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04-27-2015 Entertainment
Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s single-player campaign takes you deep into a cybernetic quandary

Since it occurs in the year 2060, about 35 years after the previous game’s story, the single-player campaign of Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a new story that takes the franchise deeper into military science fiction.

The villain from the last game is a distant memory. And the creators of Black Ops III at Treyarch Studios have had the opportunity to conceive a new set of characters, landscapes, and weaponry to hold the fans of the franchise spellbound. Just about every soldier is going to be cybernetics-enhanced, like the old TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man, or Square Enix’s Deux Ex: Human Revolution video game. You can expect the campaign to fully explore the ethics of enhancing people with computers and other abilities.

Almost 100 million people have played the previous two games in the series, making Black Ops one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. Each of the previous games have generated more than $1 billion at retail, and they have done their part in making Call of Duty into a $10 billion franchise. Activision believes that it can still grow this franchise year after year, and that’s why it has three major studios, each taking their turn at a Call of Duty, working on the games.

Because three studios are working at once instead of the usual two, Treyarch got three years, not two, to make its latest game. The developers of Black Ops III are using that time to up the stakes in the single-player campaign, turning it into an optional one-player or four-player co-op experience. In co-op mode, players can play T-mode, which shares information about threats with other players. I saw the demo on both an Xbox One game console and a Windows PC.

“It”s a passionate fan base,” said studio head Mark Lamia in a presentation at Treyarch’s headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif. “We want to honor these folks, but bring our brand to many more. We had a blank canvas to look at for our next Black Ops game.”

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Source: VB Gamesbeat

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04-27-2015 Business
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition is Race-Ready in Every Way

A new 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 variant has arrived, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint for anyone in the market for a race-worthy muscle car that looks and feels the part.

The Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition is the newest member of the family, so to say, and despite its overwhelming performance figures, it does happen to be street legal. Its appearance is inspired by Chevrolet’s C7.R race cars, with its Corvette Racing Yellow and black paint job. And while it doesn’t come with the rear spoiler and a few other design elements found on the C7.R racer that’s pictured above, this new Corvette variant looks very, very similar. And it doesn’t just come in yellow, as Chevrolet is offering a few other flavors when it releases the C7.R later this year.

You may be curious as to what’s under the hood of the Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition. We’re glad you asked, if that’s the case, because this ‘Vette comes with the Z07 Performance Package, meaning it runs on a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that makes 650 horsepower. Mate this engine to a seven-speed manual transmission and the C7.R Edition can go 3.2 seconds from 0-60 mph. But when paired with an eight-speed automatic, you’ve got a wicked ‘Vette variant that can go from 0-60 in just 2.95 seconds.

The Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition also comes with its share of performance and style-oriented tweaks, including a carbon fiber hood center, black-and-yellow wheels, Corvette Racing center caps, suede microfiber stitching and carbon fiber trim inside the vehicle, and a C7.R plaque and special license plate.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but the C7.R Edition is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $100,000, seeing that a Z06 with similar features costs about $90,000.

Source: High;ight Press

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04-27-2015 Science&Technology
Google's Mobile Algorithm Change: 5 Things To Know

If your website isn't optimized for mobile devices, there's a good chance your Google search rankings will plummet. Here are five key facts that you and your business need to know.

"Mobilegeddon," what many have taken to calling Google's new search algorithm, lands today, April 21. The update will retool search rankings and give greater weight to sites that are friendly to mobile devices.

This will have a huge impact on businesses large and small, far and wide, and should serve as a wake-up call to the growing importance of creating and deploying a "mobile first" website.

Google has long led the charge toward optimizing everything for consumption on mobile devices. Worldwide, more people browse the Web from a smartphone than from a desktop browser. Websites that don't work well on smartphones don't win over consumers and definitely don't make Google happy. The number of mobile Web users surpassed the number of desktop Web users last year, and about 89% of global smartphone owners make use of Google search on their handset.

Here are five key things to know about the changes.

1. Mobile Only

The changes in Google's search algorithm, which go into effect today, do not impact desktop or tablet search results. The new algorithm only applies to searches performed from smartphones and other mobile handsets. Desktop search rankings won't be impacted by the change. Sites that aren't mobile friendly will not be delisted from search.

2. You Can Test Your Site

Google has a tool called the Mobile Friendly Test to help companies determine just how friendly their mobile sites truly are. Sites that Google determines are mobile friendly earn a label that lets mobile searchers know the site works well on smartphones. Pages are either friendly or not friendly; there is no in-between. Don't forget to work with your Web host. Squarespace, for example, has a dedicated how-to guide to help its sites optimize for mobile. Moreover, Google wants you to avoid some common mistakes.

3. Not Just the Home Page

The algorithm checks every page on the site for mobile friendliness, not just the home page. The more mobile friendly pages on the website, the better the chances are of scoring higher search rankings.

4. Events Occur in Real-Time

The search algorithm works in real-time. It's not delayed, as Panda and Penguin were. Sites that make changes to improve mobile friendliness should see Google pick up on the changes within hours, not days. That said, it will take time for Google's Web crawlers to index everything. The process might even take a few weeks to roll out entirely. In other words, your search rankings aren't likely to start tanking immediately.

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Source: InformationWeek

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04-27-2015 Science&Technology
Russian hackers 'read Barack Obama's unclassified emails'

Russian hackers obtained sensitive emails written by President Barack Obama when they penetrated the White House unclassified email system last October, it has been reported.

The emails from Mr Obama to White House staffers and other officials were “swept up” by Russian hackers when they accessed the systems of the White House, State Department and FBI last year, the New York Times said, citing unnamed officials.

If confirmed, the report would indicate that the White House security breach was far more serious than administration officials first admitted last October when the cyber-attack was presented as more of a nuisance than an actual threat to security.

Although Mr Obama’s closely-guarded personal email account was not hacked directly, the intruders could have come across emails from the president to his staff sitting in the inboxes of their non-classified accounts, the paper said.

Mr Obama, who is known to be constantly on his Blackberry and has joked about his addiction to the device, likes to fire off late-night missives to staffers, querying areas of policy or re-jigging speeches at the last minute.

The exact number of Mr Obama’s emails obtained was not released by officials, however they conceded that the non-classified White House system carried lots of highly sensitive information, including “schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy”.

A recent former administration official, while not commenting directly on the hack, told The Telegraph that any email correspondence from Mr Obama held outside the classified system would have been of a general, or more trivial nature – though still not information the White House would want public.

“The rules are very strictly applied,” the official said, “the classified system is ring-fenced which is why so many meetings have to take place in the Situation Room since that’s the only “skiff” [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility] in the building.”

The potential seriousness of the breach was first reported earlier this month by CNN, who claimed, again citing unnamed sources, that the hackers obtained real-time information on Mr Obama’s schedule, with obvious implications for his personal security.

At the time, when the news broke in October, officials down-played the incident, saying only that they had detected “activity of concern” on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network, but that was being fixed at minor inconvenience to staff.

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Source: The Telegraph

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04-27-2015 General
Bali Nine pair spend time with family as execution clock ticks down

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are spending time with family following the announcement they may be executed as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

The pair was given notice yesterday of Indonesia's intention to execute them in a minimum of 72 hours, during a meeting on Nusakambangan Island.

Lawyer Julian McMahon returned with three self-portraits by Sukumaran.

One canvas was dated April 25 and signed "72 hours just started".

Sukumaran's mother Raji and siblings Brintha and Chunthu were among the group visiting him and Chan today, along with Chan's mother Helen, brother Michael and fiancée Feby.

The pair were asked yesterday for their final wishes, and were granted more time with their families in their final days.

Australian embassy officials were earlier called to a meeting in Cilacap, signalling the beginning of the process to execute the Australians for the plot to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin ten years ago.

Mr McMahon did not comment to reporters but showed Sukumaran's self-portraits, the others signed "Our new prison. A Bad Sleep Last Night" dated April 25 and "A strange day" dated April 24.

Jakarta had pledged to wait for all 10 prisoners in line for the firing squad to exhaust their legal avenues before naming what the attorney-general's spokesman Tony Spontana termed "D-day".

Indonesian Zainal Abidin's bid for a judicial review is expected to be determined tomorrow.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the summoning of all embassies with nationals among the ten set for execution had her "deeply and profoundly" worried.

"I fear the worst," she told reporters in Brussels.

She said it wasn't too late for President Joko Widodo to show mercy to two rehabilitated men.

"He is the leader of a great nation, a dear and close friend of Australia," Ms Bishop said.

"We ask that he take into account our considerations."

Ms Bishop is seeking a phone call with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, who was unavailable on Friday due to Indonesia hosting the Asian-African Conference, her office said.

Sukumaran's sister Brintha has released a brief YouTube video pleading for her older brother's life.

Clutching a photo of her big brother as a child she said: "From the bottom of my heart, please President Widodo have mercy on my brother."

In Gallipoli, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said efforts to save Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 34, continued.

"I guess there's always hope while there's life but obviously these are late days," he said.

Chan and Sukumaran's lawyers have lodged a challenge with the constitutional court but Attorney-General HM Prasetyo does not consider the challenge an issue, believing the pair have exhausted their appeals.


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04-27-2015 Health
Royal Victoria patients moved into MUHC superhospital

As part of a hospital move billed the "biggest in Canada," 154 patients were transferred Sunday from the historic Royal Victoria facility to Montreal's new superhospital.

The move took several hours less than anticipated and involved fewer patients than originally thought, with some being discharged prior to the switch.

Beginning at 7 a.m., ambulances left the Royal Vic roughly every three minutes to shuttle patients McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).

"Everything is going as planned," Richard Fahey, spokesman for the MUHC, told reporters earlier in the day at the new site.

"The patient who was in the most critical condition, a cardiac patient, was transferred without any hitch."

A baby in neonatal intensive care was the first patient to be transported to the new McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) superhospital.

The last patient to be transferred arrived at the new site at 12:25 p.m.

The Royal Victoria hospital, an historic 122-year-old facility in downtown Montreal, stopped accepting new emergency room patients at 5 a.m.

The new MUHC facility admitted its first patient shortly afterward.

The first baby — a healthy boy weighing 3.6 kg —was delivered at the new site at 6:55 a.m., staff confirmed.

Greg Clark, an ER doctor, told reporters the new facility had been fully staffed for the past several days in preparation for the move.

"We're very excited to have this opportunity to be in this modern hospital," Clark said.

The move involved years of planning and presents a host of logistical challenges.

Health Care Relocations, an international consulting group which has moved 300 hospitals worldwide, has been tasked with the job.

The transport vehicles will take two specific routes. There are no road closures, but those who don't need to be in the area are being advised to steer clear of these routes during the move:

  • From Royal Vic to MUHC: Des Pins Avenue to Atwater Avenue to St-Antoine Street
  • From MUHC to Royal Vic: St-Jacques Street to Atwater Avenue to Doctor-Penfield Avenue

The Research Institute of the MUHC (an amalgamation of several MUHC sites) was moved in February. After Royal Vic patients get settled in, other hospitals will follow suit in the months to come:

  • Montreal Children's Hospital (May 24)
  • Montreal Chest Institute (June 14)
  • Cedars Cancer Centre (an amalgamation of several MUHC sites, June 14)
  • Shriners Hospital for Children (Fall 2015)

Spanning five city blocks, the new hospital has 346 adult care beds, 154 pediatric care beds and more than 8,000 staff.

The move is expected to cost $10 million.

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Source: CBC News

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04-27-2015 Science&Technology
Developers try on Apple Watch, tout rush of new apps

Software developers who tried on Apple Inc’s new Apple Watch for the first time on Friday predicted a rush of new apps over the next few months, particularly in areas including health and messaging.

Developers, who had been limited to using software simulators of the watch, discovered new possibilities.

Ross Cohen, chief operating officer of, which makes a caller ID app for the watch, said he only realized that the watch goes on and off automatically as you raise or lower your wrist.

The simulator did not have a microphone, leaving some developers to guess how well it could hear. Having the watch on hand will speed development, said Danielle Keita-Taguchi, marketing analyst at Y Media Labs, which has designed apps for American Express, EMC and eBay.

HEALTH“A lot of Fortune 500 companies really want to leverage this new technology quickly,” she said. “Health, transportation and social media will be the three main industries that will utilize the Apple Watch.”

Tracking firm App Annie counted 3,061 total apps supporting Apple Watch on Friday, and about 10 percent of those were games. Productivity apps accounted for 8 percent, and lifestyle and health/fitness each accounted for 7 percent.

Ride-hailing service Uber had an app, as did sports network ESPN, microblogging platform Twitter, photo sharing service Instagram, tune-identifier Shazam and the Outlook e-mail app from Microsoft Corp.

Notable absences included social network Facebook Inc, message service Snapchat and any apps from Google Inc.

A Google spokesperson said “only time will tell” if it would make any apps for Apple’s device.

Snapchat could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this week Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told analysts who asked about the watch, “We’re going to watch closely and build what our community wants us to.”

So far developers see the watch’s main benefits as saving time or the labor of frequently taking out a phone.

“I’ve got my phone with me already, why do I also need the watch?” asked Matt McIlwain, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, which backs a host of software companies. “What is the extension benefit to having it on my wrist versus in my pocket?”

McIlwain’s firm has invested in Redfin, the online real-estate service, which has one answer. Its Apple Watch app that let users find nearby homes for sale and dictate notes on homes visited.

Source: Taipei Times

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04-27-2015 Environment
Nepal Terrorized by Aftershocks That Stymie Relief Efforts

A growing sense of despair spread through Katmandu on Sunday as the devastated Nepali capital was convulsed by aftershocks that sent residents screaming into the streets, where they were pelted by heavy rain.

A day after an earthquake killed more than 2,400 people and injured about 5,900, residents grew frantic and the government, entirely overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge facing the country, struggled to provide relief, or much hope.

Streets in parts of this city of about 1.2 million were impassable not so much from quake damage but because tens of thousands of people have taken up residence there. It was a strategy endorsed by the government.

The country’s prime minister, Sushil Koirala, who was attending a conference in Indonesia when the quake struck, had rushed back to Katmandu and was to speak to his desperate countrymen in a televised address on Sunday. But the speech was delayed, as some relief efforts have been, by strong tremors that continue to rock the country.

The already difficult situation in much of the capital, where safe shelters are scarce, was made worse Sunday when rains began to pour down on huddled masses.

It is increasingly evident that authorities here were ill-equipped to rescue those trapped and would have trouble maintaining adequate supplies of water, electricity and food.

“In my neighborhood, the police are conspicuous by their absence,” said Sridhar Khatri of the South Asia Center for Policy Studies in Katmandu. “There is not even a show of force to deter vandalism, which some reports say is on the rise.”

On Sunday, the government began setting up 16 relief stations across Katmandu and the rest of the country while rescue operations continued. The relief stations are expected to ease distribution of water, food and medicine, said Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a spokesman at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Electricity has been intermittent at best in Katmandu, and absent entirely in other parts of Nepal, but that is not wholly unusual in a country where nighttime blackouts are routine.

Many hotels, commercial buildings and wealthy homes in the capital have their own generators. But nearly all of the country’s gas and diesel supplies are brought in from India, and with traffic reduced to a crawl along major highways, those supplies could dwindle quickly. Some gas stations in Katmandu have already run dry; others are rationing their remaining supplies.

Thousands of Katmandu’s residents squatted on streets throughout the city either because their homes were destroyed or continued aftershocks, including one of magnitude 6.7, left them too afraid to go back inside. Other residents were camping out in schools, school playgrounds and government offices.

Source: The New York Times

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04-25-2015 Society
Armenian church declares genocide victims saints in somber ceremony

In a somber pageant of color and ritual, Armenia’s national church Thursday honored the victims of the Ottoman Empire’s deportations and massacres of a century ago by canonizing them en masse as martyrs.

In Istanbul, meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chided Armenia and the Armenian diaspora for focusing only on their losses during what he called “a relocation of the Armenian population to the farther parts of the empire.”

“Thirty million people died, and why are you highlighting the Armenian citizens?” he said. “More than 4 million Muslims died during the war.”

Karekin II, who carries the titles supreme patriarch and catholicos of all Armenians, said that by honoring the victims of a century ago, “the church only recognizes what happened: that is genocide.”

“During the dreadful years of the genocide of the Armenians, millions of our people were uprooted and massacred in a premeditated manner, passed through fire and sword, tasted the bitter fruits of torture and sorrow,” he said in the open-air ceremony at Edjmiadzin, the see of the Armenian Apostolic Church, just outside the capital of Yerevan. It was the first canonization in the ancient church in four centuries

Historians say that at least 1 million Armenians perished in the deportations and massacres that took place during World War I in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. Erdogan said the number that Armenians cite, 1.5 million, is an exaggeration.

“The numbers used by Armenians have no basis and no reason,” he told a crowd of more than 1,000 as he concluded a “peace summit” to mark the centenary of the Allied landing at the head of the Dardanelles Strait during the war.

Then he added, “We feel sorry and sad for Armenians who died in World War I.”

Erdogan spoke midway through a two-day commemoration of Gallipoli, where Allied troops tried and failed to seize a key promontory to the Dardanelles that would have allowed them to capture Constantinople, as Istanbul was then known.

The Gallipoli battle began on the same day that the Ottoman Empire began deporting Armenian political and intellectual leaders from Constantinople. But Erdogan’s decision to stage a series of major events surrounding Gallipoli appeared to be in direct competition with events in Armenia, a decision that incensed the Armenian government.

The expression of “feeling sad and sorry” fell well short of Armenia’s demand that he acknowledge the mass deaths as a genocide. Erdogan said he may have additional messages on Friday.

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Source: Los Angeles Times

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04-25-2015 Science&Technology
Neuroscientists Create Illusion of Having Invisible Body

“What is it like to be invisible?” This question has long fascinated man and has been the central theme of many classic literary works, such as the myth of Gyges’ ring in Plato’s dialogue The Republic and the science fiction novel The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells.

Recent studies have suggested that invisibility cloaking of the human body may be possible in the near future. However, it remains unknown how invisibility affects body perception and embodied cognition.

To address these questions, a team of neuroscientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden developed a perceptual illusion of having an entire invisible body.

The experiments involved the participant standing up and wearing a set of head-mounted displays. The participant was asked to look down at his/her body, but instead of a real body he/she saw empty space.

To evoke the feeling of having an invisible body, the researchers touched the participant’s body in various locations with a large paintbrush while, with another paintbrush held in the other hand, exactly imitating the movements in mid-air in full view of the participant.

“Within less than a minute, the majority of the participants started to transfer the sensation of touch to the portion of empty space where they saw the paintbrush move and experienced an invisible body in that position,” explained Dr Arvid Guterstam of the Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Neuroscience, the first author on the study.

“We showed in a previous study that the same illusion can be created for a single hand. The present study demonstrates that the ‘invisible hand illusion’ can, surprisingly, be extended to an entire invisible body.”

Dr Guterstam and co-authors examined the illusion experience in 125 participants.

To demonstrate that the illusion actually worked, they would make a stabbing motion with a knife toward the empty space that represented the belly of the invisible body. The participants’ sweat response to seeing the knife was elevated while experiencing the illusion but absent when the illusion was broken, which suggests that the brain interprets the threat in empty space as a threat directed toward one’s own body.

In another part of the study, the scientists examined whether the feeling of invisibility affects social anxiety by placing the participants in front of an audience of strangers.

“We found that their heart rate and self-reported stress level during the ‘performance’ was lower when they immediately prior had experienced the invisible body illusion compared to when they experienced having a physical body,” Dr Guterstam explained.

The results of the study could help in the development of new therapies for social anxiety disorder.

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Source: Sci-news

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04-25-2015 Science&Technology
Hubble turns 25: The past, present and future

Today, 25 years ago, Hubble finally left Earth aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery after decades of planning and development. Its journey was fraught with problems and delays, but it ultimately rose above it all to bring us groundbreaking scientific discoveries and historic photos of planets, galaxies, nebulae, space dust and more.

Hubble didn't only outlive its original 10-year lifespan -- it became the Michael Jordan, the Madonna of telescopes. If you're a movie fan, you've likely seen it on screen at least once. If you're a metalhead, you might have seen at least one of the photos it captured on an album cover. Even people with zero interest in space know its name.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is an 11-ton device that's the size of a bus. It orbits the Earth at an altitude of 340 miles, or around 100 miles above the International Space Station, and reaches speeds of 17,000 miles per hour. That's enough to circle the whole planet once every 97 minutes, roughly 15 times a day. The telescope is equipped with solar-powered instruments that can capture photos of space in visible light, ultraviolet (UV) and near-infrared wavelengths. However, if Hubble were ground-based, many of its instruments would be pretty much useless. They work well because they're located beyond the Earth's atmosphere, which distorts our view of the universe.

As Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Giant Magellan Telescope's director, told us when we asked why space observatories are still important despite the ongoing construction of several gargantuan land-based ones:

From the ground we are unable to view any significant amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light because of the ozone layer. Space telescopes equipped with the right instruments can be used to study nearby star-forming regions by the UV light they emit. Certain parts of the infrared spectrum are also best studied from space, and by looking at these wavelengths astronomers can study galaxies in the very early universe.

HST is one of NASA's four Great Observatories, along with Spitzer, Compton and Chandra. Spitzer carries infrared and far-infrared equipment; Compton specializes in gamma ray; while Chandra is an X-ray observatory.


The telescope carries a number of scientific instruments and cameras that analyze data and capture stunning space photos, respectively. Those cameras can't take pictures on their own, though -- similar to how ordinary cameras need lenses, the ones on Hubble need the telescope's mirrors to work.

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Source: Engadget

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04-25-2015 Health
2nd U.S. Ice Cream Maker Pulls All Products After Listeria Threat

FRIDAY, April 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For the second time this week, a major U.S. manufacturer of ice cream has recalled all of its products because of possible contamination with the bacteria listeria.

Ohio-based Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams said Thursday that it was recalling all of its ice creams, sorbets and ice cream sandwiches, and temporarily closing all of its scoop shops.

The company said in a statement that it took the action after possible listeria contamination was found in one random sample that had been tested by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

The company said it wasn't aware of any illnesses caused by its products, and added that it issued the recall "out of an abundance of caution."

Listeria -- officially known as Listeria monocytogenes -- is a bacteria that can cause stomach illness, although it typically does not cause severe illness in healthy people. However, it can pose serious health problems for pregnant women and their newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jeni's, which is based in Columbus, has more than 20 stores in Atlanta; Charleston, S.C.; Chicago; Cleveland; Los Angeles and Nashville. It also sells its products in grocery and other retail stores nationwide and online, CNN reported.

The recall by Jeni's comes three days after Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries, the fourth largest ice cream maker in the country, pulled all of its products off the market after listeria was found in some half-gallon containers of its chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

In the past year, three people in Kansas have died and 10 people in four states have become ill due to listeria bacteria believed to have come from Blue Bell products, the CDC said this week.

The FDA said Thursday night that it does not believe there's a link between the listeria contamination in Blue Bell and Jeni's products.

"We are continuing to investigate both situations and will provide updated information to consumers as we learn more," agency spokeswoman Lauren Sucher said.

On Monday, Blue Bell said it was pulling all of its frozen dessert products off the market because they might be contaminated with listeria.

Blue Bell distributes frozen desserts to about half of the United States, The New York Times reported.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said listeria causes "about 1,600 infections a year and about three to four outbreaks a year in the United States."

About 260 deaths occur as a result -- far fewer than the number linked to salmonella, another foodborne illness, the CDC said.

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Source: Health Day

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04-21-2015 Society
Europe officials set to discuss migrant crisis after capsized boat disaster

Ships and airplanes scanned the Mediterranean Sea for survivors and bodies on Monday, a day after an overloaded boat crowded with hundreds of desperate migrants capsized off the Libyan coast.

“We are there to look for survivors,” said Italian coast guard Commander Filippo Marini. “Let’s not give up hope.”

European officials, under pressure for not doing more to aid a flood of Europe-bound migrants escaping wars, oppression and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, were set to discuss the growing refugee crisis in Luxembourg later Monday.

Survivors told authorities that between 700 and 950 people were aboard the ship that went down on Sunday. A migrant from Bangladesh told Italian prosecutors that “plenty” of them had been locked in the hold by smugglers.

A scene of flailing survivors and floating corpses in the inky water had greeted rescuers. Officials said they had still not updated tallies that placed the number of survivors at 28 and recovered bodies at 24. The death toll was expected to rise sharply.

“What is happening now is of epic proportions,” Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told BBC News. “If Europe, if the global community continues to turn a blind eye .?.?. we will all be judged in the same way that history has judged Europe when it turned a blind eye to the genocide of this century and last century.”

While the route to Italy has become the main route for migrants trying to reach Europe, other paths remain active. On Monday, the Greek coast guard said at least three people died when a ship carrying migrants ran aground near the island of Rhodes. At least 93 people were rescued, but it was unclear whether others were missing.

The capsizing off Italy immediately heightened criticism of the wealthy European Union for failing to launch an emergency effort to cope with the soaring number of Europe-bound migrants. After Sunday’s disaster, E.U. officials said they would discuss the situation Monday during an already-scheduled meeting in Luxembourg and would call a crisis summit with foreign and interior ministers from its 28 member states. They did not immediately announce a date.

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Source: Washington Post

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04-21-2015 Science&Technology
Sony Quietly Launches Xperia Z4, But With One Big Catch

Sony has just launched its new Xperia Z4 flagship smartphone in Japan, with no major announcement.

Released via a blogpost on its Japanese site, the new flagship won’t be immediately available internationally. I reached out to Sony for more information but was given nothing other and told there’s “no press release at this time”.

As expected, the Xperia Z4 is small upgrade on the Z3, which was released last September. Sony has continued with its partial-improvement policy of making minor changes to its main-line of smartphones with the Z4, save for the new Snapdragon 810 processor.

The Z4 keeps the same shape and design as previous models but weighs in at a slightly lighter 144g, compared to the Z3’s 152g. It’s also marginally slimmer at 6.9mm.

It has the same 5.2-inch 1080p IPS LCD display, 3GB of RAM, MicroSD, waterproof housing and 20.7MP rear camera. The front camera, however, has been upgraded to a 5.5MP sensor with a 25mm wide-angle lens (same as the rear) and image stabilization.

Source: Forbes

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04-20-2015 Society
'Genocide' charged as boat capsizes in Mediterranean

CNN It was the latest in a series of dangerous voyages as hundreds of men, women and children boarded a boat in Libya, hoping to make it safely to Europe.

But after a couple of days at sea, in the dark of night Saturday, the ship was in distress in the Mediterranean and sent out an SOS.

As rescuers approached, the migrants -- perhaps 700 people on board -- moved to one side of their boat, hoping to be saved. Their movement caused the large, multilevel boat to capsize, sending the desperate crowd plunging into the frigid water, their chance of survival slim.

While the shipwreck was an accident, human traffickers facilitate risky trips like this, risking people's lives by putting them on rickety ships in unpredictable waters.

"Gangs of criminals are putting people on a boat, sometimes even at gunpoint," Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said. "They're putting them on the road to death, really, and nothing else."

Malta is working with Italy in the rescue operations.

It's "genocide -- nothing less than genocide, really," Muscat told CNN.

"Our troops, together with the Italian navy, are literally looking through the bodies to try to find someone who's still alive," he said.

Some were rescued Sunday, said Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration. He told CNN that 49 survivors were recovered and being taken to Sicily. But the Italian Coast Guard, which is leading the rescue operation, reported that 28 survivors and 24 bodies have been recovered so far in the area about 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Libya.

Security for Libya's borders is essential to "take out these criminal gangs -- these terrorists," Muscat said. The international community "cannot continue to turn a blind eye," he added.

The leader of the international nonpartisan medical organization Doctors Without Borders had strong words for the tragedy Sunday. "A mass grave is being created in the Mediterranean Sea and European policies are responsible," said the group's president, Loris De Filippi. He compared the high number of deaths to "figures from a war zone."

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Source: CNN

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04-20-2015 Entertainment
Ringo Starr inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Ringo Starr was ushered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a little help from one of his famous friends.

The mop-topped drummer who kept the beat for the Beatles, Starr was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist on Saturday night during a ceremony jammed with scintillating performances and touching moments.

Starr was the last of the Beatles to be inducted for his individual work, getting in after bandmates Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison. He was always the fourth Beatle — John, Paul, George ... and Ringo — but now he's been immortalized as a frontman.

Starr was inducted along with Green Day, underground-icon Lou Reed, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers, guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and The "5' Royales.

The 74-year-old Starr was inducted by McCartney, who said he could always count on Starr to have his back on every song.

"You don't have to look with Ringo," McCartney said. "He's there."

Starr, amazingly fit and looking 20 years younger than his age, then stepped to the podium and said: "My name is Ringo and I play drums" — as if anyone didn't know.

He was then joined on stage by Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh on "It Don't Come Easy" before McCartney came out to play bass, the two living Beatles jamming again, to "A Little Help From My Friends."

The evening concluded, as it always does, with an all-star jam, this time to "I Wanna Be Your Man."

With plenty of punk attitude and energy, Green Day thrashed its way into the Rock Hall.

The Bay Area trio, which formed as teenagers and helped make punk rock radio friendly in the 1990s, briefly turned the star-studded event into one of their high-intensity shows with a powerful set of some of their most memorable hits.

From the opening power chords of "American Idiot," Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool had the crowd at Cleveland's Public Hall bouncing and dancing in the aisles.

Brash and belligerent, Green Day blasted onto the music scene just as Seattle's grunge sound was growing stale. The band borrowed riffs from punk pioneers like The Stooges and Sex Pistols, flavored them with some power chords and pop hooks and helped redefine a genre.

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Source: Fox News

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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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