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02-27-2017 Politics
Trump bails on White House Correspondents' Dinner

President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he will not attend the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, D.C., capping a week in which he condemned the media and sought to snuff out leaks from within his own White House.

The move to withdraw from the dinner, which in the past has been criticized for its sometimes awkward schmoozing between the press and the administration it covers, was in line with the president’s increasingly adversarial relationship with the media, and came just a day after the White House froze out a number of news organizations from a briefing with the press secretary.

The announcement, which came in Trump’s preferred method of communication — a tweet — said that Trump would pass on the April dinner, which benefits a journalism scholarship and recognizes reporters for their coverage of the president and is traditionally attended by major media outlets, celebrity guests and the president.

His refusal to attend comes amid reports that media outlets like CNN and MSNBC have been considering skipping the event at the Washington Hilton.

"I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening," Trump tweeted.

Trump's move comes in the heat of his ongoing battle with the media, which he has labeled the opposition party and "fake news.”

The dinner will still go on even without the president, according to the White House Correspondents Association.

"We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner

"We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession,” said association president Jeff Mason in a statement

Trump is the first president to skip the annual dinner that began in 1921 in over 30 years. Ronald Reagan was the last president to skip the dinner, as he was recovering from a gunshot wound following an assassination attempt. He still provided some remarks by phone.

"It's unfortunate but not terribly surprising that President Trump won't attend the dinner,” said veteran White House reporter Julie Mason, host of the “Press Pool” on SiriusXM's POTUS channel and a WHCA secretary and board member from 2009-2012.

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Source: Politico

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02-27-2017 Politics
Thomas Perez elected the first Latino leader of Democratic Party

ATLANTA — Former labor secretary Thomas Perez was elected the first Latino chair of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday, narrowly defeating Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) at the end of a contentious battle over the fate of the beleaguered party in the age of President Trump.

Perez’s victory concluded the first contested race for the DNC leadership since 1985, a contest the party had extended by a month to allow more debate. It put in place the Democratic leadership that will navigate thousands of state and local elections — where the party hopes to reverse the losses of the past six years — and a 2020 presidential race that could divide the party again.

Ellison’s defeat was a blow to the party’s liberal wing, personified by activists, labor leaders and organizers, many of whom had supported the presidential bid of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and had come to Atlanta to cheer Ellison on. Many of them warned that by picking Perez, the party was alienating the growing “resistance” that has organized against Trump.

The race was close enough that it required a second round of balloting, with Perez winning 235 of 435 votes cast. With tensions still high as the result was announced, nine Ellison supporters chanted “Party for the people, not big money!” and stormed out of the room.

“Someday, they’re going to study this era of American history,” Perez said after his win. “They’re going to ask the question of all of us: Where were you in 2017 when we had the worst president in the history of the United States? We will be able to say that the Democratic Party led the resistance and made sure this was a one-term president.”

Onstage, Perez gave Ellison the symbolic role of deputy party chair, and the Minnesota congressman gave a short speech asking his supporters to stay with the party and avoid recriminations.

“We don’t have the luxury to walk out of this room divided,” Ellison said.

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, tweeted her support for both ­Perez and Ellison as representatives of a “unified party,” while former president Barack Obama congratulated “my friend” Perez in a statement.

“I know that Tom Perez will unite us under that banner of opportunity, and lay the groundwork for a new generation of Democratic leadership for this big, bold, inclusive, dynamic America we love so much,” Obama said.

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Source: The Washington Post

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02-27-2017 Science&Technology
Back to the future: BlackBerry KEYone launches with physical keyboard Testers liked using the tiny k

BARCELONA -- BlackBerry phones with their physical keyboards were around years before the iPhone emerged in 2007. Yet, BlackBerry devices today command less than 1% of the world's smartphone market.

Under a licensing deal with BlackBerry of Canada announced last year, TCL Communication of China on Saturday announced another physical keyboard smartphone model called the BlackBerry KEYone.

In a bid to recall the glory days of BlackBerry, the KEYone features a 4.5-in. touchscreen as well as 52 raised physical keys in four rows at the bottom and a speedy SnapDragon 625 processor.

The device goes on sale globally in April. In the U.S., the phone will have a price tag of $549. It will be available on major U.S. carriers, but first will be sold online, BlackBerry officials said.

At an event in Barcelona days before the start of the Mobile World Congress trade show, TCL officials called the KEYone the world's most secure Android phone. It will run Android 7.1 but will add on traditional BlackBerry security, including an on-phone security tool called DTEK.

Now in its third version, DTEK lets a user quickly check if apps are meeting the security permissions that the user has authorized. If an app is accessing a user's camera to take a photo or turn on the phone's microphone, the user can be alerted.

TCL is licensed by BlackBerry to manufacture and distribute the new KEYone, but BlackBerry still has its hands on the phone's security development, said Steve Cistulli, TCL North America president.

All the security software related to the KEYone will be compiled by engineers in Canada where it will be signed and certified—an important consideration given the state of foreign affairs and international cybersecurity concerns about the nation of origin for security software, he added.

TCL's goal is to beef up BlackBerry's 1% market share in the U.S. to 3% by 2020, and to jack up the current 5% share in Canada to 8% to 10%, Cistulli said.

"We'll compete directly with Apple and Samsung," he said, pointing to the top two smartphone makers in the world. TCL will start by taking the KEYone directly to BlackBerry customers, who number about 275 million globally.

After that, BlackBerry will market to consumers who are in the bring-your-own-device market, he said. TCL makes televisions sold in the U.S., but is largely unknown there.

TCL also makes lower-cost Alcatel smartphones sold in the U.S., but the KEYone will be a higher-priced flagship brand, he said.

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Source: Computer World

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02-27-2017 Cars
The Jaguar F-PACE sets a new standard for beauty in luxury SUVs

It's a Jaguar. It's an SUV. It's a Jaguar SUV.

Yes, that day has finally come. At the Los Angeles auto show in 2015, Jaguar Land Rover officially unveiled its first-ever sport utility for the US market. Last year later, we got our hands on it.

In the flesh, the vehicle, called F-PACE, was as stunning on the street as we initially thought it was on the showroom floor in LA. The name, which is meant to connect the crossover in nomenclature with Jag's F-Type sports cars, is weird. But the machine is beautiful — the most gorgeous SUV currently available, we think, thanks to the aesthetic ministrations of designer Ian Callum.

Jaguar shares a corporate stable with Land Rover, so it's not as if these folks don't know how to bolt together a stupendous offroader. They've been doing it for decades.

But how would a Jaguar SUV stack up? After all, Jag is a sedan-and-sports-car brand, full of British panache. Does a suburban family hauler really fit, even it if that's what the market wants?

We had a few days in the Northeast with the 2017 F-PACE to find out:

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Source: Business Insider

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02-27-2017 Cars
Dealership taken for a ride when $150k Maserati disappears

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — A Maserati is missing after police say a man conned a salesman during a test drive.

Boca Raton police say 45-year-old Michael McGilvary II went to a dealership to test drive a $150,000 Maserati GranTurismo.

He and a salesman drove to a marina so McGilvary could supposedly show his girlfriend the car. They walked down the dock, then McGilvary told the salesman he would get his girlfriend. When he didn’t return after 30 minutes, the salesman searched for McGilvary. The valet told him McGilvary had driven off.

McGilvary was arrested Wednesday on auto theft charges, one day later, but the car wasn’t found. McGilvary was being held Saturday by federal authorities on a probation violation. It couldn’t be determined if he has an attorney.

Source: Boston

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02-27-2017 Science&Technology
NASA Will Consider Adding Crew to Next-Gen Rocket's Debut Launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA will take about a month to assess how much extra time, money and risk would be added to the debut flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket if a two-member crew was aboard, officials said today.

The launch, called Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), is currently scheduled to be the first test flight of the SLS booster, which will send an uncrewed Orion capsule into deep space. Under the existing plan, a crew would fly aboard the Orion/SLS system on the EM-2 mission in 2021.

The Trump administration has asked NASA to look at either adding crewmembers to the EM-1 flight or advancing the launch of EM-2, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations, told reporters during a news conference today (Feb. 24). [Photos: NASA's Space Launch System for Deep Space Flights]

Moving up the date of EM-2 is not feasible because of changes that have to be made to the SLS launch platform to accommodate a taller upper-stage motor that NASA plans to have in place for that mission, NASA officials said during the news conference.

Gerstenmaier said he also directed his team to look only at options that would take about one year or less to implement, so that a crewed EM-1 flight could launch in 2019.

"I felt that if we went much beyond 2019, then we might as well fly EM-2 and actually do the (plan) we're on," Gerstenmaier said.

The Orion spacecraft has not been fully upgraded to support human passengers since its first test flight in December 2014 (atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket). Gerstenmaier said he has no estimate on the additional costs of adding life support, an abort system and other hardware that would be needed for EM-1 to fly with a crew.

"This study will determine how much additional time is needed … to add crew to EM-1," Gerstenmaier said. "We will definitely have a [later launch date]. We also recognize we'll need to add some additional funding."

The prospective mission would have a two-member crew fly in an Orion capsule on an eight- to nine-day mission around the moon, similar to the flight of Apollo 8 in 1968.

NASA's independent Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel said in a meeting Thursday (Feb. 23) that the reasons for having astronauts fly on EM-1 must be compelling enough to override the additional cost, schedule and safety risks.

"We are not proposing what the outcome of NASA's assessment should be," Patricia Sanders, chairwoman of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, said during the meeting. "But in the assessment, we strongly advise that NASA carefully and cautiously weigh the value proposition for flying crew on EM-1."

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Source: Space

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02-27-2017 Health
Pregnant Women With Genital Herpes Twice As Likely To Have Child With Autism

Women with genital herpes infection early in pregnancy are twice as likely to bear a child with autism compared with other women. Autism Spectrum Disorder Findings of a new research released on Wednesday show that pregnant women with herpes simplex 2, the virus responsible for most cases of genital herpes infections had higher risk of giving birth to kids with autism spectrum disorder, a development condition marked by difficulty in social interaction as well as repetitive behaviors and interest. Playvolume00:00/00:00Untitled VideoTruvid

Autism symptoms tend to emerge when children reach 2 to 4 years old albeit animal studies suggest that the neurodevelopmental disorder may start during early brain development. Genital Herpes About one in five women in the U.S. has HSV-2. The virus is highly contagious and lifelong infection, which is usually spread through sex, is lifelong. Following an initial outbreak, the virus lives in near nerve cells and is often inactive. Flare-ups become less frequent as the body builds up its immunity to the virus. Genital Herpes Virus And Autism Viruses such as Zika and rubella are known to infect the developing brain of an unborn child and possibly cause brain damage but things are a little different when it comes to autism. Infectious disease expert Ian Lipkin, from Columbia University, said that people tend to associate viruses going into tissues and damage cells but this is not the same with autism. Lipkin said that it is the inflammation, or the pregnant woman's immune response, that causes the damage. It is possible that inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines cross the placenta and affect the developing brain of the fetus. Study researcher Milada Mahic, also from Columbia University said that the mother's immune response to HSV-2 may possible disrupt the development of the fetal central nervous system which raises risk for autism. For the study, Lipkin and colleagues compared 442 mothers of children with autism and 464 women whose babies do not have autism. The researchers tested the women's immune responses to four viruses that are known to cause birth defects namely cytomegalovirus, rubella, herpes simplex 1, which causes cold sores, and HSV-2. The researchers found that the women with high levels of antibodies to HSV-2 midway through pregnancy have twice the risk of having a baby that would later be diagnosed with autism. The other viruses did not seem to affect autism risk though. The increased levels of antibodies to HSV-2 hint of either a recent primary infection or a

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Source: Tech Times

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02-27-2017 Science&Technology
It’s our Solar System in miniature, but could TRAPPIST-1 host another Earth?

Scientists have discovered seven Earth-sized planets, so tightly packed around a dim star that a year there lasts less than two weeks. The number of planets and the radiation levels they receive from their star, TRAPPIST-1, make these worlds a miniature analogue of our own Solar System.

The excitement surrounding TRAPPIST-1 was so great that the discovery was announced with an article in Nature accompanied by a NASA news conference. In the last two decades, nearly 3,500 planets have been found orbiting stars beyond our Sun, but most don’t make headlines.

How likely are we really to find a blue marble like our Earth among these new worlds?

Earth 2.0? We still know little about these planets with certainty, but initial clues look enticing.

All seven worlds complete an orbit in between 1.5 and 13 days. So closely are they huddled that a person standing on one planet might see the neighbouring worlds in the sky even larger than our Moon. The short years place the planets closer to their star than any planet sits to the Sun. Happily, they avoid being baked by TRAPPIST-1 because it is incredibly dim.

TRAPPIST-1 is a small ultracool dwarf star with a luminosity roughly 1/1000th that of the Sun. Comparing the two at Wednesday’s news conference, lead author of the Nature paper, Michaël Gillon, said that if the Sun were scaled to the size of a basketball, TRAPPIST-1 would be a puny golf ball. The resulting paltry amount of heat means that three of the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets actually receive similar amounts of radiation as Venus, Earth and Mars.

This alternative Solar System does look like a compact version of our own, but does TRAPPIST-1 include an Earth 2.0?

Artists impression of the seven TRAPPIST-1 worlds, compared to our solar system’s terrestrial planets.


Here’s the good news first.

The seven siblings are all Earth-sized, with radii between three quarters and one times that of our home planet and masses that range from roughly 50% to 150% of Earth’s (the mass of the outermost world remains uncertain).

Because all are smaller than 1.6 times Earth’s radius, the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets are likely to be rocky worlds, not gaseous Neptunes. TRAPPIST-1d, e and f are within the star’s temperate region — aka the “Goldilocks zone” where it’s not too hot and not too cold — where an Earth-like planet could support liquid water on its surface.

The orbits of the six inner planets are nearly resonant, meaning that in the time it takes for the innermost planet to orbit the star eight times, its outer siblings make five, three and two orbits.

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Source: The Huffington Post

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02-25-2017 Science&Technology
Amazon Protects Customer Data In Murder Trial, Arguing That Alexa Speech Falls Under First Amendment

Amazon is keen on protecting customer data and it's still refusing to turn over Echo recordings requested in a murder investigation, going for a First Amendment argument. For those unfamiliar with the whole matter, Amazon received an order last year to turn over audio from an Echo device, along with account and subscriber information, to help solve a murder investigation. Playvolume00:00/00:00Untitled VideoTruvid

More specifically, Arkansas police have been investigating James Andrew Bates, accused of murdering friend Victor Collins in November 2015, and requested Amazon to hand over the audio recordings for Bates' Echo speaker just in case Alexa overheard the murder. Amazon Alexa Speech Protected By First Amendment Amazon agreed to hand over subscriber information and purchase history, but drew a line when it came to Echo recordings. Two months later, Amazon is still keeping a firm stance in the matter and it has now filed a motion to quash the search warrant requesting Echo audio recordings. The company argues that the speech of Alexa, the digital assistant at the heart of Amazon Echo, is protected by the First Amendment. Consequently, Amazon wants the warrant thrown out since First Amendment rights would apply in the case of Bates' interactions with Alexa on his Amazon Echo. Amazon argues that not only are the users' voice commands protected as free speech, but the Alexa Voice Service as well. Both requests and responses to Alexa included details that would disclose a lot about the user and their interests, Amazon argues, therefore the government should protect the speech. Moreover, since Alexa's responses somewhat reflect both the users' and Amazon's speech, Alexa should also have protection, Amazon's lawyers argue. "At the heart of that First Amendment protection is the right to browse and purchase expressive materials anonymously, without fear of government discovery," explained the legal team. "The responses may contain expressive material, such as a podcast, an audiobook, or music requested by the user. Second, the response itself constitutes Amazon's First Amendment-protected speech." Alexa's Responses Are A Constitutionally Protected Opinion Amazon's lawyers went further to argue that Alexa's selection of what details to include in a response is a "constitutionally protected opinion," much like the rankings of search results on Google. Consequently, Alexa should qualify for "full constitutional protection."

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Source: Tech Times

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02-25-2017 Politics
North Korea’s Kim Jong Nam Killed With VX, the ‘Most Toxic Weapon Ever’

The half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was assassinated using the deadliest nerve agent known to man.

VX is a chemical so potent that the United Nations classes it as a weapon of mass destruction.

Malaysian police revealed Friday that Kim Jong Nam's body contained traces of VX, a colorless, odorless, tasteless liquid that's deadly in microscopic amounts.

Authorities allege he was assassinated by two women who wiped the substance on his face while he waited to board a flight at Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb. 13.

South Korean intelligence officials believe this was an assassination plot orchestrated by the North Korean government.

Here's the lowdown on VX.

What is it? "VX is the most toxic chemical weapon ever produced," according to Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former NATO commanding officer and leading chemical weapons expert.

It's banned under several international conventions and was designated a weapon of mass destruction by a U.N. resolution in April 1991.

Its origins date back to the early 1950s, when a British scientist named Ranajit Ghosh was researching pesticides and developed the "V-series" of nerve agents — the V stood for "venom."

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington-based think tank, the compound was deemed to deadly for commercial use.

However, the U.K. shared the formula with the American government, which began full-scale production of VX in 1961.

Who has it? During the Cold War, both Washington and Moscow built up large quantities of chemical weapons, including VX.

But after signing the Chemical Weapons Convention, which banned the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, the U.S. says it has destroyed all of its arsenal and Russia has pledged to do the same by 2020.

Elsewhere, the spread of VX is believed to be relatively contained, mainly because it takes a sophisticated laboratory to produce.

Saddam Hussein was accused successfully weaponizing VX in the 1980s, before using it against Iranian forces and the Kurds.

A decade later, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo killed 12 people on the Tokyo subway using the less-toxic nerve agent sarin. The group also killed one person using VX.

The apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam would add North Korea to this inglorious list.

Although the recent focus has been on its nuclear arsenal, the country is believed to possess between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

"Nerve agents such as Sarin and VX are thought be to be the focus of North Korean production," it said, although Kim's death would be the first known occasion where the country has actually deployed it.

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Source: Nbc News

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02-25-2017 Science&Technology
Scam: Google Chrome ‘update' infects computers with malware

Google Chrome is the nation’s most popular web browser, meaning one recent scam could affect a massive amount of Internet users. Cybersecurity experts are now warning Chrome users of the widespread scam, which affects only those who use Windows – Mac users are safe from it, for the time being, according to KCRA and other sources. The scam infects computers with malware – short for malicious software -- through a simple popup window that asks them to download an update. "The compromise starts when a victim innocently navigates to a website that has already been compromised by a hacker. Hackers launch their scam specifically from compromised WordPress web sites," Scott Schober, cybersecurity expert and author of "Hacked Again" told KCRA. "The script re-writes the compromised website on the victim's browser, creating an illegible page that is completely fake and prompts the user to download a supposed corrective font." The popup alert reads, "The 'HoeflerText' font wasn't found."

If users click on it, a form of malware titled "Chrome_Font v7.5.2.exe” downloads to their computers, and they are officially infected. Schober explained of the popup, "This appears extremely convincing, yet is actually malware,” adding, "It appears credible as it mimics the Google Chrome browser." He added that users can stay safe from malware by staying vigilant and avoiding download files from unknown sites. To learn how to manually remove “The HoeflerText font wasn’t found” pop-ups click here:

Source: ABC Action News

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02-25-2017 Science&Technology
Nintendo Switch: everything you need to know about the console

In typical Nintendo style, the company’s latest console – the Switch – is a rather eccentric device. A lot of people are still not entirely sure what to expect when it hits retailers worldwide on 3 March.

We’ve spent a couple of days with one and here’s what we’ve learned so far.

The basics The Switch is launching on 3 March, at the price of £280 – though some retailers may offer it for slightly less, or in bundles with selected launch titles. The console features a built-in 6.2in display and two J-Con controllers, which attach either side. These can be removed and attached to a dedicated ‘grip’ device, creating a more traditional-looking controller. To play games on a TV, the Switch can be placed in a dock which connects to the television via an HDMI cable – the game then instantly appears on screen. While docked, the built-in Switch display is not visible.

Battery life The Switch battery will last between 2.5 and 6.5 hours on a single charge. According to Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be played for around three hours before you’ll need to charge again. The Joy-Cons will last significantly longer, though, with an estimated 20-hour battery life.

In the box The Switch comes with the console itself, the two Joycon controllers, two Joycon wrist straps (which attach to the sides of each controller, and also provide larger side buttons), the dock, the grip, a power adaptor and an HDMI cable. There is no game included, and the grip is not the more advanced “charging grip”, which lets you play and charge the Joy-Cons at the same time.

Out of the box When you turn on a Switch, don’t expect a rich experience immediately. Version one of the system software makes it extremely clear that this is a machine for playing games only. As well as the app launcher, which shows all the games you’ve played and installed, there are a few more icons down the bottom: a picture viewer, for all the images you’ve captured; a newsfeed, for Nintendo to send chatty updates to you; the eShop, which we couldn’t use because it wasn’t turned on yet; and system settings, controller settings, and an off button.

The games Switch is launching with the following 11 titles:

1-2-Switch The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Skylanders Imaginators Just Dance 2017 Super Bomberman R Binding of Isaac Afterbirth+ I Am Setsuna World of Goo Little Inferno Human Resource Machine Snipperclips

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Source: The Guardian

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02-22-2017 Politics
Trump's new national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, is temperamentally a shift from the ousted Fl

President Trump’s selection Monday of a cerebral, widely respected military strategist as his new national security advisor signaled an abrupt about-face from the chaotic tenure of Michael Flynn, forced out last week just shy of a month on the job.

The choice of Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, 54, who has a reputation for battlefield acumen as well as scholarly achievement, won quick bipartisan plaudits from key lawmakers charged with oversight of national security and intelligence — a boon for a White House still seeking its footing after first-month missteps.

Trump infused his choice of Flynn’s replacement with some of his trademark showmanship, summoning his four finalists for interviews over the weekend before the announcement of McMaster at his Mar-a-Lago resort here. The president then brought the cameras into an ornate sitting room to introduce McMaster, seated beside him in uniform, as “a man of tremendous talent and experience.”

"He is highly respected by everyone in the military, and we’re very honored to have him," Trump said.

McMaster has deep combat experience — he commanded forces in both Iraq wars and fought in a famous tank confrontation in the first Iraq war known as the Battle of 73 Easting — but lacks the intelligence background Flynn had.

Whether that matters remains to be seen. Temperamentally, McMaster is far from the volatile Flynn, who had raised alarm in many quarters over his conspiratorial outlook, his hotly anti-Islamic worldview and his murky ties to Russia.

Associates of the new security advisor, whose appointment will not require congressional confirmation, have described him as tough and detail-oriented, with a wide-ranging intellect grounded in hard-won realism. He also has no immediately apparent connections to Russia, notable amid increasing calls in Washington for a congressional investigation into possible ties between Moscow and Trump’s associates.

“It is not an overstatement to say that Americans and the world should feel a little safer today,” tweeted Andrew Exum, an author and academic who saw combat in Afghanistan and writes widely about military affairs.

But McMaster, who will remain on active duty, as previous national security advisors Brent Scowcroft and Colin L. Powell did, will inherit a position already riddled with potential pitfalls.

Those include the ascension of White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon to a permanent seat on the National Security Council — a sharp departure from previous White Houses that sought to shield the most sensitive security decision-making from political influence.

McMaster’s greatest strengths could put him at loggerheads with Bannon and other powerful figures in the president’s camp.

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Source: Los Angeles Times

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02-22-2017 Society
‘Not My Presidents Day’ rallies bring thousands to the streets

A broad range of activists opposed to the month-old Trump administration used Monday's Presidents Day holiday to hold “Not My Presidents Day” rallies nationwide.

While most government workers, school employees and students enjoyed a day off due to the federal holiday, events took place in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and as many as two dozen other communities, organizers said.

In New York, hundreds of protesters gathered shortly after noon near Columbus Circle, home to a statue of Christopher Columbus and the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which was blockaded by police. At the southwest corner of Central Park, nearly opposite the hotel, protesters chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” Thousands more gathered in the streets nearby in anticipation of being allowed to march south.

Many people carried placards — some of them strident, some amusing. “I don’t pay taxes to fund a golf weekend,” said one, while others pleaded that Americans “Just say no to fascist pigs” and “NO! We refuse to accept a fascist America.”

One elderly woman carried a poster resembling a book cover entitled “The Little Golden Book of Alternative Facts.”

“My family immigrated into this country from the Dominican Republic,” said Maria Amoldinado, 23, of Yonkers, N.Y. She said she attended the rally because of President Trump’s immigration policies and the specter of authoritarianism.

“My great-grandparents and grandparents came here to escape poverty and to get away from the dictatorship of President (Rafael) Trujillo. I don’t want my family to live under another totalitarian regime.”

Another attendee, Monica Lim, 26, of Brooklyn, said Trump’s attitude toward Muslims reminded her of the Asian exclusion legislation of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. “It was 'The Yellow Peril' then, and it is 'The Hijab Peril' now,” she said, referring to the scarf worn by many Muslim women.

She also said she foresees a time when the rise of China could bring about clashes between an “undisciplined” Trump White House and an increasingly ambitious Beijing regime.

Another protester, John Winterton, 33, of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y, a suburb north of the city, said he was most worried about Trump’s attitude toward the press. Pointing to the row of television trucks present to cover the rally, he said, “They’re here to shine light on the truth, not to create fake news. Sometimes they get things wrong, but they usually correct it quickly and the overall performance of the media in this country is truthful. It’s not fake news. The real fakery here is Donald Trump and his team’s 'alternative facts.'”

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Source: Usa Today

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02-21-2017 Science&Technology
WhatsApp launches Status, an encrypted Snapchat Stories clone

WhatsApp could put the brakes on Snapchat’s international growth with today’s launch of WhatsApp Status, a new tab for sharing decorated photos, videos and GIFs that disappear after 24 hours. It’s another Facebook-owned Snapchat Stories copycat, but the twist is that it’s end-to-end encrypted like WhatsApp messaging.

WhatsApp tested the feature for beta users in November, and now the Status tab is rolling out worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Users can watch updates from friends and reply privately, shoot and adorn their imagery with drawings and captions and send their creations to all their contacts they’ve chosen with a persistent privacy setting. Sending media to specific friends is still done through message threads.

Status could also open up new advertising opportunities for WhatsApp. If it followed Snap and Instagram’s lead, it could insert full-screen ads in-between friends’ Statuses.

The new Status feature replaces WhatsApp’s old AOL Instant Messenger-style away messages. That was actually WhatsApp’s only feature when it launched almost exactly 8 years ago.

“The original idea behind the project was to build an application that lets your friends and other contacts know what you’re up to,” CEO Jan Koum writes. But the company tells me it saw so many people quickly updating these statuses to communicate in real time that it pivoted to chat, but always kept the away Statuses.

Now WhatsApp has 1.2 billion monthly users, with users sending 60 billion messages per day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs. WhatsApp is parleying this success in messaging back into broadcast social media in a way that could spell trouble for Snapchat. If WhatsApp Status takes off, it could hinder Snap’s global growth opportunity in user-generated content, forcing it to rely on squeezing more cash out of existing users, or earning more revenue from hardware or professional content.

Instagram Stories, now with more than 150 million daily users, showed how appealing a good-enough Snapchat clone conveniently bolted onto a popular app could be. TechCrunch first reported that Instagram Stories was stealing Snapchat usage and lowering its view counts, according to analytics providers and social celebrity managers. And Snap’s IPO filing showed a massive 82 percent drop-off in its user growth rate from 17.2 percent in Q2 2016 before Instagram Stories launched to 3.2 percent after in Q4.

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Source: Tech Crunch

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02-20-2017 Politics
‘Life is a campaign': After a difficult first month, Trump returns to his comfort zone

MELBOURNE, Fla. — As President Trump descended the stairs from Air Force One on Saturday evening, with a patriotic country song playing and thousands cheering, the 2020 election season officially began.

Although the past several presidents have waited more than two years before jumping back onto the campaign trail, Trump's first four weeks in office have shown that he just can't stand too much time in Washington. One adviser calls political rallies the president's “oxygen" — and Trump seemed to direly need a deep inhalation following a week that included his national security adviser resigning and his top replacement pick turning him down, his nominee for labor secretary withdrawing from consideration and accusations involving his campaign and Russia.

“Life is a campaign,” the president told reporters aboard Air Force One. “Making our country great again is a campaign. For me, it's a campaign.”

The White House promised Thursday that the taxpayer-funded Air Force One would not be used as a “prop” at the political rally — yet Trump used the iconic plane to stage a dramatic arrival at a hangar filled with 9,000 of his supporters. The plane slowly pulled up as the theme song from the 1997 movie “Air Force One” blared, the same routine Trump used to perform with his personal plane.

For 45 minutes, Trump basked in the glow of the love of those who still believe in him and who interrupted him with adoring applause nearly 100 times. He reiterated his campaign promises, bragged about things he has already done, blamed Obama for leaving him with “a mess like you wouldn’t believe,” denounced the “fake news” media, pulled a fan onto the stage, referenced a terrorist attack in Sweden the night before that didn't happen, and compared himself to Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. He couldn't hear the chants from hundreds of protesters stationed across the street who accused him of being a hateful dictator and Russia's puppet, among other things.

For 45 minutes, Trump existed in a world where there were no falling approval ratings, no calls for investigations, no criticisms from fellow Republicans, no leaks, no snarky “Saturday Night Live” impersonations, no legal challenges to his authority, no critiques of his Twitter grammar and definitely no questions shouted by reporters. For 45 minutes, everyone had to just listen to him.

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Source: The Washington Post

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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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