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Updated: 8 min 51 sec ago

Islamic Militants Claim This Week’s Nigerian Blast

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 14:03

(LAGOS, Nigeria) — Nigeria’s Islamic extremists are claiming responsibility for the massive explosion at a busy bus station that killed at least 75 people in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, this week.

It comes in a new video received Saturday. The leader of the Boko Haram network threatens more attacks saying “We are in your city, but you don’t know where we are.”

Abubakar Shekau makes no mention of the abductions of more than 100 girls and young women from a remote northeastern school. Officials say dozens of the girls have managed to escape but 85 remain unaccounted for.

Parents and townspeople have joined security forces and vigilantes searching the dangerous Sambisa Forest for the kidnapped girls.

Boko Haram says Western education and influence have corrupted Africans and only Islamic law can save Nigeria.

Categories: Magazines

Did Apple Maps Just Find The Loch Ness Monster?

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 13:49

Apple is known for inventing the iPhone and revolutionizing personal technology, but now it is famous for solving one of the enduring mysteries of man’s encounters with the uncanny: it has found the Loch Ness monster.

Or so claim Loch Ness theorists, who point to a satellite image on Apple maps that shows a mysterious shape in the Scottish body of water where the famous monster is said to dwell, reports the Daily Mail.

The image appears to show a large ripple in the water, similar to the wake of a boat. But monster conspiracists see something else altogether. After a comprehensive analysis, enthusiasts at the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club have concluded that the figure is “likely” the fabled beast:

“It looks like a boat wake, but the boat is missing. You can see some boats moored at the shore, but there isn’t one here. We’ve shown it to boat experts and they don’t know what it is,” Club president Gary Campbell told the Mail. “Whatever this is, it is under the water and heading south, so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie.”

The image was spotted by two people who noticed it at the end of last year on their phones, who said they were just perusing Apple maps when they found the mysterious image. The map image can only be seen on some iPads and iPhones and beamed by the Apple satellite map app.

So next time you’re on Apple maps, keep an eye out for the Yeti in your backyard.

[Daily Mail]

Categories: Magazines

This Dancing Poop Will Teach India’s Poor How To Use The Toilet

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 13:46

This video about an army of evil, dancing turds is no joke. It’s part of a targeted campaign by UNICEF that addresses one of India’s biggest public health problems – the widespread practice of public defecation.

The series of videos, online games and public announcement which began late in 2013 reveal some startling facts. About 620 million people in India defecate in the open, and only half the population uses toilets. The leading causes of malnutrition, which affects 48 percent of children in India, are from diarrhea and worms associated with microbial contamination of drinking water.

The ‘Poo2Loo’ campaign may seem a bit silly but it’s sparked a conversation in India about a health crisis in a country of over 1.2 billion people.

Categories: Magazines

4 French Journalists Held Hostage in Syria Freed

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 13:39

(PARIS) — Four French journalists held hostage in Syria for 10 months have been released, officials said Saturday, the latest batch of reporters to be freed in what has become the world’s deadliest conflict for the media.

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President Francois Hollande’s office said in a statement that he felt “immense relief” over the release of Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres — all said to be in good health in neighboring Turkey despite the “very trying conditions” of their captivity.

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“We are very happy to be free … and it’s very nice to see the sky, to be able to walk, to be able to … speak freely,” said Francois, who works for Europe 1 radio, in footage recorded by the private Turkish news agency DHA as the journalists left a police station.

Elias, a freelance photographer, also was working for Europe 1 radio. Henin and Torres are freelance journalists.

A DHA report said soldiers on patrol found the four blindfolded and handcuffed in Turkey’s southeast Sanliurfa province late Friday.

Turkish television also aired images of the four at the police station and then a local hospital.

It wasn’t clear whether a ransom had been paid for their release, nor which group in Syria’s chaotic 3-year-old conflict held the men. In his statement, Hollande thanked “all those” who contributed to the journalists’ release without elaborating. Longstanding French practice is to name a specific country that contributed to hostage releases. France denies it pays ransom to free its hostages.

Hollande’s office said the four would return soon to France. It did not provide details about the conditions of their release.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement that freedom for the hostages “was the result of long, difficult, precise, and necessarily discrete work.”

Journalists around France rejoiced at the news of their colleagues’ liberation.

The four went missing in June 2013 in two incidents. Press freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders has called Syria “the most dangerous country in the world” for journalists. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in April that 61 journalists were kidnapped in Syria in 2013, while more than 60 have been killed since the conflict began.

The widespread abductions of journalists is unprecedented, and has been largely unreported by news organizations in the hope that keeping the kidnappings out of public view may help to negotiate the captives’ release. Jihadi groups are believed to be behind most kidnappings in Syria since 2013.

At least two of the French journalists were taken after being interrogated by extremist fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in the eastern province of Raqqa, said a Syrian activist who said he accompanied the journalists as translator and guide.

Hussam al-Ahmad, 23, told The Associated Press that Henin and Torres aroused the fighters’ suspicion after he and the two journalists entered a school and asked to take photographs of them as they played football. Al-Ahmad said the fighters held them for about six hours.

During his interrogation, al-Ahmad said he was asked: “How do you let these infidels enter Syria after they killed our people in Mali?” France launched a military intervention in January 2013 in Mali that scattered Islamic extremists who had taken over the country’s north.

“I said, ‘These brothers are reporters. They have a humanitarian message,’ and then he got angry because I referred to the Frenchmen as my brothers,” al-Ahmad said.

Al-Ahmad said Henin and Torres were seized four days after the interrogation, likely by the Islamic State, an al-Qaida breakaway group.

Al-Ahmad, who fled to Turkey months ago after being threatened by jihadis, said he burst into tears when he heard of the journalists’ release.

“It’s a day of celebration for me,” he said.

Violence continued Saturday in Syria, as rebel car bombings killed at least 10 people, officials and activists said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one car bomb killed at least four people in the city of Homs, in an area dominated by Alawites — the same sect as President Bashar Assad. State-run television also reported the bombing but did not immediately have a death toll.

Earlier in the day, another car bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint near the government-controlled town of Salamiya, killing at least six soldiers, activists said. A Syrian government official confirmed the bombing but said four people were killed and nine were wounded. Conflicting death tolls are routine after such attacks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to journalists.

Categories: Magazines

Cyrus Ill, Postpones U.S. Tour, Resumes in August

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 13:10

(NEW YORK) — Miley Cyrus is postponing her U.S. tour while she recovers from an allergic reaction to antibiotics, but will resume her performances in August.

Cyrus’ representative tells The Associated Press on Friday that the singer will resume the U.S. tour Aug. 1 in Uniondale, N.Y. The new dates will include seven rescheduled shows and two additional stops.

The European leg of the tour is still scheduled to kick off May 2 in Amsterdam.

Cyrus’ rep says the singer suffered from a sinus infection last week during her “Bangerz” tour and had “an extreme allergic reaction” to the antibiotic cephalexin on Tuesday. Cyrus canceled several shows this week as a result.

Existing tickets for the 21-year-old singer’s U.S. tour will be honored at the new date.

Categories: Magazines

Healthcare.gov Users Urged to Change Passwords Over Heartbleed Fears

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 12:21

People who used the Obama administration’s healthcare.gov website to enroll in insurance plans under the government’s healthcare reform law are being warned to change their passwords in defense against the notorious Heartbleed internet security flaw.

“While there’s no indication that any personal information has ever been at risk, we have taken steps to address Heartbleed issues and reset consumers’ passwords out of an abundance of caution,” said a post on the website. The government is reportedly carrying out a review into the Heartbleed bug, according to the Associated Press.

The Heartbleed programming flaw has affected widely used encryption technology, and major internet services have recommended users change their website passwords. Critics have said the healthcare online enrollment presents myriad opportunities for hackers to exploit security flaws. The IRS has already said it was not affected by Heartbleed.

Obama announced this week that about 8 million people have enrolled in the insurance plans, exceeding forecasts.

Categories: Magazines

Report: Iran Vice President Says Row Over Reactor Resolved

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 12:20

(TEHRAN, Iran) — Iranian state television is reporting that the Islamic Republic’s vice president is saying a dispute between world powers and the country over its heavy water reactor at Arak has been “virtually resolved.”

A state television report Saturday quoted Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi as saying the country proposed to redesign the Arak reactor to produce one-fifth of the plutonium initially planned for it. The report quoted Salehi as saying that will end concerns the West has that Iran could use the plutonium produced at Arak to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran and world powers are negotiating the terms of a permanent deal over its contested nuclear program. Under a temporary deal, Iran agreed to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit its nuclear facilities, including Arak.

Categories: Magazines

High Schooler Suspended for Inviting Miss America To Prom

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 11:48

A gutsy high school senior was suspended Thursday for asking Miss America to prom when she hosted a question-and-answer session his Pennsylvania school.

Patrick Farves, a senior at Central York High School, Pa. said he had been steeling himself all week to pop the question when Nina Davuluri arrived to speak before the student body at a Thursday assembly.

Davuluri, holder of the beauty queen crown, was holding a talk about diversity and the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM studies, and Farves wanted a piece of the action.

During a pause between pre-screened students during the question-and-answer portion, Farves made his move. “I already had a little flower,” he told the York Dispatch. “I was completely set on doing this.”

Farves called out his proposition and handed Davuluri a flower, to cheering from fellow students. His interruption won him 3.5 days of in-school suspension, as school administrations said they had warned him against making a scene.

But Miss America never got a chance to say “no”: the cheering drowned out her response. “For the sake of my ego, I’m going to say no, I never got a direct answer,” Farves said.

[York Dispatch]

Categories: Magazines

Pipeline Delay Delights And Dismays Interest Groups

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 11:26

Environmental groups and energy and labor organizations sparred over the Obama’s administration decision Friday to extend its review of the Keystone XL pipeline, an issue that has increasingly become a political hot potato.

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Energy interests, who say the pipeline will create thousands of new jobs and help spur America’s recent energy boom by connecting Canadian crude oil reserves with refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, criticized the delay on a final decision.

But the pipeline has drawn harsh criticism for its likely environmental impact, with many arguing that it will greatly accelerate the energy-intensive extraction of oil reserves from Alberta’s tar sands and thus contribute heavily to carbon emissions.

The Obama administration’s decision Friday indefinitely extends the time executive agencies can review the approximately 2.5 million submitted comments and consider a Nebraska court case surrounding Keystone XL. The final approval or rejection of the pipeline may not occur until after November’s midterm elections.

The Natural Resources Defense Council approved of the extension on a deadline: “The State Department is taking the most prudent course of action possible,” the NRDC said in a statement. “It is already clear that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline fails the climate test and will damage our climate, our lands and our waters.”

But proponents of Keystone XL said the Obama administration’s punt was politically motivated, as making a final decision before the midterm elections could hurt Democrats. “It’s a sad day for America’s workers when politics trumps job creating policy at the White House,” said Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. “Strong majorities in the House and the Senate have publicly called for Keystone XL’s approval.”

Democrats stand to suffer no matter what Obama ends up deciding. Approving the pipeline could stifle campaign contributions by environmental groups to Democratic lawmakers, while rejecting the pipeline could hurt Democrats in states whose economies rest on oil and gas production, and threaten support from labor groups who back the construction of the pipeline.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America also voiced its opposition to the latest delay. LIUNA’s president Terry O’Sullivan called it “another low blow to the working men and women of our country for whom the Keystone XL Pipeline is a lifeline to good jobs and energy security.”

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, one of the most fervent opponents of the pipeline, gave mixed reviews of the Obama administration’s delay, saying that putting off the decision means slowing the emissions-intensive and dirty extraction of oil in Canada, but bemoaning the President’s hesitation to take a strong stand on climate issues.

“We actually need President Obama providing climate leadership. If he’d just follow the science and reject the stupid pipeline he’d finally send a much-needed signal to the rest of the planet that he’s getting serious,” McKibben said.

Categories: Magazines

Donetsk Greets The Ukraine Crisis With a Shrug

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 11:11

Apart from a small barricade of tires blocking the backdoor, there was no outward sign that the city hall in Ukraine’s fifth largest city, Donetsk, had been taken over by armed separatists on Wednesday morning. They hadn’t even replaced the building’s Ukrainian flag with the Russian one yet. If a local resident like Anastasia Marova, a student at the city’s technical college, had wanted to see them, she would have had to walk through the sliding glass doors of the main entrance, where a handful of nervous men with shotguns and assault rifles were guarding the turnstiles. Instead, Marova walked past the entrance that afternoon toward the picturesque sculpture garden at the rear of the building, and sat down on a bench to munch sunflower seeds and talk to her friend Alina.

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All around them couples were strolling and children playing on the playground next to city hall, within easy range of the gunmen peering through its windows. There were no policemen in sight, and even the people who had heard about the siege that day, either on the news or through the grapevine, didn’t seem to care very much about it. “Whatever,” Marova told this reporter when informed that she was, technically, in the line of fire. “They’re not there to shoot me,” she said, and popped another sunflower seed into her mouth.

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For a city whose government buildings have been taken over by masked gunmen, whose police force has essentially stopped functioning, and whose streets could soon be overrun by the Russian tanks poised to invade from across the nearby border, Donetsk is incredibly calm. The terraces of its cafes are full of leisure-seekers smoking water pipes and drinking beer. Its parks are full of people going for bike rides and taking walks. Even city hall is functioning, despite the armed men camped out in its corridors. Almost everywhere, city residents are near indifferent to the fact that this city’s future is being decided at gunpoint right now, with or without their input.

Ever since Russia began threatening to take all of eastern Ukraine under its military “protection” several weeks ago, the city’s passivity has come through starkly in various opinion polls. The most recent one, conducted on March 25-28 by the Donetsk-based Institute of Social Research and Political Analysis, found that 46% of respondents believe the locals should take a “neutral, patient position” in case of a Russian invasion. Only one fifth said they would support a Ukrainian effort to resist the Russian forces, according to an advanced copy of the poll results obtained by TIME on Friday. Another fifth said they would welcome the Russian tanks. But perhaps most surprising was the data on how many locals were even paying attention. Nearly a quarter of them did not express “stable or high” interest in what was going on in their city.

“That is part of what makes Donetsk special,” says Alyona Getmanchuk, the director of a think tank called the Institute of World Policy, which is based in Kiev, the capital. The city of Donetsk, whose emblem is a clenched fist holding a hammer, has always been known as a bulwark of the proletariat, particularly coal miners and factory workers whose income these days comes out to a few hundred dollars a month if they’re lucky. “This is a society where both pragmatism and paternalism are very strong,” says Getmanchuk. “They are very disciplined, very hard working, which is the positive side of their Soviet mentality. But on the flipside, they tend to expect a strong leader to decide everything for them, to determine what to do, what to think, where to go and so on.”

Up until this winter, that leader was Viktor Yanukovych, the President of Ukraine and a native of Donetsk whose political party held an effective monopoly on power across the region. For years he lavished Donetsk with pork barrel spending and placed its native sons in senior posts across the country. But when the revolution chased Yanukovych from power in February, he and his allies were completely discredited, particularly after his decision to flee to Russia rather than return to his hometown. The vacuum of authority he left behind became fertile ground for the region’s pro-Russian separatists. But the locals don’t seem to be playing along. Instead of coming out en masse to support an alliance with Russia, they have mainly chosen to tune out, turn inward, and hope that the situation somehow resolves itself without affecting them too much.

On April 16, Getmanchuk, whose think tank broadly supports the new government in Kiev, visited Donetsk to hold a focus group with what she calls “opinion makers” in the city – prominent businessmen, university officials, activists and community leaders. She spent much of the time trying to get a rise out of them. “This was the intellectual elite, and they kept asking why Kiev doesn’t come to save and protect them,” she says. “We explained that no one is coming, that this is your land and you have to formulate your own identity. Who are you? What kind of country do you want? You must find a social consciousness.”

Never in its history has Donetsk really faced those kinds of questions. Since the break up of the Soviet Union, its role as a blue collar buffer between Russia and Ukraine has left it dangling between two worlds, neither invested in the Ukrainian mission to define itself as an independent nation, nor wholly subsumed into Russia’s cultural matrix. According to the survey conducted in late March, the identity of Donetsk residents is deeply fragmented. Only 36% consider themselves citizens of Ukraine. About a fifth say they are “Russian-speaking residents of Ukraine,” while 29% call themselves part of a unique entity – “people of the Donbass,” the gritty mining region that surrounds them.

“Honestly, before these last few months, we never much bothered to consider who we were,” says Tatyana Deduk, a middle-aged lawyer and native of Donetsk. “Life is hard here, and people don’t have time to think about these things. They’re too busy trying feed their families.” What finally forced the question of identity for some of them was the uprising that broke out in late November. Its aim was to make a lasting break from Russia and set Ukraine on a path toward Europe, and it kept Deduk glued to the news for months, watching the protesters battling police in the streets of Kiev, seizing government buildings, singing the national anthem every hour on the Maidan square, and waving the flag of Ukraine and the European Union. “I never had the chance or the nerve to go there myself, but my heart ached so bad with the desire to go.”

Only in March did she get her chance to protest. The victory of the revolution, which brought a new pro-Western government to power, had infuriated many of the region’s Russians, and some of them started calling for Donetsk to break away from Ukraine. To counter that movement, a small group of activists started holding rallies for the unity of Ukraine and its ambition to ally with Europe. It proved a dangerous campaign.

Several of their rallies clashed with pro-Russian counter protests, or were attacked by separatist thugs wielding bats and clubs. “The neurological trauma ward was filled with our guys who’d been knocked on the head,” says Dmitro Tkachenko, the activist who helped organize all of the rallies for Ukrainian unity in Donetsk. “Some people lost eyes, some are still in rehabilitation.” One activist from the nationalist Svoboda party, Dmitro Chernyavskiy, was killed on the square on March 13, leading the organizers to put a moratorium on any further demonstrations.

Only on April 17 was that moratorium lifted. Tkachenko and his fellow activists staged a rally that evening to oppose the armed separatists who have taken over city hall and the headquarters of the regional government. Police warned residents to stay away, fearing another attack by the separatists. Several thousand people showed up anyway, a sizable showing by local standards but thin considering the gravity of the issues they are facing. At the microphone, Tkachenko started things off with a rendition of the national anthem of Ukraine, and many of the Russian-speakers in the crowd didn’t seem to know the lyrics, which are in Ukrainian. After the first chorus, about half the crowd began cheering as if the song was over, drowning out demonstrators who continued to sing the rest.

One of the star speakers that evening was Nikolai Volynko, the ruddy, potbellied chairman of the local miners’ union. “A lot of people told me not to get mixed up in all this,” he told the crowd from the rickety stage set up on a square near the edge of town. “They said, ‘Listen, maybe things will shake out on their own. You’ve got three grandkids to worry about.’ But I told them, ‘No, it’s because of my grandkids that I have to lead this thing.’”

But not too many of his fellow miners had followed Volynko to the demonstration. Asked about this afterward, he said he was was sure that eventually his men would “rise up” and take a position on whether they are, in fact, Ukrainians or not. “It’s like a snowball,” he says. “It starts small but it builds into an avalanche.”

Deduk, the local lawyer, wasn’t so sure. Sitting on a bench with her son Stepan at the edge of the demonstration, she said most of the people she knows are content to stay on the sidelines, and if Russia comes in and conquers the region like it did with Crimea last month, they’ll most likely shrug and accept it as their fate. “People forget all the horrors we faced under Moscow during the Soviet Union,” she says. “All they remember is that wages were paid and the medical care was free.”

As the sun set, Tkachenko announced from the stage that the demonstration was over, and the people went on their way, some lingering on park benches to talk politics. Across town at city hall, the separatists had already taken down the Ukrainian flag and reinforced their barricades around the building. But the sculpture garden next to it was as tranquil as ever, full of people seeming to live, or pretending to live, in a world immune to politics.

Categories: Magazines

Rescuers Battle Elements in Search for Ferry Missing

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 10:54

A massive search effort is under way to locate over 270 people still missing in the sunken ferry in South Korea’s Yellow Sea. Now, bad weather and strong currents are slowing down the rescue effort.

Categories: Magazines

Ukraine Calls ‘Easter Truce’ in East

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 09:57

Ukraine announced Saturday it would suspend operations against separatists in its volatile eastern cities over Easter, where pro-Russia militants have occupied government buildings in defiance of the interim government in Kiev.

Kiev has said it will resume military operations if the separatists do not withdraw, but would hold its forces back for the meantime. “The anti-terrorist operation was put on hold for the Easter time and we will be not using force against them at this moment,” foreign minister Andriy Deshchytsia said, the BBC reports.

Pro-Kremlin forces currently occupy government offices in 10 cities in eastern Ukraine, the Independent reports, who refuse to leave until the government in Kiev resigns.

The militants remain despite an agreement reached Thursday to defuse the crisis in which Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US said illegal military groups in Ukraine should be disbanded and those occupying government buildings must leave.

Separatists in the city of Donetsk said the Kiev government is “illegal”, and have vowed not to disarm until the government resigns.

The White House has ramped up pressure on Russia to use its influence over Ukrainian separatists and order them to disband, threatening further economic sanctions against Moscow if the crisis is not defused. Thousands of Russian troops have amassed at the border, as hostilities have escalated following the revolution that overturned a pro-Russia government earlier this year.

Kiev launched “anti-terrorist” operations against the militants in the East last week in an effort to dislodge separatist fighters.

[BBC]

Categories: Magazines

Korean Ferry Death Toll Rises To 32 as Prosecutors Investigate Crew

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 09:17
MoreRescuers Battle Elements in Search for Ferry MissingAuthorities Arrest Captain of Capsized Ferry

The death toll on the South Korean ferry that capsized Wednesday has risen to 32, but officials said the number of dead will almost certainly rise as rescue teams struggle to find hundreds of missing passengers amidst strong currents and rain.

Three more bodies were recovered Saturday, the Associated Press reports, but around 270 passengers are still missing from the ferry, a large number of them high school students who were on a school trip to the holiday island of Jeju.

The ferry’s captain, Lee Joon-seok, was arrested Saturday on charges of negligence of duty and violation of maritime law. Prosecutors bringing charges said Lee escaped the ship before the passengers, CBS reports. Two crew members were also arrested, including a rookie third mate who prosecutors said was unfamiliar with the strong current off the South Korean coast.

Lee had four decades of experience at sea, but he was not the ferry’s main captain and told reporters he was not on the bridge when the ferry began tilting. He also said that he told children on board to stay on the sinking ship for fear they would be swept out to sea in the strong, cold current, Reuters reports.

Lee waited 30 minutes before finally issuing an evacuation order, by which time the ship had already sloped too far on its side for people to escape the tight hallways and stairs inside the sinking vessel. Several survivors said they never heard the order to evacuate.

Investigators said the accident occurred at a point along the route where the ship had to make a turn through islands with strong currents. Prosecutors are examining whether the inexperienced third mate ordered a turn too sharp, causing the vessel to list.

With the chances of survival among any of the missing passengers increasingly slim, the accident is shaping up to be the deadliest Korean maritime accident in 21 years. The 323 students on board were from Danwon High School in Ansan and were aged 16 and 17.

The school’s vice president, who was rescued as the children stayed aboard, hanged himself Friday outside a gym in Jindo where relatives of survivors were put up.

[AP]

 

Categories: Magazines

If You Have a Heart, This Puppy Ad Will Completely Melt It

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 08:56

American spending on pets reached a record $55.7 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Association. “If the pet industry were tracked by the U.S. government as a single entity, we’d be the seventh largest retail segment in the country,” Bob Vetere, CEO of the industry group told TIME recently. All that spending has been a boon to pet-food marketers willing to capitalize on the Web’s obsession with animals. Now Pedigree New Zealand is trying to use puppies and YouTube’s revenue-sharing model to raise money for dog charity—and drive views. Apparently, this involves watching uber-cute dachshunds eating hot dogs.

Categories: Magazines

Iran Slams U.S. Ruling to Sell Iranian Property

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 08:53

(TEHRAN, Iran) — Iran has condemned a ruling issued by a U.S. federal judge approving plans to sell a 36-story Manhattan office building and other properties owned by Iran nationwide in what will be the largest terrorism-related forfeiture ever.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying late Friday as calling the verdict “illegal” and a politically-motivated decision that violates U.S. obligations on freedom of religions.

The judge ruled last September that the Manhattan office tower, belonging to the Iran-linked Alavi Foundation, was subject to forfeiture because revenue from it was secretly funneled to a state-owned Iranian bank in violation of a U.S. trade embargo.

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17 Things Extremely Happy People Say Every Day

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 08:44


This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources, and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published atInc.com.

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There’s an easy-to-articulate, hard-to-implement best practice when it comes to how to teach yourself to be happy. It stems from the recognition that the positive things you do for other people often reverberate back to create positivity in your own life. In effect, doing little things to make other people happy can greatly improve your happiness.

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Make sense? There are two theories at work. The first is that focusing on others creates joy of its own accord. The second is that as you succeed in improving others’ happiness, you’ll wind up with happier, more grateful people around you. They’ll find you likable and charismatic, which in turn can lead them to treat you in a manner that produces even more happiness.

It’s easier said than done, but fortunately, there’s a compelling shortcut. Your words are among your greatest tools, so you can have an outsize effect on others simply by thinking about what you say every day and making an effort to be both positive and sincere. There are certain inspiring things that truly happy people find themselves saying to others all the time. Try making an effort to say a few of these every day for a week. You’ll be amazed at how the positivity you create improves your happiness.

1. “I’m happy to see you.”

This is the most basic and attractive sentiment you can express to another human being–that simply being in the person’s presence creates a positive feeling. Whether you’re telling an employee that you need his skills, that you value his opinions, or just that you think he’s good company, you’ve begun an interaction on a very high note. How can that not produce some level of happiness in the other person?

2. “I’m always happy to see you.”

Take the previous remark a step further. This is the opposite of most relationship advice–that you should never take a specific negative action and suggest that it’s indicative of someone’s entire way of acting. Well, turn that on its head, by expressing that it’s not just this interaction that has produced positive feelings but basically all interactions with this person. It’s an amazingly gratifying thing to hear.

3. “Remember when you…”

Surprise someone by bringing up a positive thing that she did in the past, and you’re almost guaranteed to induce a positive response. Maybe it’s a joke the person told that you’re still laughing about; maybe it’s a small act of heroism she performed. Regardless, if it’s something she thought was long forgotten, learning that something she did made a positive, lasting impression on someone else is an amazing experience.

4. “You might not realize this, but…”

This an even more potent version of the previous suggestion, provided you finish the sentence with a description of how the person’s actions led to a positive outcome. It’s one thing to learn that other people recognize the favorable things you’ve done; it’s another thing entirely to learn that you’re having a positive effect on other people without even realizing it.

5. “You really impress me.”

This is similar to “I’m happy to see you” and “I’m always happy to see you,” except that it focuses on things that the person does, rather than his or her existential being. Other variations include “You are really great at…” or “People love that you…” Simply be sincere and specific. “You’re really great at calming stressful situations” or “People love that you always have the best music.” It can be anything, as long as it’s authentic and truly positive, and it’s guaranteed to elicit positive reactions.

6. “You really impressed me when…”

Focusing on specific actions or events can be even more powerful. It means that you’re not only thinking abstractly but offering proof that things the other person does provoke positive reactions. It’s the difference between saying that a comedian was really funny and quoting one of his or her best jokes. (Other versions: “You handled that well when you turned that client’s objection into an opportunity” or “It was really cool to see how you parallel-parked that car into that tiny spot.”)

7. “I believe in you.”

People have self-doubts. You do, I do, we all do. (Heck, every time I write a column here–and this is number 167, by the way–I wonder how people will react.) When others simply say they believe in you, however, it becomes easier to believe in yourself.

Here’s an analogy. Have you ever gotten into lifting weights, or simply watched people do it? It’s amazing how the slightest bit of assistance from a spotter–with force equal to the weight of a pencil–can help someone lift far more weight than he could on his own. It’s the same concept here–just that small expression of confidence can push people to achieve more–and then to be thankful for the help.

8. “Look how far you’ve come!”

It is so important to celebrate achievements. This doesn’t mean you have to throw a party, but even acknowledging that someone’s efforts have achieved results can be extremely gratifying for the person.

Of course, heck, if you want to take things to the extreme, throw a party. Just be sure that you’re the one buying the first round and singing the loudest.

9. “I know you’re capable of more.”

Everyone needs to be pushed at times, especially when we fall short. If you care about people, you’re going to be called on sometimes to be a bit of a coach, or maybe to employ a bit of tough love. Even the most steadfast and confident among us sometimes need a friend to guide them to a better way of acting.

The late, great NFL coach Vince Lombardi put this best: “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.” Nobody does anything great alone, so be the one standing by to help, and you’ll inspire positivity and gratitude.

10. “I’d like to hear your thoughts about…”

Everyone likes to think that his or her opinions matter, and of course they do–sometimes. However, this kind of invitation to share what someone thinks can’t help making the person feel just a tiny bit more self-worth, which in turns creates both happiness and positive feelings toward you. Just be sure to be sincere; don’t just say this for the sake of saying it. Make sure that you are truly interested in whatever subject you’re asking about and listen actively.

11. “Tell me more.”

This is the best follow-up to the last item. It tells the other person that you’re listening, and that you find value in what he or she is saying. The actor and writer Peter Ustinov once said that the greatest compliment he ever received took place when he was afraid he had gone on too long in a conversation with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, only to have her tell him, “Please continue.”

12. “I took your suggestion.”

OK, it’s almost too easy at this point. Combine asking someone’s opinion and demonstrating that the person has had impact on your life and you’ve provided him with two of the most gratifying, basic experiences of the human condition.

It doesn’t matter really whether you tried a new restaurant on the other person’s advice, followed his suggestion on how to begin an important conversation, or started getting up 15 minutes earlier for a week because he said it was a good idea. Simply being listened to and having impact makes people feel better. Bonus points if his suggestion created a positive result, but you’ll get credit regardless. (Related: “You were right.”)

13. “I’m sorry.”

Say this when you mean it–when you’ve done something worth expressing regret for or the other person deserves sympathy. However, don’t water it down by using it when you don’t mean it. In fact, one writer made a compelling argument recently that the phrase is so overused that it ought to be retired. That would be a shame, but it underscores how people appreciate this phrase when it’s sincere, and how it annoys them when it isn’t.

14. “I’d like to be more like you.”

Now you’ve got it–you’re expressing positivity toward other people almost naturally, pointing out not only things that they do well but maybe even things they do better than you do.

If you want to see a sentiment similar to this work very effectively, watch the 1997 movie As Good As It Gets. Or else, just read this short bit of dialogue in which Jack Nicholson’s character offers Helen Hunt’s character the ultimate compliment: “You make me want to be a better man.

15. “Thank you.”

It’s not that much of a stretch to suggest that every other item on this list is in fact a form of “thank you.” This is truly one of the most powerful, underrated phrases in the English language. It packs a heck of a punch, encompassing positivity and impact in two little syllables. (By the way, thanks for reading this far into this column. Maybe if you share it with others, they’ll thank you, too.)

16. “You’re welcome.”

Not “yep.” Not “no problem” or “no worries.” Say “You’re welcome.”

Instead of deflecting another person’s thanks, as some of these other phrases do, saying “you’re welcome” dignifies the person’s gratitude. It acknowledges that yes, you did do something worthy, or nice, or positive for someone–because you believe that she’s worth it.

17. “No.”

There’s one small risk in this entire mode of expression, and this word is your fail-safe. The danger is that sometimes people who make other people’s happiness their priority can wind up doing so at the cost of their own happiness. We all know some people who take advantage, or who simply aren’t going to be happy no matter what your efforts amount to.

Two little letters, and yet they can be so powerful. Most important, they demonstrate that you care for yourself, which is a key prerequisite to caring truly for other people. Carry this one in your back pocket; use it when necessary. You’ll find that the most positive and happy people you interact with respect you for doing so–and that can make you happy, too.

More from Inc.com:

12 Simple Tricks For Saving Time on Email

3 Beliefs of Highly Successful People

5 Things Anyone Can Do to Be More Self-Confident

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13th Body Pulled From Snow in Everest Avalanche

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 08:22

(KATMANDU, Nepal) — Search teams recovered a 13th body Saturday from the snow and ice covering a dangerous climbing pass on Mount Everest, where an avalanche a day earlier swept over a group of Sherpa guides in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak.

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Another three guides remained missing, and searchers were working quickly to find them in case weather conditions deteriorated, said Maddhu Sunan Burlakoti, head of the Nepalese government’s mountaineering department. But the painstaking effort involved testing the strength of newly fallen snow and using extra ropes, clamps and aluminum ladders to navigate the unstable field.

The avalanche barreled down a narrow climbing pass known as the “popcorn field” for its bulging chunks of ice at about 6:30 a.m. Friday. The group of about 25 Sherpa guides were the first people making their way up this climbing season to dig paths and fix ropes for their foreign clients to use in attempting to reach the summit next month.

One of the survivors told his relatives that the path had been unstable just before the snow slide hit at an elevation near 5,800 meters (19,000 feet). The area is considered particularly dangerous due to its steep slope and deep crevasses that cut through the snow and ice covering the pass year round.

As soon as the avalanche occurred, rescuers, guides and climbers rushed to help, and all other climbing was suspended.

Seven of the 12 bodies pulled out and brought down Friday were handed over to their families in the Everestregion, while the other five were taken to Katmandu, Nepal’s capital.

Four survivors were conscious and being treated in the intensive care units of several Katmandu hospitals for broken ribs, fractured limbs, punctured lungs and skin abrasions, according to Dr. C.R. Pandey from Grande Hospital. Others were treated for less serious injuries at the Everest base camp.

Hundreds of climbers, guides and support crews had been at Everest’s base camp preparing to climb the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak when weather conditions are most favorable next month. As with each year, the Sherpa guides from each of the expedition teams had been working together to prepare the path by carving routes through the ice, fixing ropes on the slopes and setting up camps at higher altitudes.

One of the injured guides, Dawa Tashi, said the Sherpas were delayed on their way up the slope because the path was unsteady. With little warning, a wall of snow crashed down on the group and buried many of them, according to Tashi’s sister-in-law, Dawa Yanju. Doctors said Tashi, who was partially buried in the snowfall, suffered several broken ribs.

The Sherpa people are one of the main ethnic groups in Nepal’s alpine region, and many make their living as climbing guides on Everest and other Himalayan peaks.

More than 4,000 climbers have summited Everest since 1953, when it was first conquered by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Hundreds have died trying.

The worst recorded disaster on Everest had been a fierce blizzard on May 11, 1996, that caused the deaths of eight climbers, including famed mountaineer Rob Hall, and was later memorialized in a book, “Into Thin Air,” by Jon Krakauer. Six Nepalese guides were killed in an avalanche in 1970.

Earlier this year, Nepal announced several steps to better manage the heavy flow of climbers and speed up rescue operations. The steps included the dispatch of officials and security personnel to the base camp at (5,300 meters) 17,380 feet, where they will stay throughout the spring climbing season, which ends in May.

Categories: Magazines

Sub Search for Missing Jet to Be Finished in Week

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 07:55

(PERTH, Australia) — A robotic submarine looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is expected to finish searching a patch of the Indian Ocean seabed within a week after so far coming up empty, and the search area may be expanded after that, officials said Saturday.

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As the hunt for Flight 370 hit the six-week mark, the Bluefin 21 unmanned sub began its seventh trip into the depths off the coast of western Australia. Its search area forms a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) circle around the location of an underwater signal that was believed to have come from the aircraft’s black boxes before their batteries died. The sonar scan of the seafloor in that area is expected to be completed in five to seven days, the search center said in an email to The Associated Press.

The U.S. Navy sub has covered around 133 square kilometers (51 square miles) since it began diving into the depths on Monday. The latest data are being analyzed, but nothing has yet been identified.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that the weekend search is crucial.

“The narrowing of the search for today and tomorrow is at a very critical juncture, so I appeal to everybody around the world to pray and pray hard that we find something to work on over the next couple of days,” he said.

But he added that there were no plans to give up once the Bluefin concludes its work. Instead, he said the scope of the search may be broadened or other assets may be used.

“The search will always continue,” he said. “It is just a matter of approach. All efforts will be intensified for the next few days with regards to the underwater search.”

Meanwhile on Saturday, up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships continued to scan the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Radar and satellite data show the plane mysteriously veered far off course for unknown reasons and would have run out of fuel in the remote section of the southern Indian Ocean where the search has been focused. Not one piece of debris has been recovered since the massive hunt began.

The tiresome search, which continues to raise more questions than answers, has tormented the families whose loved ones were aboard Flight 370. About two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese.

On Friday, around three dozen Chinese relatives held a prayer meeting in Beijing for their missing spouses. Many sobbed heavily as candles burned on a table in the shape of a heart with “MH370″ in the middle. A banner behind them read in Chinese: “Husband, wife, come home soon.”

There have been numerous leads throughout the painstaking hunt, but all have turned out to be false. The latest hope involved an oil slick found near the underwater search area, but analysis of a sample taken from the site found it was not connected to the plane.

The most promising development came when four underwater signals were detected April 5 and 8. The sounds were consistent with pings that would have been emanating from the flight data and cockpit recorders’ beacons before their batteries died.

The underwater operation is being complicated by the depth of the largely unexplored silt-covered sea floor. The U.S. Navy’s unmanned submarine has gone beyond its recommended limit of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet), according to the U.S. 7th Fleet. That could risk the equipment, but it is being closely monitored.

The search coordination center has said the hunt for floating debris on the surface will continue at least into next week, even though the head of the search effort, Angus Houston, had earlier said it was expected to end sooner.

On Saturday, the visual surface search was to cover an estimated 50,200 square kilometers (19,382 square miles) of sea.

___

Associated Press writers Christopher Bodeen in Beijing and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.

Categories: Magazines

Death Toll in South Korea Ferry Sinking Climbs to 32

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 07:32

(MOKPO, South Korea) — South Korean coast guard officials say they’ve found three more bodies from the sinking of a ferry, raising the death toll to 32.

Coast guard spokesman Kim Jae-in says the latest bodies were recovered Saturday, three days after the ferry sank.

The updated death toll follows the arrest Saturday of the captain of the ferry on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. More than 300 are missing or dead.

Officials say strong currents and rain have made it difficult to get inside the ferry, where most of the passengers are believed to have been trapped.

Prosecutors say the ferry’s captain, 68-year-old Lee Joon-seok, was arrested along with the third mate, a 25-year-old woman identified only by her surname, Park, and 55-year-old helmsman Cho Joon-ki.

 

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The History of Technology, as Told in Wacky British Pathé Newsreels

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 01:26

In an inventive, generous act, British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 pieces of footage from vintage newsreels to YouTube. If you stop by to check it out, you might have trouble pulling yourself away. It’s a fascinating survey of what happened to the world from 1896-1976, told in bite-sized chunks.

The collection is searchable, so I pulled up some choice bits relating to computers–especially how they got used to automate practically everything in the 1960s. This stuff was amazing at the time–especially, it seems, if you were a British newsreel announcer.

1949: An engineer teaches a machine to play noughts and crosses, better known to you and me as tic-tac-toe

1962: Pan Am and IBM sign a deal to computerize airplane reservations (watching this, it hit me: how the heck did they do them before computers?)

1966: Rowland Emett, the Rube Goldberg of the U.K., demonstrates his homemade computer

1967: During an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease, horse-racing fans settle for a computerized simulation

1967: The latest in automation–from the Auto-Typist to a pocket-sized dictation machine–gets demonstrated at the Business Efficiency Exhibition

1968: Honeywell demonstrates its “girl robot,” Miss Honeywell, who, I regret to say, I suspect of being an elaborate hoax

1968: A report on the Univac-powered Tinder of its day, complete with a Beatles soundtrack

1968: A Putney man composes music with his home computer, which happens to be a PDP-8 minicomputer

One thing I learned from watching all of these: Unless British Pathé sweetened its soundtracks, computers used to be noisy. I’m just as glad we no longer have to listen to that incessant clackety, clackety, clackety, clacking.

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