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Ayman's blog

Brian roberts

  • Disney wants to buy much of Fox`s content assets to bolster its attack on Netflix.
  • Now Comcast may throw a wrench into things by trying to snag the UK-based pay TV service Sky, which Fox has long been after.
  • There`s a lot of uncertainty regarding these potential deals. But what`s clear is that these media giants are using two very different strategies when it comes to facing the challenge presented by streaming and Netflix.


Remember that shocker of an announcement a few months ago that Disney was set to buy a chunk of 21st Century Fox`s assets for over 50 billion? That`s already old news as media `Game of Thrones` escalates.

Comcast on Tuesday jumped in with a bid to buy the UK pay TV service Sky – which is supposed to be part of Disney`s acquisition. And it`s a better deal for Sky on paper, with Comcast offering a higher price.

What`s going on here? Isn`t the media industry trying to combat cord-cutting and looking to take on Netflix? Isn`t the future about streaming and not satellite TV?

That`s where all the consumer trends are pointing. The number of cable homes is shrinking. Netflix keeps adding subscribers. That`s why the two diverging strategies of these media goliaths are striking:

  • Disney seems to have come to grips with the reality that the media business will never go back to the way it was, so it`s making the riskier move of disrupting its own business. That`s why it`s trying to stock up on content for a direct-to-consumer streaming service that bypasses the cable model.
  • Meanwhile, Comcast seems to be buying time, by trying to ring every dollar it can out of the legacy pay TV model, while hoping that model hangs on a bit longer.

Sky helps Comcast hold on to the cable cash cow longer

"The Comcast Sky deal is about protecting your existing property, while buying more subscribers and all the carriage and subs fees that go with that," said Elgin Thompson, managing director at Digital Capital Advisors. "It`s a bit of an old world mentality."

For the time being, owning Sky would get Comcast into markets it isn`t very strong in, like say Italy, and would help it lock up key sports rights – since Sky recently inked a deal to broadcast Premier League soccer by spending less than had been anticipated.

That`s short term insurance against cord-cutting, which is occurring less rapidly in Europe, said Alice Enders, head of research at the UK-based media research firm Enders Analysis.  "So Comcast has estimated that, `If we get Sky, we can say that 25% of our revenue is now international.` Their story becomes one of international diversification, and getting  away from relying on the US." 

"Sky helps them get more international, and gets them into more sports beyond the big three or four in the US," said Thompson. "So there`s some logic there."

AT&T/Time Warner kick started this mania. And it`s uncertainty hangs over everything

AT&T`s proposed acquisition of Time Warner was supposed to reset the media industry`s chess board. But now the deal is being held up in federal court and may not be decided until halfway through 2018.

What happens with AT&T likely effects every other potential move yet to play out in the radically reshaping industry. 

"Most companies in this space made money in the traditional way," said Jeff Green, CEO of the ad tech firm The Trade Desk. "They sold shows and networks to distributors and they sold ads. And that system has run TV for 75 years." 

Selling shows to Netflix became a nice way for TV companies to make extra money. Then it got too big too fast, and became a threat.

"So these companies said, `Let’s not do that anymore.` Now everybody is trying to own distribution. That`s what AT&T started. And what the Sky deal represents is Comcast wanting to be even closer to distribution."

Black Panther

For Disney, it`s all about Netflix

Disney`s interest in Fox is all about building up its content library to bolster its coming Netflix killer – a direct-to-consumer streaming service that should feature the best of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and all of Fox Studios content (X-Men, Avatar, and so-on).

"The core deal logic in Fox is for Disney to get studio its assets," said Enders. "That’s what they really want. Fox wants Disney more than Sky."

Thompson is less than bullish on Disney`s attempt to blunt Netflix. "They are so far ahead that no one is going to catch them," he said. "In the meantime, they can simply find all the disgruntled talent and wait for their contracts to end."

Comcast and Sky is easier for the regulators to swallow

As Enders noted, Fox has been trying to purchase the remainder of Sky that it doesn`t own for some time. And the deal is being held up – not for competitive reasons, but political ones, with the small matter of the phone hacking scandal that rocked the UK a few years ago hanging over the deal. 

"Fox can’t do whatever it feels like," she said. "So the question is how far Disney is prepared to go to get Sky." She theorized that both deals could happen in some fashion: Comcast could end up with Sky, while Disney could take home a smaller pile of Fox assets. Or Disney could step up its bid for Fox and/or Sky.

It`s not out of the question that down the road, she said, that Comcast could try to buy Time Warner if AT&T ends up losing its bid. Or, as Thompson suggested, Comcast could try its own Netflix competitor using all of NBCUniversal`s assets.

"There`s a lot more reel left in this movie," Enders said. "In the meantime, chaos will probably ensue."

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stratolaunch

  • The Stratolaunch is the world`s largest aircraft.
  • Its 385-foot wingspan is longer than a football field.
  • The aircraft recently completed a runway test in anticipation of its debut flight, which is planned for 2019.


The world`s largest plane is so big, it needs two fuselages with separate cockpits.

It`s called the Stratolaunch, and it`s designed to launch rockets into space in what is known as low-Earth orbit, which means the spacecraft is between 99 and 1,200 miles above the Earth`s surface. (Most space flights, as well as satellites and the International Space Station, are in low-Earth orbit.)

Since it was unveiled in June 2017, the Stratolaunch has undergone a series of tests before it makes its first flight in 2019. On Monday, the Stratolaunch YouTube page posted a video of runway tests that saw the aircraft reach a top speed of 46 mph.

Here`s a look at the Stratolaunch, and why businesses might want to use it.

SEE ALSO: Trump strikes 3.9 billion deal for two presidential Boeing 747s — here`s a look back at the incredible history of Air Force One

Stratolaunch Systems is owned by Paul Allen, who cofounded Microsoft.



Allen`s goal for the company and its namesake aircraft is to "provide convenient, reliable, and routine access to low-Earth orbit."



It would do so by launching rockets toward space from mid-air, which the company hopes will be less expensive than current, commercial space launch options.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
CAIRO- 27 February 2017: Egyptian embassy in UK released a statement on Tuesday in response to BBC false report accusing Egyptian Security apparatuses of carrying out cases of enforced disappearances and torture.

below the full statement of the embassy:

"The BBC has aired and published an investigative report on 23rd & 24th February 2018 titled `Crushing dissent in Egypt’, presented by Orla Guerin, the former BBC correspondent in Cairo. This program contained numerous factual misrepresentation and false claims including a grave professional error pertaining to what the program claimed to be the forced disappearance of Zubeida Younis.

Being based solely on an interview with her mother, who claimed that the authorities have abducted her daughter a year ago. These allegations have been conducted without any fact checking or listening to any other testimonies from any other witnesses.

On Monday 26th February 2018, Zubeida has appeared as a guest on the Egyptian Station ONtv, Talk Show “Kol Youm”( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS0JaXeGveU ), where she has refuted all these claims and confirmed that she had left her mother’s home with her own free will.

Zubeida herself reiterates that the reason for her disappearance was due to a family dispute and that she was unaware that her mother had spoken to the press; they have not spoken for a year and she has in fact been living with her husband and new born baby for the duration of her alleged disappearance.

We are requesting an immediate apology for this gross professional error and would like this to be addressed to the BBC audience as well as the Egyptian public."
CAIRO – 27 February 2018: Giza Misdemeanor Court sentenced Laila Amer, the singer of controversial song “Bos Omak”, to two years in prison over charges of inciting debauchery and public disgrace, through a song released on Internet raising controversy among the public.

The court also imprisoned the director and producer of the clip Samir and the co-actor Magdy for six and three months, respectively. Moreover, other four crew members were handed in absentia different sentences in jail, ranging between six months and two years.

The Giza Public Prosecutor’s office charged the indicted over using hidden sexual innuendos in the clip “Bos Omak” (which is metaphor of an curse word).

Laila’s defense lawyer said that she had nothing to do with it, but was just carrying out instructions from the director, and that the charges assigned to her were legally refuted, which he presented to the judge while considering the renewal of her imprisonment.

In late December 2017, there was a like case with another singer named Shima, who was jailed for two years over the same charges of debauchery and publishing an anti-public chastity video.

Criminal Court sentences Shima to 2 years for her video

CAIRO - 13 December 2017: The Criminal Court of El Nozha sentenced the Egyptian singer Shima and director of her clip "Andy Zrouf" (I Have Issues) to two years in prison and fined them LE 10,000 each for incitement to debauchery and publishing an anti-public chastity video.



Kevin Smith

  • Writer and director Kevin Smith suffered a massive heart attack Sunday night.
  • On Tuesday, he went live on Facebook from his hospital room with an update.
  • Smith got emotional in the video, saying he didn`t want to die in that moment, but was "content."

 

Writer and director Kevin Smith, of "Clerks" fame, suffered a massive heart attack Sunday night after filming an episode of his AMC show, "Comic Book Men."

On Tuesday afternoon, Smith went live on Facebook with an emotional update for fans from his hospital room, in which he described his symptoms, what the emergency room was like, and addressed the Chris Pratt "prayer" controversy.

After Smith`s heart attack, actor Chris Pratt tweeted that he was praying his "a-- off" for Smith because he "believes in the healing power of prayer."

Kevin we don’t know each other too good but I have loved you since Clerks and I’m praying my ass off for you cause I believe in the healing power of prayer. Can you please pray with me people!? 🙏♥️ https://t.co/syB7BiQaoY

— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) February 26, 2018

 

Some mocked and criticized Pratt on Twitter for his "prayer" tweet, a few connecting it to what certain politicians have said after mass shootings, but Smith came to Pratt`s defense in his video.

"Poor Chris Pratt, one of my favorite actors of all time, put up a nice tweet ... and apparently some people were like `f--- your prayers,`" Smith said. "Please don`t fight over stuff like that, it`s a waste of time. Whether you`re religious or not, somebody praying for you is with good intentions."

Smith said he experienced nausea and lost his breath, but didn`t feel like he was in pain. Even though his father died from a heart attack, Smith said, he didn`t think it was a heart attack.

"Honestly, I just thought it was mucus," he said. He also mentioned that he thought it was just "bad milk" because he threw up.

When first responders came, Smith said that they were "very patient with a guy who was deathly afraid to lift his shirt up." 

Aside from his shirt, Smith said once he was in the emergency room, he was "literally dying," but his biggest concern was "people seeing his d--k." "Never wanted to go to a doctor for that reason," Smith said. 

By the end of the video, though, Smith got emotional, and said that while he didn`t want to die, he felt "content" during the scary experience. 

"What a ride it`s been," he said. "There was calm ... I was always afraid that I`d be terrified of dying ... I`ve seen people die. I like life, life worked out for me and I don`t ever want to let it go. But in that moment, even though I was 47, I was like `that`ll do pig.` I felt like Babe."

He ended the video by saying that the doctor cleared him to go home.

Watch the full video below:

 

 

SEE ALSO: The 16 best moments in Marvel Cinematic Universe history, ranked

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water guns

  • Google Shopping has policies against allowing shoppers to search for firearms or other dangerous products.  
  • But, that means the shopping platform also doesn`t allow users to search for anything with "gun" in the search term, including "water gun," "Guns N Roses," and "Sex Pistols." 
  • Google told Business Insider the company was "working to address this issue." 

 

Google is trying to crack down on people shopping for firearms on its website — with some bizarre results. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Google Shopping does not allow customers to search for "guns" in any form. 

That means searches for things like "water guns" and "Guns N Roses" merchandise result in a notification that the search "did not match any shopping results." 

Screen Shot 2018 02 27 at 1.52.00 PM

"Bubble guns," "glue guns," and "Sex Pistols" also did not produce results when Business Insider searched with those terms. Searches for things such as "gun cabinet," "gun cleaning kit," and "gun holsters" also did not produce results. 

"We are experiencing an error in our Shopping results and we are working to address this issue," a Google representative said in an email to Business Insider. The company said it is not making any changes to its Google Shopping policy. 

People have taken to social media to poke fun at the search giant for the bizarre qualifications. 

Google censored "gun" in the shopping page.

So you can`t search for "gundam" or "guns n roses"

The name of the game: Find the exploit.

See how far the slippery slope can get.

😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁 pic.twitter.com/kVcr5d1fXn

— appabend (@appabend) February 27, 2018

Wow, the brilliant minds at Google have literally banned any shopping search results containing the word gun. Hope you guys don`t like anime.

THANKS FOR KEEPING OUR STREETS SAFE MARK pic.twitter.com/9um7jF2GUW

— Vito Gesualdi (@VitoGesualdi) February 27, 2018

Google shopping now blocks all search queries with the English word "gun" in it, which can be something of an issue as you can imagine. pic.twitter.com/NL4V00y079

— Best Mom Eva (@mombot) February 27, 2018

Some of Google`s recent changes seem to already be in effect. 

Some Twitter users took issue with searches for "Gundam" — an anime series — not yielding results on Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, the search results included action figures and other merchandise. 

On Tuesday, The Telegraph reported that users couldn`t search for products with "gun" in the name, including Burgundy wine. A search by Business Insider on Tuesday afternoon revealed that Google had resolved the issue. 

Screen Shot 2018 02 27 at 2.06.14 PM

Google has been working to fix issues regarding what customers can and cannot buy via Google Shopping in recent months. Over the weekend, Google announced it was removing AR-15 bump stocks from Google Shopping results after customers complained. 

"This was a mistake and should not have happened," the company said in a tweet. "Due to a human error, a handful of Shopping results for bump stock appeared. We immediately removed those results as they violate our policy."

Google Shopping has banned guns from search results since 2012. The company does not promote ads for "dangerous products or services," including explosives, guns, and other weapons.  

Screen Shot 2018 02 27 at 2.18.00 PM

The search engine has managed to fine tune how it treats searches for products such as bombs and poison.

Searching for "bombs," for example, primarily results in Google Shopping listings for bath bombs. However, searching for "arsenic" can give shoppers the opportunity to purchase the poisonous chemical. 

SEE ALSO: `The NRA uses UPS`: FedEx doubles down on its NRA ties by shifting focus to one of its biggest rivals

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BERLIN (Reuters) - The U.S government has told EU states that it and other non-EU NATO allies should play a key role in a European defense pact, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. senators who just returned from a trip to Israel called on Tuesday for an increase in the 38 billion in military aid the United States is currently providing Israel, signaling support for more funds for Israeli missile systems.

gun control

  • Activists are organizing a 24-hour boycott of Amazon, Apple, and FedEx, due to their ties to the NRA, on March 1.
  • FedEx says it will continue its discount program for NRA members, while Amazon and Apple have stayed silent about their whether they will remove the NRA`s TV channel from their streaming options.
  • The protest organizers argue that NRAtv and NRA discount programs give money to the gun-rights group and foster gun violence in the United States.


Calls to boycott companies with economic ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA) are getting louder after the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Several activists and celebrities are calling for a 24-hour boycott of Amazon, Apple, and FedEx, on March 1. This week, Amazon and Apple have come under fire from gun control activists because the two companies offer the NRA`s TV channel as part of their streaming services. FedEx, meanwhile, has a discount program for NRA members. 

Among those promoting the boycott are actors Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing; actor and producer Justine Bateman; and Shannon Coulter (the woman behind the "Grab Your Wallet" boycott of retailers that carry Trump products). They are asking participants to refrain from buying products from Amazon and Apple, and to avoid shipping items via FedEx.

The boycott could be huge. In just five hours, a tweet from Alyssa Milano announcing the boycott was retweeted over 6,000 times. The hashtag #March1NRABoycott has also gained approximately 6.8 million impressions.

This Thursday @Alyssa_Milano @DebraMessing @JustineBateman & others are organizing a 24-hour boycott of 3 big companies that still do biz w/ NRA: @FedEx @Amazon @Apple. We #GrabYourWallet-ers won`t break a sweat. We`ve been boycotting Amazon for over a year! #March1NRABoycott

— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) February 27, 2018

On Monday, FedEx told Business Insider that it will continue its perk program that gives up to 26% discounts to NRA members. The company added that it does not agree with the NRA`s gun-policy positions.

The company then reiterated its decision on Tuesday afternoon, shifting its focus to its biggest rival, UPS.

"The NRA uses UPS and not FedEx" for shipping from its online store, FedEx said in a statement to BI. 

Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Since the recent mass shootingmore than a dozen companies have distanced themselves from the NRA, including Hertz, United, and Delta. 

On February 24, Daniel Reed, the father of a Parkland student survivor, launched a petition asking Amazon to drop NRAtv. The petition has surpassed its goal of 200,000 signatures, and will now be sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Launched in 2016, NRAtv includes 22 programs, all aimed at disseminating a pro-gun-rights message. One segment, for example, argues that it should be easier for Americans to buy AR-15s, a type of semi-automatic rifle that gunman Nikolas Cruz used in Parkland.

The NRAtv`s producers call themselves "America`s Most Patriotic Team on a Mission to Take Back The Truth." In addition to Amazon Fire and AppleTV, NRAtv is also available through Roku, SiriusXM, iHeartRadio, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Chromecast.

In the past several decades, the NRA has become a strong political force due to its political donations and millions of members. One big way that the NRA retains its members is through discounts on everything from car insurance to hotel rooms. More than a dozen American companies have partnered with the NRA to offer special perks to members.

The NRA membership benefits page points out "access to hundreds of dollars in savings" as a reason to join the organization.

SEE ALSO: A Parkland survivor`s father is turning up the heat on Amazon to cut ties with the NRA

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NOW WATCH: What it`s actually like to hear voices in your head

bill gates

  • In an AMA on Reddit, Bill Gates confirmed that he will not be running for president.
  • While Gates is troubled by the current administration, he believes that people put too much faith in the government when it comes to issues like education and poverty.
  • Gates believes that the onus of providing aid in the fields of education and healthcare should be left to smaller, localized groups. 


Bill Gates does not want to be president.

On Tuesday, the Microsoft founder confirmed that he has no plans to run for office in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. While Gates has taken issue with the current presidential administration in the past, he`s too committed to his work with his wife, Melinda, overseeing their multi-billion dollar philanthropic fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

"I won`t be running for President because I am super committed to the work Melinda and I are doing at the Foundation and outside the Foundation," Gates explained on Reddit. "I agree it is important to have a President who thinks long term about the US role in the world and the research to solve disease burdens and costs and to tackle climate change and improve education."

Regardless of who is in the White House though, Gates said Americans may be overestimating the government`s ability to improve education and fight poverty. 

"I do think people are expecting too much from Government," he continued. "Yes Government can do better but local groups can do a lot that government can`t - helping out in schools, reaching out to people in poverty."

Gates says that providing aid through smaller, localized groups is a vision he`d like to see not just in the US, but worldwide as well.

"This is also true internationally," he said. "I would like to see this civil society sector step up a lot more. Some issues like abortion or even immigration we may never get a consensus on but there are things like better health and better education that we can achieve."

SEE ALSO: Bill Gates says cryptocurrency is `a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way`

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NOW WATCH: What it`s actually like to hear voices in your head

File Photo of Egyptian Singer Sherine Abdel Wahab

Egyptian prominent singer Sherine Abdel Wahab has been sentenced to six months in prison for making a joke about the Nile carrying diseases during a concert held in the United Arab Emirates last year.

The trial of Sherine was held in absentia and the ruling can still be appealed.

In January 2017, one of the fans asked Sherine, 37, to sing her famous song “Have you Drunk From the Nile?”. In response, Sherine said, “No, you’d get Schistosomiasis”  a disease that it’s commonly known in Egypt as bilharzia. she went on to say jokingly, “Drink Evian instead”.

The court ruling hasn’t yet been implemented pending an appeal. The court also ordered Sherine to pay EGP 5,000 pending the conclusion of the appeal and a fine of EGP 1,000, according to Ahram online.

Sherine’s song entails that whoever drinks from the River Nile will have to come back to it, a common patriotic belief among the Egyptians. Bilharzia, however, used to be a rather common disease among Egyptians in the past, but health campaigns were held all across the country and its percent today is rather insignificant, 0.2, according to the Health Ministry.

In November 2017, the Musicians Syndicate banned Sherine from performing in Egypt over what it described as “unjustified mockery”. At the time, Sherine released a lengthy statement apologizing for her comment and describing it as a ‘silly joke’. She confirmed that she didn’t mean anything negative towards her country. She further promised to be more careful with what she says in the future.

cimon international space station alexander gerst ibm watson.JPG

  • An 11-pound, artificially intelligent orb is launching to the International Space Station.
  • The robot, called the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion (CIMON), will have an animated face, talk, and fly around.
  • CIMON will use IBM Watson software to interact with astronauts.


When German astronaut and scientist Alexander Gerst rockets to the International Space Station in June, he`ll bring along an unusual friend: a flying, talking, intelligent robot.

Called the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, or CIMON, the orb-shaped device weighs about 11 pounds and displays an expressive digital face. Its "brain" is powered in part by IBM Watson — the artificial intelligence software that defeated Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in 2011 and won 1 million. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus helped develop the robot as well.

"In short, CIMON will be the first [artificial intelligence]-based mission and flight assistance system," Manfred Jaumann, a payload engineer at Airbus, said in a press release. He added that CIMON will be a "a free flyer, a kind of flying brain" that will interact with, aid, and learn from astronauts.

CIMON is a far cry from the HAL 9000 supercomputer from the classic sci-fi book and movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," and it isn`t the only flying robot headed to the ISS. But CIMON`s capabilities are nonetheless impressive.

Training a floating head to be a friend

illustration cimon ibm watson international space station airbus

The robot was created primarily by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which worked in collaboration with IBM, the European Space Agency, and other partners.

CIMON`s team trained the robot on Earth to recognize Gerst`s voice via microphones and his face using cameras. The machine follows him around using an air-propulsion system.

The robot will have a stand-alone version of Watson AI in its memory banks. That means no internet connection — a tricky problem in space — will be required for CIMON to interpret data, respond to commands, solve problems, and generally be a useful little robot.

"It can also serve as an early warning system for technical problems," Airbus said.

Gerst will unbox CIMON in June and use the flying robot through October. During that time, it will help Gerst solve basic problems and check off tasks like a digital assistant. But CIMON`s prime mission is to complete three goals: experiment with crystal growth in space, solve a Rubik`s cube, and "perform a complex medical experiment using CIMON as an `intelligent` flying camera," according to Airbus.

"Experiments sometimes consist of more than 100 different steps, CIMON knows them all," Matthias Biniok, the lead Watson architect in Germany, said in an IBM blog post.

cimon ibm watson international space station airbusCIMON will use a neural network to interact with and learn from Gerst, at least at first.

Ultimately, CIMON will spy on space station astronauts to help assess their emotional states and psychological "group effects," Biniok said — a feature that could help better engineer months- or years-long journeys to the moon or Mars.

"Social interaction between people and machines, between astronauts and assistance systems equipped with emotional intelligence, could play an important role in the success of long-term missions," Airbus said.

"We predict that assistance systems of this kind also have a bright future right here on earth, such as in hospitals or to support nursing care," Biniok said.

In case you were wondering how close we`re getting to "2001: A Space Odyssey," there are no astronauts named "Dave" scheduled to fly to the space station anytime soon, according to NASA.

SEE ALSO: SpaceX`s biggest rival has a `genius` plan to cut its rocket-launch costs by more than 70%

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jack ma

  • There`s speculation that Alibaba is looking to buy out the remaining stake of Ele.me, its food delivery unit.
  • Ele.me already accounts for 50% of the online food delivery market in China, while its other competitor Meituan maintains roughly the other half in market share.
  • Watch Alibaba`s stock price move in real time here.


With one deal, Alibaba could dominate the online food delivery market in China. 

There are rumors the e-commerce giant is planning to acquire the remaining 68% stake of Ele.me, its food delivery unit, which will likely cost around 9.5 billion, according to a Jefferies note citing multiple media sources.

Alibaba`s planned takeover could make it one side of a powerful duopoly in China. Ele.me makes up 50% of China`s online food delivery market while rival Meituan controls 43.5%, according to Analysys International. The move puts Alibaba closer to cornering the Chinese online food delivery market.

China is the world`s largest online grocery market, and it is projected to more than double its growth by 2020, according to IGD, an international grocery research organization. The industry delivered 80% year-over-year growth in 2017, wrote Jefferies` Karen Chan in a note. 

China has seen online grocery growth soar because it has a higher population density, lower labor cost, a fragmented food and beverage market due to the higher number of small mom-and-pop shops with no logistics capacity, and a "well-formed consumer habit" thanks to subsidies, Chan said. 

The acquisition of Ele.me could create synergies for Alibaba to move beyond food delivery, Chan added. It could help expand Alibaba`s cross-channel traffic acquisition, Alipay`s scale from loyal or high-frequency users, and "strengthen" its last-mile delivery under its "New Retail" initiatives, which the company hopes will further imbue brick-and-mortar stores with technology and e-commerce.

Last November, Alibaba acquired a 36% stake in the China`s largest grocery operator, Sun Art Retail Group. Sun Art operates around 450 hypermarkets across China. It also acquired department chain store Intime last year, and has continued to roll out its Hema Supermarkets as part of its "new retail" vision

Alibaba`s stock was trading at 188.56 per share, and was up 2.8% for the year.

Read more about why there`s hope for a turnaround of Walmart`s online sales slump.

Alibaba stock price

SEE ALSO: Walmart has a big opportunity to help reverse its online sales slump

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NOW WATCH: Watch SpaceX launch a Tesla Roadster to Mars on the Falcon Heavy rocket — and why it matters

CARACAS (Reuters) - Dancing in front of red-shirted supporters, Venezuela`s President Nicolas Maduro formally signed up on Tuesday to run for re-election in an April vote opponents say is a farce that will consolidate his dictatorship.
SAADA, Yemen (Reuters) - Air strikes killed five civilians and wounded at least 14, including four children, outside the northern Yemeni city of Saada on Tuesday, a Reuters witness and medics said.

Tim Cook

  • Apple stores are offering iPhone battery replacements for 29. 
  • Most stores currently have a multiple-week waitlist for many iPhone battery models. 
  • Barclays says the wait times aren`t going down. 

Apple stores are currently dealing with a massive influx of customers who want new iPhone batteries. 

Apple started offering replacement iPhone batteries for a discounted rate of 29 after a scandal where it had to apologize for artificially slowing down the processor on some older phones.

A new battery, Apple said, fixes slower older iPhones, including the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 7.

The only catch is you might have to wait a few weeks for a new battery — and wait times aren`t improving, according to Barclays analysts.

They write in a Tuesday note for clients that the average wait time for a new battery at an Apple store has increased to 2.7 weeks, up from 2.3 weeks at the beginning of January. 

The battery shortage means that instead of replacing the battery on the same day, store employees must order batteries and contact customers when they arrive weeks later. 

In January, Apple sent a memo to stores that outlined two-week waits for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S Plus batteries, with a particular shortage for iPhone 6 Plus batteries, which weren`t expected to be delivered until March or April. Barclays notes that iPhone 7 batteries are often in stock at Apple stores. 

Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz writes: 

1) the slight increase in wait time likely indicates demand for battery replacement, especially IP6 and 6 Plus, remains very strong.

2) The battery supplies are not improving as we expected two weeks ago, despite Apple’s claim that it is working everything it can to increase supplies.

3) As wait time is still within the 2-3 week range, we expect an increasing cross-section of consumers to take advantage of the 29 offer instead of purchasing a new iPhone.

The 10 billion battery

iPhone BatteryInvestors are wondering if the battery replacement program might hurt iPhone sales.

If a customer replaces his battery and finds the newly upgraded performance to be acceptable, they might not buy a new iPhone.

Barclays previously modeled a scenario where Apple could lose 10.29 billion in iPhone sales if 16 million people decide not to upgrade thanks to the battery replacement deal.

Apple retail employees previously told Business Insider that many people replacing their batteries don`t need a new one according to diagnostic tests. 

"While this is the right thing for Apple to do, it should continue to negatively impact iPhone [sales] for 2018," Moskowitz wrote in Tuesday`s note. 

SEE ALSO: Barclays says that the Apple battery scandal could have a big hit on iPhone sales

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This vest could help people cope with anxiety and stress by simulating a hug

Barbra streisand

  • Barbra Streisand told Variety that she successfully made two clones of her Coton du Tulear dog, which died in 2017.
  • She said they have different personalities.

 

Barbra Streisand said in a new interview with Variety that she successfully made two clones of her pet dog. 

The singer said that two of her Coton de Tulear dogs were cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of her 14-year-old dog Samantha, who died in 2017. 

"They have different personalities,” Streisand said of the two clones, Miss Scarlet and Miss Violet. "I`m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her [Samantha`s] brown eyes and seriousness."

Streisand added that she owns a third dog of the same breed, Miss Fanny, (pictured in the Instagram post above), which she said is a distant cousin of the original dog.

In 2015, Tech Insider profiled the South Korean lab Sooam Biotech, which took up the practice of cloning dogs for 100,000 each.

Read Variety`s profile of Streisand.

SEE ALSO: The 50 best-selling music artists of all time

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: You can connect all 9 Best Picture Oscar nominees with actors they have in common — here`s how

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Slovak police are looking into possible foreign links to the murder of an investigative journalist and his girlfriend and are in contact with services in the Czech Republic and Italy, the head of the police said on Tuesday.
EDINBURGH (Reuters) - The Scottish and Welsh governments said on Tuesday they will introduce bills into their parliaments aimed at keeping regional powers that come back from Brussels after Brexit, in a move that could complicate British plans to leave the EU.

Peloton

  • High-tech fitness company Peloton has unveiled a new treadmill that costs 3,995 and enables users to stream live and on-demand fitness classes. 
  • The treadmill is currently undergoing testing before being shipped to customers this fall. 
  • Business Insider had the opportunity to test the product and found it easy and fun to use. 

 

Hot on the heels of its wildly successful bike, Peloton has created a new product, the Peloton Tread

The high-tech fitness company, which was valued at about 1.25 billion after closing a 325 million financing round last May, has a cult following of fans who are obsessed with its core product, the indoor bike. JPMorgan vice-chairman Noah Wintroub has called Peloton "the Apple of fitness."

It`s a buzz that even CEO John Foley says he wasn`t expecting. 

"I was totally surprised by it," Folety told Business Insider in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. "When I started Peloton with my cofounders, I saw clear as day what it was going to look like and how it was going to work — the technology, the hardware, the software, the business model. I saw everything except the community. The community has blown me away." 

Peloton`s new 3,995 treadmill, which launches this fall, works in the same way as its indoor bike. It has an HD touchscreen that streams thousands of different live and on-demand classes that users can join from home. 

It costs 39 a month to stream these classes, which include a mix of high-intensity boot camp routines, running drills, and mat work. If you already own a Peloton bike, you can steam classes for both machines for this monthly fee. Customers have the option to pay for the Tread in installments. For current members, it`s 110 a month for 39 months. New members pay 149 a month for 39 months. You can reserve the treadmill online now with a 250 deposit.

Peloton invited us to its spacious New York headquarters to test out the new treadmill. The office is a couple of blocks from its cycling studio, where you can attend classes or live stream them from home on your bike. 

Here`s our step-by-step review below:

SEE ALSO: A billion-dollar fitness startup with a cult following just unveiled a 4,000 treadmill

When we show up at Peloton’s spacious Chelsea offices, spread over four floors, we’re reminded that the company has quickly grown out of its startup phase.



It`s the second time we`ve come face to face with the Peloton Tread, thanks to a few technical difficulties the product, which is still in the testing phase, was experiencing earlier on in the week. Still, the size of it is shocking. It`s vast — about 73 inches long and 33 inches wide — which makes us wonder how city dwellers would have the space to store it.



We hop aboard the machine. There are three categories of classes to choose from: Run/Walk, Total Body, and Floor, which includes yoga workouts. The product comes with thousands of on-demand classes, and an additional 10 classes will be live streamed from the studio each day.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

  • As of February 26, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is home to seeds from more than a million crops from all over the world.
  • Over the past few years, the vault has proved necessary: Seeds were withdrawn to replace some from Syria that got destroyed during war.
  • It`s also vulnerable — melting permafrost created a glacier-like water flow in the tunnel leading to the vault.
  • The Norwegian government wants to upgrade the facility.


The doomsday vault that`s meant to be home to specimens from every known crop on the planet looks like it`s getting an upgrade — and not a moment too soon.

Administered by the government of Norway, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is meant to be a resource that could come to humanity`s rescue. If things go really wrong due to climate change, nuclear war, or some other kind of global disaster, any place in the world should be able to withdraw seeds for whatever crops they need to start re-growing.

As of February 26, seeds from more than a million crops are now stored in the vault. On Monday, more than 76,000 seed samples were added to the storage space, which is opened for new deposits a few times a year. New specimens were brought in from seed banks in Australia, Kenya, the US, Costa Rica, and other places around the globe.

The vault was officially opened in 2008, and originally cost about 9 million. But given its increasingly important role amid mounting climate change threats, the Norwegian government wants to upgrade the facilities. Several days ago, the government announced an overhaul that they plan to begin shortly, which will involve spending 100 million Norwegian Krone (12,779,000) to seriously beef up the vault. 

Svalbard Global Seed

Reasons for an upgrade

Over the past few years, several reasons to upgrade the facility have become clear.

For one, the vault has already been needed. In 2015, Syria`s ICARDA seed bank withdrew samples from the vault — a first — so it could restore its collection after sustaining damage during war. It`s fortunate that Svalbard had the seeds that were needed. ICARDA returned the samples to the vault in 2017.

Last year, it was also discovered that the seed bank is more vulnerable than it might seem. The vault is buried in permafrost in a mountain on an isolated island in the northernmost place in the world that has scheduled flights. More polar bears than people wander around outside. The five doors are only opened for deposits, when seeds are carried down the long tunnel to a chamber kept at -18 degrees Celsius. It`s supposed to stay frozen for 200 years, even if the power goes out. 

But in May of 2017, melting permafrost caused caused a glacier-like flow of water to freeze inside the tunnel. Though permafrost is by definition supposed to stay frozen, it didn`t. (Right now, the Arctic is experiencing record warmth for winter.)

Luckily, the water didn`t reach the main chamber and workers were able to remove the ice. But the new upgrades would provide additional backups.

The proposed project "includes the construction of a new, concrete-built access tunnel, as well as a service building to house emergency power and refrigerating units and other electrical equipment that emits heat through the tunnel," according to a statement by the Norwegian government.

Hopefully that`s enough to keep everything inside safe and secure in case we ever need it.

SEE ALSO: The doomsday vault that`s supposed to store every known crop on the planet is in danger

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Look inside the Arctic `doomsday` seed vault built to protect millions of crops from any disaster

CAIRO- 27 February 2018: Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry delivered a speech on Tuesday before the 37th Human Rights Council.

Below is the full text of the speech:

"H.E President of the Human Rights Council,

, Excellencies Ministers and Senior Officials

Ladies and gentlemen,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate the Government of Slovenia and its Permanent Representative H.E. Ambassador Vojslav Suc on assuming the presidency of the Human Rights Council. I reiterate Egypt`s keenness, at the beginning of its second year of Council membership, on cooperating with the Bureau in achieving the principles and purposes of this august body.

Mr. President,

Every year, Egypt is keen to share with the Council what it has achieved in strengthening democracy, rule of law, good governance, and furnishing the necessary infrastructure for human rights albeit all the serious challenges that it has faced and continues to face. Egypt completed in a record time the process of institutional building based on a contemporary constitution which is in accordance with international standards in safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms. In less than a month, Egypt will hold presidential elections, the fourth electoral contest in Egypt since the 30th of June revolution. All these elections were and will be held in an environment of fairness, integrity and transparency, and in accordance with effective constitutional guarantees, under the supervision of an independent electoral commission and while being witnessed widely by civil society organizations, media and international and regional organizations.

My keenness to speak before you for the second year in a row signifies the magnitude of attention that Egypt pays to this Council, as it played a key role in its inception, and acted twice as its vice-president, as well as our firm belief and unambiguous commitment towards the noble and universal values of human rights. On the other hand, protection and promotion of human rights are an advanced priority for the Government of Egypt particularly after the 2011 and 2013 revolutions. This is translated, for example, in selecting the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 as years for the rights of youth, women and persons with disabilities consecutively; a token for an orientation that integrates human rights in public policy, and which bases itself on the 2030 agenda`s philosophy of "leaving no one behind".

In this context, I am pleased to announce that Egypt will present during the current session, and for the first time, a mid-term voluntary report on its implementation of the accepted recommendations under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). In this we renew our keenness on fulfilling Egypt`s international commitments, and to continuing constructive engagement with the international human rights architecture and mechanisms. This report will be presented at length during the visit of Egypt`s Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to Geneva next week.

Allow me also to touch on few highlights since the last High Level Segment. Egypt continues to take important strides at the path of promoting human rights. The national electoral commission assumed its mandate; the law regulating peaceful assembly was amended to become more accommodating; the House of Representatives enacted an amendment to the law of the National Council for Human Rights to ensure further guarantees for the independence and effectiveness of our national human rights institution; and we maintained the active efforts to mainstream human rights in education curricula, the activities of religious institutions and the working methods of law enforcements authorities.

I should not miss to draw your attention to the major progress achieved in Egypt in relation to the right to freedom of religion and belief, either at the level of facilitating access to the right to practice and worship, or consolidating the values of equality, tolerance and discarding hatred in a system-wide comprehensive approach including in the religious, educational and media fields. Diversity and Plurality are inherent characteristics of the cultural and religious fabric of the Egyptian society. These traits provide sources of strength and richness as well as a shield against the preachers of schism, extremism and terrorism that aim at unraveling these solid national foundations of the Egyptian nation.

Egypt has a rich heritage in the field of freedom of press. It hosts independent media outlets and a large number of foreign correspondents from around the world. It is, however, regretful to notice lack of professionalism in the performance of some media outlets, which base their coverage on fabricated sources, for political purposes or in search of scoops. This was the case in BBC last week`s report on Egypt, where the girl, who was alleged as forcibly disappeared and tortured, appeared on screens refuting such claims.

Egypt proceeds at a path to success in the area of women`s rights. The Egyptian woman year witnessed concrete achievements in promoting empowerment of women and girls in all fields and protecting them from all forms of violence. In addition, The Egyptian State opened new horizons for empowering young people, and engaging them, as well as developing this engagement to include an international dimension presented at the World Youth Forum that Egypt hosted in November 2017 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

The Government of Egypt is also proud of the positive steps undertaken to expand social protection including through a progressive trajectory towards universal health care. We shall continue our efforts to realize economic, social and cultural rights to all citizens albeit the courageous economic reforms currently applied.

In line with these priorities, Egypt`s diplomacy is keen to express these aforementioned interests inside the Human Rights Council. As in the March session of every year, Egypt will present its initiative on "right to work" and the relevant fundamental challenges this issue poses for young people around the world. Egypt is also among the main sponsors of the resolution on youth and human rights presented annually in June. In light of Egypt`s current presidency of the G-77 and China as well as the advanced priority dedicated to the full and effective implementation of agenda 2030 for sustainable development, Egypt will upscale its efforts in support of an equitable attention to be paid to economic, social and cultural rights, and allocating the resources necessary to this end.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Emanating from this open-minded approach and our commitment to continue to work constructively in the field of human rights, and in line with Egypt`s voluntary pledges announced during the elections to this Council`s membership, Egypt engages positively with the international human rights system. It has one of the highest response rates to international petition mechanisms and it has invited 6 mandate holders to conduct visits, with dates being currently agreed upon. Egypt is also pleased with the cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the framework of a comprehensive program for capacity building and technical cooperation, as well as the current training organized on drafting national periodic reports to Treaty Bodies.

Distinguished representatives,

These highlights that were and will be attained at the path of consolidating a modern and sustainable democratic State in Egypt should not distract us from the unprecedented grave challenges faced by Egypt in particular and its regional neighborhoods in general. The sinful hand of terrorism continues to reap souls and assault human lives. It did not mercy worshippers in their mosques and churches, and continues its pathetic attempts to exhaust the economy and compromise the unity and cohesion of the Egyptian nation. As I speak today, Egypt`s heroic law enforcement officials continue conducting a comprehensive campaign to uproot terrorism from North East Sinai, within a framework of a comprehensive strategy that complies to full respect to human rights in its endeavor to materially and intellectually annihilate terrorism, and to intercept its sources of internal and external arming and funding.

In light of the suffering that Egypt endured from these evils, and coinciding with the horrific atrocities committed by these diabolic organizations and groups in our region and around the world, Egypt will continue to promote its initiative on the effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights, which tackles the repercussions of terrorism on rights to life, liberty, personal security and enjoyment of all human rights, as well as the necessity of complying to comprehensive and genuine international cooperation in combating this perilous plague. This is the same initiative endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly for the first time last November, and it resonates with the leading role that Egypt plays vis-à-vis the issues of combating international terrorism, including during its chairmanship of the Counter Terrorism Committee of the Security Council in 2016 and 2017. This comes as a reflection to H.E. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s call to consider protection against terrorism as a fundamental human right.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Arab and Muslim worlds, as well as our mother African continent are experiencing a critical stage of threats and dangers that deprive many of their citizens from enjoying human rights and living in security and prosperity. At the heart of these challenges exist the forces of havoc that aim at obliterating the foundations of nation State and replacing it with a swamp of extremism, sectarianism and chaos. These ominous endeavors and the narrow-minded foreign interventions associated with them had a definite role in the metamorphosis of the basis of nation State and, subsequently, wide scale conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. Meanwhile, we remain deeply concerned with the recurrent plight that Ruhyinga Muslims face in Myanmar. Egypt, inside and outside the Human Rights Council, will support any genuine effort aimed at relieving the suffering of these nations and stopping the painful tragedies they endure.

It is unconceivable to tackle the regional challenges without drawing attention to the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, where the situation is growing more complicated, thus leaving the Palestinian people as victims to more violations, and disallowing Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to self-determination and establishing an Independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Mr. President…Ladies and Gentlemen,

In relation to the cruel humanitarian consequences resulting from crises and conflicts, Egypt attaches particular attention to the international efforts to combat racism, Xenophobia, Islamophobia and incitement to discrimination and violence including against refugees and migrants. I am hopeful that the current negotiations by the international community on the two new global compacts on refugees and migration can open the door for more protection for these persons who were on many occasions forced to leave their homes, and face freighting woes which may end up in open prisons falsely labeled as "reception centers".

In conclusion, and at the shadows of these precarious moments currently undergone by the international community, as well as the new and diverse sources of threats to human rights, Egypt looks forward to the Human Rights Council to continue to deliver its message based on constructive dialogue, international cooperation and non-politicization or polarization, and in a manner that contributes to building mutual trust and international solidarity that are both indispensable for confronting these international common perils.

Mr. President,

This Council achieved a lot during the course of its twelve years of work, and Egypt shall robustly defend the foundations and constants that allowed it to accomplish this.

I thank you, Mr. President.”
Its creators pose a challenge to machine vision researchers: use the information to make assistive technology better.
In Eastern Ghouta, the last major rebel-held area near Damascus, calls for a cease-fire have been ignored.
PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Czech court on Tuesday ordered the release of a Syrian Kurdish leader, causing a diplomatic row with Turkey which had sought his detention pending an extradition request.

millennials texting phones girls single partying

There`s a new app dominating the App Store, and millennials are saying it`s the next Instagram. 

Vero, a free download on Apple`s App Store and Google`s Play store, promises to be a new kind of social network — one that lets you share content with specific sets of friends, doesn`t allow ads, and delivers posts in a chronological feed instead of one controlled by an algorithm. 

The Vero app actually made its App Store debut in 2015, but it quickly gained steam and reached No. 1 on the App Store this week, propelled by a user base that skews heavily male and heavily millennial, according to app analytics firm Apptopia. In fact, half of Vero`s users are between the ages of 21 and 40. 

There is some controversy surrounding Vero, however. The founder and CEO of the app, Ayman Hariri, previously started another company that ran into serious financial trouble and stopped paying its employeesPlus, Vero`s app has been slow, unresponsive, or is simply crashing altogether for some users — likely due to the recent influx of users.

Still, Vero remains at the top of the App Store, and droves of online communities are reportedly making the switch from Instagram. So, without further ado, here`s your introduction to Vero and how to use the app that`s blowing up among millennials right now:

SEE ALSO: These are the sneaky ways apps like Instagram, Facebook, Tinder lure you in and get you `addicted`

Once you download the Vero app from the iOS App Store or Google Play store, you`ll need to sign up. You`ll be asked for your first and last name — there are no usernames on this app.



Vero`s interface is pretty different from other social networks. Here`s the first page you see when you finally log in.

The icons along the top are for search, your user profile, collections (content that`s shared with you), notifications, and chat. Once you have connections and start posting, your feed will appear here.



Vero`s search icon takes you to a page similar to the Explore tab on Instagram.

Here you`ll find popular hashtags, featured users, editors picks, and products you can browse and purchase.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Jennifer lawrence

  • Jennifer Lawrence told Vanity Fair that appearing nude in her new movie "Red Sparrow" was a prospect that "scared the hell out of" her, following a 2014 hack that leaked her nude photos online.
  • Lawrence said that her "biggest fear" was that people would say "`Oh, how can you complain about the hack if you`re going to get nude anyway?`"
  • Lawrence said in an interview on Sunday with "60 Minutes" that she ultimately felt "empowered" to do the nude scenes. 

 

Jennifer Lawrence said in a new profile with Vanity Fair that she was wary of appearing nude in her new movie, "Red Sparrow," following a 2014 hack that leaked her nude photos online.

Lawrence stars as a Russian secret intelligence agent in the film, a spy thriller filled with sex, violence, and nudity.

"`Red Sparrow` really scared the hell out of me because I get nude," Lawrence said. "I tried to do the movie without nudity but realized it just wouldn`t be right to put the character through something that I, myself, am not willing to go through."

The 27-year-old actress told Vanity Fair that she was concerned viewers would criticize her for appearing nude after she condemned the hack of her nude photos.

"My biggest fear was that people would say, `Oh, how can you complain about the hack if you`re going to get nude anyway?,`" Lawrence said. 

Lawrence said in an interview with "60 Minutes" on Sunday that she ultimately felt "empowered" to do the nude scenes. 

"I realized that there was a difference between consent and not and I showed up for the first day and I did it and I felt empowered," Lawrence said. "I feel like something that was taken from me I got back and am using in my art."

"Red Sparrow" opens in theaters on March 2.

SEE ALSO: Jennifer Lawrence says she felt empowered doing nudity in her new movie following her 2014 nude photo hack

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The truth about the US jury system

CAIRO – 27 February 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi discussed the recent developments of several housing projects during his meeting on Tuesday, February 27 with the ministers of housing, investment and international cooperation, along with Prime Minster Sherif Ismail.

According to a statement released by presidency spokesperson Bassam Rady, Sisi discussed the recent updates regarding the New Administrative Capital, New Alamein City and a number of the new housing projects all over the country.

Rady assured that the work inside the New Administrative Capital is going according to the set timetable, with the highest criteria as agreed previously. As for Alamein, Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly said during the meeting that the total area of the city is about 48,000 feddans (1 feddan = about 1.038 acres). He added that the project is supposed to offer many job opportunities and give equal services to all levels of society.

President Sisi stressed on the importance of sticking to the highest criteria, quality standards and latest technology. The statement added that Egypt’s new projects and housing cities should be built to meet the people’s demands.

This meeting is not the first between Sisi and ministers to follow up on the latest updates of the country’s projects, as on February 17, Sisi met with Madbouly to follow up on the ongoing construction projects in the country. The meeting was part of the follow-up of the housing projects in new cities in different parts of the country, including the New Administrative Capital.

Madbouly told the president that the works are going as scheduled. He also reviewed designs of a number of districts in the new capital.

Featured in Ripley`s Believe It or Not!

MKUltra

Inspiring hundreds of TV shows, movies, and conspiracy theories, the secret CIA project—codenamed MKUltra—is a story of government black ops, drugs, cover-ups, and murder.

Buried beneath divisions and sub-groups in the CIA, MKUltra began as early as 1950, but wasn’t official until 1953, technically falling under the US Army Chemical Corps. Motivated to combat the Soviet “truth serum,” its purpose was to develop techniques and drugs for mind control.

Secrecymkultra

Utilizing a number of fronts, the project tapped into the resources of colleges, hospitals, prisons, mental health facilities, and even brothels.

Many of MKUltra’s activities were illegal, though the details of its operations are mostly unknown. Though the project was officially shut down in 1964, it’s outgoing director instructed the destruction of all of the project’s documents in 1973.

Even before the sabotage to future investigations, however, its members were instructed not to keep thorough records of their activities.

“Present practice is to maintain no records of the planning or approval of test programs.”—US Inspector General, 1963

They had good reason not to record their activities. They were found to not only experiment on people without consent or knowledge of the risks involved, but would also secretly drug people who would later suffer severe repercussions.

Mind Control

Prisoners, mental health patients, civilians, and soldiers were all unwittingly drugged or subject to other forms of “mind control” testing. LSD was their drug of choice, but they also attempted hypnosis, sleep deprivation, isolation, and verbal abuse. Though they never mastered “mind control,” they found many ways to put prisoners under extreme duress, with many of their techniques going on to be used as interrogation tactics in the Middle East.

Hoping to develop a technique to compromise and turn Soviet spies, they drugged unknowing soldiers, some of which were found to develop mental disorders in the face of seemingly unprompted hallucinations. With sparse records, few subjects were ever check up on afterward, and Senate committees would end up paying hundreds of thousands in recompensation to families.

mkultra

Proving the Project Existed

While carrying out a Freedom of Information Act request, it was a budget office that stumbled across financial records of MKUltra in 1977. Used as evidence in a Senate investigation, it wasn’t until 2001 that some of the documents were declassified. They revealed surface-level information about some of the projects:

Budgeted Projects:

  • Up to 26 Tests on unwilling participants
  • 8 projects on hypnosis
  • 4 “magician’s arts” projects
  • 1 project on electro-shock, ESP, and aerosols
  • 1-2 projects on controlling animals and organic energy

Operation Midnight Climax

With a true mission relegated to secret bosses and shadow fronts, one operation, directed by Bureau of Narcotics agent, George H. White, became especially questionable.

Essentially, he set up a brothel in which the US government paid for prostitutes to lure clients to a safe house, drug them, and then “watch what happened” through cameras and two-way mirrors in the rooms.

hoover mkultra notification

Recruiting a few prostitutes to establish a cover, it’s unclear how willing the sex workers were to drug unwilling participants for the government. White, however, cared little about a participant’s willingness. After his advances were denied by a local club singer, Ruth Kelly, he drugged her with LSD just before she went up to perform on stage to—once again—”see what happens.” She made it through her performance and escaped to a hospital before the agent could intercept her.

“It was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape, and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest?”—George H. White

george h. white

George H. White

Murder and Cover-Up

Killed in 1953, Frank Olson’s family wouldn’t know the secret cause of his death for 22 years. Apparently falling from the 13th floor of a hotel in New York City, newspapers said he committed suicide from stress at his job with the Army.

The truth was Olson had been working for the CIA and was the casualty of a security risk test. Working on anthrax aerosols, they decided to drug him with LSD, and see if he would yield classified secrets. After the bout, he became confused, seeking help from less than scientific means. After facing a litany of “treatment” including hypnosis and alcohol he was found dead days later. According to the Washington Post, a scrap of paper was found in his pocket with the initials “G. W.” and the address of George White’s New York safe house.

frank olson

Frank Olson

It wasn’t until his body was exhumed in 1994 that forensics experts confirmed he had been struck on the head before being thrown from the window.

Though little is really known about the secret MKUltra project, what is known has been enough to inspire shows like Stranger Things and Wormwood, and to lead to the development of other military programs. Meanwhile, legions of conspiracy theorists and affected families continue to seek answers.

Source: Sex, Drugs and the CIA: Operation Midnight Climax and Project MKUltra

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU negotiator Michel Barnier accused the British government on Tuesday of clinging to "illusion" while time runs out for a Brexit deal to avoid massive disruption when Britain leaves the European Union next year.
LONDON (Reuters) - Macedonia is looking at four options to settle a decades-long dispute with Greece over its name, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

WOW Air Airbus A320

  • Iceland`s WOW Air is offering 800 heavily discounted tickets from New York to Europe. 
  • The tickets range from 99 to 149 for flights from Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.
  • Destinations include London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Reykjavik, Iceland.


Iceland`s WOW Air is offering a limited number of heavily discounted tickets from New York to Europe this spring. 

The airline is offering one-way tickets from New York to European cities like Reykjavik, Iceland, Berlin, London and Paris, that range from 99 to 149. 

But there`s a catch: The low-cost carrier will only sell 800 of the tickets. So if you want to book a cheap flight from the New York area, you have to act fast. 

The 800 tickets will be divided between Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, where the airline will begin service on April 27. Here`s a list of the available deals:

99 

  • JFK and Newark to Reykjavik, Iceland

149 

  • JFK and Newark to Amsterdam
  • JFK and Newark to Paris
  • JFK to London
  • Newark to Berlin

The discounted tickets are available starting today on Wow`s website for flights departing between April and June.

"We are excited by the success of our Newark Liberty International Airport partnership and are looking forward to offering New Yorkers more flight options with John F. Kennedy International Airport," WOW Air CEO and founder Skúli Mogensen said in a statement. "As always, our goal is to make travel more affordable and accessible providing high-value to those looking to expand their horizons through traveling the world."

WOW Air`s low-cost model means the airline offers discounted fares regularly and buyers can generally get affordable tickets year-round. But the carrier has become known for its sales where it offers a limited amount of tickets for extremely discounted prices. 

SEE ALSO: There`s a simple phrase you can use when asking for a flight upgrade that could help you land a first-class seat — but there’s a catch

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Ken Rogoff on the next financial crisis and the future of bitcoin

US Navy John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier construction

  • The USS John F. Kennedy is the second of the Navy`s Gerald R. Ford-class advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
  • The Kennedy reached 70% completion in late February.
  • Construction on the Kennedy started in February 2011.


The USS John F. Kennedy, the second of the Navy`s Gerald R. Ford-class advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, reached 70% completion in late February, according to shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls.

Like the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford, the Kennedy`s construction is being done with a modular technique, in which smaller parts of the ship are welded together to form larger chunks, called superlifts, that are then hoisted together.

The latest construction milestone came when crews at Huntington Ingalls` Newport News Shipbuilding dropped an 888-ton superlift — a 171-foot long, 92-foot wide section composed of berthing areas, electrical-equipment rooms, and workshops — into place between the carrier`s bow and midship.

Below, you can see footage of the superlift being moved into place by the company`s 1,157-ton gantry crane at Dry Dock 12.

The latest superlift took 18 months to construct and it "represents one of the key build strategy changes for Kennedy: building superlifts that are larger and more complete before they are erected on the ship," Mike Butler, the program director for the Kennedy, said in a Huntington Ingalls press release.

Construction on the Kennedy started in February 2011, with the "first cut of steel" ceremony at Newport News. The ship`s keel was laid in August 2015, and it hit the 50%-constructed mark in June 2017, when crews moved the 1,027-ton lower-stern section — containing rudders, tanks, steering-gear rooms and electrical-power-distribution rooms — into place.

"We are pleased with how construction on the Kennedy is progressing, and we look forward to additional milestones as we inch closer to christening of the ship," Butler said in the February release. The Kennedy is set to launch in 2020.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) dry dock

Like the Ford, the Kennedy contains an array of advanced features, including the Electromagnetic Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear, both of which assist with launching and landing aircraft. (The Ford lacked one notable feature: urinals.)

The Ford, however, was delivered to the Navy two years later than planned and cost about 12.9 billion — 23% more than originally estimated.

The Government Accountability Office warned in summer 2017 that the 11.4 billion budget set for the Kennedy was unreliable and didn`t address lessons learned during the building of the Ford. The Pentagon partially agreed with those conclusions.

In August 2017, Huntington Ingalls completed the first-cut-of-steel ceremony for the third Ford-class carrier, the USS Enterprise.

SEE ALSO: The Navy`s newest, most sophisticated aircraft carrier doesn`t have urinals

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NOW WATCH: How the US`s futuristic new aircraft carrier will change naval warfare forever

Nigeria has deployed fighter jets, helicopters and surveillance planes to search for more than 100 girls who are missing after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked their school in the northeastern region of the country.

Wendy Tan White

  • Entrepreneur and investor Wendy Tan White is exploring starting her own fund or joining one that specialises in artificial intelligence and other "deep tech."
  • Until recently, White was a partner at BGF Ventures, the £200 million venture arm of BGF.
  • BGF has decided to restructure its venture arm to refocus on startups outside of London and tech, fuelling the departure of 3 partners, including White.
  • She believes artificial intelligence will fundamentally disrupt business in a similar way to mobile.


One of the most prominent women in UK tech is available for hire.

Wendy Tan White, cofounder of Moonfruit and an investor, will explore starting or joining a fund that specialises in "deep tech" such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning.

That comes after White`s departure as a full-time partner from BGF Ventures, a £200 million fund which is losing three out of four partners as part of a radical shakeup.

White told Business Insider she is currently in discussions with others who may join her in raising a fund.

"Either I would join a next-generation fund with other GPs [general partners] and partner with them, or create my own group to do that," she said during a call. "It has to be people who want to look at emerging tech. It`s actually not about tech so much as disrupting business models."

White believes artificial intelligence and machine learning will bring about the next fundamental computing shift.

"Every type of business that exists today is going to have to apply some sort of AI, machine learning, in the future," she said. "If you look at how mobile and ecommerce became commodotised, everyone understands how that plays out ... It`s the first time I`ve felt like there`s such a change in the fundamental infrastructure stack that will be behind lots of applications."

Nothing is settled as yet. White is still fresh from BGF Ventures, with news of her and others` departures only made official on Monday. The fund was originally set up to invest in early stage tech startups, and brought in White in that capacity, but has shifted focus to expand outside of London, and outside tech into areas such as life sciences.

White herself is well-known and respected in UK tech, having cofounded Moonfruit with now-husband Joe White, and sold the firm to Yell in 2012. She has been in venture investing for four years, first helping company builder Entrepreneur First raise a £40 million fund, then joining BGF Ventures last June.

"It was definitely a surprise," White said of the changes at BGF. "I’ve been an entrepreneur now for 20 years. I`m a great believer that you learn stuff through change, you work out what matters to you. It helped me get clear that maybe it’s time for me to go again myself, or take on being part of a mission-led platform that is about emerging tech."

SEE ALSO: This is the future of the £200 million BGF Ventures fund — which just lost 3 partners

SEE ALSO: BGF Ventures, a £200 million fund for startups, is shaking up and 3 partners are leaving

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50 Cent Broke Money Cash

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Turns out 50 Cent isn`t a cryptocurrency millionaire after all. Despite confirming reports last month he had made around 8 million in BTC, court documents obtained by The Blast on Monday quote the rapper saying he never owned a single bitcoin.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Cryptocurrency prices today

Join Business Insider`s Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss cryptocurrencies and blockchain with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff. 

SEE ALSO: South Korea’s defense ministry is taking steps to keep soldiers from getting caught up in the cryptocurrency frenzy

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Garba Tela`s wife did not want him to send their daughter to school in Dapchi. She feared Zainab would be an easy target for insurgents.
Families remain worried as search for 110 missing schoolgirls continues. CNN`s Stephanie Busari reports.
GENEVA (Reuters) - Canada is gravely concerned by the imprisonment of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday, adding that ethnic cleansing had taken place in Myanmar`s Rakhine state.

avengers

  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe has lasted 10 years and 18 movies, and shows no signs of slowing down. 
  • During that time there have been plenty of memorable moments.
  • We ranked 16 of the best moments in the MCU. 


After 10 years and 18 movies, with many more on the way, Marvel Studios has given audiences a bevy of memorable moments for casual moviegoers and super-fans alike. 

From Tony Stark`s first armored suit that started it all, to most recently "Black Panther`s" emphasis on a strong supporting cast of fearless women, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to both portray the best parts of the comic books, and please audiences of all kinds.

With "Black Panther" still drawing crowds to movie theaters, Business Insider has reflected on the best moments from the MCU that have kept audiences returning for more.

Below are 16 of the best moments, ranked. (Major spoiler warning if you haven`t seen these films): 

SEE ALSO: If you loved `Black Panther,` prepare to be disappointed by the rest of 2018`s superhero movies

16. Star-Lord vs. Ego ("Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2")

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" attempts to be more emotional than its predecessor. Some of it doesn`t work, but when it does, it works really well. For instance, when Star-Lord`s father, the evil cosmic being named Ego, reveals that he gave his mother the tumor that killed her, Star-Lord realizes his long-lost dad isn`t who he thought he was. The ensuing battle is a blast of action and even some Pac-Man, and that earlier revelation gives it an extra emotional weight. 



15. Odin exiles Thor ("Thor")

The first "Thor" is not that great, but it somehow managed to lure Anthony Hopkins to play Thor`s father, Odin. Thank the gods, because this scene is lifted by his presence. When Thor royally messes up a truce between the people of Thor`s homeworld Asgard and the Frost Giants, Odin banishes Thor to Earth until he is worthy enough to wield the hammer Mjolner once again. It`s such an effective scene because of Hopkins` performance. 



14. The raceway fight ("Iron Man 2")

"Iron Man 2" is one of the worst films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one scene in particular stands out for being an impressive, effects-driven action sequence. Mickey Rourke is unfortunately underutilized as the villain Whiplash in the movie, but he makes a worthy grand entrance during a fight scene on the Monaco Raceway. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Evan Spiegel

  • Snap is back at 17 a share as sellers remain in control for a fifth day.
  • Shares have been hit by a negative reaction to the Snapchat redesign.
  • The shares are still up 14% this year.

Snap is back below its initial public offering price of 17 as sellers remain in control for a fifth straight session. 

The stock has slumped more than 16% over the five-day slide as a plethora of negative news surrounding the Snapchat redesign have swirled around Wall Street.

Shares began sliding last week following news CEO Evan Spiegel sold shares for the first time since the company went public, and after Citigroup downgraded the name because of the mounting negative reviews for the redesign.

"While the recent redesign of [Snap`s] flagship app could produce positive long-term benefits, [there is a] significant jump in negative app reviews since the redesign was pushed out a few weeks, which could result in a decline in users and user engagement, and could negatively impact financial results," analysts Mark May and Hao Yan wrote.

Two days later, Kylie Jenner tweeted she doesn`t use the app anymore, sending shares down more than 7%. "Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?" she asked her Twitter followers. "Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad." She followed up with another tweet: "Still love you tho snap ... my first love." 

Snap shares debuted a year ago, opening at 17 apiece and traded as high as 27.09 just two days later. They fell as low as 11.28 in August amid questions surrounding its user base and a slew of Wall Street downgrades.

More recently, however, strong fourth-quarter results sent shares up nearly 50% and above their IPO price for the first time since July.

Snap is up 14.32% this year. 

Snap

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LONDON (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong Il used fraudulently obtained Brazilian passports to apply for visas to visit Western countries in the 1990s, five senior Western European security sources told Reuters.
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt`s government press center called on Tuesday for Egyptian officials and prominent individuals to boycott the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) after a report on human rights it said was "flagrantly fraught with lies".
The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, urged that the resolution for a cease-fire in Syria, adopted by the Security Council over the weekend, be implemented and enforced.
CAIRO – 27 February 2018: The Egypt State Information Service (SIS) called on Egyptian officials and intellectual sectors on Tuesday to boycott BBC until it issues an official apology over publishing an inaccurate report on forced disappearance in Egypt, according to an official statement.

In a recent statement by SIS, it demanded the BBC to "seriously and swiftly take into consideration the remarks and criticism mentioned in the SIS earlier statement and take all necessary professional and administrative measures to correct the errors and violations included in its report."

The SIS called for an immediate apology from the British broadcast in the same manner the documentary report aired the gross professional error regarding the Egyptian citizen Zubeida Ibrahim, considered an "absolute falsification and fabrication."

“SIS Chairperson Diaa Rashwan has called on all Egyptian officials and intellectual groups to boycott the BBC network and refrain from giving statements to the British network and making interviews with its correspondents and reporters until an official apology is offered,” the statement read.

“The appearance of citizen Zubeida, in the manner shown, and her talking on “Kol Youm” (Everyday) TV show presented by the renowned anchor Amr Adib in a family atmosphere entirely disproves the credibility of the BBC report on her forced disappearance and torture,” the statement added.

The statement assured that the called for boycott does not include or breach the BBC’s media and legal rights, which are enjoyed by foreign media organizations in Egypt, including the rights to access information and statements.

Sources to Egypt Today revealed that Rashwan had assigned some SIS’s employees to take necessary procedures and follow up on his decisions regarding the BBC case, in accordance with the foreign reporters’ regulations in Egypt.


BBC`s enforced disappearance hoax revealed

On Monday, the Egypt State Information Service (SIS) issued a statement on the appearance of Zubeida Ibrahim, who was mistakenly reported by BBC as an enforced disappearance victim in Egypt, on a talk show aired on ON E, criticizing the unprofessional reporting and allegations made by the English network on the situation in Egypt.

SIS said that Ibrahim’s interview with ON E entirely disproves the credibility of the BBC report on her enforced disappearance and torture. The statement stressed the authenticity of the remarks and criticism mentioned in the SIS earlier statement in response to the BBC report regarding the other issues it included, biased attitudes and personal impressions adopted by the report writer towards Egypt.

“The appearance of citizen Zubeida emphasizes what was mentioned in the SIS earlier statement regarding the BBC report’s lack of internationally recognized journalistic and media professional norms and standards as well as the rules and regulations adopted by the BBC,” according to SIS.

The Monday statement demanded the BBC to “issue an immediate apology in the same manner the BBC documentary report was aired and published for the gross professional error regarding citizen Zubeida, to the extent of absolute falsification and fabrication.”

It also asked the English network to take into consideration the remarks mentioned in the SIS earlier statement and take all necessary professional and administrative measures to correct the errors and violations included in its report.
In a lurid pink hotel room in Edo State, southern Nigeria, a trafficker is arranging to smuggle us across the continent to Libya -- and ultimately Europe.
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