Headlines

2019.01.17

NewsHeadlines15

Brexit: Theresa May's deal is voted down in historic Commons defeat - BBC News

MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.
The confidence vote is expected to be held at about 1900 GMT on Wednesday.

El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says - The New York Times

The former president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, took a $100 million bribe from Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the infamous crime lord known as El Chapo, according to a witness at Mr. Guzman’s trial.
The stunning testimony was delivered Tuesday in a New York courtroom by Alex Cifuentes Villa, a Colombian drug lord who worked closely with Mr. Guzmán from 2007 to 2013, when the kingpin was hiding from the law at a series of remote ranches in the Sierra Madre mountains.

Takeda corruption probe sullies 2020 Tokyo Olympics and IOC | madison.com

Tsunekazu Takeda, the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and a powerful IOC member, again denied corruption allegations against him, suggesting on Tuesday that any guilt was with others at the Japanese body.
Takeda read a seven-minute prepared text and then took no questions from hundreds of media.

U.S. Military Is Building Smarter Robots and Thinks Insects Might Be Key to New Artificial Intelligence

The U.S. military has long experimented with new AI applications, from missile systems to swarms of drones, but the latest focus may be about understanding how the complexities of nature could shape strategies in this field. In a research opportunity posted last week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said it was "inviting submissions of innovative basic research concepts exploring new computational frameworks and strategies drawn from the impressive computational capabilities of very small flying insects."

Flippin' brilliant: the Finns learning to be mermaids | Euronews

Adult women and men are taking to the mermaid lifestyle at a swimming pool in Espoo, on the outskirts of Helsinki, where 28-year-old former Kindergarten teacher Maija Mottonen gives lessons in swimming like a mermaid or merman. She is FInland's first professional mermaid instructor.

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2019.01.13

News Headlines - 13 January 2019

It is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country - THERESA MAY writes | Express.co.uk

On Tuesday, your MP will be asked to vote on this deal and with it, your future.
It is the biggest and most important decision that any MP of our generation will be asked to make. So they must decide what really matters.

US Warns German Firms of Possible Sanctions over Russia Pipeline

The U.S. ambassador to Germany has warned companies involved in the construction of the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that they could face sanctions if they stick to the project, a senior U.S. official said on Sunday... The pipeline, which would carry gas straight to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is also seen critical by other European countries as it would deprive Ukraine of lucrative gas transit fees which could make Kiev more vulnerable in the future.

Amazon Dash buttons judged to breach consumer rules in Germany | TechCrunch

Germany was among the first international markets where Amazon launched Dash, in 2016, along with the U.K. and Austria. But yesterday a higher state court in Munich ruled the system does not provide consumers with sufficient information about a purchase.
The judgement follows a legal challenge by a regional consumer watchdog, Verbraucherzentrale NRW, which objects to the terms Amazon operates with Dash.

The European capital cobbled with Jewish gravestones - BBC News

Each year millions of visitors walk through the cobbled streets of Prague's Old Town - without realising, most likely, that many of the stones below their feet have been looted from what was meant to be sacred ground. The BBC's Rob Cameron only recently learned their secret.

Venezuela opposition leader briefly detained after challenging Maduro | The Guardian

Venezuelan secret police seized and then swiftly released a prominent opposition leader, less than 48 hours after he declared himself ready to assume the presidency of his crisis-stricken country in a bold challenge to its leader Nicolás Maduro.
Juan Guaidó, the 35-year-old head of Venezuela’s opposition-run parliament, was reportedly taken by agents from the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) on Sunday morning as he travelled north out of the capital, Caracas.

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2019.01.12

News Headlines - 12 January 2019

Snow brings parts of Europe to standstill - BBC News

The Red Cross helped drivers stuck on a motorway in the southern German state of Bavaria and a nine-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree.
The front of a Swiss hotel was hit by an avalanche and a winter storm made roads impassable in Sweden and Norway.
Austrian rescuers had to battle through chest-deep snow to reach a snowboarder.

London’s gangs have changed, and it’s driving a surge in pitiless violence | The Guardian

The murder of 14-year-old Jayden Moodie on Tuesday night highlights how youth violence continues to devastate the lives of young people, families and communities in London. Jayden’s death marks a new low point as he is the youngest victim to die on London’s streets so far this year.
We don’t know whether Jayden was himself involved in gangs or if his death was gang-related. All we know is that he was struck by a vehicle while riding a moped, then chased by a group of three men and stabbed to death in what police believe was a targeted attack. However, Jayden was killed in Leyton, part of the east London borough of Waltham Forest where the threat of gangs and gang violence looms large.

Opposition-controlled Venezuela parliament calls for protest to oust Maduro

Venezuela's sidelined opposition-controlled parliament called on Friday (Jan 11) for a mass protest against President Nicolas Maduro in a bid to oust the socialist leader in favour of "a transitional government."
Maduro, 56, was sworn in for a second term on Thursday, having won a highly controversial election in May that was boycotted by the opposition and branded a fraud by the United States, European Union and Organization of American States.

Michael Lang: Woodstock festival to be at Watkins Glen Aug. 16-18

Two festivals will mark the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair this year, on the same weekend, around 150 miles apart from each other.
Michael Lang, the co-producer and co-founder of the original 1969 festival, announced Wednesday that he will hold his anniversary show, "Woodstock 50," in Watkins Glen on Aug. 16-18.

Tony Khan: Fulham vice-chairman promises investment but argues with fan on Twitter - BBC Sport

Fulham vice-chairman Tony Khan told a critical supporter who had urged him to leave the club to "go to hell".
Khan, 36, tweeted fans after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Burnley, which left his side 19th in the Premier League, five points adrift of safety.

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2019.01.11

News Headlines - 11 January 2019

Kim's China visit to be positive factor for 2nd US-NK summit: Seoul

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's recent visit to China will have positive effects on prospects for a successful second summit between Washington and Pyongyang, South Korea's National Security Council said Thursday.
This week, Kim made a surprise visit to China and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the meeting, Kim vowed efforts to draw positive results from a possible second summit with US President Donald Trump, and Xi expressed his support, according to Chinese media.

After meeting UK's May, Japan's Abe says world does not want no-deal Brexit | Reuters

Japan’s Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that the world did not want to see a disorderly Brexit and that he fully supported British Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal from the European Union now facing defeat in parliament.

Japanese magazine apologises over university 'sex listing' - BBC News

A Japanese men's magazine has had to issue an apology after publishing a list ranking universities on how easy it is to convince female students to have sex at drinking parties.
The list in the issue of the weekly magazine Spa! prompted outrage... The article in the 25 December issue said the parties were popular among female college students and included an interview with the developer of an app intended to help men and women find potential attendees.

NGT48's Yamaguchi Maho Apologizes for Discussing Assault | Billboard

A member of J-pop girl group NGT48 apologized Thursday (Jan. 10) for publicly addressing an assault against her. Yamaguchi Maho, a member of the AKB48-associated act, apologized Thursday night in Japan for “causing trouble,” according to fan-captured videos from the act’s third-anniversary concert.

Japan wrestling star Yoshida taps out before Olympics - Channel NewsAsia

Japan's Saori Yoshida, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, confirmed Thursday (Jan 10) she is retiring from wrestling despite "wavering" at the thought of missing the Tokyo 2020 Games... She admitted "wavering, with the feeling that I want to participate in the Tokyo Olympics," but said she had ultimately decided it was time to pass the baton to younger athletes.
The 36-year-old topped the podium in the women's 55kg division at three straight Summer Games between 2004 and 2012, but fell short of a fourth straight gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, settling for silver in the 53kg division.

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2019.01.10

News Headlines - 10 January 2019

Japan labour data 'incorrectly collected since 2004' - The Straits Times

Japan may have underpaid billions of yen in unemployment benefits after it emerged that the government has been incorrectly collecting labour market data for as long as 15 years.
Officials are supposed to gather data from all firms with 500 or more employees but in Tokyo, only about one-third of 1,400 such firms were surveyed, according to a civil servant at the labour ministry... According to public broadcaster NHK, the problems could date back as far as 2004.
A ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that the problem could have resulted in underpayment of unemployment benefits and industrial injury insurance benefits.

Venezuela’s annual inflation surges to 1.7 million percent | Business Recorder

Venezuela’s consumer prices rose 1.7 million percent in the year ending in December, the opposition-controlled National Assembly said on Wednesday, up from 1.3 million percent in November as the country’s economy continued its downward spiral.
Prices rose 142 percent in December, equivalent to around 3 percent per day, according to the report released by legislator Angel Alvarado. The National Assembly has become the only reliable source for consumer price data since the government stopped publishing economic indicators years ago as falling oil prices sent activity tumbling.

MacKenzie Bezos Could Become World's Richest Woman With Divorce - Bloomberg

MacKenzie Bezos’s divorce from Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos could make her the world’s richest woman.
As of now, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal SA, is the richest woman in the world, with a net worth of $45.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.
Neither the Bezoses nor Amazon have commented on the likely division of the couple’s assets, including a 16 percent stake in the company. But without an agreement stipulating otherwise, their wealth would almost certainly be divided equally, according to Karin Lundell, a partner at law firm Rower LLC in New York.

Pedophile Gary Oliva confesses to killing JonBenét Ramsey by accident | Daily Mail Online

A longtime suspect in the murder of JonBenét Ramsey has finally admitted he killed the then six-year old beauty pageant queen, DailyMailTV can exclusively reveal.
Gary Oliva, 54, a convicted pedophile who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in a Colorado prison for child pornography, has admitted in letters obtained by DailyMailTV he killed her by accident.

Paris nudist restaurant undone by scanty custom | AFP.com

The first nudist restaurant in the French capital is being forced to close because it cannot put enough bums on seats.
"O'Naturel" will draw the curtain on nude fine dining in Paris in February after a little over a year despite rave reviews from diners who shed their clothes to slurp oysters and feast on snails, foie gras and asparagus.
But to avoid financial embarrassment, twins Mike and Stephane Saada said they were having to close... The restaurant in the east of Paris opened amid a blaze of publicity in November 2017.

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2019.01.09

News Headlines - 09 January 2019

Grieve amendment vote: Theresa May suffers another bruising Brexit Commons defeat as MPs vote to impose three-day deadline for PM to present Plan B | London Evening Standard

Theresa May has suffered another bruising Commons defeat as MPs voted in favour of an amendment that will force her to present a Brexit "plan B" within three days if her controversial deal does not pass... MPs backed the amendment by 308 votes to 297 on Wednesday afternoon.
It gives MPs the chance to formally put forward alternatives to her deal for the first time, including a People’s Vote, and the Norway and Efta “soft Brexit” options.

S. Korean Court Seizes Assets of Japanese Company Over Forced Labor

A South Korean court has seized the local assets of a Japanese company in order to compensate four South Koreans who were forced into labor during Japan's brutal colonial rule of the peninsula between 1910 and 1945... South Korea's Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in last October ordering Nippon Steel to pay nearly $90,000 to each of the four plaintiffs. But Nippon refused to comply, citing a 1965 treaty that formally normalized bilateral ties between Seoul and Tokyo. The treaty included $800 million in reparations paid by Japan in the form of economic aid and loans.
But the Supreme Court has ruled that the treaty does not prevent individuals from seeking compensation from Japanese companies involved in the forced labor practices of the time.

Thai, Saudi officials meet over case of young Saudi woman

Thailand’s immigration police chief met Tuesday with officials from the Saudi Embassy in Bangkok, as Saudi Arabia tried to distance itself from accusations that it attempted to block a young woman’s effort to flee from her family and seek asylum abroad.
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun arrived in Bangkok from Kuwait late Saturday after slipping away from her family, whom she accused of abusing her. The 18-year-old was stopped by officials in Thailand who confiscated her passport.
Her urgent pleas for help over Twitter from an airport hotel room garnered tens of thousands of followers and the attention of the U.N.’s refugee agency, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Public pressure prompted Thai officials to return her passport and let her temporarily stay in Thailand.

Heathrow airport drone investigated by police and military - BBC News

The military is helping police after sightings of a drone temporarily halted flights at Heathrow airport on Tuesday... Departures from the west London airport were suspended for about an hour.
It comes after thousands of passengers were caught up in disruption at Gatwick Airport last month following reports of drone sightings.

Snowy Greece sees temperatures plunge to -23C

Greece has been freezing in temperatures as low as -23C (-9F) as some of Athens' most famous monuments got a dusting of snow.
The -23C figure was recorded in the northern city of Florina and led to road closures and disruption to transport.
Further south in the capital, Athens, snow fell around monuments such as the Temple of Zeus as schools closed and some roads became impassable because of ice.

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2019.01.08

News Headlines - 08 January 2019

British officials 'putting out feelers' with EU for Article 50 extension

British and European officials are discussing the possibility of extending Article 50 amid fears a Brexit deal will not be completed by March 29, the Telegraph can reveal.
Three separate EU sources confirmed that UK officials had been “putting out feelers” and “testing the waters” on an Article 50 extension, even as the Government said it had no intention of asking to extend the negotiating period.

'Unfairly detained': Ex-Nissan boss Ghosn protests innocence | AFP.com

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday he had been "wrongly accused and unfairly detained" at a high-profile court hearing in Japan, his first appearance since his arrest in November rocked the business world.
Entering the court handcuffed and with a rope around his waist, the once-revered titan of the auto industry mounted a passionate defence against a string of financial misconduct allegations.
The 64-year-old was thinner -- his family says he has lost up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) due to the rice-based diet in his Tokyo detention centre -- and his hair was greying. He appeared in a dark suit without a tie and wore dark green plastic slippers.

Japan tourist tax begins to prepare for 2020 Olympics

Starting Monday, January 7, visitors to Japan will have to pay a 1,000 yen (about $9) levy when leaving.
The departure tax — dubbed a “sayonara tax” — applies to both international and Japanese travelers who travel via plane or ship, excluding children under 2 years old and those in Japan for fewer than 24 hours.
The Japan tourist tax is being implemented in anticipation of the surge in visitors expected in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kim Stepping Down Early as World Bank President at Month End - Bloomberg

Jim Yong Kim abruptly resigned as president of the World Bank more than three years ahead of schedule, potentially sparking an international tussle over who replaces him as the Trump administration questions the development lender’s purpose... Kim, 59, began his second five-year term at the bank on July 1, 2017. He helped the lender win support from its member countries in April for a $13-billion capital increase, after the U.S. dropped proposals to limit the World Bank’s resources.

Saudi woman fleeing family temporarily admitted to Thailand | The Guardian

An 18-year-old Saudi woman seeking passage to asylum in Australia after fleeing her family in Saudi Arabia and renouncing Islam will be temporarily admitted to Thailand, Thai authorities have said.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun barricaded herself inside a transit zone hotel room in Bangkok airport to prevent immigration officials putting her on a flight to Kuwait after she was denied entry to Thailand while en route to Australia... Thai immigration police later released photos of the teenager after she left her hotel room late on Monday. Her destination was not made public, but she said on Twitter she was under the protection of the UNHCR and her passport had been returned. She also said her father had arrived in Thailand.

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2019.01.07

News Headlines - 07 January 2019

CBS: El-Sissi says Egypt, Israel cooperate against militants

Egypt’s president has told CBS that his country and Israel, with whom it fought four wars, are cooperating against Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula, a startling and potentially damaging acknowledgment that could explain the Egyptian government’s request that the network not air the interview.

Gabon detains soldiers after failed coup | The Guardian

The Gabonese government has put down a coup attempt after a group of soldiers briefly took over state radio and broadcast a statement calling on people to “rise up” while the president, Ali Bongo, is in Morocco recovering from a stroke.
Authorities have regained control of the state broadcasting offices and a major thoroughfare in the capital, Libreville, which were the only areas taken by the plotters, the government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told Radio France International.

SoftBank Scraps $16 Billion Plan to Buy Most of WeWork - WSJ

SoftBank Group Corp. 9984 5.68% has scrapped a planned $16 billion investment in shared-office space provider WeWork Cos., opting instead for a smaller deal of about $2 billion amid market turbulence and opposition from investment partners, according to people familiar with the matter... The Wall Street Journal reported in December that SoftBank faced opposition from the two main investors in its nearly $100 billion Vision Fund, which it used in 2017 to buy a $4.4 billion stake in WeWork.

Yusaku Maezawa has most retweeted tweet ever after offering $923,000

A message from Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has become the most retweeted tweet of all time.
Maezawa took to Twitter on Saturday to give 100 randomly selected retweeters the chance to win a share of 100 million Japanese yen ($923,000)... Maezawa, the founder of Japanese online retailer Zozo Inc, sent the tweet after his website Zozotown posted sales of 10 billion yen in its New Year's sale. He previously gained international attention after securing a seat aboard SpaceX's inaugural tourist flight to the moon. The mission from Elon Musk's transportation company is expected to launch in 2023.

Guinness World Records Oldest Person Jeanne Calment was lying about her age, Russian researcher says - The Washington Post

Jeanne Calment died in 1997 in the southern French town in which she was born, and her death drew a flurry of attention. At 122, an age that had been certified by the Guinness World Records as well as public health researchers, she was the oldest documented person to have lived.
But a Russian mathematician is casting doubt on her record. Nikolay Zak said in a report that he believes Calment was actually Yvonne Calment, Jeanne’s daughter, who Zak says assumed her mother’s identity to avoid inheritance taxes in the 1930s. If true, Yvonne Calment would’ve been 99 if she died in 1997.

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2019.01.06

News Headlines - 06 January 2019

Moscow says FBI arrested Russian a day after it detained ex-U.S. Marine | Reuters

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday the United States had detained a Russian citizen, a day after Moscow arrested the former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan on suspicion of spying.
Whelan was taken into custody by Russia’s Federal Security Service on Dec. 28. His family have said he is innocent and that he was in Moscow to attend a wedding.
The ministry said the United States detained Russian citizen Dmitry Makarenko on Dec. 29 on the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean, and had transferred him to Florida.

King of Malaysia abdicates amid rumours of marriage to ex-Russian beauty queen

The King of Malaysia renounced the throne on Sunday after weeks of speculation over his ill health and rumours that he had married a former Russian beauty queen in a secretive ceremony.
The abdication of Muhammad V was announced by Malaysia's National Palace, which mysteriously gave no hints as to why the monarch had taken the historic decision.
It marks the first time in Malaysian history that a monarch has stood down since the country gained independence from Great Britain in 1957.

Renewables exceed 40% in Germany for 2018 | Windpower Monthly

Wind turbines produced 111.35TWh in 2018, 20.4% of total generation in the country in 2018, according to researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE).
Lignite coal was the only energy source to produce more power than wind in 2018, the researchers noted, with 131.28TWh accounting for 24.1% of Germany’s total... Clean energy sources accounted for 40.4% of total generation in Germany last year — an all-time high and the first time they had exceeded the 40% mark.

Arizona police investigate after 'vegetative patient gives birth' - BBC News

Police in the US state of Arizona have launched a sexual assault investigation amid reports a patient in a vegetative state for a decade gave birth.
The woman is a patient in a clinic run by Hacienda HealthCare near Phoenix.
Hacienda HealthCare gave no details but said it was aware of a "deeply disturbing incident".

How On Earth Did 'Pokémon GO' Make Almost $800 Million In 2018?

The biggest story of the gaming year is certainly Fortnite, which made Epic Games $3 billion this year despite its battle royale mode being free, selling only cosmetics. But a similarly impressive story is that Pokémon GO made $795 million in 2018, two years after its release, which represents a 35% jump from the year before. And I’d argue that it did so while being a free game that sells far less attractive items than Fortnite’s never-ending carousel of skins.

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2019.01.05

News Headlines - 05 January 2019

China's Xi calls on army to be battle-ready | Reuters

China’s armed forces must strengthen their sense of urgency and do everything they can to prepare for battle, President Xi Jinping told a meeting of top brass on Friday.
China is keen to beef up its armed forces amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea and escalating tension with the United States over issues ranging from trade to the status of Taiwan.
The official Xinhua news agency said Xi told a meeting of the top military authority that China faced increasing risks and challenges, and the armed forces must work to secure its security and development needs.

Cuba celebrates 60 years of revolution amid challenges and change, Americas News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Cuba, long a source of inspiration for leftist Latin American governments, celebrated the 60th anniversary of its revolution on Tuesday (Jan 1) facing increasing isolation in a region dominated by a resurgent right.
Former president Raul Castro lashed out at what he called a return by the United States government to "confrontation with Cuba" after restoration of diplomatic ties and a friendlier tone under the former administration of president Barack Obama.

Yemen rebels slam WFP for 'rotten' food aid | Daily Mail Online

Yemen's Huthi rebels on Tuesday rejected UN accusations of selling aid meant for civilians, slamming the World Food Programme (WFP) for sending "rotten food" to the war-torn country.
The WFP, which plans to provide food to up to 12 million Yemenis a month in 2019, on Monday accused Huthi rebels of "criminal behaviour" and of selling food aid in markets in the rebel-held capital Sanaa.

Sharp rise in air crash deaths in 2018 - BBC News

Last year saw a sharp rise in fatalities from air crashes compared with 2017 but 2018 was still the ninth safest year on record, figures show.
Airliner accidents killed 556 people last year compared with 44 in 2017, the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) reports. Last year's worst civilian accident was in October when a Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.
The year 2017 was the safest in history for commercial airlines with no passenger jet crashes recorded.

Japan’s ‘King of Tuna’ Pays Record $3 Million for Bluefin at New Tokyo Fish Market - The New York Times

The first tuna auction of the year at Tokyo’s new fish market set a high bar on Saturday after a restaurant chain paid a record price — more than $3 million — for a giant bluefin tuna... Saturday’s high bidder, Kiyoshi Kimura, the self-styled “King of Tuna,” runs the Sushi Zanmai chain of restaurants. He paid 333.6 million yen, or over $3 million, for the 612-pound bluefin, a value of around $4,900 per pound.

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2019.01.04

News Headlines - 04 January 2019

Trump says he has considered national emergency powers to build wall - CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump said Friday that he is considering using emergency powers which would allow him to use military funding to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, saying "I can do it if I want."

Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China since Huawei executive’s arrest, says Ottawa - The Globe and Mail

Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China since the high-profile arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on Dec. 1, Ottawa says.
Global Affairs Canada spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said in a statement to The Globe and Mail that the government is aware that 13 Canadians have been detained in China, excluding Hong Kong, since Dec. 1, 2018. Previously, only Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver were publicly known to have been detained in China since Canada arrested Ms. Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. They were taken into custody after China promised retaliation for Ms. Meng’s arrest.
Mr. Bérubé said in the statement that at least eight of the 13 have been released. Global Affairs Canada did not disclose the identities of the other 10 Canadians.

South Korea discloses video of maritime incident to dispute Japan claims - Nikkei Asian Review

South Korea on Friday released a video of an alleged radar lock-on incident involving a Japanese plane and a South Korean warship, repeating its demand that Japan stop "distorting" the truth about the case and apologize for a low-altitude flyby by one of its planes.
The South Korean move marks another twist in a dispute that has pitted two U.S. allies against each other and comes exactly a week after Japan released a video of its own in claiming that a South Korean Navy ship had locked a fire-control radar on a Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol plane over the Sea of Japan.
South Korea has steadfastly denied Japan's claim, saying the destroyer was on the scene on Dec. 20 to rescue a drifting North Korean fishing boat. It said the destroyer used an optical camera but did not direct its radar.

Abe: New era name to be announced April 1 - The Japan News

The name of the nation’s next era will be announced on April 1, ahead of the change from the current Heisei era on May 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday.
The era name release one month before the switch is intended to “minimize the impact on the lives of the public,” Abe told a press conference, held after his customary New Year visit to the Ise Grand Shrines in Ise, Mie Prefecture. The Abe Cabinet is set to formalize the new era name at a meeting earlier on April 1, he said.
The Emperor is scheduled to abdicate on April 30, to be followed by Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the throne on May 1. This will mark the first Imperial succession from a living emperor in Japan in about 200 years.

Japanese monks: 'I can do this in monk's robes' videos shared online - BBC News

Japanese monks have been skipping, skating and juggling to show how unrestrictive their traditional attire is.
It comes after a monk was fined by police for driving while wearing a kimono because it "could affect safe driving", according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.
He has refused to pay the traffic ticket of 6,000 yen ($55; £43).

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2019.01.03

News Headlines - 03 January 2019

Apple Drops iPhone Bombshell on Already Reeling Stock Market - The New York Times

Apple acknowledged that demand for iPhones is waning, confirming investor fears that the company's most profitable product has lost some of its luster.
The reckoning came in a letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook to the company's shareholders released after the stock market closed Wednesday.
Cook said Apple's revenue for the October-December quarter — including the crucial holiday shopping season — will fall well below the company's earlier projections and those of analysts, whose estimates sway the stock market... The official results are scheduled to be released Jan. 29.

Apple’s slowdown in China ripples through global financial markets - The Washington Post

Global markets shuddered Thursday after Apple said China is buying fewer iPhones, amplifying fears that the world’s second-biggest economy is fading... Apple shares sank 10 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 660 points, or 2.8 percent, to close at 22,686.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index slumped 2.5 percent, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 3 percent. The Nasdaq dipped into bear territory, which is at least 20 percent below its most recent peak.

Britain to become 'true global player' post-Brexit with military bases in South East Asia and Caribbean, says Defence Secretary

Britain will open two new military bases in the Caribbean and South East Asia as the country looks to step up its military presence overseas after Brexit, Gavin Williamson has revealed... In an interview with The Telegraph in his Ministry of Defence office, Mr Williamson says: "We have got to be so much more optimistic about our future as we exit the European Union.

Thousands march in Hong Kong for democracy and independence from China

Thousands of demonstrators marched in Hong Kong on Tuesday to demand full democracy, fundamental rights, and even independence from China in the face of what many see as a marked clampdown by the Communist Party on local freedoms.
Over the past year, countries such as the United States and Britain have expressed concerns about a number of incidents they say have undermined confidence in Hong Kong's freedoms and autonomy under Chinese rule.
These include the jailing of activists, a ban on a pro-independence political party, the de facto expulsion of a Western journalist and barring democracy activists from contesting local elections.

Boxing fans call Floyd Mayweather's win over Tenshin Nasukawa a fix

FLOYD MAYWEATHER'S 136-second demolition of Tenshin Nasukawa has been blasted as "a fix" on social media. Kickboxing star Nasukawa was left crying in his own corner after being sent tumbling to the canvas three times in the first two minutes of the fight in Saitama, Japan.

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2019.01.02

News Headlines - 02 January 2019

Japan's Emperor Akihito draws record numbers for farewell New Year's speech - CNN

Japan's emperor drew record numbers of well-wishers to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for his annual New Years' speech -- his last before he abdicates in April.
The Imperial Household Agency told CNN that the number of well-wishers exceeded 140,000 for Emperor Akihito's New Year address to the public, which takes place every year on January 2, breaking the former record, set last year with 126,720 people.

No sign of progress after Trump meets lawmakers on shutdown | Reuters

A meeting between U.S. congressional leaders and President Donald Trump on Wednesday yielded no sign of an agreement to end a partial government shutdown now in its 12th day as the president stuck to his demand for $5 billion in funding for a border wall.

Somalia Says UN Special Envoy Violated Norms, No Longer Welcome - Bloomberg

Somalia said the United Nations special representative Nicholas Haysom was no longer welcome in the Horn of Africa nation, accusing him of meddling in internal affairs... Haysom was appointed in September as envoy to the nation struggling to shake off an insurgency by Al-Qaeda-linked militants. The foreign ministry order came after an attack on the UN compound in the capital, Mogadishu, in which three people were injured.

Lion kills young worker at North Carolina wildlife sanctuary | Reuters

A lion at a North Carolina private wildlife sanctuary fatally mauled a 22-year-old worker on Sunday before being shot and killed by local law enforcement, officials said.
The sheriff’s office in Caswell County, North Carolina, said Alexandra Black, who started her job as an intern at the facility two weeks ago, was part of a team doing routine cleaning of an enclosure when she was attacked, local media reported.

Queen's Brian May Releases 'New Horizons' Single to Celebrate Epic Flyby

Astrophysicist Brian May, lead guitarist for the band Queen, released a new single called "New Horizons" just after midnight EST (0500 GMT) on New Year's Day to highlight the flyby, which peaked about 30 minutes later when the NASA spacecraft zoomed within 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) of Ultima Thule.
Ultima lies about 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) from Earth and is now the farthest-flung celestial body ever to be visited by a spacecraft. [New Horizons at Ultima Thule: Full Coverage]

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2019.01.01

News Headlines - 01 January 2019

8 injured as man rams car into pedestrians in Harajuku in 'retaliation for execution' - Japan Today

Eight people were injured after a man rammed his car into pedestrians on a shopping street in central Tokyo in the early hours of Tuesday, police said.
The police arrested Kazuhiro Kusakabe, 21, on suspicion of attempted murder... Kusakabe told the police he had intended to kill the pedestrians he hit "in retaliation for an execution." It was not immediately clear whether he was referring to a specific execution or the country's system of capital punishment.

Manchester Victoria stabbing: police raid suspect's home after 'terror attack' leaves three injured

On New Year's Eve, three people, including a police officer, were stabbed by a man who was heard shouting “Allah” at Victoria station.
British Transport Police (BTP) said a 25-year-old man had been arrested and added there was nothing to suggest a wider threat.

Venezuela offers help probing alleged planned attack on Colombia president | Reuters

Venezuela’s government is willing to help investigate a plot to assassinate Colombian President Ivan Duque, in which three Venezuelan nationals arrested in Colombia may be suspects, foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said.

Sudanese president orders to form committee to investigate recent protests - Xinhua

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday issued a decree to form a fact-finding committee to investigate the recent protests in Sudan, official SUNA news agency reported.
According to the decree, the committee will be chaired by Sudan's Justice Minister Mohamed Ahmed Salim, the report said.
Since Dec. 19, various areas in Sudan, including the capital Khartoum, have witnessed popular protests over the deteriorating economic conditions and price hikes of basic commodities.

Iran TV chief sacked over uncensored Jackie Chan sex scene - BBC News

Iran's state broadcaster, Irib, has sacked the head of a regional TV channel after it broadcast a Jackie Chan film without removing a sex scene.
A video posted online apparently by a viewer on Kish Island showed the Hong Kong martial arts star having sex with a woman in the film Shinjuku Incident.

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2018.12.31

News Headlines - 31 December 2018

Elizabeth Warren Announces Iowa Trip as She Starts Running for President in 2020 - The New York Times

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and a sharp critic of big banks and unregulated capitalism, entered the 2020 race for president on Monday, becoming the first major candidate in what is likely to be a long and crowded primary marked by ideological and generational divisions in a Democratic Party determined to beat President Trump.

Trump to Allow Months for Troop Withdrawal in Syria, Officials Say - The New York Times

President Trump has agreed to give the military about four months to withdraw the 2,000 United States troops in Syria, administration officials said on Monday, backtracking from his abrupt order two weeks ago that the military pull out within 30 days.

DR Congo election: Internet shut down after presidential vote - BBC News

The internet has been shut down in key cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo a day after the much-delayed presidential election.
Opposition candidate Martin Fayulu's campaign team accused the government of ordering the shut down to avoid broadcasting his "overwhelming victory" in Sunday's poll.

See Venice, but pay an entry fee first - The Local

The measure, passed late on Saturday as part of the budget bill, allows the city authorities from July to being charging tourists a landing fee of between 2.5 and 10 euros depending on the season.
The charge covers all visitors, whether they are staying overnight or not.
That means it will apply to day-trippers such as the thousands of cruise ship passengers who currently escape the existing tax charged by hotels and the owners of rented properties for those staying overnight.

Tokyo court says extends detention of Nissan's Ghosn until Jan 11 | Reuters

The Tokyo District Court said on Monday it has extended the detention of ousted Nissan Motor Co chairman Carlos Ghosn by 10 days until Jan. 11... The latest extension will see Ghosn remain in Tokyo’s main detention center, where he has been confined since his first arrest on Nov. 19 on allegations of financial misconduct.

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2018.12.30

News Headlines - 30 December 2018

Pacific trade pact takes off with tariffs cut in six nations | Reuters

A landmark 11-country trade deal, a revamped version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), came into force on Sunday with New Zealand’s trade minister hailing the opportunities it presented for exporters...
The deal, which will slash tariffs across much of the Asia-Pacific region, does not include the United States after Washington pulled out of the TPP negotiations in 2017... The pact came into effect on Sunday for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Singapore, with Vietnam to follow on 14 January, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on its website.
Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru will begin 60 days after they complete their ratification process.

Thousands protest against Serbian president | Reuters

Serbians protested against President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party in downtown Belgrade on Saturday.
Thousands of people chanted “Vucic thief” as they marched peacefully through the city center in the fourth such protest in as many weeks. They demanded media freedoms, an end to attacks on journalists and opposition politicians.

Anak Krakatau: Indonesian volcano's dramatic collapse - BBC News

The scale of the dramatic collapse of the Indonesian volcano that led to last Saturday's devastating tsunami in the Sunda Strait is becoming clear.
Researchers have examined satellite images of Anak Krakatau to calculate the amount of rock and ash that sheared off into the sea.
They say the volcano has lost more than two-thirds of its height and volume during the past week.

Ariana Grande turns down Damehood after Manchester terror attack | Metro News

Ariana Grande has reportedly turned down the Queen’s offer of a Damehood in order to respect the families of those affected by the Manchester terror attack... A source now claims that Ariana, 25, was offered a damehood for her response to the ordeal but has ‘politely’ declined as she feels it’s ‘too soon’ after the incident.

The Greatest Showman soundtrack beats Adele's UK album chart record - BBC News

The Greatest Showman soundtrack has now spent more weeks at number one in the UK than any other album this century - beating a record set by Adele.
The film soundtrack remained at number one for the last chart of 2018 - its 24th non-consecutive week at the top.
Adele's 21 album racked up 23 weeks between February 2011 and April 2012.

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2018.12.29

News Headlines - 29 December 2018

Malware attack disrupts delivery of L.A. Times and Tribune papers across the U.S. - Los Angeles Times

What first arose as a server outage was identified Saturday as a malware attack, which appears to have originated from outside the United States and hobbled computer systems and delayed weekend deliveries of the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers across the country... The attack delayed distribution of Saturday editions of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune. It also stymied distribution of the West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, which are printed at the Los Angeles Times’ Olympic printing plant in downtown Los Angeles.

Egyptian forces kill 40 suspected militants after tourist bus bombed | Reuters

Egyptian security forces have killed 40 suspected militants in three separate incidents in North Sinai and Giza, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday, a day after a bombing on a Vietnamese tourist bus in Giza killed four people.
The bombing, less than 4 km from the pyramids, on the outskirts of Cairo, is the first deadly attack against foreign tourists in Egypt for more than a year and comes as the tourism sector, a vital source of foreign currency, recovers from a sharp drop in visitor numbers since the country’s 2011 uprising.

Rescue boat set to arrive in Spain with over 300 migrants

A Spanish charity rescue boat is due to arrive in a southern Spanish port Friday morning carrying more than 300 migrants rescued off the coast of Libya a week ago.
The Open Arms is scheduled to dock in the port of Crinavis, in San Roque, just across from Gibraltar near the city of Algeciras, at 8:00 am (0700 GMT). Proactiva Open Arms, the Spanish charity which runs the vessel, tweeted the details on Thursday.

Earthquake Reported Off Philippines; No Tsunami

A strong undersea earthquake struck off the southern Philippines on Saturday, and the head of the country’s quake-monitoring agency advised people in a southeastern province to avoid beaches in case of a tsunami.
No casualties or damage have been reported, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted its warning for a potential tsunami that could hit coastal areas of the southern Philippine and Indonesia.

UK honors cave rescue divers, Twiggy, Monty Python's Palin

British divers who rescued young soccer players trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand are among those being recognized in Britain’s New Year’s Honors List, along with 1960s model Twiggy and Monty Python star Michael Palin.
Twiggy, a model who shot to stardom during the Beatles era, will become a “dame” — the female equivalent of a knight — while Palin, whose second career has seen him become an acclaimed travel documentary maker, receives a knighthood.

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2018.12.28

News Headlines - 28 December 2018

Japan's 10-Year Yield Turns Negative for First Time Since 2017 - Bloomberg

Japan’s 10-year bond yield fell below zero for the first time since September 2017 as a slide in global equities fuels a rally in government debt around the world.
The benchmark yield dropped 2.5 basis points Friday to minus 0.005 percent, according to Japan Bond Trading Co., as the Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined on its last trading day of the year.
It’s no problem if bond yields become negative as long as they reflect economic fundamentals and remain within the central bank’s target range, Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said last week.

Japan shows video of alleged radar lock-on by South Korean warship

Japan released video footage today it said proved a South Korean warship locked its fire-control radar onto a Japanese warplane off the northeastern coast in the latest move of an escalating row between the Asian neighbors.
The Defense Ministry’s just over 13-minute footage, filmed from the P-1 patrol aircraft, contained voices of Japanese crewmembers asking the destroyer for clarification but getting no response.

Egypt tourist bus bombing leaves three dead, several injured

A blast hit a bus carrying tourists near the Egyptian pyramids in Giza on Friday, killing at least three and injuring several.
The three dead were Vietnamese holidaymakers would had been visiting the pyramids near the capital Cairo and an Egyptian tour guide, according to the country's interior ministry. Ten others were injured.

Scandal involving Brazil president-elect's son clouds inauguration | Reuters

A lingering financial scandal involving Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s son has soured his inauguration next week and tarnished the reputation of a far-right maverick who surged to victory on a vow to end years of political horsetrading.
Bolsonaro, who spent nearly 30 years in Congress, takes office on Jan. 1 after an electoral win that gave him a mandate to hobble violent drug gangs, cut through red tape to kick-start Brazil’s economy and go after the corrupt political class.
But a regulator’s questions about a bank account of the former driver of his son, Rio de Janeiro state lawmaker and Senator-elect Flavio Bolsonaro, has clouded his big day, leading critics to doubt the president-elect’s graft-busting credentials and his ability to deliver a new type of politics.

Michelle Obama wins America's 'Most Admired Woman' in Gallup poll

Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has been named America’s “Most Admired Woman” in 2018, ending Hillary Clinton’s 17-year winning run.
The lawyer, author, and activist won the 2018 poll convincingly, securing 15 percent of the mentions among the 1,025 of people surveyed.

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2018.12.27

News Headlines - 27 December 2018

China's BeiDou navigation system starts global service - CCTV News

China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has started to provide global service, said BDS Spokesperson Ran Chengqi on Thursday.
At a press conference of the State Council Information Office, Ran said the construction of the BDS-3 primary system had been completed... By the end of 2018, there were a total of 33 BDS satellites operating in orbit, including 15 BDS-2 satellites and 18 BDS-3 satellites.
China plans to launch another 11 BDS-3 satellites and one BDS-2 satellite in the coming two years to form the complete global network, which will further enhance the global service performance, Ran said.

China uses facial recognition to arrest fugitives - NHK WORLD

Local media report that since April, the police have been making the arrests at concerts across China by well-known Hong Kong singer, Jacky Cheung.
The security cameras' facial recognition system reportedly detected about 60 fugitives.
They were arrested on various charges, including property damage, fraud and trading illegal drugs.

Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn challenges Theresa May to recall parliament early over critical vote on deal | The Independent

Jeremy Corbyn has challenged Theresa May to cut short the Christmas recess and recall parliament early in the new year in order to bring forward a critical vote on the Brexit deal.
In an interview with The Independent, the Labour leader said he believed the prime minister and her allies were engaged in a “cynical manoeuvre” to run down the clock and offer MPs the “choice of the devil or the deep blue sea”.
His remarks come as the Commons prepares to vote on the UK-EU deal in the week beginning 14 January – in what is being billed as the most significant moment in parliament for a generation.

Mount Etna volcano triggers 4.8 magnitude quake in Sicily, Italy

quake triggered by Mount Etna's ongoing eruption jolted eastern Sicily before dawn Wednesday, slightly injuring 10 people and prompting frightened Italian villagers to flee their homes.
Italy's Civil Protection officials said the quake, which struck at 3:19 a.m., was part of a swarm of some 1,000 tremors, most of them barely perceptible, linked to Etna's volcanic eruption this week.
The quake struck north of Catania, the largest city in the eastern part of the Mediterranean island, but no injuries or damages were reported there. Italy's national seismology institute said it registered a magnitude of 4.8 and occurred at a relatively shallow depth, 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) under the mountain's surface.

Inter Milan fan dies, four Napoli supporters stabbed and alleged racist chanting at Serie A match | Sky Sports

An Inter Milan fan has died and four Napoli fans were stabbed before a Serie A match on Wednesday - while alleged racist chanting occurred inside the San Siro.
The 35-year-old supporter was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery after being hit by a van but later died, while in a separate incident, four Napoli fans were stabbed around an hour before the game as ultras from both sides clashed.
One of the Napoli fans needed hospital treatment for wounds to the abdomen and two Inter ultras have been arrested in connection to the attack.

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2018.12.26

News Headlines - 26 December 2018

Nissan tells staff: No contact with Ghosn or Kelly upon release:The Asahi Shimbun

Nissan Motor Co. has ordered its employees not to communicate with beleaguered former chairman Carlos Ghosn and his aide Greg Kelly, both of whom were indicted on charges of financial misconduct earlier this month.
A message titled "Important notice to all employees" e-mailed on Dec. 24 instructed Nissan employees to shun communication with the pair, as well as their lawyers and others connected with the case, according to a source.
A similar notice was distributed through the company's in-house network on Dec. 21.

Trump and first lady Melania make surprise visit to US troops in Iraq

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Wednesday made an unannounced visit to Iraq to meet with political and military personnel.
In his first visit to U.S. troops in a war zone since the start of his presidency, Trump defended his decision to withdraw American soldiers from Syria, and said that Patrick Shanahan, whom Trump elevated to acting Defense secretary starting in 2019, could hold the job “for a long time.”

Islamic State claims attack on Libya's Foreign Ministry

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at Libya’s Foreign Ministry in Tripoli that killed at least three people.
In a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency Wednesday, IS says three fighters infiltrated the area and fired on Foreign Ministry workers.
Libyan officials say a suicide bomber targeted the entrance to the ministry and another was shot dead by guards before he could detonate his explosives.

Al-Qaeda terror group returns to target airliners and airports | The Sunday Times

Al-Qaeda is resurgent and seeking to carry out new terrorist atrocities against airliners and airports, the security minister Ben Wallace warned last night.
The terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks in 2001 poses a growing threat that is keeping ministers “awake at night”, he told The Sunday Times. Wallace said intelligence had revealed that al-Qaeda was developing technology to bring down passenger jets. Whitehall officials say that could include miniaturised bombs. Islamists have also plotted to use drones packed with explosives to blow up key targets.

Singer Of Indonesia Band Seventeen That Was Hit By Tsunami To Bury His Wife

The front man of popular Indonesian pop group Seventeen was to bury his wife Tuesday, compounding a tragedy that saw his three bandmates also killed when a tsunami tore into their open-air concert.
Dramatic footage posted online showed fans clapping and cheering before the wave smashes into the concert, hurling band members from the stage and slamming into the audience.
Lead vocalist Riefian Fajarsyah posted a video clip of himself on social media stroking the coffin of his wife, actress and TV personality Dylan Sahara, in her hometown of Ponorogo on the east side of Java island.

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2018.12.25

News Headlines - 25 December 2018

Nikkei plunges 5% to 20-month low on U.S. share slump, strong yen

The benchmark Nikkei index plunged 5 percent to a 20-month low Tuesday, tracking drops on Wall Street since late last week amid concerns over a slowdown in the world's largest economy, with exporter stocks also hurt by a strong yen.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 1,010.45 points, or 5.01 percent, from Friday at 19,155.74, the lowest level since April 2017. Financial markets were closed Monday in Tokyo for a national holiday.

JAL probe finds flight attendant consumed alcohol while on duty

The cabin attendant tested positive in two breathalyzer tests conducted after a colleague noticed her breath smelt of alcohol during a Tokyo-Honolulu flight and she was removed from duty for the remainder of the flight, JAL said.
"An unserved bottle of champagne (6oz 170g) for Premium Economy was found empty in the galley area," JAL said in a release, citing that fact as one basis for the conclusion.

American Held in Nissan Investigation Released From Jail in Japan - The New York Times

A senior Nissan executive urged Mr. Kelly to attend a November board meeting in person rather than by video conference, and sent a corporate jet to pick him up, Mr. Kelly’s wife, Donna Kelly, said. Instead, he was taken into custody minutes after he arrived in Tokyo.
Like Mr. Ghosn, Mr. Kelly was not allowed to communicate with his family or an American lawyer while he was in jail, and he was questioned at length by prosecutors without a lawyer present, as is standard in Japan.

On Christmas Eve, Trump questions child about belief in Santa

Fielding a phone call from a seven-year-old on Monday, US President Donald Trump put himself on Santa Claus's naughty list by raising doubts about his existence.
The call to American defense agency NORAD, which "tracks" Santa's movements around the world, was one of several answered by Trump and his wife Melania as part of a Christmas Eve tradition.

US judge orders N.Korea to pay $501 mln over dead American | AFP.com

A US judge on Monday ordered North Korea to pay $501 million over the death of American Otto Warmbier, concluding that the university student likely suffered torture.

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2018.12.24

News Headlines - 24 December 2018

Japan suffers biggest natural population decline ever - CNN

The fast-graying nation also posted a record-low birthrate, as the estimated number of babies born in 2018 dipped to 921,000 -- the lowest since records began in 1899 -- according to a report published Friday by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The number of newborns is estimated to have shrunk by 25,000 from 2017, and the figure remains under the 1 million mark for the third year running.
Deaths in 2018 also hit a postwar record high of 1.369 million, with a natural population decline of 448,000 -- the highest ever.

S.Korea again denies Japan's radar claim - NHK WORLD

Japan says the South Korean vessel leveled the radar at the SDF plane over waters off Ishikawa Prefecture. But South Korea says the destroyer was using radar to search for a drifting North Korean ship.
Deputy spokesman of South Korea's Defense Ministry Lee Jin-woo spoke at a news conference on Monday... Lee acknowledged that the destroyer used a camera to monitor the SDF aircraft as it flew at a low altitude and approached the vessel. But he denied the vessel emitted radio waves from its tracking radar.

Indonesia tsunami: Death toll rises to 222, hundreds more injured - Channel NewsAsia

Indonesia's disaster agency said 222 people were dead and hundreds more injured after a tsunami struck coastal areas around the Sunda Strait between the islands of Sumatra and Java on Saturday (Dec 22) night.
"222 people are dead, 843 people are injured and 28 people are missing," Indonesia's national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday evening.

Trump takes parting shot at Mattis and his view of U.S. allies | Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday criticized departing Defence Secretary James Mattis and his view of alliances, saying the Pentagon chief failed to recognise the true costs of America’s military support around the world.

Wayne Rooney: Everyone from the staff to the kitmen were unhappy under Jose Mourinho at Man Utd | London Evening Standard

Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says “everyone from the staff to the kitmen” was unhappy during Jose Mourinho’s reign at Old Trafford.
Mourinho departed after two-and-a-half years last Tuesday with club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer installed as caretaker manager until the end of the season... Speaking during his appearance as a pundit on BT Sport, Rooney echoed those sentiments.

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2018.12.23

News Headlines - 23 December 2018

China Mulls Law to Curb Forced Tech Transfers: People's Daily - Bloomberg

A draft law aiming at protecting foreign investment and preventing the forced transfer of technology has been submitted for review at a Chinese legislators’ meeting starting Sunday, People’s Daily reported.
The country will protect the intellectual property rights of overseas investors, encourage voluntary technology transfers but forbid forced transfers using administrative measures, Minister of Justice Fu Zhenghua told lawmakers, according to the newspaper.

JAL hit by business improvement order over drunk pilot; flight attendant fails Breathalyzer test | The Japan Times

The transport ministry issued a business improvement order to Japan Airlines Co. on Friday over a pilot who was convicted in the U.K. for heavy drinking that delayed the start of a London-Tokyo flight.
The order, the third most serious reprimand after business license revocation and business suspension orders, was issued after a JAL co-pilot was given a 10-month sentence in the U.K. for having a blood-alcohol level about 10 times higher than the legal limit before boarding the flight in October. He has since been dismissed.

Gatwick mystery deepens as couple released without charge and damaged drone found near airport | The Independent

A man and a woman arrested over the drone activity that prompted days of chaos at Gatwick Airport have been released without charge, Sussex Police have said.
Their release comes after several sightings of a drone around the airport caused around 1,000 flights to be cancelled, affecting 140,000 passengers ahead of the year’s busiest weekend of travel... The police have also found a damaged drone on the airfield which will now be forensically examined.

'Stealthing' trial: German man sentenced in landmark case - CNN

A German police officer has been found guilty of sexual assault for removing a condom during sexual intercourse without the consent of his partner, an act known as "stealthing," in what is believed to be the first case of its kind to be prosecuted in Germany... He received an eight-month suspended jail sentence from the court and was fined €3,000 ($3,400) in damages, along with a €96 fine to pay for a sexual health test for the female victim.

Italy's 2019 budget wins Senate approval amid outcry | Reuters

The Italian government won a grueling vote of confidence on its 2019 budget in the upper house in the early hours of Sunday, as it races to get the package approved before a year-end deadline.
The budget now has to be approved by the lower house of parliament by Dec 31 so it can take effect from the start of the new year.
The government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League won the vote 167-78, with three abstentions.

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2018.12.22

News Headlines - 22 December 2018

Japan-EU EPA set to take effect in Feb. - The Japan News

On Friday, Japan and the EU informed each other that their necessary procedures, including parliamentary approvals, have been completed for the deal to create a free trade bloc that accounts for 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
The EPA will take effect on Feb. 1, 2019, the first day of the second month after the mutual notification, as stipulated by the agreement.

Thousands of Hungarians join latest rally against Orban’s 'slave law' | The Guardian

Thousands of Hungarians marched to the presidential palace late on Friday to protest against labour reforms as a rally led by spoof political party MKKP merged with a subsequent demonstration staged by opposition groups.
Passage of two laws last week backed by prime minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party angered a variety of groups.
One, dubbed by critics the “slave law”, allows employers to ask staff to work up to 400 hours per year of overtime. Another would set up new courts which critics say could be politically manipulated.

Czech coal mine methane gas explosion kills 13 - BBC News

At least 13 miners have been killed and 10 more injured in a methane explosion at a Czech coal mine, officials say.
Most of the victims were Polish miners provided by an agency, the state-run OKD mining company said.
Thursday's blast happened 800m (2,600ft) below ground at the CSM hard-coal mine, near the eastern town of Karvina, close to the Polish border.

Train in Serbia Hits Bus Full of Students, Killing at Least Five - Bloomberg

A train collided with a bus carrying students in southern Serbia, killing at least five people and injuring 27, the Interior Ministry said.
The collision took place near the southern city of Nis on Friday. Images from the scene showed that the train cut the bus in half before partially derailing. Police are investigating.

Government partially shuts down for third time in a year - CNNPolitics

Parts of the federal government shut down at midnight after Congress and the White House failed to reach a deal Friday night to avert the shuttering of several departments.
Both the US House of Representatives and the Senate adjourned after Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said there would not be a vote Friday night in the Senate.

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2018.12.21

News Headlines - 21 December 2018

Two Chinese nationals charged with hacking U.S. government and military

Two Chinese nationals were charged with participating in a global hacking campaign that targeted the U.S. government and military — and stole the personal information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel, the Justice Department said Thursday.
Zhang Shilong and Zhu Hua, also known as "Godkiller," worked with an extensive network of Chinese hackers to infiltrate dozens of government agencies, private companies including oil and gas firms, NASA and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York, according to a three-count indictment.

Japan accuses South Korea of 'extremely dangerous' radar lock on plane | Reuters

Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya “strongly protested” to South Korea on Friday after a South Korean destroyer allegedly locked its targeting radar on a Japanese surveillance plane.

Watch Ukrainian MPs punch one another in the face as a fight breaks out in Parliament

unches were thrown in the Ukrainian parliament yesterday after a bill was passed that would require the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name to indicate its ties to Russia.
Fighting broke out after Nestor Shufrych, a member of the Opposition Bloc, removed a poster from the podium which accused pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk of being an “agent” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

'Pineapple leather' offers vegan fashion alternative | Reuters

Pineapples aren’t just good to eat. A Spanish businesswoman is on a mission to convince us they’re also good to wear.
Carmen Hijosa has created Piñatex, a textile woven from the long fibers in the fruit’s discarded leaves that she hopes will give the fashion industry a sustainable alternative to leather.

Hotel steps in to give rooms to homeless over Christmas - BBC News

A second hotel in Hull has stepped in to offer 28 homeless people rooms over Christmas after their previous booking by a homeless project was cancelled.
The group had been due to stay at the Royal Hotel in Hull but were then told they could not, prompting an outcry.
The hotel later said they had been told about damage to rooms by the group at an Ibis hotel last Christmas.
Raise the Roof Hull Homeless Project says the allegations are "lies" and Ibis denies the claim.

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2018.12.20

News Headlines - 20 December 2018

Japan to withdraw from IWC to resume commercial whaling: sources

Japan has decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in a bid to resume commercial whaling for the first time in about 30 years, government sources said Thursday... The decision, which will be officially announced as early as next week, comes after decades of confrontation between pro- and anti-whaling members of the IWC.

EU Targets China's Alleged Tech Looting, Steps Up WTO Fight - Bloomberg

The European Union stepped up a legal fight with China over intellectual-property rights, handing a political boost to a parallel U.S. campaign.
The EU broadened on Thursday a complaint at the World Trade Organization over forced technology transfers by European companies doing business in China. Building on a case filed in June, the bloc is targeting Chinese laws that regulate the approval of investments in the areas of electric vehicles and crop seeds and of joint ventures across industries.

EU boy band tells Brits the love isn't over, 'come back to us' | Reuters

As Brexit rapidly approaches, a pro-European Union boy band has made its debut with a ballad to the British people pleading for them to “come back to us” because the love is not over.
The five-member “Breunion Boys”, formed by a Dutch animation artist, launched the video of their first single, “Britain Come Back”, in Amsterdam this week.

Thousands protest in Hungary against ‘slavery’ law | Financial Times

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Budapest for a fourth day of protests against new laws that critics say erode workers’ rights and codify government control over the judiciary... An estimated 15,000 Hungarians participated throughout the day, with police using tear gas against a crowd of about 2,000 outside MTV, where 10 opposition MPs asked to read protesters’ demands.
The protests were triggered by the approval last week of a law that would allow employers to seek up to 400 hours of overtime a year. Opponents have dubbed the measure a “slavery law”.

Colombia’s ELN rebels announce Christmas ceasefire

Colombia's ELN Marxist guerrilla group has announced a Christmas ceasefire as peace talks with the country's government have been on hold since August.
"The National Liberation Army will cease its offensive operations from December 23 to January 3, 2019, to contribute to a peaceful climate over Christmas and the New Year," said the ELN in a statement.
Such moves by the ELN are not unusual at this time of year... The ELN also reiterated its desire to kick start peace talks that have been suspended since right-wing President Ivan Duque assumed power in early August.

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2018.12.19

News Headlines - 19 December 2018

Hacked European Cables Reveal a World of Anxiety About Trump, Russia and Iran - The New York Times

The techniques that the hackers deployed over a three-year period resembled those long used by an elite unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army. The cables were copied from the secure network and posted to an open internet site that the hackers set up in the course of their attack, according to Area 1, the firm that discovered the breach.
Area 1 made more than 1,100 of the hacked European Union cables available to The New York Times.

Third Canadian detained in China amid Huawei case - The Straits Times

A third Canadian has been detained in China following the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Vancouver, a Canadian government official said on Wednesday (Dec 19) amid a diplomatic dispute also involving the United States.

SoftBank mobile subsidiary has bitter debut on Tokyo market | The Seattle Times

SoftBank Group Corp.’s Japanese mobile subsidiary suffered a bitter debut Wednesday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, slumping 15 percent, hurt by a recent service outage and concerns about the use of parts from Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Shares fetched an opening price of 1,463 yen ($13) and slid further to end their first day at 1,282 yen ($11), down 15 percent from the IPO price of 1,500 yen announced earlier this month.

German auto supplier to plead guilty, pay $35 mln fine in VW emissions case | Reuters

German auto supplier IAV Gmbh agreed to plead guilty and pay a $35 million fine for conspiring to assist Volkswagen AG in its effort to evade U.S. diesel emissions standards, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.
IAV, which is 50 percent owned by Volkswagen, will serve two years of probation and be under the oversight of an independent monitor, the Justice Department said.

Jose Mourinho: Manchester United sack manager - BBC Sport

The Portuguese, 55, took over in May 2016 and led United to League Cup and Europa League titles, but they are 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool.
The club have made a change after no progress with results or style despite spending nearly £400m on 11 players.
They also say the new manager will understand the philosophy of the club, including their attacking tradition.

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2018.12.18

News Headlines - 18 December 2018

China's staggering 40 years of change in pictures - BBC News

Forty years ago, China introduced major economic reforms - lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and leading to it becoming the second-largest economy in the world.
Here's the story of how China changed - in pictures.

U.S. Is Said to Ratchet Up Huawei Security Concerns to Germany - Bloomberg

A U.S. delegation met on Friday with German counterparts in the Foreign Ministry in Berlin to discuss risks posed by the Chinese company, according to people with knowledge of the talks who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The American officials used the closed-door talks to raise their concerns about Huawei’s role in expanding Germany’s 5G network. The auction is scheduled for next year.

Malaysia says Goldman Sachs failed to disclose key facts in 1MDB bond sales | Reuters

Goldman Sachs Group Inc made untrue statements and omitted key facts in offering circulars for the bonds it sold for Malaysian state fund 1MDB, the Malaysian government said in criminal charges against the U.S. bank.

Sapporo blast occurred after 100 spray cans were emptied inside an office | The Japan Times

An explosion in Sapporo that injured 42 people over the weekend occurred after two employees of a real estate office located at the site emptied about 100 deodorizer spray cans at once, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

Japan sees record 30 million-plus foreign visitors in 2018

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2018 topped 30 million on Tuesday, marking an all-time record on an annual basis, as the country attracted a high proportion of travelers from its Asian neighbors, the Japan Tourism Agency said.
The figure, eclipsing the previous record of 28.69 million set in 2017, is expected to reach around 31 million by the end of this year, although the pace of increase slowed after a number of natural disasters, including earthquakes and torrential rains, hit the country this summer, agency officials said.

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2018.12.17

News Headlines - 17 December 2018

'Farout,' the most-distant solar system object discovered - CNN

For the first time, an object in our solar system has been found more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the sun.
The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced the discovery Monday, calling the object 2018 VG18. But the researchers who found it are calling it "Farout."

Egypt tomb: Saqqara 'one of a kind' discovery revealed - BBC News

The tomb, found in the Saqqara pyramid complex near Cairo, is filled with colourful hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs. Decorative scenes show the owner, a royal priest named Wahtye, with his mother, wife and other relatives.
Archaeologists will start excavating the tomb on 16 December, and expect more discoveries to follow - including the owner's sarcophagus.

Foreign Minister Kono apologizes for dodging media questions:The Asahi Shimbun

Bowing to heavy criticism for repeatedly ignoring reporters’ questions, Foreign Minister Taro Kono apologized in his blog on Dec. 15 and vowed not to do it again... Kono came under heavy fire from opposition party politicians and various media outlets for ignoring reporters’ questions four times at a news conference on Dec. 11.

hokusai's 'great wave' emerges as a giant mural on building facade

iconic japenese artwork ‘the great wave off kanagawa’ by katsushika hokusai’s has made its way onto the facades of five high-rise apartment buildings in moscow. the buildings make up part of a new development in the city inspired by the silhouettes of several other destinations including new york, chicago, barcelona, and monaco.

China Box Office: ‘Totoro’ Triumphant as ‘Aquaman’ Defies Newcomers – Variety

Japanese animated feature “My Neighbor Totoro” was the weekend surprise. Released for the first time in China, about 30 years after its bow in Japan, the Hayao Miyazaki-directed, Studio Ghibli-produced crowd-pleaser earned $13 million in three days. It is assumed that the film was widely pirated in the three prior decades.

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2018.12.16

News Headlines - 16 December 2018

Renault Urges Nissan to Call for Shareholder Meeting Following Nissan Indictment - WSJ

Renault SA is pressing Nissan Motor Co. to open a discussion into the balance of power atop the Japanese auto maker after prosecutors charged its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, and the Japanese firm with financial misconduct.
Thierry Bolloré, deputy CEO of Renault, which owns 43.4% of Nissan, sent a letter dated Dec. 14 to Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa urging him to call a shareholder meeting “as promptly as practicable” that would allow a discussion of Renault’s representation on Nissan’s nine-member board and within the ranks of its top managers.

Jaguar Land Rover set to cut thousands of jobs in new year | Financial Times

Jaguar Land Rover will announce plans to cut thousands of jobs early in the new year, as part of a £2.5bn turnround plan to revive the fortunes of Britain’s largest carmaker.
JLR, which employs 40,000 people in the UK, has been stung by sliding demand for diesel, poor sales in China and costs of preparing for Britain’s departure from the EU.
In October, after posting a loss of £90m for the three months to September, it outlined plans to find savings of £2.5bn, including £1bn of cost reductions within 18 months, without specifying how many jobs would be lost.

New £50 bank note 'must recognise ethnic minorities' - BBC News

Comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar and presenter Sandi Toksvig are among those calling for a historic figure from a black and ethnic minority background (BAME) to feature on the new £50 note.
The Bank of England last month asked the public to nominate a British scientist to feature on the note.
Campaigners say the chosen figure should recognise "the contribution of ethnic minorities" to British culture.

Kingdom Hearts 3 leaks, director pleads for community not to share spoilers - Polygon

More than a month before it is due to launch, several copies of Kingdom Hearts 3 have made it into the wild, with screenshots and videos of the game leaking into social media. Kingdom Hearts 3 director Tetsuya Nomura responded via Twitter last night, acknowledging the breach and asking the community not to share any videos or images, and to warn one another of spoilers... The material was first shared through a since-deleted Facebook Marketplace listing. That was quickly picked up by YouTubers, intended as a warning to others.

Money falls from sky onto busy Hong Kong street - The Straits Times

The man is believed to be the owner of Epoch Cryptocurrency, a Facebook page that promotes cryptocurrency. The man is widely known online as "Coin Young Master" and his real name is Wong Ching-kit, reported SCMP... However, Agence France-Presse (AFP) later reported that he was arrested on Sunday for causing disorder in a public place, after he drove back to the neighbourhood in his Lamborghini.

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2018.12.15

News Headlines - 15 December 2018

Germany Focuses on Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank Merger - Bloomberg

The German government is intensifying efforts to help fix Deutsche Bank AG, with officials studying ways to make it easier to merge with Commerzbank AG, people familiar with the matter said.
The high-level discussions -- which have included Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing-- are looking at concrete ways the government can assist in a potential combination of the country’s two largest lenders...

Fire at Chester Zoo leads to evacuation of visitors - BBC News

Visitors were evacuated from Chester Zoo when a large fire broke out in one of its attractions.
The zoo tweeted the blaze was in its Monsoon Forest habitat.

Police investigate suspected break-in at Sir Paul McCartney's home

Police are investigating a break-in at Sir Paul McCartney's London home.
Thieves targeted the former Beatle's house in St John's Wood at around 6.20pm on Friday December 7... No arrests have been made and the investigation continues, they added.
It is unknown if the musician, 76, or his wife Nancy Shevell were home at the time of the break-in, which came days before Sir Paul played a gig in his hometown of Liverpool on Wednesday.

Ariana Grande plans special Manchester concert during 2019 tour - BBC News

Ariana Grande is planning to return to Manchester with "a special show" as part of her world tour next summer.
She will return to the city two years after 22 people died in a bomb attack on her gig at the Manchester Arena.

Father of Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner dies suddenly in the stadium after match | Daily Mail Online

Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner's father died suddenly after the side's 2-1 Bundesliga win at home over Hertha Berlin on Saturday... Christian Gentner initially gave interviews on the pitch after the game. He then rushed from the changing room to where a doctor attempted to save his father.

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2018.12.14

News Headlines - 14 December 2018

North Korea keeps busting sanctions, evading U.S.-led sea patrols

A top secret U.S. military assessment found that North Korea is still evading U.N. sanctions by transferring oil at sea, and that a coalition of U.S.-led forces deployed to disrupt the movements has failed to dent the overall number of illegal transfers, three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence told NBC News.
The finding underscores the Trump administration's struggle to maintain economic pressure on North Korea amid a diplomatic bid to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile arsenal. The smuggled fuel provides a crucial lifeline for the regime's economy and armed forces.

Japan begins reclamation at disputed US base despite protest

Japan’s central government started main reclamation work Friday at a disputed U.S. military base relocation site on the southern island of Okinawa despite fierce local opposition.

Man gets 18 years for Kanagawa road rage incident that left couple dead and their daughters injured | The Japan Times

A court on Friday sentenced a 26-year-old man to 18 years in prison for a highway road rage incident last year in which a couple died and their two teenage daughters were injured.

Tokyo, Singapore battle London to host ATP Finals - Channel NewsAsia

Tokyo and Singapore are battling London to host the ATP Finals from 2021 to 2025, the governing body of men's tennis announced on Friday (Dec 14).
The shortlist for the end-of-season showpiece also includes the northern English city of Manchester and Italy's Turin, while the London deal, which runs until 2020, could be extended.

Germany adds ′diverse′ as a gender to birth register DW

Up until now, people had to choose between "male" and "female" when giving their gender, or leave the option blank.
But following a vote in the German parliament late on Thursday intersex people — people whose sexual anatomy does not fit the typical definitions of male and female — will be allowed to change their entry to "diverse."
The "third gender" option places Germany in line with other countries that have introduced measures to recognize intersex people or a third gender, such as Austria, Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada and Portugal.

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2018.12.13

News Headlines - 13 December 2018

Germany’s SPD struggles with Merkel’s successor | Financial Times

“In terms of the competition between the two parties, Kramp-Karrenbauer will make life more difficult for the SPD,” said Uwe Jun, a professor of politics at Trier University.
“She represents the social wing of the CDU, and her positions on social and economic issues are pretty close to those of the SPD. This could make it even harder for the SPD to draw a distinction to the CDU — and that was already a problem for the party.”

Putin's Stasi spy ID pass found in Germany - BBC News

A Stasi ID pass used by Vladimir Putin when he was a Soviet spy in former East Germany has been found in the Stasi secret police archive in Dresden... Mr Putin, then a KGB major, got it in 1985. It got him into Stasi facilities, but he may not have spied for them.

Huge cliff collapse in Cornwall captured by woman walking her dog | The Independent

A large cliff section collapsing onto a beach in Cornwall was caught on camera by a woman taking her dog for a walk.
Deborah Smith witnessed the dramatic coastal erosion at Lyntone Cliffs near Bude around 4pm on Monday afternoon, when she “saw the rocks moving and quickly videoed it” using her mobile phone.
Ms Smith, 54, said she ran away from the cliff edge shortly after the land plunged onto the beach below.

Icebergs ahead! Olafur Eliasson brings the frozen fjord to Britain | The Guardian

Olafur Eliasson is putting the chill into climate change. The revered Scandinavian artist has placed 24 large blocks of centuries-old ice, harvested from the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland, in a circle outside the Tate Modern in London, with another six on display in the City.
The purpose of Ice Watch London, a collaboration with award-winning Greenlandic geologist Minik Rosing, is to bring the effects of climate change closer to home, putting people in direct contact with its effects so that they can feel – and even sniff and lick – the ice as it slowly melts away.

Ecclestone says he attempted to buy Silverstone

Former Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone says he has made enquiries about buying the Silverstone circuit – and was told that the venue is not for sale.
Ecclestone's claim comes as the future of the British GP remains in doubt, with the current contract expiring after next year's race.

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2018.12.12

News Headlines - 12 December 2018

Theresa May survives confidence vote of Tory MPs - BBC News

Prime Minister Theresa May has won a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party by 200 to 117.
After securing 63% of the total vote, she is now immune from a leadership challenge for a year.

Italy offers to lower deficit to 2.04% of GDP in 2019: Conte

Italy has made an offer to the European Commission to lower its deficit to 2.04 percent of GDP in 2019, Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte said on Wednesday, in a bid to avoid financial penalties from Brussels.
After meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Conte said that additional resources had given Italy more financial wriggle room... Conte said that the budget could be revised down from a proposed deficit of 2.4 percent to 2.04 percent, due to the "recovered" financial resources.

Daimler to buy $23 billion of battery cells for electric car drive | Reuters

Daimler will buy battery cells worth more than 20 billion euros ($23 billion) by 2030 as it readies mass production of hybrid and electric vehicles, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars said on Tuesday.

Chaos and the chocolate factory as leak smothers German street | The Guardian

The German newspaper Soester Anzeiger reported that a “small technical defect” involving a storage tank caused the chocolate to spill out from the DreiMeister chocolate factory in Westönnen.
After hitting the chilly pavement, the milk chocolate quickly hardened.
About 25 firefighters worked to pry the chocolate off with shovels. They also used hot water and torches to remove remaining bits from cracks and holes.

Why 10pm on Christmas Eve (or Christmas Day) could be deadly

On an average day, 50 heart attacks were recorded, but on Christmas Eve the number jumped to 69, a 37 per cent increase, with incidents clustering around 10pm, after a day of coping with relatives, eating and drinking too much... The risk of suffering a heart attack also rises by 22 per cent on Boxing Day. Winston Churchill is said to have suffered a heart attack on December 26 in 1941 while opening a window at the White House following a speech to congress.

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2018.12.11

News Headlines - 11 December 2018

Former Canadian Diplomat Detained in China, Adding to Tensions - The New York Times

A former Canadian diplomat has been detained in China, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, less than a week after Canada announced the arrest of a senior Chinese tech executive, angering the government in Beijing... The former diplomat, Michael Kovrig, has worked since early 2017 for the International Crisis Group, an independent nongovernmental organization that tries to defuse international conflict.

Strasbourg Christmas market shooting: suspect on the run after three killed | The Guardian

France has upgraded its security threat level as hundreds of police hunted a gunman who shot three people dead and injured 12 others in a terror attack on Strasbourg’s celebrated Christmas market on Tuesday evening.
Six hours after the gunman disappeared after firing at passers-by in the busy city centre, the interior minister, Christophe Castaner, said the government had raised the risk level to the highest category.

Scientist Honjo receives Nobel Prize in Sweden - NHK WORLD

Japanese molecular immunologist Tasuku Honjo has jointly received this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Honjo and American scientist James Allison were awarded the prize for their work that led to a revolutionary cancer therapy.
The 2 scientists and other Nobel laureates attended a ceremony at a concert hall in the Swedish capital Stockholm on Monday.

Vast, zombie-like microbial life lurks beneath seabed | AFP.com

Scientists have drilled a mile and a half (2.5 kilometers) beneath the seabed and found vast underground forests of "deep life," including microbes that persist for thousands, maybe millions of years, researchers said Monday.
Feeding on nothing but the energy from rocks, and existing in a slow-motion, even zombie-like state, previously unknown forms of life are abundant beneath the Earth despite extreme temperatures and pressure.

Belgian museum on Africa reopens after 10-year effort to exorcise the ghosts of colonialism

For more than a century, Belgium’s Royal Museum for Central Africa has stood as a monument to the worst excesses of colonial plunder.
After a ten-year “decolonisation” project, the renovated museum will open to visitors for the first time in five years on Sunday and Belgium will finally take a step towards confronting its brutal history in the Congo.

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2018.12.10

News Headlines - 10 December 2018

Theresa May calls off MPs' vote on her Brexit deal - BBC News

Prime Minister Theresa May has called off Tuesday's crucial vote on her Brexit deal so she can go back to Brussels and ask for changes to it.
As it stands the deal "would be rejected by a significant margin" if MPs voted on it, she admitted... But European Council President Donald Tusk said the remaining 27 EU countries would not "renegotiate" the deal.

Carlos Ghosn and Nissan have been indicted in Japan - CNN

Carlos Ghosn and Nissan, the Japanese automaker he saved from collapse, were indicted Monday on allegations of financial misconduct, deepening a crisis that already brought down one of the global car industry's most iconic figures.
Tokyo prosecutors said they indicted Ghosn and Nissan for under-reporting his income over a five-year period and are investigating allegations that the practice went on for even longer.

Japan effectively bans China’s Huawei and ZTE from government contracts, joining U.S. - The Washington Post

Japan’s government issued instructions Monday effectively banning China’s Huawei and ZTE from official contracts, while the country’s top three telecom operators plan to follow suit, Japanese media reported Monday.
The news is another setback for Huawei after its chief financial officer was controversially arrested in Canada at the behest of the U.S. government for allegedly trying to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.

All nine private-sector executives of Japan Investment Corp. to resign over pay dispute | The Japan Times

Masaaki Tanaka, the president and CEO of a state-backed investment fund, said Monday he and eight other executives will resign following a dispute with the industry ministry over their remuneration, which the government called “too high.”

Japan's July-Sept GDP downgraded to 2.5% annualized contraction - Nikkei Asian Review

Japan's economy shrank at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter, downgraded to the sharpest contraction in more than four years as a string of natural disasters weighed on capital expenditure, government data showed Monday.

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2018.12.09

News Headlines - 09 December 2018

The Wooing of Jared Kushner: How the Saudis Got a Friend in the White House - The New York Times

Senior American officials were worried. Since the early months of the Trump administration, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, had been having private, informal conversations with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son of Saudi Arabia’s king.
Given Mr. Kushner’s political inexperience, the private exchanges could make him susceptible to Saudi manipulation, said three former senior American officials.

The first charges for money-laundering are laid against Danske Bank - The Economist

The dirty-money scandal swirling around Danske is the largest ever uncovered. Over €200bn ($227bn) of suspicious transfers originating in ex-Soviet countries may have been rinsed through the bank’s Estonian branch. As the scale of the suspected laundering, dating back a decade, has emerged this year, the bank has lost its boss and seen its share price halved.

Brussels police arrest hundreds in 'yellow vest' riot | Reuters

Belgian police detained more than 400 people on Saturday after “yellow vest” protesters inspired by riots in France threw rocks and firecrackers and damaged shops and cars as they tried to reach official buildings in Brussels.

Government warns of six-month border disruption under 'no-deal' Brexit

Medical suppliers have been warned of border disruption for up to six months in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit.
In a series of letters to industry, Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out "revised" estimates over the impact on cross-Channel ports of the UK leaving the EU without an exit agreement.
He wrote: "The revised cross-government planning assumptions show that there will be significantly reduced access across the short straits, for up to six months."

Japan win Curling World Cup by finest of margins - Eurosport UK

Korea lead 6-5 going to into the final end of the match but the Japanese quartet of Yurika Yoshida, Yumi Suzuki, Chinami Yoshida, Satsuki Fujisawa did just enough to turn things around on the very last stone.
Korea's Team Minji Kim had the hammer going into the last end at the Ralston Arena, but were left with a tricky draw with the very last shot, with Japan lying three.
The win meant Team Fujisawa avenged their loss to the same opponents in the recent Pacific-Asia Curling Championships final, in which they blew a big lead in the last two ends.

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2018.12.08

News Headlines - 08 December 2018

Altria to marry pot with big tobacco in $1.8 billion Cronos deal | Reuters

Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group Inc announced a $1.8 billion investment in Cronos Group Inc on Friday, which could give it up to 55-percent ownership of the Canadian cannabis producer.
The deal represents by far the biggest investment by a major tobacco conglomerate in a cannabis company. It comes after Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana this year, and several other jurisdictions, including some states in the United States, follow suit.

Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost - Bloomberg

No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.
In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?
Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.

NASA just heard the first sounds of wind on Mars. And you can hear them, too. - CNN

NASA just announced it has heard the first-ever "sounds" of wind on Mars. But if you're expecting howling, swooshes and crackles, you're in for a surprise. These are vibrations, captured by NASA's InSight lander, which touched down on the Red Planet just last week. The craft will stay put until November 24, 2020, measuring quakes that happen anywhere on Mars.

Survivors gather at Pearl Harbor to remember 1941 attack | The Japan Times

About 20 survivors gathered at Pearl Harbor on Friday to pay tribute to the thousands of people lost in the Japanese attack 77 years ago.
They joined dignitaries, active duty troops and members of the public in observing a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the time the bombing began on Dec. 7, 1941.

Ghost in the Shell comes to Netflix with two big-name directors - Polygon

Ghost in the Shell and the director behind its first animated series, the venerated Stand Alone Complex, are coming to Netflix in 2020 with a 3DCG series. The new series extends Netflix’s big push into anime for the coming two years.
Kenji Kamiyama, who directed 2002’s Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, is aboard for this project, titled Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045. Kamiyama and Production I.G. will team with with Shinji Aramaki and Sola Digital Arts (of the 3DCG series Appleseed) to co-direct the series. The directors are also working for Netflix on Ultraman, which premieres April 1, 2019.

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2018.12.07

News Headlines - 07 December 2018

Trump to Pick Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador, Sources Say - Bloomberg

Nauert, 48, is an unusual choice for the UN role given that she had little experience in government or foreign policy before joining the administration in April 2017 after several years as an anchor and correspondent for Fox News, including on the “Fox and Friends” show watched by Trump. Haley also lacked foreign policy experience when she took the UN posting, but she had twice been elected governor of South Carolina.

Bank of America completes Brexit switch to Dublin | Reuters

Bank of America finished moving its banking and markets operations in Europe to a new base in Dublin from London, the bank said on Monday, after it received all necessary regulatory and court approvals.

Deutsche Bank Raids: What We Know so Far | Fortune

Last week, 170 law enforcement officials descended on the lender to raid it in connection with suspected money laundering. The pictures of police cars with flashing lights lined up in front of the bank’s Frankfurt headquarters sent the share price to a record low as investors considered the possibility of new distractions for top management and the potential of fines. Here’s what we know so far.

Nissan to recall 150,000 more vehicles in Japan after improper inspections | Reuters

Nissan Motor Co said on Friday it will recall 150,000 more vehicles in Japan due to improper final inspections before they were shipped from two Japanese manufacturing plants... The latest “non-conformities” involved inspections of brakes, steer wheels, speed measurements and vehicle stability, the company said.

Sketchbooks belonging Star Wars costume designer to go under the hammer for £300,000 | Daily Mail Online

Sketchbooks belonging to a British costume designer who created the famous outfits in the original Star Wars trilogy are being put up for auction for £300,000.
John Mollo, who died aged 86 last year, created costumes for many of the films most iconic characters such as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Obi Wan Kenobi.
He also designed the iconic white and black uniforms worn by Stormtroopers as well as TIE Fighter and X-wing pilots.

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2018.12.06

News Headlines - 06 December 2018

In Lebanon, billboards declare 'We are all Carlos Ghosn'

Lebanese woke up to bright billboards of ousted Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn posted around Beirut on Thursday, in the latest show of support for the detained businessman of Lebanese origin.
The Brazil-born entrepreneur is feted in Lebanon as a model of international success, and many were shocked by his arrest in Japan last month over alleged financial misconduct.
"We are all Carlos Ghosn," the digital billboards declared, under a large mosaic portrait of the 64-year-old tycoon, who is currently held in a Japanese prison.

Toyota shakes up executive structure to fast-track promotions - Nikkei Asian Review

The company will create a rank of "senior professional/senior management," replacing previous titles such as managing officer, executive general manager and lower-tiered senior grade 1 and 2 managers. The new rank will number roughly 2,300, and will serve as a pool of candidates to fill key positions in the group, such as heads of internal-companies, plants and regions, giving Toyota the flexibility to promote from a wide variety of expertise.
Previously, these key roles were filled by a narrower pool of 80 leaders.

Luxembourg Times - Cannabis to be made legal for recreational use in Luxembourg

Cannabis will be made legal for recreational use in Luxembourg, it has been confirmed.
During a press conference held by the three coalition parties – Democratic Party (DP), Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and The Greens (déi gréng) – political leaders said the drug will be legalised.

Woman gives birth using womb transplanted from dead donor | The Guardian

A woman in Brazil has successfully given birth after receiving a womb from a dead donor, the first time such a procedure has been successful.
While researchers in countries including Sweden and the US have previously succeeded in transplanting wombs from living donors into women who have gone on to give birth, experts said the latest development was a significant advance.

Europe's 'Most Expensive' Gold Christmas Tree Is Worth $2.6 Million | Kitco News

With winter holidays just around the corner, Christmas tree competition is heating up and Germany is taking the lead as it unveils its own solid-gold version worth $2.6 million.
Dubbed by its creators as “the most expensive” Christmas tree in Europe, the festive gold creation is made up of 2,018 solid gold one-ounce Vienna Philharmonic coins, topped by a massive 20-ounce coin, which is placed into a golden star.

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2018.12.05

News Headlines - 05 December 2018

Former presidents, world leaders to attend George H.W. Bush's funeral - CNNPolitics

Former President George H.W. Bush will be honored with a state funeral on Wednesday, an official gathering that will include current and former presidents and world leaders to mark the life of the 41st President.
The White House said both President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend Wednesday's service at Washington National Cathedral.

Powerful 7.5 quake off New Caledonia triggers tsunami but no damage - Channel NewsAsia

A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck near New Caledonia on Wednesday (Dec 5), triggering a tsunami alert and emergency evacuations across a swathe of the South Pacific, but there were no reports of serious damage or injuries.

Toyota launches sensor-based device designed to prevent accidents caused by the misapplication of pedals | The Japan Times

Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday launched a sensor-based device that is designed to prevent crashes caused by the misapplication of pedals in older types of its Prius and Aqua series of vehicles that do not have an automatic braking system... The new safety feature detects objects within a range of 3 meters and issues an alert if the driver mistakenly hits the gas pedal instead of the brake, according to the automaker.
The new system also slows down the car if it reaches over 5 kilometers per hour in reverse.

Takeda shareholders approve Shire acquisition - Nikkei Asian Review

Takeda Pharmaceutical's planned $58.3 billion acquisition of Irish drugmaker Shire passed the final major hurdle on Wednesday as shareholders approved issuing new stock to finance more than half of the purchase.
The deal will lift the Japanese drugmaker into the top 10 globally by revenue as it combats fierce competition.
Takeda announced that at least 88% of shareholders voted in favor of the proposal, well above the two-thirds needed for approval. The institutional investors that represent around 66% of the company's shares generally supported the deal.

Former marathon runner gets suspended sentence for shoplifting - Japan Today

Former world championships marathon runner Yumiko Hara has been sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for four years with supervision, for shoplifting food, with the court citing an eating disorder she is suffering from even after her retirement... The Maebashi District Court acknowledged that her bulimia, which makes her crave food, affected her ability to discern and control her behavior. But the court also concluded she was mentally competent to be held responsible.

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2018.12.04

News Headlines - 04 December 2018

Dow drops more than 800 points on Trump’s ‘Tariff Man’ tweet

US stocks got slammed on Tuesday, dropping more than 800 points as doubts mounted about the US-China trade truce that was struck over the weekend... “President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will. But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man,” Trump tweeted.
The Dow Jones industrial average was recently off 805.35 points, at 25,021.08, with the selloff erasing last week’s gains on fresh optimism about the US-China trade war.

French police remove helmets as gesture of peace to protesters, video goes VIRAL — RT World News

As France has been struggling to cope with a surge in violent protests that has left hundreds of police and demonstrators injured, a video showing officers making an unexpected conciliatory gesture has gone viral.
Footage posted on social media shows a group of about two dozen police officers in riot gear removing their helmets while standing just meters away from a crowd of Yellow Vest movement protesters – an umbrella group behind the massive rallies that have gripped France for several weeks.

Family opposition to Takeda-Shire deal - NHK WORLD

But a key member of Takeda's founding family, former executive Kazuhisa Takeda, says he will oppose the plan... He added that another family member, Kunio Takeda -- who led the business from 1993 to 2009 -- is also against the acquisition for the same reason.
Although the founders' combined shareholding is not enough to block the plan, Takeda said he was planning to urge other stockholders to vote against it.

Water bill 'too expensive' to flush toilet - BBC News

A disabled mother from Yorkshire says she is so worried about the cost of water that she sometimes has to miss out on washing or flushing the toilet.
Shirley Widdop, from Keighley, whose bill, based on a water meter, has risen by 35%... A report on poverty from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that arrears for water bills are now the most common form of debt for the poorest families.

Euro 2020 draw: England avoid Germany but Northern Ireland face Germans & Netherlands - BBC Sport

The 2018 World Cup semi-finalists were drawn with the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo in Group A, with fixtures to run between March and November next year... Northern Ireland have what looks like one of the most difficult draws, with Germany and the Netherlands in Group C.

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2018.12.03

News Headlines - 03 December 2018

Qatar Says It Will Leave OPEC and Focus on Natural Gas - The New York Times

The tiny, wealthy Persian Gulf state of Qatar will withdraw from OPEC in January, the country’s energy minister said on Monday, hinting that it wanted freedom from an oil cartel dominated by Saudi Arabia, one of its regional rivals... But the decision by Qatar, whose citizens have the highest per capita income of any country thanks to its status as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, to leave OPEC after nearly six decades of membership is nonetheless a blow to the group and a possible sign of tensions within it.

'It's the real me': Nigerian president denies dying and being replaced by clone | The Guardian

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has denied claims that he had died and was replaced by a Sudanese impostor, breaking his silence on a rumour that has circulated on social media for months.
Buhari, who is running for re-election in February, spent five months in Britain last year being treated for an undisclosed illness. One theory widely aired on social media – and by some political opponents – was that he had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril.
No evidence has been presented, but videos making the claim have been viewed thousands of times on YouTube and Facebook.

Prosecutors seek warrants for former top court justices, first in Korean history

The prosecution on Monday filed for arrest warrants for former top court justices over their suspected involvement in a massive judiciary power abuse case. It is the first time in Korean history that arrest warrants have been requested for former Supreme Court justices.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said it submitted the request early Monday for former Supreme Court Justices Park Byong-dae and Ko Young-han over their alleged abuse of power. They are suspected of colluding with former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae to interfere in politically sensitive trials in an effort to win favor from former President Park Geun-hye.

Dozens injured as 22 tornadoes reported in central Illinois - ABC News

A rash of tornadoes broke out Saturday afternoon and evening across central Illinois, injuring at least 30 people and turning homes into piles of splintered wood.
There were 22 tornadoes reported to the National Weather Service on Saturday, all in central Illinois.

Fukushima group holds food campaign in Brussels - The Japan News

People from Fukushima Prefecture living in Europe have started in earnest to campaign in Brussels to dispel concerns about foods from the northeastern prefecture following the 2011 nuclear crisis there.
The move by groups of Fukushima people in Britain and three other European countries, excluding Belgium, comes as the European Union maintains import restrictions on some Fukushima food products more than seven years after the meltdown at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

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2018.12.02

News Headlines - 02 December 2018

North Korean soldier defects to South across land border - The Straits Times

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea yesterday across their heavily fortified land border, which the two sides have begun to demilitarise as relations between the Cold War-era foes warm, the South's military said... The incident did not trigger any gunfire, unlike last year when a North Korean soldier ran across under a hail of bullets from his own side.

Pompeo condemns Iran missile test | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he described as Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads as a violation of the international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

German special forces soldiers 'are being silently enlisted into a shadow army' of neo-Nazis

But underneath this veneer he is covertly prepping a crack team of ex-soldiers and stockpiling weapons ready to execute a list of politicians when the right time arrives.
This is no pulp fiction though. The accusations made against the soldier Andre S - known by his codename 'Hannibal' - by a string of German publications is bringing a dark tale to life and revealing how little Germany knows about its most elite troops.

Deadline ends for Hungary, Soros-funded university to reach deal | Al Jazeera

Saturday marked the end of the embattled Central European University's (CEU) deadline to remain in Budapest, with the university now set to move its activities and start the 2019-2020 academic year in Vienna.
The move is seen by students and some European politicians as a serious blow to a liberal bastion in Hungary, led by far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party since 2010.

New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox: MLB London tickets to cost up to £385 | The Independent

Major League Baseball is charging princely prices for its first games in Britain.
Premium seats at London's Olympic Stadium will cost £385 for the games between the New York Yankees and World Series champion Boston Red Sox on 29 and 30 June. The top non-premium seats near the infield cost £320.

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2018.12.01

News Headlines - 01 December 2018

Europe ready to offer Britain more time for a softer Brexit | The Times

European leaders are prepared to offer Britain a three-month extension to Article 50 to prevent parliamentary deadlock triggering a no-deal Brexit.
Under plans being discussed in European capitals the EU would agree to extend Britain’s membership until July to allow time for either a second referendum or to agree a Norway-style soft Brexit... The move was part of a response to growing fears in Brussels that if Theresa May’s deal is voted down by MPs the ensuing chaos could increase the odds of a no-deal Brexit.

Gaza's Only Grand Piano Makes Public Comeback

The only grand piano in the Palestinian territory of Gaza was played in public this week for the first time in 10 years.
Palestinian and Japanese musicians played the piano for 300 people at a November 25 performance at the Palestine Red Crescent Society. For many, it was the first time they had ever heard a piano performed live... The Japanese government donated the piano about 20 years ago, following temporary peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

Gay 'trend' influencing the Catholic clergy: Pope

Pope Francis is "concerned" about what he described as the "serious issue" of homosexuality, saying in an interview published Saturday that being gay was a "fashion" to which the clergy is suspectible.
"The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates," the pontiff said with regards to would-be priests.
"In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church," he says in the book 'The Strength of a Vocation', released in Italy on Saturday.

New cases of HIV rise in Eastern Europe, decline in the West | Reuters

More than 130,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV last year in Eastern Europe, the highest rate ever for the region, while the number of new cases in Western Europe declined, global public health experts said on Wednesday... almost 160,000 people were diagnosed in Europe with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS...

Ex-Barcelona striker David Villa announces move to Vissel Kobe | The Japan Times

Former Spain and Barcelona striker David Villa announced Saturday that he has signed with Vissel Kobe, joining his former teammate Andres Iniesta... Villa started his career at Sporting Gijon before stints with Real Zaragoza and Valencia. He joined Iniesta at Barcelona in 2010, where he won the Spanish League twice and the Champions League... Villa was also a key member of Spain’s 2010 World Cup-winning team in South Africa.

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2018.11.30

News Headlines - 30 November 2018

Prince Akishino questions Japanese government financing of Shinto-linked rite | The Japan Times

Prince Akishino, the younger son of Emperor Akihito, has questioned whether the state should finance one of the Shinto-linked rituals to be held following the Imperial succession... He expressed doubts at the news conference about the constitutionality of the Daijosai grand thanksgiving rite to be held in November next year, saying he believes it is a “highly religious” event.
The supreme law bans the state from engaging in religious activities. Shinto is Japan’s indigenous religion, in which the Emperor is venerated as a descendant of the sun goddess.

Met police knock suspects off mopeds in new tactic – dashcam video | The Guardian

UK police say tough tactics to tackle violent thieves on mopeds, including chasing them and knocking them off their bikes, has helped drive down crime. This year, a special team of 'Scorpion' drivers have knocked suspects off their mopeds 63 times

Supreme Court orders Mitsubishi to compensate Korean forced labor victims

South Korea’s top court on Thursday ruled in favor of Korean victims who were forced into labor during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, ordering a Japanese company to compensate them for their unpaid work and reaffirming that an international treaty does not negate an individual’s rights to seek damages.
The Supreme Court upheld two lower court rulings against the Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., and ordered payments in the amount of 80 million won ($71,500) to the families of each of the six men who were forced to labor and 100 million to 120 million won to four female victims of forced labor, in separate cases.

In Indonesia Lion Air Crash, Black Box Data Reveal Pilots’ Struggle to Regain Control - The New York Times

Data from the jetliner that crashed into the Java Sea last month shows the pilots fought to save the plane almost from the moment it took off, as the Boeing 737’s nose was repeatedly forced down, apparently by an automatic system receiving incorrect sensor readings... The pilots managed to pull the nose back up over and over until finally losing control, leaving the plane, Lion Air Flight 610, to plummet into the ocean at 450 miles per hour, killing all 189 people on board.

Hang glider forced to cling on for his life after launching unattached | The Guardian

A first-time hang glider has spoken of how he was left holding on for his life after his pilot failed to fasten him to the glider.
Chris Gursky was forced to cling to the glider with one hand and his pilot with the other for more than two minutes or face a probably fatal fall to earth.

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2018.11.29

News Headlines - 29 November 2018

French official 'suspected of spying for North Korea' - BBC News

Benoît Quennedey was arrested on Sunday night over the "collection and delivery of information to a foreign power", they say.
He is being questioned by the domestic security agency, the DGSI... Mr Quennedey is a senior civil servant, working for the Senate's department of architecture, heritage and gardens. He is also president of the Franco-Korean Friendship Association (AAFC in French), which promotes closer ties with North Korea and supports the reunification of the divided Koreas.

Hungary: Thousands rally for George Soros-founded Central European University | DW

Protesters voiced support for CEU, which said in October that it would start admitting students to a new campus in Vienna if the government did not acknowledge its legal status by December 1... Attracting students from over 100 countries and offering US-accredited masters programs, CEU, founded in 1991, has long been seen by the nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a hostile bastion of liberalism.
Orban's government has clamped down on academic freedom more broadly in recent years, banning universities from teaching gender studies in October.

Berlin man, 95, charged with over 36,000 deaths at Nazi camp - The Local

German prosecutors on Friday charged a 95-year-old man with more than 36,000 counts of accessory to murder over his alleged time as a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II... Hans H. is believed to have belonged to the SS-Totenkopfsturmbann (Death's Head Battalion) between summer 1944 and spring 1945 at Mauthausen, part of the Nazis' vast network of concentration camps where inmates were forced to perform slave labour.

Egypt unveils previously unopened ancient female sarcophagus in Luxor | London Evening Standard

Egyptian authorities have unveiled a well-preserved mummy of a woman inside a previously unopened coffin in Luxor dating back to more than 3,000 years.
The sarcophagus, an ancient coffin, was one of two found earlier this month in the northern area of El-Asasef, a necropolis on the western bank of the Nile.

Football-mad parents in battle to name baby 'Griezmann Mbappe' | AFP.com

French authorities are seeking to ban a couple of apparently football-obsessed parents from naming their baby "Griezmann Mbappe" after two of the national team's heroes... Earlier this month authorities in the eastern city of Dijon launched a legal bid to stop a mother naming her son "Jihad".

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2018.11.28

News Headlines - 28 November 2018

China orders inquiry into 'world's first gene-edited babies' | The Guardian

A Chinese scientist’s claim that he has created the world’s first genetically edited babies has prompted global outcry and an investigation by Chinese health authorities.
In a video posted on Sunday, university professor He Jiankui announced the birth of twin girls whose DNA had been edited to prevent HIV infection. He said the twins’ DNA was modified using CRISPR-Cas9, a technique that allows scientists to remove and replace a strand with pinpoint precision.
Editing the genes of embryos, which can alter other genes, is banned in many countries because DNA changes, which will be passed to future generations, could have unforeseen effects on the entire gene pool.

TEPCO and state slapped with new lawsuit over nuclear crisis:The Asahi Shimbun

The lawsuit was filed at the Fukushima District Court on Nov. 27 after five years of negotiations between the town and TEPCO collapsed in April over the utility's refusal to meet demands for more compensation.
According to court papers, 109 plaintiffs of 49 households are seeking 12.1 million yen in individual compensation... TEPCO, under guidelines established by the central government, has been paying 100,000 yen a month to each resident forced to evacuate.
However, town officials argued that the figure was painfully low and should be increased to compensate for psychological suffering caused by the disaster.

$18M of cocaine found in boxes of bananas donated to Texas prisons | Daily Mail Online

Nearly $18million-worth of cocaine was found in a shipment of bananas donated to the Texas prison system.
Ports of America in Freeport offered two pallets of the bananas to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice because the shipment hadn't been claimed and the fruit was already ripe.
Two sergeants with the Wayne Scott Unit - a prison facility south of Houston - were unloading the bananas when they noticed one box that felt heavier than the others.

Stephen Hillenburg Dead: SpongeBob Squarepants’ Creator Was 57 – Variety

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the megahit Nickelodeon cartoon series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” died on Monday. He was 57.
The cause of death was ALS, which Hillenburg revealed he had been diagnosed with in March of last year.

Milan coach hits back as Italy's deputy PM slams his game plan - The Local

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso told Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini to focus on politics and not football after criticising his game plan in a Sunday's 1-1 draw against Lazio... Asked about Salvini's comments, Gattuso said: "I don't talk about politics because I don't understand anything.
"I tell him to think about politics because with all the problems we have in our country, if the deputy prime minister is talking about football, it means that we are in a bad way."

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2018.11.27

News Headlines - 27 November 2018

Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy, sources say | The Guardian

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told.
Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House... It is unclear why Manafort would have wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last apparent meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump Expects to Move Ahead With Boost on China Tariffs - WSJ

President Trump, days before a summit with China’s leader, said he expects to move ahead with boosting tariff levels on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25%, calling it “highly unlikely” that he would accept Beijing’s request to hold off on the increase.

The Ghosn Inquisition - WSJ

A CEO once hailed as a business savior is arrested at the airport, held in detention for days without being charged, interrogated by prosecutors without a lawyer present, and fired from his post amid media leaks claiming he’s guilty of financial malfeasance.
Communist China? No, capitalist Japan, where former Nissan MotorsCEO Carlos Ghosn is enduring a bizarre inquistion. The publicly available facts are murkey, but the episode ought to trouble anyone concerned with due process and corporate governance in Japan.

Immigration bill clears Lower House despite opposition filibuster and no-confidence motion | The Japan Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition bulldozed a controversial immigration bill through the Lower House on Tuesday, taking a key step toward initiating a new visa system meant to address the country’s acute labor shortages.
Attempts by opposition parties to block the bill have significantly delayed deliberations and its progress in the chamber. But after hours of delay, the Lower House Committee on Judicial Affairs, controlled by the ruling bloc, approved the bill amid a fierce outcry from opposition representatives. The bill was endorsed at a plenary session of the chamber and was immediately sent to the Upper House.

NASA's InSight Spacecraft Lands on Mars and Snaps a Photo | WIRED

AFTER A SIX-MONTH journey across hundreds of millions of miles of deep space, NASA's InSight spacecraft—a mission nearly ten years and close to $1 billion in the making—landed successfully on the surface of Mars on Monday, touching down on the planet's surface just a few minutes before 12:00 pm PT.

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2018.11.26

News Headlines - 26 November 2018

Iran earthquake: More than 700 injured in Kermanshah - BBC News

More than 700 people have been injured in a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck western Iran on Sunday night, state television reports.
The epicentre was in Kermanshah province, where last year more than 600 people were killed in the country's deadliest earthquake in over a decade.
Tremors were reportedly felt across the wider region, with reports of at least one death in nearby Iraqi Kurdistan.

Tijuana: US authorities fire tear gas at migrants at border - CNN

A major US-Mexico border crossing in San Diego was closed for hours on Sunday after a group of migrants on the Mexican side rushed the border area, leading US Border Patrol agents to fire tear gas at the group.
About 500 migrants on the Mexican side of the border overwhelmed police blockades near the San Ysidro Port of Entry Sunday afternoon, two journalists at the scene in Tijuana told CNN.
As the migrants tried to cross the border, authorities on the US side used tear gas to disperse them, the journalists said. Video of the scene showed a cloud of tear gas that sent people running and screaming, including families with young children.

France is ditching Google to reclaim its online independence | WIRED UK

France is working hard to avoid becoming a digital colony of the US or China. Last month, both the French National Assembly and the French Army Ministry declared that their digital devices would stop using Google as their default search engines. Instead, they will use Qwant, a French and German search engine that prides itself for not tracking its users.

Amazing video gives a 'unique' look inside an Enigma cipher machine | Daily Mail Online

A fascinating new video gives a unique look inside the Enigma cipher machine used by the Nazis during World War Two and famously cracked by a team of code breakers led by British mathematician Alan Turing.
Scientists used state-of-the-art X-ray scans to peer inside the Enigma's metal casing, revealing the wiring and rotors that encrypted the messages sent using the machine.
In total, more than 1,500 scans were taken of an Enigma machine built in Berlin in 1941 - one of just 274 known to have survived the war.

Carlos Ghosn Is Removed as Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors - The New York Times

Carlos Ghosn, one of the auto industry’s most powerful leaders, lost another title on Monday when the board of Mitsubishi Motors removed him as chairman, one week after he was arrested in Tokyo on suspicion of financial misconduct.

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2018.11.25

News Headlines - 25 November 2018

EU leaders agree UK's Brexit deal at Brussels summit - BBC News

EU leaders have approved an agreement on the UK's withdrawal and future relations - insisting it is the "best and only deal possible".
After 20 months of negotiations, the 27 leaders gave the deal their blessing after less than an hour's discussion.
They said the deal - which needs to be approved by the UK Parliament - paved the way for an "orderly withdrawal".

Paris riot police blast water cannon at demonstrators protesting Macron's fuel tax rise  | Daily Mail Online

A water cannon and rounds of teargas were also used by riot police against thousands of French 'Yellow Vest' fuel protesters in Paris today as the Champs Elysee was reduced to a battlefield.
The grassroots movement is campaigning against a what is believes to be a general decline in living standards across the country, and the recent decision to raise fuel prices.
The worst violence took place on the most famous avenue in the city where a huge crowd called for President Emmanuel Macron to resign.

Taiwanese reject gay marriage, new Olympic name - The Washington Post

Voters in Taiwan have approved a referendum opposing same-sex marriage while rejecting a proposal to change the name of its Olympic team to Taiwan from the current Chinese Taipei.
The referendums were among 10 on the ballot during island-wide city mayoral elections Saturday that dealt a major setback to President Tsai Ing-wen’s independence-leaning party.
Ballot initiatives are advisory only in Taiwan, but the vote in favor of restricting marriage to male-female couples will put lawmakers in a difficult position. They face both a court order to make same-sex marriage legal by 2019 and elections in 2020.

In referendum, the Taiwanese vote to retain ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures | The Japan Times

Taiwanese voters approved a referendum to maintain a ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures, imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, dealing a setback to the government of President Tsai Ing-wen and possibly damaging the island’s relations with Japan... The result dealt a significant blow to the Democratic Progressive Party government that proposed easing the ban after coming to power in May 2016, but backed away when the main opposition Nationalist Party (KMT) questioned the new government’s ability to ensure the safety of the imported products.

Man to sue former boss over yearend party assault resulting in burns - The Mainichi

A man who suffered severe burns after having his head shoved into a pot of boiling liquid at a yearend party in 2015 said Thursday he plans to sue his former boss over the incident... The case came to light after a video of the incident was made available recently to Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Shincho, which posted it on its www.dailyshincho.jp website. The video has now gone viral on YouTube.

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2018.11.24

News Headlines - 24 November 2018

APEC issues statement 5 days after summit - NHK WORLD

The Chairman's statement of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum has been released 5 days after the summit talks ended.
21 members of APEC met in Papua New Guinea but failed to agree on a final communique due to a rift between the United States and China over trade.
The chairman's statement was released by the host country on Friday, following last weekend's summit.

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen resigns as chair of ruling DPP after losses in local polls - Channel NewsAsia

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Saturday (Nov 24) after the pro-independence party suffered major defeats in key mid-term polls, a blow to her prospects for re-election... DPP lost its traditional stronghold of Kaohsiung city for the first time in 20 years, and was also defeated in the second-largest city of Taichung.

OLYMPICS/ IOC’s Bach and Abe make brief visit to Fukushima:The Asahi Shimbun

IOC President Thomas Bach and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a quick trip Saturday to the region northeast of Tokyo that was devastated by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed three nuclear reactors.
The Fukushima region will hold baseball and softball games during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The visit was intended to showcase a region that government officials say is safe, except for a no-go zone around the nuclear plant.

China: Situation is severe on swine fever - NHK WORLD

Chinese authorities dealing with multiple outbreaks of African swine fever have described the situation as "severe".
The virus is not harmful to humans but is highly contagious and almost always fatal for hogs. It is also known as hog cholera... Feng Zhongwu, deputy director of the husbandry and veterinary bureau, said 73 cases have been reported since August, and 600,000 pigs have been culled.

'Bohemian Rhapsody' turned Queen into box office, music champions

The rock band hasn’t dropped a music project in nearly 30 years, but thanks to the performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” their music has been given a new lease on life. After just a few weeks, the biographical film about the band and its late frontman, Freddie Mercury, has made $130 million domestically since its November 2 release, according to Box Office Mojo.

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2018.11.23

News Headlines - 23 November 2018

Nissan board fires Ghosn as chairman following arrest:The Asahi Shimbun

Nissan Motor Co. fired Carlos Ghosn as chairman Thursday, curtailing the powerful executive's nearly two-decade reign at the Japanese automaker after his arrest for alleged financial improprieties.
In an hourslong meeting, the company's board of directors voted unanimously to dismiss Ghosn as chairman and as a representative director, Nissan said in a statement.

Washington Asks Allies to Drop Huawei - WSJ

The U.S. government has initiated an extraordinary outreach campaign to foreign allies, trying to persuade wireless and internet providers in these countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies Co., according to people familiar with the situation.
American officials have briefed their government counterparts and telecom executives in friendly countries where Huawei equipment is already in wide use, including Germany, Italy and Japan, about what they see as cybersecurity risks...

Facebook under fire for posts on auction of child bride - CNN

Facebook has come under fire after posts discussing the sale of a child bride were made and shared on its site.
An auction was discussed on the social media platform for a girl aged 16 or 17 in South Sudan that sought payment for her hand in marriage.
Facebook said the post was taken down as soon as the company learned of it, but that wasn't until after the girl involved was married.

Nintendo investigates conduct of Nintendo Russia CEO following Mario Kart live s | Pocket Gamer.biz

Nintendo is investigating the conduct of its Russian general manager Yasha Haddaji after footage of him verbally abusing staff become widely-circulated online.
The video in question involves Haddaji becoming agitated as he didn't believe the Mario Kart live stream was adequately promoted. Following on he then appears bewildered as to whether the stream is live or not.
While the video was pulled from Nintendo of Russia’s social media, fans managed to archive it and share it to YouTube, where it then spread to Reddit and Resetera.

BBC 100 Women 2018: Who is on the list? - BBC News

BBC 100 Women has announced its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2018.
With their help we will explore a variety of themes, including using anger to spark action, and uncovering women from the shadows of history.
Ranging in age from 15 to 94, and from more than 60 countries, the BBC 100 Women list includes leaders, trailblazers and everyday heroes.

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2018.11.22

News Headlines - 22 November 2018

Interpol presidency vote: Russia in surprise loss to South Korea - BBC News

Mr Kim was chosen by Interpol's 194 member states at a meeting of its annual congress in Dubai.
He beat Russia's Alexander Prokopchuk, who has been accused of using Interpol's arrest warrant system to target critics of the Kremlin... The election follows the disappearance of Interpol's former president Meng Hongwei, who vanished on a trip to China in September. Beijing has since confirmed he has been detained and is being investigated for allegedly taking bribes.

Cult leader jailed in South Korea for raping eight female followers | Daily Mail Online

A South Korean religious cult leader who was a 'God' to his followers has been jailed for 15 years after he was convicted of raping eight of his female supporters.
Judge Chung Moon-sung told Seoul Central District court that Pastor Lee Jaerock had absolute religious authority over his followers, who were unable to resist him.
The cult leader's conviction comes after three of his followers went public earlier this year and revealed that Lee had summoned each of them to an apartment before raping them.

American killed on Andaman island home to uncontacted people, body yet to be recovered - India News

An American man was killed on an island inhabited by a tribe known to resist outside contact in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. And, his body still lies there.
The American was identified as 27-year-old John Allen Chau, who sources said was a Christian missionary who wanted to convert the Sentinelese tribe that inhabits the island where he was killed... The officer stressed that the Sentinelese must be left alone and that any forced contact with the outside world could put them in danger.

Sperm Whale Washed Up Off Sulawesi Had Plastic Bottles, Bags in Stomach | Jakarta Globe

A sperm whale found dead in Wakatobi National Park southeast of Sulawesi Island had nearly 6 kilograms of plastic waste, including 115 cups, in its stomach, park officials said on Tuesday.
The 9.5-meter whale was found in waters near Kapota Island, the park said in a statement... The cause of death was not known, but park officials found plastic bottles, bags, sandals and a sack with more than 1,000 pieces of string in the whale's stomach.

Softbank makes major pivot toward office, ride sharing:The Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s No. 3 wireless carrier will transfer 9,000 employees over the next few years from domestic telecom units to help expand joint businesses that parent company Softbank Group Corp. recently launched with Yahoo Japan and other startups based in China and the United States... Under the slogan “Half & Twice,” Softbank will effectively cut its workforce by half while encouraging employees to double the productivity of existing businesses.
The company has already relocated more than 500 personnel from engineering and sales departments and call centers to new business sections through its internal job posting system as of this month. An additional 200 employees are expected to be transferred as of Jan. 1, 2019.

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2018.11.21

News Headlines - 21 November 2018

U.S. Prosecutors Are Said to Be Investigating Japan’s Largest Bank - The New York Times

Japan’s largest bank has already been penalized by the State of New York for letting countries on sanctions lists like Iran and Myanmar route payments through its systems, but a current inquiry is more serious: It’s a federal case involving North Korea.
The bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan late last year as it was locked in a court fight with the New York Department of Financial Services, according to two people who were briefed on the investigation but not permitted to speak publicly. That litigation involves the department’s attempts to punish the bank, known as MUFG, for breaking anti-money-laundering rules.

Carlos Ghosn was planning Nissan-Renault merger before arrest | Financial Times

Carlos Ghosn had been planning a merger between Renault and Nissan before his arrest in Tokyo this week, a deal that the Japanese carmaker’s board opposed and was looking for ways to block.
Several Nissan board members expected a bid to materialise in the coming months, according to one person close to the board. Another source said that a merger was likely to happen “within months”, and a third said it was under active consideration.

Macron's popularity falls to 25% - poll | News24

The popularity of French President Emmanuel Macron has dropped to just 25%, according to a major tracker poll published on Sunday.
The poll by research group Ifop was published in the Journal du Dimanche a day after a nationwide "yellow vest" protest against high fuel prices that analysts say has come to represent widespread frustration with the 40-year-old president.

Spain threatens Brexit deal over Gibraltar status - CNN

Spain has long claimed sovereignty over Gibraltar, which has been a British territory since 1713. But Gibraltarians, who voted almost unanimously to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, are fiercely loyal to Britain and have resisted Spanish claims.
The draft Brexit deal must be agreed on at an EU summit on November 25. An EU official told CNN that it was likely the issue would be ironed out before the EU Council meets over the weekend: "I am confident this will be solved before Sunday," the official said.

Ex-Macedonia PM Gruevski says he has been granted asylum in Hungary | Reuters

Former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who fled abroad after being sentenced to two years in prison on corruption-related charges, said on Tuesday that he had been granted political asylum in Hungary.
Macedonian police had issued an arrest warrant for Gruevski, who resigned in 2016 after a decade in power, after he failed to show up to begin his sentence, following a Nov. 9 court ruling against his motion for a reprieve.

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2018.11.20

News Headlines - 20 November 2018

Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business last year - The Washington Post

Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence... The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s prac­tices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. He attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her “Crooked Hillary” for using a personal email account as secretary of state.

France 'extremely vigilant' on Renault after Ghosn arrest | AFP.com

President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said France would be extremely vigilant about the fate of Renault and its alliance with Nissan after the arrest of the French auto group's boss Carlos Ghosn in Japan.

Argentina: Submarine found a year after it vanished with 44 aboard - CNN

A missing Argentine naval submarine has been found, a year and a day after it vanished in the South Atlantic with 44 crew members on board, authorities said Saturday.
The wreckage of the ARA San Juan, which "suffered an implosion," was found about 870 meters (2,850 feet) down on the ocean floor, Argentine naval Capt. Gabriel Attis later told reporters in Buenos Aires.

Russia’s $11 Billion Natural Gas Pipeline Is Primed to Fuel Europe - Bloomberg

...contractors for Gazprom PJSC are building the latest monument to Europe’s growing dependence on Russia for energy: the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Germany could receive more gas pumped directly from Siberian fields as soon as late next year.
The $11 billion pipeline is one of three giant projects helping the world’s biggest gas producer strengthen its grip on Europe and Asia. Thousands of miles to the east, the Power of Siberia pipeline will connect with China, and a project under the Black Sea will deliver fuel to Turkey and southeast Europe.

Communities flee eruption at Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire | The Seattle Times

About 4,000 residents fled Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire Monday as red-hot rock and ash spewed into the sky and cascaded down the slopes toward an area devastated by a deadly eruption earlier this year.
Guatemala’s volcanology unit said that explosions from the 12,300-foot (3,763-meter) high mountain shook homes with “constant sounds similar to a train locomotive.”

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2018.11.19

News Headlines - 19 November 2018

Nissan Renault chief Carlos Ghosn faces arrest in Japan | The Guardian

Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of Nissan and chief executive of Renault, faces arrest in Japan and will be sacked by the car manufacturers for alleged financial violations.
Renault’s market value dived by €2bn (£1.78bn) to €17bn after the report, with shares falling by 11%. The value of Nissan securities listed in Germany fell by 12%.

Chinese officials try to 'barge' into minister's office as APEC summit tensions boil over - Channel NewsAsia

The police were called when Chinese officials attempted to "barge" into the office of Papua New Guinea's foreign minister, it emerged on Sunday (Nov 18), as APEC summit tensions boiled over.
The Chinese delegates "tried to barge into" Rimbink Pato's Port Moresby office Saturday, in an eleventh-hour bid to influence a summit draft communique, but were denied entry, three sources with knowledge of the situation told AFP.

Peru ex-president Garcia asked for asylum in Uruguay: foreign ministry | Reuters

Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia entered the Uruguayan embassy and applied for asylum, hours after being banned from leaving the country while under investigation for corruption, the Peruvian foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Die-hard fans wait 11 hours to see Mickey Mouse anniversary attraction at Tokyo Disneyland | The Japan Times

Mickey Mouse drew crowds of visitors to an attraction at Tokyo Disneyland on Sunday, the 90th anniversary of the character’s debut, forcing the operator to ask some to wait for 11 hours for entry... Many visitors flocked to the Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey attraction at the theme park in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, apparently to celebrate the character’s screen debut on Nov. 18, 1928.

Hear John Williams’ New ‘Star Wars’ Theme for Disney’s ‘Galaxy’s Edge’ – Rolling Stone

John Williams, the Oscar-winning composer behind Star Wars‘ classic scores and themes, has created a new work in association with the Star Wars-themed attractions currently in construction at Disney parks.
Williams’ new themes will feature in Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction, a themed land dedicated to the film series that will open at both Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida in 2019...

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2018.11.18

News Headlines - 18 November 2018

CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination - The Washington Post

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that he was not involved in the killing, according to people familiar with the matter.

California fires: Number of missing grows to more than 1,000 in Camp Fire - CNN

More than 1,000 people are unaccounted as California's deadliest wildfire enters a second week.
The death toll rose to 71 in the Camp Fire that started November 8 in Northern California. The list of people who are unaccounted for grew to 1,011 names, but that number may change once authorities follow up with families to confirm if they've heard from missing relatives, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea said Friday.
In addition to the dozens killed, three other deaths were reported in the Woolsey Fire in Southern California, bringing the statewide death toll from the wildfires to 74.

Interpol meets to select new president after China’s arrest | The State

Police chiefs from around the world gathered in Dubai on Sunday for Interpol's general assembly to select a new president after the agency's former official in the post was detained in China.
Meng Hongwei— who was China's vice minister of public security while also leading Interpol — went missing while on a trip to China in September. It later emerged that the long-time Communist Party insider with decades of experience in China's security apparatus was detained as part of a sweeping purge against allegedly corrupt or disloyal officials under President Xi Jinping's authoritarian administration.

South Korea to dissolve Japan-funded 'comfort women' foundation | The Japan Times

South Korea has notified Japan of its intention to dissolve a foundation set up as part of a 2015 agreement to resolve the long-standing issue of Korean “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, sources familiar with bilateral ties have said.

Burned to death because of a rumour on WhatsApp - BBC News

Rumours of child abductors spread through WhatsApp in a small town in Mexico. The rumours were fake, but a mob burned two men to death before anyone checked... Police said there was no evidence the men had committed any crime, and that they had been taken into the station for "disturbing the peace" after they were accosted by local residents.
But the mob outside the station on Reforma Street was in the grip of a different version of events, a story stirred up somewhere unknown and spread through the private messaging app WhatsApp... Eyewitnesses believe Ricardo was already dead from the beating, but his uncle Alberto was still alive when they set the two men on fire. Video footage shows his limbs moving slowly as the flames licked around them.

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2018.11.17

News Headlines - 17 November 2018

UN lifts nearly decade-old sanctions on Eritrea - CNN

The UN Security Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to lift 9-year-old sanctions against Eritrea that imposed travel bans, asset freezes and an arms embargo.
The East African country was hit with targeted sanctions in 2009 after being accused of having ties to Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia and refusing to withdraw from border disputes with Djibouti. Eritrea denied the accusations of involvement with Al-Shabaab.
The resolution, which was drafted by the United Kingdom and backed by allies, marks a new chapter for peace and cooperation in Eritrea after years of regional conflict.

Southeastern and Greater Anglia want more women train drivers - BBC News

Rail companies have launched campaigns to recruit more women train drivers.
Southeastern, which serves London, Kent and East Sussex, said fewer than 5% of its drivers were women and it wants 40% of applicants to be women by 2021.

Couple who named baby after Hitler found guilty of membership of neo-Nazi group - CNN

A neo-Nazi couple who named their child after Adolf Hitler have been found guilty Monday of being part of a banned right-wing group in England.
Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, were convicted at Birmingham Crown Court in the country's West Midlands region for being members of the extreme right-wing organization, National Action. The group was banned in 2016.
According to the UK's Press Association news agency, the court heard that the couple gave their child the middle name "Adolf" after Hitler, because of Thomas' "admiration" for him.

US asks London court to hand over two alleged hackers - BBC News

The US's attempt to have two alleged cyber-criminals extradited from the UK has come before a London court.
The two men are accused of being members of a 36-strong group said to have been behind a dark web forum responsible for more than $530m (£409m) of losses to banks and individuals... Taimoor Zaman and Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu deny the allegations made against them.

What happens to used lithium-ion battery packs from electric cars?

While the sheer volume of EV batteries that will need to be re-purposed or recycled is undoubtedly daunting, it’s worth starting on the positive note that these batteries have a long lifespan, and have proven very reliable. Most lithium-ion batteries will last about eight to 10 years before their performance drops to around 70 per cent (or less) of what it was when new.
So what can be done with these batteries when they reach the point that they need to be re-used or recycled?

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2018.11.16

News Headlines - 16 November 2018

Bank of Japan's balance sheet now larger than country's GDP | Reuters

Japan’s central bank has become the first among G7 nations to own assets collectively worth more than the country’s entire economy, following a half-decade spending spree designed to accelerate weak price growth.
The 553.6 trillion yen ($4.87 trillion) of assets the Bank of Japan holds are worth more than five times the world’s most valuable company Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) and 25 times the market capitalisation of Japan’s most valuable company Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T).
They’re also bigger than the combined GDPs of five emerging markets — Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, India and Indonesia.

Toyota to slash thicket of officers so new talent can shine - Nikkei Asian Review

Toyota Motor will overhaul its leadership structure in January, scrapping more than half its executive posts to make room for younger employees who may not necessarily have the seniority traditionally required for major management roles.
The automaker has 55 top executives, including the president and vice presidents. Abolishing the post of managing officer next year will reduce the count of the top executives by 60%.
A new, flexible class of managers will instead encompass anyone from current department heads to managing officers, as well as lower-level managers, some still in their early 40s, for a total of more than 2,000.

The Pathway from Micro Solid State to EV Batteries - EVWORLD.COM

We know that Toyota has said it wouldn't get serious about building battery electric vehicles until they had perfected the solid state battery. In the meantime they'd stick with trusted, reliable NiMH for most of their hybrids. They know it works... And while other carmakers are pretty much following Tesla's lead and have gone the lithium battery route, Toyota quietly turned to a small UK startup out of Southampton on the English channel with orders to explore various materials Toyota researchers had identified that could be used for a solid state battery, one that eliminates the flammability inherent in the electrolyte found in today's lithium-ion cells.

Stolen credit card details of nearly 250,000 British Airways customers on sale for up to £9.4m

redit card details stolen from nearly 250,000 customers of British Airways during a cyber-hack on the airline's website in August could have raised up to $12.2m (£9.4m) for Russian hackers on the dark web, the Telegraph has learned.
Research from cyber security experts Flashpoint and Risk IQ has shown that credit card details were for sale for between $9 (£6.94) and $50 (£38.58) each.
The hack, attributed to a Russia-linked group known as Magecart, took place between August 21 and September 5, with 244,000 payment cards compromised.

Aung San Suu Kyi: Amnesty strips Myanmar leader of top prize - BBC News

Amnesty International is stripping Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award.
The politician and Nobel peace prize winner received the honour in 2009, when she was living under house arrest.
The rights group said it was profoundly dismayed at her failure to speak out for the Rohingya minority, some 700,000 of whom have fled a military crackdown.
This is the latest honour in a string of awards Ms Suu Kyi, 73, has lost.

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2018.11.15

News Headlines - 15 November 2018

Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis - The New York Times

Inside Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, top executives gathered in the glass-walled conference room of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It was September 2017, more than a year after Facebook engineers discovered suspicious Russia-linked activity on its site, an early warning of the Kremlin campaign to disrupt the 2016 American election. Congressional and federal investigators were closing in on evidence that would implicate the company.

Japan's cyber-security minister has 'never used a computer' - BBC News

Japan's new cyber-security minister has dumbfounded his country by saying he has never used a computer.
Yoshitaka Sakurada made the admission to a committee of lawmakers... The 68-year-old was appointed to his post last month.
His duties include overseeing cyber-defence preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Wayward mortar damages civilian vehicle as Japanese soldiers train east of Kyoto - Stripes

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is investigating after a stray mortar landed near a public roadway and struck a civilian vehicle in a prefecture just east of Kyoto.
The incident occurred at about 1:20 p.m. Wednesday when three mortars went wide of their target during routine training at the Aibano Training Area in Takashima City, Shiga prefecture, said JGSDF spokesman Muneyuki Yatsuo.

South Korea's 'Garlic Girls' curlers slam coaches - Channel NewsAsia

The "Garlic Girls" South Korean curling team who became a media sensation with their unlikely run to the Winter Olympics final detailed their coaches' alleged verbal abuse and intrusive control on Thursday (Nov 15).
The five women from a small rural town known for garlic farming were rank outsiders at the South's Pyeongchang Games in February, but ended up winning silver, their giant-killing feats along the way earning them celebrity status.

Winner of $1.5B Mega Millions has not claimed prize

The winner of the huge $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot still has not come forward. A ticket sold in Simpsonville matched all the numbers of the October 23 drawing.
It's been nearly three weeks since that drawing and state lottery officials tell News19 there's no word on the winner yet... The winner has 180 days from the drawing to come forward. Their time doesn't run out until April 21st.

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2018.11.14

News Headlines - 14 November 2018

Brexit deal: Theresa May's cabinet approves EU withdrawal agreement | The Independent

Theresa May’s cabinet has approved the draft Brexit deal struck by British and EU negotiators paving the way for a critical Brussels summit to rubber stamp it this month.
The prime minister made the announcement on the steps of Downing Street after a marathon five-hour meeting with her most senior frontbenchers... But despite cabinet approval bolstering Ms May, there was increasing speculation in Westminster of a leadership challenge to be launched by Tory backbenchers angry about concessions made in the draft plan.

US Condemns ‘Illegal Elections’ in Russia-Controlled Eastern Ukraine

The United States issued a scathing condemnation of the elections held on Nov. 11 in the eastern region of Ukraine occupied by Russia, calling it an attempt by Moscow to legitimize its proxies... The member states of the European Union and Canada also condemned the elections as illegal and in violation of a ceasefire agreed to in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in 2015.

Putin and Abe Agree to Speed Up Talks Over Disputed Islands - Bloomberg

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to accelerate talks on resolving a dispute over four islands that has prevented their countries from sealing a peace treaty since World War II.
The two leaders affirmed at a meeting Wednesday in Singapore that a 1956 declaration under which the Soviet Union agreed to return two islands after the conclusion of a peace treaty with Japan will form the basis for the negotiations, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.

Japan's SoftBank steps closer to transformation with mammoth mobile IPO | Reuters

SoftBank Group Corp has won approval to conduct a 2.4 trillion yen ($21.04 billion) initial public offering (IPO) of its domestic telecoms business, in a deal that will seal the group’s transformation into a top global technology investor.

Talent agency managing K-pop group BTS apologizes over A-bomb T-shirt | The Japan Times

The talent agency that represents K-pop group BTS on Tuesday apologized over one of its members wearing an offensive T-shirt that depicted an atomic bomb exploding over Japan, and other members having earlier worn hats that carried the Nazi guard insignia.

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2018.11.13

News Headlines - 13 November 2018

Trump Targets French President Macron In A Series Of Angry Tweets : NPR

This morning, French President Emmanuel Macron was the latest target of a series of angry tweets from President Donald Trump. Trump highlighted Macron's recent statement calling for a European army to help protect the continent. He also cited Macron's low popularity with French voters, and he complained about the high tariffs France has imposed on American wine.
This all follows President Trump's visit to Paris over the weekend, where he joined other world leaders to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Italy defies EU request to present revised budget | The Guardian

The Italian government has defied a request to present a revised draft budget for 2019 to the European commission, as it pursues its big-spending strategy.
Luigi Di Maio, the deputy prime minister and leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is ruling in coalition with the far-right League, said the government was committed to maintaining its deficit target of 2.4% but it would move forward with plans to cut taxes, introduce a universal basic income and lower the retirement age.
Italian leaders had until midnight on Tuesday to respond to the commission, which last month took the unprecedented step of asking a member state to revise its draft budget.

Oldest known cave painting of animal found in Borneo, Indonesia, bolstering new theory on human ancestors - CBS News

Scientists have found the oldest known example of an animal drawing: a red silhouette of a bull-like beast on the wall of an Indonesian cave.
The sketch is at least 40,000 years old, slightly older than similar animal paintings found in famous caves in France and Spain. Until a few years ago, experts believed Europe was where our ancestors started drawing animals and other figures.
But the age of the drawing reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, along with previous discoveries in Southeast Asia, suggest that figurative drawing appeared in both continents about the same time.

Roborace DevBot 2.0 Will Be Driven By Human-Machine Teams | Digital Trends

Roborace wants to take the human element out of racing. It hopes to launch the world’s first race series using self-driving cars, but it’s taking a gradual approach to reaching that goal. Roborace just unveiled its latest prototype, dubbed DevBot 2.0, and the car still features a cockpit for a human driver.
For its first season, called Season Alpha, Roborace will have humans and machines work together. Cars will set lap times both with human drivers and autonomously, and these times will be compared to those of other teams to determine a winner. So cars won’t race wheel to wheel, as they do in more conventional race series.

MLB's Velazquez apologizes over inappropriate video about Hiroshima

Boston Red Sox pitcher Hector Velazquez apologized Tuesday over video footage posted on his Instagram account that showed images of a building that has become symbolic of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima along with a graphic of a bomb and subtitles that read "Atomic bomb!"
At a press conference held before Game 4 of the Japan MLB All-Star Series at Mazda Stadium in the western Japan city, Velazquez bowed his head and said he was regretful of his action.

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2018.11.12

News Headlines - 12 November 2018

Dow Jones falls 600 points as tech stocks slip

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 600 points Monday as major tech stocks faltered... Apple drove the decline in the tech sector after one of its key suppliers, Lumentum, said it would cut its outlook for the second quarter of 2019 due to lower predicted production volume for one of its major clients.
Concern over demand for Apple's iPhone line caused the company's stock to fall 5 percent Monday.

Exposure of Israel special forces unit in Gaza turns deadly - The Washington Post

Israel’s military said it had rushed extra infantry troops and air defenses to the border with Gaza as at least 300 projectiles were launched toward Israeli territory on Monday. Several rockets hit residential buildings, while an antitank missile struck a bus transporting soldiers, the military said, critically injuring a 19-year-old.

US jet crashes in 2nd accident involving US carrier in month - The Washington Post

A U.S. combat jet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea northeast of the Philippines on Monday, but its two pilots were rescued safely.
The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the F/A-18 Hornet had a mechanical problem during routine operations in the Philippine Sea... The crash was the second involving aircraft belonging to the USS Ronald Reagan in less than a month.

Miley Cyrus, Neil Young, Gerard Butler among those to lose homes in California wildfires - CNN

The deadly wildfires ripping through California have forced hundreds of thousands of residents to evacuate, including some celebrities whose homes have been lost to the blazes.
Neil Young, Robin Thicke, Gerard Butler and Miley Cyrus are among those whose houses were ravaged by the Woolsey fire raging north of Los Angeles in Southern California, according to the entertainers' respective online posts.

Japanese shot in Malate | Philstar.com

A Japanese man who was accused of estafa was shot in front of the Ambassador Hotel in Malate, Manila before noon Thursday.
Masato Ogushi, 67, had just boarded a pedicab in front of the hotel, where he was billeted, when he was shot in the neck by motorcycle-riding assailants along Mabini street at around 11:40 a.m.
The pedicab driver took the victim to the Ospital ng Maynila, where he was reported to be in critical condition.

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2018.11.11

News Headlines - 11 November 2018

Hometown urging search for missing French woman - NHK WORLD

Hundreds of people in the French town of Poitiers held a march on Saturday to press authorities do more to find a local woman who went missing while sightseeing in Japan.
36-year-old Tiphaine Veron was last seen leaving her accommodation in Nikko, north of Tokyo, on July 29th. Police in Japan are still searching for her.
Around 450 people turned out for a march organized by Veron's family to urge French police to send officers to Japan to help find Tiphaine.

Croydon bus crash: Driver arrested on suspicion of drug driving after collision leaves 15 year-old in 'critical condition' | The Independent

A 15-year-old girl is in critical condition after a double decker bus crashed into a bus shelter in south London in a suspected drug-driving incident on Sunday.
Police and emergency services were called to the scene in Station Road, Croydon shortly before 12.30pm following reports of a collision involving another bus and a car at West Croydon Bus Station.
The teenage girl – a passenger on the 198 bus – was taken to a local hospital by air ambulance and is now fighting for her life.

Topless Woman Tries to Charge Trump's Paris Motorcade | PEOPLE.com

A protester made her opinion of President Donald Trump crystal clear when she ran towards his car sans shirt in Paris during his trip to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.
Trump’s motorcade was on the famous Champs-Élysées en route to the Arc de Triomphe when the woman approached. The words “fake peacemaker” were written on her body.

Douglas Rain, Stratford Festival actor and voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, dies at 90 | CTV Kitchener News

Douglas Rain passed away Sunday morning at the age of 90.
The actor, one of the pioneers of the Stratford Festival, is best known for his role in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Rain was the voice of the sentient computer HAL.

ATP Finals: Roger Federer beaten by Kei Nishikori in opening group match - BBC Sport

Roger Federer paid for his errors as he lost to Japan's Kei Nishikori in his opening group match at the ATP Finals.
The Swiss, chasing a 100th career title at the season-ending event, lost 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to the world number nine.

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2018.11.10

News Headlines - 10 November 2018

German conservatives back Merkel protege for new CDU leader: poll | Reuters

Some 35 per cent of members of the two conservative parties in Germany's ruling coalition favour Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a protege of Chancellor Angela Merkel, to replace her as leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), a poll showed on Friday (Nov 9).
Some 33 per cent backed businessman Friedrich Merz while 7 per cent favoured Health Minister Jens Spahn, according to the poll of 1,200 people that Mannheim-based Forschungsgruppe Wahlen carried out for broadcaster ZDF between Nov 6 and 8.

Macron and Merkel lay wreath at WW1 armistice site - The Local

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday laid a wreath and unveiled a ceremonial plaque at a war memorial in eastern France where the armistice was signed ending World War I.
In a highly symbolic ceremony, Macron and Merkel met in a forest clearing near Compiègne, where Germany officially surrendered at dawn on November 11, 1918, bringing to a close more than four years of slaughter on the Western front.

Trump in Paris: Skips WWI battlefield commemoration with eye on political fights at home - The Washington Post

Early Saturday, the White House announced Trump and the first lady had scuttled plans, due to bad weather, for their first stop in the weekend’s remembrance activities — a visit to the solemn Aisne Marne American Cemetery, marking the ferocious Battle of Belleau Wood.
It was not completely clear why the Trumps were unable to attend. The cemetery is 50 miles from Paris.

London violent crime could take 'a generation' to solve - BBC News

It could take a generation to solve London's violent crime problem, the city's mayor has warned.
Two teenage boys and two men have been stabbed to death in the city in the last five days, including 15-year-old Jay Hughes.
Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC's Today programme to "really make significant progress can take up to 10 years"... There have been 118 homicides in the capital this year, including 73 stabbings and 12 shootings, compared to 116 for the whole of last year.

Congo Ministry: Ebola Outbreak Worst in Country's History

Congo's latest Ebola outbreak is the worst in the country's recorded history with 319 confirmed and probable cases, the health ministry said.
The deadly virus has killed about 198 people since the outbreak was declared Aug. 1 in the volatile east, the ministry said. Those dead include 163 confirmed Ebola cases, with 35 probable deaths. Nearly 100 people have survived Ebola.
This is Congo's 10th outbreak since 1976, when the hemorrhagic fever was first identified in Yambuku, in the Equateur province, the ministry said.

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2018.11.09

News Headlines - 09 November 2018

Disney's new Netflix rival will be called Disney+ and launch late 2019

Disney’s new streaming service will be called Disney+ and launch in late 2019, CEO Bob Iger announced on the company’s earnings call Thursday.
The company announced in August 2017 it would pull all its movies from Netflix in 2019, and start its own streaming offering for its past titles. Disney also purchased Fox for $71.3 billion in cash and stock, further bolstering its library.

May and Macron pay tribute to war dead at Somme ceremony | The Guardian

Theresa May has paid tribute to first world war soldiers who died at the Somme, as she joined the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on his armistice commemoration tour, where he warned that Europe must stick together as nationalism threatens the continent’s fragile peace.

Kyoto team uses iPS-derived cells to battle Parkinson's in world first - The Mainichi

In a global first, Kyoto University Hospital doctors injected neural progenitor cells created from iPS cells into the brain of a Parkinson's disease patient to ease his symptoms of the devastating nervous system disorder, the university said on Nov. 9.
The iPS cells, or induced pluripotent stem cells, are capable of turning into any type of cell, including neural progenitor cells. In the latest clinical trial started by the hospital, the cells injected into the patient's left brain are expected to grow into neurons and release dopamine to send signals to other nerve cells. Parkinson's disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine, causing symptoms such as tremors, slowed movement and dementia.

Meet adorable Zippy, Britain's second ever zonkey who was born on a Somerset farm - Somerset Live

Zippy, Britain's second ever Zonkey (an adorable cross between a zebra and a donkey), has been born in Somerset.
He is an ultra-rare Zebra-Donkey crossbreed who was born on October 2 on Kristine Turner’s 55-acre farm in South Barrow, Somerset... There is thought to be only one other zonkey in Britain, called Zambi, which lives on a donkey sanctuary in Shropshire.

BTS' Canceled Gig Underlines Japan & Korea's Awkward K-Pop Relationship | Billboard

On Friday (Nov. 9), headlines ran across both mainstream and music news outlets about BTS being dropped from a Japanese TV show over member Jimin wearing a T-shirt in 2017 that depicted the atomic bomb drop on Japan, among text celebrating Korea's liberation from Japanese rule during World War II. Fashion taste aside, what the stories are largely failing to recognize is the ongoing, politically driven tension that has plagued Korean acts in Japan for years, with this being the latest stumble in an already awkward relationship.

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2018.11.08

News Headlines - 08 November 2018

Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Japanese Reporter: ‘Say Hello to Shinzo, I’m Sure He’s Happy About Tariffs on His Cars’

During a press conference on the midterm elections results, President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon told a Japanese reporter to say hello to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and remind him that their trade deal is unfair to the U.S.
The reporter with a Japanese accent asked, “Mr. President, how you focus on the economic...”
"Where are you from, please?" Trump cut in.
The reporter answered, "Japan."
"Say hello to Shinzo," Trump said, drawing some giggles from other media in the room.

Helge Ingstad: Norway's warship collides with tanker in fjord - BBC News

Norway has evacuated all 137 crew from one of its warships after it collided in a fjord with a Maltese oil tanker.
Eight people were lightly injured in the collision in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen. The KNM Helge Ingstad frigate has been listing dangerously.
The warship had been returning from Nato military exercises. The tanker, the Sola TS, was slightly damaged and it appears that it did not spill oil.

Grenade-shaped belt buckle prompts evacuation of Spanish rail stations | The Guardian

Police evacuated the main railway stations in Barcelona and Madrid during Wednesday morning’s rush hour after a belt buckle in the shape of a hand grenade triggered a security alert.
The incident, which turned out to be a false alarm, appears to have been caused by a woman carrying the belt buckle on to a train from Barcelona to Madrid.

Green slime and Rubik's cubes among the highlights on Guinness World Records Day - ITV News

From solving Rubik's cubes simultaneously with both hands and feet to lengthy green slime - countries around the world have showcased their best talents to celebrate Guinness World's Record Day.

Oscar-winning Love Story composer Francis Lai dies at 86 - BBC News

Oscar-winning French composer Francis Lai has died at the age of 86.
He was best-known for winning the prize for composing the memorable piano theme to the 1970 film Love Story.

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2018.11.07

News Headlines - 07 November 2018

Former Nazi SS camp guard, 94, goes on trial in Germany

A 94-year-old former SS enlisted man went on trial Tuesday in Germany, facing hundreds of counts of accessory to murder for alleged crimes committed during the years he served as a guard at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp.

Who Steals Portable Toilets? German Court Renders Verdict - The New York Times

Two men in Germany have been convicted of stealing more than 100 portable toilets... Both men worked for a waste disposal company from whose premises the toilets — worth nearly 70,000 euros ($79,700) in all — gradually disappeared... The men admitted having sold the toilets to a company in the Netherlands via a go-between.

Woman who spent £16m in Harrods arrested - BBC News

A woman who spent £16m at Harrods and became the subject of the UK's first Unexplained Wealth Order has been arrested and faces extradition.
Zamira Hajiyeva, 55, is the wife of an ex-state banker who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for embezzlement in their home country of Azerbaijan.
Mrs Hajiyeva, who lives in a £15m house near the London store, became the first person to be served a UWO by the National Crime Agency last month... The UWO means she has to explain the origin of her fortune.

IT venture firm head detained for assault allegations

Police detained the head of a local online storage service company on Wednesday over multiple alleged assaults and violent acts toward his employees.
Police apprehended Yang Jin-ho, chief of WeDisk and also of robot developer K-Technology, in a residential building and took him into custody, the Gyeonggi police agency said.

Grenfell tower effigy: Sixth man arrested over video showing model being burned on a bonfire | The Independent

The 19-year-old was detained on suspicion of a public order offence after handing himself in to a police station in south London.
Five men – two 49-year-olds and the others aged 19, 46 and 55 – were arrested on Monday night.
All have since been released under investigation, the Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday evening.

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2018.11.06

News Headlines - 06 November 2018

Iran Accused of Plot to Assassinate Dissident in Denmark - The New York Times

Iran tried to assassinate an Arab separatist leader living in Denmark, the Danish authorities claim, adding that a suspect in the “unusual and very serious” plot was in custody.
The accusations have set off anger and concern in Denmark, a nation that has experienced little political violence in recent years. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen called the plot “totally unacceptable,” Denmark recalled its ambassador to Iran, and potential joint European action is on the agenda for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Nov. 19.

Russia Reports Computer 'Malfunction' On International Space Station

Russia's Roskosmos space agency says one of the computers on the International Space Station (ISS) has malfunctioned, but it gave assurances that the defect has no impact on the safety of the crew.
Roskosmos said Russian flight controllers plan to reboot the faulty computer -- one of the three in the station's Russian module -- on November 8.

Deutsche Post profit hurt by restructuring costs at parcel business | Euronews

Deutsche Post DHL Group reported a sharp fall in operating profit on Tuesday, hurt by costs to restructure its troubled post and parcel division.
The German postal and logistics group is grappling with spiralling transport and staff costs at its Post - eCommerce - Parcel (PeP) division, and the group issued a profit warning for 2018 in June and started a restructuring programme.
It spent 392 million euros (342 million pounds) in the third quarter on restructuring measures at the PeP division which include splitting its post and parcel delivery division into a German and an international unit.

Japanese victims reportedly stalked - NHK WORLD

Guatemalan police investigating an attack on 2 Japanese women on Sunday say the victims had told their neighbors that they were being stalked and had been assaulted.
The Japanese Embassy in Guatemala says a Japanese woman is dead and another in a hospital with serious injuries.

Sexual Violence Routine in North Korea | Time

North Korean refugees say sexual violence against women in their former homeland is part of daily life. But a new report suggests there’s little chance that abused women in the North will get to say “MeToo” anytime soon.

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2018.11.05

News Headlines - 05 November 2018

Even Fox News Stops Running Trump Caravan Ad Criticized as Racist - The New York Times

NBC and Facebook, both of which had run the ad over the weekend, reversed course after a backlash on Monday and announced that the commercial would be removed, saying it fell short of their in-house advertising standards. CNN had refused to air the ad from the start, calling it “racist.”
Even Fox News, which has made warnings about the migrant caravan a staple of its prime time coverage of the midterms, felt compelled to distance itself from the ad.

Major new Brexit poll shows voters swinging towards Remain – Channel 4 News

Most UK voters would vote Remain if the EU referendum were held again, according to a major new poll from Channel 4 and Survation.
Some 54 per cent of people said they would stay in the EU if the 2016 referendum were held tomorrow – when those who refused to vote or answered “don’t know” were removed.

New £50 note will feature a British scientist - BBC News

The new £50 note will feature a prominent British scientist, the Bank of England has announced, with the public being asked for nominations.
In addition to the Queen, the note will include the portrait of an eminent late scientist from fields such as biology, astronomy and medical research.

Muji and Sensible 4 design Gacha, an autonomous shuttle bus for Finland

Japanese brand Muji has revealed designs for an autonomous shuttle bus built for all weather conditions, set to hit the roads in three Finnish cities by 2020.
The public shuttle bus, called Gacha, is designed in collaboration with Finnish autonomous driving company Sensible 4. According to Muji, it is the first autonomous bus in the world that is suited to all types of weather.

Sam Ballard dies eight years after being paralysed by garden slug

A promising young rugby player left paralysed after eating a garden slug as a dare, has died after an eight-year battle.
Sam Ballard was in a coma for 420 days after eating the slug at a party on Sydney’s north shore in 2010 when he was 19... He was later diagnosed with eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis contracted from rat lungworm which is usually found in rodents by snails and slugs can also be infected when they eat rat faeces.

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2018.11.04

News Headlines - 04 November 2018

As Trump restores sanctions, Iranians rally to mark anniversary of U.S. Embassy takeover

Thousands of Iranians rallied in Tehran on Sunday to mark the 39th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover, as Washington restored all sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal.
The crowd chanted "Down with U.S." and "Death to Israel" during the rally in the capital, and state TV said similar demonstrations were held in other cities and towns.

Heather Nauert is Trump's leading choice for UN ambassador - CBS News

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is President Trump's leading choice to take over the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a senior administration official and another administration official with knowledge of the matter tell CBS News.
The post will be vacated current U.N. Ambassador and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley at the end of the year. The president has told White House advisers that he continues to be impressed by Nauert, a former Fox News host before joining the State Department. The president met with Nauert this week in the Oval Office, and may formally offer her the position as early as next week. CBS News had previously reported that Nauert was under consideration for the role.

German state Hesse to finally scrap death penalty - The Local

The western German state of Hesse has voted to finally scrap the death penalty, referendum results have shown, fixing a historical oddity given that the punishment has been illegal in Germany for nearly 70 years.
Results from a Sunday referendum showed that 83.2 percent of voters in Hesse, home to finance hub Frankfurt, were in favour of changing the state constitution written in 1946 that allowed capital punishment.
Just three years later, Germany's new post-war constitution, known as the "Basic Law of 1949", formally abolished the death penalty.

Man gets life in prison for killing Japanese woman in Canada | The Japan Times

A man convicted of murdering a Japanese woman in Vancouver in 2016 received a life sentence Friday with no chance of parole for 14 years, Canadian media reported.
The ruling by a Vancouver court came after William Schneider, 50, was found guilty of murder last month over the death of Natsumi Kogawa, then a 30-year-old student at a language school.

French poet Baudelaire suicide letter fetches €234,000 at auction - BBC News

A letter by the French 19th-Century poet Charles Baudelaire announcing he would kill himself has sold at auction for €234,000 (£204,000; $267,000).
The note, dated 30 June 1845, was addressed to Baudelaire's lover Jeanne Duval.
The poet, who was 24 years old at the time, attempted to commit suicide on the same day - but survived.

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2018.11.03

News Headlines - 03 November 2018

Muji misses out in removing some disputed trademarks, caught by Chinese owners - Global Times

Japanese retail chain Muji's removal of the wuyinliangpin characters from trademarks on some of its products after it lost a lawsuit to a Beijing-based company won't affect the company's reputation or popularity, a consumer said.
But experts noted that overseas companies should register sufficient trademarks related to their brands to guard against possible infringement as they develop their businesses in China.
Wuyinliangpin is the Chinese name for Muji meaning "good products with no signs."

Toyota to launch 'subscription' car service in January - Nikkei Asian Review

Toyota Motor will next year launch a service that will allow customers to try various car models for a fixed monthly fee in Japan. The new offering is part of the company's efforts to explore new business opportunities that do not depend on new car sales alone.
Toyota will become the first Japanese automaker to launch such a "subscription" service, envisioning cases where customers could, for example, use its Lexus sedan for a certain period of time and then switch to an SUV.
The company will consider introducing the scheme overseas as well, including in Asia.

Two men arrested after stabbing at Sony Music's London HQ | The Guardian

Two men have been arrested after a stabbing incident at Sony Music’s headquarters in west London.
The Metropolitan police said two men were being treated for non-life threatening injuries after being found with stab wounds at the scene in Kensington. Both were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm before being taken to hospital.

Apple Reports Record Results but Weak Revenue Outlook - WSJ

Apple Inc. reported its fourth consecutive quarter of record revenue and profit, as the combination of higher iPhone prices and strong app-store sales propelled the technology giant to its best year ever.
But the world’s most valuable company offered guidance for the current period that disappointed many investors, and said it would stop reporting unit sales for its products—a measure closely watched by investors—raising questions about the prospects for strong sales of new gadgets it has unveiled in the past two months.

Andres Iniesta shows he's still a genius as outrageous 'scoop pass' up Lukas Podolski goal for Japanese club Vissel Kobe

Few stars, past or present, would have conceived the option of the 'scoop pass' Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta saw for ex-Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski.
Fewer still could have delivered it so outrageously.
Nowadays the setting for these two over-30s is exotic rather than exalted.

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2018.11.02

News Headlines - 02 November 2018

Japan aims to open door wider to blue-collar workers | Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approved draft legislation on Friday to open the door to more overseas blue-collar workers in sectors grappling with labor shortages, a controversial policy shift in immigration-shy Japan... Immigration has long been taboo as many Japanese prize ethnic homogeneity, but the reality of an aging, shrinking population is challenging such views.
Despite misgivings in Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), parliament is likely to adopt the revisions in the face of intense pressure from businesses battling the tightest labor market in decades, although opposition parties could delay.

2 ASDF fighters make contact midair, causing minor damage - The Mainichi

Two Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighter jets came into contact midair Friday over the sea off southwestern Japan, the ASDF said, but despite suffering minor damage both aircraft managed to return to base.
The incident between the fighter jets, which fly out of the Tsuiki Air Base in Fukuoka Prefecture, occurred about 200 kilometers west of the base at around 3:55 p.m.

Japanese journalist apologizes, recounts days as hostage in Syria | Reuters

Jumpei Yasuda, a Japanese journalist held by militants in Syria for more than three years, said on Friday he told his captors to deafen him if they suspected he was eavesdropping on their conversations.
Yasuda, 44, said it was one of the darkest moments before his release last month, ending what he called 40 months of physical and psychological “hell”.

Khashoggi murder: Body 'dissolved in acid' - BBC News

A top Turkish official, presidential adviser Yasin Aktay, has said he believes Jamal Khashoggi's body was dissolved in acid after being cut up.
The "only logical conclusion", he said, was that those who had killed the Saudi journalist in Istanbul had destroyed his body "to leave no trace behind"... No forensic evidence has been provided to prove his body was dissolved.

Football: Documents Show Secret Plans for Elite League of Top Clubs - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Today, in November 2018, the Super League idea appears to have fresh impetus: According to the draft of a confidential term sheet that Real Madrid received just a few days ago from a consulting firm, 16 top clubs are to sign a document to establish such a league. According to the document, the league would begin operating in the 2021 season. One of the 16 clubs named in the document is FC Bayern Munich.

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2018.11.01

News Headlines - 01 November 2018

U.K. Expects Brexit Deal With EU by November 21, Dominic Raab Says - Bloomberg

British and European officials hailed progress in Brexit negotiations on Wednesday, with U.K. lead negotiator Dominic Raab predicting that a deal on the divorce will be finalized by Nov. 21.
In a letter to Parliament’s Brexit select committee sent Oct. 24 -- and published Wednesday -- Raab said “a great deal of progress” had been made in recent weeks, thanks in part to new British proposals for resolving the disagreement over the future of the Irish border.

Pound jumps on May’s Brexit deal on financial services | The Times

The pound jumped this morning after The Times revealed that Theresa May has struck a deal with Brussels that would give UK financial services companies continued access to European markets after Brexit.
British and European negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on all aspects of a future partnership on services, as well as the exchange of data, government sources said.

Download Free Digitized Art Through the Art Institute of Chicago Website

Chicago is a city steeped in art and culture. In addition to its iconic public sculptures, it boasts one of the oldest and largest museums in the country: the Art Institute of Chicago. While a real-life visit to this historic institution should be on all art lovers’ lists, a recent website redesign has made it easy to experience its collection with the click of a mouse.
The museum has reproduced thousands of high-resolution images of its art and released a substantial amount into the public domain. This means that, under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, students, educators, and even everyday art lovers can download this digitized art for free.

BBC - The 100 greatest foreign-language films

One statistic we noted was that a quarter of the films on our list were East Asian: that is, 25 of them were made in Japan (11), China (6), Taiwan (4), Hong Kong (3) or South Korea (1). And the winning film, Seven Samurai, by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, was loved by critics everywhere – everywhere, that is, except for Japan. The six Japanese critics who voted didn’t go for a single Kurosawa film between them.

Football's lawmakers to discuss overhaul of handball rules while penalty rebounds could also be eliminated

Football’s lawmakers are expected to discuss a radical change to the handball rule to clarify it and take out the word “deliberately”.
The International FA Board (Ifab) advisory panels will also examine a raft of other potential measures, including altering the way penalties are taken.
A surprising proposal is expected to be put up for discussion which would mean that penalties are “one shot” – and that there will be no rebounds if the kick is saved or strikes the goal-frame and bounces back into play.

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2018.10.31

News Headlines - 31 October 2018

New 50 pence coin to commemorate Britain's Brexit day | Reuters

Britain will mint a new 50 pence ($0.6) coin to commemorate leaving the European Union in spring 2019, the finance ministry said on Monday.
The departure is one of a series of historic moments such as the 2012 Olympics, the decision to join the European Economic Community, the predecessor to the EU, in 1973, and the centenary of the First World War, it said.

Russian suicide bomb kills one and injures three in FSB offices | The Guardian

A suicide bombing in the offices of Russia’s Federal Security Service in Arkhangelsk in northern Russia has left three injured.
Investigators said a 17-year-old local male had been carrying the bomb in a bag and detonated it on Wednesday shortly after entering the FSB’s offices in the city, which is just south of the Arctic circle.

Town assembly on tiny Okinawa island finally elects speaker after 99th vote - The Mainichi

The municipal assembly on Japan's westernmost island of Yonaguni, Okinawa Prefecture, finally elected its speaker in its 99th vote on Oct. 31 after those elected in the previous processes had declined to take the post.
Both pro- and anti-mayor members had refused to take the post of speaker because the camp from which a speaker is elected would become a minority in the assembly that is evenly split into the ruling and opposition camps.

Mitsubishi Heavy to provide \220 billion to aid struggling aircraft unit | The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Wednesday it will provide \220 billion ($1.94 billion) to its struggling aircraft subsidiary to bolster its capital and help its long-delayed development of a regional passenger jet.
Mitsubishi Heavy said it will increase the capital of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. by \170 billion and also cancel \50 billion of the total debt owed by the subsidiary, as the aircraft company continued to have a negative net worth at the end of fiscal 2017.

Ford and Baidu will develop self-driving cars together in China - CNN

Ford and Baidu are teaming up to develop self-driving cars in China.
The US automaker and Chinese internet company said Wednesday they plan to start testing autonomous vehicles together on Beijing roads by the end of the year.
The project combines Baidu's (BIDU) "technological know-how and understanding of China together with Ford's vehicle expertise," said Zhenyu Li, head of Baidu's Intelligent Driving Group.

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2018.10.30

News Headlines - 30 October 2018

South Korea court orders Japan firm to compensate wartime forced labourers - The Straits Times

South Korea’s top court ruled on Tuesday (Oct 30) that Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp should compensate four South Koreans for their forced labour during World War Two, when Japan occupied Korea, Yonhap reported... The court ruled that the former labourers’ right to reparation was not terminated by a 1965 treaty normalising diplomatic ties, rejecting the claim by Tokyo, Yonhap said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Tuesday that the South Korean court’s order was “unthinkable”, and the ruling overturned the legal basis for bilateral friendship since 1965.

Sony forecasts big jump to record annual profit on winning gaming strategy | Reuters

Japan’s Sony Corp boosted its annual profit outlook by 30 percent to a record level after a strong second-quarter, propelled by popular game titles like “Marvel’s Spider-Man” as well as growing demand for its online gaming services.

Twitter to remove 'like' tool in a bid to improve the quality of debate

Twitter is planning to remove the ability to "like" tweets in a radical move that aims to improve the quality of debate on the social network.
Founder Jack Dorsey last week admitted at a Twitter event that he was not a fan of the heart-shaped button and that it would be getting rid of it “soon”.
The feature was introduced in 2015 to replace “favourites”, a star-shaped button that allowed people to bookmark tweets to read later.

NASA Solar Probe Becomes Closest Spacecraft to the Sun - Geek.com

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe now holds the record for closest approach to the Sun by a human-made object.
The spacecraft on Monday passed within 26.55 million miles of the Sun’s surface, beating the previous achievement, set by the German-American Helios 2 in April 1976.
Expect a lot more broken records as the Parker Solar Probe mission continues, prepared to make a final close approach of 3.83 million miles from the Sun’s surface in 2024.

Police rescue animals from 'hellish' Albanian zoo | The Japan Times

Albanian police on Sunday broke open cages at a private zoo and removed 11 animals including three lions and a bear being kept in “hellish” conditions, animal welfare workers said.
After the owner of the zoo at Fier, around 100 km (60 miles) south of the capital Tirana, allegedly refused to cooperate, officers forcibly entered areas where the animals were kept to allow vets access, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.

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2018.10.29

News Headlines - 29 October 2018

Indonesian Lion Air plane crashes into sea with 188 passengers, crew | AFP.com

An Indonesian Lion Air plane carrying 188 passengers and crew crashed into the sea Monday, officials said, moments after it had asked to be allowed to return to Jakarta.
The jet vanished from radar just 13 minutes after taking off from the Indonesian capital, plunging into the ocean.

China's yuan sinks to 10-year low against dollar

China’s yuan sank to a 10-year low against the dollar on Monday, coming close to breaking the politically sensitive level of seven to the U.S. currency.
The yuan declined to 6.9644 per dollar at midday, passing its most recent low in 2016 before recovering slightly. It was the lowest level since May 2008.
The currency’s weakness is one of a series of elements fueling Washington’s trade complaints against Beijing. The U.S. Treasury Department declined this month to label China a currency manipulator but said it was closely watching Beijing.

Sweden closer to election as Lofven drops bid to form government | Reuters

The failed attempt brought the prospect of a snap election closer, though the speaker of parliament said he would try to avoid that at all costs.
The Sept. 9 vote gave the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats hold the balance of power, but neither Lofven’s center-left bloc nor the center-right group of parties has been willing to give them a say in policy due to their white supremacist roots.

Georgia presidential election poised for runoff | Reuters

Georgia’s presidential election looked likely to go to a second round as early official results on Sunday showed neither of the frontrunners with enough votes to secure victory.
French-born ruling party candidate Salome Zurabishvili had 43.2 percent of the vote and her opposition rival Grigol Vashadze won 34.7 percent based on results from 28 percent of the polling stations, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said on its website.

Powerball results: 2 winners will split $687 million jackpot - CNN

It's a split! Players in Iowa and New York will share Saturday's massive Powerball jackpot.
Two tickets matched all winning numbers on Saturday and the winners will split the estimated $687.8 million jackpot or a one-time cash option of $396.2 million -- the fourth largest in US lottery history... It's still unclear how many people won Powerball's top prize.

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2018.10.28

News Headlines - 28 October 2018

Jair Bolsonaro Wins Brazil’s Presidency, in a Shift to the Far Right - The New York Times

Brazil on Sunday became the latest country to drift toward the far right, electing a strident populist as president in the nation’s most radical political change since democracy was restored more than 30 years ago.
The president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, has exalted the country’s military dictatorship, advocated torture and threatened to destroy, jail or drive into exile his political opponents.

Malaysia issues permanent ban on import of plastic waste | The Star Online

Malaysia has issued a permanent ban on the import of plastic waste effective Friday (Oct 26), says Zuraida Kamaruddin.
The Housing and Local Government Minister said the country would also be phasing out the import of other types of plastic within three years.

Flipping marvelous: Balkan chefs break pancake record | Reuters

A team of Balkan chefs rustled up a world record number of a pancakes on Friday, making 14,186 in eight hours at Sarajevo’s tourist fair.
Using 300 liters of oil, 600 kilograms of flour and 400 liters of milk, the 140 cooks from Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia kept the frying pans turning in an improvised open-air kitchen under autumn sunshine as 15 judges looked on.

Christie's auctions painting made by AI for $432,500.

Renowned auction house Christie's sold the first piece of art created by an algorithm for $432,500.
The painting, titled "The Portrait of Edmond Belamy," was completed by artificial intelligence managed by a Paris-based collective called Obvious, Christie's said.
According to an online catalog on Christie's website, the painting had been estimated to go for $7,000-$10,000.

Real Madrid: Lopetegui will be sacked today: Conte on the way | MARCA in English

lorentino Perez is set to discuss the Real Madrid coaching situation with his directors in the coming hours and it is looking increasingly likely that Julen Lopetegui will be replaced by Antonio Conte next week.Five goals conceded at the Camp Nou appear to have sealed Lopetegui's fate and the Italian could arrive as early as Monday.If not, Santiago Solari will take temporary charge of the first team for Wednesday's Copa del Rey game against Melilla.

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2018.10.27

News Headlines - 27 October 2018

Megyn Kelly's NBC show cancelled after blackface controversy | The Guardian

Megyn Kelly has been officially dropped by NBC after only one year of her three-year contract.
The ex-Fox News host was under fire this week after defending blackface in a controversial segment. After outcry, new episodes of Megyn Kelly Today were temporarily replaced with repeats while talks were held.

London forex traders found not guilty in U.S. rigging case | Reuters

Three former London-based currency traders were found not guilty on Friday of U.S. charges that they schemed to rig benchmark exchange rates, the latest verdict to emerge from a U.S. probe into the multitrillion-dollar foreign exchange market.

Porsche to pay fine over involvement in pollution scam | DW

A regional court in Stuttgart on Wednesday told German carmaker Porsche it would need to pay a total of some €47 million ($54 million) in damages for what judges felt was its faulty information policy surrounding the Volkswagen Group's large-scale emissions-cheating scandal that broke in 2015.
The court, whose verdict is not yet final, found that Porsche as Volkswagen's largest shareholder was in breach of its obligation to publicly disclose information with a potential to influence the carmaker's share price.

Single-use plastics ban approved by European Parliament - BBC News

The European Parliament has voted for a complete ban on a range of single-use plastics across the union in a bid to stop pollution of the oceans.
MEPs backed a ban on plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, straws, drink-stirrers and balloon sticks.
The proposal also calls for a reduction in single-use plastic for food and drink containers like plastic cups.

Halloween comes early for the animals at London Zoo | Metro News

Halloween came early at London Zoo as its giraffes, squirrel monkeys and gorillas enjoyed some special treats in carved-out pumpkins. With days to go until the Oct. 31 celebration, the animals didn’t even have to go trick or treating as they were delivered to their enclosures. The animals soon got into the fiendish swing of things and had their very own pumpkin party.

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2018.10.26

News Headlines - 26 October 2018

How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android’ - The New York Times

Google gave Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, a hero’s farewell when he left the company in October 2014... What Google did not make public was that an employee had accused Mr. Rubin of sexual misconduct. The woman, with whom Mr. Rubin had been having an extramarital relationship, said he coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013, according to two company executives with knowledge of the episode. Google investigated and concluded her claim was credible, said the people... Mr. Rubin was notified, they said, and Mr. Page asked for his resignation.

Japanese gov't orders Facebook to improve data protection - Japan Today

The Japanese government on Monday ordered Facebook Inc to improve protection of users' personal information following a series of incidents including a massive data breach earlier this year that impacted 87 million people around the world, a commission said.
It is the first time the Japanese government's Personal Information Protection Commission has issued this kind of warning to the U.S. social media giant.

Qatar 'provided information' to help free Yasuda - NHK WORLD

A senior Qatari government official says his country provided information that helped to secure the release of Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda... He explained that Qatar and Turkey provided Japan with intelligence through diplomatic routes and counterterrorism agencies.

Hawaiian island erased by powerful hurricane: ‘The loss is a huge blow’ | The Guardian

A piece of the United States has been dramatically wiped off the map after an island in Hawaii was washed away by a powerful hurricane.
East Island, a remote spit of gravel and sand that sat atop a coral reef, has vanished after having this misfortune to come into contact with Hurricane Walaka, an intense storm that surged past Hawaii earlier this month.
Scientists have confirmed the disappearance of the 11-acre island after comparing satellite images of the surrounding French Frigate Shoals, part of an enormous protected marine area in the north-western Hawaiian Islands.

‘French Spiderman’ Alain Robert illegally climbs City of London's tallest tower (without a harness) | The Independent

A French free climber known as the "Human Spider" scaled London’s Heron Tower without a harness, only to be arrested shortly afterwards.
Alain Robert has previously completed death-defying ascents of New York’s Empire State Building, and the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
The 56-year-old successfully reached the top of the 662ft (202m) Heron Tower, the tallest building in The City, after less than an hour of climbing.

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2018.10.25

News Headlines - 25 October 2018

Tohoku Electric to scrap aging No. 1 unit at Onagawa nuclear plant | The Japan Times

Tohoku Electric Power Co. said Thursday it will scrap the idled No. 1 unit at its Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture, more than 30 years after it started operations.
The company cited difficulties in taking additional safety measures as well as the relatively small output of the reactor that made it unprofitable.

Taiwan train driver failed to report switch-off - NHK WORLD

Taiwanese rail authorities say the driver of a train that derailed, killing 18 people, failed to report to controllers that he had turned off its control system before the accident... The driver admitted that he switched off the automatic control system because of trouble with the power system.
Authorities told reporters on Wednesday that any train driver is required to report to a control center when turning off the safety system.

Japan to end ODA funding to China, now an economic titan:The Asahi Shimbun

Japan has decided to scrap official development assistance to China now that it is the world's second-largest economy.
When Japan started providing ODA to Beijing 40 years ago, China was still a developing country.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will visit China from Oct. 25, will officially announce the decision the day after he arrives during meetings in Beijing.

Belgian robbers asked to come back - and arrested on their return - BBC News

Six people entered Didier's shop in the suburbs of Charleroi in daylight with the intent to rob him.
The salesman told the group to return at the end of the day, when he could give them more money. In the end though, he got them arrested instead.

World's oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea | The Guardian

Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the world’s oldest intact shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years.
The 23-metre (75ft) vessel, thought to be ancient Greek, was discovered with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile below the surface. A lack of oxygen at that depth preserved it, the researchers said.

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2018.10.24

News Headlines - 24 October 2018

Jumpei Yasuda finally free after 3 years held by Syria terrorists:The Asahi Shimbun

The Japanese government confirmed that missing freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda is once again a free man after being held for more than three years by a terrorist group in Syria.
Foreign Minister Taro Kono met with reporters in the early evening of Oct. 24 and said that Japanese Embassy officials in Turkey met with Yasuda, 44, at a Turkish immigration facility in Antakya close to the border with Syria, and confirmed his identity.

FBI Investigates Bomb Found In George Soros's Mailbox | Fortune

A bomb was found in a mailbox at George Soros’s home in Bedford, N.Y. A police bomb squad blew it up, and the FBI’s anti-terrorism unit is now investigating... one of Soros’s employees found a suspicious package in the mailbox and opened it, finding the explosive device. They then put the package in the woods and called the cops, who sent a bomb squad to safely detonate it. Soros himself was not at home at the time... The billionaire investor has long backed liberal, pro-migrant and pro-democracy causes, and last year made his Open Society Foundations one of the biggest non-profits in the world, by donating $18 billion to the NGO.
As such, Soros has become a favorite boogeyman for the far right in the U.S. and parts of Europe.

When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn - The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure, and they have told him that Russian spies are routinely eavesdropping on the calls, as well. But aides say the voluble president, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones... Mr. Trump’s use of his iPhones was detailed by several current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could discuss classified intelligence and sensitive security arrangements.

Smoking Marijuana Is Legal in Canada, Unless You’re South Korean - The New York Times

Recreational cannabis use may now be legal in Canada, but South Koreans visiting the country who are tempted to smoke up risk facing punishment back home, their government warned on Tuesday... South Koreans have known for decades that they can be prosecuted at home for using drugs overseas, even in countries where consumption is legal.

Giant 1,000m spider web covers Greek lake | The Independent

A lake in northern Greece has been transformed into a scene out of horror movie after it was cloaked in a 1,000-metre web spun by a huge swarm of spiders.
Eerie pictures of Lake Vistonida show roadside bushes, fences and small trees completely covered by the cobwebs.
Experts say that the rare phenomenon was a result of hundreds of thousands of Tetragnatha, known as stretch spiders, gravitating to the area in unseasonably warm weather.

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2018.10.23

News Headlines - 23 October 2018

What can be learned from feverish nation-building of Meiji Restoration? - The Japan News

Tuesday marks the passage of 150 years since an Imperial edict was issued to change the name of the era to “Meiji” on Oct. 23, 1868. The government will hold a commemorative ceremony... Society, however, seems not to be as interested as it was back in 1968, when the passage of 100 years was marked. Five decades ago, when the nation was in a period of rapid economic growth, people could have found something in common with the time of the Meiji Restoration, when the nation was steadily developing.
At present, when Japan is ever more swiftly becoming an aged society with a low birthrate, and economic growth remains at low levels, it has become difficult even to imagine the energy for reform felt at the time of the Meiji Restoration.

Spain beats Japan to longer life expectancy - but did UK make top 10? | Express.co.uk

The Mediterranean country has overtaken Japan in the top spot for the first time in many years, according to a new study.
Spaniards will live for an average of 85.8 years by the year 2040, the recent statistics show, while Japanese people will have an average lifespan of 85.7 years
A report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) published in the journal The Lancet unveiled the new findings.

Turkey to host four-nation summit on Syria crisis | The Japan Times

A summit between the leaders of Turkey, France, Germany and Russia will be held in Istanbul this month to discuss the conflict in Syria and efforts for a lasting solution to the war in the Arab country, a Turkish official said Friday.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, in a written statement said the summit will take place on Oct. 27.

German foreign minister: U.S. should consider consequences of leaving nuclear treaty | Reuters

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the United States should consider the consequences, both for Europe and for future disarmament efforts, of pulling out of an international treaty aimed at eliminating a class of nuclear weapons.

Russian woman charged with interference in 2018 midterms

A Russian woman has been charged with trying to interfere and “sow discord” in the American political system, including in the 2018 midterm elections as part of a conspiracy that exploited thousands of social media accounts and emails that claimed to be owned by U.S. residents, authorities said.
Elena Khusyaynova of St. Petersburg, Russia, is accused of participating in a conspiracy engaged in “information warfare against the United States” that aimed “create and amplify divisive social media and political content.”

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2018.10.22

News Headlines - 22 October 2018

Japan ministries counted dead and retired people in totals to meet legal quotas for disabled employment, panel says | The Japan Times

Ministries and agencies “arbitrarily interpreted” guidelines for employing disabled people and counted people who were retired or even dead among their numbers in an attempt to meet legal quotas, an investigative panel said Monday... The government has said the percentage of people with disabilities in national office workforces as of June last year was actually 1.17 percent, instead of the 2.50 percent figure previously announced. Japanese law requires public institutions to meet the 2.5 percent quota, while the quota for the private sector is set at 2.2 percent.
After recognizing 3,700 people had been inappropriately included in the total workforce reported for 28 of the 33 national administrative entities it surveyed, the investigative panel said in its report that the situation was “extremely serious.”

Desperate Central American refugees cross into Mexico from river | The Guardian

A growing number of refugees from Central America have resumed their advance towards the US border in southern Mexico, despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the border with Guatemala.
The “caravan” swelled to about 5,000 overnight and they set out walking at first light on Sunday toward the Mexican town of Tapachula, 10 abreast in a line stretching back approximately a mile.
About 2,000 people had gathered on the Mexican side on Saturday night.

Egypt denies alleged organ theft after British tourist's death - The Straits Times

Egyptian authorities on Sunday (Oct 21) denied reports of alleged organ theft after the body of a British tourist who died suddenly while on holiday was returned home without some organs.
Mr David Humphries, 62, died in the seaside resort of Hurghada on the shores of the Red Sea on Sept 18.
His body was returned to Britain where a second postmortem ordered by a coroner discovered that his heart and some other organs had been removed, a British media outlet said in a report.

Stephen Hawking's motorized wheelchair is up for auction - CNET

Proceeds from the wheelchair's sale will be donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association and The Stephen Hawking Foundation. It's estimated to sell for $13,000-$19,000 (£10,000-15,000, AU$18,000-$27,000).
Other items related to Hawking that will be part of the sale include one of five copies of his Ph.D. thesis, a script from an episode of The Simpsons that he appeared in, a personalized bomber jacket, and a copy of his bestseller A Brief History of Time, signed with Hawking's thumbprint.

How image of 'headless chicken monster' sea cucumber may help Antarctic conservation - CNN

The sea cucumber, which has only ever been filmed before in the Gulf of Mexico, was discovered using an underwater camera system developed for commercial long-line fishing by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).
It is hoped that the pioneering Australian camera technology that captured the rare footage of the organism, Enypniastes eximia, may help the long-running push for the creation of a new Antarctic conservation zone.

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2018.10.21

News Headlines - 21 October 2018

UK, Germany, France condemn writer’s killing - The Washington Post

Britain, Germany and France have issued a joint statement condemning the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi, saying there is an “urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened.”

‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration - The New York Times

The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

Racist incident filmed on Ryanair flight | The Guardian

A man on a Ryanair plane has been filmed calling a woman sitting in the same row an 'ugly black bastard', and shouting 'don’t talk to me in a foreign language' when she spoke to him in English with a Jamaican accent. The airline, criticised for not removing the abusive passenger, has referred the incident to Essex police

At least 18 dead, 175 injured after Taiwan train derails - Channel NewsAsia

At least 18 people have died after an express train derailed and flipped over on a popular coastal tourist route in Taiwan on Sunday (Oct 21), the island's worst rail accident for more than 25 years.

It's a Long Way Down for China Stocks Channeling Past Traumas - Bloomberg

Three years after China’s equity bubble burst, the country’s investors are once again reeling from losses.
More than $3 trillion has been wiped out since January, all of France’s stock market capitalization and then some, as Chinese shares tumble the most in the world. Private companies are struggling with liquidity concerns, the economic outlook is slowing as a trade war with the U.S. deepens, and a weakening yuan is starting to prompt capital outflows.
History suggests it’s not over. While the Shanghai Composite Index is now down 28 percent since this year’s high, the gauge almost halved as the 2015 boom turned to bust.

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2018.10.20

News Headlines - 20 October 2018

John Kelly, John Bolton get into 'intense' argument at White House

Two of the president's closest advisers got into an intense shouting match Thursday at the White House over immigration policies, two officials said.
Bloomberg and CNN first reported the heated exchange between Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton... Earlier in the day the president blasted a caravan of Honduran migrants trekking to the border to apply for asylum in the U.S.

SoftBank's CEO, Saudi's Prince and a $22 Billion Test of Values - Bloomberg

Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. plummeted the most in more than two years on Monday after Saudi Arabia came under fire for the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The kingdom is the biggest outside investor in SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, which has backed Uber Technologies Inc., WeWork Cos., Didi Chuxing and Slack Technologies Inc.

Japan, N. Korea intelligence officials held secret meeting in Oct. - The Mainichi

A top Japanese intelligence official close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a secret meeting with North Korean counterparts in early October in Mongolia, sources familiar with bilateral ties said Thursday.
The meeting in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator could be consistent with Abe's stated desire to arrange a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after he receives assurances about progress on the long-standing issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.

Pope Francis willing to meet Kim Jong Un in North Korea, Vatican official says

Pope Francis is considering an unprecedented visit to North Korea, according to a Vatican official.
An invitation from Kim Jong Un was relayed to the Pope by South Korea President Moon Jae-in during a meeting in the Vatican on Thursday.
It would be the first visit by a Pope to the reclusive East Asian state, which is known for severe restrictions on religious practice and does not allow priests to be permanently stationed there.

IT repairman seeks home for Apple collection, possibly world's largest | Reuters

An Austrian computer repairman has amassed what he believes could be the world’s biggest collection of old Apple computers, but it might all soon be destroyed unless someone can take it off his hands... Over the years since he began working for a company that repaired Apples in Vienna in the 1980s, Roland Borsky’s collection has grown to roughly 1,100 computers, he says - far more than the 472 items at Prague’s Apple Museum, which says it is the world’s biggest private collection of Apple products.

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2018.10.19

News Headlines - 19 October 2018

Britain’s ‘moment of truth’ postponed – POLITICO

With an accord on divorce terms still out of reach, EU officials said Tuesday that they are not inclined to call a special Brexit summit in November — meaning the next opportunity for EU leaders to affirm a Brexit agreement may not come around until December.

Please, no Brexit talk: Merkel, Macron hit the bar for beer and fries | Reuters

Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Belgium and Luxembourg surprised late-night drinkers by dropping by a Brussels bar for beer and fries after an evening of summitry on Brexit with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

UK – Graduate unemployment rate falls to lowest level in 39 years

The unemployment rate for graduates six months after leaving university fell to 5.1% this year, the lowest since the 1979 survey when it was 4.9%, according to a study from Prospects, a provider of skills, education, care and support.
Prospects’ data also found that employment increased from 74.2% to 76.6% (184,295) as 4,540 more graduates found jobs compared to last year. The proportion of employed graduates in professional-level roles also increased, from 71.4% to 73.9%.

Marie Antoinette's jewels on display ahead of Sotheby's auction - France 24

Marie Antoinette's dazzling diamonds and pearls, unseen in public for two centuries, went on display in London on Friday before going on sale next month in one of the most important royal jewellery auctions in history.
The treasures were secretly whisked out of Paris in 1791 in the aftermath of the French Revolution and have been privately owned by relatives ever since.
The collection, held by the Italian royal House of Bourbon-Parma, is being sold by Sotheby's auction house in Geneva on November 14.

In Haruki Murakami’s New Novel, a Painter’s Inspiration Is Supernatural - The New York Times

In “Killing Commendatore,” the narrator’s dreaminess mainly feels unfocused, and a story that might have been engaging at 300 or 400 pages is drawn out to almost 700... The narrator enjoys listening to Mozart, Beethoven and other greats of the Germanic classical repertoire. “Their music was deep, amazing and gorgeous,” he informs us, sounding like an online review.
And what about the narrator’s wife? In these 700 pages, we don’t find out too much about her, or indeed about any of the women who float like shades through the novel... “Killing Commendatore” is a baggy monster, a disappointment from a writer who has made much better work.

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2018.10.18

News Headlines - 18 October 2018

Trump Hints Pentagon Chief Mattis May Be Planning to Quit - Bloomberg

President Donald Trump hinted that U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis may be planning to quit his administration, and described the former U.S. Marine Corps general as “sort of a Democrat.”
In an excerpt from a “60 Minutes” interview that will air in full Sunday on CBS, Trump talked about the level of turnover in his administration after almost two years, and suggested there could be more to come.

Fed points to more rate hikes amid criticism from Trump

A summary of the Sept. 25-26 Federal Open Market Committee session reflected both confidence in the rate of economic growth and some hesitancy over the impact that tariffs might have on the future path.
Ultimately, the committee unanimously voted to approve a quarter-point hike to its benchmark rate target, with members indicating that more increases are on the way. The increase took the Fed’s overnight target to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent.

Europe's top bankers shun Saudi investment conference | Reuters

The bosses of some of Europe’s biggest banks and finance firms have pulled out of a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia, joining a growing list of business chiefs to abandon the event amid widespread concern about the fate of a journalist.

UK pay growth rises to 3.1%, the highest in almost a decade | The Guardian

Britain’s workers have started to repair the damage from a lost decade of wage growth after increased competition for workers pushed the government’s preferred measure of pay to its highest level since the UK was deep in recession a decade ago.
The latest health check on the labour market from the Office for National Statistics showed that regular pay – which excludes bonuses – was 3.1% higher in the three months ending in August than in the same quarter a year earlier.

Germany and France start to draw up no-deal Brexit contingency plans | Politics | The Guardian

Germany and France are starting to step up their preparations for a no-deal Brexit even though both publicly insist an agreement with the UK over the terms of its departure from the EU can still be achieved.
Angela Merkel revealed for the first time on Wednesday that Germany was drawing up contingency plans, saying the government had started making “suitable preparations” for the possibility of Britain leaving with no accord... France has published a draft bill that would allow the government to introduce new legal measures to avoid or mitigate the consequences of a hard Brexit by emergency decree, as opposed to parliamentary vote, within 12 months of the law being passed.

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2018.10.17

News Headlines - 17 October 2018

Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says - The New York Times

Saudi agents were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into their country’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, beheaded, dismembered, his fingers severed, and within two hours the killers were gone, according to details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official on Wednesday.

Stephen Hawking: 'There is no God,' says physicist in final book - CNN

There is no God -- that's the conclusion of the celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking, whose final book is published Tuesday.
The book, which was completed by his family after his death, presents answers to the questions that Hawking said he received most during his time on Earth.
Other bombshells the British scientist left his readers with include the belief that alien life is out there, artificial intelligence could outsmart humans and time travel can't be ruled out.

‘Dead’ Ukrainian Found Living in Castle Arrested in French Probe - Bloomberg

French police arrested an unnamed “high-profile” Ukrainian who allegedly used forged death certificates to evade the authorities and now faces possible extradition to his home country.
The fugitive, identified only as the “King of the Castle” by the European Union’s law-enforcement agency Europol, was detained on Oct. 5 near Dijon, according to a Tuesday statement. Officers recovered 4.6 million euros ($5.3 million) of property, including a 12th-century feudal castle, a vintage Rolls Royce Phantom, jewelry and three works of art by Salvador Dali.

Swiss city bans display of human bodies, fearing they were Chinese convicts and Falun Gong members | South China Morning Post

A controversial exhibition which includes preserved human bodies was banned on Tuesday by the Swiss city of Lausanne over fears that the remains of tortured and executed Chinese prisoners were on display.
The cancellation of the “Real Human Bodies” display – already shown in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Swiss capital Bern – followed a complaint by the Action by Christians Against Torture group (ACAT), the city authorities said in a statement.

Sony claims bug that allowed message to crash PS4 consoles is now fixed - The Verge

Sony has announced that it’s fixed a bug that was causing PlayStation 4 consoles to crash if they received a specific message. Writing on Twitter in response to a comment pointing out the bug, an official PlayStation support account said, “We’ve since fixed the issue” before offering a solution to anyone who’s been affected by the issue.
Sony hasn’t issued an press release or blog about the fix, but then again nor has it officially acknowledged the issue in the first place.

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2018.10.16

News Headlines - 16 October 2018

The Jamal Khashoggi Case: Suspects Had Ties to Saudi Crown Prince - The New York Times

One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman... Three others are linked by witnesses and other records to the Saudi crown prince’s security detail.
A fifth is a forensic doctor who holds senior positions in the Saudi Interior Ministry and medical establishment, a figure of such stature that he could be directed only by a high-ranking Saudi authority.
If, as the Turkish authorities say, these men were present at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where Mr. Khashoggi disappeared on Oct. 2, they might provide a direct link between what happened and Prince Mohammed.

German prosecutors fine Audi 800 million euros for diesel violations | Reuters

German premium car brand Audi, a division of Volkswagen, said it was fined 800 million euros (703.40 million pounds) on Tuesday for violations tied to heavily polluting six- and eight-cylinder diesel engines.

Police start arrests in land scam of Sekisui House developer:The Asahi Shimbun

Police on Oct. 16 began arresting 12 people connected to a land fraud ring that cost a major housing developer billions of yen.
Metropolitan Police Department officers arrested Masami Haketa, 63, and others on suspicion of using counterfeited personal documents and attempting to include false information into public electronic records.
Arrest warrants have been obtained for 12 people, who are being sought by police.

China’s Growing Influence on Hollywood

For years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been using a variety of methods to infiltrate the Hollywood film industry. In the remarks U.S. vice president Mike Pence delivered on Oct. 4, he gave two examples about Hollywood films having been revised in order to pass the CCP’s censorship so that they could enter the huge Chinese market.
Pence explained how the CCP tries to penetrate the United States in all aspects.

Winamp returns in 2019 to whip the llama’s ass harder than ever | TechCrunch

Winamp was the MP3 player of choice around the turn of the century, but went through a rocky period during Aol ownership (our former parent company) and failed to counter the likes of iTunes and the onslaught of streaming services, and more or less crumbled over the years. The original app, last updated in 2013, still works, but to say it’s long in the tooth would be something of an understatement (the community has worked hard to keep it updated, however). So it’s with pleasure that I can confirm rumors that substantial updates are on the way.

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2018.10.15

News Headlines - 15 October 2018

Jamal Khashoggi: Turkish and Saudi officials enter consulate to investigate disappearance of journalist two weeks after he vanished | The Independent

Dozens of Turkish and Saudi officials have entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to begin a joint investigation into the disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, nearly two weeks after he vanished from the facility.
The visit to the consulate came amid claims the Saudis could admit in a report that Mr Khashoggi was killed in the consulate during an interrogation and rendition attempt that went wrong. CNN cited an unnamed source as saying the Saudis would claim the operation was carried out “without clearance or transparency” and that those involved would be punished

Russian Orthodox Church cuts ties with Constantinople | The Guardian

The Russian Orthodox Church has announced it will break off relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople in a religious schism driven by political friction between Russia and Ukraine.
The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church elected on Monday to cut ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is viewed as the leading authority for the world’s 300 million Orthodox worshippers.

McDonald's refuses to give free drinks to firefighters tackling blaze | Metro News

According to a Facebook post that was uploaded in a local group, some of the group walked a mile to the fast food chain for a refreshment break.
They asked for free drinks as they do not carry money in their equipment, but were turned down.
Fortunately, a kind-hearted member of the public overheard what happened and stepped in to buy hot drinks for the firefighters.

Abe says he's going ahead with Japan's consumption tax hike in October 2019 | The Japan Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday the government will raise the consumption tax to 10 percent from the current 8 percent as scheduled in October 2019 to help finance ballooning social security costs after twice delaying the hike... The last time the consumption tax was raised — to 8 percent from 5 percent in 2014 — Japan went through a brief recession, but the government sees another hike as indispensable to pay for growing medical and nursing care costs due to the rapidly graying population.

Women taking on more frontline roles in Japan's Self-Defense Forces - The Mainichi

A growing number of women in Japan's Self-Defense Forces are entering formerly male-dominated fields, with one recently becoming the country's first-ever female fighter jet pilot... The 26-year-old Matsushima, who stands just 159 centimeters tall, had dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot ever since watching the hit movie "Top Gun" starring Tom Cruise, portraying young naval aviators, when she was in elementary school.

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2018.10.14

News Headlines - 14 October 2018

Revealed: leaked emails show DUP ready for no-deal Brexit | The Guardian

Theresa May has been told that the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, is now “ready” to trigger a no-deal Brexit and regards this as the “likeliest outcome” following a “hostile and difficult” exchange with the EU’s chief negotiator, an explosive set of leaked government emails reveal.

Transgender prisoner sexually assaulted inmates at all-female prison | Daily Mail Online

The prison service has apologised after a transgender sex offender was placed in an all-female prison and went on to sexually assault two women inmates.
Karen White was born a man but - despite having a history of sex attacks - was placed in women's prison HMP New Hall after telling authorities of his identification as a woman.
While in the women's prison, 'predator' White sexually assaulted two female inmates.

U.S. charity school in Liberia in rape scandal storm | The Japan Times

An acclaimed U.S. charity operating in Liberia has admitted to major failings after girls at a school set up to save them from a life of sexual exploitation were systematically raped.
“We are profoundly, deeply sorry,” the charity More Than Me said on its website Saturday after U.S. investigative media said girls at a pioneering school in a slum had been repeatedly abused by the charity’s co-founder, Macintosh Johnson.
Johnson eventually died of AIDS and there are fears that he infected some of his victims — who were as young as 10 — with the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, the investigative site ProPublica said in a lengthy investigative piece co-published with Time.

Steinhoff Ex-CEO Told Friends to Sell Stock Before Collapse - Bloomberg

Former Steinhoff International Holdings NV Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste advised friends to sell the South African retailer’s shares days before the stock collapsed, according to a mobile phone text message seen by Bloomberg.
The message, sent around Nov. 30 to at least two people, told recipients there was impending, unspecified bad news coming... South Africa’s financial regulator has been made aware of the message...

Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League win against Red Star Belgrade centre of match-fixing probe

Liverpool’s Champions League group is the centre of a match-fixing probe after French police confirmed they had launched an inquiry into the game between Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Belgrade.
They acted after a warning from Uefa of possible manipulation of the result of the game which PSG won 6-1.
A report in the French newspaper L’Equipe alleged that a senior figure at Red Star attempted to bet almost €5 million on the Serbian champions losing the game by five goals.

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2018.10.13

News Headlines - 13 October 2018

BOJ Bond-Buying Set for Slowest Pace in Kuroda Era, Goldman Says - Bloomberg

If the Bank of Japan’s “stealth tapering” of its asset purchase program were to continue at the current pace, it would need to revise its monetary easing policy within the next two years, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
By the end of 2019, the pace of growth of the central bank’s bond purchases is on track to fall to levels not seen since before the appointment of governor Haruhiko Kuroda in March 2013...

Japanese Firms to Change Their Long-held Recruitment System - NHK WORLD

The Chairman of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, announced the organization will abolish its guidelines of how firms recruit new graduates.
The rules had created a traditional job-hunting schedule for students. But the system has become outdated as the country struggles with a labor shortage and global competition becomes increasingly fierce.

Uniqlo's Yanai promotes sons to board - Nikkei Asian Review

The founder of the casual clothing chain Uniqlo said Thursday that his two sons will be promoted to company directors, though he denied speculation that they will eventually take over at the top... The charismatic founder has single-handedly overseen company operations. But with Yanai soon turning 70, the age at which he has said he would hand over the reins, the move is seen as ensuring the founding family's control in the post-Yanai era.

High-speed German train bursts into flames between Cologne and Frankfurt - The Local

A fire in an ICE train on the Frankfurt-Cologne high-speed railway line has triggered a major rescue operation and led to the closure of one of the most important arteries in German rail traffic.
The fire broke out on the train, which was reportedly travelling from Cologne to Frankfurt, early on Friday morning, beside the town of Dierdorf near Montabauer in Rhineland-Palatinate. Police said the train was halted and emergency crews managed to evacuate all 510 people on board.

Huge reduction in meat-eating ‘essential’ to avoid climate breakdown | The Guardian

Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses... The new research, published in the journal Nature, is the most thorough to date and combined data from every country to assess the impact of food production on the global environment. It then looked at what could be done to stop the looming food crisis.

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2018.10.12

News Headlines - 12 October 2018

Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show - The Washington Post

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him, according to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan.
The intelligence, described by U.S. officials familiar with it, is another piece of evidence implicating the Saudi regime in Khashoggi’s disappearance last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say that a Saudi security team lay in wait for the journalist and killed him.

New York City creates gender-neutral 'X' option for birth certificates | Reuters

People who were born in New York City and do not identify as male or female can now opt for a third gender category of X on their birth certificates.
Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the provision into a law on Tuesday, making New York City the fifth place to do so after California, Oregon, Washington state and New Jersey. Three states and Washington, D.C., also allow gender-neutral driver licenses.

Christian bakers in 'gay cake' row did not discriminate against same-sex marriage activist, Supreme Court rules

The Christian owners of a bakery have won an appeal at the UK's highest court over a finding that they discriminated against a customer by refusing to make a cake decorated with the words "Support Gay Marriage".
Five Supreme Court justices allowed a challenge by the McArthur family in a unanimous ruling in London on Wednesday in what has become widely known as the "gay cake case".

Maryse Conde wins alternative award to Nobel literature prize | DW

The New Academy Prize in Literature goes to Maryse Conde, the Swedish organization announced on Friday.
Kim Thuy and Neil Gaiman were also on the shortlist, as was Haruki Murakami before he withdrew his nomination, claiming he needed to focus on writing.
The New Academy is a provisional self-organized group of over 100 volunteers that emerged to provide an alternative global literature prize this year, after the Swedish Academy decided it would postpone its 2018 award.

Free at Last: Andrew Brunson Released by Turkey After Two Years | Christianity Today

American pastor Andrew Brunson has been released after being detained for two years in Turkey.
At a hearing this morning, a Turkish court freed him from judicial control, which lifts his house arrest and travel ban.
Despite a guilty verdict sentencing him to 3 years, 1 month, and 15 days in prison, Brunson may return home to the United States as soon as today due to good behavior and time already served.

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2018.10.11

News Headlines - 11 October 2018

BMW to raise stake in China joint venture to 75% in €3.6bn deal | Financial Times

BMW will pay €3.6bn to increase its stake in a Chinese joint venture to 75 per cent by 2022, following Beijing’s relaxation of investment restrictions in the automotive sector, which will hand foreign companies more control in the world’s largest car market. In April, Beijing announced it would ease decades-old restrictions — requiring foreign vehicle manufacturers to form joint ventures with Chinese partners and capping ownership at 50 per cent — by the year-end for electric vehicles, and by 2022 for others.

Peru Opposition Leader Keiko Fujimori Held on Graft Charges - Bloomberg

Peruvian opposition leader Keiko Fujimori was arrested by police Wednesday on allegations she received illicit campaign financing, marking an unexpected turn in a year-long probe of the two-time presidential candidate... The decision marks the second high-profile judicial move against Peru’s influential Fujimori family in a week, and yet another twist to a tumultuous year for the country. Last Wednesday, a court ordered the imprisonment of autocrat Alberto Fujimori, Keiko’s father, after overturning a political pardon.

First tuna auction at Japan's 'new Tsukiji' market in Toyosu - The Straits Times

The cries of the raucous pre-dawn tuna auction rang out for the first time at Tokyo's new fish market on Thursday (Oct 11), just days after the world-famous Tsukiji site closed the door on its 83-year history.
The location may have changed but the ritual remained the same: Huge frozen whole tuna laid out on the ground, bells tolling to sound the start of the auction and a loud and bewildering system of bidding understood only by those taking part.

Rare White Tiger Kills Zookeeper in Japan - The New York Times

A zookeeper in Japan died after being mauled by a rare white tiger, his supervisor said on Tuesday.
The zookeeper, Akira Furusho, was found bleeding from the neck in a cage at the Hirakawa Zoological Park in the southern city of Kagoshima on Monday evening... No one was around at the time of the episode, “and we cannot imagine what happened,” Akinori Ishido, the zoo’s director, told reporters on Tuesday.

Michael is the strongest hurricane to hit the continental US since Andrew - CNN

Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle with frightening fury. The Category 4 storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 155 mph as it made landfall near Mexico Beach.
In terms of wind intensity, that made it much stronger than Hurricane Florence, which had winds of 90 mph when it blew ashore in North Carolina last month.

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2018.10.10

News Headlines - 10 October 2018

Brexit: Thirty Labour rebels prepared to defy Corbyn and back Chequers deal | The Times

A group of about 30 Labour MPs would be prepared to defy Jeremy Corbyn and endorse a Chequers-style deal at the eleventh hour to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Senior MPs have told The Times that a group of between 30 to 40 backbenchers would break with the leadership unless it ultimately backed a negotiated exit agreed with Brussels.
The group is made up of those who both oppose a second referendum on the terms of Brexit, or believe that the proposal cannot command the support of a majority of MPs in the House of Commons without their support.

UK would be welcomed to TPP ‘with open arms’, says Shinzo Abe | Financial Times

Japan would welcome Britain to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal “with open arms”, said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as he urged a compromise to avoid a no-deal Brexit.Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times at his official residence in Tokyo, Mr Abe said the UK would lose its role as a gateway to Europe after Brexit, but would still be a country “equipped with global strength”.

MPs invite robot to give evidence on AI | The Independent

A robot is set to become the first non-human to appear as a witness before the UK Parliament.
The Commons Education Select Committee invited Pepper the robot from Middlesex University to give evidence at a hearing taking place next week about artificial intelligence, robotics and the fourth industrial revolution.

Merrill Lynch Japan at root of Tokyo Stock Exchange system glitch, informed sources say | The Japan Times

The Tokyo Stock Exchange said it suffered a trading system glitch Tuesday morning that left some brokerages unable to make orders through the bourse.
According to sources close to the matter, an extraordinary amount of data erroneously sent by Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co. caused the trouble.

Japanese actor Jun Kunimura faces criticism at home for siding with Koreans over flag dispute - The Straits Times

Japanese actor Jun Kunimura faces mounting criticism in his country after suggesting that Japan understand Koreans' sentiment towards the controversial Rising Sun Flag, given the two countries' thorny history.
During the Busan International Film Festival last Friday (Oct 5), the actor said he thinks Japan should understand the way Koreans feel about the flag, when asked about the controversy surrounding the flag being flown at a naval event in South Korea.

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2018.10.09

News Headlines - 09 October 2018

What does 10,000,000 percent inflation look like? See Venezuela | ABS-CBN News

After seeing prices surge an already-unthinkable 1,000 percent last year, hyperinflation in Venezuela's imploding economy is set to hit nearly 1.4 million percent this year, the International Monetary Fund forecast in its World Economic Outlook released Monday.
But in 2019 that hyperinflation is expected to leave earth's orbit, hitting 10 million percent, a figure so large and improbable, readers of the report had to count the zeroes to make sure they had the correct number.

Russian girl made to eat a human by cannibal paedophile 'boyfriend' | Daily Mail Online

A schoolgirl at the centre of an horrific paedophile cannibal murder in Russia has told detectives how she used a frying pan to cook and eat the heart of the man she allegedly killed along with her 22-year-old 'boyfriend'.
The 12-year-old identified only as 'Valeria', reportedly told investigators the victim's heart was 'too sweet', but that his brains 'turned out to be much more tasty'.
Valeria had run away from home with Arkady Zverev, 22, and has admitted to taking part in the murder and dismembering of their landlord Alexander Popovich, 21, say police.

Meningitis scare at renowned Berlin sex club KitKat

Visitors to a famous sex club in Berlin have been urged to seek medical treatment after a clubber was taken ill with bacterial meningitis.
The KitKat Club said the man was in a serious condition in hospital after attending a party on Saturday night.

David Beckham’s son accused of racism by Chinese internet users | South China Morning Post

David Beckham’s eldest son Brooklyn has provoked a furious backlash among mainland Chinese internet users by posting a “racist” Instagram photo to his 11.6 million followers while on holiday in Venice.
The now-deleted post from the 19-year-old shows Chinese tourists in a gondola as well as in a local supermarket, with the caption “No place like Italy innit”.

Thousands pay respects to former Okinawa governor - NHK WORLD

Thousands of people have paid their respects to former Okinawa governor Takeshi Onaga, who died of cancer at the age of 67 in August... Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga read a letter of condolence from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In the letter, Abe says he respects Onaga, who gave his life for Okinawa's development, and that the central government is determined to ease Okinawa's hosting burden.
Some attendees shouted "liar" and "go home."

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2018.10.08

News Headlines - 08 October 2018

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's far-right presidential candidate wins first round of election - CNN

Far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro pulled off a thumping win in the first round of Brazil's presidential election following one of the most polarizing campaigns since the country returned to democracy three decades ago.
Bolsonaro won Sunday's poll with 46% of the vote, ahead of left-wing ex-Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad on 29%, according to tweets from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal's official Twitter account.
Bolsonaro's lead, in a field of 13 candidates, left him just short of the 50% needed to win outright and unable to avoid a runoff against Haddad, from the Workers' Party, on October 28.

Japan pulls out of naval drills over demands it remove 'rising sun' flag | The Guardian

Japan has withdrawn from an international fleet review this week after rejecting demands that its warship take part without its “rising sun” flag ensign – regarded by many Koreans as a symbol of Japanese militarism and colonial rule.
South Korea – the host nation – had asked all 14 countries sending vessels to the five-day event, which begins on Thursday at a naval base on the island of Jeju, to ensure they display only their national flags and the flag of South Korea.
The rule – in effect a demand for Japan to remove the kyokujitsuki flag from a destroyer due to take part in the exercise – was introduced amid simmering bilateral disputes over Japan’s use of Korean sex slaves during the second world war and ownership of a group of islets called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.

Toys R Us reopening? Group of investors planning comeback for the toy chain brand and Geoffrey the giraffe - CBS News

There may be a second act for Toys R Us, which shut down hundreds of stores over the summer. A group of investors said in a bankruptcy court filing Tuesday that it's scrapping an auction for Toys R Us assets. The investors believe they'll do better by potentially reviving the toy chain, rather than selling it off for parts.
The investors said they'll work with potential partners to develop new ideas for stores in the U.S. and other countries "that could bring back these iconic brands in a new and re-imagined way."

More than 250 people have died taking selfies in recent years

The study by researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi found 259 people died while attempting to take a selfie between October 2011 and November 2017.
Researchers pulled together a list of English newspapers worldwide and performed a comprehensive search of key words or phrases such as "selfie deaths" or "selfie accidents." They then attempted to cross-match those search links with links from their list of newspapers.
The results found selfie deaths rose from two reported in 2011 to 98 in 2016. The number of selfie deaths last year dipped to 93, said the study.

Tropical cyclone heads towards Oman, forecasters warn of 135 kph gusts

Forecasters say a tropical depression 1,040 km off the coast of southern Oman has developed into a tropical cyclone.
But the India Meteorological Department warned it could develop into a severe cyclonic storm with winds gusting to 135 kph. They still do not know where it will make landfall.
Approximately 1,000 km off the coast of Oman and traveling at 20 kph, forecasters have named the storm Luban – the Arabic word for or “frankincense.”

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2018.10.07

News Headlines - 07 October 2018

Missing toll soars to 5,000 in engulfed Indonesia quake neighbourhoods | AFP.com

The number of people believed missing from the quake and tsunami that struck Indonesia's Palu city has soared to 5,000, an official said Sunday, an indication that far more may have perished in the twin disaster than the current toll.

South Korean Ex-Leader Lee Gets 15 Years for Corruption | Time

South Korea’s former President Lee Myung-bak was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday in a corruption case badly tainting his status as the country’s first leader with a business background who once symbolized the country’s economic rise.

30 years after conjoined twins surgery - NHK WORLD

Thirty years ago, a major surgical operation was conducted in Vietnam to separate a pair of conjoined twins.
One of the twins, Nguyen Duc, recently commemorated the success of the operation with his family and those involved in the surgery... Sadly, Viet remained bed-ridden due to a brain disorder and died in 2007.

For the first time since WWII, Japanese soldier dies on Philippine soil

A serving Japanese soldier has died on Philippine soil for the first time since World War Two.
The country’s military confirmed today (Sunday, October 7) that one of its sevicemen was killed in a car crash during joint exercises with US and Filipino troops.

Sayonara Tsukiji! Relocation of Tokyo's famed fish market begins, East Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Hundreds of fishmongers on forklifts and trucks rose before dawn in Tokyo on Sunday (Oct 7) to join a mammoth exodus of vendors as the world-famous Tsukiji market relocates to a new site.
In small vehicles and the market's famed "turret trucks" - one-man flatbeds with a barrel-shaped steering column at the front - they drove out of the Tsukiji site one last time, headed for Toyosu, the market's new home.

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2018.10.06

News Headlines - 06 October 2018

French police probe Interpol chief's disappearance on China trip | Reuters

French police are investigating the disappearance of Interpol chief, Meng Hongwei, who was reported missing after travelling from France to his native China, while his wife has been placed under police protection after receiving threats.

Saudi journalist 'killed inside consulate' – Turkish sources | The Guardian

Turkish officials believe that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and his body later driven from the compound.
Authorities say they believe Khashoggi’s death was premeditated and that Saudi officials had travelled to Istanbul from Riyadh after receiving word that the high-profile critic of the current Saudi leadership planned to visit the consulate.

First woman Physics Nobel winner in 55 years - BBC News

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a woman for the first time in 55 years.
Donna Strickland, from Canada, is only the third woman winner of the award, along with Marie Curie, who won in 1903, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was awarded the prize in 1963.

Banksy auction stunt leaves art world in shreds | The Guardian

Banksy has played what could be one of the most audacious stunts in art history, arranging for one of his best-known works to self-destruct after being sold at auction for just over £1m.
Girl With Balloon was the final item in an auction at Sotheby’s in London on Friday night and its sale price equalled the artist’s previous auction record of £1.04m.
Shortly after the hammer came down on the item, however, the canvas began to pass through a shredder installed in the frame.

Manchester United No.7 shirt 'cursed' since Cristiano Ronaldo left and could explain why Alexis Sanchez is suffering

Wearing the iconic number seven shirt at Manchester United undoubtedly brings another dimension of pressure for stars when they arrive at Old Trafford.
With George Best, David Beckham and Eric Cantona wearing the number with such distinction, players in recent years have failed to deliver with it on their back.
After originally rejecting the number when he joined in 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo reached global superstar status and made the shirt his own.
However, since then, five players have worn No.7 and scored just 13 Premier League goals between them in nine years.

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2018.10.05

News Headlines - 05 October 2018

Nobel Peace Prize for anti-rape activists Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege - BBC News

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has gone to campaigners against rape in warfare, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege.
Ms Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi who was tortured and raped by Islamic State militants and later became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people.
Dr Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who, along with his colleagues, has treated tens of thousands of victims.

Ex-German Chancellor Schroder to marry Korean girlfriend on Oct. 5

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, 74, will marry his South Korean girlfriend Kim So-yeon, 47, at a hotel in Berlin on Oct. 5, reports say.
The couple will hold a wedding reception in Seoul on Oct. 28, according to the reports.
If the wedding takes places, Kim will become Schroder's fifth wife. Schroder ended his 19-year fourth marriage in 2016.

Amazon to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 for All U.S. Workers - The New York Times

Amazon said on Tuesday that it would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for its United States employees, a rare acknowledgment that it was feeling squeezed by political pressure and a tight labor market. The raises apply for part-time workers and those hired through temporary agencies... The new wages will apply to more than 250,000 Amazon employees, including those at the grocery chain Whole Foods, as well as the more than 100,000 seasonal employees it plans to hire for the holiday season. The change will not apply to contract workers. It goes into effect on Nov. 1.

Scientists Have Connected The Brains of 3 People, Enabling Them to Share Thoughts

Neuroscientists have successfully hooked up a three-way brain connection to allow three people share their thoughts – and in this case, play a Tetris-style game. The team thinks this wild experiment could be scaled up to connect whole networks of people, and yes, it's as weird as it sounds.

Fan Bingbing: Missing Chinese actress fined for tax fraud - BBC News

Chinese mega star Fan Bingbing has been fined around 883 million yuan ($129m; £98.9m) for tax evasion and other offences, authorities said Wednesday... Ms Fan, who is one of China's highest paid actors, will escape criminal charges if the fines are paid on time, said state news agency Xinhua.

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2018.10.04

News Headlines - 04 October 2018

Toyota, SoftBank in first-ever alliance, target self-driving car services | Reuters

Toyota Motor Corp and SoftBank Group Corp are teaming up to develop self-driving car services, signaling deepening alliances between top automaker and tech firms as the global race to develop autonomous cars intensifies.

Nissan becomes latest manufacturer to warn against hard Brexit | The Guardian

The Japanese carmaker Nissan has warned the government that serious disruption will be caused to its huge manufacturing operation in the north-east of England if the UK fails to secure a deal with the EU that avoids a hard Brexit.
Carlos Ghosn, the chair of Nissan, has described its British operations as “a European investment based in the UK”, which employs almost 8,000 people, mostly at its factory near Sunderland. A further 30,000 people are employed in UK companies supplying Nissan.

Fujimori Is Ordered Back to Prison in Peru, Angering Supporters - The New York Times

Alberto Fujimori, the former Peruvian dictator imprisoned for human rights abuses but then pardoned last year, was ordered back to prison on Wednesday, reigniting debate over the fate of one of the region’s most contentious figures.
Human rights advocates hailed the ruling, but Mr. Fujimori’s defiant supporters and his politically powerful daughter, Keiko, gathered outside his house on Wednesday to condemn it.

Hollywood and Capcom Lining Up For Mega Man To Grace The Silver Screen

Mega Man first arrived on the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1987 (after releasing as Rockman in Japan earlier that year on the Famicom) making the character over 30 years boasting 32 million worldwide sales. Mega Man isn’t just the star of Capcom’s video game lineup either as he’s appeared in all kinds of mediums from comic books to animated series, not to mention the countless numbers of spinoffs to the series. At this point in time, the movie is simply being called MEGA MAN and will be written and directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. This writer/director duo’s previous credits include Catfish, Paranormal Activities 3 and 4, as well as Nerve the 2016 Emma Roberts and Dave Franco film. This film will be distributed by 20th Century Fox and has Masi Oka, Hiro from the TV series Heroes, as a producer.

Utah suspect arrested for allegedly sending ricin to Donald Trump

A former Navy sailor was taken into custody in Utah on Wednesday on suspicion of mailing envelopes filled with a suspicious substance to top federal officials, including President Trump.
The man, identified as William Clyde Allen III, 39, was taken into custody in Logan about 85 miles north of Salt Lake City, according to local FBI spokesman Doug Davis.

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2018.10.03

News Headlines - 03 October 2018

Abe picks 12 new members, one woman, in Cabinet reshuffle:The Asahi Shimbun

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Oct. 2 rewarded supportive party factions in his largest-ever Cabinet reshuffle but appointed only one woman and one member of the ruling coalition partner.
Twelve new ministers were included in the new administration.

FSA to issue partial business suspension order to Suruga Bank:The Asahi Shimbun

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) decided to issue a partial business suspension order to Suruga Bank over its systemic practice of falsifying documents for improper lending in a “share house” investment scheme.
The order, which could come as early as this week, will prohibit the bank from extending new loans to investors in real estate for a certain period. The FSA will also issue a business improvement order to the bank, based in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Rising Sun flag puts Korean, Japanese navies on collision course | South China Morning Post

South Korea and Japan are on a collision course over an upcoming international naval forces event at which a Japanese warship is to fly the controversial Rising Sun flag, which is seen by many across Asia as a painful reminder of the nation’s imperial past.
South Korea is to host the International Fleet Review over four days from October 10 at Jeju Island, with warships from 15 nations, including China and the United States in addition to Japan, taking part.

UN court rejects Bolivia's bid for sea access via Chile

he International Court of Justice on Monday rejected a bid by landlocked Bolivia to force Chile to the negotiating table for access to the Pacific Ocean in a row dating back to the 19th century.
Bolivia lost its route to the sea in a 1879-1883 war with Chile, and Santiago has rejected every attempt since then by its smaller and poorer neighbour to win it back.

Indonesia earthquake death toll rises to 1,234 after dozens of students found dead in church | The Independent

Indonesia’s death toll from the earthquake and tsunami which struck on Friday has risen to 1,234, according to officials.
The figures come after the bodies of 34 students were found in a destroyed church which was hit by a landslide during a bible camp in the mountainous Sigi Biromaru region.
The Indonesian government has begun mass burials for victims – most found in the city of Palu.

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2018.10.02

News Headlines - 02 October 2018

Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father - The New York Times

Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.
But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.
Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show.

EU council allows removal of VAT from e-books | The Bookseller

The EU's Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) today (2nd October) agreed on a proposal which will allow all member states to give e-books and audiobooks the same VAT-free status as printed books. The UK Publishers Association has immediately called for the UK government to use the new powers.
The new rules don't force EU member states to align the rates, but allow them to.

Cern scientist Alessandro Strumia suspended after comments - BBC News

A senior scientist who said physics "was invented and built by men" has been suspended with immediate effect from working with the European nuclear research centre Cern.
Prof Alessandro Strumia, of Pisa University, made the comments during a presentation organised by the group... Cern said on Monday it was suspending Prof Strumia pending an investigation.

Russian woman squirts liquid on manspreaders on public transportation | The Independent

In a video, created by Anna Dovgalyuk from Russia, and viewed more than 1.5 million times, a woman brazenly walks up to seated passengers on the St Petersburg subway system and douses them with a clear liquid from a bottle.
Dovgalyuk claimed the substance was a strong bleach solution, used because it “eats colours in the fabric in a matter of minutes”, leaving “indelible stains” on the clothes of manspreaders.
However many internet viewers expressed doubt, suggesting that it was more likely to have been water.

Outcry over 'sexualised' photos of young girls in Ukrainian lingerie | Daily Mail Online

Police in Ukraine have vowed to charge the parents of six young girls who took part in a 'lingerie for children' fashion shoot.
The girls, aged eight to 14, were photographed wearing lacy underwear and shawls as part of a promotional campaign for fashion label Alla Frenkel's new line.
Frenkel's, which is based in Odessa, published the images on its website where they were branded 'sickening' for sexualising children.

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2018.10.01

News Headlines - 01 October 2018

Japan's Abe suffers Okinawa election defeat over new US base

An opponent of the construction of a new US Marine base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa won election as governor on Sunday, beating a candidate backed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition.
Denny Tamaki, the son of a US serviceman and a Japanese mother, claimed victory over Atsushi Sakima in the closely fought race, Kyodo news agency reported. Tamaki opposes a government plan to build a new military facility, enabling the closure of the Futenma Marine base in the centre of a densely populated city.

3 charged after murder of Slovak journalist and his girlfriend | Euronews

Three people in Slovakia have been charged with the murder of an investigative journalist and his fiancée. The killings had sparked nationwide protests that brought down the government.
The 27-year-old journalist, Jan Kuciak, had been investigating links between top government officials and the mafia.
The suspects were among eight arrested in a house raid on Thursday. Five others in the same raid have since been released.

Frenchman in Nobel scandal jailed for 2 years for rape | AFP.com

A Swedish court on Monday sentenced a Frenchman at the heart of a Nobel scandal to two years in jail for rape in a scandal that emerged during the #MeToo campaign.
An influential figure in Stockholm's cultural scene, 72-year-old Jean-Claude Arnault went on trial last month on two counts of rape relating to incidents dating back to 2011.

Charles Aznavour, the 'Frank Sinatra of France', dies aged 94 | The Guardian

The French singer Charles Aznavour – often hailed as his country’s Frank Sinatra – has died at the age of 94, French media have reported, citing his spokesman.
Aznavour, who was born Shahnour Varinag Aznavourian in Paris to Armenian parents, sold more than 100m records in 80 countries and had about 1,400 songs to his name, including 1,300 he wrote himself. He was sometimes described as the French Sinatra because of his stirring, melancholic style.

Wembley stadium sale to Shahid Khan on course after FA board gives backing | The Guardian

The Football Association board has approved in principle the sale of Wembley stadium for £600m to the Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner, Shahid Khan. The proposal, with protection for England, FA Cup and other prestige football matches to be played there, preservation of its name without a sponsor and reassurances that the proceeds will be spent on grassroots facilities, will next be presented to the FA council on 11 October.

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2018.09.30

News Headlines - 30 September 2018

At least 832 dead in Indonesia quake-tsunami disaster: Official - Channel NewsAsia

The death toll from Indonesia's quake and tsunami disaster has soared to 832 and could climb higher, the disaster agency said on Sunday (Sep 30).
So far, it said, almost all the deaths had been recorded in Palu, two days after waves 1.5 metres (five feet) high slammed into the city of 350,000 on Sulawesi island... Earlier reports said 400 people were killed as hospitals struggled to cope with hundreds of injured and rescuers scrambled to reach the stricken region.

Typhoon pummels Japan, flights canceled, trains shut down - The Washington Post

A powerful typhoon ripped through Japan on Sunday, forcing cancellations of flights and trains, including in the Tokyo area as authorities warned of strong winds and torrential rain.
Farms and homes in Miyazaki on the southern main island of Kyushu were flooded as Typhoon Trami swept across southwestern Japan. Evacuation orders were issued for tens of thousands of people over a widespread area, including more than 250,000 people in the city of Tokushima on the island of Shikoku, the national broadcaster NHK reported.

Latam nations, Canada ask ICC to probe Venezuela government | Reuters

A group of Latin American countries and Canada said on Wednesday they had asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Venezuela’s government over allegations of crimes against humanity in using force to repress political opponents... The presidents of Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday signed a letter and sent it to the court based in The Hague on Wednesday, Peruvian foreign minister Nestor Popolizio said.

Gay penguin couple in zoo video 'kidnapped' chick to become parents

A zookeeper in Denmark said two male penguins recently "kidnapped" a penguin chick from its parents.
Odense Zookeeper Sandie Hedgegard Munck said the zoo's male penguins, who she said are gay, took the chick while its parents where away, Denmark's broadcaster DR reports. The chick's mother was allegedly bathing at the time.
Munck told the station the male couple could have thought the chick's parents were neglectful and believed they could be better parents. So, the same-sex couple nestled the chick and cared for it as if it were their own.

Joe Masteroff, story writer for the musical 'Cabaret,' dies at 98

Joe Masteroff, the Tony Award-winning story writer of the brilliant, edgy musical "Cabaret" and the touching, romantic "She Loves Me," has died. He was 98.
Masteroff died Friday at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey, said The Roundabout Theatre Company, which produced recent revivals of his best-loved shows.

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2018.09.29

News Headlines - 29 September 2018

7.5 magnitude earthquake rocks Indonesia, USGS says

A powerful earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi Friday, triggering a 10-foot-tall tsunami that an official said swept away houses in at least two cities. It was the latest in a series of quakes that killed nearly 500 people in the country last month.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.5 quake was centered at a depth of 6 miles, about 35 miles northeast of the town of Donggala. Earlier Friday, the same area was hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that killed one person, injured 10 and damaged dozens of houses.

Osaka fugitive caught in Yamaguchi - NHK WORLD

A 30-year-old fugitive who escaped from a police station in Osaka Prefecture in August has been recaptured in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan... The man was finally apprehended after he was caught shoplifting in Yamaguchi Prefecture on Saturday.

Japan's Hopping Rovers Capture Amazing Views of Asteroid Ryugu

Two tiny, hopping rovers that landed on asteroid Ryugu last week have beamed back some incredible new views of the asteroid's rocky surface.
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Hayabusa2 sample-return mission dropped the two nearly identical rovers, named Minerva-II1A and Minerva-II1B, onto the surface of Ryugu on Sept. 21. In a new video from the eyes of Minerva-II1B, you can watch the sun move across the sky as its glaring sunlight reflects off the shiny rocks that cover Ryugu's surface.

Nintendo Wins Lawsuit Against Tokyo ‘Mario Kart’ Tourist Attraction – Variety

Tokyo District Court ruled in Nintendo’s favor on Thursday in its lawsuit against MariCar, a Japanese company that lets tourists drive through the city in “Mario Kart”-style vehicles and costumes, according to Kotaku.
MariCar, which is now called Mari Mobility Dev., must pay \10 million (nearly $89,000 USD) in compensation and stop using Nintendo-related cosplay in its tourist attraction, The Wall Street Journal’s tech reporter, Takashi Mochizuki, reported on Twitter earlier today. Nintendo reportedly filed the lawsuit because it said MariCar was damaging its “Mario Kart” franchise.

Nike CEO Feels `Very Good and Proud' of Kaepernick Campaign - Bloomberg

Nike Inc.’s controversial ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick debuted three days after the end of the company’s first quarter, but that didn’t stop executives from discussing the impact of the campaign during a first-quarter earnings call.
“We feel very good and proud of the work that we’re doing,” Chief Executive Mark Parker said. His comments were some of his first public remarks on the campaign, and he didn’t mention Kaepernick by name. “It’s driving a real uptick in traffic and engagement, both socially and commercially.”

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2018.09.28

News Headlines - 28 September 2018

Mike Pompeo keeps North Korea negotiations going with prospect of declaration ending Korean War before Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit - CBS News

Given the Trump administration's goal of a complete, verifiable denuclearization of North Korea during President Trump's first term, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is eager to maintain U.S.-North Korean engagement. As he prepares for upcoming discussions with the North Koreans, he is leaving one tool conspicuously on the table: the prospect of an official declaration to end the Korean War... By leaving open the possibility, Pompeo is affirming that the U.S. is open to some form of negotiation with the North Koreans to achieve denuclearization -- and he's showing up armed with more than just demands. The Trump administration, which argues its efforts have averted war, insists it will press forward with the conversations with North Korea after a late summer stall in the dialogue.

Japan to give up on daylight saving time for 2020 Olympics: report - Japan Today

Japan will not introduce daylight saving time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo because public opinion is against the proposal, the Asahi Newspaper reported on Thursday.
Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics originally floated the idea of setting clocks back one to two hours after scorching heat this summer killed at least 120 people, raising concerns about the safety of athletes, particularly marathon runners.
The Games will be held in late July and early August, Japan's hottest, most humid months.

Mystery behind France's 'Origin of the World' painting is revealed - France 24

The identity of the model who posed for one of the most controversial paintings of the 19th century, Gustave Courbet's "L'Origine du monde" (The Origin of the World), has finally been revealed, according to experts... The canvas has never lost its power to shock – even bringing out the prude in Facebook, which censored the profiles using it as late as 2011 in a case that ended up in the French courts.
For decades, art historians have been convinced that the naked torso and genitalia it depicts belonged to Courbet's lover, Irish model Joanna Hiffernan.

French rap video calling for 'whites to be hanged' outrages political class - The Local

There has been an outcry among French politicians over a song by a little-known French rapper which calls for whites to be killed in a video depicting a white man being tortured, shot and hanged from a tree.
The song at the heart of the outrage is called Pendez les Blancs in French ('Hang the Whites').
The video by Nick Conrad -- which controversial black comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala , a convicted anti-Semite, linked to on his Facebook page on Saturday -- was viewed thousands of times on YouTube before being taken down on Wednesday.

'Spiderman' balcony rescue: Father of dangling child given suspended sentence - BBC News

The father of a child who was dramatically rescued after dangling from a Paris balcony has been given a three-month suspended sentence.
Convicted of neglecting his parental responsibilities, the man has also been ordered to take a course in being a better parent.

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2018.09.27

News Headlines - 27 September 2018

French far-right symbol Jean-Marie Le Pen in hospital - France 24

The founder of France's far-right National Front, 90-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen, was hospitalised Tuesday with a persistent fever, his entourage told AFP.
The measure was taken to prevent potential complications, it said in a statement, and though Le Pen was "not in danger", he has cancelled the majority of his appointments for the coming days, his office said in a statement.
The increasingly frail Le Pen, who co-founded the National Front in 1972 and built it into a major force in French politics, turned 90 in hospital in June, when he was treated for a "dangerous pulmonary complication" resulting from a bout of flu.

Japan, US, EU agree to co-sponsor proposal to reform WTO, China in sight - The Mainichi

Trade ministers from Japan, the United States and the European Union agreed Tuesday to co-sponsor a proposal to reform the World Trade Organization as part of an effort to prevent Chinese industrial subsidies from distorting the global market.
The proposed change concerns the notification system for domestic industrial subsidies and strengthening the activities of the regular committees of the WTO, according to a joint statement issued after a trilateral meeting in New York.

Before 'Wild Boars' rescue mission, four others were saved from Thai cave: Reports - Channel NewsAsia

Two British divers who helped rescue a Thai youth football team from a flooded cave had earlier saved four adults also stranded in the complex, according to a new report on a mission that gripped the world... They had been trapped for around 24 hours and their situation was desperate, according to the caving news website Darkness Below in an article summarising Stanton's presentation.

Pret baguette inquest: Plea for help after allergic reaction - BBC News

A 15-year-old girl who died after a severe allergic reaction to a baguette from an airport Pret a Manger said "Daddy, help me" as she struggled to breathe, an inquest has heard.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse became ill on a flight to Nice on 17 July 2016.
Despite her father administering two EpiPen injections, Natasha died in a hospital in Nice within hours, West London Coroner's Court heard.

Man Utd 2-2 Derby County (Derby win 8-7 on penalties) - BBC Sport

Derby County beat Manchester United 8-7 in a dramatic penalty shootout to settle a pulsating Carabao Cup tie at Old Trafford and send the Championship club through to the fourth round.
After 15 successful penalties, Rams goalkeeper Scott Carson saved Phil Jones' effort low to his left to secure a famous victory for Frank Lampard's side.

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2018.09.26

News Headlines - 26 September 2018

German chancellor hit by ‘uprising’ as she losing key CDU vote | Express.co.uk

MPs from her Christian Democrat party (CDU) rejected her chosen candidate as their parliamentary leader and voted instead for a challenger who had promised to be more independent.
The defeat, her first since taking power, was a body blow to Mrs Merkel’s authority and leaves her facing a backbench rebellion as she tries to get her coalition’s legislative programme through parliament.

Pope Francis writes a letter to Chinese Catholics on trust and reconciliation | America Magazine

Pope Francis has written a very personal and important message to “the Catholics in China and to the universal church” regarding the recent agreement signed by the Holy See and China on the appointment of bishops, the new situation they now find themselves in and the horizons the agreement opens up for achieving reconciliation and unity in the church and the evangelization of people in that vast country.
Pope Francis urged Chinese Catholics on Wednesday to trust God and make concrete gestures of reconciliation following the landmark deal that is aimed at ending years of antagonism between Beijing and the Vatican.

China complains to Sweden over 'racist TV news show that outrageously insulted' country | The Independent

China has complained to Sweden over a satirical TV show it said was “racist and xenophobic”, in the latest escalation of an unlikely diplomatic row.
The programme Svenska Nyheter (Swedish News) was broadcast in the wake of an incident that saw police remove three Chinese citizens from a Stockholm hotel during a heated argument over check-in times.

Twitter's new content policy takes aim at 'dehumanizing speech'

Though Twitter has a policy against hateful conduct, which prohibits threats of violence against others based on factors like their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, the platform has come under frequent criticism for what it still allows on its site. But the company is now considering a new policy and before it's implemented, Twitter is asking users what they think. The new policy addresses dehumanization and it says users can't "dehumanize anyone based on membership in an identifiable group, as this speech can lead to offline harm," and Twitter is asking you to weigh in on the proposed rule.

Instagram Founders Exit Facebook as Zuckerberg Tension Grows - Bloomberg

The founders of Instagram are leaving Facebook Inc. after growing tensions with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of the photo-sharing app, people familiar with the matter said.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who have been at the company since Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook in 2012, had been able to keep the brand and product independent while relying on Facebook’s infrastructure and resources to grow. Lately, they were frustrated with an uptick in day-to-day involvement by Zuckerberg, who has become more reliant on Instagram in planning for Facebook’s future...

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2018.09.25

News Headlines - 25 September 2018

Rod Rosenstein’s Job Is Safe, for Now: Inside His Dramatic Day - The New York Times

When Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, headed to the White House on Monday morning, he was ready to resign and convinced — wrongly, it turned out — that President Trump was about to fire him. Top Justice Department aides scrambled to draft a statement about who would succeed him.
By the afternoon, Mr. Rosenstein was back at his Pennsylvania Avenue office seven blocks away, still employed as the second-in-command at the Justice Department and, for the time being at least, still in charge of the Russia investigation.

Bill Cosby, in cuffs, imprisoned for up to 10 years for sexual assault | Reuters

Cosby, 81, was found guilty in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the drugging and sexual assault of his one-time friend Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
He is the first celebrity to be convicted of sexual abuse since the start of the #MeToo movement, the national reckoning with misconduct that has brought down dozens of powerful men in entertainment, politics and other fields.

Japanese Magazine Suspends Publication amid LGBT Controversy - JIJI PRESS

Shinchosha Publishing Co. said Tuesday that it will suspend the publication of a monthly magazine at the center of a controversy over articles related to lesbian, gay, bisexuals and transgender, or LGBT, people.

Former top-ranked sumo wrestler resigns following scandal | Reuters

Former sumo wrestler Takanohana, who held the top rank of ‘yokozuna’, handed his resignation to the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) on Tuesday, according to local media, in the latest twist in a scandal that rocked the sport last year.
Takanohana failed to report that a wrestler he coached named Takanoiwa had been beaten by grand champion Harumafuji, who was forced to retire last November after taking responsibility for injuring the junior wrestler.

Fan Bingbing, Chinese actress disappears after role in "X-Men" movie after vague claims of tax fraud in China - CBS News

X-Men star Fan Bingbing's Beijing management office is dark and abandoned. Her birthday passed almost unremarked in China's hyper-adrenalized social media environment.
For one of China's best known stars and a rising Hollywood actress, Fan's vanishing is stunning, coming amid vague allegations of tax fraud and possibly other infractions that could have put her at odds with Chinese authorities... Yet for nearly three months, Fan hasn't been seen or heard from in public in any verifiable way.

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2018.09.24

News Headlines - 24 September 2018

Cabinet backs Canada-style Brexit deal as Hunt urges PM to drop Chequers

A majority of the Cabinet now supports moving towards a Canada-style trade deal with the EU following the outright rejection of Theresa May’s Chequers plan, the Prime Minister will be told today.
Mrs May will be urged to rethink her approach to the Brexit negotiations by favouring a free trade agreement that would represent the “clean Brexit” that Leave supporters voted for.
Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has emerged as a key figure in the Brexiteers’ fight to convince Mrs May to change tack. A former Remain campaigner, Mr Hunt is now squarely in the Leave camp and has publicly indicated that he is open to the idea of a Canada-style deal.

Researchers say they're closing in on HMB Endeavour, Captain Cook's lost ship - CBS News

Researchers say they've identified a site off the coast of Rhode Island where they think the ship that 18th-century explorer Capt. James Cook used to sail around the world may be located. The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, which is leading the search effort, and the Australian National Maritime Museum identified the site in the harbor near Newport, Rhode Island.

JAXA confirms tiny robots from Hayabusa2 landed on asteroid | The Japan Times

A pair of tiny robots released by the Hayabusa2 space probe touched down Saturday on an asteroid 300 million km from Earth, JAXA said.
The cylinder-shaped Minerva-II1 explorers will take photos and temperature readings on the asteroid Ryugu before the main probe lands, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.

Japan to demo self-driving tech - NHK WORLD

Japanese firms are planning to roll out self-driving vehicles ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Ten companies including automakers will carry out a joint test of their products on public roads to show off the new technology... The driverless autos will carry passengers from Tokyo's Haneda Airport to nearby facilities. They'll also take riders on expressways to central Tokyo.

Bond 25: True Detective's Cary Fukunaga replaces Danny Boyle as director

The latest director to take on the forthcoming James Bond film has been announced as Cary Fukunaga, an American filmmaker who made his name by directing HBO crime series True Detective.
Bond executive producers Michael G Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig announced the news on Thursday morning, adding that filming will begin at Pinewood Studios on March 4 2019 and the film will be released on February 14, 2020.

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2018.09.23

News Headlines - 23 September 2018

Senate Democrats Investigate a New Allegation of Sexual Misconduct, from the Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s College Years, by His Yale Classmate Deborah Ramirez | The New Yorker

The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence. The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. The allegation was conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer.

Russian Opposition Candidate On Track To Win In Gubernatorial Runoff

A Russian opposition candidate is on track to win one of the gubernatorial runoffs that have left the ruling United Russia party scrambling to avoid defeat for its pro-Kremlin candidates.
In the September 23 runoff in the Far Eastern Khabarovsk region, partial results showed Governor Vyacheslav Shport of the ruling United Russia party trailing 40 percentage points behind opposition candidate Sergei Furgal, with 90 percent of the votes counted.

No-deal Brexit would have limited impact on German labor market: Der Spiegel | Reuters

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government expects the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the labor market in Europe’s biggest economy would be “relatively small”, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel said on Saturday.
Around 41,000 British people were employed in Germany in December 2017 and that number is insignificant for the labor market overall, the magazine cited a government response to a request for information from the far-left Linke party as saying.
There were around 44.8 million people employed in Germany in total in the second quarter of 2018, according to data from the Federal Statistics Office.

Nazi war crimes suspect, 94, faces German youth court trial | The Guardian

A 94-year-old German man is to go on trial in a juvenile court accused of being an accessory to hundreds of murders in a Nazi concentration campduring the second world war.
The man, who has not been named for legal reasons, will be tried in a juvenile court because he was under 21 at the time of the alleged crimes.

Croydon Cat Killer: London Police Solve a Mystery - The New York Times

For years, people in and around London suspected that a deranged sadist was behind hundreds of cat mutilations, the grisly evidence strewn around their streets and yards.
But after a three-year investigation, the police revealed on Thursday that the likely culprits behind these inhuman acts were, in fact, inhuman: foxes.

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2018.09.22

News Headlines - 22 September 2018

Iran Military Parade Terror Attack Kills at Least 29, Officials Say | Fortune

Gunmen opened fire at a military parade in Iran’s southern city of Ahvaz on Saturday, killing at least 29 people in one of the worst militant attacks in the country’s modern history.
Fifty-seven people were wounded, according to the semi-official Fars News agency, which cited a lawmaker. Islamic State militants and an Arab group in the area claimed responsibility for the attack.
Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and civilians, including a child and a journalist, were among those killed, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, citing the deputy governor of Khuzestan, Hossein Hosseinzadeh.

Ministers to demand Brexit 'Plan B' from Theresa May at Cabinet showdown over Chequers deal

Theresa May is heading for a showdown with her Cabinet next week when ministers will call for a “Plan B” alternative to her Chequers Brexit deal.
The Cabinet meeting on Monday, which was due to discuss migration policy, will now be dominated by Mrs May’s Salzburg humiliation... One source said: “Monday is the crunch point. That’s when every Cabinet minister will have to look again and reassess like Boris [Johnson] and David Davis did.”

Vote Leave data firm hit with first ever GDPR notice - BBC News

A Canadian analytics firm that worked for Vote Leave has received the UK's first formal notice under a key data law, the UK's data protection watchdog has confirmed.
AggregateIQ (AIQ) was accused of processing people's data "for purposes which they would not have expected".

13-year-old schoolboy with dairy allergy died after 'cheese was thrown down t-shirt', inquest hears - ITV News

A 13-year-old boy with a severe allergy to dairy died after he was "chased with cheese and had it thrown down his t-shirt" at his school, an inquest heard.
Karanbir Cheema, known as Karan, suffered a serious allergic reaction and was left "gasping for air" in Greenford, West London, in June last year.

Shark attack in Queensland Australia is second in 24 hours - CNN

Two people, including a young girl, have been attacked by sharks in separate incidents in the same harbor in Australia's Whitsunday Islands in the past 24 hours.
Both attacks occurred in Cid Harbour, a picturesque bay surrounded by beaches in a popular tourist area on the north coast of Queensland.

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2018.09.21

News Headlines - 21 September 2018

Rod Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment - The New York Times

The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.

Moon: North, South aim for declaration this year to end Korean War:The Asahi Shimbun

North Korea's Kim Jong Un wants a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump soon to hasten denuclearization, but a key goal is declaring an end this year to the 1950-53 Korean War, the South's President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday.
Moon said he and Kim spent most of a three-day summit discussing how to break an impasse and restart nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, which are at odds over which should come first, denuclearization or ending the war.

PlayStation Classic, a $100 mini PS1 with 20 games, coming in December - Polygon

Sony is following in Nintendo’s footsteps with its own miniaturized throwback console: the PlayStation Classic, a new version of the original PlayStation that you can hold in your hand and easily connect to a modern television... There will be 20 games in all, but Sony only announced five of them today: Final Fantasy 7, Jumping Flash, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms. “All of the pre-loaded games will be playable in their original format,” the company said in an announcement post on the PlayStation Blog.

Sky takeover: Comcast-Fox battle could end in a one-day auction on Saturday

Sky has been the subject of an extended fight between Comcast and Fox — now backed by Disney, which is in the process of acquiring most of Rupert Murdoch's entertainment assets... It's rare for a UK takeover to be decided by auction but the process is designed to produce final bids from each suitor that can then be evaluated by shareholders.
The regulator said the auction would consist of up to three rounds. The lower bidder -— currently Fox — would be able to bid during the first round, and Comcast would counter in the second. Both hopefuls would be able to bid in the third and final round.

Jack the Ripper’s victims were not prostitutes

It remains one of the most enduring mysteries in British criminal history with budding detectives desperate to unveil the true identity of Jack The Ripper.
But less is known about the serial killer's victims, who were assumed to have been prostitutes targeted by the Ripper, because many became so fascinated with the perpetrator.
Now historian Dr Hallie Rubenhold has gone back to the archives to uncover the true biographies of the women killed in 1888, which reveal they had varied lives, from working in a coffee shop to living with a friend of the Prince of Wales.

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2018.09.20

News Headlines - 20 September 2018

Bumpy road ahead for Japan's Abe following rank-and-file backlash in LDP leadership vote - Xinhua

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, winning the ruling party's leadership election Thursday, will likely to become Japan's longest-serving leader, but underwhelming support shown by rank-and-file party members may spell difficulties ahead for both party and president, political analysts said... While Abe won 329 out of ballots cast by Diet members, and 224 by rank-and-file members, Ishiba secured 73 votes from legislators but an unexpected 181 votes from ordinary members, who closely reflect public opinion.

Fulfilling a dream, South Korea's Moon visits sacred North Korean mountain with Kim | Reuters

After the two leaders pledged new steps aimed at salvaging nuclear talks on Wednesday, Moon and Kim decided to use the final day of their three-day summit to go up the symbolic mountain on the Chinese border together.
Moon is known for his love of mountain climbing and has trekked in the Himalayas at least twice.

Alibaba's Jack Ma says U.S.-China trade war ends 1 million U.S. jobs promise: Xinhua | Reuters

Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma said the company can no longer meet its promise to create 1 million jobs in the United States due to U.S.-China trade tensions, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday... Ma has already warned that the trade war between the world’s two largest economies could last decades and that China should focus exports on the “Silk Road” trade route, citing Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Toyota's Zero Emissions Trucks Program Gets Boost From CARB, UPS, Shell, and Others | Torque News

Toyota and its partners will soon be adding ten more working trucks to the Port of Los Angeles. Torque News has been following Toyota's progress as it went from the alpha to beta stages, and now to this stage with ten more zero-emissions drayage trucks hauling freight out of the port of Los Angeles. The ten new trucks are enabled by a partnership between Toyota, Shell, Southern Counties Express, and United Parcel Service. The California Air Resources Board (CARB)is providing about $41 million in matching funds derived from cap and trade CO2 taxation.

Mexico official fired over odyssey of truck with nearly 300 bodies

A state government in Mexico has fired a prosecutor over a spectacle in which a fetid-smelling tractor trailer carrying 273 bodies was driven around aimlessly for lack of room in the morgue... The bodies were in the refrigerated truck because the morgue in Mexico's second-largest city was full.
Officials originally put the number of bodies at 157 but on Wednesday they raised it to 273.

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2018.09.19

News Headlines - 19 September 2018

Toyota to replace side-view mirrors with cameras in new model - Nikkei Asian Review

Toyota Motor will introduce a digital alternative to side-view mirrors in a revamped Lexus sedan due out in late October, becoming the world's first automaker to adopt such a device in a mass-produced vehicle.
The "digital outer mirror" system, announced Wednesday, features small cameras in place of side-view mirrors and display monitors inside the vehicle on both sides.

Sega pushes the Mega Drive Mini global release to 2019 - The Verge

Sega announced on its Twitter account today that the release of its Mega Drive Mini, a miniature version of its classic console, would be delayed until sometime in 2019. The Mega Drive Mini’s release was originally slated to coincide with the console’s 30th anniversary in Japan, but its global availability was unknown. Now, the company has confirmed that the miniature console will be released as the Mega Drive Mini in Japan and Europe and as the Genesis Mini in North America.

The truth about false assault accusations by women - BBC News

Either Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford is lying. We don't know which one... According to various academic studies over the past 20 years, only 2-10% of rape accusations are fake (Prof Ford's lawyer says she believes this was attempted rape).
Two to 10% is too many, but it is not a big proportion of the total. Fake rape accusations get a lot of attention.

Paul McCartney uses song on new album to attack Donald Trump: ‘We’ve got a mad captain sailing this boat’ | The Independent

Sir Paul McCartney has revealed he lambasted Donald Trump in his new solo album – branding the US president a "mad captain" in one of the songs.
The Beatles star said he had climate change deniers such as Mr Trump in his mind when penning a song called “Despite Repeated Warnings” on Egypt Station, his 18th solo album which was released earlier this month.

French bookshops revolt after prize selects novel self-published on Amazon | The Guardian

French booksellers have called on literary judges to “defend books and not those who threaten them”, after one of France’s most prestigious prizes selected a self-published novel available only via Amazon.
Among the 17 titles in contention for this year’s Prix Renaudot is Marco Koskas’ Bande de Français, which was self-published on Amazon’s CreateSpace platform. According to the Syndicat de la librairie française, which represents French booksellers, the jury have put them in an impossible position.

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2018.09.18

News Headlines - 18 September 2018

Syria accidentally shot down Russian military plane, Kremlin admits | The Independent

A Russian reconnaissance plane that disappeared over the Mediterranean with 15 crew aboard was shot down in error by Syrian forces, the Kremlin has admitted as it blamed Israel for putting the aircraft in the firing line.
Russia said its Il-20 military aircraft was preparing to land at Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province when, at about 8pm GMT on Monday, it disappeared from radar some 20 miles off the Syrian coast... Later on Tuesday morning the Kremlin said allied Syrian forces had inadvertently downed the plane, but heaped the blame on Israel for “irresponsible actions” – saying the country had launched air strikes by four F-16 jets with just one minute’s warning, triggering the defensive response.

Florence death toll rises to 32 as flooding continues - BBC News

As flooding continues to inundate North Carolina, the death toll from Florence has risen to at least 32, with 25 deaths confirmed in North Carolina.
The state's governor, Roy Cooper, said on Monday that the "epic storm" was still an immediate danger as rivers reach major flood levels.

German Car Giants Face EU Probe Into Suspected Collusion - Bloomberg

Germany’s beleaguered car industry faces another regulatory tangle, as the European Union opened a probe into Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG over suspected collusion that could have delayed clean-emissions technology for cars.
The investigation, which could lead to heavy fines, focuses on joint technical talks to develop selective catalytic reduction systems to reduce nitrogen-oxides emissions from diesel cars and "Otto" particulate filters for gasoline engines.

Ireland collects disputed Apple taxes in full ahead of appeal | Reuters

Ireland has fully recovered 13.1 billion euros in disputed taxes from Apple Inc (AAPL.O) plus interest of 1.2 billion which it will hold in an escrow fund pending its appeal against an EU tax ruling, Ireland’s finance minister said on Tuesday.
The European Commission ruled in August 2016 that Apple had received unfair tax incentives. Both Apple and Dublin are appealing against the original ruling, saying the iPhone maker’s tax treatment was in line with Irish and European Union law.

Thai cave rescue diver sues Elon Musk for defamation over repeated ‘pedo’ comments | The Independent

A British rescue diver who was instrumental in the rescue of 12 children trapped in a Thailand cave is suing Tesla CEO Elon Musk for defamation.
Vernon Unsworth and his attorneys filed their lawsuit on Monday, arguing that the businessman had crossed a line by repeatedly insisting that Mr Unsworth is a paedophile and “child rapist”. Musk did not substantiate his claims against the diver.
They are seeking $75,000 over the claims made by Musk. Mr Unsworth has also filed lawsuits in English and Welsh courts.

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2018.09.17

News Headlines - 17 September 2018

Brexit: Carney warns no-deal could see house prices plunge - BBC News

The Bank of England's governor has warned the cabinet that a chaotic no-deal Brexit could crash house prices and send another financial shock through the economy.
Mark Carney met senior ministers on Thursday to discuss the risks of a disorderly exit from the EU.
His worst-case scenario was that house prices could fall as much as 35% over three years, a source told the BBC.

Coca-Cola, Aurora Cannabis in Talks About CBD Oil Soda - Bloomberg

Coca-Cola says it’s monitoring the nascent industry and is interested in drinks infused with CBD -- the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that treats pain but doesn’t get you high. The Atlanta-based soft drinks maker is in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop the beverages, according to a report from BNN Bloomberg Television.

Strawberry needle contamination sparks federal investigation - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

As the strawberry contamination scandal spreads across the country the fallout for the industry continues with Health Minister Greg Hunt ordering a federal investigation into the matter.
At least seven brands of strawberries are now caught up in the scandal including: Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis brands, Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Mal's Black Label strawberries.

Mine museum being guarded, Phnom Penh Post

Guards have been placed around the recently shuttered Cambodian Landmine Museum in Siem Reap after its founder Aki Ra was arrested late last month for illegal weapons possession.
Many shops and vendors adjacent to the former tourist destination have also ceased operations due to a loss in customers.
A dozen soldiers have been on round-the-clock guard at the premises. A poster on the facade says that it is temporarily closed but will reopen later.

Sean Penn says spirit of much of #MeToo movement is to ‘divide men and women’

Two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn has opened up about the #MeToo movement, saying it divides men and women and "it's too black and white."
Penn, 58, and actress Natascha McElhone, 48, who co-star in the new Hulu show "The First" about a dangerous mission to Mars, had a frank discussion about the movement empowering women, with Natalie Morales on TODAY Monday.

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2018.09.16

News Headlines - 16 September 2018

The people must have another vote – to take back control of Brexit | The Guardian

So, after a lot of careful consideration, I’ve decided the people must get a final say. This means a public vote on any deal or a vote on a no-deal, alongside the option of staying in the EU.
As mayor, I wouldn’t be doing my job standing up for Londoners if I didn’t say now that it’s time to think again about how we take this crucial decision.

Philippines death toll rises to 59 as Typhoon Mangkhut barrels towards China - Channel NewsAsia

Typhoon Mangkhut killed at least 59 people in the Philippines as it smashed homes and left behind torrents of floodwater, and is now on course to plough into China's coast.
The number of people killed by the typhoon increased as more landslide victims were discovered, said police.

Abe, Ishiba clash over prime minister’s style of management:The Asahi Shimbun

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defended his leadership abilities while Shigeru Ishiba took jabs at scandals that have roiled the government as the two squared off on Sept. 14 in the ruling party’s presidential election.
The debate between the only candidates in the Liberal Democratic Party’s election scheduled for Sept. 20 was held at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.

California professor who accused Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault goes public | National Post

Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Since Wednesday, she has watched as that bare-bones version of her story became public without her name or her consent, drawing a blanket denial from Kavanaugh and roiling a nomination that just days ago seemed all but certain to succeed.
Now, Ford has decided that if her story is going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it.

NASA launches laser device into space to measure Earth's polar ice - CNN

NASA on Saturday launched its most advanced laser device into space to measure changes in the heights of Earth's polar ice, as well as other topographical features.
The Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, launched shortly after 9 a.m. ET from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California.

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2018.09.15

News Headlines - 15 September 2018

Hudson's Bay, Signa form European retail, real estate joint venture | Reuters

Hudson’s Bay Co (HBC) and Signa Holding agreed on Tuesday to merge Germany’s Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt chains to form Europe’s third-biggest department store chain as they battle online rivals, sending HBC shares surging.
The combined group will have annual sales of around 5.4 billion euros ($6.3 billion), putting it behind Spain’s El Corte Ingles and Britain’s Marks and Spencer, market research provider Euromonitor International data shows.

BMW's Vision iNext previews EV flagship

BMW's Vision iNext crossover concept showcases the automaker's ideas about how autonomous, connectivity and electric drivetrain technologies will be integrated into a flagship car planned to launch in 2021.
BMW released pictures and details of the Vision iNext on Sunday after taking the concept on a global preview tour for the media earlier this month aboard a Lufthansa Boeing 777F cargo plane that stopped in Munich, New York, San Francisco and Beijing.

Woman says Samsung Galaxy Note 9 burst into flames inside her purse

Samsung’s highly touted and supposedly fireproof Galaxy Note 9 cellphone spontaneously combusted inside a Long Island woman’s purse, she charges in a lawsuit.
In what could be the first report of a Note 9 catching fire, real estate agent Diane Chung’s legal claim recalls the South Korean company’s 2016 disaster with the Galaxy Note 7, which ignited so often Samsung had to dump 2.5 million devices.

Mum claims son, 6, is banned from lessons over his mohawk - 'because it might poke another child in the eye'

But mum Kirstie-Lea Day, 26, from Milton Keynes, claims she was called by the school on Friday and told her son’s hairstyle was not acceptable and he would not be allowed in class until he changed it.
Stay-at-home mum Kirstie, alleges when she brought Charlie back to school this week, she was told she should shave her son’s head or take him home.
And she said the school's eventual solution to allow Charlie back into class was to put water on his hair to flatten his treasured mohawk down.

Police probe K-pop star Koo Ha-ra over 'boyfriend assault'

Gangnam police have launched an investigation into K-pop singer Koo Ha-ra after her boyfriend called them over her alleged violence against him.
They said the boyfriend, a hair designer, called them at 3:30 a.m. Thursday, claiming the violence started after he suggested they break-up. The alleged incident happened at Koo's house in Gangnam, southern Seoul.
Koo claims her boyfriend assaulted her. Further details are unknown.

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2018.09.14

News Headlines - 14 September 2018

Prince William confuses Japan and China in latest royal gaffe - CNN

Britain's Prince William is following in the footsteps of his gaffe-prone grandfather, Prince Philip, confusing Japanese food with Chinese food during a public appearance on Thursday... "Have you guys had much Chinese food?" he asked them, only to be met with an awkward pause... It's the second time in six weeks that a British representative has confused the two countries... In July, newly appointed British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tried to impress officials in Beijing by talking about his Chinese wife, only to accidentally call her Japanese, in an embarrassing slip-up on his first mission abroad.

Japanese doctor wins Ig Nobel for self-colonoscopy - NHK WORLD

A Japanese doctor has won this year's Ig Nobel Prize for Medical Education for his research into what has been described as do-it-yourself colonoscopy... Horiuchi wrote a report titled "Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned from Self-Colonoscopy", which concludes that based on his experience, the task is both easy and effective.

Jeff Bezos Starts $2 Billion Day One Fund to Help Homeless, Kids - Bloomberg

Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, launched a $2 billion fund to help homeless families and create a network of nonprofit preschools in low-income communities.
The move catapults the world’s richest person into a rarefied group of billionaire megadonors at a time when his company, Amazon.com Inc., faces growing scrutiny over its rising power and impact on the economy.

Microsoft intercepting Firefox and Chrome installation on Windows 10 - gHacks Tech News

When you try to install the Firefox pr Chrome web browser on a recent Windows 10 version 1809 Insider build, you may notice that the installation gets interrupted by the operating system.
The intermediary screen that interrupts the installation states that Edge is installed on the device and that it is safer and faster than the browser that the user was about to install on the device.
Options provided are to open Microsoft Edge or install the other browser anyway. There is also an option to disable the warning type in the future but that leads to the Apps listing of the Settings application and no option to do anything about that.

Six held in France over vegan attacks on Lille shops - BBC News

Six people have been held this week over a string of vegan activist attacks in the city of Lille, officials said.
Nine businesses, including a butcher, fishmonger, cheese shop and a McDonald's, have had windows smashed and fake blood thrown on their walls in recent months... Five of the six detained people have since been or will now be released.
However, the Lille prosecutor's office set a court date in December for a detained 21-year-old woman.

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2018.09.13

News Headlines - 13 September 2018

Apple's iPhone XS, XS Max, XR test the limits of your budget - CNET

Apple's standout feature in its new lineup of iPhones isn't an upgraded camera or even new design. It's a higher price tag.
The company on Wednesday launched a trio of phones -- the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max -- in its most important product event of the year. But regardless of which iPhone you choose, you'll end up paying more than ever. The starting price for the iPhone XR, which uses cheaper parts like an aluminum body and LCD display, is $749. That's up $50 from last year's $699 for the iPhone 8, itself a bump from 2016.

VOLKSWAGEN ANNOUNCES BEETLE FINAL EDITION - Volkswagen Media Site

Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it will end production of the iconic Beetle in 2019. To celebrate the Beetle’s rich heritage, two special models will join the lineup for its last model year—Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL... “As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it.

Donald Trump to postpone Ireland visit, Taoiseach confirms | BreakingNews.ie

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that US President Donald Trump has postponed his visit to Ireland.
There was uncertainty over his visit to Dublin after a Washington official said they was still finalising whether Ireland would be a stop on the President’s itinerary in Europe, where he is due to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Nobel laureate Ishiguro receives Japan citation - The Japan News

An award ceremony was held in London on Wednesday to bestow the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star on Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro.
The winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, who won the Japanese order this spring, said at the ceremony that he has long wanted to become a bridge of friendship between Japan and Britain.

Undersea eruption detected at Iwo Jima as seawater is sent shooting into the air | The Japan Times

Signs of undersea volcanic eruptions were detected at Iwo Jima, the site of one of the bloodiest battles in World War II, meteorological and defense officials said Wednesday... The island, which has been renamed Ioto, has been showing increased volcanic activity since the weekend, the agency said, warning of more eruptions. The island is 1,250 kilometers (780 miles) south of Tokyo.

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2018.09.12

News Headlines - 12 September 2018

Brexit: Barnier says agreement possible by early November - BBC News

The EU's chief negotiator said if both sides are "realistic" there could be an agreement on the terms of the UK's exit by early November.
His comments come amid unconfirmed reports a one-off summit of EU leaders could be convened in the middle of November to sign off the agreement.

Hungary Censured as European Showdown Over Populism Takes Shape - Bloomberg

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban received an unprecedented European Union censure as a looming showdown over the bloc’s rising nationalism took shape... The recommendation now goes to EU governments, which are likely to spare Hungary the most serious sanction of suspending the country’s vote in the bloc as that would require unanimity and Poland has pledged to shield Orban.

Norway builds world's tallest timber tower - THE BUSINESS TIMES

NORWAY has completed the frame of the world's tallest timber building, which is being lauded for being environmentally friendly and fire-resistant.
The Mjos Tower, which is situated near and named after a lake located about 100km north of the capital Oslo, saw its last beam hoisted by a crane this week. At 85.4 metres, it has 18 floors.

Waterstones buys Foyles 'in face of Amazon's siren call' | The Guardian

Waterstones is buying the historic family-owned book chain Foyles in a surprise deal billed as an antidote to the “siren call” of online rival Amazon.
The sale brings down the curtain on the independence of one of Britain’s best known bookselling dynasties, with Foyles most famous for its Charing Cross Road branch in London.

Newspaper Sparks Further Debate Over Serena Williams Cartoon By Republishing It On Front Cover

Mark Knight's drawing, which was published in Australian newspaper the Herald Sun on Monday, portrayed the tennis superstar throwing a tantrum next to a smashed racket and a baby's dummy during the final against the tournament winner, Naomi Osaka... The image, which was shared by Knight on Sunday, has been slammed by many on social media, including JK Rowling and American civil rights activist the Rev Jesse Jackson, plus several female sports journalists and broadcasters.

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2018.09.11

News Headlines - 11 September 2018

As Sweden swings right, Bannon's anti-EU crusade looks north | Reuters

Having found an ally in the south and an admirer in the east, Donald Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon is now looking north for recruits in his crusade to undermine the European Union.
And he believes the timing is perfect after famously liberal Sweden voted in record numbers on Sunday for a far-right party that wants a referendum on leaving the 28-nation bloc.

Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping make pancakes together

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping buttered each other up Tuesday — tossing pancakes on the sidelines of an economic forum.
Donning blue aprons, the two leaders were photographed pouring batter, flipping Russian pancakes — called blini — and consuming them with caviar and a shot of vodka in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.

Renesas to Buy Chip Maker Integrated Device Technology for $6.7 Billion - WSJ

Renesas Electronics Corp. said it would buy California-based Integrated Device Technology Inc. for $6.7 billion, a move by the Japanese chip maker to add to its portfolio of devices for smartcars.
If the deal is approved by shareholders and antitrust authorities, Renesas would pay $49 a share, a 30% premium over IDT's stock price as of Aug. 30, when the Japanese company initially said it was considering the acquisition.

Pioneer to receive loans from Hong Kong fund amid business turnaround | The Japan Times

Pioneer Corp. plans to receive tens of billions of yen in loans from the Hong Kong-based investment fund Baring Private Equity Asia as it seeks to turn around its business, a source close to the matter said Tuesday.
The electronics manufacturer is seeking the assistance as it faces a deadline of the end of this month to pay back debts of \13.3 billion.

Florence likely 'the storm of a lifetime' for Carolinas: National Weather Service - ABC News

Hurricane Florence, a powerful Category 4 storm moving closer to North and South Carolina, will bring wind and waves that may be "nothing like you’ve ever seen," North Carolina Gov. Ray Cooper said Tuesday.

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2018.09.10

News Headlines - 10 September 2018

Death of pig in central Japan blamed on hog cholera - The Mainichi

A pig that died at a farm in central Japan's Gifu Prefecture was confirmed Sunday as having been infected by the swine fever virus, also known as hog cholera, which is contagious but does not affect humans.
While hog cholera is endemic in Asia, it is the first time an infection has been recorded in Japan since an outbreak in Kumamoto Prefecture in 1992 when five pigs were infected. Japan declared the virus eradicated in 2007.

Hackers Can Steal a Tesla Model S in Seconds by Cloning Its Key Fob | WIRED

A team of researchers at the KU Leuven university in Belgium on Monday plan to present a paper at the Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems conference in Amsterdam, revealing a technique for defeating the encryption used in the wireless key fobs of Tesla's Model S luxury sedans. With about $600 in radio and computing equipment, they can wirelessly read signals from a nearby Tesla owner's fob. Less than two seconds of computation yields the fob's cryptographic key, allowing them to steal the associated car without a trace.

Saudi princess reports theft of €800,000 worth of jewels at Paris Ritz - The Local

A member of the Saudi royal family has reported the theft of hundreds of thousands of euros' worth of jewellery from her hotel room at the Ritz hotel in Paris, police sources said Monday.
The person, who was not identified by name, said the theft... took place on Friday afternoon.
The jewels, worth an estimated 800,000 euros ($930,000), were not in a safe when they were taken and there was no sign of forced entry, the source said, confirming a report on France Info radio.

Dallas officer faces manslaughter charge for shooting man in apartment she thought was hers, police chief says | Dallas News

A Dallas officer faces a manslaughter charge after she fatally shot a 26-year-old man whose apartment near downtown she apparently mistook for her own... Officer Amber Guyger has not been officially named in connection with the shooting, but a source within the Dallas Police Department has identified her.

Martina Navratilova: What Serena Got Wrong - The New York Times

Serena Williams has part of it right. There is a huge double standard for women when it comes to how bad behavior is punished — and not just in tennis.
But in her protests against an umpire during the United States Open final on Saturday, she also got part of it wrong. I don’t believe it’s a good idea to apply a standard of “If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too.” Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?

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2018.09.09

News Headlines - 09 September 2018

North Korea holds military parade without showing intercontinental ballistic missiles | South China Morning Post

North Korea did not display intercontinental ballistic missiles that can target the United States at a military parade on Sunday, signalling leader Kim Jong-un’s desire to refrain from provoking US President Donald Trump for the resumption of denuclearisation talks.
At the parade staged on the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding, North Korea also emphasised its friendship with China, with many political analysts saying Kim is willing to ensure support from Beijing to promote negotiations with Washington.

Canadian military to severely curtail use of recreational marijuana | CBC News

The Canadian military will severely restrict — and in some cases prohibit — the use of recreational marijuana once it becomes legal this fall.
National Defence released its formal policy on Friday along with the accompanying regulations, which impose limits on cannabis use that are more wide-ranging than those governing alcohol.

German former ′Pop Idol′ star missing after ′jumping into sea′ | DW

German singer and reality TV star Daniel Küblböck was reported missing from a cruise ship on Sunday morning after a cabin check and loudspeaker announcements.
The 33-year-old is believed to have jumped into the sea. "This is our suspicion," said a spokesman for Aida Cruises who operates the cruise from which Küblböck disappeared.
The assertion that Küblböck went overboard was supported by an eyewitness cited in Bild newspaper who said that the entertainer reportedly jumped from deck five.

Serena: 'I am not a cheat', accuses tennis of 'sexism' | AFP.com

Serena Williams insisted she was not cheating in the US Open final on Saturday before accusing the sport which has made her a global icon of sexism... She was handed a code violation for coaching, a penalty point for racquet abuse and a game penalty for calling umpire Carlos Ramos a "liar and a thief" and insisting "you owe me an apology"... Williams said women players are treated differently to their male counterparts in the sport.

Novak Djokovic defeats Juan Martin del Potro, wins mens U.S. Open final - CBS News

Novak Djokovic won his 14th Grand Slam title and second in a row by getting through a key 20-minute game to beat 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the U.S. Open final. The victory Sunday comes a year after Djokovic sat out the tournament at Flushing Meadows because of an injured right elbow that eventually required surgery.
Djokovic collects $3.8 million and his third U.S. Open championship.

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2018.09.08

News Headlines - 08 September 2018

Japan's crown prince opens France trip with children,... | Daily Mail Online

Crown Prince Naruhito, Japan's next emperor, has met with Japanese schoolchildren and toured a world-renowned textile museum during a nine-day goodwill visit to France.

Panel finds systematic misconduct at Suruga Bank - NHK WORLD

The panel on Friday published their findings on Suruga Bank, which is based in the central Japan's Shizuoka prefecture.
Their report says the bank provided loans to unqualified candidates for a shared housing scheme. It says documents were altered to ease the loan screening process.
Loans of more than 100-million yen, or 910,000 US dollars, were given to owners of share houses. Most of them are salaried workers whose loan applications were found to have been altered.

Burberry to stop burning unsold goods, removes real fur from collections

British luxury brand Burberry said it would no longer burn millions of pounds worth of unsold goods or use real fur in its collections in a bid to improve its socially responsible credentials... Burberry came under fire earlier this year after it admitted burning and destroying unsold clothes and accessories to protect the brand and prevent them from being sold cheaply.

Trump wants Sessions to investigate New York Times op-ed - CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump said Friday he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate and uncover the identity of the senior administration official who penned an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times this week.

Williams argues with chair umpire; Osaka wins US Open final | The Kansas City Star

Serena Williams was penalized a game for calling the chair umpire a thief during an extended argument as the U.S. Open women’s final descended into chaos, with fans booing and play delayed before Naomi Osaka wrapped up a 6-2, 6-4 victory for her first Grand Slam title.
The biggest issue for Williams on the scoreboard Saturday was that she was outplayed by a younger version of herself in Osaka, a 20-year-old who is the first player from Japan to win a major singles tennis title and idolizes the 36-year-old American.
During the trophy ceremony in Arthur Ashe Stadium, thousands of fans jeered repeatedly, and both Osaka — the champion — and Williams — the runner-up in her bid for a record-equaling 24thth Grand Slam trophy — cried.

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2018.09.07

News Headlines - 07 September 2018

Chinese President to Skip North Korean Anniversary Event

Chinese President Xi Jinping's decision to turn down a reported invitation to attend a military parade in North Korea and celebrations marking 70 years since the founding of the isolated state may have helped him dodge problems on several fronts.
Were Xi to attend this weekend's events, as had been widely speculated in the South Korean media, analysts say that not only could it have fed into Washington's frustrations over a lack of progress toward denuclearization on the peninsula, but it could have heightened already tense relations on the trade front as well.
And if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rolls out new military hardware as some expect — particularly weapons of mass destruction such as an ICBM — Xi's attendance could have sent other messages as well.

The PlayStation 2 is officially dead as Sony pulls repair support | London Evening Standard

This week, Sony Japan revealed it would no longer be repairing the devices, offering customers a final chance to have their PlayStation 2 fixed one more time.
The console, launched in 2000, is still the best-selling games console of all time, with Sony selling more than 155 million units around the world.
Back in 2012, Sony announced it would end production of the console, to make way for its next-generation devices like the PS4.

Thai cave rescue hero could sue Elon Musk in three countries over 'child rapist' slurs | The Independent

Elon Musk is facing legal action in three countries over his groundless claims that a British caver who helped rescue 12 boys in Thailand is a “child rapist”.
Vern Unsworth is preparing to sue the Tesla founder for defamation in London and New York after the billionaire inventor repeatedly alleged he was a paedophile in a string of attacks.
He is also understood to be considering taking the case to courts in Thailand, where libel is a criminal offence punishable with a lengthy jail term and severe financial penalties.

Brazil Museum Fire Destroyed 700 Ancient Egyptian Artifacts

Egypt's Antiquities Ministry says a preliminary report shows that the fire that engulfed Brazil's National Museum destroyed all of its artifacts including those in the pharaonic hall, which contained 700 pieces.

Mass graves with at least 166 bodies found in eastern Mexico | Reuters

The bodies of at least 166 people have been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, prosecutors said on Thursday, the latest in a string of grim discoveries made in the eastern region in recent years.

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2018.09.06

News Headlines - 06 September 2018

Japan earthquake hits Hokkaido, leaves dead and missing under landslides on main island - CBS News

A powerful earthquake Thursday on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido triggered dozens of landslides that crushed houses under torrents of dirt, rocks and timber, prompting frantic efforts to unearth any survivors. At least nine people were killed, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. Officials said at least 366 were injured, five of them seriously, and about 30 people were unaccounted for after the magnitude 6.7 earthquake jolted residents from their beds at 3:08 a.m.

Japan nuclear plant's power restored after quake triggers Hokkaido blackout | Reuters

Power was restored to a nuclear energy plant in Hokkaido, northern Japan on Thursday after a strong earthquake left it relying on emergency generators for 10 nervous hours, but it may be a week before lights are back on all over the major island... Though Tomari was shut down after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, it needs electricity to keep fuel rods cool, and had to rely on back-up diesel generators that kicked in after the quake until power was restored to all three reactors by 1 p.m. local time.

Japanese utilities ended funding for nuclear fuel reprocessing in 2016, putting MOX program in doubt | The Japan Times

Utilities that operate nuclear power plants stopped funding the reprocessing of nuclear fuel in fiscal 2016, their financial reports showed Sunday, a step that may affect resource-scarce Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy.
The 10 utilities, including Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Japan Atomic Power Co., apparently halted allocating reserve funds for reprocessing costs due to the huge expenses linked to building the reprocessing facilities, sources said.

Employee of broadcaster TBS arrested on suspicion of kidnapping teenage girl - Japan Today

Police in Sapporo on Sunday arrested a 30-year-old man on suspicion of kidnapping a teenage girl in Shizuoka... The girl’s parents filed a missing person’s report after she did not come home. A nationwide alert was issued and police found the couple walking together along a street in Sapporo’s Kita Ward at around 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Taiwan to make English an official language next year, says official | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Taiwan is to make English an official language next year, Premier William Lai announced on Monday. The Ministry of Education has been discussing the proposal since last October.
The move aims to improve English language proficiency and help Taiwanese people pursue opportunities abroad, Lai said in an interview with United Daily News. It includes establishing bilingual schools across the country, with English being taught to pupils from an early age.

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2018.09.05

News Headlines - 05 September 2018

Opinion | I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration - The New York Times

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

Typhoon leaves major airport closed and destruction in Japan - The Washington Post

One of Japan’s busiest airports remained closed indefinitely, a day after the strongest typhoon to hit Japan in at least 25 years flooded a runway, toppled huge cranes, flipped cars on their side, damaged historic shrines and caused at least 11 deaths as it swept across part of Japan’s main island.

Govt. recognizes radiation death of plant worker - NHK WORLD

Japan's government has acknowledged that a worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant died of cancer triggered by exposure to radiation. The health and labor ministry recognized the man as eligible for workers' compensation.
The duties of the man, who was in his 50s, included measuring radiation levels at the plant immediately after the severe nuclear accident following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
He worked there until 2015, but was later diagnosed with lung cancer and died

19 People Confirmed Sick on Emirates Flight to JFK After 100 Report Feeling Ill - NBC New York

At least 19 people have been confirmed sick after a plane landed at John F. Kennedy Airport Wednesday morning with dozens on the packed international flight reporting feeling ill... The vast majority of the symptomatic passengers was cleared of illness and allowed to continue on the remaining legs of their trips. The office of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said 10 people -- seven of them crew members and three passengers -- were taken to hospital, while another nine were sick but declined medical attention.

Many US Facebook users have changed privacy settings or taken a break | Pew Research Center

Just over half of Facebook users ages 18 and older (54%) say they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.

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2018.09.04

News Headlines - 04 September 2018

Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency - The Washington Post

The dramatic and previously untold scene is recounted in “Fear,” a forthcoming book by Bob Woodward that paints a harrowing portrait of the Trump presidency, based on in-depth interviews with administration officials and other principals.

Donald Trump to visit Ireland in November, says White House

The White House confirmed on Friday that US president Donald Trump is to visit Ireland in November.
Mr Trump is expected to visit Ireland as part of his planned trip to Europe in November, when he is due to attend the Armistice commemorations in Paris on November 11th.

Goldman Sees Yuan Gaining in Reserves at Cost to Dollar, Yen - Bloomberg

China’s currency is set to take an increasing share of world foreign-exchange reserves, with the dollar and yen having to make the most room proportionally for the newcomer on the block, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
An acceleration in foreign inflows into Chinese fixed income in recent months -- despite a tumble in the yuan -- has showcased the power of allocation demand for the world’s No. 3 bond market. Central banks will probably account for $250 billion of an estimated $1 trillion of net inflows into Chinese bonds in the five years through 2022, Goldman analysts said.

Husband dies after wife puts eye drops in water, police say

A South Carolina woman has been charged with murder after killing her husband by putting eye drops into his water for several days, according to authorities.
York County deputies said 52-year-old Lana Clayton confessed to investigators after an autopsy uncovered a high amount of tetrahydrozoline in her husband's body.
The chemical is found in over-the-counter eye drops such as Visine.

Two Malaysian women caned under Islamic law for lesbian sex - The Straits Times

Two Malaysian women were caned on Monday (Sept 3) for having lesbian sex, in violation of strict Islamic laws, despite an outcry from activists at the "cruel and unjust" punishment... Campaigners said it was the first time that women in Malaysia have been caned for violating a syariah regulation which forbids same-sex relations.

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2018.09.03

News Headlines - 03 September 2018

Argentina unveils 'emergency' austerity measures, grain export taxes | Reuters

Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Monday announced new taxes on exports in the world’s third-biggest soy producer and steep cuts to spending in an “emergency” bid to balance next year’s budget, as his center-right government aims to persuade the IMF to speed up a $50 billion loan program.

Xi announces 60 billion USD of financing to Africa - Xinhua | English.news.cn

China will extend a total of 60 billion U.S. dollars of financing to Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Monday... Xi said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
The financing includes 15 billion U.S. dollars of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, 20 billion U.S. dollars of credit lines, the setting up of a 10-billion-U.S. dollars special fund for development financing and a 5-billion-U.S. dollars special fund for financing imports from Africa. Chinese companies are also encouraged to make at least 10 billion U.S. dollars of investment in Africa in the next three years.

Myanmar court jails Reuters reporters for seven years in landmark secrets case | Reuters

A Myanmar judge on Monday found two Reuters journalists guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and jailed them for seven years, in a landmark case seen as a test of progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

Boy, 17, killed in police chase after mistaken identity report:The Asahi Shimbun

A 17-year-old boy mistakenly identified as a dangerous fugitive was killed after crashing his scooter during a police chase in Osaka’s Nishi Ward on the night of Aug. 30... The youth was mistaken for Junya Hida, a 30-year-old rape suspect who escaped from the detention facility of a police station in Tondabayashi, Osaka Prefecture, on the night of Aug. 12. Hida fled after breaking an acrylic partition separating him and his lawyer in the visitor’s room following their meeting.

U2 cancel concert in Berlin after Bono loses his voice | The Guardian

The Irish band were playing in Berlin on Saturday but had to stop after only a few songs as their lead singer struggled on stage.
The band said in a statement: “We’re so sorry for tonight’s cancellation. Bono was in great form and great voice prior to the show, and we were all looking forward to the second night in Berlin, but after a few songs, he suffered a complete loss of voice. “We don’t know what has happened and we’re taking medical advice.

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2018.09.02

News Headlines - 02 September 2018

1 killed, 15 injured in Isulan town’s second bombing in 5 days | MindaNews

Five days after an improvised bomb killed three persons and injured 30 others along the highway in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat province, another bomb exploded Sunday night in an internet cafe in the same town, leaving one teenager dead and 15 others injured, four of them in critical condition, according to Isulan Mayor Marites Pallasigue.

Amsterdam knife attacker had ′terrorist motive,′ say officials | DW

The man alleged to have stabbed two American tourists at Amsterdam's busy central train station was motivated by extremism, officials in the Netherlands said Saturday... Police shot and detained 19-year-old Jawed S. immediately after Friday's attack. He is currently being held in hospital with injuries to his lower body and is expected to be arraigned at a closed-door hearing on Monday. Officials say he is an Afghan citizen who holds a German residency permit.

Ukraine Separatist Leader Killed in Bombing in Donetsk Cafe - Bloomberg

The head of one of Ukraine’s two breakaway republics was killed in a bombing, highlighting the persistent tensions in a conflict that’s now in its fourth year.
Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, was the most senior official of the two breakaway regions formed with Russian support after the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. He died after a bomb went off in a cafe Friday afternoon in central Donetsk.

Microwave Weapons Are Prime Suspect in Ills of U.S. Embassy Workers - The New York Times

Now, doctors and scientists say such unconventional weapons may have caused the baffling symptoms and ailments that, starting in late 2016, hit more than three dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China. The Cuban incidents resulted in a diplomatic rupture between Havana and Washington.
The medical team that examined 21 affected diplomats from Cuba made no mention of microwaves in its detailed report published in JAMA in March. But Douglas H. Smith, the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a recent interview that microwaves were now considered a main suspect and that the team was increasingly sure the diplomats had suffered brain injury.

Skin Bleaching In Africa: An Addiction With Risks — The Guardian

But evidence from the range of products, suppliers and services points to a continent-wide market that may number tens of millions of people and possibly more.
In Nigeria alone, 77 per cent of women — by extrapolation, more than 60 million people — are using lightening products on a “regular basis”, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in 2011... Ingredients may include hydroquinone, steroids, mercury and lead — the same element that, at high doses, poisoned Elizabethan courtiers who powdered their faces ivory white... The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stresses that it has not given approval for any of the injections on the market today.

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2018.09.01

News Headlines - 01 September 2018

Work starts to decommission problem-plagued Monju reactor:The Asahi Shimbun

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) on Aug. 30 started work to decommission the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture, a once-promising project that struggled with problems, even in preparations for its dismantlement.
The work started a month later than scheduled because of a series of equipment trouble. The JAEA workers also face an enormous challenge because Japan has no experience in decommissioning a fast-breeder reactor.

Panasonic to move European headquarters out of UK - Nikkei Asian Review

Panasonic will move its European headquarters from outside London to Amsterdam in October to avoid potential tax issues linked to the U.K.’s scheduled exit from the European Union.
Japan could treat the U.K. as a tax haven if it lowers its corporate rate, Laurent Abadie, CEO of Panasonic Europe, told Nikkei here, referring to the country's attempt to lure businesses with low levies... Given various business implications from Brexit, the company has been considering the relocation for 15 months, he added.

Irish foreign minister urges UK to clarify its Brexit stance | Reuters

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Tuesday that more clarity was needed about Britain’s stance regarding its planned departure from the European Union... With little more than seven months to go until it leaves the EU on March 29, Britain has yet to reach an agreement with the bloc on the terms of its departure.

Donald Trump confirms Star story on his secret bombshell remarks about Canada | The Star

High-stakes trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. were dramatically upended on Friday morning after inflammatory secret remarks by President Donald Trump were obtained by the Toronto Star.
Trump’s comments were viewed by Canadian negotiators as evidence for their suspicions that the U.S. was not making a legitimate effort to compromise. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s officials confronted the president’s officials with the leaked quotes at a high-level meeting on Friday morning.

Trump told Kim Jong Un in Singapore he’d declare end to Korean War - Vox

President Donald Trump told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their Singapore summit in June that he’d sign a declaration to end the Korean War soon after their meeting, according to multiple sources familiar with the negotiations.
But since then, the Trump administration has repeatedly asked Pyongyang to dismantle most of its nuclear arsenal first, before signing such a document.
That decision is likely what has led to the current stalemate in negotiations between the two countries — and the increasingly hostile rhetoric from North Korea.

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2018.08.31

News Headlines - 31 August 2018

Facebook removes accounts associated with Myanmar military | The Guardian

Facebook has removed 18 accounts and 52 pages associated with the Myanmar military, including the page of its commander-in-chief, after a UN report accused the armed forces of genocide and war crimes.
In an unusually prompt move, the pages and accounts of the Mynamar military, known as the Tatmadaw, were deleted just minutes after the UN fact-finding mission released its damning report.
Facebook, which is a highly popular source of information in Myanmar, has come under criticism for giving a platform to vitriolic posts aimed at stirring up and spreading hatred against the minority Muslim Rohingya population.

Japan Protests China's Ban on Sankei Shimbun Coverage | JAPAN Forward

Chinese government authorities on Wednesday, August 29, refused to let The Sankei Shimbun participate in pool media, leading the the Japan Press Association in Beijing — comprised of reporters from major Japanese newspapers and news agencies based in China’s capital — to boycott the news-gathering activities at the outset of the Wan-Akiba talks.
The association declared it could never accept the Chinese act of depriving a specific news organization of a reporting opportunity. Japanese TV crews in Beijing followed suit.

Residents blast water-discharge method at Fukushima plant:The Asahi Shimbun

Fishermen and local residents on Aug. 30 vehemently opposed the government’s plan to discharge radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, saying the measure will damage a number of industries.
During a public hearing on the measure, they also blasted the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., for “misleading” the public by failing to disclose that radioactive substances, such as strontium, remained in the water to be discharged.

Puerto Rico revises Hurricane Maria death toll to 2,975 after study - CNN

Puerto Rico's government raised its official Hurricane Maria death toll to 2,975 on Tuesday in the wake of a new estimate from researchers.
The new figure is 46 times larger than the previous toll the Puerto Rican government released in December 2017, when officials said 64 people had died as a result of the storm.
It comes on the same day researchers from George Washington University revealed findings from a study on storm-related deaths commissioned by the US commonwealth's government.

Mystery woman in Texas security video with wrist restraints is safe: police | Reuters

A partially dressed woman who briefly appeared in security camera footage approaching a home in a suburban Houston subdivision with what appear to be broken restraints dangling from her wrists has been found and is safe, police said on Wednesday.
The woman, 32, was the girlfriend of a man who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and has been confirmed to be the person in the security video footage, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said.

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2018.08.30

News Headlines - 30 August 2018

Argentina Boosts Interest Rate to 60%; Peso Sinks

Argentina's Central Bank on Thursday increased its benchmark interest rate to 60 percent — the world's highest — in an effort to halt a sharp slide in the value of the peso, which plunged to a record low.
The peso fell more than 13 percent against the dollar, closing at an all-time low of 39.2 per greenback, after slipping about 7 percent the day before.

Chemnitz, Saxony and Germany grapple with far right | DW

Chemnitz, Freital, Heidenau: For many people in Germany, these places are inextricably linked not only for being in the eastern state of Saxony but also by the far-right extremists who have, sometimes violently, voiced their hatred there.
The death of a 35-year-old German man in the early hours of Sunday — allegedly at the hands of two asylum-seekers — sparked two days of protests in Chemnitz, with more planned for Thursday, that shocked many and led to another round of soul-searching over the reach of xenophobia in Saxony and the rest of Germany.

Morocco arrests 12 suspects over teen's 2-month torture | Al Jazeera

Moroccan authorities have arrested 12 suspects and are hunting three others after a 17-year-old girl told police she was gang-raped, tortured, and held against her will for two months.

Controversial Fukushima statue of child in radiation suit to be removed | South China Morning Post

The city of Fukushima in Japan will remove a statue of a child clad in a protective suit over criticism that it misleads the public into believing that local people, hit by a nuclear crisis in 2011, need to wear such gear, according to its mayor.
“We set up the statue as a symbol of people striving for reconstruction but have come to judge that the statue is not accepted by many citizens,” mayor Hiroshi Kohata said on Tuesday.
The city, which erected the 6.2-metre statue dubbed Sun Child near Fukushima Station on August 3, will stop displaying it as soon as possible and consider what to do with the work of art, the mayor added.

Ghost hunter claims image shows '6ft hooded monk holding crucifix' on paranormal investigation at ruined abbey

Paranormal investigator Kyle Thompson was stunned when he went through footage from his visit to Roche Abbey in Maltby, South Yorks, because he believes he caught the towering apparition on camera.
The figure is difficult to spot but can be found in a shadowy doorway near the back of the picture.
The ghost hunter claims the picture shows a 6ft tall cloaked and hooded figure holding a large cross – similar to ones used during mass celebrations.

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2018.08.29

News Headlines - 29 August 2018

This man could be Florida's first black governor

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won an upset victory in the Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary. If he wins the general election, he will be the first African-American governor of the state.

Malaysia says committee to study Forest City project | Reuters

Shares in Hong Kong-listed Country Garden, China’s largest property developer by sales, fell as much as 3.5 percent in early trade on Tuesday following Mahathir’s announcement... In a statement on Tuesday, the prime minister’s office said purchase of properties by foreigners in Malaysia does not guarantee automatic residency in the country... Since becoming prime minister in May, Mahathir has put the brakes on China-backed projects worth over $20 billion, including a massive rail project.

Japan must look into the suspicious fall of journalist investigating links between Prime Minister and mafia | RSF

RSF calls on Japanese authorities to shed light on the suspicious fall of a journalist, who is known for his investigation in the supposed links between the prime minister and the mafia, that caused him to be hospitalized... The independent journalist, who investigated possible links between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese mafia, claims that he has received numerous threatening letters and faced an attempted fire at his house over the past years.

12-month tournament bans for four Japan basketball players caught buying sex in Indonesia | South China Morning Post

Four Japanese basketball players kicked out of the Asian Games for paying sex workers for sex will be suspended for a year, officials said Wednesday.
Japan Basketball Association chief Yuko Mitsuya told reporters the players would be barred from official tournaments for a year, adding their action “damages the honour and trust of Japan’s sporting world”.

Activists urge killer robot ban 'before it is too late' | AFP.com

Countries should quickly agree a treaty banning the use of so-called killer robots "before it is too late", activists said Monday as talks on the issue resumed at the UN.
They say time is running out before weapons are deployed that use lethal force without a human making the final kill-order and have criticised the UN body hosting the talks -- the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) -- for moving too slowly.

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2018.08.28

News Headlines - 28 August 2018

Mattis says no more halt to U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises - CBS News

There are no future plans to halt joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises in the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Tuesday. This is a departure from the announcement in June that he had "indefinitely suspended" military exercises with South Korea after President Trump said at his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the U.S. would stop its "war games" with South Korea.
Facing a standstill in diplomatic efforts with the North Koreans, this is the latest indication that the Trump administration is not willing to give concessions to Kim without tangible steps on denuclearization.

‘I remember Pearl Harbor’: Inside Trump’s hot and cold relationship with Japan’s prime minister - The Washington Post

Trump then launched into a blistering critique of Japan’s economic policies, according to people familiar with the conversation. He railed against the U.S. trade deficit with Japan and urged Abe to negotiate a bilateral trade deal that is more favorable to U.S. exporters of beef and automobiles.
The meeting, which left Abe exasperated, epitomized the paradoxical nature of Trump’s closest relationship with a foreign leader.

Japan government apologises for ‘inexcusable’ padding of disabled staff numbers by nearly 3,500 - The Straits Times

The Japanese government has been found to have inflated the number of disabled people under its employment by 3,460 to meet a legal quota, in a damning probe released Tuesday (Aug 28) that has stoked domestic furor.
The data padding had been done at 27 out of 33 government entities, the labour ministry said.
It added that the government’s employment ratio of those with disabilities stood at 1.19 per cent in June last year – way below the earlier reported 2.49 per cent, and under the legal threshold at the time of 2.3 per cent.

French Bonds Feel the Blues on Fear of Japanese Bidding Sayonara - Bloomberg

French bond investors are now more fixated on what their counterparts from Japan are up to than developments in their own region, and for a good reason. France ranks No. 2 among the $2.4 trillion of global debt owned by buyers from the Asian nation, and that makes the securities particularly vulnerable to the risk that rising yields in Tokyo could lure some of that money back home.
The yield premium on French 10-year bonds over German equivalents has climbed from a three-year low in April amid concern Japanese investors will pull funds to invest more in their own country.

Sexually frustrated dolphin named Zafar terrorises tourists on French beach

A seaside village in Brittany has banned swimming on its beach because a dolphin in heat has been scaring tourists and locals by approaching them and trying to rub up against them.
The dolphin has even tried to prevent several swimmers from getting back to the beach at Landévennec, using its nose to push one woman out of the water and up into the air.

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2018.08.27

News Headlines - 27 August 2018

Why Trump cancelled Pompeo’s trip to North Korea - The Washington Post

Pompeo received the letter from Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, on Friday morning, and showed it to Trump in the White House, two senior administration officials confirmed. The exact contents of the message are unclear, but it was sufficiently belligerent that Trump and Pompeo decided to call off Pompeo’s journey, where he was set to introduce his newly announced special envoy, Stephen Biegun, to his North Korean counterparts.

North Korea expels detained Japanese tourist as neighbors' hot-and-cold relationship continues | The Japan Times

North Korea has expelled a Japanese man detained for allegedly breaking the law during a recent tour of the country, state-run media and a diplomatic source in Japan said as the two neighbors continue their hot-and-cold relationship.

Four Toyota units to form joint venture to develop self-driving technology | The Japan Times

Denso Corp., Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd., Jtekt Corp. and Advics Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Aisin, said they plan to set up a joint venture next March to develop software that can control key components for automated driving, such as sensors, brakes and steering, in an integrated manner.

The money and politics behind the Notting Hill Carnival

But behind the scenes, the mostly volunteer-managed event has struggled with its finances, governance and safety, with a steep rise in arrests for violent crime since 2010 and collapsing safety barriers and four near-fatal stabbings in 2016... Earlier this year, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ended its financial support for the London Notting Hill Carnival Trust (LNHCT), which had organised the event since 2012 under the leadership of Pepe Francis, the 75-year-old president of the British Association of Steelbands... “There were a lot of problems with LNHCT,” admitted Mr Francis... He said he supported the appointment of this year’s organiser, Carnival Village Trust, an arts agency that runs two venues in west London, including the Tabernacle.

Manga Author Momoko Sakura, Creator of 'Chibi Maruko Chan,' Dead at 53

One of Japan's most-famous manga creators, Momoko Sakura, who was best known for her series Chibi Maruko-chan, is dead. She had breast cancer and died on August 15 at the age of 53.
Her staff confirmed the news in a statement posted on her official website Monday. The statement said a funeral ceremony had been held "only by relatives and close relatives due to the will of the bereaved families."

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2018.08.26

News Headlines - 26 August 2018

Abe declares candidacy in 2-way race with Ishiba to lead LDP - Japan Today

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday he will run in the Liberal Democratic Party's leadership contest next month, setting the stage for an expected two-horse race with former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba... With official campaigning starting on Sept 7, the ruling party will hold the leadership election, which will effectively decide Japan's next prime minister, on Sept. 20.

Emperor Hirohito in anguish in final years over blame for war

Emperor Hirohito said during his final years that he did not wish to live much longer as he would only experience more anguish at sad events and being blamed for his role in war, the diary of a close aide obtained by Kyodo News for the first time showed Wednesday.
The diary kept by late chamberlain Shinobu Kobayashi revealed the aging emperor was haunted by talk of his wartime responsibility following the Sino-Japanese War and World War II.

Gun-maker Kalashnikov wants to take on Tesla with retro-styled EV - Roadshow

Arms manufacturer Kalashnikov is best known for its AK-47 assault rifle, often called the world's most popular gun. Now the Russian company is heading in a decidedly different direction, showing off an electric concept car called the CV-1 -- and boldly claiming that it will take on electric-car giant Tesla.

Jacksonville shooting suspect identified as David Katz, gamer who had lost in Madden NFL tournament

The finalists in Sunday’s regional video game tournament would proceed to the Madden Classic in Las Vegas, where the top prize is $25,000. David Katz, a slender 24-year-old who nicknamed himself “Bread,” had traveled from Baltimore to compete — only to be eliminated, witnesses said.
But Katz wasn’t done. As his competitors continued to game Sunday, Katz got a handgun and opened fire in the pizzeria. Horrified fans watched the violence unfold on a livestream online.
The shooter “targeted a few people” before killing himself, according to Stephen “Steveyj” Javaruski, one of the gamers, who took shelter in a bathroom.

Emma Watson Replaces Emma Stone in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ – Variety

Emma Watson is set to join Greta Gerwig’s star-studded remake of “Little Women.”
Sources say Watson is playing the part originally intended for Emma Stone, who was unable to join the project because of promotional obligations for the Fox Searchlight film and award season contender “The Favourite.” With production expected to start next month, Sony moved quickly to approach Watson.

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2018.08.25

News Headlines - 25 August 2018

John McCain, maverick of the Senate and former POW, dies at 81 | The Seattle Times

Sen. John McCain, who faced down his captors in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp with jut-jawed defiance and later turned his rebellious streak into a 35-year political career that took him to Congress and the Republican presidential nomination, died Saturday after battling brain cancer for more than a year. He was 81.

People forced to eat rotting meat as Venezuela economic crisis gets worse | Metro News

In a city once called the Saudi Arabia of Venezuela for its vast oil wealth, residents of Maracaibo now line up to buy spoiled meat as refrigerators fail amid nine months of rolling power outages that recently got worse. Some people fall ill eating the rotten beef, but at bargain prices, it’s the only way they can afford protein as the country’s crisis hits bottom.

Spain to dig up Franco's body after government passes decree | The Independent

Franco, who ruled for nearly 40 years, was buried at the Valley of the Fallen monument to the victims of the Spanish Civil War following his death in 1975.
Proposals to remove his body from the site – which is marked by a 152m cross on a mountainside near Madrid – have been discussed for years but faced opposition from his descendants and supporters.
The decree, which amends Spain’s Historical Memory Law of 2007 to grant the government power to dig up Franco’s body, was passed during a cabinet meeting on Friday.

Russian opposition leader Navalny detained in Moscow over rally | Reuters

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been detained in Moscow over his participation in an anti-government protest earlier this year, his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Lindsay Kemp, performer and Bowie mentor, dies at 80 - BBC News

Kate Bush has paid tribute to ground-breaking dancer, mime artist and choreographer Lindsay Kemp, who has died aged 80... He collaborated with David Bowie as he invented theatrical personas such as Ziggy Stardust.
Kemp died suddenly in Italy, where he lived, on Friday evening.

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2018.08.24

News Headlines - 24 August 2018

Huawei banned from 5G mobile infrastructure rollout in Australia - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Federal Government has banned Chinese-owned tech giant Huawei from taking part in the rollout of 5G mobile infrastructure over national security concerns.
The Government said it would be interpreting rules announced last year as disqualifying any company that was "likely subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law".

Apple Is Said to Plan Revamped Low-Cost Macs to Ignite Sales - Bloomberg

Apple Inc. will release a new low-cost laptop and a professional-focused upgrade to the Mac mini desktop later this year, ending a drought of Mac computers that has limited sales of the company’s longest-running line of devices, according to people familiar with the plans.

North Korean defectors sue in Japan, alleging rights abuses | Fox News

She was one of the more than 90,000 Koreans and their relatives in Japan who went to North Korea decades ago seeking what the country promised: "paradise on earth."
As North and South Korea make reconciliatory gestures and hundreds of war-separated relatives are reunited, Eiko Kawasaki and others like her feel forgotten... She and four other defectors filed a lawsuit against North Korea's government this week in Tokyo District Court, demanding 500 million yen, or about $5 million, in damages for human rights violations.

Legendary T-34 tank falls from platform during Kursk victory parade - Daily Sabah

The T-34 tank was among the centerpieces in the parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Kursk, in which the Red Army routed the Wehrmacht. With their firepower, armor and engine durability, T-34's showed better performance in general than their peers, helping the Soviet Union to halt the offensive of the largest invasion force in history, which was also famous for its Panzers and Blitzkrieg tactics.
After the parade, one of the T-34's fell from a trailer that had arrived to bring the veteran tank back to the barracks. The tank almost overturned but was stopped by its turret. Luckily, soldiers waiting next to another trailer were quick to escape and no one was injured.

Tourists complain French cicadas are 'too loud' | AFP.com

It is the quintessential sound of the Mediterranean in summer, but for some French tourists the cicadas of Provence are just too noisy.
Several have complained to the mayor of the picturesque village of Beausset in the southeastern Var region that the insects are ruining their holiday lie-ins.

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2018.08.23

News Headlines - 23 August 2018

U.K. Warns No-Deal Brexit to Raise Prices, Burden Pensioners - Bloomberg

Britons face higher prices when buying from the European Union unless the government can secure a Brexit deal, while retirees in countries like Spain risk losing access to pensions paid into U.K. banks.
That’s according to 25 technical notes released Thursday by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab setting out how businesses and citizens should prepare for the possibility of talks with the bloc collapsing.

Trump Complains About Powell's Rate Hikes to Hamptons Donors - Bloomberg

President Donald Trump said he expected Jerome Powell to be a cheap-money Fed chairman and lamented to wealthy Republican donors at a Hamptons fundraiser on Friday that his nominee instead had raised interest rates, according to three people present.
The Federal Reserve has raised rates five times since Trump took office, including twice this year under Powell... The private remarks to donors are the most personal criticism of Powell’s performance to emerge so far.

Aramco IPO halted, oil giant disbands advisers - sources | Reuters

Saudi Arabia has called off plans for the domestic and international listing of state oil giant Aramco, billed as the biggest stock flotation in history, four senior industry sources said on Wednesday.
Financial advisers working on the planned listing have been disbanded as Saudi Arabia shifts its attention to a proposed acquisition of a “strategic stake” in local petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp, two of the sources said.

NASA Confirms The Existence Of Water On The Moon

On Tuesday, NASA officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) confirmed the first definitive evidence of water on the surface of the Moon, settling a decades-long debate about whether the substance was ice or simply hydrogen. This discovery has wide-reaching implications for future lunar settlements and exploratory missions in addition to some unexpected results for lunar astronomers.

Danny Boyle leaves new Bond film due to 'creative differences'

Danny Boyle is stepping down as director of the 25th Bond film, four months before the film was due to go into production.
A shock statement posted to the franchise’s official Twitter account on Tuesday evening declared: “Michael G Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig today announced that due to creative differences Danny Boyle has decided to no longer direct Bond 25”.

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2018.08.22

News Headlines - 22 August 2018

North Korea is still developing nuclear weapons, says IAEA | The Guardian

North Korea is continuing to develop its nuclear weapons programme, according to a report by the UN atomic watchdog, raising questions over the country’s commitment to denuclearisation.
In one of the most specific reports on Pyongyang’s recent nuclear activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency observed actions consistent with the enrichment of uranium and construction at the country’s main nuclear site.

Xi Jinping to visit Pyongyang for North Korea's 70th anniversary celebrations - The Straits Times

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Pyongyang next month as ties between China and its close neighbour North Korea improve and as Beijing and Washington are locked in escalating trade tensions.
The Straits Times understands that Mr Xi will attend the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding on Sept 9 at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, barring last-minute changes.

Malaysia Can’t Afford $22 Billion Beijing-Backed Projects, Mahathir Tells China - WSJ

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he plans to defer or cancel some $22 billion worth of Chinese-backed infrastructure projects, after explaining his objections to China’s leaders.

Researcher at the center of an epic fraud remains an enigma to those who exposed him | AAAS

The first thing that went through Alison Avenell's head when she heard Yoshihiro Sato had died was that it might be a trick. It was March 2017, and in the previous years, Avenell, a clinical nutritionist at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, had spent thousands of hours combing through Sato's papers, together with three colleagues in New Zealand. They had discovered that Sato, a bone researcher at a hospital in southern Japan, had fabricated data for dozens of clinical trials published in international journals... Her second thought was that Sato might have killed himself. "We have no indication that he committed suicide, but it concerns us," Avenell said when I met her at her office in late 2017. Three years earlier, Japanese stem cell scientist Yoshiki Sasai had hanged himself in the stairwell of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe after he was caught up in a stem cell scandal. "We were aware of the culture in Japan and the dishonor something like this could bring," Avenell said.

U.S. Inmates Launching Nationwide Strike to 'End Prison Slavery'

ncarcerated Americans across the country are set to go on strike Tuesday in what could become the largest industrial action by inmates in the history of the United States.
The strike, which is supposed to last until September 9—the anniversary of the 1971 Attica Prison uprising in upstate New York—calls for an "end to prison slavery" and for a number of prison reforms.
For 19 days, inmates across at least 17 states plan to refuse to work, with some also refusing to eat, to draw attention to poor conditions and what advocates have called exploitative labor practices in the prison system.

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2018.08.21

News Headlines - 21 August 2018

Venezuela issues new currency Bolivar Soberano amid hyperinflation and social turmoil - CNN

Venezuela issued a new currency Monday in an attempt to bolster its crumbling economy as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that inflation could hit one million percent this year.
The move, part of a dramatic raft of measures aimed at halting runaway hyperinflation, comes as thousands of Venezuelans continue to flee across the border into neighboring countries amid food and medicine shortages, political turmoil and soaring crime rates.

South Koreans enter North to meet relatives separated decades ago by war | CBC News

Dozens of elderly South Koreans crossed the heavily fortified border into North Korea on Monday for heart-wrenching meetings with relatives most haven't seen since they were separated by the turmoil of the Korean War... The temporary reunions are highly emotional because most participants are elderly people eager to see their loved ones once more before they die. Most of their families were driven apart during the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula still in a technical state of war.

Water at Fukushima nuclear plant still radioactive even after treatment | South China Morning Post

Radioactive substances have not been removed from treated but still tritium-containing water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The government and Tokyo Electric Power Company have faced the pressing need to dispose of such treated water now kept in tanks. One option is to dump it into the sea, as tritium is said to pose little risk to human health.

175 former security officials join criticism of Trump, as he taunts former CIA chief John Brennan

ore than 175 former US security officials have joined criticism of Donald Trump for revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan.
In a letter released on Monday, the former national security officials said the US president's actions represented a "political litmus test" that "weakened" the country.

George Washington gold coin sells for $1.7 million | Reuters

An 18th century gold coin featuring the likeness of first U.S. President George Washington sold for $1.7 million at auction on Thursday, with the net proceeds going to charity, the auction house said.
The 1792 Washington President gold eagle coin was never circulated as money but is instead thought to have been presented to Washington when post-Revolutionary War plans were being drawn up for the first U.S. Mint, according to Heritage Auctions.

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2018.08.20

News Headlines - 20 August 2018

Venezuela cuts five zeros from currency as economic plan sows confusion | Reuters

Venezuela on Monday slashed five zeros from prices as part of a broad economic plan that President Nicolas Maduro says will tame hyperinflation but critics call another raft of failed socialist policies that will push the chaotic country deeper into crisis... The price change comes with a 3,000 percent minimum wage hike, tax increases meant to shore up state coffers and a plan to peg salaries, prices and the country’s exchange rate to the petro, an elusive state-backed cryptocurrency.

US refuses to give Turkish bank relief in exchange for detained pastor’s release

The Trump administration rejected a proposal from the Turkish government that would free a detained American pastor in exchange for relief of one of its largest banks, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The report, which cites a senior White House official, said Turkey asked the U.S. to drop an ongoing investigation into Halkbank, one of the biggest state-owned Turkish banks. Halkbank faces major fines for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
In exchange, the Turkish government would release Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who has been detained in Turkey since 2016.

Japan ministries may have fiddled numbers of disabled employees: media | Reuters

Several ministries in Japan may have been inflating for decades the number of disabled people they employ in order to meet quotas, media said on Friday, even as the government imposes levies on private companies that fail to meet theirs... Government agencies reported in June that disabled employees made up 2.5 percent of their workforces — above the 2.3 percent target — but the real number might be less than half that, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper said.

Spanish police treat attempted knife attack as terrorist act | Reuters

A man, wielding a knife and uttering the word “Allah” lunged at an officer in a police station near Barcelona, Spain, on Monday in what police said was a terrorist act, and was shot dead.

Endangered baby gibbon introduced to Prague zoo | Euronews

An endangered Silvery Gibbon was introduced to the public at Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic Tuesday.
The Silvery Gibbon is one of the world's rarest primates and native to the island of Java in Indonesia, with less than 4,000 of the species living in the wild.

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2018.08.19

News Headlines - 19 August 2018

British war graves desecrated by Chinese pirates plundering Second World War shipwrecks | Daily Mail Online

Ten British ships sunk during the Second World War and designated as war graves have been plundered for scrap metal by Chinese pirates, an investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found.
Vessels that provide the final resting place for more than 1,000 sailors have been smashed to pieces and looted by greedy salvagers. Last night Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson demanded an immediate investigation.

Pentagon says it's postponing Trump's military parade

The Pentagon said in a Thursday statement that it would "explore opportunities" in 2019 for President Donald Trump's military parade that originally had been set for November of this year... The parade, originally slated for Nov. 10, had been estimated to cost $92 million, the official said. The figure consisted of $50 million from the Pentagon and $42 million from interagency partners such as the Department of Homeland Security. An initial estimate last month pegged the prospective cost for the parade at $12 million.

Free fish for forex: Istanbul restaurant joins currency campaign | Reuters

Istanbul’s beloved fish sandwiches, a staple street food in the Bosphorus city, are being offered for free to Turks who heed President Tayyip Erdogan’s call to sell their dollars for lira.
The offer is just one of many by vendors across Turkey who are backing Erdogan’s appeal to nationalist sentiment, giving out anything from orchids, petrol or a three-day hotel stay for those who show dollar exchange receipts.

Crop marks unveil 'unusual' ancient remains dating back thousands of years - Derbyshire Live

Structures and buildings including a probable burial pit thought to date back up to 4,000 years to the Bronze Age have been unearthed in Scropton - thanks to the summer heatwave.
Pictures taken from the skies above the South Derbyshire village have revealed strange outlines and circles uncovered in green grass in a field running alongside the Derby to Uttoxeter railway line.

Buddha statue stolen from India 57 years ago to be returned - Metropolitan Police

A 12th century Buddha statue stolen from India 57 years ago is to be returned to the Indian High Commissioner by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)... The Buddha, a bronze statue with silver inlay, is one of 14 statues stolen in 1961 from the Archaeological Survey of India site museum in Nalanda in the eastern part of India.
The statue changed hands several times before eventually being delivered to a London dealer for sale. Once the dealer and the owner were made aware the Buddha was the same one that had been stolen from India, they co-operated fully with the Met’s Art and Antiques Unit and agreed for the piece to be returned to India.

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2018.08.18

News Headlines - 18 August 2018

Turkey secures $15 billion investment from Qatar amid US trade tensions

Turkey has secured a $15 billion investment from Qatar that could bolster its economy amid a widening dispute with the United States.
The pledge was announced Wednesday after a meeting between Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. Qatari state media said the money would go toward economic projects, investments and deposits.

Venezuela slams Japan foreign minister's remarks as interference - The Mainichi

Venezuela has slammed Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono over his remarks on the Latin American country's democracy as meddling in domestic affairs, the Venezuelan foreign minister said Wednesday.
The protest came after Kono said Tuesday during a press appearance in Peru with Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio that they had agreed to continue calling for Venezuela to restore democracy with the participation of a wide range of citizens.

Okinawa to hold special election Sept. 30 in wake of anti-base governor’s death - Stripes

A special election to choose a replacement for anti-U.S. base Gov. Takeshi Onaga has been set for Sept. 30.
Onaga, 67, died suddenly of pancreatic cancer on the evening of Aug. 8, less than two hours after officials said he would be stepping down temporarily over health concerns.

Melting Ice Uncovers 1946 Wreckage of U.S. Plane in Swiss Glacier - The New York Times

After an emergency landing on a Swiss glacier, the group of 12 Americans drank melted snow and survived on rations of one chocolate bar a person until daring pilots shuttled them to safety after five days marooned on the ice.
Relics of that harrowing adventure and the successful rescue of all those onboard, including an 11-year-old girl and the captain’s mother, resurfaced after more than 70 years this month when scorching summer temperatures in Europe caused the glacial ice to recede.

Elephants Hardly Ever Get Cancer, And We May Finally Know Their Secret

But when comparing animals of different species, the concept falls down. There is zero correlation between the volume of an animal's body or its relative lifespan and the chance of cancer popping up among all those cells... Elephants are a textbook example. In 2015, researchers estimated their cancer mortality rate stood at just under 5 percent, compared with the 11 to 25 percent for the relatively puny human body.
That study also found a potential clue to the elephant's anti-cancer superpower in the form of a gene called TP53. Like most anti-cancer genes, it makes a product that detects DNA damage and tells the cell to either fix it or close shop.

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2018.08.17

News Headlines - 17 August 2018

China’s stock market nears low of 2015 crash after drug makers slide amid Beijing crackdown on industry | South China Morning Post

China’s stocks dropped for a fifth day, nearing the low of the 2015 market rout, as Beijing vowed to clean up the health care sector in the wake of a vaccine scandal and concerns deepened about a slowdown in growth... That is just 0.5 per cent shy of the nadir set in January 2015 after the rout that erased US$5 trillion in market value.
In contrast, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose for the first time after five days of losses, ending up 0.4 per cent.

Value of BOJ assets exceeds Japan’s GDP - The Japan News

The total value of Bank of Japan-owned assets, mainly Japanese government bonds, has exceeded the country’s annual nominal gross domestic product for the first time ever, a central bank report showed on Tuesday... The Bank of Japan’s balance sheet is expected to expand even further as the central bank is continuing with its massive asset purchases to meet its inflation target of 2 percent.
The total Bank of Japan assets swelled 3.3-fold from the end of March 2013, just before the bank embarked on massive monetary easing in April that year.

NYU Medical School Plans Free Tuition For Those Studying To Be Doctors : NPR

In a move it said was to address the large cost of entering a career in medicine, New York University's School of Medicine said Thursday that it will offer full scholarships to all current and future students in its doctor of medicine program.
NYU said it was the "only top 10-ranked" medical school in the U.S. to offer such a generous package.

Should Tesla investors worry about Elon Musk's 'stability?'

Are Tesla investors concerned about CEO Elon Musk’s “stability?”
That question reverberated Friday as the electric carmaker’s stock price fell nearly 9 percent following an interview in which Musk cried and bemoaned his “excruciating” year.
In the interview with the New York Times, published late Thursday, Musk sounded more like a man on his last lap than the visionary leader of one of the most iconic companies in business today. Even for a man who compulsively over-shares — about his relationships, his challenges, his opinions of others — the content of the interview was remarkable.

Police use Taser on 87-year-old woman cutting dandelions with a knife - CNN

An 87-year-old grandmother using a knife to cut dandelions in the woods near her rural Georgia home last week was taken down by a police Taser and arrested, according a police report.
Martha Al-Bishara was arrested for criminal trespass and obstruction of a police officer, according to the report. Chatsworth Police said Al-Bishara did not drop a steak knife despite several commands and a demonstration by officers. At one point, she walked toward officers with the knife, police said.

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2018.08.16

News Headlines - 16 August 2018

These are the newspapers telling Trump that journalists are not the enemy - CNNPolitics

About 350 newspapers in the United States had editorials Thursday decrying President Donald Trump's description of the media as the "enemy of the people."
Here are some of the newspapers blasting Trump's anti-press rhetoric.

Trump responds after hundreds of newspaper editorials criticize his attacks on the press

However, some newspapers decided not to run editorials on the issue, including The Washington Post. This newspaper’s editorial board has previously responded to Trump’s attacks on news organizations, but Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt said Saturday that the board would not participate in the organized response.
Neither did the Los Angeles Times.
Or the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Chronicle’s editorial page editor, John Diaz, wrote that “It’s not that we take issue with the argument that Trump’s assault on the truth generally, and his efforts to diminish the free press specifically, pose a serious threat to American democracy.” But, he said, the newspaper values independence - a sentiment that was shared by the Los Angeles Times.

Japan must act to protect Fukushima clean-up workers: U.N. experts | Reuters

Japan must act urgently to protect tens of thousands of workers laboring to clean up the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station from reported exploitation and exposure to radiation, U.N. human rights experts said on Thursday.

China’s vaccine scandal: firm made 500,000 substandard doses, twice as many as first thought, state media says | South China Morning Post

A Chinese drug company produced nearly 500,000 substandard vaccines for babies, roughly double an earlier estimate by authorities investigating a safety scandal, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.
China’s drug regulator in July accused Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology of selling 252,600 doses of ineffective DPT vaccines to inoculate children against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.
Further investigations found that the company had produced an additional substandard batch of DPT vaccines, raising the total to 499,800 doses, the report said.

Ebola Kills 41 in ‘Very Dangerous’ Outbreak as World Health Organization Calls for End to Violence in Congo

he World Health Organization asked on Tuesday for violence to end in the war-torn northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 100 armed groups and military forces are fighting, so that health workers can combat an Ebola outbreak that has killed 41 people... Areas where an internal conflict has made it impossible for rescuers to access those affected have been labeled as “red zones.” These swathes of territory contain a large number of people, which the World Health Organization says leads to more difficulties in trying to eradicate the virus.

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2018.08.15

News Headlines - 15 August 2018

Japan emperor expresses 'deep remorse' over war; PM sends offering to shrine | Reuters

Emperor Akihito, in his last appearance as reigning monarch at an annual ceremony marking Japan’s World War Two surrender, expressed “deep remorse” on Wednesday over the conflict, while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed no repeat of the horror of war.

Missing toddler found safe after 3 days on western Japan island

Yoshiki Fujimoto of Hofu, Yamaguchi Prefecture, was found by a search volunteer on a mountain in the town of Suo-Oshima on Yashirojima, according to the police. The site was only 560 meters from his great-grandfather's house where he had been visiting for the summer.
The volunteer, Haruo Obata, had been calling out Yoshiki's name at around 6:30 a.m. when he heard a voice reply, "I'm here." The 78-year-old found the boy barefooted and sitting near a stream, and wrapped him in a towel before carrying him down to his family.

Vermont Nominates First U.S. Transgender Candidate for Governor - Bloomberg

A former Vermont utility executive on Tuesday became the first transgender candidate from a major political party to be nominated for governor, and she'll face the Republican incumbent, who survived a bitter backlash from his base over gun restrictions he supported.
GOP Gov. Phil Scott defeated a challenge from Springfield businessman Keith Stern in his quest to win a second term. He will face Christine Hallquist, who won the Democratic primary to run for the state's highest office in November, when she would become the nation's first transgender governor if elected.

Trump revokes former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance

President Donald Trump has withdrawn ex-CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, in a move hitting one of the administration's most vocal critics.
The action, announced Wednesday by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, appears to be more of a political than practical move. Brennan and most other prominent former White House officials do not use their clearances to consult with the Trump administration, and the move may not prevent them from speaking out publicly now.

Asian gaming stocks tumble as China halts license approvals | Reuters

Shares of Asian video game companies such as Tencent Holdings, Nexon and Nintendo tumbled on Wednesday due to concerns over delays in new games releases in China, as Beijing halted approvals for game licenses.
Many firms have been awaiting games sales licenses since March after Beijing reformed and reorganized the government bodies that oversee the sectors earlier this year, industry executives told Reuters on Tuesday.

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2018.08.14

News Headlines - 14 August 2018

Westminster car crash: Man arrested on suspicion of terror offences - BBC News

A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament.
The vehicle swerved into cyclists and pedestrians shortly after 07:30 BST, injuring three people.
The 29-year-old suspect is not believed to be known to MI5 or counter-terrorism police, and is not co-operating with officers. Searches are taking place in Birmingham and Nottingham.

Germany lifts total ban on Nazi symbols in video games - BBC News

Nazi symbols can now appear in video games in Germany, ending a long-running and frequently ridiculed censorship... The change means Nazi symbols used in an artistic way will be allowed.
Until now, using banned symbols would prevent a video game from being considered for a compulsory age rating - essentially banning it from being sold in stores.

Koala gets own seat on flight to Scotland

Plane passengers flying to Edinburgh had a surprise Antipodean traveller in their cabin - a koala heading for the city's zoo.
The 19-month-old Queensland koala had his own seat on the flight as the sensitive animals cannot be placed in the hold.

Meghan Markle's mum Doria Ragland prepares to MOVE to UK to be close to daughter | Express.co.uk

Doria Ragland – the only member of Meghan’s family at her wedding – is said to be “beside herself with excitement” at becoming neighbours of Harry and Meghan.
One friend said yesterday she could make the move as soon as next month, in time to celebrate her 62nd birthday in Britain.
Doria is said to have been deeply impressed by the Royal Family, including the Queen, during and after Meghan’s wedding.

Liga announces landmark free-to-air deal with Facebook in India | Reuters

Spain’s top flight soccer division La Liga announced on Tuesday a landmark deal with Facebook which will allow viewers in the Indian sub-continent to watch every game over the next three seasons for free on the social network.
A statement from La Liga said all 380 league matches for the new season, which begins on Friday, would be available to viewers in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

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2018.08.13

News Headlines - 13 August 2018

Asia markets decline; Turkish lira on the back foot while yen firms

Asian markets slid on Monday as investor sentiment took a knock amid the renewed slump in the Turkish lira.
The Nikkei 225 slid 1.98 percent, or 440.65 points, to close at 21,857.43 as the yen firmed amid uncertainty in Turkey. The safe-haven currency traded at 110.30 to the dollar at 2:45 p.m. HK/SIN, compared to levels around 110.90 seen on Friday.

China’s Giant Banks Top This Ranking. And That’s a Cause for Concern - Bloomberg

In 1988, 9 of the 10 largest banks in the world were Japanese. Three years later the country’s financial system, along with its lenders, collapsed, sending Japan into its infamous lost decade (or three, considering the country is still struggling to escape deflation and low growth)... By 2007 all of the top 10 slots were filled by U.S. and European lenders. A year later the subprime mortgage meltdown hit the U.S. The sovereign debt crisis followed in Europe... U.S. and European economies, like Japan’s, have contended for most of the past decade with low growth.
It’s 2018, and the rankings teem with Asian banks again. This time the top four by assets are Chinese. Of course, this may not be a sign of where the next financial crisis will erupt. But in light of the recent precedents, it’s a cause for concern.

Jakarta, the fastest-sinking city in the world - BBC News

The Indonesian capital of Jakarta is home to 10 million people but it is also one of the fastest-sinking cities in the world. If this goes unchecked, parts of the megacity could be entirely submerged by 2050, say researchers. Is it too late?
...It's already happening - North Jakarta has sunk 2.5m in 10 years and is continuing to sink by as much as 25cm a year in some parts, which is more than double the global average for coastal megacities. Jakarta is sinking by an average of 1-15cm a year and almost half the city now sits below sea level.

Awa Odori festival kicks off - The Japan News

The Awa Odori festival began in Tokushima on Sunday, organized for the first time by a committee led by the Tokushima municipal government after it was revealed that one of the previous organizers had incurred huge debts... The Awa Odori festival was co-organized by the Tokushima city tourism association and The Tokushima Shimbun local newspaper until last year. However, it was found that the association had racked up a cumulative deficit of over \400 million, prompting the Tokushima municipal government, which had covered the tourism organization’s losses, to seek court-led bankruptcy proceedings.

Man escapes from Osaka police station after meeting with lawyer - The Mainichi

Junya Hida was found missing from the interview room at Tondabayashi Police Station at around 9:45 p.m. Hida, who was additionally served with an arrest warrant on suspicion of attempted rape and other charges on Aug. 8, had been in an interview with his lawyer from around 7:30 p.m. In the meeting room, the acrylic plate dividing the suspect and the lawyer was broken, police said.
It is not clear when the lawyer left the room. No officers at the station witnessed Hida's escape, and no one was injured.

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2018.08.12

News Headlines - 12 August 2018

Boston Globe, US newspapers to run editorial calling for end to 'dirty war' on press

The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a "coordinated response" to President Trump's escalating "enemy of the people" rhetoric.
"We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration's assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date," The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers... As of Saturday, "we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days," Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe's deputy editorial page editor, told CNN.

Pioneer seeks lifeline with tie-up - The Japan News

Struggling car electronics maker Pioneer Corp. said Thursday it is in talks with companies including automotive parts maker Calsonic Kansei Corp. to seek a tie-up.
Pioneer made the comment after media reports said it has approached Calsonic Kansei and others in hopes of forming a capital and business alliance to secure product development funds and rebuild its operations.

In Pursuit of Civility by Keith Thomas review – manners in early modern England | The Guardian

In truth, of course, standards of civility are changeable. As Keith Thomas points out in his wonderfully entertaining history, according to Giovanni della Casa, the 16th-century authority on polite behaviour, it was perfectly proper for the master of a household to relieve himself in front of his servants and inferiors. When King James I went out hunting all day, he similarly didn’t bother getting out of the saddle to answer calls of nature; and when parliament met in Oxford in 1665-6, Charles II’s courtiers left behind “their excrements in every corner, in chimneys, studies, coal-houses, cellars”.

Pink seagull spotted sitting above a shop in Barnstaple, Devon | Metro News

This bizarre pink bird isn’t some kind of new species, or a tropical bird that’s somehow ended up lost in Britain.
In fact, it’s actually a seagull that appears to have been spray painted a bright shade of pink.

Daddy Yankee: Despacito rapper 'robbed by impersonator' - BBC News

A thief impersonating Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee has reportedly stolen 2 million euros ($2.3m; £1.8m) worth of jewels from his hotel room in Spain.
Spanish paper Las Provincias reports a man posing as the performer, real name Ramon Luis Ayala, phoned staff at his Valencia hotel to open the room's safe.

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2018.08.11

News Headlines - 11 August 2018

Stolen Plane Crashes After Airline Employee Takes Off From Seattle Airport - The New York Times

An airline employee took off in a stolen plane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night in an episode that frustrated stranded travelers, riveted witnesses and ended with the plane crashing about 30 miles from the airport, the authorities said.
The man, a 29-year-old who acted alone, was thought to be suicidal, said officials in Pierce County, where the plane crashed. No one else was believed to be on the 76-seat plane or injured on the ground.

Gunma copter crash kills all nine crew members and passengers | The Japan Times

All nine passengers on a rescue helicopter that crashed on a mountain near the border of Gunma and Nagano prefectures on Friday died, Gunma Prefectural Government officials confirmed on Saturday.
The helicopter, which was checking a mountain trail ahead of its opening to climbers, went down near the prefectural border Friday morning.

North Korea detains Japanese man, casting cloud over abduction negotiations | The Japan Times

A Japanese man has recently been taken into custody in North Korea, government officials said Saturday as Tokyo tried to obtain information on the case.
According to informed sources, the man, in his 30s, was visiting the communist regime on a package tour organized by a foreign tourist agency. He was in Nampo, a port town in the western part of the country, the source said.

Wild Boars boys, coach receive Thai citizenship | Bangkok Post

Three Wild Boars footballers and their coach have received Thai citizenship amid cheers from their parents... The three boys were granted Thai citizenship under the terms of the Citizenship Act for those migrating to the country. The coach received Thai nationality as he was born at Mae Sai hospital.

Iniesta scores first goal for Japanese side Kobe - Channel NewsAsia

Andres Iniesta scored his first goal for J League side Vissel Kobe in their 2-1 victory over Jubilo Iwata on Saturday.
The great Spanish midfielder, who moved to Japan following an illustrious career with boyhood club Barcelona, scored a sensational goal to open his account, assisted by former Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski.

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2018.08.10

News Headlines - 10 August 2018

Colombia to withdraw from Unasur; South America split over Venezuela

Colombia’s foreign Minister Carlos Holmes announced Friday that his country is withdrawing from Unasur, the union of South American countries after months of division between member states.
The country suspended its membership in April after months of infighting on the worsening situation in neighboring Venezuela and the succession of Colombian ex-President Ernesto Samper as the South American union’s president.
The bloc was founded in 2008 to promote regional integration and diminish US influence in South America. Political divisions, however, had virtually paralyzed the organization.

Turkish lira hits record lows as Turkey-U.S. concerns weigh | Reuters

Turkey’s lira tumbled to another record low against the dollar on Thursday after a Turkish delegation returned from meeting U.S. officials in Washington with no apparent solution to a diplomatic rift that has opened up between them... The lira stood at 5.5575 against the dollar at 1724 GMT, down 5 from the previous day’s close and after sliding to an all-time low of 5.5690. It was headed for its biggest one-day drop since 2008.

Ryanair strike hits 55,000 passengers across Europe | Reuters

Ryanair endured its worst one-day strike on Friday after a walk-out by pilots in five European countries disrupted the plans of an estimated 55,000 travelers with the budget airline at the height of the summer holiday season.
Ryanair, which averted widespread strikes before last Christmas by agreeing to recognize unions for the first time in its 30-year history, has been unable to quell rising protests over slow progress in negotiating collective labor agreements.
In response to unions serving strike notices, Ryanair had announced the cancellations of 250 flights in and out of Germany, 104 to and from Belgium and another 42 in Sweden and its home market of Ireland, where around a quarter of its pilots were staging their fifth 24-hour walkout.

Michael Moore's Trump Documentary 'Fahrenheit 11/9' Due in September: Watch the Trailer | Billboard

Michael Moore’s Donald Trump critique Fahrenheit 11/9 will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before hitting theaters September 21.
Moore unveiled the first look at this latest documentary Thursday, releasing a trailer online. The title is an inversion of his 2004 George W. Bush documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, which became the highest grossing documentary ever with $222.4 million in worldwide box office. The date refers to when Trump was declared winner of the 2016 election: November 9th.

Taiwan’s Quemoy island begins importing water from mainland China amid rising cross-strait tensions | South China Morning Post

Taiwan-controlled Quemoy island has started importing water from nearby Fujian province to ease its shortage, despite rising tensions across the strait.
Also known as Kinmen, officials from the island – which is just 2km from the mainland Chinese city of Xiamen and was a flashpoint during the cold war – signed an agreement with Fujian in 2015 to provide water for 30 years to resolve the problem.

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2018.08.09

News Headlines - 09 August 2018

Nagasaki remembers atomic bomb victims 73 years on | DW

Survivors and dignitaries honored the 74,000 victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki at the 73rd anniversary ceremony on Thursday. Around 5,800 people gathered to observe a minute's silence at 11:02 local time, the exact moment when US bombers dropped the "Fat Man" nuclear device on the Japanese port city in 1945.
The attack came three days after a nuclear strike on Hiroshima that killed 140,000. Less than a week after Nagasaki, Japan announced itssurrender, which officially ended World War II.

Japan's crippled Fukushima plant stops selling souvenirs - Channel NewsAsia

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said it had pulled the plastic folders decorated with six photos of the battered nuclear plant from the shelves of an on-site store... But the firm suspended sales of the folders on Wednesday as critics said it was inappropriate to sell a souvenir at the site of the worst nuclear accident in a generation.

Berlin airport evacuated after police mistake sex toy for a grenade | The Independent

Security staff at German airports are under fire for a third evacuation in 10 days - the latest triggered by a sex toy.
A screening team at Berlin’s Schonefeld Airport, one of the six busiest in Germany, mistook an Ann Summers vibrator for a hand grenade and ordered an evacuation of part of the terminal.
The offending item was identified during an X-ray at the outsize baggage check-in area on Tuesday.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 price and release date: Samsung’s first £1,000+ smartphone has arrived | London Evening Standard

The new Samsung phone has finally been launched in all its glory: the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
At an event in New York, Samsung’s CEO DK Koh took to the stage to unveil the new phone that he has been slyly using for the past few months.

Amazing Moomin themed MoominValley Park in Japan will soon be ready – grand opening date now released! : Moomin

Hooray, now it is confirmed – the MoominValley Park in Hanno, Saitama, Japan will open on 16th March 2019!
The brand new MoominValley Park will be part of a park facility called Metsä comprising of two areas. Metsä Village, opening in November 2018, allows visitors to experience the Scandinavian and Nordic atmosphere and lifestyle and enjoy the rich nature whilst MoominValley Park is to discover the world of the Moomins.

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2018.08.08

News Headlines - 08 August 2018

Colombia's new leader plans changes to FARC peace deal

The right-wing Duque, who is just 42 years old, succeeds Juan Manuel Santos -- and could work to undo the deal his predecessor reached with leftist FARC guerrillas to end a half-century of conflict... In his inaugural address, he said he would take steps to fix "structural flaws" in the deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), without offering concrete details.

Chicago shootings in one weekend: 66 shot, 12 fatally, police say - CNN

During the weekend in Chicago, 66 people were shot, 12 of them fatally, between Friday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
"It's no secret that we had an unacceptably violent weekend," Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said... "These shootings are not random, they're fueled by gang conflicts. We know who they are and we continue to send a message that it's OK to commit these crimes by not doing anything as a community. We are all supposed to be on the same side. CPD can be better, but this city can be better," Johnson said.

German court rejects 'Nazi grandma' appeal, as it rules Holocaust denial is not covered by free speech

German holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison after the country's highest court ruled that denying the mass murder of Jews during Nazi Germany is not covered by the right to free speech and "threatens public peace".

Huawei Withdrawing From US Market After Surpassing Apple Global Smartphone Shipments?

Huawei is reportedly withdrawing its business from the U.S. market amid restrictions imposed by the Trump administration. The news comes after second-quarter global shipments data revealed that the Chinese company is now the second largest smartphone vendor next to Samsung Electronics.
A mobile carrier official familiar with Huawei’s plans disclosed to Etnews Monday that the Chinese brand is entirely withdrawing from the United States. The company is reportedly removing all of its three offices from the country, with preparations underway since the second quarter.

Boxing: Japan amateur chief resigns over allegations of misconduct - The Mainichi

Japan Amateur Boxing Federation President Akira Yamane announced his resignation Wednesday following multiple allegations of misconduct, including pressuring referees to fix matches and misuse of grant money.

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2018.08.07

News Headlines - 07 August 2018

UK plans warrants to extradite Russian poisoners over Salisbury novichok case | The Times

Britain is making plans to seek the extradition from Russia of two suspects identified as the perpetrators of the Salisbury poisonings.
Scotland Yard detectives are understood to be confident that they have identified the would-be assassins and an extradition request is part of the plan to renew pressure on the Kremlin over the nerve agent attack.
It would reignite the diplomatic row that erupted after the poisoning in March of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia, 33.

Japanese police seek clues on French woman who vanished in Nikko in July | The Japan Times

A French woman who visited the popular tourist destination of Nikko has been missing since late last month, the Tochigi Prefectural Police announced Sunday.
Tiphaine Veron, 36, was last seen on the morning of July 29, when she left her lodging facility there, they said. The manager of the facility called the police the next day after she failed to return for her suitcase.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Japan debates daylight saving to avoid heat - BBC News

Japan is considering adopting daylight saving time next year so that athletes in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games can compete in cooler hours, reports say.
The proposal to bring clocks forward by two hours has received major opposition on social media with many worried it would result in longer working hours... The government says it is yet to decide on the move but does want to limit the effect of summer heat on the athletes.

Thai cave boys complete novice monkhood at Buddhist temple | TVNZ

With their heads bowed and wearing orange robes, the members of the boys' soccer team rescued from almost three weeks trapped in a cave in northern Thailand on Saturday completed their time as novice Buddhist monks... The July 25 ordination of 11 boys of the Wild Boars soccer team along with the 25-year-old coach was especially dedicated to a former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, who died while diving during a volunteer mission to supply the cave with oxygen tanks essential to a successful rescue. A twelfth boy did not go through the religious ritual because he isn't Buddhist.

Shock and anger in Hamilton after province says it'll cancel the basic income project | CBC News

Recipients and anti-poverty activists say they're shocked by Tuesday's announcement from Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. MacLeod says she's cancelling the three-year pilot a year into it... About 4,000 people were involved across the communities of Thunder Bay, Lindsay, Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County.
Of those, 2,000 got a basic income every month. The other half didn't get the monthly money, but would be compensated for filling out surveys for research purposes... Under the program, recipients received up to $16,989 per year for a single person, less 50 per cent of any earned income, and $24,027 for a couple. People with disabilities received an additional $6,000.

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2018.08.06

News Headlines - 06 August 2018

Hiroshima remembers atomic bombing on 73rd anniversary

Hiroshima marked the anniversary of the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing of the city with a somber ceremony Monday to remember those killed and injured and a call to eliminate nuclear weapons amid hopes of denuclearizing North Korea.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui opened his speech by describing the hellish scene of the blast that morning 73 years ago and the agony of the victims, telling the audience to listen "as if you and your loved ones were there." Then he raised concerns about the global rise of egocentrism and tensions, and urged Japan's government to take more leadership toward achieving a truly nuclear-free world.

North Korea foreign minister to visit Iran on Tuesday - Channel NewsAsia

North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho is due to visit Iran on Tuesday (Aug 7), Iranian media reported on Saturday.
Ri is set to jet in as the United States reimposes sanctions on Iran following Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme.

London cab drivers plan legal action against Uber - BBC News

A group of London black cab drivers has planned legal action against Uber in an effort to claim "millions of pounds in lost earnings".
The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) and 11 other organisations hired solicitors to determine if they have a case against the ride-hailing app.
The LTDA claims its drivers, who have average annual earnings of £50,000, have each lost £10,000 a year since Uber began operating in London in 2012.

Actor Steven Seagal appointed Russian ministry's 'special representative' - CNNPolitics

Russia appointed actor Steven Seagal as a "special representative" on US-Russian humanitarian ties, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in statement on its official Facebook page Saturday.
According to the statement, the action star's role will be to promote US-Russia relations "in the humanitarian sphere," adding that the role will include collaboration "in the sphere of culture, public and youth exchanges."

US man loses legs, arms and nose after being licked by his dog | Newshub

A US man lost both his legs, most of his nose and some of his arms after contracting a rare bacterial infection from his affectionate dog.
Wisconsin native Greg Manteufel went to the emergency room with what he thought was a cold. But his symptoms, which included bruising all over his body, turned out to be something far more serious.
The 48-year-old had contracted sepsis, a dangerous infection of the bloodstream - and his beloved pit bull was to blame. It's believed the bacteria capnocytophaga was passed to Mr Manteufel when the dog licked him.

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2018.08.05

News Headlines - 05 August 2018

Venezuela braces for possible crackdown after apparent drone attack on Maduro - The Washington Post

The Venezuelan government made more arrests Sunday in connection with an apparent assassination attempt on President Nicolás Maduro, as the crisis-plagued South American nation braced for a possibility of wider crackdown on dissent.
Interior Minister Néstor Luis Reverol said six “terrorists” were detained Sunday, a day after the government said drones carrying explosives targeted Maduro in the midst of a nationally televised address.

M7.0 quake strikes off Indonesia's Lombok island, causes small tsunamis

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7 struck the popular tourist island of Lombok on Sunday, triggering small tsunami waves, according to the government.
Indonesia's meteorological and climatological agency said some damage was reported in buildings in Lombok and neighboring Bali.

Road safety demo continues for sixth day | The Daily Star

The road safety protesters again came under attack in the capital yesterday, a day after the students had been attacked by police and “ruling party men” in Mirpur... Sadaat Mahmood, one of the victims, said they rushed to Science Laboratory intersection after hearing the news of an attack on students. But when they returned to the campus, they found some people dragging one of the students who were controlling traffic.

Cultivated Areas in Iraq Halved due to Drought | Asharq AL-awsat

Areas under cultivation in Iraq have halved this summer compared to last year due to a drought wave and reduced water levels of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Ministry of Agriculture revealed... This had led the government in June to suspended farming of rice, corn and other cereals that require major irrigation.
Losses for workers dependent on these productions will reach up to 34 million euros ($39 million) this year, according to authorities.

Scattered protests in Iran as U.S. sanctions loom | Reuters

Sporadic protests broke out in several cities in Iran for a fifth night on Saturday, a day after demonstrators attacked a Shi’ite seminary, according to Iranian news agencies and social media, as Iranians brace for a return of U.S. sanctions.
Hundreds rallied in cities including Tehran, Karaj, Shiraz, and Qom, according to videos posted on social media, to protest against high inflation caused in part by a collapse in the rial currency over fears of the reimposition of crippling sanctions on Aug. 7.

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2018.08.04

News Headlines - 04 August 2018

Despite tensions, Russia seeks U.S. help to rebuild Syria | Reuters

Russia has used a closely guarded communications channel with America’s top general to propose the two former Cold War foes cooperate to rebuild Syria and repatriate refugees to the war-torn country, according to a U.S. government memo.
The proposal was sent in a July 19 letter by Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, to U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the memo which was seen by Reuters.

Monju reactor fuel removal faces delays as monitoring cameras fog up in tests - The Mainichi

The removal of fuel from the prototype reactor in Fukui Prefecture must be carried out remotely, because there are some areas that human workers cannot enter. Fuel rods will be removed from the reactor vessel and from a spent fuel pool, both filled with sodium -- a material that is difficult to handle because it reacts with water and air -- using special equipment.
Before extracting the fuel, staff tested their removal technique up until July 26 by attempting to take control rods out of the spent fuel pool. However, two cameras near a special receptacle for the rods and at an enclosed intermediate monitoring area fogged up, preventing workers from properly checking the work, the agency said.

Tokyo Medical University lowered grades of women to limit number of female doctors - The Washington Post

One of Japan’s top medical universities has been systematically blocking female applicants from entering the school for at least eight years, local news agencies reported on Thursday.
Tokyo Medical University, a private institution consistently ranked among the country's best for clinical medicine, has been automatically lowering the entrance exam results of female applicants for the past decade, an attempt to keep the ratio of women in each class of students below 30 percent, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. A specific coefficient was reportedly applied to the scores of all female applicants, lowering them by 10 to 20 percent.

Man with Down's Syndrome shot dead by Swedish police after running away from home with toy gun

A man with Down’s Syndrome has been shot dead by Swedish police after running away from home in the middle of the night carrying a toy gun.
Eric Torell, 20, who was autistic and was described by his family as being severely disabled, was fatally shot by police who erroneously believed he was carrying a real weapon in the early hours of Thursday morning in downtown Stockholm.

Federal Judge Halts Release of 3D-Printed Gun Blueprints | Time

A federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns, saying they could end up in the wrong hands.
The company behind the plans, Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, had reached a settlement with the federal government in June that allows it to make the plans for the guns available for download on Wednesday.

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2018.08.03

News Headlines - 03 August 2018

At Least 200 IS Fighters 'Surrender' In Afghanistan

Dozens of Islamic State (IS) fighters have surrendered to Afghan forces, amid intense fighting between followers of the extremist group and the Taliban in the northern province of Jawzjan, an official says.
Provincial police chief Faqeer Mohammad Jawzjani told RFE/RL on August 1 that at least 200 militants had surrendered in Darzab district since late on July 31.

TSA considering eliminating screening at smaller airports - CNNPolitics

The Transportation Security Administration is considering eliminating passenger screening at more than 150 small and medium-sized airports across the US, according to senior agency officials and internal documents obtained by CNN.
The proposal, if implemented, would mark a major change for air travel in the US, following nearly two decades of TSA presence since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and comes as the Trump administration has stepped up screening measures for items such as laptops and tablets.

Zimbabwe election results: Emmerson Mnangagwa declared winner of country’s first post-Mugabe poll as opponent Nelson Chamisa rejects vote | The Independent

The historic elections in Zimbabwe officially finished in the early hours of Friday morning with Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ally turned enemy of Robert Mugabe, declared the winner by a narrow margin.
But the outcome leaves an already fractured country with bitter divisions and an uncertain future with the fallout from the bitterly disputed polls due to continue.
The opposition immediately refuted the result and warned of widespread protests, raising fears of further violence after troops shot six people dead and injured more than 30 in clashes with protesters on Wednesday.

Ebola is back in Congo. This time it may be harder to fight.

The Ebola virus has popped up again in the Democratic Republic of Congo, days after another outbreak was declared over — but this time it may be harder to fight.
The new outbreak is across the vast Central African nation from the last one, 1,500 miles away and in an area disrupted by conflict and teeming with refugees, aid workers say. It will be difficult and dangerous to track down cases to isolate and treat them.

Renault F1 team gets suspended fine for rare Hungary tyre error - Autosport

The Renault Formula 1 team has been hit with a suspended €10,000 fine for a rare tyre error during Hungarian Grand Prix practice on Nico Hulkenberg's car.
Hulkenberg used three tyres from a set that Renault had nominated to return after first practice, which breached F1's sporting regulations.
The team was summoned to the stewards, who dished out a €10,000 fine that is suspended until the end of the season providing Renault does not commit another tyre usage violation.

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2018.08.02

News Headlines - 02 August 2018

Japan's massive health and labor ministry targeted for breakup - Nikkei Asian Review

The Japanese government is considering splitting the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, concluding that the mammoth bureaucracy with an extensive portfolio is incapable of responding to the complex needs of an aging society.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will submit a proposal as early as this month recommending a split, which will be part of a broader government review of its 13 agencies and ministries created through a reorganization 20 years ago.
The goal is to break up the ministry into two entities by 2020, with one covering health- and welfare-related duties and the other handling labor ministry matters.

Abe keeping a tight lid on who he meets, even if just for drinks:The Asahi Shimbun

He still seems to be smarting from a public backlash over a Twitter post in early July that was accompanied by a photo showing him relaxing over drinks with a large group of lawmakers from his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, just hours after the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a landslide alert July 5 about torrential rains in western Japan. The deluge went on for days and claimed more than 200 lives.
Stung by the reaction and fearful of inviting more criticism if he was seen having a good time with colleagues, Abe and his close aides did everything possible to keep the wraps on a meeting held on the evening of July 25 at the prime minister's official residence.

Where is Merkel? Germany hunts chancellor after holiday no-show | Reuters

Where is Angela Merkel? That question is preoccupying German media after the chancellor’s husband was spotted on holiday in northern Italy without his wife... The couple, who have been married for 20 years, were last seen in public together on July 25 for their traditional appearance at the Bayreuth Festival in Bavaria, a must for fans of composer Richard Wagner.

Merkel’s conservatives at record low, far right at record high: poll – POLITICO

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives fell to a record low while the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) rose to a record high in a new poll out Thursday.
Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc fell to 29 percent support in the DeutschlandTrend survey — the first time the alliance has ever fallen below the 30 percent mark in the poll by public broadcaster ARD.

Aeroméxico crash: How everyone aboard jet survived

Passengers who walked away from the fiery Aeroméxico crash are thankful to be alive but a safety expert on Wednesday said it was “no accident” that everyone aboard the jet survived.
The aircraft attempted to take off in heavy rain during a storm Tuesday afternoon in Durango, Mexico, but crashed into grass near the runway and skidded to a stop before catching fire.
None of the 103 people on board — 99 passengers, two pilots and two flight attendants — was killed.

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2018.08.01

News Headlines - 01 August 2018

U.S. lawmakers demand tech firms to do more to fight election interference | Reuters

U.S. lawmakers demanded that technology firms do more to fight “shocking” foreign efforts to influence U.S. politics on Wednesday, a day after Facebook Inc identified an influence campaign tied to November’s elections and despite President Donald Trump’s denunciation of the issue as a “hoax.”
... Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said... the committee had called executives of Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to testify on Sept. 5 “to hear the plans they have in place, to press them to do more, and to work together to address this challenge.”

Japanese bond yields rise sharply after tweaks to BoJ policy

Japan’s 10-year government bond yield was poised on Wednesday to record its steepest jump in two years, following the Bank of Japan’s decision to tweak its stimulus programme to allow more flexibility in the fixed income market.
The yield jumped 6.8 basis points in recent trading to 0.124 per cent. It would mark the biggest rise since August 2016 for the paper, which has faced a significant jolt of volatility over the past two weeks.
The BoJ said on Tuesday that it would double the range it allows yields on the10-year Japanese government bond to move to 20 bps on either side of zero. Bonds initially rallied on the news, sending the yield on the 10-year down on Tuesday by the widest margin in more than two years.

Japan, Russia at odds over Tokyo's missile defense plan - The Mainichi

In response to Russia's deep-seated concern about the deployment, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said it is "purely for national defense."
The friction over the installation of two land-based Aegis Ashore stations, which Japan sees as necessary to protect its territory from North Korean ballistic missile strikes, re-emerged as Onodera and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met their Russian counterparts Sergei Shoigu and Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda appeals for help in new video after abduction in Syria | South China Morning Post

Japan’s government said Wednesday it’s doing its utmost for the rescue of a Japanese journalist believed to be held in Syria after a video of a man appearing to be him was posted on the internet.
Freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda was last heard from in Syria in June 2015.
It is thought he is being held by the Al-Nusra Front, a former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

England's Freemasons to allow women - if they were once male | Reuters

England’s Freemasons are to admit women to their secretive society - but only if they were previously male masons... The all-male United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) has published a new gender reassignment policy which states that “a Freemason who after initiation ceases to be a man does not cease to be a Freemason.”... A woman who becomes a man will also be allowed to apply to become a Freemason, the policy said.

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2018.07.31

News Headlines - 31 July 2018

Almost Every Single Taxi Driver in Spain Is Currently on Strike | Fortune

A taxi strike began in Barcelona last week after a regional judge rejected local rules that would have limited the number of licenses for cars from ride-hailing services like Uber and Cabify.
The strike spread, and over the weekend taxi drivers in Madrid, Seville, Valencia, Alicante, Málaga, Zaragoza and La Rioja began to turn off their engines in solidarity.
Not only are the drivers not offering rides but they have been blocking major avenues such as the Gran Via in Barcelona and the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid by parking their taxis mid lane to stop traffic flow, with some drivers even spending the night in tents beside their vehicles.

Brexit: UK warns EU of tit-for-tat measures over financial services | The Guardian

UK negotiators have told their counterparts in Brussels that about 7,000 European-based investment funds that rely on British clients for their cash and profits will be hit by regulators unless the EU changes its position on the City of London after Brexit... A section of a UK presentation made to the European commission’s negotiators last week, and seen by the Guardian, says that unless Brussels allows all UK sectors of the City of London to continue to operate after Brexit as they do today, at least initially, obstacles to European financial interests operating in the UK could also be put in place.

Japan pledges to reduce plutonium, but doesn’t say how:The Asahi Shimbun

Japan's nuclear policy-setting panel on Tuesday approved revised guidelines on plutonium use, putting a cap on its stockpile and pledging to eventually reduce it to address international concerns, but without giving a specific timeline or targets... Despite security concerns raised by Washington and others, the stockpile isn't decreasing due to difficulties in achieving a full nuclear fuel recycling program and slow restarts of reactors amid setbacks from the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Japan Amateur Boxing Federation denies financial fraud allegations | The Japan Times

The Japan Amateur Boxing Federation has responded to allegations of fraud, including the misuse of federal grant money, saying “a lot of” the accusations made by regional federation executives and former boxers are false.
On its website late Monday evening, the JABF apologized for disappointing fans, athletes and sports officials following media reports about the complaint against the governing body of amateur boxing filed through the Japanese Olympic Committee.

French World Cup glory costs China firm $9 mn and counting | AFP.com

A Chinese kitchen appliance maker said Monday it has so far made refunds worth nine million dollars, fulfilling a costly pledge to reimburse customers if France won the World Cup... According to Vatti's latest figures, the Chinese firm has made refunds -- either in cash or gift cards -- of more than 62 million yuan... The total payout over the marketing stunt will amount to nearly $12 million.

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2018.07.30

News Headlines - 30 July 2018

No Plane. No Remains. And Now, No Real Answers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. - The New York Times

The long-awaited report offered no conclusion on what caused the plane with 239 people aboard to veer off course, cease radio communications and vanish.
The head of the safety investigation team, Kok Soo Chon, said the available evidence — including the plane’s deviation from its flight course, which tests showed was done manually rather than by autopilot, and the switching off of a transponder — “irresistibly point” to “unlawful interference,” which could mean that the plane was hijacked.
But he added that the panel found no indication of who might have interfered or why, and that any criminal inquiry would be the responsibility of law enforcement authorities, not safety investigators.

U.S. spy agencies: North Korea is working on new missiles - The Washington Post

U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence.
Newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, indicates that work is underway on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe classified intelligence.

Some Amazon Reviews Are Too Good To Be Believed. They're Paid For : NPR

NPR spoke with several people who write Amazon reviews for pay, from a college student in Puerto Rico to a stay-at-home mother in the Midwest. Such reviews are a problem on e-commerce sites, outside auditors say, and they proliferate in online channels set up for this purpose... According to outside auditors like Fakespot and ReviewMeta, more than half the reviews for certain popular products are questionable. Amazon disputes those estimates.

Sir Paul McCartney 'misremembers' writing 'In My Life' – it was really John Lennon, says Harvard analysis

It has been a long and winding road, but academics may have finally solved the dispute over who wrote the melody for The Beatles’ song ‘In My Life.’...Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University, and Jason Brown, Professor of Mathematics at Dalhousie University, created a computer model which broke down Lennon and McCartney songs into 149 different components to determine the musical fingerprints of each songwriter.
And they discovered that, stylistically, there is less than one in 50 chance of Sir Paul having written the music to ‘In My Life.’

Haruki Murakami 'cannot oppose' death penalty for doomsday cult killers | The Guardian

In a rare essay, published in the Mainichi Shimbun on Sunday, Murakami said that “as a general argument, I adopt a stance of opposition toward the death penalty”, pointing to the number of wrongful convictions which mean that “the death penalty, literally, can be described as an institution with fatal dangers”.
But the author, who interviewed survivors and cult members about the sarin attack for his 1997 non-fiction book Underground, said that after speaking to those who were injured and those who lost loved ones, “I cannot publicly state, as far as this case is concerned, ‘I am opposed to death penalty.’”

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2018.07.29

News Headlines - 29 July 2018

Venting about press, Trump has repeatedly sought to ban reporters over questions - The Washington Post

President Trump has sought repeatedly to punish journalists for the way they ask him questions, directing White House staff to ban those reporters from covering official events or to revoke their press credentials, according to several current and former administration officials.
At various moments throughout his presidency, Trump has vented angrily to aides about what he considers disrespectful behavior and impertinent questions from reporters in the Oval Office and in other venues. He has also asked that retaliatory action be taken against them.

North Korea returns potential remains of 55 U.S. Korean War troops

North Korea turned over what are believed to be the remains of 55 U.S. service members who were killed during the Korean War of the 1950s on Friday local time, the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting, the United States and the United Nations said.
A U.S. cargo aircraft flew to Wonson, North Korea, to receive the remains and returned to Osan Air Base, South Korea, the unified U.N. Command for Korea and U.S. Forces Korea said in a statement.

China dials down Xi's personality cult as criticism mounts - Nikkei Asian Review

Chinese authorities have started to take down posters of President Xi Jinping in certain parts of the capital, in what is seen to be an attempt to tone down the cult of personality, as party elders raise alarm over his authoritarian flair amid escalating tensions with the U.S.
The move comes ahead of the annual Beidaihe meeting held at the seaside resort town in Hebei Province, where past and present leaders of the Chinese Communist Party meet to discuss the direction of national policies.
Former President Jiang Zemin and other party elders are rumored to have sent a lengthy letter to Xi, urging him to reconsider his diplomatic and economic policies. There is growing sentiment within the party that Xi should pay more respect to past leaders who reformed China and propelled it to the world's second-largest economy.

Paul McCartney secret gig setlist: A Beatles-filled show at Liverpool's Cavern Club | The Independent

Paul McCartney performed a secret gig at the iconic venue which introduced The Beatles to the world over 50 years ago.
Tickets were handed out to the show at Liverpool's Cavern Club on a first come, first served basis with the 350-capacity venue filling up immediately.

UK voters back Brexit deal referendum as May's ratings plunge: polls | Reuters

When voters were asked in a YouGov poll whether there should be a referendum on the final terms of any Brexit deal, 42 per cent said there should be a fresh vote while 40 per cent said there should not. The rest did not know.
The poll of 1,653 adults in the United Kingdom was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday this week, The Times said.

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2018.07.28

News Headlines - 28 July 2018

Chicago could launch basic income, here are other global experiments - Business Insider

In Chicago, alderman Ameya Pawar has proposed a bill to provide 1,000 families with $500 a month in a pilot that would make Chicago the largest US city to try a basic income program. In an interview with The Intercept, Pawar said he introduced the bill because he is worried that automation could leave millions of people without jobs.
Beyond Chicago, a number of cities and countries around the world are running their own experiments.

Arson Arrest Made In Fast-Moving Southern California Fire : NPR

A California man has been taken into custody on suspicion of arson, as firefighters have contained just 5 percent of the blaze that started Wednesday in the Idyllwild area in Riverside County.
The Cranston Fire has destroyed five homes and forced some 3,200 people to evacuate. The fire spread very rapidly, expanding to 4,700 acres in just a few hours.

South Korea to cut 17% of generals, merge Army commands in military reform

South Korea will reduce the number of general-grade officers by about 17 percent over the next four years, in line with the overall troop drawdown scheme, as part of a new defense reform initiative aimed at creating a slimmer yet stronger military.

Pilots suspended after fight breaks out in the cockpit mid-flight | Metro News

A fight broke out between a pilot and his co-pilot as they flew a jet with 150 passengers on board. Despite the pilot hitting his colleague as they argued over a food tray, the co-pilot claimed, they managed to successfully land the plane in Baghdad, Iraq. But the two men have since been suspended by Iraqi Airways, which has warned they face strict punishments.

Medicinal cannabis products to be legalised - BBC News

Specialist doctors in the UK will be able to legally prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products by autumn, the home secretary has announced... Their advice was part of a review into medicinal cannabis launched by the home secretary following an outcry over Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley being denied access to cannabis oil... The Home Office recently granted them licences to access the treatments.

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2018.07.27

News Headlines - 27 July 2018

Baby saved from Laos dam disaster by Thai cave rescue volunteers - The Straits Times

The rescue of a baby boy, terrified and hungry after days without food, has been captured in a viral video showing the infant survivor of a dam collapse in southern Laos being carefully carried through swirling flood waters and waist-high mud.
Footage of volunteers from Thailand rescuing 14 people, including the baby, went viral when it was released on Friday (July 27) as an increasingly international relief mission scrambles to save lives in a disaster that has left scores dead and missing.

After Floods and Heatwave, Japan Braces for Typhoon Jongdari - Bloomberg

The typhoon was located off Chichijima, an island in the Pacific about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) southeast of Tokyo, as of 2 p.m. Japan time Friday. Carrying sustained winds of 144 kilometers (89 miles) per hour, it’s expected to speed up and maintain its intensity as it nears the mainland on Saturday afternoon, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Japanese politician under fire for claiming LGBT couples are 'unproductive' | The Independent

A Japanese politician has come under fire for calling LGBT+ couples “unproductive” and so potentially unworthy of investment from the taxpayer.
Mio Sugita wrote in a magazine article that a society accepting of same-sex relationships risked greater levels of unhappiness and potential collapse if it was “deprived of common sense and normalcy”.
Ms Sugita, 51, a member of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), argued that “these men and women don’t bear children – in other words, they are ‘unproductive’”.

Food shop owner suspected of $1 mil. tax evasion - NHK WORLD

The Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau has filed a complaint with local prosecutors that Tatsuko Utsunomiya, has been hiding roughly 330 million yen, or about 3 million dollars, in income.
Her food shop is located in the Osaka Castle Park, near a gate leading to the castle tower. Its main food item is takoyaki octopus dumplings. A set of 8 dumplings is priced at 600 yen, or about 5 dollars... They say her business posted sales of more than 4.5 million dollars over the 3 years through 2016, but she has never reported them to the tax bureau.

New Video Shows Man Believed to be Last of His Amazon Tribe | Time

No one knows his name. No one knows the name of the people he came from. And he appears to have lived alone in Brazil’s Amazon for 22 years.
Video released for this first time this week by Brazil’s Indian Foundation shows rare images of a so-called uncontacted indigenous man who is believed to be the last surviving member of his tribe. The footage was shot in 2011, though a team that tracks him says it last saw evidence he was alive in May.

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2018.07.26

News Headlines - 26 July 2018

Japan sends last six Aum death row inmates to the gallows | The Japan Times

The six remaining Aum Shinrikyo cult members on death row were executed Thursday morning, the Justice Ministry said, with all 13 of the cult members sentenced to death now having been hanged over the span of three weeks.
The executions followed the hanging of Shoko Asahara, the founder of the doomsday cult, and six former senior members of the group on July 6.

Official arrested as ministry is rocked by 2nd bribery scandal:The Asahi Shimbun

The education ministry is reeling from the arrest of a second high-ranking bureaucrat this month in another suspected bribery case involving the same alleged "fixer."
Investigators with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on July 26 arrested Kazuaki Kawabata, 57, director-general for international affairs at the education ministry, on suspicion of accepting bribes in the form of wining and dining when he was assigned to work as a vice president at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) between August 2015 and March 2017... Also arrested on July 26 was Koji Taniguchi, 47, a former executive with a medical care consulting company in Tokyo. He is suspected of providing lavish meals and drinks totaling about 1.4 million yen ($12,600) that constituted the bribe.

Toyota to double production in China to 2 mil. units in early 2020s - The Mainichi

Toyota Motor Corp. is planning to double its annual production in China to around 2 million units in the early 2020s in an effort to catch up with its rivals in the world's largest auto market, a source close to the matter said Wednesday.
Toyota manufactured 1.14 million cars and sold 1.29 million units in China last year, lagging behind Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co., which sold 4.18 million and 1.51 million cars, respectively.

North Korea to transfer remains of U.S. soldiers from Korean War on Friday: Yonhap | Reuters

North Korea will transfer the remains of an unspecified number of soldiers killed in the Korean War on Friday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, after accepting about 100 wooden caskets sent by the United States.

Maduro slashes five zeros from the bolivar to curb hyperinflation. It won't work. - The Washington Post

On Wednesday night, President Nicolás Maduro announced his plan to tame Venezuela’s brutal hyperinflation, which the International Monetary Fund says is on track to top 1 million percent this year. The president announced that our nearly worthless currency, the bolivar, is to shed five zeroes. From September, Venezuelans will get a new “sovereign bolivar” for each 100,000 of their old bolivars.

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2018.07.25

News Headlines - 25 July 2018

At least 26 dead in Laos dam collapse; dam failed after desperate 24-hour fight to avert disaster - The Straits Times

Rescuers recovered 26 bodies and over a hundred remain missing after a dam collapse swamped several villages in southern Laos, as survivors Wednesday (July 25) questioned why they got little warning of the deluge.
Two South Korean contractors said they reported damage a day before parts of the Xe-Namnoy dam gave way Monday and unleashed a wall of water.

Thai Cave Boys Ordained As Buddhist Novices : NPR

Eleven of the boys who were rescued from a cave in Thailand earlier this month — an international mission that captivated the world — have been ordained as Buddhist novices in honor to the volunteer diver who died during the harrowing ordeal... In a separate ceremony, the group's 25-year-old soccer coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, was ordained a monk. The twelfth member of the team is not Buddhist and did not participate in the religious event.

Japanese city blames bogus NPR report for wannabe ninja problem

A city in Japan has been bombarded with inquiries from aspiring ninjas, the country’s famed feudal mercenaries and spies, after a news report on city tourist promotions was mistaken for a “ninjas wanted” advertisement... But a program aired last week on National Public Radio about Iga’s ninja-centered town promotion effort set off a frenzy of internet interest after its host said the city faced a shortage of ninja performers and even quoted potential salaries, giving the impression it might be hiring.

Revenue Shortfall Wipes Out Facebook’s Year-to-Date Gain - Barron's

The bad news finally caught up with Facebook (FB).
A data-analytics dustup that dominated much of the year and lingering questions about how it handles misinformation dinged the social-networking juggernaut on Wednesday, sending its shares into a tailspin in late trading... The proximate cause was the company's disclosure its revenue rate growth will slow precipitously in the current quarter and the next one.

Trump and EU officials agree to work toward 'zero tariff' deal | The Guardian

Donald Trump and European Union officials on Wednesday stepped back from a trade war as they struck a deal to work towards “zero” tariffs, barriers and subsidies.
The EU also agreed to buy billions of dollars worth of American exports, including soya beans and natural gas, and work to reform international trade rules.

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2018.07.24

News Headlines - 24 July 2018

BOJ overstates household investment trust assets by staggering 30 trillion yen - The Mainichi

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) mistakenly recorded the amount of assets households held in investment trusts, producing a staggering figure 30 trillion yen (approximately $270 billion) higher than the actual amount, it has emerged.

Yamato says it overcharged corporate moving service clients by \1.7 billion | The Japan Times

Yamato Holdings Co. said Tuesday it has overcharged corporate moving service clients by \1.7 billion over the 24 months through June.
During the period the group handled 124,000 moves. Inappropriate charges were found for nearly 40 percent of the total, or about 48,000 cases, according to Yamato.

IOC preparing 'detailed heat countermeasures' for Tokyo 2020 as deadly temperatures hit Japan - CNN

With exactly two years to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japan continues to swelter under searing heat... Temperatures have been almost 11 degrees hotter than the average at this time of year — the mercury rising to over 41 degrees (105.8F) in the city of Kumagaya, a short drive from the capital... The heatwave has prompted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to outline the "detailed heat countermeasures" it's planning to protect athletes, fans and the workers who will put on the Games.

Ex-Foreign Minister Kishida not to run in LDP leadership race - The Mainichi

Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday he will not run in the upcoming Liberal Democratic Party leadership race, but instead will support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's bid to win another term as LDP president that would make him Japan's longest serving prime minister.

Green Light for Japan Casinos Offers Jackpot to Businesses - Bloomberg

Now that Japan has passed a law outlining a road map for casino resorts, foreign operators from Las Vegas Sands Corp. to MGM Resorts International can start to seek out partners in their bid to tap a gaming market that may be worth as much as $25 billion. It could also be a boon for Japanese industries -- from companies that oversee a resort project to construction giants building infrastructure.
There is still a long road ahead, but talks between Japanese companies and Western operators will become more serious now that the government has given the green light. Local municipalities will eventually start requesting proposals from consortium groups that want to pitch their plans.

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2018.07.23

News Headlines - 23 July 2018

North Korea Begins Dismantling Key Facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station | 38 North

In an important first step towards fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong Un at the June 12 Singapore Summit, new commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (North Korea’s main satellite launch facility since 2012) indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities. Most notably, these include the rail-mounted processing building—where space launch vehicles are prepared before moving them to the launch pad—and the nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles.

Tojo was convinced of victory before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, newly unearthed memo shows | The Japan Times

It was just hours before Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. In Tokyo, Prime Minister Gen. Hideki Tojo was “perfectly relieved” and “tipsy,” convinced Japan would win any conflict with the United States after having finished all the administrative procedures to wage war against American and British forces in Hawaii and Asia.

Indian woman allegedly raped by 40 men over four days | New Straits Times

Indian police have arrested the owner of a guesthouse and its manager after a woman alleged she was drugged and raped by some 40 men over four days, an official said Friday... In a complaint to the police, the 22-year-old woman said she was promised a job at the guesthouse in the northern state of Haryana by a person known to her.
But she was instead held captive, drugged and raped by various men over four days, senior police officer Rajendar Kumar Meena told AFP, citing the written complaint of the victim.

Idiot biker films himself driving one-handed at almost 200mph on stolen motorbike and doing wheelies on British motorway

A RECKLESS biker who filmed himself driving one-handed at almost 200mph and doing wheelies on a stolen motorbike has been jailed for 21 months.
Adam Campion, 26, was seen recklessly riding on the wrong side of the road at 189mph - believed to be the highest speed ever clocked by a motorbike on British roads.

John Lennon’s killer coming up for parole for a 10th time | HeraldNet.com

For Chapman, it will be the 10th time he’s been eligible for parole. The previous nine he’s been rejected.
But this year, the Parole Board has been more willing to place heavier emphasis on an inmate’s behavior behind bars than simply focus on the severity of the crime. Several cop killers and other notorious murderers who had been long denied parole were set free in recent months.

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2018.07.22

News Headlines - 22 July 2018

Turkey, Netherlands agree to normalize ties | Reuters

Turkey and the Netherlands have agreed to normalize ties, Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Friday, restoring relations that have been strained since a 2017 diplomatic row.

21 killed in Vietnam floods - CNN

Extreme weather is striking parts of Asia with deadly flash-flooding in Vietnam, a tropical storm prompting evacuations and disrupting travel in China and an ongoing heat wave in Japan.
In Vietnam, 21 people have died and more people are missing after Tropical Depression Son Tinh triggered flash floods and landslides, submerging villages in the northern provinces of Thanh Hoa and Yen Bai, state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported Sunday... Meantime, Tropical Storm Ampil is bearing down on eastern China -- impacting the area from Shanghai to Jiangsu Province.
More than 190,000 people have been evacuated to "safer" places in Shanghai as Ampil makes landfall, bringing with it heavy rain and strong winds, Chinese state media Xinhua reported on Sunday.

Tokyo 2020 introduces Olympic, Paralympic Games mascots - CNN

Japan has unveiled the names of its mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Blue and white checked character "MIraitowa" (pronounced miray-towa)-- combining the two Japanese words of "Mirai"(future) and "towa" (eternity) -- will appear at the Olympic Games.
The Paralympics' pink and white "Someity" (pronounced soh-may-tee) is named after the cherry blossom variety "Someiyoshino," with Games organizers saying the name echoes "so mighty" in English.

Neymar breaks his silence on diving criticism | Metro News

Neymar has responded to the criticism directed towards him with regards to diving and believes people ‘will never understand’.
The Brazilian was under scrutiny at the World Cup for his over-the-top reactions to tackles with suggestions he was diving and faking pain rather than actually being fouled.
However, he’s fired back at critics and tried to explain why he’s often seen on the floor and on the receiving end of many fouls.

Iniesta, Torres on losing sides in J-League debuts - The Mainichi

Former Spain internationals Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres were each on the losing side Sunday in their anticipated J-League debuts.
Iniesta received a hero's welcome from Vissel Kobe fans at Noevir Stadium, but Shonan Bellmare spoiled the party by running away 3-0 winners.
Torres, meanwhile, delighted traveling Sagan Tosu fans at Best Amenity Stadium but could not stop a 1-0 loss to Vegalta Sendai.

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2018.07.21

News Headlines - 21 July 2018

London museums are looking to acquire the Trump Baby Blimp | London Evening Standard

The British Museum and the Museum of London have both reportedly expressed an interest in obtaining the massive inflatable likeness of the US President, for use either as part of specific exhibitions or within its permanent collection.
Kevin Smith, one of the project’s “Baby Sitters”, told the Standard that they were in discussion with the British Museum about linking the blimp to an exhibition about political satire curated by Private Eye editor Ian Hislop.

Keita Asari, founder of Shiki Theater, dies in Tokyo at age 85:The Asahi Shimbun

Keita Asari, founder of the famed Shiki Theater that features adaptations of long-running Broadway and West End musicals, has died at age 85, his company announced... Shiki Theater has enjoyed huge success since the 1970s with “Cats,” “The Lion King,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and other extravagant productions.

Hong Kong tribunal gives Haruki Murakami's latest novel an 'indecent' rating | The Japan Times

The latest work by novelist Haruki Murakami was banned from Hong Kong’s annual book fair after it was deemed “indecent” by the Obscene Articles Tribunal, local media reported Friday.
“Killing Commendatore,” a multivolume work that went on sale last year, has been temporarily classified as “Class II — indecent materials,” along with a pornographic magazine, according to a notice issued by the tribunal last week.
The classification means the book can now only be sold in bookstores after being wrapped with a warning sticker attached.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: 4.0 trailer appears with release date window - Polygon

The Neon Genesis Evangelion reboot’s fourth and final film will come to theaters in 2020, according to a teaser that debuted in Japan on Friday. That means Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 will premiere just five years later than planned.
Studio Khara, which is producing the movie, has yet to release an official version of the teaser, but Japanese fans made sure to record their own off-screen footage, although Studio Khara is quickly pulling those uploads offline. (Check out the embed below while you can.) The short clip is attached to the theatrical release of another big film, Mirai of the Future from director Mamoru Hosoda. Mirai opened on July 20

Olympics-Faster, Higher, Hotter - Tokyo weather prompts 2020 fears | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

As the two-year mark approaches for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japan is being scorched by an intense heatwave that has prompted fears of similar extreme weather when the sporting showpiece takes place in the country.
More than a dozen people have died as temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for the first time since 2013, and the thermometer hit 43 Celsius during an Olympic Stadium media tour on Wednesday... Earlier this year, experts warned of the risks of heatstroke at the Games, which runs until Aug. 9, with conditions reaching levels at which sporting activities would normally be halted.

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2018.07.20

News Headlines - 20 July 2018

Mark Zuckerberg clarifies his Holocaust comments

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to clarify his controversial comments about Holocaust deniers Wednesday afternoon, hours after he was quoted saying some deniers who post on Facebook aren't "intentionally getting it wrong."

24% of Tesla Model 3 orders have been canceled, analyst says

Cancellations for Model 3 orders have picked up in recent weeks. Refunds now outpace deposits for Tesla's new mass-market electric car, according to Needham & Co. analyst Rajvindra Gill. Tesla disputes that.
In an analyst note delivered to clients Thursday, Gill cited extended wait times for the car, the expiration of a $7,500 tax credit, and the fact that Tesla has not yet made the $35,000 base model of the car available for purchase yet.
About one in every four Model 3 orders is canceled, Gill said, double the rate from a year ago. Customers have to put down a refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve a Model 3, then pay another $2,500 to choose their specific version. They pay the rest when the car is delivered.

Burberry burns bags, clothes and perfume worth millions - BBC News

Burberry, the upmarket British fashion label, destroyed unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth £28.6m last year to protect its brand.
It takes the total value of goods it has destroyed over the past five years to more than £90m.
Fashion firms including Burberry destroy unwanted items to prevent them being stolen or sold cheaply.

He’s Supposed to Marry a Japanese Princess. Just Don’t Call Him Her Fiancé. - The New York Times

Ordinarily, Fordham University Law School in New York does not publicize an incoming student who is about to matriculate.
But Kei Komuro is no ordinary student. He is the fiancé of Princess Mako, the eldest grandchild of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, head of the world’s oldest monarchy... On Thursday, in response to a request by Japan’s Imperial Household Agency, which oversees the ceremonial functions and protocols of the royal family, Fordham removed a phrase from a news release that had trumpeted Mr. Komuro, a paralegal in Tokyo, as the “fiancé of Princess Mako of Japan.”

Kazakhstan detains suspect in murder of Olympic figure skating medalist | Reuters

Authorities in Kazakhstan said on Friday they had detained a suspect in the murder of Olympic figure skater Denis Ten, who won bronze at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Ten, 25, was knifed during a struggle with two men he had caught trying to steal the mirrors on his car in the Kazakh city of Almaty on Thursday.

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2018.07.19

News Headlines - 19 July 2018

“No Way to Run a Superpower”: the Trump-Putin Summit and the Death of American Foreign Policy | The New Yorker

...But the real scandal of Helsinki may be only just emerging.
On Thursday, Putin gave a public address to Russian diplomats in which he claimed that specific “useful agreements” were reached with Trump in their one-on-one meeting at the summit, a private meeting that Trump himself insisted on. Putin’s announcement came a day after his Ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that Trump had made “important verbal agreements” with Putin on arms control and other matters. The Russians, Antonov said, were ready to get moving on implementing them. The White House, meanwhile, has said nothing about what the two men may have agreed to in private, although Trump tweeted Thursday morning that he and Putin had discussed everything from nuclear proliferation to Syria, Ukraine, and trade, and that he looked forward to a second meeting with the Russian President soon, to follow up.

On Centenary, Russian State and Orthodox Church at Odds Over Romanovs

The group of Russian Orthodox nationalists had congregated to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the murders of the tsar, his wife and their five children. Made saints by the Church in 2000, the Romanov family — part of a dynasty that ruled Russia for 300 years — has since become a fulcral symbol of traditional Orthodox values... While Vladimir Putin aspires to project the imagine of a strong leader and admires some of the Romanovs like Alexander Nevsky or Alexander III, she said, the president thinks of Nicholas II’s rule as unsuccessful and his end weak. “Putin sees Nicholas and his family essentially as having laid down and waited to die,” Luchenko said.
The difference in views has been most publicly seen through an impasse over the authenticity of the remains of the family’s bodies. Although the question had been considered settled by the state after a 14-year investigation, the Church in 2015 pushed for the investigation to be re-opened.

Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid flying taxi at Farnborough - Japan Today

British engine maker Rolls-Royce revealed plans this week to develop a hybrid electric vehicle, dubbed the "flying taxi", which takes off and lands vertically and could be airborne within five years.
The London-listed aerospace giant, which is based in Derby in central England, showed off the plans at the Farnborough Airshow for the first time, as other players also rush into the market segment.

Dozens dead in Japan from record-setting, long duration extreme heat event - The Washington Post

Early in the month, more than 200 people died in its worst flood in decades, spurred by up to 70 inches of rain. Since then, dozens more have perished from an extended period of scorching heat, which has shattered records throughout the country.
Kyodo News reports the death toll from heat has risen above 30 since July 9. On Thursday alone, 10 people died and 2,605 people were hospitalized in the sweltering conditions, the Japan Times wrote.

Thailand boys stuck in cave gave cutest answers during press conference | Metro News

But aside from the cheeky confessions, the children managed to steal the hearts of those at a press conference with numerous cute answers to questions.
Here are our top five:
What is the first thing you want to do when you get home?
Would you ever go back to the cave?
What do you want to be when you’re older?
What is the first thing you want to say to your parents?
How did you feel when you were rescued?

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2018.07.18

News Headlines - 18 July 2018

Thai cave rescue: Boys and football coach tried to dig their way out and will be ordained as monks in diver tribute

But before they were allowed to taste their long-awaited favourite pork dishes, the young team spent more than an hour answering questions – vetted by a psychologist – describing the terror of their ordeal, their hopes for the future, and how the experience had changed their lives.

Owners of Mandalay Bay Sue Victims of Las Vegas Massacre in Federal Court | Inside Edition

The corporate owners of the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas are suing victims of October’s mass shooting.
MGM Resorts International, which owns Mandalay Bay, went to federal courts in Nevada and California and took on more than 1,000 shooting victims, claiming it has no liability for the massacre, according to a published report on Monday.
The company is asking for the claims against them to be dismissed.

Jeff Bezos Becomes the Richest Man in Modern History, Topping $150 Billion - Bloomberg

Bezos, 54, also has topped Gates in inflation-adjusted terms. The $100 billion mark that Gates hit briefly in 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom would be worth about $149 billion in today’s dollars. That makes the Amazon chief executive officer richer than anyone else on earth since at least 1982, when Forbes published its inaugural wealth ranking.

Former UK PM Tony Blair calls for 2nd vote to fix Brexit 'mess' - Daily Sabah

Blair left office in 2007 and spent many of the following years abroad, including as an international envoy to the Middle East.
But these days he is more often found in London, where he has plunged back into British politics.
"I'm passionately opposed to Brexit and I still believe it can be changed," the 65-year-old told AFP in the offices of his non-profit organization, the Institute for Global Change.

100,000 Pilgrims March in Memory of the Romanovs on the Centenary of Their Execution

Early in the morning of July 17, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia led a 22-kilometer procession in honor of the Romanov royal family on the 100th anniversary of their murder. Law enforcement agencies reported that over 100,000 pilgrims participated. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra Fyodorovna, their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei, along with physician Yevgeny Botkin and three servants, were executed by Bolshevik revolutionaries on July 17, 1918.

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2018.07.17

News Headlines - 17 July 2018

Trump-Putin summit: After Helsinki, the fallout at home - BBC News

The Helsinki summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump is over, and after nearly two hours behind closed doors and another hour in front of the press, there's plenty of material to sort through.

While Trump meets Putin, China is reaching out to Europe

The spotlight might be on Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Monday as they hold their first summit; but investors will also monitor a meeting between the EU and China with both looking to fend off U.S. tariffs.
The EU and China launched negotiations for an investment agreement in 2013, but the ongoing threats and new trade tariffs imposed by the United States seem to have added a sense of urgency to those talks. Beijing and Brussels exchanged some market access offers during the meeting on Monday to speed up the negotiations of the investment agreement. In a statement, China and the EU agreed that fostering their trade links was a top priority.
An investment agreement makes it easier for domestic companies to invest abroad, in this case it could help European firms to operate in China and vice-versa. Such agreements tend to be more limited in scope to free-trade arrangements.

April Tinsley cold case: Genealogy tests lead to arrest in 1988 child murder - CNN

For three decades, the abduction, rape and murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley in April 1988 had frustrated Indiana investigators.
The mysterious killer's taunting messages admitting to the crime, scrawled on a barn door and on paper notes threatening to kill again, only added to the desire to solve the cold case. Still, no suspect could be found.
But thanks to advances in genealogy and DNA technology, the suspected killer was arrested and then confessed to the crime on Sunday -- more than 30 years after April's death.

Lava Bomb Hits Tourist Boat in Hawaii, Injuring 23 - The New York Times

A basketball-size chunk of molten rock, known as a lava bomb, crashed into a tourist boat off Hawaii’s coast this week, injuring 23 people who were there to watch lava flow off the Big Island, officials said.
The Coast Guard has opened an investigation into whether the boat was in a restricted zone when the lava struck.
The boat was touring near a lava flow around 6 a.m. on Monday in Kapoho Bay, on the island’s east coast, when molten lava showered down on the vessel’s metal roof, leaving a gaping hole, according to a statement from Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.

This Was Ötzi the Iceman's Last Meal

And now, after putting the stomach contents through a battery of tests, the researchers determined the ice mummy's final meal: dried ibex meat and fat, red deer, einkorn wheat, and traces of toxic fern. The results, published this week in the journal Current Biology, offer a stunningly detailed peek into an ancient diet and hint at possible food preparation methods... They located the wandering organ by examining Ötzi's gall stones, which form in the gallbladder, a small sack sitting below the liver near the stomach. By lining up the position of surrounding organs in radiographic images, the team finally found the stomach.
To sample it, however, scientists had to first defrost the mummy, which is kept at a chilly 21.2 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent microbial invasion. They then used an endoscopic tool to pull 11 blobs of brownish yellow material from his stomach and intestines.

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2018.07.16

News Headlines - 16 July 2018

Trump, at Putin’s Side, Questions U.S. Intelligence on 2016 Election - The New York Times

President Trump stood next to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday and publicly challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, wrapping up what he called a “deeply productive” summit meeting with an extraordinary show of trust for a leader accused of attacking American democracy.
In a remarkable news conference, Mr. Trump did not name a single action for which Mr. Putin should be held accountable. Instead, he saved his sharpest criticism for the United States and the special counsel investigation into the election interference, calling it a “ridiculous” probe and a “witch hunt” that has kept the two countries apart.
Mr. Trump even questioned the determinations by his intelligence officials that Russia had meddled in the election.

Pompeo: N. Korea hiding N-facilities / Regime accused of enriching uranium - The Japan News

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused North Korea of operating secret facilities for the enrichment of uranium when he met senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol during his July 6-7 visit to the country, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Biggest UK auditors hold secret talks to avert watchdog probe | Financial Times

Britain’s nine largest accounting firms held an unprecedented private meeting to discuss tactics to prevent the UK competition watchdog from launching a full investigation of the market that could result in a break-up of the biggest firms.
Ideas discussed in a meeting on Friday included the Big Four firms — KPMG, PwC, EY, and Deloitte — lending staff, software or expertise to their smaller rivals.
The talks came a day after industry body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, met with officials at the Competition and Markets Authority to discuss a potential investigation of the audit market.

Boko Haram overruns Nigeria military base in second attack in days | AFP.com

Boko Haram jihadists overran a military base in northeast Nigeria after a ferocious firefight, security sources said Sunday, the second major assault on the country's forces in two days.
The militants invaded a base holding hundreds of soldiers in Yobe state -- where they abducted over 100 girls from a school earlier this year -- in an hours-long onslaught Saturday night, a military source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Russia: Remains of the murdered Romanovs ′authentic′ | DW

New DNA tests on bones of Russia's last czar, Nicholas II, and his family confirm they are authentic. Researchers exhumed Nicholas's father Alexander III — himself assassinated in 1881 — to prove "they are father and son."
The test results could lead to the Russian Orthodox Church recognizing the remains for a full burial. It said it would consider the findings and commended the progress of the investigation.

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2018.07.15

News Headlines - 15 July 2018

Boys rescued from cave mourn diver who died | Bangkok Post

The 12 boys and their coach rescued from a Thai cave mourned the death of an ex-Navy Seal who died while taking part in the mission, the Public Health Ministry said on Sunday... Lieutenant Commander Saman was widely hailed as a hero but the boys, aged 11 to 16, were only told about his death on Saturday after a medical team said they were strong enough mentally to handle the news, though many wept after hearing it.
"All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lieutenant Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him," Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary for public health, said in the statement.

Pompeo: Talks with North Korea on returning war dead ‘productive and cooperative’ | TheHill

The United States secured "firm commitments" from North Korea on Sunday in efforts to negotiate the return of the remains of U.S. service members killed in the Korean War, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
Pompeo's statement came as U.S. officials held general-level talks with the North — the first such talks since 2009. He said that the discussions were "productive and cooperative and resulted in firm commitments" from North Korean officials on the return of the remains.

Korean Air, Asiana workers rally against leaders - NHK WORLD

Workers of 2 leading airline companies in South Korea have staged a joint protest to demand that their scandal-hit leaders step down.
About 100 workers from Korean Air and Asiana Airlines joined the rally in Seoul on Saturday.
It was the first joint protest organized by the 2 companies' labor unions. The protestors hid their faces with sunglasses and masks.

May warns rebels - Back me or risk 'no Brexit at all' | Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May warned her divided party on Sunday that there may be “no Brexit at all” if they wrecked her plan to forge a close relationship with the European Union after leaving the world’s biggest trading bloc.

Israel deals 'hardest blow' to Hamas since 2014 Gaza war - BBC News

Israel has carried out its biggest attack against Hamas militant targets in Gaza since the war in 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says.
The raids were a response to rockets fired into Israel, he said. Hamas said a truce had been agreed, but further exchanges have been reported.
Palestinian health officials said two people were killed and 12 injured in an air strike in Gaza City on Saturday.

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2018.07.14

News Headlines - 14 July 2018

12 Russian Intelligence Officers Charged Over 2016 Hacking | Time

The Justice Department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and state election systems, as part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

US regulator to examine auditors’ ‘going concern’ reporting | Financial Times

The US accounting watchdog has promised to examine whether market intervention is necessary to strengthen investor confidence in auditors’ “going concern” statements — crucial judgments that indicate whether a company is viable for the next 12 months... These criticisms have undermined investor trust in the financial statements signed off by the four — Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG. These firms are responsible for auditing the vast majority of the world’s largest companies.

Dutch city to unveil world's first 3D-printed housing complex | AFP.com

The southern Dutch city of Eindhoven plans to unveil the world´s first 3D-printed housing complex next year, which its inventors believe could revolutionise the building industry by speeding up and customising construction.
Printed in concrete by a robotic arm, the project backed by the city council, Eindhoven Technical University and several construction companies aims to see its first three-bedroomed home go up by June 2019.

Scarlett Johansson Withdraws From 'Rub & Tug'

After drawing intense criticism for accepting a role in the movie Rub & Tug, by her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders, Scarlett Johansson has withdrawn from the movie, she told Out in an exclusive statement today. “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues,” she said. “While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”

France celebrates Bastille Day, awaits World Cup final - France 24

Security has been tightened ahead of a weekend that France hopes will bring back-to-back celebrations of Bastille Day on July 14 and a victory in the 2018 World Cup final, with 110,000 members of the security services deployed across France.

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2018.07.13

News Headlines - 13 July 2018

Talking heads

Ahead of the first official summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 in Helsinki, see which foreign leaders the two men have each spoken to and met with most frequently since January 2017.

Donald Trump meets Britain's Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle | Reuters

Donald Trump met Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on Friday but the 92-year-old monarch was forced at one point to walk around the U.S. president after he halted abruptly during a ceremonial inspection of the guard.
Trump’s first visit to Britain as president was not the full state visit he was originally promised, but he was heralded by military bands on his arrival at Windsor, before he and First Lady Melania went into the castle for tea with the queen.

Walmart Says It Hasn't Made a Decision to Sell Japanese Unit - Bloomberg

Walmart Inc. said it’s committed to building its Japanese business, downplaying media reports that the retailing giant will sell its Seiyu chain.

Mastung massacre: 128 martyred, over 200 injured in suicide blast claimed by Islamic State | The Express Tribune

A suicide bomber targeting a political rally of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) on Friday killed at least 128 people and injured over 200, the deadliest in a string of attacks on electioneering that have heightened security fears ahead of the elections.
Among those slain was the candidate for PB-35 (Mastung) Siraj Raisani, whose elder brother Nawab Aslam Raisani had served as the Balochistan chief minister from 2008 to 2013.

Huge iceberg off Greenland sparks flooding fears | AFP.com

A massive iceberg drifting off Greenland has triggered fears of flooding if it breaks up, leading the authorities to evacuate a high-risk zone.
The authorities have urged residents of the Innaarsuit island settlement with houses on a promontory to move away from the shore over fears that the 100-metre (over 300 feet) high iceberg, which was spotted on Thursday, could swamp the area.

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2018.07.12

News Headlines - 12 July 2018

North Korea a No-Show for Talks With US on Korean War Dead

North Korea failed to show up Thursday for talks with U.S. officials on returning the remains of American war dead from the Korean War in the early 1950s, a new sign of tension between the two countries.

Trump Tweets 'Very Nice Note' From North Korea's Kim Jong Un | Time

President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted a letter to him from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un heralding “epochal progress” in U.S.-North Korea relations, despite signs that path-finding diplomacy between the adversaries is running into problems... The letter is dated July 6. That’s when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang and seemingly made little progress in fleshing out details of North Korea’s commitment for “complete denuclearization.”

Thailand's Tham Luang cave to become museum to showcase boys' rescue - Channel NewsAsia

A cave complex in Thailand where 12 schoolboys and their football coach were trapped for more than two weeks before they were safely brought out will be turned into a museum to showcase the rescue, the head of the operation said on Wednesday (Jul 11).

91-year-old man beaten with brick, told 'go back to Mexico' - CNN

Tears glistened on the black and purple bruises covering 91-year-old Rodolfo Rodriguez's face as he described being attacked by a group of people while going for a walk on the Fourth of July... He'll be turning 92 in September, Rodriguez said, and he's never been hurt like this before, in a life working the fields with cattle and corn.
He had traveled from Michoacan, Mexico, to visit his family in Willowbrook, California, a city in Los Angeles County, his grandson Erik Mendoza said.

Japan population declines at fastest pace yet, with only Tokyo seeing significant growth | The Japan Times

According to the census released Wednesday by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, the country’s population as of Jan. 1 declined from a year earlier at its fastest pace since 1968, the year the survey began.
The population, excluding foreign residents, stood at 125,209,603, a record drop of 374,055 from a year earlier and the ninth straight year of decline. The number of registered foreign residents, however, rose to 2,497,656, up 174,228 from 2017.

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2018.07.11

News Headlines - 11 July 2018