ultimate Speed Guarantee means you get the best broadband speed available to you, or we'll give you a discount off your monthly bill until we can get you there."

But the ASA said consumers would interpret the ads to mean that Vodafone could guarantee minimum speeds fast enough to avoid common issues such as buffering.


The regulator said customers experiencing buffering and lower speeds might not qualify for the discount on bills.

The ASA said that it had told Vodafone to ensure its advertising did not mislead customers in the future.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said the company was "disappointed" by the ruling and added the ASA had "misunderstood" the offer.

She said the guarantee "is still unmatched in the market as no other major brand offers a promise like this across their entire range, nor do they apply discounts directly to customers' bills if they don't deliver".

seth Posted on September 12, 2018 16:46

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This Canadian Town is Coughing up Bitcoin after Ransomware Attack.

A town in the Ontario Province of Canada has decided to pay hackers the ransom they are demanding in bitcoin in order to get its computer network working again.

Midland, which has a population of over 16,000, had its computer systems breached and infected with ransom malware that encrypted files at the beginning of the month. The cyber-attack rendered the town’s computers inoperational for around 48 hours and this crippled email services, processing of payments, issuance of permits, reloading of transit cards and processing of marriage applications.

Critical services such as waste management and fire response were, however, not impacted. To facilitate decryption the hackers have been demanding that a ransom be paid in bitcoin. The town has consequently started the process of paying the unspecified ransom amount in bitcoin in order to get the decryption keys.

“Under the guidance of cyber security experts, we have initiated the process to pay the ransom in exchange for the decryption keys,” a media release from Midland Town Council read. “Although not ideal, it is in our best interest to bring the system back online as quickly as possible. The Town had previously secured an insurance policy to cover such circumstances. Decryption efforts are underway.”

The decision by Midland Town Council to acquiesce to the demands of the hackers stands in contrast to the move by the Professional Golfers Association of America to refuse to pay a ransom in bitcoin after similar malware was planted on its computer systems early last month. This was despite the fact that the hackers insisting that only they possessed the decryption software as CCN reported:

“We exclusively have decryption software for your situation. No decryption software is available in the public.”

In agreeing to remit the ransom Midland is, however, not alone in preferring to pay up in order to get its systems working again as many victims have done so if the amounts obtained by ransomware creators are anything to go by. Last month, for instance, it was reported by a U.K.-based cybersecurity firm, Sophos, that the creators of the SamSam ransomware had managed to rake in more than US$6 million since it started proliferating in late 2015 with the highest amount paid by an individual being US$64,000.

Additionally, a report released last year by researchers drawn from Google, Chainanalysis, University of California, San Diego and New York University concluded that creators of various ransomwares managed to generate US$25 million in 24 months, most of which was being cashed out through the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange.…ansomware-attack/ ‎

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 12, 2018 16:37

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Japan shows China and North Korea it can shoot down ballistic missiles, with some help from the US.

A Japanese warship, relying on a US ship-based anti-missile system, successfully intercepted and destroyed an incoming ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean Monday evening, signaling that Japan's capabilities are maturing in the face of growing threats from China and North Korea.

  • An upgraded Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Atago-class destroyer equipped with the US ship-based Aegis anti-missile system intercepted a ballistic missile Monday evening in a test involving US and Japanese personnel.
  • A SM-3 Block IB Threat Upgrade interceptor missile successfully eliminated a ballistic missile fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.
  • The successful test signals that Japan's ballistic missile defense capabilities are maturing in the face of growing threats from China and North Korea.
  • The US and Japan are jointly developing another interceptor, but there have been certain still-to-be-resolved setbacks during testing.

A Japanese warship, using a US ship-based anti-missile system, successfully intercepted and destroyed an incoming ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean Monday evening, the Missile Defense Agency revealed in an official statement.

An upgraded Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Atago-class guided-missile destroyer detected and tracked a simple, separating ballistic missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. Responding to the threat, the ship's onboard Aegis Weapon System tracked it and launched a Standard Missile-3 Block IB Threat Upgrade missile that intercepted it mid-flight.

"This success provides confidence in the future capability for Japan to defeat the developing threats in the region," Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said in a statement apparently referencing Beijing's arsenal of ballistic missiles and Pyongyang's program, which the regime suspended after the Trump-Kim talks and which has involved test-firing ballistic missiles over Japan.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Rocket Force "is developing and testing several new variants of missiles and developing methods to counter ballistic missile defenses," the Pentagon explained in its 2018 report on Chinese military power.

"We are committed to assisting the government of Japan in upgrading its national missile defense capability against emerging threats," Greaves said, according to Reuters.

The latest intercept will enhance the overall capabilities of Japan's Atago-class destroyers, which have been limited to air defense while the Kongo-class guided-missile destroyers have employed ballistic missile defense systems, Tom Karako, a missile defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote on Twitter after news of the successful test.

The US and Japan are jointly developing another interceptor missile — the SM-3 Block IIA, but testing has been a little hit or miss lately. The system has been tested three times since the start of 2017, and it has only had one successful intercept.

The Missile Defense Agency called Monday's test a "significant milestone in the growing cooperation between Japan and the U.S. in the area of missile defense."

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 12, 2018 16:28

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Why you can't see Kofi Annan's body

Enam Hadzide has explained that the decision to organise a closed-casket funeral ceremony for the late United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in line with the global icon's wishes to have a modest funeral.

According to Mr Hadzide, this informed the decision of the planning committee to cover the casket and drape it with the Ghana flag.

The Deputy Minister added that he had witnessed similar high-profile funerals around the world which involved the use of closed-caskets.

Mr Hadzide's explanations come in the wake of reservations expressed by some Ghanaians on the funeral ceremony in Accra.

Some mourners who spoke to Graphic Online expressed displeasure about the development, especially when some claimed they traveled from far places simply to catch a glimpse of the body.

Some have even suggested that Mr Annan's body was not in the casket and that it has probably been "loaded with stones," one man said.

Others suggested he has probably been cremated and that the casket contains his ashes.

A Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampoh, said he was not particularly happy about the fact that the casket was closed to the very public who were asked to pay their last respects to the late statesman.

He stated that the closure of the casket had not been the culture in the country and wondered why it was in the case for Annan.

Mr Annan died at age 80 in Bern, Switzerland on August 18, 2018 after a short illness.


Vendy Posted on September 12, 2018 16:18

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From Instagram to Balmain: The rise of CGI models

These three models are the faces of Balmain's new campaign.

They have the perfect angular cheekbones and ooze glamour most could never manage.

But Shudu, Margot and Zhi don't exist.

They're the latest in a line of computer-generated models being used in advertising.

Image Copyright balmainBALMAIN


Balmain worked with British photographer Cameron James-Wilson, who created digital supermodel Shudu last year.

Shudu has now gone from having her Instagram featured by Rihanna's make-up brand Fenty Beauty to being at the centre of a major fashion campaign - all without existing in real life.

But what does this mean for real models?

'Competing with literally unreal girls is really scary'

Louise Stone is a model from London who's worked on campaigns with L'Oreal and Adidas.

Image Copyright lulustone_LULUSTONE_


The 24-year-old is worried this new wave of CGI models could make an already competitive industry more difficult to navigate.

"It's just so easy to be replaceable," she told Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"To have to compete with literally unreal girls is just really scary - you can shape anything you want and have the exact perfect look without the casting process."

A big criticism of Shudu has been that the black CGI model is taking up space which could be filled by a real black model.

"Lots of these CGI models are actually based on women of colour," said Louise.

"Models in general have it hard enough with how competitive the industry is - models of colour have an extra point to prove and have to work harder."

Image Copyright iamdominiquerobinsonIAMDOMINIQUEROBINSON


Dominique Robinson landed a campaign with Tyra Banks after the supermodel commented on one of her Instagram photos.

She said she was "in shock" when she first saw the Balmain campaign. She thinks models need to talk about what it could mean for their careers.

"Girls work their entire career hoping to book a Balmain campaign, or any campaign really," she said.

"If it's just that easy to hand a campaign to CGI models… what does the future of e-commerce look like for us?

"And it's not only cutting models out, it's cutting out production too."

It's not just models who are concerned.

Image Copyright balmainBALMAIN


Photographer Manny Roman was among those posting criticism on Balmain's Instagram.

He's concerned about the impact seeing the models could have on self-esteem.

"While I do admire the campaign's digital art, I don't like the non-realistic message that Balmain is sending out to society," he said.

"Many of us are consumed with our social media accounts and some have a hard time living up to the physical standards of models and celebrities they follow.

"I fear the CGI models image will escalate the body and image dysmorphic epidemic."

'How many people get to make a supermodel as their day job?'

Boosted by huge Instagram followings, CGI models have become more and more popular.

Before he worked on the Balmain campaign, Cameron James-Wilson's model Shudu became popular because, initially, people weren't sure whether she was real or CGI after her posts began getting attention on Instagram.

"The interest has literally been overwhelming," he said. "I love every second of developing these new characters.

"How many people get to make a supermodel as their day job?"

Image Copyright shudu.gramSHUDU.GRAM


Since the Balmain campaign came out, he's been approached by other brands to possibly create avatars for them - but he doesn't think real models need to worry.

"I see digital models as something that is very situational and works well for certain things but not so for others.

"Both can coexist and also work together."

He added: "Imagine if a real model was scanned digitally and then could work anywhere in the world at anytime and do multiple shoots a day?"

Cameron says he's not adverse to criticism - he calls it an "important factor" in his work.

But he also doesn't see the controversy around his models as any different to controversies around new tech in the past.

"With any new technology there's always a polarised discussion - some people are staunchly against it, and some people embrace it."

Follow Newsbeat on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here.

seth Posted on September 12, 2018 15:31

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31 cities where you could be considered 'rich' if you earn less than $100,000.

GoBankingRates released a new study that measures wealth in American cities where residents are considered "rich" earning less than $100,000 annually. The study defined being rich as earning more than 80% of the people in your city.

  • GoBankingRates released a new study that measures what it takes to be considered "rich" in American cities.
  • GoBankingRates looked at household income percentiles and concluded that an individual making more than 80% of the community is "rich."
  • Here's where you can still be "rich" making less than $100,000 a year.

Being "rich" means something different to most people.

GoBankingRates released a new study that determined the American cities where you can still be considered "rich" earning an income of less than $100,000.

The study defined being rich or wealthy as "one with more money or assets relative to others in a society." GoBankingRates looked at household income percentiles and concluded that an individual making more than 80% of their community is "rich."

They study also factored in median home values from Zillow and data from Sperling's Best Places on grocery costs, utilities, healthcare, and transportation.

Below, check out the 31 cities where making between $60,000 and $100,000 puts you in the top 20% of earners in your area.

31. Las Vegas, Nevada


31. Las Vegas, Nevada



Top 80th percentile income: $99,470

Median top-tier home price: $393,600

Monthly mortgage: $1,870




30. Dallas, Texas


30. Dallas, Texas

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $99,244

Median top-tier home price: $396,400

Monthly mortgage: $1,875




29. Albuquerque, New Mexico


29. Albuquerque, New Mexico



Top 80th percentile income: $98,128

Median top-tier home price: $304,600

Monthly mortgage: $1,466




28. Nashville, Tennessee


28. Nashville, Tennessee

(Scott Heaney/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $97,910

Median top-tier home price: $430,100

Monthly mortgage: $2,041




27. St. Petersburg, Florida


27. St. Petersburg, Florida

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $96,609

Median top-tier home price: $348,700

Monthly mortgage: $1,659




26. Louisville, Kentucky


26. Louisville, Kentucky

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $95,483

Median top-tier home price: $277,700

Monthly mortgage: $1,385




25. Kansas City, Missouri


25. Kansas City, Missouri



Top 80th percentile income: $95,477

Median top-tier home price: $321,100

Monthly mortgage: $1,587




24. Baltimore, Maryland


24. Baltimore, Maryland



Top 80th percentile income: $95,111

Median top-tier home price: $467,300

Monthly mortgage: $2,270




23. San Antonio, Texas


23. San Antonio, Texas



Top 80th percentile income: $94,978

Median top-tier home price: $322,500

Monthly mortgage: $1,589




22. Jacksonville, Florida


22. Jacksonville, Florida

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $94,400

Median top-tier home price: $351,900

Monthly mortgage: $1,729




21. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


21. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $93,091

Median top-tier home price: $263,600

Monthly mortgage: $1,312




20. New Orleans, Louisiana


20. New Orleans, Louisiana

(Rusty Costanza/Getty)


Top 80th percentile income: $92,179

Median top-tier home price: $321,800

Monthly mortgage: $1,593




19. Richmond, Virginia


19. Richmond, Virginia

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $91,506

Median top-tier home price: $362,300

Monthly mortgage: $1,775




18. Columbus, Ohio


18. Columbus, Ohio



Top 80th percentile income: $91,198

Median top-tier home price: $332,700

Monthly mortgage: $1,645




17. Providence, Rhode Island


17. Providence, Rhode Island

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $88,406

Median top-tier home price: $453,100

Monthly mortgage: $2,210




16. Indianapolis, Indiana


16. Indianapolis, Indiana

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income:$87,809

Median top-tier home price: $271,500

Monthly mortgage: $1,352




15. Orlando, Florida


15. Orlando, Florida

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $87,199

Median top-tier home price: $351,900

Monthly mortgage: $1,729




14. Winston-Salem, North Carolina


14. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

(Jon Bilous/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $87,062

Median top-tier home price: $239,600

Monthly mortgage: $1,200




13. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


13. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



Top 80th percentile income: $86,567

Median top-tier home price: $398,500

Monthly mortgage: $1,950




12. El Paso, Texas


12. El Paso, Texas



Top 80th percentile income: $86,307

Median top-tier home price: $190,800

Monthly mortgage: $967






11. St. Louis, Missouri


11. St. Louis, Missouri



Top 80th percentile income: $81,034

Median top-tier home price: $298,500

Monthly mortgage: $1,480




10. Cincinnati, Ohio


10. Cincinnati, Ohio



Top 80th percentile income: $80,947

Median top-tier home price: $285,300

Monthly mortgage: $1,375




9. Memphis, Tennessee


9. Memphis, Tennessee



Top 80th percentile income: $78,860

Median top-tier home price: $263,200

Monthly mortgage: $1,317




8. Miami, Florida


8. Miami, Florida

(Courtesy of TripAdvisor)


Top 80th percentile income: $76,933

Median top-tier home price: $479,800

Monthly mortgage: $2,334




7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin


7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $76,339

Median top-tier home price: $354,900

Monthly mortgage: $1,747




6. Tuscon, Arizona


6. Tuscon, Arizona

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $76,297

Median top-tier home price: $340,300

Monthly mortgage: $1,676




5. Buffalo, New York


5. Buffalo, New York

(Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $74,421

Median top-tier home price: $263,900

Monthly mortgage: $1,326




4. Hartford, Connecticut


4. Hartford, Connecticut

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $69,254

Median top-tier home price: $345,800

Monthly mortgage: $1,701




3. Birmingham, Alabama


3. Birmingham, Alabama

(Kris Kuzniar/Shutterstock)


Top 80th percentile income: $68,837

Median top-tier home price: $285,600

Monthly mortgage: $1,423




2. Cleveland, Ohio


2. Cleveland, Ohio



Top 80th percentile income: $60,143

Median top-tier home price: $259,600

Monthly mortgage: $1,257




1. Detroit, Michigan


1. Detroit, Michigan



Top 80th percentile income: $58,926

Median top-tier home price: $312,000

Monthly mortgage: $1,492

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 12, 2018 14:49

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2 nuclear power plants are right in the path of Hurricane Florence — here's how they are preparing.

The Brunswick and Harris nuclear plants in North Carolina are in Hurricane Florence's direct path. They are preparing backup generators, checking for loose parts, and planning to shut down 12 hours before the storm hits.

  • Two nuclear plants in North Carolina are in Hurricane Florence's direct path.
  • The Brunswick and Harris nuclear plants are bracing themselves by preparing backup generators and checking for loose material.
  • They also plan to shut down 12 hours before the storm hits.
  • The hurricane is predicted to make landfall on North Carolina's coast late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

Hurricane Florence will pass directly over two nuclear power plants in North Carolina when it makes landfall later this week — and they're taking extensive measures to brace themselves for the storm.

The Category 4 hurricane, which is currently carrying 130 mph winds, is forecast to make landfall on North Carolina's coast late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

It is predicted to directly pass over the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, which is located 30 miles south of Wilmington, as well as the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, a town farther inland and about 23 miles from Raleigh.

Read more: Hurricane Florence could bring 40 inches of rain and 13 feet of floodwater in a 'catastrophic' landfall


The two nuclear plants and the predicted path of Hurricane Florence.

(Google Maps)


The Brunswick plant produces about 1,870 megawatts of power, while the Harris plant produces 932 megawatts, Reuters reported. One megawatt can power about 1,000 US homes.

Both power plants are bracing themselves for the hurricane by sweeping the site for any loose material that could get ripped off by high winds, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a spokeswoman for Duke Energy, a corporation that owns and operates the two power plants.

They have also prepared their backup diesel generators to make sure the plants have enough fuel to keep producing power.

All US nuclear stations have installed safety equipment such as portable pumps and generators since the 2011 nuclear accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, Duke spokeswoman Mary Kathryn Green told Reuters.

Both power plants have also been ordered to shut down their nuclear reactors 12 hours before the hurricane hits their region, Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Reuters on Tuesday.

It could take weeks for the plants to restore full power production after the storm, Reuters reported.

Read More: Here's a map of all the areas that could get hit

The map below shows the predicted path and schedule of the hurricane from Wednesday to the following Monday.



(National Hurricane Center)


Predictions from the National Hurricane Center also showed that the Brunswick plant is in an area that could be affected by storm surge — sea water forced inland by the power of the storm.

The NHC warned that the storm surge could lead to "catastrophic" flash flooding far inland. Rising water levels could leave coastal parts of North Carolina under nine feet of water, NHC director Ken Graham told CBS News on Tuesday.

The Brunswick station is waterproof up to 22 feet, Reuters reported, citing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The storm could also affect plants holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and hog farms that store animal waste in open-air lagoons, the Associated Press reported.

The Carolinas are home to 12 of the 99 nuclear stations in the US, according to S&P Global. Four others are in Virginia, which is also likely to be hit by the hurricane.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 12, 2018 14:01

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Sri Lanka is building a $15 billion metropolis to rival cities like Hong Kong and Dubai.

Sri Lanka is building a major new development to stimulate its war-torn economy thanks to a $1.4 billion Chinese investment. But the project is prompting criticism among environmental groups, which worry about coastal damage.

  • Sri Lanka is building a new metropolis with a $1.4 billion Chinese investment.
  • By the time it is completed in 2041, the project could cost around $15 billion.
  • At 665 acres, the Port City development could eventually double the size of the nation's capital.

Sri Lanka's $1.4 billion Port City development has elicited parallels to a number of major urban centers. At 665 acres, the project is about the same size as central London, but its design resembles cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai.

A decade ago, the idea of a Sri Lankan city that rivaled the world's leading financial hubs seemed implausible. From 1983 to 2009, the nation was ravaged by a brutal civil war between its military and an insurgent group called the Tamil Tigers. By the end of the conflict, hundreds of thousands of civilians had been killed and the city had spent more than $200 billion on war costs.

Less than ten years later, the nation has devised a plan for bringing jobs and economic opportunity to its capital city, Colombo. Through the development of a new metropolis inside the capital, officials estimate that Colombo could eventually double in size. Already, Colombo is the most populous city in Sri Lanka, with around 750,000 residents in its urban core.

Though the concept of Port City originated in 2004, its plans were delayed until after the war. Around that time, Sri Lanka saw an influx of Chinese investment, which the country put toward major infrastructure improvements. The partnership ran into trouble when Sri Lanka had difficulty repaying its debt, while China was accused of using its investments to wield political influence.

In 2014, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe suspended the Port City project, citing concerns about damage to the coastline. This angered the project's investor, China Communications Construction Company, which claimed to be losing $380,000 a day while the development was in limbo. By 2016, the plan was back in motion with a new set of environmental protections.

According to the site's developer, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the project is still on track to complete its reclamation efforts and the first phase of infrastructure by 2020. Port City is set to be finished in 2041, at which point its costs could reach $15 billion.

Here's what it might look like in the future.

To build the city, developers are using dredgers to gather up sand from the bottom of the ocean.


Drone footage of the project's four dredgers.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


CHEC ultimately plans to add 65 million cubic meters (around 17 billion gallons) of sand along the shore.



Environmental groups have raised concerns about the destruction of aquatic life, which could damage the livelihood of local fishermen. But developers contend that dredging won't pose a threat.


Environmental groups have raised concerns about the destruction of aquatic life, which could damage the livelihood of local fishermen. But developers contend that dredging won't pose a threat.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


CHEC recently obtained a permit that allows it to dredge 5 kilometers from the coastline and only at depths at or below 15 meters. The organization is also prohibited from dredging in areas near reef habitats or fishing grounds.

To account for the economic cost to local fishermen, the company has set aside nearly $7 million to be distributed among fishing associations over the course of three years.



Developers have completed more than 90% of their reclamation efforts, putting them on track to finish by June 2019.


Drone footage of Colombo.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


The project has received a $1.4 billion investment, but the sand itself could cost more than double that amount.


The project has received a $1.4 billion investment, but the sand itself could cost more than double that amount.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


Colombo's Centre for Environmental Justice estimates that the development will require around 100 million cubic meters of sand, worth around $3.2 billion.



The financial district features high-quality office space, a shopping plaza, and a cultural park.


Colombo International Financial Centre

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


A "central park" borders the main canal, providing space for outdoor recreation and events.


A "central park" borders the main canal, providing space for outdoor recreation and events.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


The entire development features 110 acres of public parks and 300 acres for recreation and water sports.



Building heights decrease in the direction of prevailing winds and waterfronts, allowing for increased air circulation within the city.


Building heights decrease in the direction of prevailing winds and waterfronts, allowing for increased air circulation within the city.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


The city is designed specifically for residential and commercial use — no industrial activities are allowed.


The city is designed specifically for residential and commercial use — no industrial activities are allowed.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


According to development officials, other planned projects in Sri Lanka will satisfy the need for industrial space.



Transit developments and walkways will connect residents to local landmarks like Galle Face Beach, Beira Lake, and Viharamabedevi Park.


Transit developments and walkways will connect residents to local landmarks like Galle Face Beach, Beira Lake, and Viharamabedevi Park.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


The city is expected to host around 80,000 residents and 250,000 daily commuters.


The city is expected to host around 80,000 residents and 250,000 daily commuters.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


It could be also be governed by its own legal system.


It could be also be governed by its own legal system.

(CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd)


The system is still being discussed, and will require approval from Sri Lanka's parliament and council of ministers.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 12, 2018 13:55

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'I looked at her lustfully then kissed her. She didn't resist,' Mugabe reveals how his adulterous affair with Grace began.

"She didn’t protest or refuse and then I said to myself..its game over"

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has opened up on how his adulterous affair with Grace Mugabe unfolded, saying he just "grabbed and kissed" her when she was still his secretary and "she didn't resist".

Speaking at the funeral of Grace’s mother over the weekend, an emotional Mugabe narrated to guests how he fell in love with his wife when she became his secretary.

play Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe (Courtesy)


"... She [Grace] came as a secretary and they were many of them, I just looked at them and then it was love at first sight with Grace. Then I said to her one day, I love you and she didn’t respond," Mugabe was quoted as saying by

I then grabbed her hand and I kissed her. She didn’t protest or refuse and then I said to myself now that she has accepted to be kissed, it's game over.."


This happened while his now late wife Sally Mugabe was suffering from renal complications and was unable to bear children for the former president who said he needed someone to give his mother grandchildren.

play Mugabe – a staunch catholic - said he was torn apart between obeying the Catholic Church doctrine against adultery and pleasing his mother who wanted grandchildren. (Courtesy)


Mugabe – a staunch catholic - said he was torn apart between obeying the Catholic Church doctrine against adultery and pleasing his mother who wanted grandchildren.

“Yes, we had gotten involved when Sally was still alive, I had to. Grace and I never dated either, I was just introduced to her and I said to myself she is a beautiful girl,"  he said.

The 94-year-old eventually married Grace in 1996 and have two children to date, Robert Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 12, 2018 13:32

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Tech elites are now paying $2,750 a year to freeze stem cells from liposuctioned fat as a 'back up' for a longer life.

A startup called Forever Labs offers tech elites a chance to save their young stem cells in the hopes that they can use them to help fight disease and live longer. The cells are mostly siphoned from bone marrow, but now they can come from fat that's removed via liposuction, too.

  • A startup called Forever Labs freezes and stores people's stem cells as a kind of back-up drive for their future selves.
  • The company is now offering a way to bank stem cells from fat stores instead of bone marrow.
  • Stem cells have a range of potential therapeutic uses in conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, since they can turn into any kind of cell.
  • But for now, stem cells are used only for very limited purposes, like treating cancer.

Your next effort to prolong your life could involve an awkward conversation with your plastic surgeon. Don't throw away the fat you've just removed from my liposuction procedure, you might ask them. Instead, save the excess material because it's rich in stem cells.

Beginning this week, longevity startup Forever Labs will offer its customers the ability to bank the stem cells in their fat stores — the same material that's removed and destroyed after liposuction. Those stem cells are seen as a key component of health. Some believe they may also hold the keys to a longer, better life.

Founded in 2015, Forever Labs collaborates with a network of specialized doctors to siphon stem cells from customers' bone marrow. The company is now also partnering with some plastic surgeons to allow people who are already undergoing liposuction to bank the stem cells from the fat that would otherwise be discarded.

“If you’re going to throw them in the garbage, you might as well bank them,” Mark Katakowski, Forever Labs' co-founder and CEO, told Business Insider.

Forever Labs then freezes the stem cells, delivers them to one of its cell-banking facilities, and maintains them under careful conditions. The hope is that one day, more advanced science will allow patients to have their own young cells injected back into their bodies. According to this line of thinking, these cells could then do everything from fight aging to help treat diseases like diabetes.

"This is like a back-up," Katakowski said.

Forever Labs charges $2,750 per year or a one-time payment of $7,000 to harvest a customer's stem cells from the bone marrow extracted by an orthopedic surgeon. (The surgery is included in that cost.) The new method using fat is $1,000 cheaper for those paying annually, but the one-time payment costs the same.

What a bank of your stem cells might be used for


A tray of stem cells at the University of Connecticut's Stem Cell Institute.

(Getty Images/Spencer Platt)


A medical physicist and former research scientist for the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan, Katakowski was spurred to bank his own stem cells in 2015 after studying their therapeutic potential in mice.

Stem cells are unique because they can develop into many different cell types, from those that make up muscle tissue to those that form the neurons in our brain. For that reason, scientists have long hoped that stem cells could be used to regenerate failing tissues or organs as an alternative to transplants, which are expensive, time-consuming, and come with a risk of rejection. Instead of getting a transplanted kidney from a donor, for example, a patient could one day hope to receive a sample of his or her own stem cells, programmed to generate a new kidney.

But stem cells are only widely used today for one procedure: bone marrow transplants. The transplants are typically used by leukemia patients who undergo the treatment in conjunction with chemotherapy as a means of replacing the healthy stem cells that the chemo has destroyed.

"Right now that’s the only approved use of stem cells," Allison Mayle, a cancer researcher at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, told Business Insider.

In recent years, scientists have been studying how to use stem cells to treat a range of other conditions that involve a specific type of failing cell, such as type 1 diabetes (where the body's immune system destroys the pancreas' insulin-producing beta cells), macular degeneration, and heart disease. So far, however, those trials have only included a very small number of patients; more extensive studies have only been carried out in lab animals.

Ronna Parsa, a Los Angeles-based orthopedic surgeon, has been contracted with Forever Labs to do bone marrow stem cell draws since March. Since then, she's done roughly five procedures, or roughly one draw each month. She also banked her own stem cells with Forever Labs.

"After doing the research I can just see the vast potential for these types of therapies in the future," Parsa told Business Insider. "By freezing my 32-year-old stem cells, hopefully when I’m 50 or 60 or 70 I can use those."

Mayle agrees that the therapies could have potential, but she isn't sure they'll come to fruition in time for most patients to see a benefit.

"Would this be something that's going to happen in our lifetime? It's hard to tell," Mayle said. "There certainly are things that could work in the next five to ten years, but they also might not."

'An ace in my pocket'

Nevertheless, stem cell banking is beginning to emerge as a trend. One recent report projected that the global stem cell banking market would grow from $6.3 billion in 2018 to $9.3 billion by 2023. Katakowski wouldn't share how many customers he's had so far, but said most hail from areas with tech meccas, like Silicon Valley and New York City.

In the US, hundreds of providers currently offer stem cell banking. A handful also offer unproven anti-aging therapies using the cells. One such company, Houston-based Celltex Therapeutics, used to inject patients with retrieved stem cells, and once treated Texas governor Rick Perry. But Celltex stopped offering the service in the US in 2012 after regulators warned them that they lacked federal approval.

Katakowski said Forever Labs is not offering any stem cell therapies, just the ability to store the cells until peer-reviewed science makes proven therapies available.

"In the back of your mind you know you've got it," Katakowski said. "It gives you a little piece of mind. Is it going to be a get-out-of-jail-free card or an ace in my pocket? It might."

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 12, 2018 13:28

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Is India Ready to Legalize Crypto? Officials Visit Japan & UK to Study Policies.

While the Supreme Court of India hears the crypto exchange industry’s case against the central bank following the latter’s banking ban, regulators are exploring regulatory policies for the nascent sector.

Businesses and associations in the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector are expected to participate in the hearing alongside the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), to discuss the future of the cryptocurrency market of India.

In its annual report, SEBI revealed that it has sent government officials to Japan, UK, and Switzerland to study cryptocurrency regulations in overseas markets with active digital asset exchanges and communities.

Unexpected Variable

In July, the supreme court of India declined to reverse the ban on cryptocurrency trading imposed by the Central Bank of India, requesting banks to maintain a strict ban on providing any financial services to cryptocurrency-related businesses.

Speaking to Bloomberg, law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co partner Anand Bhushan said that apart from the government’s concerns regarding money laundering, there exists risk in allowing digital currencies as a medium of exchange due to a large amount of speculation and volatility.

“Nobody is able to price the risk currently. The minute you have clarity on exchanges and whether digital currencies can be used as a medium of exchange or payment, or if it is a commodity, there will be less speculation and much more stability in pricing,” Bhushan said.

But, as SFOX head of growth Danny Kim said, the entrance of large-scale investment firms into the cryptocurrency market has led to an increase in stability, as seen in the price movement of Bitcoin throughout August, when it recorded its most stable month since June of 2017.

“Before institutional firms were actively trading crypto or heavily involved (before 2018) bitcoin price differences between exchanges varied as high as 4.5%,” Kim explained.

The increase in stability, as well as the recognition of cryptocurrency exchanges as regulated financial institutions by major regions such as Japan, South Korea, France, UK, and the US could encourage India to reverse its ban.

Analysts expect that the exposure of local government officials to overseas markets that have demonstrated a high level of growth in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space could act as an unforeseen variable that may redirect the long-term strategy of SEBI.

As seen in the 50 percent increase in cryptocurrency and blockchain-related job growth in Asia and the decision of governments to consider the blockchain as one of the three core technologies in the fourth industrial revolution alongside big data and AI, a complete ban on cryptocurrency trading could result in voluntary isolation.

As large the economy of India is, Europe has continued to lag behind Japan and South Korea since 2012 in both trading volume and industry growth due to their initial rejection of the market.

This week, the European Commission, the executive branch that drafts legislation for the EU, acknowledged the cryptocurrency sector as a legitimate industry, given the rapid growth rate of the market despite its volatility.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the vice president of the European Commission, said:

“We also had a good exchange of views on crypto-assets. We see that crypto-assets are here to stay. Despite the recent turbulence, this market continues to grow.”…o-study-policies/

Dominic Solomon Posted on September 12, 2018 10:25

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‘Slice’ Is a ‘Drunkenly Scribbled’ Horror Comedy About Prejudice, and Gentrification A24 brings you the story of “a ghost, a werewolf, and a pretty s—y pizza place”

“Slice,” the feature film debut for Chance the Rapper and his childhood friend, writer-director Austin Vesely, had its premiere and sole theatrical screenings on Monday night, just before distributor A24 surprise-dropped it on iTunes, digital and on-demand like it’s a new Beyoncé album.

“It was a drunken scribble in a notebook that I turned into a script for a short film,” writer/director Vesely joked during a Q&A after its Chicago screening, which was simulcast to the screenings in 20 other cities.

That quip was appropriate for the very laissez-faire occasion, at least from the ground in Los Angeles, where the scene at the Regal Cinema L.A. Live in downtown was the opposite of a big premiere to-do. Almost no signage to even signify the movie was showing could be seen, and attendees weren’t even sure what they were in for.

“So what’s this movie supposed to be about,” one 20-something woman asked while making her way into the theater.

Well, the logline in the film’s trailer says it all: “It’s a story about a ghost, a werewolf and a pretty s–ty pizza place.

Also Read: Chance the Rapper Film Debut 'Slice' Just Dropped Online Like a Beyoncé Album

The horror-comedy, also starring Paul Scheer, who shot his scenes in one 15-hour day, Rae Gray (“Fear the Walking Dead”) and “Atlanta’s” Zazie Beetz (most recently seen in “Deadpool 2”), is a whodunit murder mystery in a world where humans, ghosts, ghouls, witches and werewolves live side-by-side.

The film follows the events in the spooky, corrupt small town of Kingfisher. The town has had a bit of a ghost problem since an asylum, where patients were tortured and experimented on, burned down and the victims were buried in a mass unmarked grave. It’s explained that the mayor designated a part of town — aptly named Ghost Town — for the ghosts to live so they’re not disrupting the human occupants. Not exactly a subtle political metaphor.

By the way, that unmarked grave turns out to actually be a gateway to hell and, oh, home to a pizza restaurant staffed by a rag tag group of employees. When restaurant’s deliverers start being killed, the town goes into a panic, blaming ghosts, a werewolf — he’ll tell you he’s not that kind of werewolf — and anyone else who fits the crime per local prejudices. In order to clear their names and uncover the truth, a group including a ghost, a werewolf and a journalist set out to solve the mysterious murders.

Also Read: 'Slice' Trailer: Chance the Rapper, Zazie Beetz Solve One Hell of a Pizza Murder Mystery (Video)

“When I write stuff it never ends up being something that fits a formula that you’re familiar with,” Vesely said. “But also it’s the politics.”

The cast in attendance for the Q&A talked about how the unique script attracted them to the project, which was shot on a shoestring budget (so much so, in fact, the ghosts are just actors with white face paint to make them look dead).

“I just thought the script was so fun and funky. I love things that just commit to what they are,” said Beetz, who started filming “Slice” before the season one premiere of “Atlanta.”

The film surely knows what it is. The stylized, often campy, noir throws twists, horror and mystery tropes, as well as plenty of off kilter jokes left and right. And the audience lapped it up. When jokes landed and the clever tone really seemed to work overtime to elevate the film, the audience would burst into laughter — particularly the boisterous guy who sat behind me and seemed to enjoy every nugget the film had to offer.

Albert Ulebe Posted on September 12, 2018 09:17

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GIS reveals over 4,000 irregular Ghanaian migrants returned from Libya in 2017

About 4,092 Ghanaian migrants returned from Libya in 2017, figures from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has revealed.

According to Chief Superintendent James Hayford Boadi, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Head of the Immigration Information Centre of the GIS, most of the returnees were from Brong-Ahafo.

Instead of leaving the country through the appropriate routes, the migrants risked their lives through the Sahara Desert to Libya and cross the Mediterranean to Europe, he said.

Speaking at the opening session of a returnees’ needs assessment workshop on Monday in Sunyani, Chief Superintendent Boadi said irregular migration was becoming a national challenge which needed concerted efforts to tackle.

The Ghana Centre for Jobs, Migration and Re-integration (MIAC) of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations organised the two-day workshop attended by about 85 returnees.

Most often Ghanaians voluntary returnees arrived without significant awareness of the changing dynamics in the country after years and sometimes decades of absence.

Research showed that the alienation experienced in the country had a direct effect on the ease of reintegration.

Currently, about 800,000 Ghanaians live and work outside their home country.

The workshop was however aimed at providing information on opportunities in the Ghanaian labour market and skilled vocational training for the interested returnees to get employment, become self-reliant and stay comfortable in Ghana.

Chief Superintendent Boadi noted that since the migrants entered Europe irregularly, most of them only had the option of applying for asylum with little prospect of success while others lived precariously.

Globally, he said more than 3,233 irregular African migrants died in 2017, adding that from January to August this year more than 1,549 deaths were recorded mostly on the Mediterranean.

Mr. Kwasi Awuah Ababio, Director of Diasporian Affairs at the office of the President, said numerous economic opportunities were available in the country and advised the youth to stay home and take advantage of that to build their future. He urged the youth who were determined to travel abroad to choose the regular labour migration routes in order not to be stranded.

joshua Posted on September 12, 2018 08:14

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How Facebook 'became a beast' in Myanmar

Decades of ethnic and religious tensions, a sudden explosion of internet access, and a company that had trouble identifying and removing the most hateful posts.

It all added up to a perfect storm in Myanmar, where the United Nations says Facebook had a "determining role" in whipping up anger against the Rohingya minority.

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended," Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said in March.

The company admits failures and has moved to address the problems. But how did Facebook's dream of a more open and connected world go wrong in one south-east Asian country?

Enter Facebook

"Nowadays, everyone can use the internet," says Thet Swei Win, director of Synergy, an organisation that works to promote social harmony between ethnic groups in Myanmar.

That wasn't the case in Myanmar five years ago.

Outside influence had been kept to a minimum during the decades when the military dominated the country. But with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, and her election as Myanmar's de facto leader, the government began to liberalise business - including, crucially, the telecoms sector.

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The effect was dramatic, according to Elizabeth Mearns of BBC Media Action, the BBC's international development charity.

"A SIM card was about $200 [before the changes]," she says. "In 2013, they opened up access to other telecom companies and the SIM cards dropped to $2. Suddenly it became incredibly accessible."

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionFor many in Myanmar, Facebook is synonymous with the internet

And after they bought an inexpensive phone and a cheap SIM card, there was one app that everybody in Myanmar wanted: Facebook. The reason? Google and some of the other big online portals didn't support Burmese text, but Facebook did.

"People were immediately buying internet accessible smart phones and they wouldn't leave the shop unless the Facebook app had been downloaded onto their phones," Mearns says.

Thet Swei Win believes that because the bulk of the population had little prior internet experience, they were especially vulnerable to propaganda and misinformation.

"We have no internet literacy," he told Trending. "We have no proper education on how to use the internet, how to filter the news, how to use the internet effectively. We did not have that kind of knowledge."

Ethnic tensions

Out of a population of about 50 million, around 18 million in Myanmar are regular Facebook users.

But Facebook and the telecoms companies which gave millions their first access to the internet do not appear to have been ready to grapple with the ethnic and religious tensions inside the country.

The enmity goes deep. Rohingyas are denied Burmese citizenship. Many in the Buddhist ruling class do not even consider them a distinct ethnic group - instead they refer to them as "Bengalis", a term that deliberately emphasises their separateness from the rest of the country.

Last year's military operation in the north-west Rakhine state was designed, the government says, to root out militants. It resulted in more than 700,000 people fleeing for neighbouring Bangladesh - something that the United Nations calls the world's fastest growing refugee crisis.

A UN report has said top military figures in Myanmar must be investigated for genocide in Rakhine state and crimes against humanity in other areas. But the government of Myanmar has rejected those allegations.

Facebook 'weaponised'

The combination of ethnic tensions and a booming social media market was toxic. Since the beginning of mass internet use in Myanmar, inflammatory posts against Rohingya have regularly appeared on Facebook,

Thet Swei Win said he was horrified by the anti-Rohingya material he has seen being shared. "Facebook is being weaponised," he told BBC Trending.

Image copyrightREUTERS

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In August, a Reuters investigation found more than 1,000 Burmese posts, comments and pornographic images attacking the Rohingya and other Muslims.

"To be honest I thought we might find at best a couple of hundred examples I thought that would make the point," says Reuters investigative reporter Steve Stecklow, who worked with Burmese-speaking colleagues on the story.

Stecklow says some of the material was extremely violent and graphic.

"It was sickening to read and I had to keep saying to people 'Are you OK? Do you want to take a break?'"

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionSome posts on Facebook expressed the hope that fleeing Rohingya refugees would drown at sea

"When I sent it to Facebook, I put a warning on the email saying I just want you to know these are very disturbing things," he says. "What was so remarkable was that [some of] this had been on Facebook for five years and it wasn't until we notified them in August that it was removed."

Several of the posts catalogued by Stecklow and his team described Rohingyas as dogs or pigs.

"This is a way of dehumanising a group," Stecklow says. "Then when things like genocide happen, potentially there may not be a public uproar or outcry as people don't even view these people as people."

Lack of staff

The material that the Reuters team found clearly contravened Facebook's community guidelines, the rules that dictate what is and is not allowed on the platform. All of the posts were removed after the investigation, although the BBC has since found similar material still live on the site.

So why did the social network fail to grasp how it was being used to spread propaganda?

One reason, according to Mearns, Stecklow and others, was that the company had difficulty with interpreting certain words.

For example, one particular racial slur - "kalar" - can be a highly derogatory term used against Muslims, or have a much more innocent meaning: "chickpea".

In 2017, Stecklow says, the company banned the term, but later revoked the ban because of the word's dual meaning.

There were also software problems which meant that many mobile phone users in Myanmar had difficulties reading Facebook's instructions for how to report worrying material.

But there was also a much more fundamental issue - the lack of Burmese-speaking content monitors. According to the Reuters report, the company had just one such employee in 2014, a number that had increased to four the following year.

The company now has 60 and hopes to have around 100 Burmese speakers by the end of this year.

Multiple warnings

Following the explosion in Facebook use in Myanmar, the company did receive multiple warnings from individuals about how the platform was being used to spread anti-Rohingya hate speech.

In 2013, Australian documentary maker Aela Callan raised concerns with a senior Facebook manager. The next year a doctoral student named Matt Schissler has a series of interactions with employees, which resulted in some content being removed.

And in 2015, tech entrepreneur David Madden travelled to Facebook's headquarters in California to give managers a presentation on how he had seen the platform used to stir up hate in Myanmar.

"They were warned so many times," Madden told Reuters. "It couldn't have been presented to them more clearly, and they didn't take the necessary steps."

Accounts removed

Facebook did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Since last year, the company has taken some action. In August, Facebook removed 18 accounts and 52 pages linked to Burmese officials. One account on Instagram, which Facebook owns, was also closed. The company said it "found evidence that many of these individuals and organizations committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country."


Image captionRadical Buddhist monk Wirathu's Facebook page was removed earlier this year

Between them, the accounts and pages were followed by almost 12 million people.

In January this year, Facebook also removed the account of Ashin Wirathu, a radical monk famed for his angry speeches which stoking fears against Muslims.

'Too slow'

In a statement, Facebook has admitted that in Myanmar it was "too slow to prevent misinformation and hate", and acknowledged that countries that are new to the internet and social media are susceptible to the spreading of hate.

The subject of hate speech on the platform came up in early September, when Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, testified in front of a US Senate committee.

Image copyrightDREW ANGERER

Image captionSheryl Sandberg says Facebook is committed to tackling hate speech

"Hate is against our policies and we take strong measures to take it down. We also publish publicly what our hate-speech standards are," she said. "We care tremendously about civil rights."

When Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of Congress in April, he was asked specifically about events in Myanmar, and said that in addition to hiring more Burmese speakers, the company was also working with local groups to identify "specific hate figures" and creating a team that would help identify similar issues in Myanmar and other countries in the future.

Elizabeth Mearns from BBC Media Action, believes that while it is Facebook's role in Myanmar that is currently under scrutiny, the situation is just one example of a far wider issue.

"We are definitely now in a situation where content on social media is directly affecting people's real life. It's affecting the way people vote. It's affecting the way people behave towards each other, and it's creating violence and conflict," she says.

"The international community understands now, I think, that it needs to step up and understand technology. And understand what's happening on social media in their countries or in other countries."

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seth Posted on September 12, 2018 07:52

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Marie Colvin: Reporter's last days retold for cinema

In 2012, in the besieged city of Homs, photojournalist Paul Conroy was lucky to escape alive when a makeshift media centre came under fire from Syrian government forces. His colleagues Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were killed. A new documentary Under the Wire tells the story - the first of two films this year to feature Colvin and Conroy.

Despite the violent way she died, there are times when Conroy can only smile at the memory of the war correspondent Colvin.

"I met Marie about 15 years ago. We were both trying to get into northern Iraq from Syria. I'd built a boat to cross the Tigris river out of lorry inner tubes and bits of wood and basically string.

"But I got captured and was sent back and in the journalists' bar no one would speak to me because they all thought I'd spoiled their chances of getting in. Then Marie walked in and she said - who and where is the 'Boatman'? I put my hand up and she said, 'Boatman, can I buy you a whiskey?' That was the start of it."

After that Conroy bumped into the Sunday Times' US-born correspondent several times. As a resourceful photo-journalist with a similar taste for the field of battle, he was aware of her reputation.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionPaul Conroy was trusted by Marie Colvin

"She was notoriously difficult and some photographers she worked with found her scary. And she would just dump them if they didn't fit.

"Marie and I worked together in Libya for the Sunday Times and once there was a guy who was to fill in for me for a couple of days. But almost at once Marie was on the phone saying get back here now - she'd already sent this guy off 300 miles and she never spoke to him again."

Under the Wire, directed by film-maker Chris Martin, doesn't try to portray Colvin as an easy colleague.

He remembers he was filming in the Caribbean when he heard of her death. "And I saw material on YouTube of Paul trapped in Syria. I saw that the people I was working with were really concerned about his fate and I knew at once there was a story to be told."

Martin's documentary shows what happens after Colvin and Conroy arrive in Homs through a 3km storm drain.

Conroy says the city was the obvious fulcrum of the story. The government of President Bashar al-Assad saw Homs as the major centre of revolt and was ready to crush dissent there.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionEdith Bouvier is flown home to France after escaping to Lebanon

Conroy says just getting in was difficult. "We spent a week or two in Beirut making contacts. From there we went up into the mountains between Lebanon and Syria, where we met with members of the Free Syrian Army (a loose anti-Assad coalition). They took us over the border at night time through minefields, dodging army checkpoints. They then handed us over to another unit of the Free Syrian Army.

"It took about three days to go 30 kilometres. But the only way into Baba Amr - the part of Homs really getting hammered - was by this storm drain about 4ft high. We went through it bent double and carrying all our kit. We were pulled out of the tunnel, thrown in the back of a truck and ran the gauntlet of Syrian forces.

Conroy says the few journalists around Homs were aware of the risks. "I was told by a Lebanese source that Syrian government policy was to kill any journalists and then drop the bodies on the battlefield. It was a horrible situation and the film makes that very clear."

Martin makes no apologies for having filled in pictorial gaps in the narrative. "We went to extraordinary lengths to find video material. A lot of it was just the odd five seconds taken in Homs by activists; it took a massive amount of tracking down, not just in the Middle East. We found things like a Skype call made from the journalists' base in Homs at the moment the rockets hit."

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionMarie Colvin at a service for journalists, cameramen and support staff to have died in war zones

But he says some 15 minutes of the running time consists of reconstructions of what happened to Colville and Conroy and to the other four journalists with them before the fatal attack - Edith Bouvier, Remi Ochlik and William Daniels, who were all French, and the Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa.

Martin acknowledges this is not a the film like this might have been made only a few years ago.

"We had just three or four minutes of material which Paul had shot - everything else was destroyed when the rockets came in. But we did find some footage of the tunnel and even of Paul and Marie in Homs working on what turned out to be Marie's last piece of journalism.

"So we pieced together that archive with our interview with Paul and with the testament of Edith Bouvier and William Daniels - and of Wael their brave translator. That was the spine of the film."

But Martin says the documentary market is changing and as a result he decided he needed to shoot high-quality extra material to knit the story together.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionRosamund Pike is to play Colvin in a feature film called a Private War

The production team decamped to northern Morocco to stage a version of the storm drain sequence. Additional interiors were shot in London. The craft skills on display mean the documentary often has the feel of a well-produced feature film.

"Documentaries like Under the Wire are now mainly going to be seen first on theatrical release," he says. "They're not just for TV. And if you're in cinemas you're competing with feature films which might cost $100m (£77m) or more. So we have to engage the viewer. We can't expect audiences to come and find the story on our terms."

The American director Matthew Heineman has also been at work on the life of Colvin. A Private War, which in part tells the same story, is due for release this year. But Heineman has made a feature film, starring Rosamund Pike as Colvin and with Jamie Dornan as Conroy.

In real life Conroy only realised back in London how badly he'd been hurt in the attack, which killed Colvin and Ochlik.

"Obviously I knew I had a huge hole in the back of my leg. But in London I found out I also had a great big piece of shrapnel wedged under my kidneys. I had 23 operations on my leg and others on my abdomen and back. I was in hospital for five months.

"There's still a story to be told in Syria. I can't even begin to say how deeply I regret Marie and Remi dying. But do I regret going in and trying to do our job? Absolutely not."

Under the Wire is on release.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

seth Posted on September 12, 2018 05:33

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'Bachelor' and "Bachelor in Paradise" fan favorite Amanda Stanton has been arrested for domestic battery after a drunken post-bachelorette party incident with her boyfriend ... TMZ has learned. Sources familiar with what went down tell us Stanton was partying with friends at The Encore for a co-ed bachelorette event. We're told Stanton's bf, Bobby Jacobs, was there too ... and everyone was celebrating in a room at the hotel.

Law enforcement tells us security came to the room for a noise complaint, and Bobby was talking to the guard. We're told that's when an apparently boozed up Amanda tried to intervene, and shoved Bobby in the process. We're told the shove was hard enough for security to call cops, who arrested Amanda for misdemeanor domestic violence.

She was released Monday. Sources close to Amanda tell us she and Bobby are still together, and they both think someone slipped something -- a drug, presumably -- into her drink. Stanton was a fave on Ben Higgins' season of "The Bachelor" ... finishing 4th. She went on to appear on season 3 of "Bachelor in Paradise" and got engaged to Josh Murray, but things went south quickly. We reached out to Bobby and Amanda ... so far, no word back.

Nii Sackey Posted on September 12, 2018 03:02

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