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06-27-2017 Security
Hackers Target UK Parliament In A Sustained Cyber-Attack

The National Cyber Security Center confirms that members of United Kingdom's parliament have been targets of a determined cyber-attack.

According to the center, which detected the unusual activity in the system on the evening of June 23, hackers carried out a sustained attack with the intent of identifying accounts with weak passwords. To prevent further damage, parliament members and staff would temporarily only be able to access their emails in Westminster.

Cyber-Attack On The Parliament

It is unclear whether the recent cyber-attack is connected with reports that login credentials of parliament members, staff, and police were being sold and traded online in Russian websites.

"Closer investigation by our team confirmed that hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords. As a precaution, we have temporarily restricted remote access to the network," Parliament authorities informed affected users.

What is clear, however, is that the attack specifically targeted email accounts so security measures have been set-up to ensure accounts are unavailable remotely. Of course, that means urgent messages may not be able to get through the system but upper House of Lords representative Chris Rennard has a solution for such cases.

Chris Rennard ? @LordRennard

Cyber security attack on Westminster Parliamentary e.mails may not work remotely Text urgent messages @LibDemLords @LabourLordsUK @Torypeers

10:46 AM - 24 Jun 2017

96 96 Retweets 42 42 likes

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U.K. officials and security experts were not at all surprised that the parliament was targeted by hackers this time around. Even international trade minister Liam Fox expressed that the attack was to be expected, considering all the news reports and previous attacks the country experienced.

"We know that our public services are attacked so it's not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails," Minister Fox said.

The House of Commons released a statement with regard to the incident and promised to keep everyone updated on the case.

Not The First Attack

The United Kingdom has had its fair share of cyber-attacks. Just this May, cyber-attacks victimized 70 countries and held U.K. hospital systems at ransom for up to $600 in bitcoins. The attack on U.K. health services forced some hospitals to turn away patients unless it was an emergency.

In October 2016, the United Kingdom also suffered from a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that affected internet services run by Dyn.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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06-27-2017 Science&Technology
Apple’s AR is closer to reality than Google’s

Apple has often been accused of acting like it invented things that others have been doing for years. That complaint is not without merit, however Apple can lay claim to transforming existing things into mainstream successes, which takes no small amount of invention in its own right. Fingerprint authentication and contactless payments are just two recent examples, having both existed in Japan and on niche devices for over a decade before Apple raised them to global prominence with the iPhone.

Next up on Apple's agenda is augmented reality, the act of superimposing digital data and visuals atop a live video feed of your surroundings — something that Google, Microsoft, and many others have been experimenting with for a long time. Apple is far from being able to claim it invented AR, but its new ARKit in iOS 11 is already showing signs to suggest that Apple will help bring AR into the mainstream faster and better than anyone else.

The chronic problem with augmented reality has always been one of practicality. You could have the most basic forms of AR on your regular phone, as provided by apps like Layar, which has been around since 2009, but those have never been particularly compelling. Or you could have more sophisticated and appealing augmentations, as presented by Google's Tango project, but you'd need a big fat phablet to lug around to make them happen. Apple's difference is to combine the convenience of your daily phone with the appeal of advanced AR.

Looking at this distance-measuring app, it seems so simple and obvious. Of course your super-powered, multi-core phone should be smart enough to measure out basic distances, and there have indeed been many wonky apps trying to do that in the past. But measuring with AR, as already shown off by Google Tango phones, allows you a much more intuitive method for doing it. Having the phone actually aware of the three-dimensional space in its view allows for precise measurements, which can be represented with a neat hologram of a measuring tape. Apple’s advantage in the contest for doing this best is simple: while Google Tango demands special hardware, ARKit requires only that you have a recent iOS device. At WWDC earlier this month, Craig Federighi described ARKit as "the largest AR platform in the world," and he was right.

Apple's AR will immediately reach millions of people who already have the requisite hardware. And while it looks to be functionally as flexible and capable as Google's Tango (check out some early examples of fanciful experiments with ARKit), its broader audience makes it much more enticing for serious developers to invest their time and money into. Google's Tango is about the future whereas Apple's ARKit is about the present.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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06-27-2017 Politics
If Kennedy retires, Donald Trump's legacy is set

(CNN)The final week of the Supreme Court session opens Monday, and with it comes rampant speculation that Justice Anthony Kennedy may call it quits.

If Kennedy does announce his retirement, it would almost certainly ensure not only a clear rightward swing in the Court but would also cement a major part of Donald Trump's legacy barely five months into his first term.

The best days Trump had on the campaign trail were all centered on the Supreme Court. His May release of a list of 11 people he would nominate to fill the opening created by the death of Antonin Scalia served as a major rallying point for GOP primary voters still wary of backing someone who was a very recent convert to their way of thinking.

When his campaign was flagging last fall, Trump returned to a familiar strategy -- putting out a wider list of 21 names he might choose to be the next member of the nation's highest court.

And Trump's single best day as president came on February 1 when he announced Neil Gorsuch as his pick to replace Scalia.

Why was the Court Trump's biggest crutch with Republican voters both during the campaign and now? Just ask him!

"If you really like Donald Trump, that's great, but if you don't, you have to vote for me anyway," Trump told GOP voters in Iowa almost a year ago. "You know why? Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court judges. Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice."

The point was -- and is -- this: Whether or not conservatives loved or even liked Trump, he would nominate people to the Supreme Court who were considerably more conservative than the people Hillary Clinton would choose. And, the power to nominate justices to the Court mattered more now than ever before because so many of current members were, well, old.

That includes Kennedy who, at 80, is the second oldest justice behind Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 84. Stephen Breyer is 78. (For more on Kennedy's pivotal role as the Court's swing vote, make sure to check out Ariane de Vogue's piece here.)

Conservatives have always cared deeply about the federal bench -- atop which sits the Supreme Court -- but a series of rulings over the Obama years made Trump's argument even more powerful. The Court's decision that the individual mandate at the center of the Affordable Care Act was, in fact, constitutional was regarded by many conservatives as a betrayal. The decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide was just the sort of legislating from the bench conservatives had long warned about. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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06-27-2017 Politics
Trump likely to break many of his health-care promises — no matter what happens

Donald Trump set himself apart from other Republican presidential candidates when it came to health care. Before taking office, he vowed “insurance for everybody” that would be “much less expensive and much better” and explicitly promised not to touch Medicaid, which millions of his working-class supporters rely upon to cover doctor’s visits and medication.

But as Republicans in the Senate press ahead with legislation that would dramatically cut Medicaid and scale back the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, it is increasingly clear that President Trump is almost certain to fall well short of fulfilling those promises.

Trump and congressional Republicans will likely hail any bill that reaches the president’s desk as the fulfillment of a long-standing pledge to “repeal and replace” the ACA, former president Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. But if the House and Senate agree on legislation along the lines of what is now being debated, millions — including some of Trump’s most ardent supporters — are projected to lose coverage, receive fewer benefits or see their premiums rise.

And if the health-care push stalls or falls apart, the president who campaigned for the White House as the ultimate dealmaker will be dealt a serious political blow — another example of Trump’s inability to move major legislation through Congress.

“He’s going to own it either way, whether he signs a bill or doesn’t get a bill,” said Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Steele said passage of the legislation could hurt Trump politically as much as its failure. “You’re going to have a whole generation of people who had health care losing health care, and in many instances, they’re Trump voters. I think that’s a very risky play.”

In a television interview broadcast Sunday, Trump acknowledged that he had called the House bill “mean” weeks after celebrating its passage in the Rose Garden. He suggested other changes could be coming to the Senate bill unveiled last week to ease its impact on lower-income Americans, but Trump said “we have a very good plan” that he characterized as close to passing.

“Healthcare’s a very complicated subject from the standpoint that you move it this way, and this group doesn’t like it,” Trump said on FOX News’s “Fox & Friends.” “You move it a little bit over here, you have a very narrow path.”

One bright spot for Trump is that many of his most die-hard backers echo the president in largely blaming others for continued gridlock in Washington. At least for now, many believe he would fulfill his promises on health care and other priorities if only given the chance. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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06-27-2017 Science&Technology
Latest huge Galaxy Note 8 leak points to troubling trend in 2017

Late last week, a blogger with a very strong track record leaked a slew of details surrounding Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 8. According to the report, Samsung’s hotly anticipated new flagship phablet will feature killers specs highlighted by a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display with the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio as the Galaxy S8, 6GB of RAM, Exynos 8895 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipsets depending on region, dual 12-megapixel rear cameras, a 3,300 mAh battery, and an updated S Pen stylus with new features. All of that sounds like terrific news, but there was one other detail offered in the report that isn’t very good news: The Galaxy Note 8’s price.

Apple has been known as a trendsetter for decades, but the company appears to have started a troubling trend last year when it increased the price of each iPhone 7 Plus tier by $20. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus would be the next phones to launch with heftier than normal price tags, and multiple rumors have suggested that the upcoming iPhone 8 will cost around $1,000 when it’s released later this year. Now, it appears as though the Galaxy Note 8 can be added to the growing list of current and flagship phones with monstrous price tags.

Pricing always increases for everything over time, so why is it so troubling that leading flagship phones are getting more expensive? Let’s consider the two companies currently pushing up smartphone prices.

Apple is the most valuable company in the world, and it’s also the most profitable consumer electronics company in history. That record-shattering profitability is thanks almost entirely to the company’s iPhone lineup, which provides margins that are borderline obscene. Meanwhile, Samsung posted a net profit of $6.8 billion in the most recent quarter, and that was even before the company’s new Galaxy S8 flagship phones were released. Do these companies really need to fleece customers even more than they’re already being fleeced?

The problem, of course, is that the demand is there. Plenty of other smartphone makers are selling comparable phones at much lower prices, but not many people in tier 1 smartphone markets seem to care. In the US, for example, those insanely expensive smartphones are paid for in monthly installments so the price tags are far less daunting. Worst of all, sky-high sales numbers despite the recent price increases mean we can likely expect this troubling trend to continue for the foreseeable future.

Read Original Article     ON:   Bgr

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06-27-2017 Business
Amazon Robots Poised to Revamp How Whole Foods Runs Warehouses

When Inc.'s $13.7 billion bid to buy Whole Foods was announced, John Mackey, the grocer's chief executive officer, addressed employees, gushing about Amazon's technological innovation.

"We will be joining a company that’s visionary," Mackey said, according to a transcript of the meeting. "I think we’re gonna get a lot of those innovations in our stores. I think we’re gonna see a lot of technology. I think you’re gonna see Whole Foods Market evolve in leaps and bounds."

A major question about the acquisition is what Amazon's technology will mean for those Whole Foods' workers. Will it make their jobs obsolete?

In negotiations, Amazon spent a lot of time analyzing Whole Foods' distribution technology, pointing to a possible way in which the company sees the most immediate opportunities to reduce costs, said a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the issue was private. Amazon, through a spokesman, declined to comment, as did Whole Foods.

Experts say the most immediate changes would likely be in warehouses that customers never see. That suggests the jobs that could be affected the earliest would be in the warehouses, where products from suppliers await transport to store shelves, said Gary Hawkins, CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail and Technology, a Los Angeles nonprofit that helps retailers and brands innovate. As Amazon looks to automate distribution, cashiers will be safe-- for now.

"The easiest place for Amazon to bring its expertise to bear is in the warehouses, because that's where Amazon really excels," Hawkins said. "If they can reduce costs, they can show that on the store shelves and move Whole Foods away from the Whole Paycheck image."

Amazon sees automation as a key strategic advantage in its overall grocery strategy, according to company documents reviewed by Bloomberg before the Whole Foods acquisition was announced.

Whole Foods has 11 distribution centers specializing in perishable foods that serve its stores. It also has seafood processing plants, kitchens and bakeries that supply prepared food to each location. Those are the places where Amazon could initially focus, according to experts. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Bloomberg

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06-27-2017 Science&Technology
SpaceX launches and lands second Falcon 9 rocket in two days

Two days after launching a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida, SpaceX sent another mission into orbit Sunday from California’s Central Coast with 10 new satellites for Iridium’s voice and data relay network.

Like Friday’s flight from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Falcon 9’s first stage plunged back through the atmosphere and made a propulsive vertical landing on a barge stationed several hundred miles downrange from the launch site.

The back-to-back launchings and landings set a record for the shortest turnaround between two SpaceX flights from different launch sites, a milestone the company could repeat as it reactivates a damaged launch pad at Cape Canaveral later this year and begins service from a Texas spaceport as soon as next year.

The last time two orbital-class U.S. rockets of similar type lifted off two days apart was in March 1995, when a Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket and a similar Atlas-E launcher flew separate missions from Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base, delivering an Intelsat broadcast satellite and an Air Force weather satellite to space.

Russian Soyuz rockets, on the other hand, have flown the same day from different launch pads, most recently in March 2015, when Soyuz boosters took off two hours apart from the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan with a three-man space station crew and from the European-run space base in French Guiana with two Galileo navigation payloads.

A four-day delay in SpaceX’s previous launch from Florida, which carried a Bulgarian-owned communications satellite to orbit on a previously-flown, reused Falcon 9 booster, set up the weekend doubleheader.

Sunday’s mission began at 1:25:14 p.m. PDT (4:25:14 p.m. EDT; 2025:14 GMT), the instant when the Falcon 9 rocket could dispatch its 10 satellite passengers directly into one of the six orbital pathways populated by more than 60 Iridium communications spacecraft.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon launcher lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg, the primary launch site on the U.S. West Coast. After climbing through a soupy fog bank enshrouding the hillside launch pad, the Falcon 9 steered through clear skies on a southerly trajectory with its nine Merlin 1D main engines producing 1.7 million pounds of thrust, chugging a super-chilled combination of RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants.

After consuming most of its propellant, the first stage dropped away from the Falcon 9’s upper stage to begin a descent toward a SpaceX barge in the Pacific Ocean. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Spaceflight Now

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06-27-2017 Science&Technology
Reverso now lets you translate words using your voice

Dictionary app Reverso is getting a major update with a focus on voice features. In particular, you can now say a phrase to translate it. This might be particularly useful if you can’t spell a word or when you don’t know anything about a language and you can ask the other person to repeat a phrase to get a translation.

Conversely, when you press the tiny speaker icon, the pronunciation should now be much better and more natural. You can save, annotate and share translations if you want to improve your language skills.

The user interface has been refined and Reverso has a few learning features, such as flashcards, search history, quizzes, phrasebooks and more. Other companies such as provide neat learning tools as well.

Reverso’s key feature remains the same — the app can show you examples of how you’re supposed to use a particular word or phrase in a complete sentence. This is a great way to sound more like a native speaker.

When you’re learning a new language from scratch, having a solid translation dictionary is a great way to expand your vocabulary. But as you get better, you already know most of the words you need. You just want to use them properly and structure your sentence correctly. That’s why you need as many idiomatic examples as you can find.

Eventually, you should be able to use a standard dictionary in a foreign language. But it takes time and many apps don’t address this middle step before you can forget about translation dictionaries altogether. Reverso has scrapped a ton of content from the web, movies, books and official documents to contextualize words as much as possible.

This market is quite competitive. The most popular translation app on the App Store and Play Store is Google Translate. It has gotten better recently and it works in a ton of languages.

While Google Translate is a useful tool if you want to get a rough translation of a big chunk of text in an unknown foreign language, you shouldn’t be using this app if you’re learning a new language. Google Translate isn’t a dictionary and doesn’t give you all the information you need.

Reverso has been around for many years, and it’s interesting to see that it’s still possible to compete with giants like Google in a specific market. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Crunch

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06-26-2017 Politics
GOP's Obamacare repeal bills threaten huge disruptions across the healthcare system

Congressional Republicans, who for years blasted the Affordable Care Act for disrupting Americans’ healthcare, are now pushing changes that threaten to not only strip health coverage from millions, but also upend insurance markets, cripple state budgets and drive medical clinics and hospitals to the breaking point.

President Trump and GOP leaders have touted their Obamacare repeal bills — one passed by the House last month and a Senate version unveiled last week — as a necessary fix to problems created by the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

But in physicians’ offices and medical centers, in state capitols and corporate offices, there are growing fears that the unprecedented cuts proposed in the GOP legislation would create even larger problems in the U.S. healthcare system.

“These reductions are going to wreak havoc,” warned Tom Priselac, chief executive of Cedars Sinai Health System in Los Angeles, one of the country’s leading medical centers. “It will be a tragic step backward not just for the people most affected, but for the country as a whole.”

Trump sounded a very different note in his weekly radio address Saturday, pledging anew to save Americans from rising healthcare costs he blames on Obamacare. “The American people are calling out for relief, and my administration is determined to provide it,” he said.

Obamacare 101: A primer on key issues in the debate over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. »

Even supporters of the ACA acknowledge the current law needs adjustments, especially to insurance markets, where premiums have risen sharply in recent years and many insurers have pulled out.

But there are few indications the GOP repeal bills will bring much stability.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the House repeal bill, which Trump celebrated in a Rose Garden ceremony last month, would nearly double the number of Americans without health coverage over the next decade, pushing the ranks of the uninsured to more than 50 million.

And the Senate bill, which includes even deeper cuts over time, is unlikely to be much less disruptive.

The cascading effects of such a retrenchment will reach far beyond those who lose coverage, according to doctors, hospital leaders, insurance executives, patient advocates and state officials across the country. To date, not a single leading patient group or physician organization has supported the GOP repeal bills.

Governors and state legislators, facing huge reductions in federal Medicaid funding, may soon have to decide whether to reduce services, limit who can enroll in the healthcare safety net or make cuts to other state programs, such as education or transportation. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Los Angeles Times

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06-26-2017 Science&Technology
More Study Is Needed on Reproduction in Space If We Want to Colonize Mars


Humans are gearing up to make the next journey into the relative unknown with the first manned missions to Mars, which could come as early as 2022. The long-term goal of these missions will be to colonize the Red Planet. Experts believe that space colonization and becoming a multi-planetary species is the only way to ensure humanity’s survival.

There are plenty of obstacles beyond traveling to Mars that we will need to overcome before long-term colonization becomes a possibility, such as terraforming the planet to make it more livable for us Earthlings. Further, once a colony is established, the goal would then be to flourish, ensuring the colony’s survival in perpetuity. At this point, we are stepping into an interesting new branch of human biology, reproduction, and human development outside of Earth.

According to Kris Lehnhardt, an assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, “This is something that we, frankly, have never studied dramatically, because it’s not been relevant to date. But if we want to become a spacefaring species and we want to live in space permanently, this is a crucial issue that we have to address that just has not been fully studied yet.” Lehnhardt’s full remarks can be viewed in the video above.


One study brought freeze-dried mouse sperm into space for nine months to see if space travel would affect the health of any offspring created by it. The mouse pups were born healthy, but they were born on Earth. This experiment showed that the radiation and other physical differences of space did not hinder normal reproduction. Even so, this does not mean that these findings would translate to embryos developing in space or on another planet, nor does it mean that the results would have been the same with human sperm.

The effects of lower gravity on fetal development have yet to be studied. A lack of Earth strength gravity could hamper normal human development. And even if the child was healthy for the environment in which it developed, the question then becomes: would that child ever be able to come to Earth?

The future of space colonization is unclear. Even if all of the technology comes together to allow for colonies to be established, biological factors may play a part in hindering the full potential of sustained colonies. At the very least, this would usher in a new era of human evolution.

Read Original Article     ON:   Futurism

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06-26-2017 Science&Technology
Elon Musk Develops Reusable Rockets

Rockets are critical to space missions and they always go to waste the moment they are launched for a mission. Despite the unfathomable and enormous sums of amount these rockets demand when being developed, they are normally ravaged away by either sinking deep into the sea or crashing in the deserts.

SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk is currently working very diligently to find a suitable way of ending this wasteful norm. Musk’s first Falcon 9 rocket that was launched recently is made of rocket parts that can be recycled for other use. The rocket is world’s first orbital rocket that will be reusable and this would be the beginning of a new era in the management of space equipment.

For a long time, spacecraft missions have relied heavily on the rockets that are created for a single use. The ‘disposable rockets’ are commonly used by NASA’s space missions but they are very costly to build. With the new invention of reusable rockets, Musk believes that the space missions’ costs could be reduced to at least 100 times down.

Musk intends to drastically reduce the cost of accessing space with reusable rockets that would eventually make it affordable for the public to relocate to Mars or other planets in the space. The SpaceX craft cost more than $1 billion to build. However, various economic analysts and planetary experts are questioning the viability of Musk’s idea and long it would him to pay back his huge investment.

SpaceX has made milestones in the space missions. Since its inception, the private space firm has successfully completed more than 70 flights into space. Most of these missions are directly funded by NASA specifically for their cargo resupply at International Space Station (ISS). According to Musk, the reusable rocket idea is a huge revolution for space missions. It has taken more than 15 years to accomplish the goal.

The SpaceX proved on March 30, that it’s possible to launch satellites, cargo, and even humans into space using the reusable rocket boosters. It would be great if the world would embrace the technology that would significantly lower the costs of building space mission rockets.

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06-26-2017 Business
Six contenders to be Uber's new CEO

The search is on for a new CEO at Uber. After Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick’s reputations were damaged by revelations of misconduct and other missteps in the past several months, Kalanick finally stepped down earlier this week.

Now the company, which is battling accusations of sexism in the workplace, a lawsuit from Google over allegedly stolen technology and a federal probe over privacy issues, is trying to fill the void at the top and claw its way out of controversy.

Observers believe a chief step in that process is finding a capable new CEO who will avoid problems in a way Kalanick didn't.

Uber’s board met with three new directors to discuss the CEO search this week, with members eyeing a six-week timeline to find a replacement, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Uber has not yet had an initial public offering for its stock, but is valued at $50 billion by investors, making the CEO post an attractive, high-profile job.

But the search may prove challenging. Kalanick’s pugnacious and controversial leadership style has often been credited with catapulting the scrappy startup into a tech and transportation giant in just a few short years, and shareholders may be reluctant to fundamentally alter Uber’s formula for success.

Here’s who could take the wheel at Uber and help the company correct course:

Sheryl Sandberg

The Facebook chief operating officer has a very different reputation from Kalanick in Silicon Valley. Many see her as a steady hand who could have avoided many of his missteps.

Her experience in government would also be useful at a company that is increasingly under the scrutiny of lawmakers and regulators.

Before Facebook, Sandberg worked under then-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Uber has long fought to keep its ride-hailing model legal, and as it ramps up its work on self-driving cars, it will face a new round of regulatory hurdles that Sandberg could help navigate.

And she may be the frontrunner for the post. Insiders told the New York Post that Sandberg is the board's "top choice."

“Sheryl is seen as exactly what this company needs right now,” another source told the paper.

But Sandberg may be a hard sell. Sources close to her told the AP she’s not interested in leaving Facebook anytime soon.

Susan Wojcicki

The YouTube CEO was first seen as a potential candidate for to be Kalanick's number two in March, when the company decided he needed help.

Wojcicki has been in charge of Google’s video streaming subsidiary since 2014 and is a longtime employee of the Mountain View, Calif. giant. She managed the transition after YouTube was acquired in 2006. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Hill

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06-23-2017 Environment
The Latest: Tornado warnings in Alabama, more rain on way

NEW ORLEANS — The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

Two tornado warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service in Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey says the threat of severe weather hasn’t let up as remnants of a tropical storm push inland.

One of the warnings was issued around 1 p.m. CDT Thursday in Jefferson County near Birmingham. The other was for Tuscaloosa and Bibb Counties. The weather service indicated that damage was likely from a possible twister near Birmingham, noting radar signaled there was debris in the air.

Photographs on social media showed what appeared to be a funnel cloud in the air in the Birmingham area.

Jim Stefkovich, a meteorologist with the Alabama Emergency Agency, said Cindy dumped three to six inches of rain on coastal Alabama with up to 12 inches in some spot. More rainfall was expected through the day.

“We are not done with the threat yet,” Stefkovich said.


12:45 p.m.

Rising tides in the wake of Tropical Depression Cindy have prompted the mayor of a low-lying coastal Louisiana town to urge an evacuation.

Mayor Tim Kerner said Thursday that streets and yards in the town of Lafitte, south of New Orleans, are flooded.

Kerner said he’s concerned that fast-rising water might affect homes and automobiles throughout the town and surrounding areas — even those protected by levees.

Kerner said he issued the call for a voluntary evacuation as a precaution.

Cindy moved ashore as a tropical storm early Thursday near the Louisiana-Texas line. It weakened to a tropical depression and was moving north toward Arkansas. The system continues to pull moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and is fueling bands of heavy rain and storms throughout the Southeast.



Even as a weakening Tropical Depression Cindy moved inland over Louisiana, the effects of the storm were being felt for a third day on the Gulf Coast.

In a neighborhood in Ocean Springs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, residents awoke Thursday to flooded streets and, in a few cases, flooded homes.

Water wasn’t the only problem. Resident and neighborhood watch organizer Erin West says people are keeping an eye out for alligators that live in nearby ponds.

Meanwhile, Cindy’s intermittent wind and rain weren’t just limited to the coast. Moderate to heavy rain fell hundreds of miles away, throughout much of the Southeast and as far north as southern Illinois and Indiana.


11:50 a.m.

Louisiana’s governor is urging his state’s residents against dropping their guard now that Tropical Storm Cindy has weakened to a tropical depression. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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06-22-2017 Entertainment
Netflix launches interactive TV shows with branching narratives

Netflix’s latest episode of television is an experiment in storytelling that will be familiar to people who are familiar with video games (or Choose Your Own Adventure books). The company launched an interactive TV show today, the first in a series of efforts that will allow viewers to decide which turns a story takes.

The first interactive offering from Netflix is Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, a 23-minute spinoff of the Netflix kids series The Adventures of Puss in Boots. (The show’s titular cat originated in DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek film franchise; he starred in his own spinoff movie, Puss in Boots, in 2011.) Trapped in an Epic Tale lets viewers dictate the progression of the episode’s story, asking them questions like, in an encounter with strangers, “Should Puss fight them valiantly, or chitchat with them over tea?”

Netflix will soon expand its library with additional interactive shows. Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile, an extension of the Netflix original series Buddy Thunderstruck, is set to premiere July 14. The third title is Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, which will be a follow-up to this year’s upcoming animated series Stretch Armstrong & the Flex Fighters. Netflix said The Breakout is coming in 2018.

You may have noticed that all three of Netflix’s initial interactive shows are geared toward children, and the company did that for a reason: Consider the fact that Dora the Explorer asks kids to yell “Swiper, no swiping” at their TVs.

“The children’s programming space was a natural place for us to start since kids are eager to ‘play’ with their favorite characters and already inclined to tap, touch and swipe at screens,” said Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, Netflix’s director of product innovation, in a blog post today. “They also talk to their screens, as though the characters can hear them.”

Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale is available on a wide variety of devices that offer the streaming service. But at the moment, interactive shows will not function on Android, Apple TV, Chromecast or the Netflix website. You can still watch them on unsupported platforms — they’ll just revert to a traditional linear version without choices.

Netflix isn’t the only streaming service to explore interactive TV. Twitch is also looking to get into the field, the company said earlier this year.

Read Original Article     ON:   Polygon

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06-22-2017 Health
'Trump doesn't care about HIV,' say advisers who resigned

(CNN) - Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned last week, owing to "a president who simply does not care," one member wrote in a Newsweek op-ed on Friday headlined "Trump doesn't care about HIV. We're outta here."

"We cannot ignore the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic, or the needs of people living with HIV, seriously," wrote Scott Schoettes, the HIV project director for Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization focused on the LGBT community and people living with HIV. Schoettes was appointed to the advisory council during the Obama administration.

Schoettes said that advisers on the council, known as PACHA, had suspected the president's "lack of understanding or concern" for HIV/AIDS issues during the presidential race, but decided to stick around in hope of making change from within the administration.

On Inauguration Day, however, they noticed that the Office of National AIDS Policy website had been taken down.

"There was no mention of people with HIV anywhere (on the government website)," Schoettes, who is openly HIV-positive, told CNN.

Since becoming president, Trump has not appointed anyone to lead that office, vacant due to the change in administration, said Schoettes.

"This means no one is tasked with regularly bringing salient issues regarding this ongoing public health crisis to the attention of the President and his closest advisers," Schoettes wrote in the op-ed.

He said the piece was endorsed by other council members who resigned: Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Dr. Ulysses W. Burley III, Grissel Granados and Dr. Michelle Ogle.

The final straw, he said, came with the House Republicans healthcare plan. The current draft removes protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The bill also rolls back the expansion of Medicaid, which covers over 40 percent of people who receive care for HIV.

"HIV was the mother of all pre-existing conditions. All an insurer had to do was look and see what medications you've been on, and it was immediately obvious," said Dr. Chris Beyrer, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research and former president of the International AIDS Society.

Beyrer is not a member of PACHA.

The proposed healthcare bill also ends the requirement that Medicaid cover addiction treatment in states that expanded the program, which could put some people at greater risk of HIV, said Beyrer. Injectable drugs can directly transmit HIV, and other drug use has also been associated with HIV risk, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Beyrer described the PACHA resignations as "an important gesture" that reflects the anxieties of many HIV/AIDS advocates. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   News 4 Jax

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06-19-2017 Politics
Trump lawyer: The president is not under investigation for obstruction

A member of President Trump’s legal team said Sunday that Trump is not under investigation by the special counsel, an assessment at odds with a Washington Post report last week and seemingly with a tweet by Trump himself on Friday.

“Let me be very clear here, as it has been since the beginning, the president is not and has not been under investigation for obstruction,” lawyer Jay Sekulow said on NBC's “Meet the Press,” part of a blitz of bookings on the Sunday public affairs shows.

The Post reported last week that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who was appointed to oversee the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

On Twitter on Friday, Trump wrote as part of a tweet about the probe that “I am being investigated.”


Donald J. Trump ? @realDonaldTrump

I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt

10:07 AM - 16 Jun 2017

46,370 46,370 Retweets 146,035 146,035 likes

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“The president is not under investigation by the special counsel,” Sekulow told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “The tweet from the president was in response to the five anonymous sources that were purportedly leaking information to The Washington Post about a potential investigation of the president.”

Sekulow cited congressional testimony by fired FBI Director James B. Comey that he had told Trump on several occasions that Trump was not personally under investigations. Those conversations, however, occurred before Comey was fired and before the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation.

The Post story cited five people briefed on the interview requests, who said that the current director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, head of the National Security Agency, Mike Rogers, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators.

The five people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Sekulow’s interview with NBC was one of four scheduled Sunday-morning television appearances.

He referred to The Post story as “a fake report” during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We stand by our story, which President Trump confirmed Friday in a tweet acknowledging he is under investigation for obstruction of justice,” Post executive editor Martin Baron said Sunday.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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Top 150 World Newspapers (*)

No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 China Daily / China
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The Telegraph / United Kingdom 7 The Wall Street Journal / United States 8 USA Today / United States
9 The Times of India / India 10 The Independent / United Kingdom 11 Los Angeles Times / United States 12 El País / Spain
13 Financial Times / United Kingdom 14 The People's Daily / China 15 United Daily News / China 16 The Economic Daily / China
17 Le Monde / France 18 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 19 El Mundo / Spain 20 Daily News / United States
21 La Repubblica / Italy 22 Bild / Germany 23 Le Figaro / France 24 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia
25 Houston Chronicle / United States 26 Hürriyet / Turkey 27 Chicago Tribune / United States 28 The Examiner / United States
29 New York Post / United States 30 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 31 Corriere della Sera / Italy 32 The Economic Times / India
33 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 34 Marca / Spain 35 Liberty Times / Taiwan 36 Die Welt / Germany
37 The Globe and Mail / Canada 38 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 39 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 40 Sabah / Turkey
41 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 42 Daily Express / United Kingdom 43 Kompas / Indonesia 44 The Indian Express / India
45 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 46 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 47 The Hindu / India 48 The Toronto Star / Canada
49 The Sun / United Kingdom 50 The Age / Australia 51 The Boston Globe / United States 52 Philippine Daily Inquirer / Philippines
53 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 54 The Washington Times / United States 55 Clarín / Argentina 56 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
57 Die Zeit / Germany 58 The Onion / United States 59 Metro / United Kingdom 60 ABC / Spain
61 The Seattle Times / United States 62 The Times / United Kingdom 63 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 64 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany
65 The Hill / United States 66 Dainik Bhaskar / India 67 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 68 The Oregonian / United States
69 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea 70 La Nación / Argentina 71 The Hindustan Times / India 72 San Jose Mercury News / United States
73 The Dallas Morning News / United States 74 AS / Spain 75 The Australian / Australia 76 Star Tribune / United States
77 Qingdao News / China 78 The Jerusalem Post / Israel 79 The Plain Dealer / United States 80 L'Equipe / France
81 Komsomolskaya Pravda / Russia 82 The Denver Post / United States 83 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 84 Libération / France
85 O Globo / Brazil 86 Aftonbladet / Sweden 87 The Japan Times / Japan 88 Business Standard / India
89 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 90 Kommersant / Russia 91 Le Parisien / France 92 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand
93 Detroit Free Press / United States 94 Newsday / United States 95 The Baltimore Sun / United States 96 National Post / Canada
97 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 98 The Miami Herald / United States 99 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 100 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States
101 The Irish Independent / Ireland 102 South China Morning Post / Hong Kong SAR 103 The Irish Times / Ireland 104 The Star Online / Malaysia
105 De Telegraaf / Netherlands 106 Dawn / Pakistan 107 Der Standaard / Austria 108 The Sacramento Bee / United States
109 20 Minutos / Spain 110 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan 111 Rossiyskaya Gazeta / Russia 112 Apple Daily / Taiwan
113 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India 114 La Stampa / Italy 115 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / United States 116 20 Minutes / France
117 La Vanguardia / Spain 118 Evening Standard / United Kingdom 119 China Times / Taiwan 120 The Straits Times / Singapore
121 Orlando Sentinel / United States 122 Der Tagesspiegel / Germany 123 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 124 Verdens Gang / Norway
125 Argumenti i Fakti / Russia 126 Boston Herald / United States 127 Infobae / Argentina 128 Dagbladet / Norway
129 Independent Online / South Africa 130 The New York Observer / United States 131 Yeni Safak / Turkey 132 Seattle Post-Intelligencer / United States
133 The Kansas City Star / United States 134 Al-Ahram / Egypt 135 The Scotsman / United Kingdom 136 Nikkan Sports / Japan
137 Deseret News / United States 138 Herald Sun / Australia 139 The Vancouver Sun / Canada 140 Yang Cheng Wan Bao / China
141 Les Échos / France 142 Gulf News / United Arab Emirates 143 Yedioth Aharonot / Israel 144 Sports Nippon / Japan
145 The Orange County Register / United States 146 Expressen / Sweden 147 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 148 / Russia
149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

(*) Selected by 4International Media & Newspapers

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