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Entertainment >> MP3

As he turns 93, Mugabe dismisses corruption allegations

As he turns 93, Mugabe dismisses corruption allegationsBy MacDonald Dzirutwe HARARE (Reuters) - As he celebrated his 93rd birthday on Tuesday, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe brushed aside persistent allegations of corruption against senior officials, saying rumour-mongers were merely targeting "big fish" in his administration. In comments to be aired on state media on Tuesday, the world's oldest leader said he would act if shown evidence - even though graft scandals involving ministers and even members of his own family are regular fare in local newspapers. People have not come out and actually said here is a case against a big fish," Mugabe said in the pre-recorded interview.



02/21/2017 - 06:46 AM

 

Iraqi troops advance on western Mosul as Mattis holds talks

Iraqi troops advance on western Mosul as Mattis holds talksSOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi forces advanced Monday into the southern outskirts of Mosul on the second day of a push to drive Islamic State militants from the city's western half, as the visiting U.S. defense secretary met with officials to discuss the fight against the extremists.



02/21/2017 - 12:09 AM

 

Explosive blog post details ‘abhorrent’ sexism at Uber

Explosive blog post details ‘abhorrent’ sexism at Uber

In a blog post published Sunday, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler Riggetti details her experiences working for the company. Sadly, given she's a female engineer working at a thrusting, big-name Silicon Valley startup, the experiences are exactly what you'd expect.

In the post, Riggetti details numerous instances of overt sexist behaviour. She reportedly sent evidence, including email and chat logs to HR, but ran into a brick wall multiple times. In the end, she says that her attempts to quietly report sexist behaviour were turned against her:

I forwarded this absurd chain of emails to HR, and they requested to meet with me shortly after. I don't know what I expected after all of my earlier encounters with them, but this one was more ridiculous than I could have ever imagined. The HR rep began the meeting by asking me if I had noticed that *I* was the common theme in all of the reports I had been making, and that if I had ever considered that I might be the problem. I pointed out that everything I had reported came with extensive documentation and I clearly wasn't the instigator (or even a main character) in the majority of them - she countered by saying that there was absolutely no record in HR of any of the incidents I was claiming I had reported (which, of course, was a lie, and I reminded her I had email and chat records to prove it was a lie). She then asked me if women engineers at Uber were friends and talked a lot, and then asked me how often we communicated, what we talked about, what email addresses we used to communicate, which chat rooms we frequented, etc. -  an absurd and insulting request that I refused to comply with. When I pointed out how few women were in SRE, she recounted with a story about how sometimes certain people of certain genders and ethnic backgrounds were better suited for some jobs than others, so I shouldn't be surprised by the gender ratios in engineering. Our meeting ended with her berating me about keeping email records of things, and told me it was unprofessional to report things via email to HR.

Beyond the reports to HR, Riggetti also details a company overrun with internal politics and management problems:

In the background, there was a game-of-thrones political war raging within the ranks of upper management in the infrastructure engineering organization. It seemed like every manager was fighting their peers and attempting to undermine their direct supervisor so that they could have their direct supervisor's job. No attempts were made by these managers to hide what they were doing: they boasted about it in meetings, told their direct reports about it, and the like.

Shortly after the blog post was published, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick issued a statement promising a (secret, internal) investigation into the matter, and reaffirmed Uber's committment to a equitable workplace where everyone isn't trying to stab each other in the back:

"I have just read Susan Fowler's blog. What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It's the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber -- and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired."

This isn't the first time that Uber has run into human resources problems within its internal teams and management. In 2014, an Uber exec famously suggested digging up dirt on journalists to discredit them. That statement came in response to a journalist who had accused Uber of sexism once again.

More recently, #DeleteUber trended on Twitter after Uber removed surge pricing at JFK airport during a taxi strike -- a strike that was in protest of President Trump's Muslim travel ban. The same hashtag is trending again tonight following Riggetti's blog post.



02/19/2017 - 07:46 PM

 

Debt-saddled Mongolia agrees $5.5 bn IMF bailout

Debt-saddled Mongolia agrees $5.5 bn IMF bailoutMongolia has reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $5.5 billion bailout package, officials announced, as the debt-wracked country tries to stabilise its economy. The landlocked north Asian nation has been hit hard by a more than 50 percent fall over the past five years in the price of copper, its main export. Billions of dollars' worth of natural resources lie buried beneath Mongolia's sprawling steppes, but development has been delayed for years and slowing growth in its biggest customer China has hobbled the economy.



02/20/2017 - 01:07 AM

 

Cop Helps Girl, 10, With Math Homework After She Messaged Police Department on Facebook

Cop Helps Girl, 10, With Math Homework After She Messaged Police Department on Facebook"I'm having trouble with my homework. Could you help me?" 10-year-old Lena wrote in a Facebook message to the Marion, Ohio Police Department.



02/20/2017 - 04:59 PM

 

Philippine minister stands by call to shut mines as review begins

Philippine minister stands by call to shut mines as review beginsBy Manolo Serapio Jr MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines' environment minister said on Monday she stands by her decision to shut more than half the country's operating mines and bar mining in watershed zones as an inter-agency panel began a review of her actions. Members of the government's Mining Industry Coordinating Council will scrutinize the affected mines to ensure due process was followed and consider the impact on jobs and the economy after an outcry by the mining industry in the world's top nickel ore supplier. The council cannot overturn her orders, but its findings could feed into a decision by President Rodrigo Duterte, who has said he will review the planned closures after initially throwing his support behind his environment minister.



02/20/2017 - 07:54 AM

 

APNewsBreak: Utah's anesthesia abortion law unenforced

APNewsBreak: Utah's anesthesia abortion law unenforcedSALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Last year, Utah enacted a first-in-the-nation law requiring that fetuses receive anesthesia or painkillers before elective abortions starting at 20 weeks gestation. Nine months later, the only licensed clinic providing those abortions in the state says no changes have been made in how doctors perform the procedures.



02/20/2017 - 03:46 PM

 

Elderly woman finds £5 note worth £50,000, donates the money to young people

Elderly woman finds £5 note worth £50,000, donates the money to young peopleFinding out that the fiver in your wallet is worth thousands of pounds is a dream-come-true for some — but not everyone. A Northern Irish woman who discovered a rare £5 note worth £50,000 ($62,317) has given the note to charity because she says she has no use for the money.  SEE ALSO: Some lucky duck got a £5 note 'worth £50,000' in a Christmas card The note is one of just four ultra-rare notes worth £50,000 in circulation in the UK. The note — which is engraved with a special Jane Austen inscription — is the third one to be snapped up, leaving just one left. The woman who discovered the note contacted the gallery founded by Graham Short — the artist who engraved the notes — stating her wish to donate the note to charity. "£5 note enclosed, I don't need it at my time of life. Please use it to help young people," reads the letter sent to the gallery by the donor, who prefers to remain anonymous.  Image: graham short "The lady who found the note has surprised us all by sending it to the gallery and asking that it be used to help young people," reads a blog post on Short's website.  According to the post, the proceeds from the note will be donated to children's charity Children in Need.   "Currently contacting outlets connected to Children in Need to try and give this to a good cause so we honour the request of the lucky woman who originally discovered the note," the post continues. BONUS: This keychain can take away that annoying jingle your keys make



02/20/2017 - 08:05 AM

 

Trump Boasts Accomplishments In First Month

Trump Boasts Accomplishments In First MonthThe White House detailed its work over the last four weeks but avoided some of the controversies around the administration.



02/20/2017 - 11:33 AM

 

Scuffles at Thai temple as police hunt for monk

Scuffles at Thai temple as police hunt for monkBy Cod Satrusayang and Aukkaraporn Niyomyat BANGKOK (Reuters) - Monks and police scuffled on Monday at a Buddhist temple in Thailand where security forces are trying to arrest an influential former abbot on money-laundering charges. The standoff at the scandal-hit Dhammakaya Temple represents one of the biggest challenges to the authority of Thailand's junta since it took power in 2014. Police said they would try to avoid violence while threatening arrest for followers of the sprawling temple who have defied orders to leave and instead flocked there, hampering the search for 72-year-old Phra Dhammachayo.



02/20/2017 - 06:25 AM

 

French far-right chief calls Assad solution to Syria crisis

French far-right chief calls Assad solution to Syria crisisBEIRUT (AP) — French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen tried to raise her international profile and press her pro-Syria, pro-Christian stance with a visit to Lebanon on Monday, holding her first campaign meeting with a head of state.



02/20/2017 - 03:41 PM

 

Shocker! World’s first self-driving car race ends in a crash

Shocker! World’s first self-driving car race ends in a crash

The world's first race on a professional track involving self-driving cars ended, not surprisingly, with a crash. As part of the Roborace competition held in Buenos Aires over the weekend, one of the two self-driving Devbot vehicles involved in the race slammed into a wall after miscalculating a particularly sharp turn.

While the Devbot vehicles weren't going all out, they weren't exactly driving at a leisurely pace either. At their best, both cars were driving in excess of 100 MPH, with one reaching a top speed of 115 MPH at one point.

In addition to racing around the track at high speeds, it's worth noting that each car can communicate with the other as to prevent them from crashing into each other. Unfortunately, the racetrack wall proved to be an insurmountable foe.

As for the software malfunction that caused the crash, Roborace's Justin Cooke explained what happened in an interview with the BBC:

One of the cars was trying to perform a manoeuvre, and it went really full-throttle and took the corner quite sharply and caught the edge of the barrier.

It's actually fantastic for us because the more we see these moments the more we are able to learn and understand what was the thinking behind the computer and its data.

Indeed, for as far along as self-driving software and hardware has progressed, it's clear that there's still a lot of work to be done before self-driving cars can replace human drivers completely across all driving environments.

While the DevBot vehicles are designed such that they "can be driven by a human or a computer", the versions used in the race over the weekend did not have any humans inside. Photos of the crash can be seen here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSbSUeKEj00



02/20/2017 - 02:40 PM

 

Nigeria urges AU to intervene over 'SAfrica killings'

Nigeria urges AU to intervene over 'SAfrica killings'Nigeria on Monday urged the African Union to step in to stop what it said were "xenophobic attacks" on its citizens and other Africans in South Africa. "This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria," a senior presidential aide on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said in an emailed statement. There was no independent verification of the claimed number of deaths, which may have been the result of wider criminal activities rather than anti-immigrant sentiment.



02/20/2017 - 11:27 AM

 

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin dead at 64

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin dead at 64Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, who for years fended off Western criticism and defended Moscow's actions in Ukraine and Syria, has died in New York. Churkin collapsed while at work at the Russian mission to the United Nations Monday morning and was rushed to a Manhattan hospital, apparently suffering from heart problems, diplomatic sources said. In a statement announcing his death, the foreign ministry in Moscow described him as an "outstanding diplomat." There was no information on the cause of death.



02/20/2017 - 09:46 PM

 

Bouche à Oreille: Michelin mixup makes modest French café a star

Bouche à Oreille: Michelin mixup makes modest French café a starLast week, Bouche à Oreille, a café in Bourges, central France, found itself suddenly in possession of a Michelin star. The eatery, which serves hearty dishes of beef bourguignon and lasagna to its clientele of locals, was taken aback by the arrival of swarms of new visitors. Thanks to their identical names, and eerily similar street addresses, the Michelin website had listed the Bourges café on its website by mistake.



02/20/2017 - 03:40 PM

 

‘A Serbian Trap’: Freezing conditions in Belgrade are not the biggest problem for refugees in Belgrade

‘A Serbian Trap’: Freezing conditions in Belgrade are not the biggest problem for refugees in BelgradeA trip along the refugee track within Serbia reveals that the old route through the Balkans is still being used despite strong border control, harsh conditions and frozen temperatures. Despite the existence of camps built by the Serbian state, the migrants are here trying to make their way into European Union countries illegally.



02/21/2017 - 12:35 PM

 

SpaceX celebrates successful launch from historic NASA launch pad in Florida

SpaceX celebrates successful launch from historic NASA launch pad in FloridaThe private company's newest rocket was sent with supplies to the International Space Station.



02/20/2017 - 04:35 AM

 

Time for Some Creative Solutions At the NSC

Time for Some Creative Solutions At the NSCHere's how Trump can avoid getting trapped in an H.R. nightmare.



02/20/2017 - 11:52 AM

 

Ex-cop says Duterte paid him, others to kill crime suspects

Ex-cop says Duterte paid him, others to kill crime suspectsMANILA, Philippines (AP) — A retired Philippine police officer said Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was a mayor, ordered and paid him and other members of a so-called liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents, including a kidnapping suspect, his family and a critical radio commentator.



02/20/2017 - 04:51 AM

 

Indonesia Islamists urge ouster of Jakarta governor, plan more protests

Indonesia Islamists urge ouster of Jakarta governor, plan more protestsIndonesian Islamist groups on Monday called on the government to suspend the Christian governor of the capital and for the courts to convict him of blasphemy, demands they will make again at a rally outside parliament on Tuesday. Islamist groups have held two big rallies since November against the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is on trial for insulting the Koran, and in the midst of an election in which he hopes to win a second term. "Our demands to parliament are that they urge the government to suspend Purnama ... and urge the Supreme Court and judges to detain him and impose the maximum sentence," said Muhammad al Khaththath of the Islamic People's Forum.



02/20/2017 - 03:04 AM

 

Iran Launches ‘Advanced’ Rockets In Military Exercise

Iran Launches ‘Advanced’ Rockets In Military ExerciseThe launches during the annual three-day military exercise took place a day after U.S. senators indicated they could impose further sanctions against Tehran.



02/20/2017 - 05:52 AM

 

Africa's elusive forest elephants are disappearing

Africa's elusive forest elephants are disappearingThe clock is ticking to save Central Africa's forest elephants. Populations of the elusive elephants have plunged by around 80 percent inside one of the region's most important nature preserves. Within Gabon's Minkébé National Park, poachers likely killed about 25,000 forest elephants for their ivory tusks between 2004 and 2014, according to a Duke University-led study in the journal Current Biology. SEE ALSO: The world's fastest land animal is even more threatened than we thought That's a significant number of animals, considering that Gabon holds about half of the estimated 100,000 forest elephants across all of Central Africa. Forest elephants in Gabon's Minkébé National Park. Image: john poulsen "The loss of 25,000 elephants from this key sanctuary is a considerable setback for the preservation of the species," John Poulsen, an assistant professor of tropical ecology at Duke'd Nicholas School of the Environment, said Monday in a statement. The dramatic population decline from one of Central Africa's largest, most remote protected areas "is a startling warning that no place is safe from poaching," he added. Across the African continent, populations of all elephants have plummeted from about 1.3 million in the 1970s to less than 500,000 today due to poaching and habitat loss. This week's dismal numbers from Gabon arrive in spite of a concerted effort by governments and conversationists to halt the illegal killing of elephants for their ivory, meat and other parts.  Soldiers watch as ivory elephant tusks are burned on a pyre in Libreville, Gabon. Image: Joel Bouopda Tatou/AP/REX/Shutterstock In December, two major global conversation unions adopted resolutions to ban all domestic ivory sales, on top of existing bans on international ivory trading. China, the world's largest ivory market, said it plans to shut down its ivory trade by the end of 2017. Gabon itself has also taken important steps to curb poaching, Poulsen said.  The government created a National Park Police force, elevated the conservation status of forest elephants to "fully protected," and doubled the national park agency's budget. In 2012, Gabon was the first African country to burn all its confiscated ivory — a gesture meant to snuff out the spike in poaching. Yet Gabon's elephants are still vanishing, as the new research shows. For their study, researchers estimated a population loss of between 78 and 81 percent by comparing data from two large-scale surveys of elephant dung in the Minkébé park, which were done in 2004 and 2014.  The team also used different analytical approaches to account for periods of heavy rainfall, which might've sped up the dung's decay and skewed the accuracy of the surveys. Poulsen and his colleagues said that most poachers likely came from outside of Gabon, including the neighboring country of Cameroon.  The edge of Minkébé National Park lies just 3.8 miles from a major Cameroon road, which makes it easy for Camaroonese poachers to cross into Gabon, do their dirty work and bring their illegal haul back into Cameroon.   Poulsen and his colleagues urged governments in Central Africa to team up to stop illegal cross-border traffic, including by establishing new multinational protected areas and coordinating international law enforcement. BONUS: Elephants take their final bow at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus



02/21/2017 - 02:34 PM

 

Families flee as Pakistan cracks down along Afghan border

Families flee as Pakistan cracks down along Afghan borderHundreds of families were fleeing from both sides of Pakistan's border with Afghanistan Monday, officials said, as Islamabad continued a violent crackdown on extremists after multiple attacks last week raised fears of a militant resurgence. Pakistan has accused Afghanistan of harbouring the militants who carried out last week's attacks, which killed more than 100 people across the country. The Pakistani military said it used heavy artillery to fire at militant hideouts in Afghanistan Monday, after carrying out airstrikes on both sides of the border over the weekend.



02/20/2017 - 10:36 AM

 

Duck boats face increasing calls for improvements, bans

Duck boats face increasing calls for improvements, bansBOSTON (AP) — With their festive, party-like ambiance and ability to travel on land and in water, duck boats have long been tourist attractions for sightseers around the U.S. But a string of deadly accidents has left the industry reeling, forced safety improvements and led some advocates to call for a total ban on the vehicles.



02/20/2017 - 01:20 PM

 

Azerbaijan strongman appoints wife vice president

Azerbaijan strongman appoints wife vice presidentAzerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday appointed his glamorous wife as first vice president, the latest move seen as tightening the family's iron grip on the oil-rich Caspian nation. The elevation of Mehriban Aliyeva -- a prominent socialite and lawmaker -- sees her now become the country's second most senior official after her husband. "She is professional, educated, experienced, principled, and magnanimous," Aliyev told a National Security Council meeting.



02/21/2017 - 08:31 AM

 

Beta Shows Off New Trials Models

Beta Shows Off New Trials ModelsBeta Shows Off New Trials Models Italian off-road manufacturer Beta has unveiled a number of new and updated Evo Factory range of Trials models. The new line-up features two-stroke 125, 250 and 300cc engines and a 300cc 4-stroke. Beta says the Factory



02/20/2017 - 11:45 AM

 

Here’s how badly the Galaxy Note 7 destroyed Samsung’s reputation in the US

Here’s how badly the Galaxy Note 7 destroyed Samsung’s reputation in the US

It goes without saying that the spontaneous combustion of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 was a big deal, but rarely do we get an opportunity to see the impact of tech gaffes on public sentiment quantified. A new Harris Poll ranking the "reputation quotient" of the 100 most recognizable brands in the United States provides just that, and the picture isn't good one for Samsung. In fact, it's pretty dire.

In last year's reputation ratings, Samsung landed in the seventh position out of 100 companies, beaten only by Amazon, Apple, and Google on the tech side of things. Fast forward to today, and Samsung has found itself barely squeezing into the top half of the chart with the number 49 spot on the rankings.

As big of a drop in the charts as it has taken, it's interesting to note that Samsung's actual reputation rating only actually dropped from 80.44 to 75.17. Harris considers a rating of 80+ to be "Excellent," and groups ratings of 75 to 79 into the "Very Good" category. Additionally, both Apple and Google took hits in their ratings as well, though not nearly as drastic — Apple fell from 83.03 to 82.07 and Google dipped from 82.97 to 82.00.

The study is conducted via interviews with US adults, each of which are asked to rate companies that they are familiar with. According to the methodology of the research, each company received a rating from approximately 300 respondents. The timing of the study wasn't particularly favorable to Samsung, having been conducted from late November to mid December of 2016, which was precisely when Samsung was in the midst devising a way to remotely kill off the Note 7s that were still in the hands of owners.



02/20/2017 - 03:28 PM

 

AP Exclusive" Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jails

AP Exclusive" Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jailsPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Dozens of emaciated men with sunken cheeks and protruding ribs lie silently in an infirmary at Haiti's largest prison, most too weak to stand. The corpse of an inmate who died miserably of malnutrition is shrouded beneath a plastic tarp.



02/20/2017 - 11:13 AM

 

Ex-president's supporters arrested as tensions flare in Gambia

Ex-president's supporters arrested as tensions flare in GambiaGambian police said they arrested 51 people in a former stronghold of ex-president Yahya Jammeh for harassing followers of new leader Adama Barrow, amid lingering tensions following Jammeh's flight into exile. Jammeh narrowly lost a Dec. 1 election to Barrow after 22 years of authoritarian rule. Jammeh initially refused to step down but fled to Equatorial Guinea last month as international military forces descended on the capital Banjul to uphold the election result.



02/20/2017 - 10:36 AM

 

‘Not My President’s Day’ protests break out across the U.S.

‘Not My President’s Day’ protests break out across the U.S.On President’s Day, thousands of people in cities around the country turned out in protest of President Trump at rallies dubbed "Not My President's Day." The protesters took to the streets to declare their opposition to President Trump’s policies.



02/20/2017 - 06:42 PM

 

Samsung Gear VR To Come With Own Controller

Samsung Gear VR To Come With Own ControllerThe Samsung Gear VR 2 and the new controller are expected to be announced alongside the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.



02/20/2017 - 11:23 PM

 

A big day in the history of the United States Postal Service

A big day in the history of the United States Postal ServiceOn February 20, 1792, President George Washington officially created the modern United States Postal Service by signing a sweeping act that promoted a free press and put privacy safeguards in place.



02/20/2017 - 09:55 AM

 

Brazil's race to save drought-hit city

Brazil's race to save drought-hit cityThe shrunken carcasses of cows lie in scorched fields outside the city of Campina Grande in northeast Brazil, and hungry goats search for food on the cracked-earth floor of the Boqueirao reservoir that serves the desperate town. After five years of drought, farmer Edivaldo Brito says he cannot remember when the Boqueirão reservoir was last full. Brazil’s arid northeast is weathering its worst drought on record and Campina Grande, which has 400,000 residents that depend on the reservoir, is running out of water.



02/21/2017 - 11:36 AM

 

Romania's have-a-go heroes fight corruption

Romania's have-a-go heroes fight corruptionRomanian architect Serban Marinescu never thought he'd come up against such brazen corruption. Traffic cop Marian Godina came under pressure from superiors over a traffic incident involving a local official. "Romanian society has reached saturation point with regard to corruption," said Godina, 30, the policeman from Brasov in the central Transylvania region.



02/20/2017 - 11:28 PM

 

Traffic study ranks Los Angeles as world's most clogged city

Traffic study ranks Los Angeles as world's most clogged cityDETROIT (AP) — When it comes to getting stuck in traffic on the way to and from work, Los Angeles leads the world.



02/20/2017 - 01:14 AM

 

In photos: TV show and movie-inspired bars and restaurants around the world

In photos: TV show and movie-inspired bars and restaurants around the world



02/21/2017 - 09:00 AM

 

Turkey puts 47 on trial for 'coup plot to kill Erdogan'

Turkey puts 47 on trial for 'coup plot to kill Erdogan'One of the nearly 50 suspects in an alleged plot to assassinate Turkey's president admitted involvement in the botched July 15 putsch bid as the mass trial opened Monday. Forty-four suspects, mainly soldiers, are under arrest over the alleged plot to kill Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while three others still on the run are being tried in absentia at the court in the southern city of Mugla. Onlookers heckled the accused as they stepped out of the buses that took them from prison, shouting "we want the death penalty!" and "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Greatest").



02/20/2017 - 11:02 AM

 

Ski resort razed by the Taliban lifts Pakistan's domestic tourism

Ski resort razed by the Taliban lifts Pakistan's domestic tourismBy Drazen Jorgic MALAM JABBA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Atop the piste of Malam Jabba in Pakistan's once dangerous Swat Valley skiers schuss downhill, a new Chinese-built chairlift ferries tourists to the peak, and a luxury hotel is under construction to replace one torched by the Taliban. The Taliban declared skiing "un-Islamic" during their 2007-2009 reign of terror over Swat, but improved security in recent years has allowed ski tourism to re-emerge on Malam Jabba, a hill station in the Hindu Kush mountain range. Locals tout Swat as "the Switzerland of Pakistan", with an international ski tournament held there in January.



02/20/2017 - 06:25 PM

 

Kremlin defends its recognition of Ukraine rebel passports

Kremlin defends its recognition of Ukraine rebel passportsMOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Monday defended its decision to recognize passports issued by separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine, saying it came as a response to Ukraine's blockade of rebel regions.



02/20/2017 - 09:20 AM

 

Waitress evicts huge, pesky goanna that snuck into her restaurant

Waitress evicts huge, pesky goanna that snuck into her restaurantWhat comes in, must go out. Especially if it's a massive goanna and it's in a restaurant.  Especially in the case of French waitress Samia Lila, who was tasked with evicting a pesky and rather large goanna which had snuck into a winery's restaurant on Sunday. SEE ALSO: Wild koala and dog hang out, proving that we really can all get along According to ABC News, Lila was serving diners at Mimosa Wines on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia, when one of the customers pointed to a goanna on the deck.  "I couldn't believe it was a goanna. I thought it was big dog," Lila told the news outlet.  She bravely leapt into action, pulling the goanna by its tail out of the venue. The moment was captured and posted on the Mimosa Wines Facebook page. While some commenters on the video have noted that dragging a goanna by its tail is cruel, Lila said she was trying to be gentle in removing the intruder. "I like reptiles, I think he is a really beautiful creature [and] I didn't want to hurt him," she said. Following the encounter, she said was a bit "shaky." Goannas are often timid and aren't really a risk to humans, but they can produce a nasty bite if threatened. BONUS: This flying motorcycle is straight out of Star Wars



02/20/2017 - 09:12 PM

 

South Africa's Gordhan sees difficult political year for ruling ANC

South Africa's Gordhan sees difficult political year for ruling ANCSouth African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Monday he sees a "difficult political year" for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) but that he saw "green shoots" of growth in an economy that is barely growing. The ANC has a major policy conference at the end of June and late this year will pick a new party leader to replace President Jacob Zuma as its candidate when his second term ends in 2019. In an interview with the eNCA TV news channel before the unveiling of his annual budget on Wednesday, Gordhan said: "We seem to be improving slightly on the growth side, seeing some green shoots which we will describe for you on Wednesday." "At the same time we have our challenges," he said, including: "A difficult political year for the ruling party which will create its own dynamics." Asked about fraud charges that were brought against him last year and then dropped, Gordhan said: "That kind of abuse is totally unacceptable in our kind of young democracy." That saga unsettled markets and led to speculation that Zuma and his allies wanted to remove Gordhan, who commands huge respect among investors.



02/20/2017 - 04:05 PM

 

Hundreds gather in Los Angeles for rally in support of Muslim Americans

Hundreds gather in Los Angeles for rally in support of Muslim AmericansHundreds of demonstrators gathered in Koreatown on Sunday for the United for America Rally, where members of various communities expressed solidarity with Muslim Americans.



02/20/2017 - 01:16 AM

 

Women named to head Saudi bourse, major bank

Women named to head Saudi bourse, major bankWomen have been named to head Saudi Arabia's stock exchange and a major bank, the institutions announced, despite the kingdom's social restrictions on females. Samba Financial Group on Sunday said Rania Mahmoud Nashar had begun work as chief executive officer. The announcement came three days after the Saudi stock exchange, known as Tadawul, named Sarah al-Suhaimi as chairman of its board.



02/20/2017 - 10:41 AM

 

Top Asian News 4:49 a.m. GMT

Top Asian News 4:49 a.m. GMTKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's ambassador to North Korea has been recalled from Pyongyang amid rising tensions between the countries over the death in Kuala Lumpur of an estranged scion of North Korea's ruling family. The Malaysian foreign ministry said in a Monday statement that it had recalled its ambassador "for consultations" and had summoned Kang Chol, North Korea's ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, "to seek an explanation on the accusations he made against the Government of Malaysia." Kang said Malaysia may be "trying to conceal something" and that the autopsy on Kim Jong Nam was carried out "unilaterally and excluding our attendance." Kim Jong Nam is the half brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.



02/19/2017 - 11:49 PM

 

2017 Mercedes-Maybach S550 4MATIC

2017 Mercedes-Maybach S550 4MATICA perfectly restrained chauffeur-mobile.



02/20/2017 - 03:15 PM

 

Police: Newly freed gang member killed California officer

Police: Newly freed gang member killed California officerLOS ANGELES (AP) — Two suburban Los Angeles police officers thought they were helping a driver after a car crash.



02/21/2017 - 09:57 AM

 

This new iPhone 8 feature might end up blowing our minds

This new iPhone 8 feature might end up blowing our minds

Amid rumors that the iPhone 8 will incorporate advanced facial recognition features, the Hebrew-language website Calcalist (via Times of Israel) is reporting that Apple recently acquired Realface, an up-and-coming Israeli startup with impressive real-time facial recognition software.

Lending credence to rumors that the iPhone 8 may forgo the use of Touch ID in favor of facial recognition, Realface's software is said to be sophisticated enough such that it can reliably be used as a foundation for mobile-based biometric authentication.

As is often the case when Apple acquires a company, Realface's web presence has already been wiped from the web. Still, thanks to the magic of Google, we were able to poke around and dig up some intriguing nuggets of information about the company's promising technology.

Realface boasts that it's AI software rests upon deep learning methods and is so reliable and quick that the end-result is an absolutely seamless user experience.

"Our technology provides our customers and end-users with the highest level of authentication and security available on all platforms," says Realface. "We have proprietary IP in the field of frictionless face recognition and effective learnings from facial features." Incidentally, Realface's technology is also capable of filtering out photos of faces and advanced sculptures designed to trick the software into thinking that a device's camera is honed in on an actual human face.

Further, Realface claims that its software can recognize faces with a 99.67% success rate, an impressive figure that is even higher than the average 97.5% success rate exhibited by humans. To this point, a profile on Realface from last year relays that the company's technology is so advanced that it can even distinguish between identical twins with alarming and impressive accuracy.

Below is a quick and dirty demo of the software in action.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNlkxGmIgW0

What's particularly interesting is that Realface's technology is not only capable of discerning individual faces, but can also analyze specific facial expressions as a means to determine a user's mood. If this sounds somewhat familiar, Apple last year acquired Emotient, a company with similar AI technology of its own.

Now as for what Apple is planning to do with its growing portfolio of AI-based facial recognition software, well, that's the million dollar question. While initial speculation centered on Apple rolling out augmented reality features, perhaps similar to what the beloved MSQRD app does, more recent rumblings suggest that Apple wants to position facial recognition as a means to identify users and securely authorize sensitive transactions. Again, there are even reports that facial recognition might ultimately serve as a replacement for Touch ID.

While this seems far-fetched, Ming Chi-Kuo -- an analyst with the best track record regarding Apple rumors -- seems to think otherwise. In a recently issued research note, Kuo claims that the iPhone 8's rumored edgeless design cannot, for whatever reason, coexist peacefully with Touch ID. Consequently, Kuo relays that Apple wants to eventually replace Touch ID with a facial recognition solution.

When it comes to Apple, the old adage that when there's smoke, there's fire is generally true. That being the case, it stands to reason that facial recognition will be a huge and incredibly exciting component of the iPhone 8 user experience.



02/20/2017 - 09:33 AM

 

Iraqi Helpers Will Be Exempt From Travel Ban; Mattis

Iraqi Helpers Will Be Exempt From Travel Ban; MattisPresident Donald Trump is set to issue a new immigration executive order this week.



02/20/2017 - 09:23 AM

 

Solar-powered Africa “never more possible and less expensive”: energy chief

Solar-powered Africa “never more possible and less expensive”:  energy chiefBy Maina Waruru ABU DHABI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A “solar revolution” is coming to Africa, comparable in scale and importance to the rapid surge in mobile phone use on the continent two decades ago, predicts the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency. Fast-dropping costs for solar power, combined with plenty of sun and a huge need for electricity on a continent where many are still without it, means solar has huge potential in Africa, said Adnan Amin, the director general of IRENA. “Africa’s solar potential is enormous,” he said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.



02/20/2017 - 05:16 AM

 

 

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