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05-24-2017 General
Manchester Arena attack: Eyewitnesses describe blast horror

Witnesses have described the chaos and horror after a fatal explosion at the concert by US pop star Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena.

Twenty-two people were killed in the explosion, including an eight-year-old girl. A further 59 people, including 12 under the age of 16, were injured and taken to hospital. Nick Haywood, 46, from Nottingham was waiting for his 16-year-old daughter Caitlin and her friend, also 16, when the explosion happened. He said: "You could feel it, you could feel the noise. It was incredibly loud. My first thought was to find my daughter. "People were already starting to filter out. You could tell something was wrong, no-one was laughing or chatting. Some people were running, a bit of mild panic. "I was trying to get hold of them on the phone but the network was down so I made my way into the arena. Seeing her on the stairs was a huge relief. "It was like she was almost born again. It was the best moment of my life all over again." Caitlin had planned and saved up for the trip for months. She said: "We were so excited when the day came and we were listening to her music on the train. We were so excited, but it turned out to be be a bad experience. "When people said [the noise] was a balloon or a speaker, in the back of my head I knew it was a bomb and we needed to get out. "I thought the next minute people with guns were going to start coming in." She said she and her friend were near the front of the stage when the blast took place and she said people were getting crushed as they panicked and ran for the exit. "As soon as Ariana Grande left [the stage] the lights went out and the bomb went off. That made me think that this person planned it so well." Stephanie Hill and her daughter Kennedy were at the concert. She said the police and emergency services entered the building soon after the blast, but she still didn't feel safe. "The police were all there, there were armed police with... their guns, there were ambulances. "They were there so quickly it was unbelievable. But we didn't know, even then we didn't know what was going on. "We were thinking 'oh my God, we're going to get shot'. "So we ran, we ran and we hid under a bridge for about forty minutes." Kennedy said at first the arena was "scarily still for five or six seconds... then everybody just ran." The Manchester community that rushed to help Leah Cassidy, 16, from Radcliffe was at the concert with her friend. "As the concert finished and we were nearing the tunnel to leave the auditorium, there was a huge bang that shook the whole ground. The whole auditorium went deadly quiet for five seconds and then the screaming began. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   BBC

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05-24-2017 Security
Russian Hackers Use Malware To Target Mobile Banking System

Investigators have reportedly stated that Russian cyber criminals have used malware installed on Android mobile devices to steal from Russian banks and their customers, and were also planning further virtual raids on European banks at the time of their arrest. According to Group-IB, a cyber security firm which investigated the attack along with the Russian Interior Ministry, the hackers tricked customers of the Russian banks into downloading fake mobile banking apps and e-commerce programs among other software which contained the malware known as “Cron.” Two sources who are close to the case said that the hackers exploited weaknesses in the companies’ SMS text message transfer services to steal money from accounts at Alfa Bank and Qiwi, an online payments company. Sberbank, a state-backed lender was also targeted using the same vulnerabilities in the service which allows Russian users to transfer small sums of money to other accounts through sending a text message. When the malware had been planted onto the unsuspecting victim’s phones, the criminals sent text messages from the devices instructing banks to transfer money to accounts controlled by the hackers. Lukas Stefanko, a malware researcher at ESET pointed out that this situation illustrates the dangers of using text messages for mobile banking, a preferred banking method in countries which have less advanced internet capabilities. The cyber-gang, who called themselves “Cron” after the malware it used, raised more than 50 million roubles ($892,000) with this attack. It has also been revealed since that the gang had managed to obtain a more sophisticated software in order to target the clients of the French banks Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, and BNP Paribas, and possibly also lenders in other western countries, although they were only operating in Russia at the time of their arrests. Group-IB said that in June 2016 they had rented malware called “Tiny.z” which was specifically designed to attack mobile banking systems for $2,000 a month. The creators of this malware had also adapted it for targeting banks in Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, the US, and other Western countries. Group-IB confirmed that sixteen suspects had been arrested in connection to the case by Russian officials in November last year. It was estimated that Cron had infected in excess of a million smartphones in Russia, on average infecting 3,500 new devices a day.

Read Original Article     ON:   Android Headlines

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05-24-2017 Cars
BMW M3 And M4 Pure Headline Refreshed Range

BMW has bolstered its M3 sedan and M4 coupe performance car lineup in the wake of increased competition from the likes of the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, Audi RS 5, and Mercedes-AMG C 63.

Arriving at the same time as the mid-life update, BMW will introduce its Pure specification as a new entry level offering for both the M3 and M4, to go with the regular models and more comprehensively equipped Competition variants. Exclusively for the Australian market, both the M3 Pure and M4 Pure feature the uprated 331kW and 550Nm outputs of Competition models, offered at a price at a $10,000 below a regular M3 or M4 and an incredible $15,000 under the Competition twins. Priced from $129,900 plus on-road costs the M3 Pure retains the M3 Competition’s more focussed suspension settings but does without that car's 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED lighting system and premium stereo. But it still has plenty of gear, including LED headlights, a carbon fibre roof, a head-up display system, carbon fibre interior trim and 19-inch alloy wheels. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard, with the option of a six-speed manual - the only one in its class - available at no extra cost. Similarly, the M4 Pure strips out the same features compared to its Competition counterpart and is priced from $139,900 plus on-road costs. The Pure treatment is only applied to the coupe, with no M4 Pure convertible to be offered. BMW Australia chief executive Marc Werner says the Pure models represent "a true enthusiast's choice". "The Pure puts an even-sharper focus on the driver by combining the popular Competition package with an extremely competitive price point," he says. Other updates as part of the mid-life update include redesigned headlight and tail light internals, s a new black-painted 20-inch wheel option and high-end 8.8-inch infotainment system with BMW's latest iDrive functions. Pricing M3 Pure - $129,900 M3 - $139,900 M3 Competition $144,900 M4 Pure Coupe - $139,900 M4 Coupe - $149,900 M4 Competition Coupe $154,900 M4 Convertible - $161,900 M4 Competition Convertible - $165,900

Read Original Article     ON:   The Motor Report

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05-24-2017 Health
Warning: Just half a glass of wine a day can increase breast cancer risk

Just half a glass of wine or a small beer a day increases the risk of breast cancer, a new report says.

The study, by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), found convincing evidence a healthy diet, exercise, limiting alcohol and watching your weight can all reduce the risk of breast cancer. Experts found strong evidence that taking vigorous exercise (such as running or biking) cut the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer by 17% compared to women who were least active, and led to a 10% drop for post-menopausal breast cancer. Meanwhile, breastfeeding had a strong relationship with decreasing the risk of both types of the disease. There was also "limited but suggestive" evidence eating non-starch leafy vegetables such as cabbage, kale, rocket and spinach decreased the risk oestrogen-receptor (ER) negative breast cancer, a less common but harder-to-treat type of tumour. Consuming foods high in carotenoids, such as carrots, tomatoes, apricots, spinach and sweet potatoes was also linked to a lower risk of breast cancer, as were dairy foods and others high in calcium. But there was strong evidence that just a small amount of wine or beer a day (about 10g of alcohol) increased the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer by 5% and pushed up the risk by 9% in the case of post-menopausal. In the UK, beers, wines and spirits are measured as units, with one unit being 8g of pure alcohol. A one-unit alcoholic drink is approximately equivalent to 250ml of 4% strength beer, 76ml of 13% wine, or 25ml of spirits. The study also found being overweight or obese increased the chance of post-menopausal breast cancer, but cut the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer if people were overweight in their younger years. Dr Anne McTiernan, a lead author of the report and cancer prevention expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, said: "With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol are all steps women can take to lower their risk." She said the links between food and breast cancer were intriguing but needed further research. "The findings indicate women may get some benefit from including more non-starchy vegetables with high variety, including foods that contain carotenoids," she said. "That can also help avoid the common one to two pounds women gain every year, which is key for lowering cancer risk." Alice Bender, head of nutrition programmes at AICR, said: "Wherever you are with physical activity, try to nudge it up a bit, either a little longer or a little harder. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Birmingham Mail

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05-24-2017 Security
Connecting with work from the road? Here's how to stay safe

Every company has workaholics who can’t leave their duties behind when heading out on vacation.

They're kind of worker who, if the hotel doesn’t have Wi-Fi, will rush to the closest coffee shop or eatery to stay connected, check email and jump onto a video conference call.

Those are the kinds of insecure wireless networks that make IT security managers nervous.

And for good reason. Public Wi-Fi networks at cafes and coffee shops are open to, and can be accessed by, anyone, according to mobile security vendor iPass. They require neither security keys and passphrases nor firewall protection. That leaves employees vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

When an attacker intercepts communications, it's possible to snoop on traffic as it goes from user to server. Gather enough info and it's easy for the attacker to then pose as a trusted user and gain access to sensitive corporate data. Companies that deal with personal and financial data are at greater risk of such attacks.

Man-in-the-middle attacks are a big concern because they're easy to pull off, said Raghu Konka, vice president of engineering at iPass. “At public Wi-Fi locations, the airwaves are open and any attacker with a simple antenna can mount an attack,” he said.

To improve overall online security:

  • When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, make sure you browse secured sites only.
  • Use a VPN. This will protect traffic where it is most vulnerable, the last mile between a user and a server.
  • Enterprises should educate workers on vulnerabilities and provide the tools needed to combat them.
  • Keep your devices up-to-date with latest software.
  • Be cautious about opening or replying to emails from unknown senders.<.li>

IPass, which surveyed 500 CIOs and senior IT decision makers from the U.S., U.K., Germany and France, found that organizations consider C-level employees, including the CEO, to be at the greatest risk of being hacked; coffee shops are regarded as the most dangerous public Wi-Fi venue; organizations are increasingly concerned about growing mobile security risks; and man-in-the-middle attacks are deemed the greatest threat.

In the survey, 78% of respondents chose coffee shops as one of their top three most popular locations for accessing work. Airports were next followed by exhibition centers.

IPass said companies hoping to mitigate security risks have been moving to ban the use of public Wi-Fi hotspots. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed ban the use Wi-Fi hotspots; 31% ban their use at all times (up from 22% in 2016), and 37% ban their use sometime. On top of that, 14% plan to roll out a ban on public Wi-Fi hotspots in coming months. That number is down from 20% last year, suggesting that many organizations introduced a ban in the last 12 months, according to iPass. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Computerworld

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05-24-2017 Science&Technology
Fast Radio Bursts: How close are we to decoding these strange space signals?

Mysterious radio signals from space have been coming in from all directions, and their source is still unknown. Extremely bright and short-lived, these fast radio bursts (FRB) have scientists puzzled, but the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope may help bring some answers to light. New Atlas spoke to Keith Bannister, an astronomer on the project, about what might be behind these strange signals and how the mystery might be unraveled.

Located in an isolated part of Western Australia, far from the radio interference of the city, one of ASKAP's main goals is to study FRB, and it picked up its first one just four days after it began the search, in January this year. Designated FRB170107, the signal originated from the constellation of Leo, and traveled some six billion light-years to get here.

What are fast radio bursts?

"Scientists aren't very original at naming things: they're fast, and they're radio, and they're bursts," Bannister explains to us. "So they're radio, you detect them with a radio telescope that looks like a big satellite dish. And they're fast – really fast. Click your fingers and they're gone, less than a millisecond usually in duration. And they're bursts. They happen once and that's the last time we see them."

The first FRB was identified in 2007, when scientists trawling through archival data from 2001 came across a short, sharp burst that couldn't be explained. Over the next few years, more of these anomalies were discovered in existing data, but the phenomenon wasn't detected live until 2015. In total, less than 30 of the signals have been identified so far.

What could be causing them?

Generally, astronomers aren't sure what could be giving off these signals, but they seem to have the most in common with pulsars and magnetars. These two types of neutron stars both have extremely large magnetic fields and give off similar radio bursts, but the difference is that they repeat themselves. Some are as regular as clockwork while others have more unpredictable patterns, but either way they usually happen more than once. FRB, on the other hand, are largely one-time events, and that leaves scientists scratching their heads over their origins.

"There are more theories than there are bursts," says Bannister. "They range from everything from scaled-up versions of what we've seen in our own galaxy, like a pulsar or a magnetar, to things that are much more exotic: someone proposed it's the signal of what alien civilizations look like when they're starting to explore their own galaxy."

While these outlandish ideas often pop up to help explain space mysteries, the general consensus tends to lean toward something a little more mundane. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   New Atlas

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05-24-2017 Science&Technology
Xiaomi Redmi 4 First Sale in India Sees 250,000 Units Sold in 8 Minutes

After Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4A, the all-new Redmi 4 has also seen tremendous response in its first sale in India. Xiaomi India has announced that 250,000 units of the Redmi 4 (Review) were sold out in eight minutes. The Chinese company in a tweet reminded that the 250,000 units at first sale milestone was crossed by the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Review) and the Redmi 4A (Review). The Redmi Note 4, which went on sale in January, also saw 250,000 units being sold in 10 minutes in the smartphone's first sale in the country. The Redmi 4A, on the other hand, saw 250,000 units sold in March within 4 minutes. Out of the three Redmi smartphones, the Xiaomi Redmi 4A saw its stocks going out of stock in the quickest time while Redmi 4 and Redmi Note 4 followed closely. The next Xiaomi Redmi 4 sale will happen on May 30. To refresh on prices and variants of the Redmi 4, the phone has been launched in three memory/ storage variants in India, however, only the lower two went on sale via Amazon India this week. The 2GB RAM/ 16GB storage variant has been priced at Rs. 6,999, the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant has been priced at Rs. 8,999, while the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage is priced at Rs. 10,999. The biggest highlight of the Xiaomi Redmi 4 is its metal body and a fingerprint scanner at the back panel. It also packs an upgraded Snapdragon 435 processor over its predecessor, the Redmi 3S. Xiaomi India at the local launch promised that a special beta preview of Android Nougat-based MIUI will be available released for the Redmi 4 users.

Read Original Article     ON:   Gasgets 360

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05-24-2017 Security
Symantec increasingly confident ransomware attack linked to North Korea

Researchers at Symantec are increasingly confident that a recent massive ransomware outbreak is linked to a known North Korean state hacking group. "Analysis of these early WannaCry attacks by Symantec’s Security Response team revealed substantial commonalities in the tools, techniques, and infrastructure used by the attackers and those seen in previous Lazarus attacks, making it highly likely that Lazarus was behind the spread of WannaCry," Symantec wrote in a blog posted Monday evening. WannaCry, also known as Wcry, WannaCrypt0r and other names, infected hundreds of thousands of computers across the world starting a week ago Friday. The version that ran rampant used an automated system to infect new networks that utilized what appear to be stolen National Security Agency hacking tools. But earlier versions of the ransomware — ones deployed before the leak of the stolen hacking tools — appear to have been deployed to networks by hand. Symantec was able to determine that hacking tools used by the Lazarus Group, the same group that hacked Sony pictures, were likely used to install early versions of WannaCry. The antivirus firm had already announced finding a suite of hacking tools used by the Lazarus Group on computers infected by the first known version of WannaCry in February. The blog post fills out some of the details. The attack used two variants of the malware known as Destover, which was used in the Sony Attacks, and one of Volgmer, used in attacks against South Korean targets. A second version of the ransomware, released in March and April, used two other types of malware to do the installation — Alphanc and Bravonc. Symantec found these tools in five separate WannaCry attacks and was able to determine that WannaCry began installation within minutes of Alphanc being installed. Alphanc and Bravonc both use command-and-control infrastructure that the Lazarus Group has used in the past, including servers at internet addresses distinct to the group. “The core similarity leaves very little doubt. The only thing that we don’t know is whether this was a sanctioned campaign or Lazarus Group members trying to make money on the side,” Vikram Thakur, technical director at Symantec, told The Hill. Another link between Lazarus and WannaCry had been discovered earlier. A researcher at Google and researchers at Kaspersky Lab found that identical computer code had been used to design Lazarus tools and WannaCry. There are, however, other reasons the same code might appear in more than one program, including hackers taking a shortcut in designing their own wares. Symantec found other coding overlaps, including a unique, quirky implementation of the SSL encryption suite and a similar style method of making the computer code hard to analyze, a process known as obfuscation. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Hill

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05-23-2017 Society
Facebook’s Zuckerberg is working on a way to connect you to people you ‘should’ know

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO who is totally not a future presidential candidate, shared some of what he learned from his early trips around the country. (ICYMI: The not-White House hopeful wanted to visit every state he hadn’t spent a lot of time in this year.)

The actual crux of the post comes later when Zuckerberg writes why he’s taking on this new challenge. Basically: He’s not running for office, he wants to find ways to strengthen Facebook’s “community.” He explains: "I also think this is an area where Facebook can make a difference. Some of you have asked if this challenge means I'm running for public office. I'm not. I'm doing it to get a broader perspective to make sure we're best serving our community of almost 2 billion people at Facebook and doing the best work to promote equal opportunity at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. In many ways, relationships are the most important things in our lives -- whether we're trying to form healthy habits, stay out of trouble, or find better opportunities. And yet, research shows the average American has fewer than three close friends we can turn to for support." To make that difference Zuckerberg is talking about, he said that Facebook is helping people find people they already know but is also working on a way to connect you with people that you should know like mentors. "There are a number of models for how this might work. The Peace Corps creates service opportunities where people exchange culture and build new relationships. Perhaps we could build a new digital peace corps. Another model is Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, where people who have struggled with these challenges and overcome them go on to become mentors for others, with the hope of training them to one day become mentors themselves. This is something I've only recently started studying and working with our teams at Facebook to build.” So, what has Zuckerberg learned from his travels so far? It turns out relationships are important. “My biggest takeaway so far is that our relationships shape us more than we think — how we consider opportunities, how we process information, and how we form habits,” he wrote. “There is a lot of discussion about inequality, but one under-looked dimension of inequality is in the makeup of our social networks.” That kernel of wisdom is what Zuckerberg picked up after stopping in places like Ohio, Indiana and Detroit. According to Zuckerberg the notion that people would make better decisions if they had better information is largely wrong and that it’s the people they surround themselves with that impact their decisions more. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Recode

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05-23-2017 Science&Technology
You can now use Alexa to control Dish Hopper DVRs by Natt Garun@nattgarun May 22, 2017, 9:25am EDT

Owners of a Hopper DVR and an Amazon Echo can now change the channel or find a specific programming using just their voice. Dish has announced that starting today, customers can use Alexa to control their Hopper DVR or Wally satellite without ever touching the remote. Dish first announced this capability back in January during CES, and the feature will be available for every generation of the Hopper DVR. According to Dish, the Alexa search feature for TV shows work across the provider’s content catalog (live or recorded) in addition to on-demand titles. That means it’ll know to look to Netflix if you ask Alexa to play the new season of Master of None, or go through your live and recorded library when you want to watch an episode of The Walking Dead. To set up the functionality, users can set up the Dish TV skill in their Alexa app, where they’ll get walked through the process of pairing the devices together.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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05-23-2017 Business
Bitcoin prices are soaring under Trump

Digital currency bitcoin is more popular than ever. Prices surged to a record high above $2,000 over the weekend and were trading above $2,100 on Monday.

Just in 2017, bitcoin prices have soared 125%. And traders can probably thank President Trump for at least part of the big spike. Last week, markets were rocked after reports about former FBI director James Comey's memo about being asked by Trump to stop an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's ties to Russia. Stocks plunged due to rising levels of uncertainty about Trump's ability to get anything meaningful accomplished as he deals with this crisis. And the US dollar weakened too. But bitcoin (XBT) is a beneficiary of this turmoil. So is gold. One of the reasons digital currencies like bitcoin and lesser known ones such as Ethereum and Ripple have soared this year is because they, like gold, are not backed by governments. Bitcoins are tracked in a public online record known as the blockchain. There are a finite number of bitcoins that can be "mined" -- that is, made available after a complex math problem is solved. And even though the record of transactions is public, there is a level of anonymity about who is making the transactions. Bitcoin prices have tended to pop over the past few years at times of geopolitical uncertainty -- and especially when there were significant questions or concerns about the health of a major country's paper currency. Trump has already talked about wanting the dollar to be weaker to help make the products of big US multinationals more competitive overseas. So that may be helping to lift the price of bitcoin. The president also has some known bitcoin bulls in his administration as well. His budget director, former US House member Mick Mulvaney, had been dubbed the "Bitcoin Congressman" by some of the currency's backers. And vice president Mike Pence's chief economist Mark Calabria has given speeches in support of bitcoin as well. Calabria was formerly the director of financial regulation studies at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute before joining the administration. Many experts also think President Trump's fiscal spending plans could be highly inflationary. That could further weaken the dollar and fuel the rise in bitcoin and gold prices. But concerns about just what Trump will actually be able to accomplish in the wake of the Comey allegations are another big reason for the dollar's recent slide and accompanying rise in bitcoin. There is even some speculation about whether or not Trump's presidency could end prematurely due to him resigning, being impeached, or removed via the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution. Add it all up and it appears that bitcoin prices could continue to climb higher. But some are worried that the party could end soon. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN Money

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05-23-2017 Science&Technology
HP's Spectre x2 may be the Surface Pro killer we've been waiting for

HP's second-generation Spectre x2 is here to distract us from the rumored Microsoft Surface Pro 5 that may never appear, no matter how hard we wish.

Announced Monday, the new Spectre x2 beats the aging Surface Pro 4 with much better features for the price, plus it corrects many of the sins of its own original version. The new Spectre x2 is expected to go on sale in June. Why this matters: The 2-in-1 laptop category is starving for innovation, especially while Microsoft can't or won't upgrade its flagship hardware. HP, with this Spectre x2 and its corporate cousin, the Elite x2, seems to be leading the charge. The better news for consumers: HP tends to stuff a lot into these higher-end PCs. It's what's inside The biggest change internally to the Spectre x2 is skipping the low-power, somewhat slower Core M-based chips for Intel's latest 7th-gen Kaby Lake CPUs. To boost the performance even more, HP has opted for Iris Plus graphics versions of the Core i5 and Core i7. With its 64MB of embedded DRAM, Iris Plus should offer a very decent graphics advantage compared to standard HD graphics devices. RAM options will range up to 16GB of LPDDR3, while the SSD will include options up to a 1TB PCIe. Going outside the box, HP has seriously revamped the Spectre x2's screen to 12.3-inch diagonal size and 3000x2000 resolution screen. Compared to the first gen Spectre x2's 16:9, 1920x1080 panel, this new model has the same aspect ratio as MIcrosoft's Surface Pro 4. The newer screen is IPS and brighter, too, with a maximum of 450 nits, slightly better than the Surface Pro 4 panel's spec. HP has also cloned the Surface Pro 4's pen tech. The original Spectre x2 used a Wacom-based pen, while the 2nd gen replaces Wacom for N-trig, which Microsoft uses for its own Surface Pen. Microsoft even bought N-trig. The N-trig pen's main appeal to PC makers is its ability to use the capacitive touch layer to sense the pen. Wacom-based devices require a separate digitizer, which adds thickness to the screen. HP also made some major changes to the Spectre x2's camera setup. The first gen gave you an actual Intel RealSense camera mounted on the rear, but it had no IR camera for use with Microsoft's nifty Windows Hello authentication feature. While the rear-mounted depth-sensing RealSense camera was neat for making 3D scans of objects and people, Windows Hello is far more useful to most people. The new Spectre x2 places an IR camera in front so you can take advantage of Windows Hello. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   PCWorld

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05-18-2017 Politics
Why James Comey's congressional testimony will be 'one for the history books'

Few reporters know deposed FBI Director James Comey as well -- or have been covering him as long -- as CNN's Eric Lichtblau. Lichtblau, a new CNN'er after spending 15 years at The New York Times, has been reporting on Comey for more than a decade -- all the way back to the infamous 2004 hospital confrontation between Comey and then Bush chief of staff Andy Card and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales.

I reached out to Eric to get some perspective on what Comey will do next, the likelihood he told President Donald Trump he wasn't under investigation and who will succeed Comey at the FBI. Our conversation, conducted via email and lightly edited for flow, is below.

Cillizza: The big question is when/whether Comey will testify before Congress about his meetings and interactions with Trump -- among other things. What's your read on that

Lichtblau: He'll almost certainly testify, and it should be one for the history books: Newly exiled FBI director pitted against the president who fired him. Add backdrop of Russian election influence. Cue the grainy Watergate photos of Sam Ervin and Howard Baker. And remember Comey has always had quite a flair for drama, as we saw exactly 10 years ago when he testified in the Senate about his famous hospital-room showdown with George W. Bush's White House aides at John Ashcroft's bedside. We could get a hearing in the next few weeks, if not sooner, and my guess is that Comey will insist it happen in public, not behind closed doors.

Cillizza: Knowing what you know of Comey, what do you think the likelihood is that he told Trump, on three separate occasions, that the President was not under investigation?

Lichtblau: Close to zero. Trump made this claim in his first interview after the firing, but from the people I've spoken with, it's almost impossible to think that Comey would have given the President such an assurance even once, much less three times. We've seen people around Comey push back on other elements of his January dinner with Trump, saying that the President demanded Comey's "loyalty," and Comey himself is particularly anxious to refute the claim that he told the President he was essentially out of the woods in the Russia investigation.

So how does the public judge who's telling the truth about what the two men said? That's where the President's insinuation via Twitter that there were "tapes" comes into play. A recording of the dinner, if it actually exists, would help settle the question of who's telling the truth and would be anxiously sought by congressional investigators. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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05-17-2017 Science&Technology
Instagram launches selfie filters, copying the last big Snapchat feature

Today Instagram Stories adds a more subtle and mature but error-prone copycat of Snapchat’s beloved augmented reality selfie filters.

The eight initial “face filters” as Instagram calls them work exactly like Snapchat and let you add virtual koala ears, nerd glasses, a butterfly crown, or wrinkle-smooth makeup to yourself and friends in photos or videos.

TechCrunch got an exclusive hands-on demo of the filters, which are easier to use and don’t distort your face as much, but don’t track your movements and stay properly positioned on you face as well as Snapchat’s. You can watch our hands-on demo video below, and follow along as we interview Instagram head of product Kevin Weil at TechCrunch Disrupt NY at 9:05am Eastern:

The face filters are the last major Snapchat Stories feature missing from Instagram after it cloned Snap’s slideshow sharing format, overlaid creative tools, disappearing Direct messages, and more. Without a compelling reason for new users to pick the original Snapchat Stories over the Instagram Stories clone. Instagram could add thereby widen the gap by adding to its 200 million daily Stories users that already outnumber Snapchat’s 166 million total users, and further slow down Snap’s growth rate that led it to lose 25% of its share price value after it announced weak earnings last week.

Face filters and three more features roll out to all users today via an iOS and Android app update. An eraser tool will let you remove drawings you added to an image, though it can’t ‘Photoshop’ out objects from the original image like Snapchat’s Magic Eraser. Instagram’s new Rewind mode plays videos in reverse, just like one of Snapchat’s oldest filters.

The most original new Instagram feature is the ability to type a hashtag and add it to your Stories posts as a sticker just like a location sticker. When viewers tap on these stickers, they’ll be taken to the Instagram hashtag page showing other public, permanent posts with that hashtag. Eventually, though, you could imagine the ability to search Stories by hashtag, or watch a ‘Hashtag Story’ compiled from all the publicly visible Stories with that label.

Face Filters For Adults Too

“There’s a lot of exciting work being done around augmented reality” an Instagram spokesperson said when asked about the app copying Snapchat’s face filters. “We’ve heard from our community that they want more creative ways to share everyday moments and engage with friends. With face filters, they have more tools than ever at their fingertips, and all in one place.”

While that’s dodges the question a bit, the last part is revealing. Instagram wants to be the one-stop shop for visual communication, no matter your age. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Crunch

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05-17-2017 Science&Technology
HTC U 11 arrives with squeezable sides and premium specs

We can now add another phone to the list of 2017 flagships: the newly launched HTC U 11, offering some top-of-the-line specs and a new Edge Sense technology that lets you interact with the phone by squeezing the sides of the chassis.

HTC showed off its latest creation at a special media event streamed live over the web, in which it was keen to talk up the new input method, dubbed Edge Sense. Give the edges of the phone a little squeeze, and you can perform actions like launching the camera, taking a photo, or opening Google Assistant (or Alexa, which is also on board).

According to HTC, Edge Sense is a more intuitive way of snapping pictures on the go, saving you from fishing around for an on-screen shutter button, or readjusting your hands to reach the physical volume button.

You can make use of Edge Sense when the phone is wet or when you're wearing gloves, and the pressure shortcuts can be assigned to any app you like. It's an interesting idea, but we'll have to wait to get our hands on an HTC U 11 to see how well it works in practice.

The phone has a 5.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel display, which works out at a 534 PPI resolution. HTC also flagged up 3D sound recording for more immersive videos, and a 12-MP UltraPixel camera that's apparently the new number one smartphone camera in the independent rankings produced by DxOMark – again, we'll reserve judgement until we can test it out for ourselves.

Inside there's a Snapdragon 835 processor, the same chip inside the Samsung S8, so you can expect nippy performance all round. Design-wise, the phone follows the all-glass "liquid surface" approach of the mid-range handsets HTC unveiled earlier in the year, so very attractive and glossy to look at, but perhaps not the best for fingerprint smudges.

Like Apple, HTC has now ditched the 3.5 mm headphone jack for USB-C, which it says is going to lead to higher fidelity audio (it's throwing in a 3.5 mm-to-USB-C adapter in the box so you can still use your current headphones). The bundled HTC USonic earbuds bundled with the phone offer personalized active noise cancellation, and HTC is promising unrivalled stereo sound without headphones thanks to an upgraded BoomSound system.

The phone is waterproof and dustproof to an IP67 rating, enough to stay working after immersion in water up to 1 meter (3.3 ft) deep for 30 minutes (like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus). You can get the phone in five colors: amazing silver, solar red, sapphire blue, ice white, and brilliant black.

The HTC U 11 is rolling out across the world from next week, with pricing to be confirmed.

Read Original Article     ON:   New Atlas

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05-15-2017 Cars
Honda Civic Type R 2017 to be priced from around $50k

Honda Australia has revealed that the Civic Type R will rocket into local showrooms from October this year, with the hot hatch likely to wear a circa-$50,000 sticker price.

Such pricing would place the front-wheel-drive (FWD) Type R firmly in the sights of the all-wheel-drive (AWD) Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R pair, which are priced from $50,990 and $52,990 before on-road costs respectively.

Additionally, this price tag would create some distance between the manic Civic and its fellow FWD competitors like the $38,990 Focus ST and $41,490 Golf GTI.

According to Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins, the final price for the Civic Type R will be dependent on currency rates but the aim is for it to be attractive nonetheless.

“I think we have said from day one we want to target around the 50 mark,” he said. “(Questions have been) asked if it will be over or under. We still need to work that out. It will depend a bit on the strength of the Aussie dollar.

“We have to be pretty close to that $50,000 mark. We will confirm that as soon as we can. I always say we just want to hit that sweet spot in the hot-hatch segment and it is around that 50 mark.”

Furthermore, Honda Australia customer and communications boss Scott McGregor confirmed that the Type R will arrive Down Under in one specification grade only.

“In terms of spec, it is going to be very highly specced. And obviously… with the competitive set, it is going to have to be priced very competitively as well. So we think the package we will have in market will be very, very strong,” he said.

Earlier this month, Honda UK announced pricing for its Type R line-up that is set to be offered in two model grades locally, with prices starting at either ?30,995 ($A55,000) for the entry-level variant or ?32,995 ($A58,500) for the top-spec GT.

Mr McGregor said that a number of pre-orders for the Civic performance halo were already being held by Honda dealers, despite customers not yet knowing pricing and specification levels.

“We had a CR-V launch with dealers last week and all of them were talking about the fact that customers were coming in and expressing early interest,” he said. “We think, roughly, we are holding anywhere up to around 200 pre-orders for Type R as we speak today.

“To the point where we are actually going to be opening the official order books early so we can make sure, in terms of colours and things, we are going to be right in terms of stock for when that car actually arrives.

“We are really excited about this car. We know it is going to add a halo to the Civic brand that has been missing for a little while.” ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CarsGuide

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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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