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01-23-2017 Politics
Women’s marches: More than one million protesters vow to resist President Trump

More than 1 million people gathered in Washington and in cities around the country and the world Saturday to mount a roaring rejoinder to the inauguration of President Trump. What started as a Facebook post by a Hawaii retiree became an unprecedented international rebuke of a new president that packed cities large and small — from London to Los Angeles, Paris to Park City, Utah, Miami to Melbourne, Australia.

The organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, who originally sought a permit for a gathering of 200,000, said Saturday that as many as half a million people participated.

Many in the nation’s capital and other cities said they were inspired to join because of Trump’s divisive campaign and his disparagement of women, minorities and immigrants. In signs and shouts, they mocked what they characterized as Trump’s lewd language and sexist demeanor.

The marches provided a balm for those eager to immerse themselves in a like-minded sea of citizens who shared their anxiety and disappointment after Democrat Hillary Clinton’s historic bid for the presidency ended in defeat.

“We just want to make sure that we’re heard,” said Mona Osuchukwu, 27, a D.C. native. “I want her to know that she has a voice,” she said of her 3-year-old daughter, Chioma, who was with her at the march. “No matter what anyone tells her, especially as a black woman in America.”

The Washington demonstration was amplified by gatherings around the world, with march organizers listing more than 670 events nationwide and overseas in cities including Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Mexico City, Berlin and Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, where the temperature was 6 degrees below zero.

In Chicago, the demonstration was overwhelmed by its own size, after 150,000 demonstrators swamped downtown blocks. It forced officials to curtail their planned march, although thousand of protesters still paraded around the Loop. In Boston, police estimated a gathering of 125,000. In Los Angeles, officials temporarily closed some side streets to accommodate the crowds.

“We are doing our best to facilitate, because they are squeezing into every street right now,” said Capt. Andrew Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department.

New York, Miami, Denver and Seattle also had huge gatherings.

In Juneau, Alaska, one man marveled that the crowd was the biggest he had ever seen on the state Capitol’s steps. In Philadelphia, marchers filled city bridges. In Lexington, Ky., they shut down streets. In New Orleans, participants played brass instruments.

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Source: Washington Post

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01-23-2017 Science&Technology
We might be saying goodbye to the iPhone's home button

When the iPhone 7 killed off the headphone jack, some Apple fans were up in arms. If the rumors about the features of 2017's iPhone X (or whatever Apple winds up calling it) are true, the flagship phone will be losing another long-standard feature: the home button.

Don't be too sad about its passing, though — everyone will likely be too excited about what's replacing it to even notice that it's gone.

MacRumors reports that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been a reliable source for iPhone leaks in the past, released a research report today hinting at Apple's plans to remove the device's physical home button in favor of a thumbprint sensor embedded in the screen — the first step toward a new biometric sensor system.

It's not a new rumor — the home button would need to go for the bezel-free, edge-to-edge screen design that has been discussed so much — but today's information gives some more insight into the tech Apple may be developing to replace its current Touch ID system and improve its touchscreen design as it shifts to an OLED display.

According to Kuo, Apple's current "under glass" capacitive fingerprint recognition tech won't cut it if the phone has the full-screen, button-free design. Instead, the ID reader will need to shift to an "under panel" setup, which would require optical ID tech. That might get tricky, because the optical sensors will need to be compatible with flexible OLED panels. That means new, custom solutions from the panel makers to make that system work — but Kuo believes Apple has the clout to get the system it needs.

Along with the new optical sensor, Kuo seems to expect that the rumored facial tracking sensors will be included in the device, which could be used to scan users' faces as a means to verify identification.

Kuo guesses the fingerprint ID tech will "ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system" in an effort to make the iPhone's security even more stable. "However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution," he writes in the report. Once the tech is developed in future models, he predicts that transactions made on future iPhones will be verified using "a combination of the two steps of bio-recognition."

In addition to the home button overhaul, the next iPhone's 3D Touch tech might be getting a makeover. Kuo claims Apple may switch to a new, more sensitive film sensor for its touchscreen from the current FPCB sensor in the iPhone 7. This is another area where Apple will have to work around the new OLED display, so Kuo predicts a metal structural part will be implemented under the film sensor for more support.

If this year's iPhone actually arrives with a new display, new sensors and a stronger backbone, the home button's loss will be taken in stride. Just don't mention the headphone jack.

BONUS: Everything we think we know about the next iPhone

Source: Mashable

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01-23-2017 Science&Technology
Google Pixel Or Samsung Galaxy S7: Which Smartphone Is A Better Choice?

The Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S7 are top-notch Android-powered devices that are vying with each other to rein supreme in the hotly-contested smartphone space.

Both the Galaxy S7 and the Pixel are equipped with great camera capabilities and battery support. The two phablets also house a fingerprint scanner, which increases the device's security.

Here is a comparison of both the Android smartphones to help you ascertain, which is the better buy.

Display The Google Pixel has a 5-inch FHD AMOLED display, with a screen to body ratio of 68.88 percent while the Galaxy S7 has a 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display. The latter has a screen to body ratio of 72.30 percent.

The Google Pixel has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, while the Galaxy S7 has a screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. Both the devices have an Oleophobic coating, as well as scratch-proof Corning Gorilla Glass 4.

The Galaxy S7 touts a pixel density of 576 ppi, whereas the Pixel has 441 ppi by comparison.

While the screen size of the two smartphones is on even keel, the Samsung smartphone has an edge when it comes to resolution.

Processor And RAM The Pixel is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm snapdragon 821 CPU (2 x 2.15 GHz and 2 x 1.6 GHz), whereas the U.S. variant of the Galaxy S7 operates on a quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor (2 x 2.15 GHz and 2 x1.6 GHz).

Both the handsets have 4 GB of RAM.

Storage The Samsung Galaxy S7's U.S. version comes with on-board storage of 32 GB, expandable up to 256 GB. The Google Pixel, on the other hand, comes in two variants - a 32 GB model and a 128 GB model. There is no provision for accommodating an external SD card in the Google Pixel.

In this department too the Samsung smartphone betters the Google offering.

Camera The Google Pixel has a 12.3-megapixel primary camera with Dual LED flash and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The Galaxy S7, on the other hand, has a 12-megapixel primary camera with LED flash and a 5-megapixel secondary camera.

The Pixel's camera supports autofocus, OIS, geo-tagging and HDR recording. The Galaxy S7 also supports OIS, autofocus, RAW image capture, HDR recording mode and Panorama. Both the phones feature video calling facilities.

Battery Talking about the battery backup of the two phones, the Google Pixel has a non-replaceable Li-Ion 2770 mAh battery, while the Samsung Galaxy S7 has a non-replaceable 3000 mAh Li-Ion battery.

The Google Pixel supports a talk time of 26 hours (on 3G). The Galaxy S7 supports 28 hours (on 2G) per the company's claims.

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Source: Tech Times

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01-23-2017 Politics
Mexico's president to meet with Trump amid populist pressure at home

IXMIQUILPAN, MEXICO (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. President Donald Trump will meet at the end of this month to discuss trade, immigration and security issues, as the Latin American leader faces increased populist pressure at home.

Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer told a news conference on Saturday that the two leaders will meet on Jan. 31, the week after senior officials of both administrations hold bilateral talks in Washington.

Trump is committed to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and would move to withdraw if no "fair deal" is forthcoming, according to the White House website.

Pena Nieto, whose popularity has plummeted due to corruption scandals and rising inflation, has been criticized for lacking a clear strategy to counter Trump's threats to crimp trade and deport illegal immigrants.

Seeking to capitalize on that discontent, Mexican 2018 presidential forerunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Saturday said he would tour major U.S. cities starting in February.

"Enough of being passive," Lopez Obrador of the leftist Moreno party said in a statement. "We should put a national emergency plan in place to face the damage and reverse the protectionist policies of Donald Trump."

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor mounting his third presidential bid, said at a rally in the border city of Ciudad Acuna that he would "stop the hate promoted by propaganda against migrants."

Many in Mexico are worried about another Trump promise, that he will make Mexico pay for a border wall, possibly by blocking wire transfers out of the United States from Mexican nationals.

"We shouldn't pay for the wall," said Christina Validez, waiting to pick up a wire transfer from her husband in the United States at a bank in Ixmiquilpan.

"It's the other way around, all United States presidents should be grateful that all the migrants have helped the economy."

The area around Ixmiquilpan, in the central state of Hidalgo and home to some 94,000 people, received about $100 million in foreign remittances in 2015, according to data from Mexico's central bank, more than 10 times the municipal government's annual budget.

Validez said she depends on the money sent back to make ends meet and she complained about "everything" becoming more expensive after the government hiked regular gasoline prices by 14 percent at the start of the year.

Looting and violent protests followed the gasoline hike around the country. Two people died in Ixmiquilpan in clashes with state and federal police after protesters blockaded a highway and burnt vehicles.

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Source: Yahoo

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01-23-2017 Science&Technology
New Windows 10 feature helps improve battery life

Ahead of the upcoming major Windows 10 Creators Update in April, Microsoft is letting the Windows Insider signees test out all the new features and improvements that are expected to roll out to the general public soon.

Last week, the Windows 10 preview Build 15002 dropped an extensive array of new functionalities to the Edge browser, Cortana, Windows Ink, the Start Menu, Settings, and Accessibility, among others.

This week, a new preview build just hit the Insider Fast Ring and it includes more new features that aim to improve Windows 10's efficiency and performance.

New in Windows 10 Preview Build 15014 is the Power Slider on the taskbar for a quick way to adjust your power settings on the fly. Currently, the power options are still buried deep in the classic Control Panel section. The new power slider will be easily accessible directly from the taskbar without the need for going through multiple settings menus. Hopefully, this easier way of managing Windows 10's power will help your laptop's battery performance.

Preview Build 15014 also includes Microsoft's eBook store, customizable accent colors and a new setting that allows Windows 10 to automatically delete temporary files and items that have been in the Recycle Bin for 30 days.

If you want to take advantage of these early sneak peeks of upcoming Windows 10 builds, you can sign up for Microsoft's Windows Insider Program.

Important: Be forewarned that Insider builds are beta versions of Windows 10 and can be unstable. We don't recommend installing them on your main computer. Also, make sure you have a complete backup of your machine before installing any Insider build.

To join the Windows Insider Program, make sure you already have a Microsoft Account, then sign up for the program here:

Source: Komando

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01-23-2017 Sports
Australian Open 2017: World No. 1s Murray, Kerber lose on historic day

Melbourne (CNN)History was made at the Australian Open on Sunday but if you are Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber, look away now.

Murray and Kerber lost hours apart in the fourth round, leaving the tournament without both No. 1-ranked players prior to the quarterfinals for the first time in the Open Era. A day after his younger brother nearly upset one of the game's greats at the season's first major, Mischa Zverev went one better when he eliminated Murray in four sets to hand the Scot his worst grand slam defeat -- in ranking -- in a decade.

In not quite as big of an upset given her play the first week and her ever dangerous opponent, defending champion Kerber -- Zverev's fellow left-handed German -- was sent packing by 35th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe 6-2 6-3 to conclude play at Rod Laver Arena. Zverev -- a net rusher ranked 50th -- eliminated Murray 7-5 5-7 6-2 6-4, 11 years after the three-time grand slam winner was ousted by 51st-ranked Juan Chela at Melbourne Park. Zverev's sibling Alexander looked on from the player box on a warm, sunny day -- he had lost in five sets to Rafael Nadal on Saturday in cooler conditions but was in much better spirits Sunday thanks to his brother's heroics.

"Definitely the best match of my life," Zverev, into a first grand slam quarterfinal, told reporters. "Not only because it was a best-of-five set match, it was at a slam. It was just incredible." It was the earliest exit for a men's top seed at the Australian Open since Lleyton Hewitt at the same stage in 2003 and leaves the men's tournament without the top two seeds already following six-time champion Novak Djokovic's similarly unexpected reverse to Denis Istomin in the second round. For Murray -- the men's tour's standout player for the second half of last year -- it means he will have to wait to collect a first title in Melbourne.

"Definitely the best match of my life," Zverev, into a first grand slam quarterfinal, told reporters. "Not only because it was a best-of-five set match, it was at a slam. It was just incredible." It was the earliest exit for a men's top seed at the Australian Open since Lleyton Hewitt at the same stage in 2003 and leaves the men's tournament without the top two seeds already following six-time champion Novak Djokovic's similarly unexpected reverse to Denis Istomin in the second round. For Murray -- the men's tour's standout player for the second half of last year -- it means he will have to wait to collect a first title in Melbourne.

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Source: CNN

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01-23-2017 Health
New York medical marijuana program improving, but will it ever reach full potential?

NEW YORK — Karen Rodriguez used opioids to manage her crippling pain, but when the powerful drugs and the chemotherapy medication she used to treat her rheumatoid arthritis teamed up to damage her liver and kidneys, the 43-year-old Hyde Park, N.Y., woman turned to a safer alternative: cannabis.

Rodriguez became a participant in New York state’s medical marijuana program in the spring of 2016. But she was eligible to participate in the program only because she suffers from neuropathy linked to diabetes — not because of her debilitating chronic pain.

“There are days when I can’t move in the morning when I get out of bed, because of the joint pain and the nerve pain,” Rodriguez said. “But if I didn’t have neuropathy, I would not have been able to get a medical marijuana card.”

New Yorkers who suffer from chronic pain will finally be able to find relief with cannabis without violating state laws later this year, after the state Department of Health (DOH) finalizes the steps it began on Dec. 1 when it announced that it is adding chronic pain to a list of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical marijuana program.

State officials and cannabis industry analysts agree the move will open up access for thousands of chronic pain sufferers to the state’s medical marijuana program, which already included neuropathy, cancer, AIDS and other diseases as qualifying conditions. It is also expected to boost business for New York’s struggling medical cannabis providers.

Most importantly, according to Dr. Stephen Dahmer, the chief medical officer for Vireo Health, the move will provide state residents with an alternative to the addictive drugs that have fueled the nation’s painkiller crisis.

“We’ll see patients using medical marijuana as a way to get off opioids,” said Dahmer, whose company is one of the five firms licensed to grow and dispense medical cannabis in New York.

Other industry executives, however, fear the DOH chronic pain proposal, which will be finalized after a 45-day public comment period ends early next month, is only another baby step in New York’s tentative, conservative approach to medical marijuana. New York’s medical marijuana program remains one of the most restrictive in the nation.

Kate Bell, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, worries the state will set the bar too high. The DOH proposal to add chronic pain as a qualifying condition would allow medical professionals from recommending cannabis for pain only after other therapeutic options — such as opioid painkillers — have failed. Practitioners would be forbidden from recommending marijuana if they believe their patient’s pain will ease in three months or less.

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Source: The Cannabist

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01-23-2017 Science&Technology
Freeze-dried food and 1 bathroom: 6 simulate Mars in Hawaiian dome

Crammed into a dome with one bathroom, six scientists will spend eight months eating mostly freeze-dried foods — with an occasional treat of Spam — and have only their small sleeping quarters to retreat to for privacy.

The simulated stay on Mars with a carefully selected crew of researchers embarked on a mission to gain insight into the psychological toll a similar real-life voyage would have on astronauts. It's part of a NASA-funded human-behavior experiment that could help the space agency send humans to the red planet in the next 20 years.

The man-made dome that the four men and two women call home is outfitted with futuristic white walls and an elevated sleeping platform on the world's largest active volcano in Hawaii. The vinyl-covered shelter spans 1,200 square feet, or about the size of a small, two-bedroom house.

The mission began Thursday, and a video released by the group shows the six scientists in matching red polo shirts arriving and entering the dome to farewell handshakes from program associates.

Except for the presence of the white van that brought the group, the scene was reminiscent of the red planet — the dome set in a barren, rock-strewn and reddish landscape with distant hills giving the feel of a windswept and forbidding environment.

"I'm looking forward to building relationships with my crew," said mission commander James Bevington, a space scientist. "I fully anticipate coming out with five new best friends."

They will have no physical contact with people in the outside world and will work with a 20-minute delay in communications with their support crew — the time it would take for an email to reach Earth from Mars.

The project will study the psychological difficulties with living in isolated, confined conditions for an extended period.

NASA hopes to send humans to an asteroid in the 2020s and Mars by the 2030s.

The team members include engineers, a computer scientist, a doctoral candidate and a biomedical expert.

“When I started, my biggest fear was that we were going to be that crew that turned out like Biosphere 2, which wasn't a very pretty picture," Bevington said.

The experimental greenhouse-like habitat in Arizona became a debacle in the 1990s. It housed different ecosystems and a crew of eight to try to understand what would be needed for humans to live on other planets. The participants were supposed to grow their own food and recycle their air inside the sealed glass space.

But the experiment soon spiraled out of control, with the carbon dioxide level rising dangerously and plants and animals dying. The crew members grew hungry and squabbled so badly that by the time they emerged two years later, some of them weren't speaking to each other.

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Source: Los Angeles Times

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01-21-2017 General
Drug lord 'El Chapo' Guzman arrives in New York to face charges

NEW YORK – Infamous Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who twice escaped from maximum-security prisons in his country, was extradited at the request of the United States to face drug trafficking and other charges and arrived in New York late Thursday.


A plane carrying Guzman landed at a suburban airport, where a caravan of SUVs waited to take him away. Guzman, the convicted leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, one of the world's largest drug trafficking organizations, was expected to spend the night in a New York jail before his first appearance in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Friday, officials said.

Mexico's Department of Foreign Relations announced Guzman was handed over to U.S. authorities for transportation to the U.S. earlier Thursday, the last full day of Democratic President Barack Obama's administration and a day before Republican Donald Trump's scheduled inauguration.


Guzman was taken into custody by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Ciudad Juarez, a border town across from El Paso, Texas.

Guzman, who's in his late 50s, first escaped from prison in 2001 and then spent more than a decade on the run before he was recaptured, only to escape again in 2015 via a mile-long tunnel dug to the shower in his cell.

The 2015 escape was highly embarrassing for the government of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and Mexican officials were seen as eager to hand the headache off to the United States afterward. A court denied Guzman's appeal and found his extradition was constitutional, the Mexican Department of Foreign Relations said.

In Mexico, Deputy Attorney General Alberto Elias Beltran told reporters late Thursday that Guzman still faces formal charges in 10 other cases.

"When he completes his sentence in ... the United States, he will return to Mexico to continue" the prosecutions, he said.

Guzman's lawyers had fought extradition since his 2016 recapture and said Thursday the Mexican government sent him to the United States to distract the public from nationwide protests over gasoline prices.

"It was illegal. They didn't even notify us," lawyer Andres Granados said. "They handled it politically to obscure the situation of the gas price hike. It's totally political."

Besides New York, Guzman faces charges in five other U.S. jurisdictions, including San Diego, Chicago and Miami. He could face the possibility of life in a U.S. prison if convicted.

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Source: Fox News

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01-21-2017 Health
Robotic sleeve 'hugs' failing hearts

Scientists have developed a robotic sleeve that can help hearts pump when they are failing. The sleeve - made of material that mimics heart muscle - hugs the outside of the heart and squeezes it, mimicking the action of cardiac muscle. The early study, published in Science Translational Medicine, shows the concept works on pig hearts. The British Heart Foundation describes it as a "novel approach" that requires further trials. 'Synchronised movement' Over half a million people in the UK have heart failure. It is a long-term condition that gradually gets worse over time. For people with the illness, the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly - most commonly because cardiac muscle has been damaged, after a heart attack, for example. Scientists based at Harvard and the Boston Children's Hospital, and in Leeds, say their soft sleeve was inspired by the actions and structure of real heart muscle. The silicon-based device stiffens or relaxes when inflated with pressurised air. Fixing it around six pig hearts, scientists found they were able to synchronise the sleeve with each heart's shape and movements. The study shows the robotic sleeve helped boost the amount of blood being pumped around the body. And when the hearts stopped beating, the sleeves helped restore blood flow. Currently, mechanical devices can be implanted in the heart to help it pump. But because they are in direct contact with heart tissue, the body can react to them - leading to the risk of dangerous blood clots. Researchers argue their sleeve could help cut this risk by "hugging" the outside of the heart rather than being implanted inside it. But they acknowledge their research is still at an early stage and much longer-term animal studies and then human studies would need to be carried out before it could be used in patients. Christopher Allen, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "People living with end-stage heart failure are in desperate need of symptom relief, and some will even require a heart transplant. "We currently don't have enough hearts available to meet the needs of those who require a heart transplant, so we're always looking for innovative new ways to buy time to give people the best chance possible of receiving a new heart and a new lease of life. "This early research suggests a novel approach to help support heart function, and it will be interesting to see if this translates successfully in human trials in the future."

Source: BBC

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01-21-2017 Business
Uber pays $20M to settle FTC claims it duped drivers

Uber has agreed to hand over $20 million to settle claims that it misled drivers about how much money they could expect to make working for the ride-hailing service and how much it cost to buy or lease a car through the company.

The charges were brought by the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of Uber drivers. The FTC will now distribute the $20 million to drivers affected by Uber's reportedly bogus claims. Additionally, Uber is now prohibited from making false, misleading or unsubstantiated statements about drivers' income.

"We're pleased to have reached an agreement with the FTC," an Uber spokesman said in an email. "We've made many improvements to the driver experience over the last year and will continue to focus on ensuring that Uber is the best option for anyone looking to earn money on their own schedule."

Uber is one of the biggest ride-hailing services in the world with operations in more than 450 cities in more than 70 countries. More than one million people drive for Uber, but the relationship between the company and its drivers isn't always copacetic. Uber drivers have staged protests, filed lawsuits and voiced their concerns that their pay is too low.

Uber has said that drivers can make up to $30 per hour, but most drivers say they make far below that number. A November study by Jonathan Hall, an Uber employee and shareholder, says that Uber drivers make on average $20.19 per hour. But in urban areas, like Detroit, Houston and Denver, drivers make less than $13.25 per hour on average, according to a June report by Buzzfeed News.

The FTC also says drivers make far less than what Uber claims. In the agency's complaint, it says Uber claimed drivers could make $90,000 per year in New York and $74,000 in San Francisco, when actually those numbers were lower. The FTC says drivers actually made on average $61,000 in New York and $53,000 in San Francisco. The FTC alleges that Uber tried to lure in new drivers by exaggerating how much they could earn.

"When Uber's promised earnings have not materialized, and drivers have attempted to cancel their auto agreements, they have incurred significant monetary harm," the FTC wrote in its complaint. "Uber's practices have caused its drivers to suffer millions of dollars of injury."

Another component to the FTC's complaint is about Uber's vehicle financing program. The agency claims that Uber said it would provide drivers with the "best financing options available" and that they could own a car for as little as $140 per week or lease a car with payments as low as $119 per week.

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Source: CNet

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01-21-2017 Cars
Tesla’s Self-Driving System Cleared in Deadly Crash

Eight months after a fatal crash involving a Tesla Motors car operating in a computer-assisted mode, federal auto-safety regulators said their investigation of the car found no defects in the system that caused the accident and said Tesla’s Autopilot-enabled vehicles did not need to be recalled.

The outcome is a major win for Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, who has forcefully promoted the car’s technological prowess and ability to prevent accidents. The crash on May 7, 2016, attracted widespread attention and threatened to sidetrack the company’s push toward autonomous vehicles.

The regulators warned, however, that advanced driver-assistance systems like the one in Tesla’s cars could be relied on to react properly in only some situations that arise on roadways. And the officials said that all automakers needed to be clear about how the systems should be used. Almost all major automakers are pursuing similar technology.

“Not all systems can do all things,” said Bryan Thomas, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency that investigated the car involved in the May accident. “There are driving scenarios that automatic emergency braking systems are not designed to address.”

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Continue reading the main story Tesla’s self-driving software, known as Autopilot, has proved adept at preventing Tesla cars from rear-ending other vehicles, but situations involving crossing traffic — as was the case in the crash that regulators investigated — “are beyond the performance capabilities of the system,” Mr. Thomas said.


Continue reading the main story “Autopilot requires full driver engagement at all times,” he said.

First introduced in October 2015, Autopilot uses radar and cameras to scan the road for obstacles and other vehicles, and can brake, accelerate and even pass other vehicles automatically. It tracks lines on highways to stay within lanes.

The investigation was set off by the accident that killed Joshua Brown, a 40-year-old from Ohio. His 2015 Tesla Model S was operating under its Autopilot system on a state highway in Florida when it crashed into a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road in front of his car.

Tesla has said its camera failed to recognize the white truck against a bright sky. But the agency essentially found that Mr. Brown was not paying attention to the road. It determined he set his car’s cruise control at 74 miles per hour about two minutes before the crash, and should have had at least seven seconds to notice the truck before crashing into it.

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Source: The New York Times

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01-19-2017 Politics
Chelsea Manning: Obama reduces sentence of Wikileaks source

US President Barack Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence for leaking documents to Wikileaks in 2010. The 29-year-old transgender US Army private, born Bradley Manning, will be freed on 17 May instead of her scheduled 2045 release.

She was sentenced to 35 years in 2013 for her role in leaking diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy group. The leak was one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history. The commutation reduces Manning's sentence but is not a pardon, which some campaigners had called for.

Manning's uncle, Kevin Fox, referring to Chelsea as a man, told the BBC the family was "over the moon". "It's sooner than we expected - we didn't expect his case even to be looked at for another three or four years," Mr Fox said. Manning lived for four years as a teenager in Wales. Her Welsh family said in a statement that they were "overjoyed", adding that there would "always be a welcome for her here in Wales". Manning twice attempted suicide last year at the male military prison where she is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She also went on a hunger strike last year, which she ended after the military agreed to provide her with gender transition treatment.

Mr Obama granted commutation of sentences to 209 individuals and pardons to 64 others, in one of his final acts as president. Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who leaked information on mass surveillance programmes before fleeing the US, was not granted a pardon. Russian authorities said on Wednesday that Mr Snowden had been granted a two-year extension to his temporary asylum in the country.

What's the reaction? Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, told the BBC the decision would be a great relief to his client. "It really is a great act of mercy by President Obama," said Mr Coombs. Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story of Edward Snowden's leaks, told the BBC: "I don't think she (Manning) should have spent a single day in prison." He said she was "heroic and has inspired millions of people around the world".

Writing on Twitter, Mr Snowden said: "Let it be said here in earnest, with good heart: Thanks, Obama." But Republican Senator John McCain said the decision was "a grave mistake that I fear will encourage further acts of espionage". And House Speaker Paul Ryan, also a Republican, called it "outrageous". What was in the leaked cables? The US Army charged Manning with 22 counts relating to the unauthorised possession and distribution of more than 700,000 secret diplomatic and military documents and video. Included in those files was video footage of an Apache helicopter killing 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

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Source: BBC

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01-18-2017 Politics
Putin: Those who leaked Trump dossier 'worse than prostitutes'

In a speech that one-upped even some of the president-elect’s colorful Twitter commentary, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called Donald Trump’s political enemies “worse than prostitutes” for disseminating a dubiously-sourced dossier last week alleging a relationship between Trump and the Kremlin.

Speaking during a news conference, Putin said last week’s leak of the 35-page report -- written by a private investigator as a series of memos and eventually passed on to the intelligence community -- was a last-ditch attempt on the part of President Obama’s outgoing administration to “undermine the legitimacy of the president-elect.”

“Prostitution is an ugly social phenomenon . . . but people who order such fakes, which are now used against the elected president of the United States, fabricate information and use it in the political struggle, they are worse than prostitutes,” Putin said, according to a translation by Sputnik News. “They have no moral limits.”


The series of memos alleged that Russian intelligence had years ago secretly recorded embarrassing footage of Trump in an attempt to compromise the then-business magnate. Putin dismissed that claim as “an obvious fake.”

“Trump, when he came to Moscow a few years ago, was not a politician,” Putin said. “We did not even know about his political ambitions,” Putin said. “He was just a businessman, one of the richest men in America. Is someone really thinking that our intelligence agencies are chasing every American billionaire, or what? Of course not. It’s just a complete nonsense.”

He said some seem “ready to organize a ‘Maidan’ in Washington," in reference to the alleged U.S. role in organizing protests in the main square of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. That action helped chase the nation's Russia-friendly president from power in 2014.

Putin cited two goals he believed were behind the leaking of the allegations: (1) to undermine Trump’s “legitimacy” and (2) “to tie the hands and legs of the newly-elected president related to the implementation of his pre-election campaign promises to the American people and the international community.”

Trump on Twitter has openly questioned if the intelligence community was behind leaking the memos to the press. BuzzFeed released the documents in bulk last week despite the site’s own disclaimer that much of the information could not be verified.

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Source: Fox News

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01-18-2017 General
MH370 hunt ends, maybe forever, after nearly 3 years, $160M

SYDNEY (AP) -- The nearly three-year search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ended Tuesday, possibly forever — not because investigators have run out of leads, but because the countries involved in the expensive and vast deep-sea hunt have shown no appetite for opening another big phase.

Late last year, as ships with high-tech search equipment covered the last strips of the 120,000-square kilometer (46,000-square mile) search zone, experts concluded they should have been searching a smaller area immediately to the north. But by then, $160 million had already been spent by Malaysia, Australia and China, who had agreed over the summer not to search elsewhere without pinpoint evidence.

The transport ministers of those countries reiterated that decision Tuesday in the joint communique issued by the Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia that announced the search for Flight 370 — and the 239 people aboard the aircraft — had been suspended.

"Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft," said the agency, which helped lead the hunt for the Boeing 777 in remote waters west of Australia.

"Accordingly, the underwater search for MH370 has been suspended. The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness."

Relatives of those lost on the plane, which vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, responded largely with outrage. A support group, Voice 370, issued a statement saying that extending the search is "an inescapable duty owed to the flying public."

Without understanding what happened to the plane, there's a "good chance that this could happen in the future," said K.S. Narendran, a member of the group.

But last year, Australia, Malaysia and China agreed that the hunt would be suspended once the search zone was exhausted unless new evidence emerged that indicated the plane's specific location. More than half of those aboard the plane were Chinese.

Since no technology currently exists that can tell investigators exactly where the plane is, that means the most expensive, complex search in aviation history is over, barring a change of heart from the three countries.

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01-17-2017 Politics
Tumult surrounds Trump days ahead of his presidency

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump is four days away from assuming the presidency after one of the most tumultuous transitions in modern history, setting the stage for a rocky period of dramatic change, partisan acrimony and unpredictable results.

Trump will take office with far lower poll ratings than his recent predecessors, with majorities of Americans doubtful of his capacity to handle the job. He's at war with the nation's intelligence agencies, has a dysfunctional relationship with the press, is fighting claims that he's too cozy with Russia and is brushing off conventional ethical standards for an incoming president. China has warned him about changing policy related to Taiwan and Mexico has threatened retaliation if Trump imposes a border tax. John Lewis became one of the most prominent Democrats to call the legitimacy of Trump's presidency into question, prompting a weekend retort from the President-elect, who tweeted that the civil rights icon is "all talk" and "no action."

For any other incoming president, such a pile of controversies and crises would suggest an early political disaster is imminent for the new White House. But Trump broke the mold in his outsider campaign and has repeatedly shrugged off scandals and controversies that would have downed normal politicians. He appears determined to shake up conventions that have built up around the presidency for two centuries and has little time for those who say he lacks presidential demeanor. In fact, many of the political storms raging as he takes office have been instigated by Trump himself. Inciting chaos and disruption has been the key to his political career, helping him rupture the Republican establishment and win the White House. He seemingly has no plans to change tactics in the White House. "He is reinventing the modern presidency," said Timothy Naftali, a CNN presidential historian. But as Trump takes office, his signature style, designed to keep everyone off balance, is facing its most significant test. Will his confrontational, brazen approach, the prosecution of personal grudges on social media and tendency to stir disorientation prove to be a workable template for a presidency? And will his method of deliberately picking at societal fault lines work when Trump is president of all Americans? Metrics for success "Only time will tell whether he succeeds as a leader," said Naftali, who also teaches at New York University and warns that while Trump often plays by different rules, history will not. "We know the metrics for success haven't changed -- public opinion, bills passed, confidence around the world, confidence at home, a strong economy. All these things are the same metrics."

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Source: CNN

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Top 100 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 The Wall Street Journal / United States
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The People's Daily / China 7 The Daily Telegraph / United Kingdom 8 USA Today / United States
9 Los Angeles Times / United States 10 El Mundo / Spain 11 La Repubblica / Italy 12 The Times of India / India
13 Bild / Germany 14 Corriere della Sera / Italy 15 The Examiner / United States 16 The Independent / United Kingdom
17 El País / Spain 18 The Financial Times / United Kingdom 19 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia 20 Daily News / United States
21 Chicago Tribune / United States 22 Le Monde / France 23 Marca / Spain 24 Hürriyet / Turkey
25 Die Welt / Germany 26 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 27 The Sun / United Kingdom 28 New York Post / United States
29 The Age / Australia 30 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 31 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 32 The Washington Times / United States
33 Die Zeit / Germany 34 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 35 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand 36 The Onion / United States
37 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 38 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 39 The Chicago Sun-Times / United States 40 Al-Ahram / Egypt
41 Le Figaro / France 42 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 43 The Hindu / India 44 Houston Chronicle / United States
45 The Seattle Times / United States 46 Libération / France 47 The Globe and Mail / Canada 48 De Standaard / Belgium
49 The Irish Times / Ireland 50 The Toronto Star / Canada 51 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 52 Mercury News / United States
53 The Australian / Australia 54 The Denver Post / United States 55 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 56 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea
57 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 58 Aftonbladet / Sweden 59 Kommersant / Russia 60 Bangkok Post / Thailand
61 Star Tribune / United States 62 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 63 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 64 Dawn / Pakistan
65 El Universal / Mexico 66 The Miami Herald / United States 67 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 68 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India
69 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States 70 Sports Nippon / Japan 71 L'Equipe / France 72 Die Presse / Austria
73 Detroit Free Press / United States 74 Neue Zürcher Zeitung / Switzerland 75 Clarín / Argentina 76 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
77 The Sacramento Bee / United States 78 China Daily / China 79 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 80 AS / Spain
81 The Baltimore Sun / United States 82 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany 83 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 84 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan
85 Boston Herald / United States 86 The Dallas Morning News / United States 87 The Times / United Kingdom 88 Newsday / United States
89 Orlando Sentinel / United States 90 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 91 Taipei Times / Taiwan 92 The Hindustan Times / India
93 The Economic Times / India 94 Kompas / Indonesia 95 The Observer / United Kingdom 96 Jornal de Notícias / Portugal
97 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 98 ABC / Spain 99 Le Soir / Belgium 100 The Kansas City Star / United States

(*) Selected by 4International Media & Newspapers

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