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  1. (Reuters) - With a tweet blaming California’s wildfires on “gross mismanagement of the forests,” President Donald Trump dismissed the role of climate change in the worsening blazes across the U.S. West - generating widespread derision in the Golden State. Viewed on the surface as the latest shot by Republican Trump at a Democratic state that has repeatedly pushed against his administration’s policies, the tweet nevertheless shone a spotlight on California’s overgrown forests and their role in devastating fires. In fact, few disagree that California’s increasingly dry and overgrown forests are, effectively, large-scale tinderboxes. “California’s forests are reaching a breaking point,” the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, wrote in a report earlier this year. The report outlined recommendations such as increased prescribed burning and dedicating more money and jobs toward forest management — measures the state is already adopting. Trump in the past has blamed environmental regulations for fires in California and promoted tree clearing to stop blazes. Last week, he took to Twitter again, saying, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.” The president was pilloried by firefighters and California Governor Jerry Brown, whose spokesman called Trump “uninformed.” Nearly 60 percent of California’s 33 million acres of forests are under federal control, Trump’s critics said, noting the importance of climate change in causing more frequent and destructive fires. With a warming climate, rising temperatures and an increase in dry conditions in already-dry areas lead to a higher likelihood of drought. California does not stand alone. The U.S. Forest Service’s practice of fire suppression has been an issue across many Western states. Although the Forest Service had changed that practice in the 1970s, a massive fire in Yellowstone National Park in 1988 caused the practice of letting fires burn where possible to be scrolled back. In addition, various groups and researchers cite increased building of housing near forests that have resulted in the need to battle more blazes. And not all wildfires are fueled by forests. The current Woolsey fire burning near Malibu in Southern California is being fueled by coastal chaparral. LOGGING RESTRICTIONS Yet the Little Hoover Commission report found poor management policies for the last century have left forests vulnerable to fires. “The costs of long neglecting and mismanaging forests have become an unsustainable burden in California,” the report said. Before Europeans settled in California, Native American fire practices, including periodic low-intensity fires, helped renew forests and kept them from becoming too dense. Policies of aggressively fighting every fire, however, have resulted in the loss of that natural thinning. In addition, federal and state restrictions on logging caused timber harvesting in California to decline more than 70 percent between the late 1980s and 2012, according to a U.S. Forest Service report. Trees in federal forests where timber harvesting is prohibited have high mortality rates from wildfire, and dying trees currently outpace new growth, according to a report by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). “When John Muir arrived and discovered Yosemite we had about 40 trees to an acre. Today we have hundreds of trees to an acre,” said Rich Gordon, president of the California Forestry Association, an industry group. “We will be better off if we can get closer to the way our forests once were.” CARB, which oversees the state’s aggressive climate change regulations, has estimated that 15 million acres, or nearly half of the state’s forestlands, were in need of restoration. If left to languish, the forests could become a source of overall greenhouse gas emissions by burning rather than a means to draw carbon from the atmosphere, CARB said. Between 2010 and 2017, drought and bark beetle infestation contributed to the death of 129 million trees in the Sierra Nevada, increasing the risks of wildfires in the region, according to the U.S. Forest Service. DISASTER FUND Recently, California has pushed for changes to the way its forests are managed, including performing more prescribed burns and advocating for harvesting timber from its forests for wood products or energy production. The U.S. Congress acted this year, too, creating a disaster fund to fight fires and stop diverting funds away from much-needed forest management. Earlier this year California’s Brown doubled the amount of land open to vegetation thinning, to 500,000 acres from 250,000 acres, and streamlined permits for landowners to clear trees. A new law also allocated $200 million a year for forest health and fuel reduction projects as well as a scrutiny of California’s 1970s-era logging laws. More commercial harvesting could help pay for the hefty cost of clearing dry fuel, Oregon State Professor John Bailey said, though it would just be one part of a range of solutions. “We can’t just log our way out of this,” Bailey said. Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-wildfires-breakingviews/breakingviews-wall-street-can-be-effective-forest-fire-fighter-idUSKCN1NJ04G
  2. Came across this video it looked pretty cool and seems nice to share keep the politics about it out the topic and just enjoy the video or not.
  3. Unseasonally warm weather prompted hundreds of thousands of tiny spiders to make Lake Vistonida in northern Greece their home. Lake Vistonida in northern Greece has become an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare after it was cloaked recently by massive webs spun by hundreds of thousands of small spiders. Biologists say the recent phenomenon, though rare, is not unheard of and is caused by unseasonally warm weather prompting an increase in the local population of mosquitoes and gnats. “It’s caused by an overpopulation of spiders…there is an abundance of food available,” local environmental park biologist Euterpe Patetsini told Alpha TV. Draped over roadside bushes, fences and small trees, the webs have a combined length of about 1,000 metres. “Weather conditions are ideal for them to multiply,” she said. The spiders are from the genus Tetragnatha, known as stretch spiders due to their elongated bodies. They are known to build webs near watery habitats, with some species even said to be able to walk on water. A similar case was noted in the western Greek coastal town of Aetoliko last month. The webs are expected to recede as temperatures drop and heavier rainfall sets in. source: https://citizen.co.za/news/news-world/2025410/massive-spider-web-engulfs-greek-lake/
  4. ATHENS: Scorching hot weather set the conditions for Greece's wildfires - Europe's deadliest this century with scores killed - while record temperatures in the north of the continent have also sparked blazes causing widespread damage in recent days. Ten EU countries have mobilised firefighters and equipment to help battle the fires in Greece as well as Sweden and Latvia. Here is a roundup of the devastation. GREECE The fires in Greece, which broke out Monday (Jul 23), are the deadliest in living memory. At least 82 people have been confirmed dead, while emergency crews were Thursday searching incinerated homes and vehicles for at least 27 missing, who include nine-year-old twin girls from the village of Mati. Coastal villages near Athens popular with holidaymakers were especially hard hit, with at least 300 homes destroyed or badly damaged. SWEDEN Sweden, experiencing an unprecedented drought and the highest temperatures in a century, is battling 23 fires across the country, down by half since last week. The fires have laid waste to at least 25,000 hectares including 13,000 hectares in the central Karbole region alone. Temperatures are still rising, with Pierre Schaller, the head of a French contingent helping the Swedes, telling AFP that with Thursday's predicted high of 34 degrees Celsius the fires could "take off again". But cooling rains are forecast for the weekend, when two Italian water-dropping aircraft that were deployed in Sweden last week will head to Greece, Swedish authorities told a news conference. LATVIA A Belarusian helicopter was headed to Latvia on Thursday to help Latvian and Lithuanian firefighters battle a blaze that broke out on Jul 17. It has ravaged around 1,000 hectares of peat bog, forest and scrubland in the west of the Baltic state but has not claimed any lives. Latvia has turned to neighbouring Belarus for help because EU resources are stretched fighting the wildfires in Greece and Sweden, according to the local Baltic News Service BNS. BRITAIN Britain has been in the grip of its longest heatwave in decades, sparking wildfires in northwest England, water restrictions in Northern Ireland and record-breaking temperatures in Scotland. Sun worshippers in London's Hyde Park lounged in deck chairs set out on parched grass. The city's fire chief Dany Cotton remarked: "I never thought I'd say this, but we are praying for rain." A new British temperature record may be set on Friday, topping the 38.5 degrees Celsius registered in Kent in August 2003. With just 47 millimetres (1.8 inches) of rain recorded in Britain between Jun 1 and July 16, fire chiefs have warned that parks and other grasslands are like a "tinderbox". THE NETHERLANDS The Dutch meteorological institute on Thursday officially declared the Netherlands' first heatwave in three years, with the mercury hitting 36 degrees Celsius. The spell has lasted 12 days, making it the sixth longest heatwave since 1901. Authorities are planning for water shortages in several parts of the country. ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE In Norway, which experienced its hottest May temperatures on record, one firefighter was killed on Jul 15 while battling one of a string of fires. Unaccustomed bikini weather has also come to Finland's northernmost Lapland province, the legendary headquarters of Father Christmas. Source: AFP/zl Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/heatwave-grips-northern-europe-as-greece-burns-10565542
  5. Yes Yes people there are a few new maps added in F|A recruiting New suggestions can be made here and also possible map issues you can post in this topic: Thanks a lot Daredevil for adding again new maps ! the new maps are Kerkya, Total tank race beta 3, and MLB Daybreak the rotation is the following: sw_oasis_b3, 0, 64, supplydepot2, 0, 64, et_mor2_night_final, 0, 64, fa_goldrush_b1, 0, 64, caen2, 0, 64, fueldump, 0, 64, venice_ne4, 0, 64, sp_delivery_te, 0, 40, pirates, 0, 64, frostbite, 0, 34, capuzzo, 12, 52, et_beach, 0, 64, kerkyra, 0, 50, warbell, 0, 64, fa_bremen_final, 0, 64, total_tankrace_beta3, 0, 40, adlernest, 0, 36, etdo1, 0, 64, teuthonia_final, 0, 44, radar_summer, 0, 40, castleattack_b5, 30, 64, fa_italy_b1, 0, 64, bba0-beta2, 26, 64, braundorf_final, 0, 34, resurrection, 24, 64, sw_cathedral_b7, 0, 40, river_port, 0, 64, mlb_daybreak, 0, 36,
  6. Fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings is set to return in a very big way with its forthcoming TV series. Having beaten out the likes of Netflix and HBO, Amazon Studios secured the rights to turn the J. R. R. Tolkien novels into a TV show in a record-breaking deal reaching $250m with the author's estates working alongside New Line Cinema - the studio behind Peter Jackson's trilogy - to bring it to the small screen for a "multi-season commitment." While details remain unconfirmed, sources are claiming that the first season won't be centred on the War for the Ring and will instead focus on a young Aragorn who was played by Viggo Mortensen in the films. It will be derived from Tolkien's appendices and notes rather than being a direct adaptation of the novel and will reportedly focus on a different character each season. So, how long will it run for? According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon Studios has committed to five seasons with production scheduled to begin at an undetermined time in the next two years. Amazon also confirmed there may be the potential for additional spin-offs in the future. Certain actors from Jackon's trilogy may have ruled themselves out of appearing (Andy Serkis who played Gollum and Gimli star John Rhys Davis), however, one person who'd be up for returning is Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen. Speaking on BBC Radio 2 about the series, he hinted that he'd be unhappy if producers were to recast the character. “What do you mean, another Gandalf?” he told presenter Graham Norton. “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked [to return]. But are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old.” Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/lord-of-the-rings-tv-show-amazon-aragorn-peter-jackson-ian-mckellen-release-date-a8384016.html
  7. A huge moorland fire is continuing to spread because the land is "as dry as a tinder box" and winds are fanning the flames. The blaze covers 3.7miles (6km) of Saddleworth Moor and has been raging since Sunday night. More than 50 homes were evacuated in Carrbrook, near Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, and 150 people affected. One resident described seeing "ash falling like rain" and another said it "looked like the apocalypse". Dave Keelan, director of emergency response at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said 70 of its firefighters were tackling the blaze. He confirmed talks were ongoing to see if the Army could offer extra teams, four-wheel drive vehicles and air support Brenda Warrington, leader of Tameside Council, said firefighters were hoping for a "really good downpour" and rain was "the only thing" that would quickly deal with the blaze. "We do need mother nature to help us quite frankly," she said. "It's as dry as a tinder box up there. A lot of winds are fanning the fire." Mr Keelan said there were four different areas of fire embedded within peat, which is "extremely difficult" for crews to extinguish. "They are working extremely hard, as they have been for the past couple of days, in really arduous conditions in heat and smoke," he said. Matt Lomas, 76, who was evacuated with his wife, daughter and eight-month-old granddaughter Isla, said: "We could see flames 50ft high like a raging ball of fire all on the hill side. "It was really scary, we were really worried the smoke would hurt Isla so we had to get out." Angela Brown, 59, said she saw "ash falling like rain" from the raging fire. "It was terrifying. It was getting closer and closer. Every so often there was a crackle and flames would shoot in the air." Pete Woodward, 43, said: "It looked like the apocalypse. There was a towering inferno of flames." He said he "just grabbed a toothbrush and underpants" and got out with his partner and two young daughters. "The flames were 500 metres long, it was a raging wildfire. You could hear the odd explosion but thankfully the house survived." The fire began on Sunday night, reignited on Monday during the hot weather and then spread throughout Tuesday, fanned by evening winds. Police said the homes in Carr Rise, Carr Lane and Calico Crescent were evacuated on Tuesday evening due to the proximity of the flames. The majority of people had returned by Wednesday afternoon. full news message + source and video's: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-44624021
  8. Between 60 and 90 percent of the world’s fresh water is frozen in the ice sheets of Antarctica, a continent roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined. If all that ice melted, it would be enough to raise the world’s sea levels by roughly 200 feet. While that won’t happen overnight, Antarctica is indeed melting, and a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature shows that the melting is speeding up. Antarctica Is Melting Faster The continent has lost nearly three trillion tons of ice since 1992. Cumulative change in mass since 1992 (gigatons) 0 -500 -1,000 -1,500 -2,000 -2,500 -3,000 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 The rate at which Antarctica is losing ice has more than doubled since 2012, according to the latest available data. The continent is now melting so fast, scientists say, that it will contribute six inches (15 centimeters) to sea-level rise by 2100. That is at the upper end of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated Antarctica alone could contribute to sea level rise this century. “Around Brooklyn you get flooding once a year or so, but if you raise sea level by 15 centimeters then that’s going to happen 20 times a year,” said Andrew Shepherd, a professor of earth observation at the University of Leeds and the lead author of the study. Even under ordinary conditions, Antarctica’s landscape is perpetually changing as icebergs calve, snow falls and ice melts on the surface, forming glacial sinkholes known as moulins. But what concerns scientists is the balance of how much snow and ice accumulates in a given year versus the amount that is lost. Between 1992 and 2017, Antarctica shed three trillion tons of ice. This has led to an increase in sea levels of roughly three-tenths of an inch, which doesn’t seem like much. But 40 percent of that increase came from the last five years of the study period, from 2012 to 2017, when the ice-loss rate accelerated by 165 percent. Antarctica is not the only contributor to sea level rise. Greenland lost an estimated 1 trillion tons of ice between 2011 and 2014. And as oceans warm, their waters expand and occupy more space, also raising sea levels. The melting ice and warming waters have all been primarily driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases. The study also helps clear up some uncertainty that was linked to regional differences in Antarctica. West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, which reaches toward South America, have been known for some time to be losing ice. In East Antarctica the picture has been muddled as the ice sheet there gained mass in some years and lost mass in others. East Antarctica has sometimes been a focus of attention for people who deny the science of global warming. “A lot of the argument has been made from stakeholders that are not quite as interested in dealing with climate change that the East Antarctic ice sheet is actually gaining mass — therefore we don’t need to worry,” said Michele Koppes, a glaciologist at the University of British Columbia who was not involved with the study. East Antarctica, which makes up two-thirds of the continent, is a remote region of an already remote location, where data is scarcer because there are fewer measurement stations, Dr. Koppes said. Researchers must extrapolate a smaller amount of data over an area the size of the United States, which can make the analysis less precise. To get around those problems in this study, more than 80 researchers from around the world collected data from about a dozen different satellite measurements dating to the early 1990s. “We used different satellite missions and techniques because the various approaches we have at arriving at this number have different strengths and weaknesses,” Dr. Shepherd said. “And we find that by combining all of the available measurements we can iron out the problems that individual techniques have.” The researchers concluded that the changes in East Antarctica were not nearly enough to make up for the rapid loss seen in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica is, on balance, losing its ice sheets and raising the world’s sea levels. Dr. Shepherd and his team ran similar calculations five years ago, using 20 years of data, but were unable to say much except that Antarctica seemed to be losing mass at a steady rate. They discovered the acceleration in the rate of ice loss when they did the calculations again for this study, this time with an additional five years of data. “Now when we look again, we can see actually that the signal is very different to what we’ve seen before,” Dr. Shepherd said. The rate of sea level rise due to Antarctic ice loss has tripled since 2012, he said. Advancements in Earth-observing satellites have enabled researchers to better understand the polar regions. Many researchers once thought the polar regions would add ice as the climate warmed, because warmer temperatures lead to more moisture in the atmosphere, which leads to more rain, and, they thought, more snow at the poles. Direct observation from satellites upended that view. Researchers like Dr. Shepherd fear that future knowledge from satellites is at risk, however. Budgets proposed by the Trump administration have called for a reduction in some Earth observation programs. “We depend upon the satellite measurements to not only tell us how the ice sheets respond but also to make these calculations to sea level contribution,” Dr. Shepherd said. The satellite observations also show what’s driving the loss of ice in Antarctica. “This study shows that we’re actually losing more mass along the edges of the ice sheet, where the ice sheet is making contact with the ocean, and that the warming oceans are melting the ice,” Dr. Koppes said. “They’re melting the ice at rates that far exceed anything that would change in the air, and these are forces that you can’t reverse easily.” Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/climate/antarctica-ice-melting-faster.html
  9. (Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Friday it will remove the ‘Trending’ topics feature that compiles popular news from its social network, as it seeks to ensure users see news from trustworthy and quality sources. The move, effective next week, comes at a time when the world’s largest social network is combating the spread of fake news on its platform, which has in some places become central to the distribution of news. Trending accounted for less than 1.5 percent of clicks to news publishers on average, Facebook said here in a blog post, adding the company was testing ways to display news including a 'breaking news label' and 'today in', a dedicated section for local news. The quality of news on Facebook has been called into question after alleged Russian operatives, for-profit spammers and others spread false reports on the site, including during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. Facebook had in the past few years made changes to the Trending topics feature to avoid ideological or political bias. source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa/north-korea-official-meets-trump-in-rare-white-house-visit-carries-letter-idUSKCN1IV2NS
  10. The US is playing a "dangerous game" by slapping tariffs on European steel and aluminium, the European Union's trade commissioner has said. Cecilia Malmstrom warned the move by US President Donald Trump would have consequences for the economic recovery of the EU, as well as US consumers. The EU has issued a 10-page list of tariffs on US goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to bourbon. Canada and Mexico are also planning retaliatory moves against the tariffs. Ms Malmstrom said the EU would challenge the move at the World Trade Organization (WTO) but that tariffs on US imports were necessary as "we cannot just take these tariffs and stay silent". The commissioner said that despite the EU's "rebalancing" action, the two sides were not in a trade war. "What we are in is a very difficult situation," Ms Malmstrom said. This situation could only be defused by the US withdrawing its measures against the EU, she added. Mr Trump claimed the tariffs would protect US steelmakers, which were vital to national security. French President Emmanuel Macron called Mr Trump to tell him the tariffs were "illegal". Mr Trump told Mr Macron there was a need for the US to "rebalance trade" with the EU. UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the 25% levy on steel was "patently absurd", adding: "It would be a great pity if we ended up in a tit-for-tat trade dispute with our closest allies." Gareth Stace, head of trade body UK Steel, said the tariffs were "no way to treat your friend" and called on the government to safeguard the industry's 31,000 jobs. Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, said the US move was "totally unacceptable" and rejected the claim that his country posed a national security threat to America. Canada plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on about $13bn worth of US exports from 1 July. Goods affected will include some American steel, as well as consumer products such as yoghurt, whiskey and coffee. Opposition to the tariffs was also voiced by prominent Republicans. House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most influential Republican in Congress, said the move "targets America's allies when we should be working with them to address the unfair trading practices of countries like China". Mr Trump first announced plans for the tariffs in March, but granted some exemptions while countries negotiated. On Thursday, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said talks with the EU, Canada and Mexico had not made enough progress to warrant a further reprieve, meaning tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium have now come into effect. They apply to items such as plated steel, slabs, coil, rolls of aluminium and tubes - raw materials that are used extensively across US manufacturing, construction and the oil industry. Mr Ross said the president could lift the tariffs or alter them at any time: "We continue to be quite willing and indeed eager to have discussions with all those parties." On 18 May, the EU told the WTO it planned to impose counter measures affecting goods worth almost €3bn. If approved by the 28 member states, the sanctions will come into effect in mid-June. What will the economic effect be? Canada, Mexico and the EU together exported $23bn (£17bn) worth of steel and aluminium to the US in 2017 - nearly half of the $48bn of total steel and aluminium imports last year. European firms have said they fear lower US demand for foreign steel will divert shipments to Europe. Analysts at IHS Markit expect the effects to be distributed across a wide range of markets, limiting the effect on steel prices outside the US. That leaves America to bear the brunt of the economic impact, which economists say will appear in the form of higher prices and job losses - as many as 470,000 by one estimate. Steel prices in the US have already risen due to the uncertainty and may increase as the tariffs hit imports. Consumers outside the US could see prices of some goods fall, while those in America may end up paying more Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-44324565
  11. The four alleged owners of a website which publishes photos of people taken soon after they have been arrested, have been arrested themselves. The alleged owners of the mugshots.com website have been accused of extortion and a variety of other crimes. The US-based site asks anyone wanting to have their image removed to hand over a substantial payment. It generated more than $2m (£1.5m) from people keen to get images removed, said California's Attorney General. "This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else's humiliation," said Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement. "Those who can't afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others," he said. Money laundering Images were only removed if people depicted on mugshots.com paid fees, said the statement, even though many had the charges against them dismissed or had been mistakenly arrested. More than 5,700 people paid to have their image removed from the site. "This is exploitation, plain and simple," added Mr Becarra. The California Attorney General's office encouraged anyone who paid to get their image "de-published" to contact it with more details. The four men charged are Thomas Keesee, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, David Usdan and Sahar Sarid. As well as extortion, the four are charged with money laundering and identity theft. Mr Usdan, Mr Keesee and Mr Bhavnanie are currently in police custody. In a statement posted to his personal site, Mr Sarid said his involvement with the site ended in 2013 after he had completed some consultancy work for it. It is not clear what will happen to the mugshots.com site in the wake of its owners being arrested and charged. The site is still currently operating. Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44168094
  12. Renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking, known for his breakthrough ideas in theoretical physics and space research, has died at the age of 76, according to media reports citing his family's spokesperson. "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," Hawking's children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement. The world-famous astrophysicist had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating neurological condition, for over half a century. Diagnosed with the slow-progressing disease at the age of 21, Hawking was given a mere two years to live. But beating all the odds, he built a remarkable career as a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, popularizing science with his best-selling book, 'A Brief History of Time.' Hawking believed in the colonization of Mars, arguing that the Earth is “becoming too small for us” and will soon be unable to sustain human life. He said people will eventually master space travel beyond the Solar System, and even this generation could manage to send a probe to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to Earth. Hawking’s name, perhaps unusually for a scientist, has long since become a part of popular culture. He made a cameo in TV series 'The Big Bang Theory' and inspired the Oscar-winning movie 'The History of Everything,' where his character was played by Eddie Source: https://www.rt.com/news/421218-scientist-stephen-hawking-death/
  13. Swedish DJ Avicii, one of the world's biggest dance music stars, has died in Oman at the age of 28. Avicii's club anthems include Wake Me Up, Hey Brother, and recently, Lonely Together with Rita Ora. His representative said in a statement: "It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii. "The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time." No cause of death was announced, and Avicii's representative said no further statements would be issued. The electronic dance music (EDM) star, who reportedly made $250,000 (£180,000) a night on tour, had struggled with some health issues in the past, having his gall bladder and appendix removed in 2014. He announced his retirement from touring in 2016, partly because of the health problems. "I know I am blessed to be able to travel all around the world and perform, but I have too little left for the life of a real person behind the artist," he said at the time. more info tweets and source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43841194
  14. The long-awaited new Russian presidential car has passed crash tests and is set to become the regular mode of transport for Vladimir Putin, the Russian Industry and Trade minister said. Russia has been developing several cars meant for senior officials and their guard details under the “Kortezh” project since 2012. The project is a matter of prestige for Moscow, which wants to show that it is capable of domestically producing automobiles with the highest level of security, reliability and design Models of cars designed under the project "Cortege" displayed at the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Engine Institute. © Sergey Subbotin According to Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, the limousine intended for senior Russian officials will be ready for everyday use later this year. The vehicle recently passed crash tests and the results were “positive,” the minister told Izvestia newspaper “The technologies and know-how we developed under this project are effective. The car will soon be presented to the public. Specialists will be able to take a look during the Moscow international automobile salon this autumn,” he said. Manturov said he doubted that Putin had time for a preview of his future car, and the minister refrained from promising that the limousine would be used during the upcoming presidential inauguration ceremony in May. “The cars for trial will be delivered on time before the end of April,” he said. “I hope [the president] will start using this vehicle very soon.” Soviet leaders used domestically produced cars like the ZIL-41047 for official state purposes, but from 1991 the Kremlin began to purchase German cars for its fleet. The Kortezh project is aimed at replacing those with cars designed and produced in Russia, gradually increasing the share of domestically manufactured parts used for them. According to media reports, a total of 14 cars have been delivered to the Kremlin garage so far. Starting next year, Kortezh-series cars will be offered to other governments for purchase. Source: https://www.rt.com/news/424472-putin-car-crash-test/
  15. Facebook has started asking European and Canadian users to let it use facial recognition technology to identify them in photos and videos. Facebook originally began face-matching users outside Canada in 2011, but stopped doing so for EU citizens the following year after protests from regulators and privacy campaigners. The new request is one of several opt-in permissions being rolled out in advance of a new data privacy law. The move is likely to be controversial. The company is currently embroiled in a privacy scandal related to the use of its members' personal information by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. The social network is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the US for deploying the facial recognition technology there without users' explicit consent. "Biometric identification and tracking across the billions of photos on the platform exacerbates serious privacy risks to users," commented Silkie Carlo, director of UK civil liberties group Big Brother Watch. "Facebook now has a duty to prove it has learned how to respect the law, not to prove it can take its surveillance capabilities to new depths." Facebook facial recognition faces class-action suit Will technology destroy our democracy? University saw 'no issue' with Facebook research Users outside the EU and Canada will be prompted to review a similar set of privacy controls in the coming months, but they will continue to be subject to facial recognition unless they opt out of the system. The facial recognition facility works by assigning each user a unique number called a template. This is calculated by analysing the way they look in their profile photograph and other images they have already been identified in. Untagged faces are then represented in a similar manner and compared to the database of templates. When a match is found, Facebook prompts both the person posting an image and the people appearing in it to apply the relevant name tags. In addition, it uses the tech to detect when a scammer is attempting to use a stolen photo as their profile picture. It also helps Facebook to offer new "friends" suggestions. When new connections are made, users have more reason to spend longer on Facebook's app and website. This lets the firm show them more adverts while also helping it learn more about their interests, which in turn lets it better target future ads. Pre-ticked boxes The new settings are being deployed ahead of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May. The law tightens existing privacy rules, forbids the use of pre-ticked boxes for consent, and increases the amount organisations can be fined for non-compliance. Image caption Users can either agree to face recognition with a single button press or click through other pages to be given the choice of refusing Under the new system, users click a single button saying "accept and continue" to turn on face recognition, but have to delve deeper into the "manage data setting" options to confirm they want it turned off. As has previously been the case, Facebook will not include under-18s in its face-matching database. And it has said that if users opt in but subsequently change their minds, it will delete their face templates, making further matches impossible. Even so, the data watchdog involved has yet to sign off on the proposal. "There are a number of outstanding issues on which we await further responses from Facebook," Ireland's data protection commissioner told the BBC. "In particular, the Irish DPC is querying the technology around facial recognition and whether Facebook needs to scan all faces - ie those without consent as well - to use the facial recognition technology. "The issue of compliance of this feature with GDPR is therefore not settled at this point." Sensitive data Facebook will initially present the new settings pages to EU citizens before rolling versions out worldwide Facebook will also be asking for the following consent to meet its new obligations: if a member has added information about their religious views, political beliefs or sexuality, they will be asked whether they agree to continue allowing that information to be displayed to others and whether they permit Facebook to use the data to provide personalised recommendations users will be asked if they authorise data gathered from elsewhere - including third-party websites and apps - to be used to pick which ads are shown to them on Facebook and Instagram Under GDPR, children are also afforded added protections, which the EU's members can decide to limit to those under 13 or extend to those under 16. Facebook already bans under-13s from being members. But in affected countries, it will now ask under-16s for the permission of a parent or guardian to: show adverts based on their interests include their religious and political views in their profiles allow them to express their sexuality by registering whether they are "interested in" men, women or both To do this, the firm will either require them to send a permission request via Facebook itself or provide an email address that the older party can be reached at. In the case of the latter, the company has confirmed that it will rely on the youngsters to provide an accurate address and does not plan its own identity checks. source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43797128
  16. PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) - Pyeongchang Olympics organizers were looking into a disruption of non-critical systems on the day of the opening ceremony but could not yet confirm if it was a cyberattack, Games spokesman Sung Baik-you said on Saturday. The Winter Olympics opened with a spectacular ceremony on Friday, attended by several heads of state who witnessed the joint march of North and South Korean athletes, as Games systems played up. The ceremony was also attended by North Korean ceremonial leader Kim Yong Nam and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, as well as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Some local media reported system problems, including the Games website and some television sets, were due to a cyberattack but Sung said it was still too early to determine whether hackers had attempted to damage them. “There were some issues that affected some of our non-critical systems last night for a few hours,” Sung told reporters, without detailing what the issues specifically were. “We apologize for the inconvenience caused. It has not disrupted any event or had any effect on safety and security for athletes or spectators.” Sung said security experts were currently investigating the incident. “Experts are watching to ensure and maintain any systems at expected service levels. We are currently investigating the cause of the issue. At this time we cannot confirm (a cyberattack),” he added. “We are investigating the cause and we will share more information. All competitions are running as planned.” It was also not clear whether failure to deploy drones as part of the programme during the two-hour opening ceremony was in any way related to the system problems. The International Olympic Committee said pre-recorded footage of the drones was used instead. “Due to impromptu logistical changes it (drone deployment) did not proceed,” the IOC spokesman said with elaborating further. The Winter Games, staged only 80km (50 miles) from the North Korean border, saw the two Koreas, who are technically still at war since a 1953 armistice, march together at the opening ceremony for the first time since 2006. South Korea has been using the Pyeongchang Games to break the ice with the reclusive North, which has been trading nuclear threats with the United States recently. source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-2018-cyber/pyeongchang-games-organizers-probe-possible-cyberattack-idUSKBN1FU072
  17. Facebook has announced it will prioritise news sources deemed to be more trustworthy on its News Feed. The firm said the social network community would determine which outlets are reliable via the use of user surveys. Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said news content would soon make up around 4% of what appeared in people's News Feeds - down from 5% before. The move is the latest attempt by the company to quell the spread of so-called fake news and propaganda on the network. Mark Zuckerberg vows to 'fix' Facebook As part of that continuing battle, Twitter also announced on Friday that it had notified 677,775 US-based users who had retweeted, liked or followed Russian bot accounts on the network in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election. The change is an attempt to shift the key judgements over bias and accuracy away from Facebook's employees, and onto its user base. "We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that's not something we're comfortable with," Mr Zuckerberg said. "We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you - the community - and have your feedback determine the ranking." Users will be asked, as they sometimes are about advertising, whether they recognise a news brand and if they trust it. Facebook's theory - yet to be tested on a large scale - is that while there are many partisan outlets that have readers that trust them, there is a smaller subset of media companies that a majority people find "broadly trustworthy", whatever their particular leanings. "There's too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarisation in the world today," wrote Mr Zuckerberg, who recently announced that his challenge this year was to essentially "fix" Facebook. "Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don't specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them." Winners and losers The news ranking system will first be tested on US-based users only, and the results of the survey will not be made public. "This is one of many signals that go into News Feed ranking," a Facebook spokesman told the BBC. "We do not plan to release individual publishers' trust scores because they represent an incomplete picture of how each story's position in each person's feed is determined." As with any algorithm change, be it Facebook or any other major web service, there will be some that benefit and others that will struggle. Facebook - the secret election weapon Among the winners will likely be traditional media organisations with long histories or a strong broadcast presence, such as the New York Times or BBC. However, emerging brands will suffer if recognition is not as strong, regardless of whether the content is trustworthy or not. For instance, Buzzfeed's initial beginnings as a viral site would have almost certainly hindered its growth into a serious news organisation had it been subject to the ideas about to be put in place by Mr Zuckerberg's team. Also, it is unclear how trustworthy, specialist news organisations with smaller readerships - such as science publications - will be treated under these rules, though Facebook's head of News Feed Adam Mosseri said local news would at least be protected. "We're making it easier for people to see local news and information in a dedicated section. "We'll continue to work on ways to show more local news that is relevant to where people live." Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42755832
  18. Wednesday’s storm has led to widespread disruption on the roads, on the railways and at airports. Some 252 flights to and from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport were cancelled because of the strong winds. All five big Dutch storm surge barriers were closed because of the strong winds and high water. It is the first time that all five barriers have been closed at the same time, the transport ministry said. Crowds, and government officials, turned out to witness the closure of the Maeslant storm barrier for the first time since 2007. The barrier cuts Rotterdam port off from the sea. It's for the first time all 5 barriers will be closed to protect my little country against the water i took the liberty of gathering photo's from all 5 these are all 5 surge barriers made to protect the netherlands from the water Source of news: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2018/01/the-netherlands-closes-all-five-storm-surge-barriers-as-winds-reach-up-to-110kph/ Source of pictures of the barriers and for those that are interested more information ( also right above available in english ) https://www.rijkswaterstaat.nl/water/waterbeheer/bescherming-tegen-het-water/waterkeringen/stormvloedkeringen/stormvloedkering-ramspol.aspx
  19. Russian submarine activity around undersea cables that provide internet and other communications connections to North America and Europe has raised concerns among NATO officials, according to The Washington Post. NATO officials say an unprecedented amount of Russian deep-sea activity, especially around undersea internet lines, constitutes a newfound "vulnerability" for NATO nations. “We are now seeing Russian underwater activity in the vicinity of undersea cables that I don’t believe we have ever seen,” said NATO submarine forces commander and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Lennon. “Russia is clearly taking an interest in NATO and NATO nations’ undersea infrastructure.” “It’s a pattern of activity, and it’s a vulnerability,” added British Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, who has spoken about the issue in the past. “Can you imagine a scenario where those cables are cut or disrupted, which would immediately and potentially catastrophically affect both our economy and other ways of living if they were disrupted?” Peach said earlier this month. Lennon added that Russian vessels had been spotted doing "underwater intelligence gathering," but wouldn't say for sure whether the Russian vessels had been seen actually interacting with undersea NATO cables. “They can do oceanographic research, underwater intelligence gathering,” he said. “And what we have observed is an increased activity of that in the vicinity of undersea cables. We know that these auxiliary submarines are designed to work on the ocean floor, and they’re transported by the mother ship, and we believe they may be equipped to manipulate objects on the ocean floor.” The U.S. has taken steps this week to counter Russia's influence abroad, with the Trump administration for the first time authorizing the sale of lethal defensive weaponry to Ukraine's military as it battles pro-Russian separatists in Crimea. The Trump administration announced this week it would begin selling anti-tank missiles and sniper rifles to Ukrainian forces, for a total sale of more than $40 million. The deals will have to be approved by Congress after a 30-day wait period. Source: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/366290-russian-submarine-activity-increases-around-under-sea-internet-cables
  20. Kim Dotcom © Nigel Marple / Reuters Having a more alternative internet that is more controlled by its users offers better options to protect ourselves, says Dmytri Kleiner a privacy activist and software developer. Telecom giants in the US are set for a significant victory if Washington goes ahead with its plan to repeal so-called 'net neutrality' rules. The Obama-era legislation was enacted to prevent internet service providers from potentially cornering parts of the digital market and charging extra fees. As a result, it's likely to have a direct impact on internet speeds in the US and cause a lot of inconvenience for users. Meanwhile, Google has just been caught secretly collecting location data from Android phone users, even after they turned off location settings and had no SIM card in their devices. So is there a way to escape from the increasing arbitrariness of the ‘regular internet’? Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, who is wanted in America for alleged illegal file sharing, has pledged to create an ‘alternative internet’ to defend rights to privacy and freedom online. RT: What are your thoughts on Kim Dotcom's idea? How is it possible to build an alternative internet? Dmytri Kleiner: The current internet as it exists right now suffers from a lot of privacy concerns. A lot of those privacy concerns – some of them are inherent to the architecture of the platforms, but a lot of them are related more to the business models of a lot of the kind of companies that make money on the internet. Companies like Google and Facebook make their money by targeting advertising. And targeting advertising requires to know a lot more about you than untargeted advertising. So the more they know about you, the more they can sell these ads for. Kim Dotcom's proposal is not something that I’ve seen too many details about, although he has been mentioning MegaNet for a few years now I think, as early as 2015. And there are a lot of things that sound pretty good about what he is proposing. Especially the idea of using mobile devices more actively. It is not clear what he means by that – whether he means there will be an overlay network on top of the kind of IP internet that adds anonymity along the lines of something like Tor or Tox; or whether he plans to use Bluetooth, or NFC (Near Field Communication,) or direct Wi-Fi capabilities of the mobile phones themselves to create a so-called mesh network along the lines of Briar or several other applications. But in any case, more development in this area would certainly be good – the better platforms that consumers have that deliver privacy and anonymity – the more we have – the better. But that won’t necessarily affect the actual concerns of data being collected by the likes of Google and Facebook. RT: What about the speed at which people can use the internet. With these net neutrality rules being rolled back is Kim Dotcom's idea a way of circumventing those alternative rules that are going to come into force? DK: We need to know more about the architecture to make a claim either way. If it is planning to use the kind of radio capabilities of mobile phones themselves, and the Bluetooth and NFC and Wi-Fi capabilities those phones have to create another mesh network, then you could have an advantage that it is much more difficult to block than centralized things. So net neutrality wouldn’t affect it directly. However, it is still may be a slower service to what people used to right now, given a neutral internet. RT: What would be the drawbacks be to an alternative internet? Some people might say there is too much anonymity, and perhaps there would be sort of fair game for criminals and the like? What’s your response to that argument? DK: It seems to me the criminals aren’t having a terrible amount of difficulty operating on the internet as it is today. Having a more alternative internet that is more controlled by its users, gives us better options in order to protect ourselves. We can have collaborative moderation, and collaborative block lists and stuff like that that could make user-driven ways to defend against this stuff more effective, rather than being completely in the hands of Facebook and Google and Twitter, and only being able to access the protections that they provide. RT: Can you see the public taking to this alternative internet quickly, or would there be problems for them to connect? What are your thoughts on its accessibility? DK: There are a lot of questions need to be looked at there. One is how user-friendly and usable this kind of stuff is. We know without a clear business model, like advertising that Facebook and Google have, you have to question where the investments are going to come from to create the kind of rich user experience that users are used to; to market it, to promote it, to support it – and all that kind of stuff. I mean given the right support I definitely think that an alternative could be made and it could be very popular. However, it is not clear where that support could come from short of public institutions because as a private entrepreneur Kim Dotcom can only spend money that he can earn back. And it is not clear how he would earn money on such a thing, given that advertising and surveillance would not be used. Source + tweets in source: https://www.rt.com/news/410846-google-alternative-internet-dotcom/
  21. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has ruled that Russian athletes can only compete under a neutral flag in South Korea in February. The decision comes following a panel hearing on the results of investigations involving Russia being accused of doping violations. Competing as neutrals without a national team means that athletes will not take part in the opening ceremony, and their country’s anthem will not be played if they win any medals. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the option as a “humiliating” compromise. Source + more to follow: https://www.rt.com/news/412029-russia-ioc-2018-olympics-participation/
  22. ellowstone National Park, a favored site of supervolcano doomsayers © Jim Urquhart / Reuters If you spend any time on the internet, it seems every few months humanity is faced with a looming existential threat from the depths of space. Planet X/Nibiru, the rapture or a wayward comet are, according to conspiracy theorists, destined to destroy us. However, there is one particular conspiracy, treasured by theorists, that our impending doom will come from within planet Earth - that lurking beneath America’s Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano that will kill us all. Yellowstone, in the midwestern US, is - they claim - about to erupt and send unfathomable amounts of matter into the sky, covering anyone in the vicinity in a pyroclastic flow of ash and rock, and blocking out the sun, wiping out almost all life on Earth in the process. Yellowstone National Park © USGS Conspiracy theories tend to draw on some grain of truth. The super volcano really has erupted before, three times in fact, over the last 2 billion years or so, but the theory goes that it’s bound to do so again soon, right? RT.com caught up with Michael Poland, Scientist-in-Charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, to find out the full extent of this lurking supervolcanic ‘threat.’ Poland specializes in volcano geophysics, particularly in how volcanoes change and behave over time. Using GPS, satellites and other methods, he studies how the surface of Yellowstone National Park moves to figure out what’s happening below. Firstly, what is a super volcano? “Super volcanos, or super eruptions, are these eruptions that are on the eruption intensity scale, there’s something called the volcano explosivity index (VEI) and eruptions that have a VEI of eight are considered super eruptions. And that’s pretty massive, most eruptions that we see would be VEI three, four. Big ones are five and then once a century or so there’s a six, so a VEI eight is really, really tremendous.” What would it take to cause one? “You have to have a really amazing amount of magma in the subsurface, so that’s one of the criteria. In order to be able to put all of that stuff onto the surface and into the atmosphere you have to have it below the surface to begin with. And I think that’s something that is interesting about Yellowstone. We don’t know whether there’s enough magma beneath the surface to have a super eruption, the evidence suggests that a lot of the magma reservoir is actually solid, and about 15 percent of it is molten, so there may not be enough down there to have a super eruption.” With that in mind, what are the odds of Yellowstone blowing it’s top? “I think the odds of a supereruption in our lifetime, in our children's lifetimes, in our grandchildren’s lifetimes are astronomically small. I couldn’t even quantify it, it’s not something I’m worried about.” “I find it strange that Yellowstone is the volcano that’s ‘going to doom humanity.’ One of the things that bothers me about that is that there have been super eruptions when humans have been on the planet. There’ve been two and, in fact, both of those were larger than the last Yellowstone eruption. There was one about 74,000 years ago from Indonesia and there was one 27,000 years ago from New Zealand. Both of those were larger than the last eruption at Yellowstone and humanity survived.” What about so-called earthquake swarms at Yellowstone? And wasn’t there a particularly strong swarm earlier this year, 4.5 on the richter scale? “Yeah 4.5 is definitely noticeable, you’d feel it and people did, but there was a 4.8 in 2014 and there was a 7.5 in 1959. Certainly this summer's swarm was really impressive, there were thousands of earthquakes, but that’s sort of what Yellowstone does. It has swarms all the time and one of them has to be the largest. I don’t see that as something to fear, however, instead I see it as an enormous opportunity for study." “The idea that Yellowstone is going to erupt and kill us all is so demonstrably false. There’s an odd disconnect I think between common sense and reality and what we know to be true and false based on past events and this irrational fear about yellowstone in particular.” Source: https://www.rt.com/usa/411803-yellowstone-super-volcano-theory/
  23. Qualcomm has demonstrated mobile internet speeds of 1Gbps using a 5G smartphone chip. The chipset manufacturer claims this is the first working 5G data connection on a mobile device. The fifth generation of the mobile network does not yet exist, but it promises faster data speeds and more bandwidth to carry more web traffic. Qualcomm is describing the demonstration as a "major milestone", but one expert is playing it down. 1Gbps is equivalent to 1,000Mbps, and this speed would enable you to download a one-hour TV programme in HD from BBC iPlayer in less than six seconds. "It's not a big deal," Prof William Webb, a independent consultant and author of the book The 5G Myth: When vision decoupled from reality, told the BBC. "5G is not yet clearly defined, they've just postulated what they think it will look like. "It's not 5G in its final form, so it's premature to say it's a 5G demonstration." Prof Webb added that speeds higher than 1Gbps were already achievable on 4G. For example, Huawei's Kirin 970 chipset offered mobile speeds of up to 1.2Gbps when used with compatible network equipment. Qualcomm said the demonstration, at its laboratories in San Diego, had used its first dedicated 5G chip, the Snapdragon X50 NR modem chipset, on the 28GHz millimetre wave spectrum band. "This demonstration... was only the first data connection on this 5G mode," said a spokesman for the firm. "When it is finished and ready to ship to smartphone makers, it will be capable of 5Gbps speed, which no 4G LTE chip currently available can support. "What our announcement represents is the first steps we are taking to counter sceptics like Prof Webb: yes, millimetre wave 5G is a viable technology for mobile devices and networks, and our achievement proves the steady progress we are making." What is 5G?Today's 4G mobile networks currently make use of the sub-6GHz frequencies, but these are now heavily crowded. Mobile operators are running out of capacity to carry the huge amounts of web traffic generated by consumers on billions of mobile devices, in addition to data being sent from internet-enabled sensors in smart devices. The specifications for 5G have not yet been set out by the global mobile standards body, 3GPP, so various parts of the industry are trying different technologies, with the hope that 5G will be ready by 2019. Some of the technologies involve optimising the current 4G network by making the transit of data more efficient, in order to offer greater capacity and higher speeds. But there are also plans to make use of the currently unused 28GHz and 39GHz millimetre wave spectrum bands, which are found in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared waves. Millimetre waves offer far more bandwidth than the sub-6GHz frequencies, but the radio signal deteriorates if data is transmitted over more than a few kilometres. "There are many different definitions of 5G, some of which could be implemented by 2019, and those that wouldn't be, such as millimetre wave, which will probably take a lot longer," said Prof Webb. Qualcomm takes issue with this analysis, saying that it aims to have millimetre wave-capable smartphones in users' hands before July 2019, when it expects the first compatible networks to have become available. Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41652967
  24. Some smartwatches designed for children have security flaws that make them vulnerable to hackers, a watchdog has warned. The Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) tested watches from brands including Gator and GPS for Kids. It said it discovered that attackers could track, eavesdrop or even communicate with the wearers. The manufacturers involved insist the problems have either already been resolved or are being addressed. UK retailer John Lewis has withdrawn one of the named smartwatch models from sale in response. The smartwatches tested essentially serve as basic smartphones, allowing parents to communicate with their children as well as track their location. Some include an SOS feature that allows the child to instantly call their parents. They typically sell for about £100. The NCC said it was concerned that Gator and GPS for Kids' watches transmitted and stored data without encryption. It said that meant strangers, using basic hacking techniques, could track children as they moved, or make a child appear to be in a completely different location. Consumer rights watchdog Which? criticised the "shoddy" watches and said parents "would be shocked" if they knew the risks. Spokeswoman Alex Neill said: "Safety and security should be the absolute priority. If that can't be guaranteed, then the products should not be sold." John Lewis stocks a version of the Gator watch, although it is not clear whether it suffers from the same security flaws as the watches tested. The firm said it was withdrawing the product from sale "as a precautionary measure" while awaiting "further advice and reassurance from the supplier". GPS for Kids said it had resolved the security flaws for new watches and that existing customers were being offered an upgrade. The UK distributor of the Gator watch said it had moved its data to a new encrypted server and was developing a new, more secure app for customers. source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41652742
  25. Hurricane Irma will "devastate" either Florida or neighbouring states, the head of the US federal emergency agency has said. Brock Long said parts of Florida would be without power for days. Half a million people in the state have been ordered to leave their homes. Hurricane Irma has left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean, affecting an estimated 1.2m people. At least 20 people are known to have died so far. It has been downgraded to a category four storm, but officials warn that it remains "extremely dangerous". The US National Weather Service says that Irma was expected to bring wind speeds of around 165mph (270km/h) over the weekend as it hits Florida. "Hurricane Irma continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the United States in either Florida or some of the south-eastern states," Mr Long said. "The entire south-eastern United States better wake up and pay attention," he added. Florida Governor Rick Scott said all Floridians should be prepared for possible evacuation, and issued a stark warning to those in threatened areas. "We are running out of time. If you are in an evacuation zone, you need to go now," he told reporters. "Remember, we can rebuild your home, we can't rebuild your life." The death toll continued to rise on Friday in the Caribbean. France's Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said nine people were dead and seven missing in the French territory on St Martin, an island shared with the Netherlands, and St Barthélemy, known more commonly as St Barts. Another death - the second - has been confirmed in the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten. French officials said six out of 10 homes on Saint-Martin were so badly damaged that they were uninhabitable. The US Consulate General in Curacao said it believes an estimated 6,000 Americans are stranded on the island. French, British and Dutch military authorities have deployed aid - including warships and planes equipped with food, water and troops - to their territories Reporting from another badly damaged island, Barbuda, the BBC's Laura Bicker says the destruction there is worse than feared. Where is Irma - and where next? The storm lashed the Turks and Caicos islands and brought torrential rain to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, before battering the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas. A huge evacuation of south-eastern, low-lying coastal areas in the Bahamas has been ordered. The tourism ministry said in a video statement that thousands of tourists left before the storm's arrival. Meanwhile Mr Long predicted a "truly devastating" impact on Florida. South Florida "may be uninhabitable for weeks or months" because of the storm, the US National Weather Service said. On the archipelago of Turks and Caicos, with its population of about 35,000, one witness described a drop in pressure that could be felt in people's chests. Irma ripped off roofs on the capital island, Grand Turk, flooded streets, snapped utility poles and caused a widespread black-out. Governor John Freeman told the BBC that people in low-lying areas were evacuated and sent to shelters. The islands' highest point is only 50m (163ft). Irma also caused some damage to roofs, flooding and power outages in the northern parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Turks and Caicos Islands: widespread damage, although extent unclear Barbuda: the small island is said to be "barely habitable", with 95% of the buildings damaged. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne estimates reconstruction will cost $100m (£80m). One death has been confirmed Anguilla: extensive damage with one person confirmed dead Puerto Rico: more than 6,000 residents of the US territory are in shelters and many more without power. At least three people have died British Virgin Islands: widespread damage reported US Virgin Islands: damage to infrastructure was said to be widespread, with four deaths confirmed Haiti and the Dominican Republic: Both battered by the storm, but neither had as much damage as initially feared Source video's full topic: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41203724

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