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Showing posts from December, 2017

Kourtney Kardashian Jokes About Pregnant Kylie Jenner's Absence in New Family Christmas Picture

Even the family is in on it now!
Kourtney Kardashian gave fans a look at the reality TV family dressed up for mom Kris Jenner‘s annual Christmas Eve party last week on Instagram, Saturday. Alongside the image, the oldest Kardashian seemingly poked fun at the fact that sister Kylie Jenner has been missing from family photos (including the Christmas card!) more frequently since news broke in September that she’s expecting her first child with boyfriend Travis Scott.

“When you can’t find the rest of the family for the photo …” Kourtney, 38, captioned the shot in which she posed with Kim Kardashian West, Kendall Jenner, Kris and pregnant Khloé Kardashian, who showed off her baby bump. Kim’s 4-year-old daughter North West also joined the photo, as well as Kourtney’s daughter Penelope Disick, 5.
When you can’t find the rest of the family for the photo ... A post shared by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on Dec 30, 2017 at 4:12pm PST Though Kylie’s absence was the most obvious, ot…

Rouhani acknowledges Iranian discontent as protests continue

Iranian authorities have threatened a crackdown against protesters and scrambled to block social media apps allegedly used to incite unrest as the biggest demonstrations in nearly a decade continued for a fourth day.
People across Iran took to the streets again on Sunday evening in defiance of a heavy presence of riot police and state warnings to stay away.
The demonstrations began over economic grievances on Thursday but have since taken on a political dimension, with unprecedented calls for the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to step down.
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, in his first comments about the protests, aired on national television on Sunday night, said “people have the right to criticise”, but said the authorities would not tolerate antisocial behaviour. He said criticism was “different from violence and destroying pubic properties”.
Officials said they arrested at least 200 people during demonstrations in central Tehran on Saturday. It was not clear how many we…

Theresa May considers move for Boris Johnson in cabinet reshuffle

PM believed to be working on new year changes to refresh senior team and attempt to reassert her authority

Theresa May is preparing a new year reshuffle that could see a number of cabinet figures losing their positions in an attempt to refresh the Conservative front bench.
The prime minister is said to be considering offering the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson a move to a Brexit delivery role based in another department, but he is likely to resist such a move.
May’s decision to shake up her team comes after fierce disagreements within Downing Street about how sensible such a move would be.
Some of those around the prime minister, including her former chief whip, Gavin Williamson, have urged caution because of the ramifications of placing sacked ministers on the backbenches. Others could also feel aggrieved at being overlooked.
But May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, has received the backing of Williamson’s successor, Julian Smith, about the benefits of promoting younger MPs.


Colorado police shooting: Police deputy dead as five officers shot in dramatic shoot-out

A POLICE deputy has been killed after five officers were shot in a dramatic incident at an apartment block.

Police were responding to a domestic incident at a home in Douglas County, Colorado, when they were shot according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's office said on Twitter: "Update, we have multiple deputies down, no update on their status. The scene remains active and please avoid the area."
At least eight ambulances raced to the scene following the shooting at about 5.15am on Sunday, which killed one deputy after five were shot at.
It is believed the gunman was shot and killed, after the sheriff's office said the suspect was "no longer a threat".
A civilian was also wounded in the early morning shootout, with at least seven people being taken to two hospitals.
Following the shooting, a heavily-armed SWAT team and the bomb squad surrounded a block of flats where the suspected gunman was believed to be holed up.

Images fr…

Second ship suspected of smuggling oil to N. Korea seized

South Korea has seized a second ship as part of what it describes as an ongoing effort to monitor North Korea's attempts to evade UN sanctions.
Officials seized the KOTI, a Panamanian-flagged vessel, after it was suspected of illegally selling oil to North Korea, maritime authorities told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The ship, which can carry 5,100 metric tons of oil, is currently docked in Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port on South Korea's west coast after security officials reportedly decided on December 21 not to allow the vessel to leave the port, according to Yonhap citing a local maritime office.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry told CNN Sunday that authorities have launched an investigation into a ship it has seized, but it would not give further details "due to the sensitivity of the issue," about whether that vessel was suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in violation of international sanctions on the hermit kingdom.

"We are closely monitoring …

Iran restricts social media and issues stern warning to protesters

Iran restricted access to several social media apps Sunday and warned that anti-government protesters who cause public disorder will "pay the price" after three days of demonstrations across the country.
Instagram and Telegram have been temporarily "restricted" in order to ensure calm and security, state-run media outlet IRIB reported Sunday.
Social media has been vital resource for Iranians participating in the protests -- described as the largest public display of discontent since the 2009 Green Movement in Iran.
While independent media coverage from inside the country has been limited, protesters have used apps like Telegram, which offers public channels for users in addition to encrypted messaging, to share information and videos of protests and clashes. Official media outlets have provided few details about the protests.
Telegram's CEO tweeted that Iranian authorities had blocked access to Telegram for "the majority of Iranians" after the compan…

Alexa? Cortana? Siri? Choosing the Right Smart Speaker

Move over, Alexa. While Amazon pioneered the internet-connected speaker that responds to voice commands, it now has plenty of competition from other tech heavyweights. Even the original Amazon Echo has six Alexa-powered alternatives vying for your attention and dollars.

Digital assistants on these speakers -- Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana and soon Apple's Siri -- can play music, set timers and read off your calendar events. These speakers can also serve as a gateway to controlling other internet-connected appliances, such as smart lights, thermostats and even streaming video on TVs.
Here's a guide to choosing one for you or a loved one.

The Choices
Amazon's $100 Echo is smaller and costs half what the original did at its 2014 debut. Variations range from the $50 Echo Dot, which has a lower-quality speaker, to the $230 Echo Show, which has a touch screen.
Google's speaker, the $129 Google Home, no longer challenges the main Echo on price.…

BREAKING: Sea-plane with ‘four British passengers’ crashes into Hawkesbury River in Sydney

A SEA plane has crashed into the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney killing six people - four of them are reported to be British.

The plane was discovered upside down at the bottom of Corwan Creek under 13 metres of water.
A police spokesperson has said: “'For reason that are not known at this stage, the plane has hit the water and it has subsequently sunk.
“At the time of the collision, there was a pilot and five passengers on board. I can confirm the six people on the plane are deceased.'

Local reports say four of the passengers were British and an 11-year-old boy was among the dead.
The plane was believed to have been travelling from the Cottage Point Inn to Rose Bay.

TV journalist for 7NewsSydney, Freya Cole, tweeted: "Horrific details coming out of this seaplane crash in the Hawkesbury River.
"Among the six victims are believed to be an 11 year old boy, the pilot and 4 British nationals."
The crash took place at 3:10pm local time.

Debris and oil were foun…

Donald Trump becomes the first president in 40 years not to visit Canada in his first year

At midnight Sunday, Donald Trump will become the first U.S. president since Jimmy Carter not to visit Canada in his first calendar year in office, though former diplomats said they would not make too much of Trump’s absence.

WASHINGTON—Ronald Reagan made his first presidential trip to Canada four months into his term.
George H.W. Bush visited Canada just three weeks into his term.
For Bill Clinton, it was two-and-a-half months. For George W. Bush, it was three months. And for Barack Obama, it was one month.
Donald Trump? To be determined.
With 2017 about to end, Trump is set to become the first U.S. president in 40 years, since Jimmy Carter, not to visit Canada in his first calendar year in office.
For four of the six presidents who preceded Trump — Obama, Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Reagan — Canada was the very first foreign destination. For Trump, it will be, at earliest, the 15th, and probably lower.
Trump is likely to attend the G7 summit in Quebec in June. There are no cu…

Vladimir Putin urges 'cooperation' over 'global threats' in the New Year amid WW3 fears

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has urged for “pragmatic cooperation” between Russia and the US in a message to Donald Trump, it has been revealed.

A telegram was sent to to the US President from Putin as one of a series of messages issued to world leaders on Saturday, the Kremlin said.
Putin said: “The development of a constructive Russian-US dialogue is particularly important for strengthening strategic stability in the world and finding the optimal answers to global threats and challenges."
The Russian President also added his hopes for “equality and mutual respect”.
It comes as tensions between the two nations have been high and some commentators have even described it as a “New Cold War”.
Russia has been accused of tampering in democratic elections in the West, including the 2016 US Presidential election and the Brexit referendum.
Putin also messaged the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to say Russian will not abandon him in the New Year.

He said: “Russia will continue …

Iran protests reach THIRD day as demonstrators SHOT by police - 2 dead in 'unjust' attack

IRAN’S "illegal" protests continued for a third day with two demonstrators supposedly shot dead by police in an "unjust" attack as the government blocked off the internet in a frantic attempt to quell the unrest.

Videos posted on social media on Saturday showed two young Iranian men lying motionless on the ground and covered with blood and a voiceover said they had been shot dead by police.
It said security forces fired on protesters in the western town of Dorud and killed at least two.
A witness claimed he saw a mob storming the governor's office and setting it on fire before protesters were fired upon and five people shot.
Other protesters in the same video were chanting, "I will kill whoever killed my brother!"
The Secretary of the National Council of Resistance of Iran said: “This inhuman crime occurred while the suppressive forces failed to disperse protesters by tear gas and beating them.
“The details and the names of the martyrs will be …

Ousted Catalan leader urges Madrid to accept results, negotiate.

The former leader of Catalonia urged Madrid to enter political negotiations following a regional election that gave pro-independence parties a majority in the Catalan parliament.
"We are a democratically mature country that has earned the right to become a republic of free men and women," said former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.
In a recorded address made from self-imposed exile in Brussels, Belgium, Puigdemont appealed to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to accept the election results.
"The ballot boxes have spoken, democracy has spoken, everyone has been able to express themselves. What is Rajoy waiting for in order to accept the results?" Puigdemont said in a speech posted Saturday on social media.

It's unlikely Rajoy will be receptive to the appeal. He has refused to meet with Puigdemont, who went to Brussels after Spanish authorities announced they were seeking his arrest. Rajoy says he will meet only with leaders of the pro-unity Ciutadans (C…

Manchester fire: Scores of firefighters tackling huge inferno engulfing tower block

FIREFIGHTERS bravely battled a huge blaze that ripped through a block of flats in Manchester's city centre this afternoon.

The blaze broke out at the Lighthouse Apartments tower block in the Northern Quarter of Manchester’s city centre earlier this evening.
The apartment block is situated close to Afflecks Palace, a large indoor market just one street away.
Dramatic images from the scene showed smoke billowing out the tall tower block as the raging inferno spreads, while crowds of people watched on from below.
Fire crews confirmed one person was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and the fire had spread "over a number of floors".
A dozen fire engines attended the scene as firefighters battled to get the blaze under control.
According to fire service sources, three apartments have been damaged as well as a section of the exterior of the building.

Manchester Fire, who have now brought the flames under control, urged people to stay away from the area and to c…

State Dept. posts Huma Abedin emails found on Anthony Weiner's laptop

The State Department posted a number of emails belonging to former top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin on Friday after the messages were found on Anthony Weiner's laptop by the FBI. Several of the released documents were found to contain information classified "confidential," and were heavily redacted.
Friday's release is in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking: "All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-'' email address."
The FBI has previously said that a number of Abedin's documents were backed up on Weiner's laptop, and that some smaller number were manually forwarded. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last May, the FBI said, "Although we do not know the exact numbers, based on its investigation, the FBI believes it is reasonable to conclude t…

In a BILLION years visitors to Mars will find THIS sports car in orbit around the planet

ELON Musk is going to blast his original Tesla sports car into SPACE on a megarocket – and it will remain in orbit around Mars for a BILLION years.

The tech billionaire is putting a cherry red Tesla Roadster in the Falcon Heavy rocket and sending it to Mars.
The rocket is due to launch next month in Cape Canaveral from the same launch pad as the Saturn V Apollo 11.
Fittingly, the car will be playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity on repeat as it makes its way to the Red Planet.
When someone asked the businessman why he was doing this, Mr Musk replied: “I love the thought of a car drifting trough pace and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future.”

Although Musk had said he had made the idea up after posting it on Twitter, he seems to be following through with his whacky idea.
Speaking to Verge, he said: "Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks.
“That seemed extremely boring. So we decided to s…

Russian court upholds ban on Navalny running against Putin in 2018

Russia’s Supreme Court on Saturday dismissed an appeal by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny against a decision by the country’s central election commission to bar him from taking part in next year’s presidential election.

The commission this week barred Navalny from taking part in the March 18 vote because of a suspended prison sentence he says was trumped up.
Navalny, who did not attend the Supreme Court hearing, wrote on Twitter that he and his supporters “will not recognize elections without competition” and renewed calls for a boycott of the vote.
Polls indicate that President Vladimir Putin, who has dominated Russia’s political landscape for 18 years, is on course to be comfortably re-elected, but Navalny says his own exclusion from the vote makes a farce of the ballot.

Navalny, who has organized some of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in years, has been jailed three times this year and charged with breaking the law for organizing public meetings and rallies.…

Iran slams Trump as 'opportunist' and 'deceitful' after support of anti-government protests

Iran strongly dismissed President Trump’s warning and support amid anti-government protests in the capital city of Tehran and elsewhere in the Arabian Gulf country, calling the US president an “opportunist.”
“Iranian people give no credit to the deceitful and opportunist remarks of U.S. officials or Mr. Trump," said Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, according to a state television report.
The statement comes hours after Trump weighed in on the protests against high unemployment and the rising costs of food.
"Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime's corruption & its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people's rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests,” Trump tweeted late Friday.
Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth …

2017 Was The Year Of Hacks. 2018 Probably Won’t Be Better.

Once more unto the (data) breach, dear friends.
2017 was notable for some massive data breaches, unintended exposures of sensitive information on the internet and other unfortunate tech incidents. Some were intentional (looking at you, North Korea), and some were not (hello Equifax, nice of you to join us).
2018 probably won’t be any better.
Despite the promise of advancements in fields like AI and machine learning, and despite the hope that we would learn from our mistakes and adhere to better practices in the future, it isn’t clear yet those technologies ― or our own marginally improved habits ― will adequately defend us against increasingly more sophisticated attacks.
That conclusion comes from the cyber security company UpGuard, which detailed our current information security environment and the risks to it in its annual cyber risk report published Dec. 18.
“Unfortunately, with the increased pervasiveness of information technology, there has been no concomitant revolution in how …

The Pentagon is using AI to fight ISIS but it's not quite the 'Terminator'

Conversations about the military use of artificial intelligence usually bring to mind the "Terminator" movies, where a super-intelligent AI turns evil and tries to destroy humanity. This month, the US Defense Department announced that it has indeed taken a major step toward regular use of artificial intelligence, but it's a far cry from the Terminator approach.
This December, the Pentagon revealed that it has completed its crash program to bring state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology to America's military. Project Maven, which the DOD began funding in June, has operationally deployed its AI system to the fight against ISIS in the Middle East. This marks the first time that the military has fielded an advanced AI system using deep learning and neural networks. Its mission? Monitor the video feeds from tactical unmanned aerial vehicles -- better known as drones.
Project Maven's AI system, however, is nothing like the "Skynet" of the Termin…

Activist Erica Garner dies after heart attack

Erica Garner -- an activist for social justice and the eldest daughter of the man who died from a police choke hold in New York in 2014 -- died on Saturday days after suffering a heart attack, according to her official Twitter account.
"Erica the world loves you. I love you. I am glad you came into our lives. May you find the peace in the next life that you deserved while you were here. I will always love you my sister. love you," Garner's Twitter account, which is run by her family, said.
Garner, 27, had gone into cardiac arrest earlier in the week and suffered major brain damage from a lack of oxygen, the account said.
"When you report this you remember she was human: mother, daughter, sister, aunt. Her heart was bigger than the world. It really really was," her account said. "She cared when most people wouldn't have. She was good. She only pursued right, no matter what. No one gave her justice."

Erica Garner is the eldest daughter of Eric Garn…

Obamacare survived 2017. What about 2018?

After a year in which Obamacare's fate hung by a thread, 2018 is likely to feature fewer mortal threats. But the next 12 months could still be a tumultuous period as insurers, customers and elected officials react to major changes to the law by the Trump administration and the Republican Congress.
Republicans tried without success throughout 2017 to repeal and replace Obamacare, but there's little indication they plan on pursuing another serious push next year.
President Donald Trump told supporters after the last health bill failed that Republicans had the votes to pass repeal in 2018 once a hospitalized senator — who was neither hospitalized nor a decisive vote — returned, but it was a face-saving bluff. Now with Sen.-elect Doug Jones, D-Ala., set to take office and midterms getting closer, the math is even harder.
"I think we'll probably move on to other issues," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told NPR last week.

Instead, the Affordable Care A…

Australian air force on ALERT as Russian bombers circle Pacific

THE AUSTRALIAN air force was put on alert as Russian long-range bombers conducted exercises in neutral waters off Indonesia.

An air force base in Darwin, on the north coast of Australia, was put on a state of “increased readiness” as Moscow flexed its muscles in the Pacific.
The Russian exercises involved two nuclear-capable Tu-95MS bombers and over 100 personnel, according to the Russian Ministry of Defence.
Kremlin-backed news channel RT reported the exercise was the first Russian air force patrol in the southern Pacific launched from Indonesia.
Experts said the move shows Russia is looking to extend its influence in the Pacific.
Indonesia has been a key Russian arms trading partner since the mid-2000s, and the beginning of military exercises there could signal a closer relationship.

Peter Jennings, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told ABC such exercises were an attempt to boost Moscow’s soft power.
He said: “It is a reminder Russia is here and wants to be a playe…

The best Alexa commands to try with your new Echo

No matter how many Amazon Echo commercials you see, it takes a little time to adjust to Alexa. Putting a virtual assistant in your home signals a change in lifestyle, sort of like adopting a puppy. There will be a lot of trial-and-error, but once you find your rhythm, you’ll forget what life was like without her.
The Amazon Echo listens for the wake word, “Alexa.” But, frankly, I was shocked by how many conversations were recorded by my Echo that did not include the wake word. You might be too.
Click here to learn how to listen to everything Amazon Echo has ever heard.
The device is programmed to respond to almost unlimited commands and variations, and there are tens of thousands of individual “skills” you can add to her repertoire. But the journey of a million commands starts with a single wake phrase.
The basics
Alexa, play Maroon 5.
Lest we forget, the Echo is a speaker, originally designed to play audio. You can use Echo to play your own music, Amazon Prime playlists, browse Spotif…

Editors of 'Get Out,' 'I, Tonya,' 'Blade Runner 2049' Dissect Their Cuts

Gregory Plotkin, Tatiana S. Riegel and Joe Walker share their approaches.
[Warning: The following story contains mild spoilers about I, Tonya, Get Out and Blade Runner 2049.]
Each film in this year's awards discussion had its own unique editorial approach, whether that be Craig Gillespie-directed I, Tonya, the story of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding (played by Margo Robbie); Get Out, Jordan Peele’s thriller that follows Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a black man who is invited to visit his white girlfriend’s family; or Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 classic, that kicks off with Ryan Gosling as K, a Blade Runner searching for a former Blade Runner, Deckard, which again is played by Harrison Ford.
I, Tonya uses documentary-style “interviews” with the principal characters. Editor Tatiana S. Riegel says that when she first read the script, these “unreliable narrators” meant “the biggest challenge was going to be the tone. There are …