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09-21-2017 Environment
Hurricane Maria pounds Puerto Rico with 145 mph winds

San Juan, Puerto Rico (CNN)Hurricane Maria made landfall Wednesday in southeast Puerto Rico, ripping trees out of the ground and entangling two-thirds of the island in hurricane-force winds.

Maria made landfall near the city of Yabucoa with winds of 155 mph -- just 2 mph short of Category 5 status, the National Hurricane Center said.

By 9 a.m., those winds had weakened to 145 mph. But Maria is still a Category 4 hurricane, capable of ripping roofs off houses.

The storm was so fierce, it broke two National Weather Service radars on the island Wednesday.

Maria is expected to cause widespread power outages across Puerto Rico. Shortly after landfall, the storm had wiped out power in the east coast city of Fajardo.

Calls for rescue immediately started pouring in. But first responders weren't expected to help right away; they'd planned to head indoors when sustained winds reached 50 mph.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans did heed calls to go to emergency shelters. "As of 2:30 a.m. we count 10,059 refugees and 189 pets (in shelters)," the island's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, tweeted.

Maria became the first hurricane of Category 4 strength or higher in nearly 80 years to hit the US territory, home to 3.3 million people.


As residents hunkered down in homes and shelters ahead of the direct impact, others in the most vulnerable, low-lying, flood-prone areas were evacuated.

The Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan -- which was still housing Hurricane Irma evacuees from other Caribbean islands -- prepared to accept thousands more residents.

Potentially 'strongest ever' storm

The storm was likely to be a record-breaking event, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.

"This could potentially be the strongest hurricane to ever reach the shores of Puerto Rico," he said from San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital.

"A lot of people remember or have heard of the storms that hit in 1928 and 1930. Well, guess what? This could pale those in comparison. ... It will go down in the record books."

Storm surges of 6 to 9 feet were expected.

"Hurricane Maria is really scraping the upper echelon of what's possible with hurricanes, (with) 175 mph sustained winds right around the center of the storm," Van Dam said Tuesday.

The island's mountainous terrain was likely to act like a barrier and squeeze a lot of moisture out of Maria, he said, producing as much as 2 feet of rain in some places. That could lead to flash flooding, which Rosselló stressed often is the top cause of death following a storm like this.

Local politicians warned of the storm's potential impact but also heralded the islanders' spirit.

"We are going to be hit hard," San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN. "But we are blessed that we have what it takes to move and push on. We will make it, I bet you. I have no doubt, we're going to make it." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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09-21-2017 Politics
Trump blames Clintons for nuclear North Korea

President Donald Trump on Wednesday cast blame for the nuclear-armed North Korea that his administration faces on the Clinton family, blaming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton for failing to disarm the regime of dictator Kim Jong Un when they had the chance.

“After allowing North Korea to research and build Nukes while Secretary of State (Bill C also), Crooked Hillary now criticizes,” the president wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Months after her surprise loss in last year’s presidential election, Hillary Clinton has reemerged over the past two weeks on a book tour to hawk her memoir of the 2016 election, entitled “What Happened.” In public and in her book, the former secretary of state has been unsparingly critical of Trump’s presidency thus far, including his handling of North Korea.

During his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump harshly criticized the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

Kim’s regime, always bellicose in its rhetoric, has ramped up its aggressive posture since Trump’s inauguration, launching multiple ballistic missile tests, including two recently that traveled over Japan. North Korea also recently conducted a nuclear test, detonating its most powerful device to date.

North Korea’s tests have indicated that its missile technology has progressed to the point that it is now capable of striking the continental U.S., although it is unclear whether or not the Kim regime has yet miniaturized a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop one of its long-range missiles. Trump has vowed that he will not allow North Korea to obtain a nuclear weapon capable of striking the U.S., pointedly refusing to take military action off the table.

North Korea and its quest for a nuclear program have posed problems for U.S. presidents of both parties going back decades, with the dynastic Kim family unwilling to surrender its nuclear program. Under former President Clinton, the U.S. and North Korea signed an agreement by which the latter would freeze its nuclear program, but that deal ultimately failed.

Under former President Barack Obama, for whom Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state for four years, the U.S. adopted a policy of strategic patience, one that Trump has declared “over” since coming into office.

Read Original Article     ON:   Politico

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09-21-2017 Science&Technology
Google launches UK 'anti-terror fund'

Google has announced it will give a total of £1m ($1.3m) to fund projects that help counter extremism in the UK.

The UK fund was part of a $5m global commitment, the search giant said.

Prime Minister Theresa May wants technology companies to be more proactive in shutting down spaces where extremist ideology is shared.

In a speech at the United Nations general assembly, she will challenge tech firms to take down terrorist material in two hours.

She is expected to urge Google, Facebook and Twitter to go "further and faster" in developing artificial intelligence tools that can spot terror propaganda.

On the same day, Twitter announced that it had taken down 300,000 terror accounts in the first six months of the year as its own AI tools improve.

Google's funding will be handed out in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a UK-based counter-extremist organisation.

An independent advisory board including academics, policymakers, educators, representatives from creative agencies, civil society and the technology sector will be accepting a first round of applications in November, with grants of between £2,000 and £200,000 awarded to successful proposals.

Theresa May to warn tech firms over terror content

UK 'biggest audience' in Europe for jihadist web content

Politicians take on the internet over extremism

Terror online: Politicians v tech tycoons

ISD chief executive Sasha Havlicek said: "We are eager to work with a wide range of innovators on developing their ideas in the coming months."

Over the next two years, the wider Google funding pot would support "technology-driven solutions, as well as grassroots efforts such as community youth projects that help build communities and promote resistance to radicalisation", the search giant said.

"By funding experts like ISD, we hope to support sustainable solutions to extremism both online and offline. We don't have all the answers, but we're committed to playing our part. We're looking forward to helping bring new ideas and technologies to life," said Kent Walker, general counsel at Google.

In March, the UK government suspended its adverts from YouTube, following concerns they were appearing next to inappropriate content.

In June, YouTube announced four new steps it was taking to combat extremist content:

Improving its use of machine learning to remove controversial videos

Working with 15 new expert groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the No Hate Speech Movement, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

Tougher treatment for videos that are not illegal but have been flagged by users as potential violations of its policies on hate speech and violent extremism

Redirecting people who search for certain keywords towards a playlist of curated YouTube videos that directly confront and debunk violent extremist messages

Read Original Article     ON:   BBC

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09-21-2017 Science&Technology
NASA Holding $100,000 Competition For Aerosol Sensor That Works In Space

Even as human activity creates increasing amounts of pollution and adds more particulate matter to the atmosphere, there is one place where breathing is a lot more difficult than the most polluted cities on Earth: space. And both on the planet and in space, humans need clean air to survive.

In a bid to ensure that astronauts in space, as well as everyone else on Earth, can have access to clean air, NASA has partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) — a large philanthropy dedicated solely to health — to sponsor the Earth and Space Air Prize competition. The goal is to create “a solution that could improve air quality and health in space and on Earth,” according to a NASA statement Tuesday that announced the opening of the competition, which has a total prize money of $250,000.

The competition is being held primarily because current technology to monitor aerosols — very fine solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in a gaseous medium — has limitations and is not very effective, and doesn’t always work well in the micro-gravity environment of space.

“Particulate monitoring is a gap in NASA’s technology roadmap to enable future long-term missions. Current aerosol instrument technology is too large. It doesn’t offer the necessary level of sensitivity or longevity, along with the ability to operate in reduced-gravity. Using this collaboration with RWJF, we have an incredible opportunity to close this gap,” Paul Mudgett from NASA’s Biomedical Research and Environment Sciences Division said in another statement Tuesday.

NASA said in the same statement the competition was “a technology innovation challenge to promote development of robust, durable, inexpensive, efficient, lightweight, and easy-to-use aerosol sensors for space and Earth environments. The competition asks teams or individuals to design and develop specialized sensor technology that has the potential to be useful in spaceflight as well as on Earth anywhere outdoors in a community where people may be exposed to airborne particles.”

How exactly does the competition work? Entries are open now and registrations to participate can be made on the prize’s website till Dec. 13. In the first phase of the contest, participants are to submit a sensor design by Jan. 31, and based on those initial submissions, three finalists will be chosen to enter the second phase, and they will be announced late March.

All three finalists will be given $50,000 each to build a functional prototype based on their designs, which must be submitted by Sept. 30, 2018, to the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. At that facility, the prototypes will be tested and evaluated, and the winner of the grand prize of the remaining $100,000 will be announced mid-October. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   International Business Times

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09-21-2017 Society
Powerful Quake Devastates Central Mexico, Leaving More Than 200 Dead

Updated 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency has lowered the number of people confirmed dead in Tuesday's earthquake. Luis Felipe Puente now says 217 people were killed. Earlier he said the death toll was 248. He gave no explanation for the revised number.

Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET

The death toll continues to rise in Mexico after Tuesday's earthquake. The country's national civil defense agency confirmed the death toll stands at 248. Rescue teams are digging through the rubble to find survivors.

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET

Mexico's civil defense agency has raised the death toll from Tuesday's earthquake. Officials say 226 people have died — more than half in the capital Mexico City.

Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

Thirty-two years to the day after an earthquake killed thousands of people in Mexico, a powerful quake rattled the country's central region Tuesday. Buildings shivered in Mexico City, and dozens collapsed, sending clouds of dust skyward.

Residents, who just hours before had taken part in large simulated-earthquake drills to mark the anniversary, emptied into the streets when the real quake struck.

"Many people had just returned to their desks when the real one hit," freelance reporter Natasha Pizzey told All Things Considered.

"It was one of the worst feelings I've ever experienced in my life," she said. "It's a bit like being on top of a double-decker bus that's trying to brake and you're thinking you're about to get thrown. And of course, you're thinking, 'Are things going to fall on top of me — is the building going to collapse?' "

In its preliminary assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 earthquake's epicenter was just over 3 miles east-northeast of Raboso, in the state of Puebla, some 75 miles southeast of Mexico City.

In the neighboring state of Morelos, 54 people were killed, according to local officials and news reports. Alfredo Del Mazo, governor of the state of Mexico, tweeted that at least nine people have died in his state. And Puebla Gov. Tony Gali told an emergency meeting of local officials that at least 26 people had died there, several of whom were children.

Nationwide, at least 149 are reported dead, and it is expected that the death toll will continue to rise.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said that 44 buildings had collapsed.

"I could barely stand up. There was glass falling everywhere. I really thought the building was going to fall," reporter Emily Green told NPR from Mexico City. "It was a terrifying experience."

Photographs depicted rescue workers digging through rubble and wheeling away residents on stretchers, though it was not immediately clear how many people were injured or killed in the capital city. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   NPR

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09-21-2017 Science&Technology
Apple Watch Series 3 Reviews: Freedom From iPhone Held Back by LTE and Battery Life Concerns

Apple Watch Series 3 reviews are out, and the verdict is mixed about its new built-in cellular capabilities and the impact on battery life.

The Verge editor Lauren Goode said her Apple Watch Series 3 largely "failed at the LTE part," particularly due to an issue where the watch would connect to an unknown Wi-Fi network instead of LTE.

You can't rest easy with the Apple Watch 3 yet, because that seamlessness, that so-called magic, isn't there. The stutters during the handoff from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi to LTE shouldn't happen. The music streaming? It isn't there yet. A built-in podcast streaming option? Also not there. A reliable Siri? Nope, not in my experience.

Apple acknowledged the issue and said it is investigating a fix that will be included in a future software update.

Goode said the one aspect "worth two thumbs up" is watchOS 4, especially for its improved heart rate tracking.

But the watchOS 4 updates to heart rate tracking are really the most noteworthy. Any Apple Watch with heart rate sensors will now record your resting heart rate, your average walking heart rate, your recovery heart rate, and, if you opt in, any spikes in heart rate that occur when the Watch thinks you’re not working out.

TechCrunch editor Brian Heater said the Apple Watch Series 3's cellular capabilities are "a bit liberating," but he didn't find many scenarios where having a standalone connection was particularly useful.

All nice functionality to have on the go, but in the days I’ve been wearing the watch, I’ve been straining to come up with many scenarios in my own life outside of running where untethering myself from my phone is necessary — or even particularly useful.

The Wall Street Journal columnist Joanna Stern said her Apple Watch Series 3's cellular connection was "unreliable" and "intermittent."

Most worryingly, my colleague Geoffrey Fowler and I experienced cellular connectivity issues on three separate pre-production models, in two different states, on two different 4G LTE carriers.

On the AT&T-connected models, the cellular connection dropped, calls were often choppy and Siri sometimes failed to connect. On the one that ran on T-Mobile, I experienced several dropped connections.

Stern added that "you're lucky if the battery allows you to roam on cellular for longer than half a day—especially if you're making calls."

The Sydney Morning Herald's Peter Wells didn't share that viewpoint, calling battery life on the Apple Watch Series 3 "excellent." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Mac Rumors

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09-21-2017 Science&Technology
Amazon is working on smart glasses to house Alexa AI, says FT

Amazon is working on building a pair of smart glasses to house its Alexa voice assistant, and a home security camera that could be linked to its existing Echo connected devices to further expand their capabilities, according to a report in the FT citing people familiar with the company’s plans.

The newspaper says one or both of these products could be launched before the end of the year, alongside updates to existing Echo devices.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment, saying company policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation.

According to the FT, the smart glasses are intended to be purely an earbuds-free housing for Amazon’s Alexa AI — with a bone-conduction audio system that would enable the wearer to hear Alexa without the need to be wired in.

With no mobile platform of its own to build on, Amazon has a strategic disadvantage vs Google and Apple because it cannot bake its voice AI into smartphone hardware where millions of engaged users could easily summon it — hence the company working on a plethora of alternative connected devices to try to put Alexa within earshot anyway.

The idea for the glasses, which would be its first wearable, would be to do just that: Enable Alexa to be summoned from anywhere, vs the current situation where users are barking commands at static in-home speakers.

The FT reports the glasses would wirelessly tether to a user’s smartphone for connectivity. They are also apparently being designed to look like a regular pair of spectacles, so they could be worn comfortably and unobtrusively.

The paper notes that Amazon hired Babak Parviz, founder of Google Glass, in 2014, and says he’s been closely involved in the project. It also points to several other Glass researchers, engineers and designers having moved to Amazon’s labs — per analysis of their LinkedIn profiles.

And while Google Glass roundly failed to ignite consumer interest — which can be partly blamed on its awkward, geeky appearance, including the inclusion of a camera and a small screen positioned in the eyeline — the FT says Amazon’s specs would likely eschew both camera and screen to avoid the risk of similar concerns, while also maximizing battery life.

That does mean the glasses appear to be a lot more basic than the AR specs Apple has been rumored to be working on — but also likely to come to market a lot sooner.

Of course if Amazon’s glasses contain an always listening microphone they would still represent a privacy concern — though it’s not clear if that’s Amazon’s intention at this stage, or whether the wearer would need to touch the glasses to summon the AI’s ear.

The ecommerce giant has been ramping up its connected devices portfolio ever since it outed the original Echo smart speaker in November 2014 — a device we dubbed “a tad baffling, but also intriguing” at the time. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Crunch

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09-21-2017 Science&Technology
HTC Issues Stock Trading Halt Amid Google Acquisition Rumors

HTC issued a trading halt on its stock effective tomorrow, the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation (TWSE) announced on Wednesday, adding that the company’s decision was made due to an upcoming disclosure of “material information.” The move comes amid rumors that Google is buying the Taiwanese firm’s smartphone unit, with industry insider Evan Blass suggesting that the official announcement on the matter is also to be made on Thursday, citing an HTC employee who said that the two companies agreed to a deal which involves Google acquiring some of HTC’s assets but not the brand itself. The Taoyuan, Taiwan-based original equipment manufacturer is to file an application for resuming its stock trading following the publication of the what it deems is crucial information for investors, the TWSE said.

The announcement itself is said to be made in HTC headquarters where the company’s top management is supposedly already briefing employees on the matter, recent reports indicate. Industry watchers have been speculating about the potential benefits for Google in case the Alphabet-owned company ends up acquiring HTC’s phone business which has been struggling to produce results in recent years, prompting the company to explore liquidation options. While HTC’s latest consolidated financial results showed some signs of improvement across the board, the firm’s handset division is still not close to returning to the black as its latest attempt to do so came in the form of the HTC U11, an Android flagship which peaked shortly after hitting the market this summer and quickly lost momentum, leaving the firm without a successful device with a high profit margin for yet another quarter.

The Taiwanese company supposedly never considered a complete sale of its business and was only looking to offload the smartphone unit which it may believe is weighing down the rest of its operations, some of which are showing a lot of promise. One such unit is HTC Vive, the firm’s virtual reality venture which is already allowing the tech giant to establish a foothold in this emerging segment which some market watchers are estimating will be worth tens or possibly hundreds of billions of dollars in a few years.

Reports that HTC is only interested in selling its smartphone unit coupled with the firm’s decision to hold on to its brand suggest that the majority of its resources will be committed to the VR market going forward, which not only includes development of first-party hardware and software but also incubation of promising projects which have the potential to ennoble the company’s VR ecosystem and industry as a whole. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Android Headlines

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09-20-2017 Environment
Dominica PM: Hurricane Maria 'devastates' island

(CNN)The Caribbean island of Dominica has been "devastated" by Hurricane Maria, the country's Prime Minister tells CNN.

The powerful storm, which made landfall Monday night, has since been downgraded to a Category 4 with sustained winds of 155 mph. After it passes over Dominica it is on course to score a direct hit on the US territory of Puerto Rico -- the first hurricane of its strength to do so in 85 years.

"We're just waiting for daybreak to do an assessment of the damage," Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told CNN's Rosemary Church.

"Our first order of business will be search and rescue to ensure we can account for every single citizen and residents who were on the island during this really devastating hurricane."

A statement from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that its record-topping winds reached 160 miles per hour when it hit the island nation. In an update the Center said that reports "indicate significant damage to structures has occurred in Dominica."

Maria made landfall on Dominica late Monday, coming ashore at 9:15 p.m. ET. It was so powerful that it tore the roof off the Prime Minister's residence.

"Personally I was affected," Skerrit said. "The roof of the residence caved in because of the strength of the wind. But I was taken to safe ground by ... police officers, thank God.

"This hurricane stayed in the country for a very, very long time and (was) just unrelenting. I don't think there were very many roofs which would survive the hurricane."

In a Facebook post he added: "So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace.

"My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains."

The storm will continue moving toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a strong Category 4 or a Category 5 and is not expected to diminish in strength.

Relentless march

After Dominica, Puerto Rico is in Maria's sights. It is moving toward the island as an "extremely dangerous major hurricane, and a hurricane warning has been issued for that island," the hurricane center said.

Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, has declared a state of emergency ahead of that landfall, which will likely happen Wednesday.

A hurricane warning from the NHC remains in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat, the US and British Virgin Islands as well as Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques.

US President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for the US territory for federal assistance to augment the territory's storm-response initiatives. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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09-20-2017 Politics
Trump sets sights on Iran, North Korea in major UN speech

New York (CNN)President Donald Trump will issue harsh warnings to North Korea and Iran during his closely watched address to the United Nations on Tuesday.

In remarks that will encourage nations to take responsibility for their own security while calling for collective action against rogue nations, Trump will seek to spell out in the most decisive terms to date his approach to an increasingly volatile world.

Trump has delivered major foreign policy addresses before, to a gathering of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia and in a packed central square in Poland. But the issues at the United Nations are broader, and the geographic spread of Trump's audience wider. His message here will resonate in capitals worldwide, where officials and leaders are still seeking a cohesive foreign policy doctrine from new American leader.

A day short of the eight-month mark of his presidency, Trump will work to describe in broad terms how he views a world that's grown increasingly unstable under his tenure. He'll call out North Korea and Iran in cutting terms, and encourage other countries to follow along in his attempts to curb provocative behavior.

But he'll also deliver a "deeply philosophical address," according to a senior administration official involved in its drafting, one that frames his foreign policy as a rational attempt to move countries toward working in their own self-interests.

"It's an incredible moment and an enormous opportunity to demonstrate US leadership and US values," the official said, saying that was "why (Trump) spent so much time honing and crafting this address to express that vision to the world."

The speech will strike a pragmatic approach that relies on countries acting in their own self-interests rather than those of a collective body, the official said. Trump will explain that when countries are working in shared self-interest they could accomplish more.

The speech addresses "the need for us to work towards common goals" and not to dictate to other countries "how to live, what system of government to have," the official said.

Trump will specifically call out Iran and North Korea, making the argument that their governments are acting outside of their people's self-interest.

He will "speak in extremely tough terms about the North Korea menace and the threat it poses to our security and the security to all the nations in that room," the official said.

For a President whose election and elevation to the White House was among the most improbable in modern political history, the United Nations stage represents a presidential setting, even if some in the audience still find the sight of Trump in front of the iconic green marble jarring. ...

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09-20-2017 Science&Technology
August’s redesigned smart lock boasts better battery life and security

In a major refresh of its smart home products, August has released two new versions of its smart lock, including a cheaper redesigned model and a professional edition of its doorbell camera.

The third generation of the August Smart Lock has been completely overhauled with a new elongated industrial design featuring an actual thumb turn compared to the original round look. It also boasts double the battery life of the second generation Smart Lock. August has added a new feature called DoorSense, a sensor that can be installed next to your lock that tells you if your door is open or closed.

With DoorSense, August’s Auto-Lock feature will lock your door to lock once it’s closed, making the Smart Lock even more useful. Previously, Auto-Lock only worked on a timer.

August also slashed the price of its Smart Lock, reducing it from $229 to $149. It’s the second major smart home device maker to redesign and lower the price of its main smart home device after Nest released a cheaper version of its Nest for $169 last month.

After using the new Smart Lock for a couple weeks, the changes August has implemented in the third generation product have made it substantially more accessible to people who may think of smart home devices as a hassle. It’s hard to beat never having to remember to lock your door.

August isn’t completely going away from the circular design that made the company a success — the original design is still present on the new Smart Lock Pro (with all-new internals for a quieter experience), which is now available to everyone after the company announced it back in May for its Professional channel.

The Smart Lock Pro features Z-Wave Plus compatibility which will allow users to integrate the lock with popular alarm and whole home control systems. Like the standard Smart Lock, the Pro is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant when connected to August’s Wi-Fi Bridge, but it also adds Apple’s HomeKit to the list.

There’s also a new Pro-exclusive beta feature called Active Monitoring that will notify users if a door (with DoorSense sensor installed) is left open or when a family member arrives home. August says the feature will eventually let users set a specific time to be notified, like in the afternoon during weekdays when kids get home from school. The Smart Lock Pro will be sold with with the Connect Wi-Fi Bridge for $279.

August is also releasing a Pro version of its Doorbell Cam. The new device features a built-in floodlight that can be triggered by motion, and improved video quality over the standard version.

There’s also a new feature called HindSight that will record video a few seconds before motion is detected, so you don’t end up only catching the last few seconds of motions when you watch the recording back. August says the camera is constantly recording and erasing video, which allows HindSight to add an extra three to five seconds of footage to the beginning of a clip. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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09-20-2017 Science&Technology
This Skin Patch Melts Fat In Mice (No, You Can't Use It Yet)

Researchers have developed a medicated skin patch that can essentially melt fat in mice. The patch uses nanotechnology to turn the energy-storing white fat in the body into brown fat that burns energy, as well as boost the body's metabolism.

The patch holds promise in burning off unwanted fat deposits in the body such as the so-called love handles at the sides of a waistline. It also has potentials in treating metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.


The white fat in humans stores excess energy while the brown fat burns fat to produce heat. Researchers have long been on a hunt for therapies that can transform white fat into brown fat. The process is called browning.

Although there are available drugs that promote browning, all of these are administered as pills or injections, which can cause unwanted side effects such as bone fractures, weight gain and stomach upset.

The new skin patch works differently in that it delivers most drugs directly to the fat tissue, which alleviates complications.

How The Fat-Melting Skin Patch Works

The centimeter-square skin patch that contains dozens of microscopic needles are loaded with drug-encased nanoparticles. Once the patch is applied to the skin, the needles painlessly pierce the skin and slowly release the drugs in the nanoparticles into the underlying tissue.

Researchers found that in obese mice that were given drug-containing patches, the treated sides showed 20 percent fat reduction compared with the untreated side. These mice also had significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels compared with mice given empty patches.

In lean mice, treatment with drug-containing patches boosted the oxygen consumption by about 20 percent.

Genetic analyses likewise showed that the treated side has more genes associated with brown fat compared with the untreated side, which suggests that the metabolic changes and fat reduction the researchers observed can be attributed to an increase in the browning process.

"This microneedle-based patch can effectively deliver browning agents to the subcutaneous adipocytes in a sustained manner and switch on the "browning" at the targeted region. It is demonstrated that this patch reduces treated fat pad size, increases whole body energy expenditure, and improves type-2 diabetes in vivo in a diet-induced obesity mouse model," Li Qiang, from Columbia University Medical Center, and colleagues wrote in their study, which was published in ACS Nano on Sept. 15.

Not Yet Tested On Humans

Despite the promising results in animal experiments, the patch has not yet been tested in human subjects.

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09-15-2017 Politics
Politics ‘A new strategy’ for Trump? Democrats cautious but encouraged by fresh outreach.

President Trump on Wednesday vowed not to cut taxes for the wealthy, extolled the virtues of bipartisanship as leading to “some of the greatest legislation ever passed” and then — in a surprise move announced deep into the night — agreed to cut a deal with Democrats saving hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from deportation.

That Trump did all of that while declaring himself “a conservative” only heightened the sense of surrealism that has wafted through the nation’s capital over the past eight days, as the president has expressed a newfound, if tentative, willingness to work across the aisle — a development that has left many Republicans chagrined and some Democrats cautiously optimistic.

Trump’s outreach suggested that an unexpected deal he reached last week with Democrats may not have been an aberration. This week’s effort began Tuesday at a bipartisan White House dinner with senators and proceeded to a gathering of House Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday afternoon.

It was finally capped off Wednesday night by a presidential meal with the nation’s two top Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), during which they reached the contours of an immigration deal and discussed Beijing trade issues over a menu of Chinese cuisine.

Calling the dinner “very productive,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement late Wednesday that Trump had agreed to “enshrine the protections” of a Barack Obama-era executive order into law “quickly,” protecting about 700,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. They would also “work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” the statement said.

In a separate statement, the White House said the gathering was “constructive” and that it focused on immigration, infrastructure and trade.

“Bottom line: There really is a new strategy coming out of the White House,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a moderate Texas Democrat who had turned down previous White House invites but decided to attend Wednesday’s afternoon session. “He meets with the bipartisan senators last night. He meets with us. He meets with Pelosi and Schumer today. There is a new strategy in place.”

Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a Trump supporter who also attended the afternoon gathering, said the president “has seen the theater up here and learned the lesson: Extremes on both the right and left are problematic to getting his agenda accomplished. You can’t run a partisan bill to the finish line, so he knows he has to have his Plan B ready.” ...

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09-15-2017 Politics
Japan and India Discuss Defense as China Gets Bolder

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds his 10th summit with India’s leader Narendra Modi on Thursday, underscoring the importance of strategic ties between the countries as the two face an increasingly assertive China. Supplying submarine technology would lock Japan and India into an even tighter defense relationship for years to come.

Despite the close relationship between the two right-leaning nationalist leaders, Japan is hesitant to plunge into negotiations on submarine exports. A bid to supply Australia with an adapted version of its Soryu subs failed last year, despite the deepening security ties between the two nations.

Japan is among the countries India contacted for information about cooperating on its plans for six diesel submarines to add to the underwater fleet it is seeking to build to counter that of China, in a project worth about 500 billion rupees ($7.8 billion). The two governments held their first round of talks on overall defense technology cooperation last week, but are not currently in negotiations on the submarine project, according to a Japanese foreign ministry official who asked not to be named.

In India, an official from the Ministry of Defence who asked not to be named citing rules, said the process for submarine procurement had just been initiated with the Japanese submarine builder. It will be a long, drawn process, said another Ministry of Defence official.

Indian Navy spokesman D. K. Sharma said he had no comment on the matter.

While the Japanese government is not ruling out a deal, here are some reasons why it probably won’t be the front runner.

Price Tag

Japan only loosened its decades-old self-imposed ban on defense exports in 2014. The exclusively domestic focus of the industry has kept it small in scale, resulting in higher costs, which are off-putting for India. The two countries have, for example, been negotiating a possible sale of ShinMaywa’s US-2 amphibious aircraft for years, but have so far failed to agree on a price.

The roughly $12 billion yen ($109 million) per plane price tag, depending on specifications, is one of the key sticking points, according to the Japanese foreign ministry official. He added that the talks would take some time.

Make in India

Modi’s campaign to have more high-tech goods made on Indian soil will make any submarine deal more difficult. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, the two firms that build Japan’s submarines, will be concerned about whether they can maintain quality, according to Abhijit Singh, a former naval officer who is now at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Bloomberg

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09-14-2017 Science&Technology
The iPhone X is the one phone where you’ll really want to wait for the reviews

With all the leaks ahead of Apple’s big event this week, we thought we knew all about the iPhone X. It’s just a $999 combo of iOS, a bezel-less OLED screen, wireless charging, and a polished glass back, right? We’re familiar with all of those things, even the eyebrow-raising price, from the world of Android, so the radically redesigned new iPhone flagship shouldn’t feel all that radical. But for myself (and, I imagine, most current iPhone users), Apple’s presentation threw up more questions than answers, and it positioned the iPhone X as the most enigmatic phone we’ve seen in years.

Here’s a rundown of the things I’d want to know more about before passing judgment on this most fundamental of iPhone redesigns:


If you want to talk about a revolution for hundreds of millions of smartphone users, Apple’s removal of the iPhone’s home button is it. A decade’s habit of hitting the home button to safely return to your starting position is being wiped out with this change in the iPhone X. Every non-techie I know, when encountering a new mobile device, has looked for a home button, not a home swipe. We practically yearn for an escape hatch when we dive into new software. Apple is saying / assuming that the mainstream phone user is now savvy enough about gestures to adapt to a new UI built around them.

How do the iPhone X gestures actually work in practice? At first blush, I can’t say that the idea of swiping up from the bottom to return home is particularly intuitive, and neither is the distinction between a swipe down from the left of the screen’s monobrow (for notifications) and a swipe down from the right (which pulls up the iOS Control Center). Users are likely to adapt, as they have adapted to Apple’s other significant changes like the removal of the headphone jack, but that won’t mean they’ll necessarily like or prefer it.

Another major question with respect to interactions on the iPhone X relates to how the bezel-less bottom of the phone will work. Apple has issued design guidelines saying "Avoid explicitly placing interactive controls at the very bottom of the screen" to developers who've had their controls in a strip at the bottom of the screen since forever. It’s not obvious where those UI elements are supposed to be now. The upheaval for app makers will also include a new, narrower aspect ratio on the iPhone X, which will generate letterboxing effects for things that haven’t been tailored to the new screen. Videos are the most benign example of that, but I expect there’ll be an uncomfortable transition period as devs rejigger their software to play nice on this new canvas. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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09-11-2017 Environment
Destructive winds, rain hit Florida as Hurricane Irma makes landfall in the Keys

MIAMI — The fierce winds of Hurricane Irma regained Category 4 strength early Sunday as the storm’s eye made it to the lower Florida Keys just before 9 a.m. The massive storm already has caused hundreds of thousands of power outages across South Florida, its leading edge lashing several major population centers.

The National Weather Service said the storm made landfall at 9:10 a.m. on Cudjoe Key, with wind gusts reaching 130 mph. Forecasters warn that a second landfall could happen later on Sunday as Irma heads north to the U.S. mainland.

Officials said storm surges in the Keys could reach a devastating five to 10 feet there before the hurricane slowly proceeds up the state’s west coast.

“A very dangerous day is unfolding in the Florida Keys and much of West Florida,” Michael Brennan, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, said in an early morning update Sunday. “It certainly could inundate the entire island. That’s why everyone in the Keys was urged so strongly to evacuate.”

And due to the size of the hurricane, weather officials warn that Florida’s east coast — home to Miami and Fort Lauderdale — also remains in danger from winds and storm surges expected to easily overwhelm some areas. Officials fears the storm could ravage the state with destruction not seen in a generation.

More than 6 million residents were ordered evacuated by Saturday evening, as Irma’s outer bands scraped Florida, forcing thousands to cram into shelters. Gov. Rick Scott (R) sounded dire warnings about the storm, urging residents in evacuation zones to leave their homes immediately.

“Once the storm starts, law enforcement cannot save you,” Scott said Saturday at a news conference in Sarasota.

While the National Hurricane Center had downgraded Irma to a Category 3 storm Saturday, the storm was upgraded again to Category 4 early Sunday. At 5 a.m., weather officials said the storm was plodding northwest at about 8 miles per hour, placing it on pace to reach Naples by about 5 p.m. The storm could potentially make a second landfall further north on Sunday.

“It could make landfall anywhere along the west coast,” Brennan said. “It’s really hard to predict where the eye will make landfall on the west coast once it leaves the keys.”

Regardless of its track, all of Florida will probably experience damaging winds, rains, flooding and possibly tornadoes. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for all of southern Florida and the Florida Keys.

The National Weather Service said southwestern Florida could see storm surges up to 15 feet if peak surge happens during high tide. A storm surge warning is in effect for much of the Florida peninsula. ...

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09-21-2017 |

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09-21-2017 |

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09-21-2017 |

La justicia desmonta la organización del referéndum ilegal de Cataluña

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09-21-2017 |

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09-21-2017 |

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. 'I'm not optimistic': Top US naval leader warns of N Korea 'miscalculation'

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09-21-2017 |

China to Donald Trump: Your North Korea speech was really unhelpful

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Top 150 World Newspapers (*)

No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 China Daily / China
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The Telegraph / United Kingdom 7 The Wall Street Journal / United States 8 USA Today / United States
9 The Times of India / India 10 The Independent / United Kingdom 11 Los Angeles Times / United States 12 El País / Spain
13 Financial Times / United Kingdom 14 The People's Daily / China 15 United Daily News / China 16 The Economic Daily / China
17 Le Monde / France 18 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 19 El Mundo / Spain 20 Daily News / United States
21 La Repubblica / Italy 22 Bild / Germany 23 Le Figaro / France 24 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia
25 Houston Chronicle / United States 26 Hürriyet / Turkey 27 Chicago Tribune / United States 28 The Examiner / United States
29 New York Post / United States 30 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 31 Corriere della Sera / Italy 32 The Economic Times / India
33 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 34 Marca / Spain 35 Liberty Times / Taiwan 36 Die Welt / Germany
37 The Globe and Mail / Canada 38 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 39 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 40 Sabah / Turkey
41 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 42 Daily Express / United Kingdom 43 Kompas / Indonesia 44 The Indian Express / India
45 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 46 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 47 The Hindu / India 48 The Toronto Star / Canada
49 The Sun / United Kingdom 50 The Age / Australia 51 The Boston Globe / United States 52 Philippine Daily Inquirer / Philippines
53 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 54 The Washington Times / United States 55 Clarín / Argentina 56 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
57 Die Zeit / Germany 58 The Onion / United States 59 Metro / United Kingdom 60 ABC / Spain
61 The Seattle Times / United States 62 The Times / United Kingdom 63 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 64 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany
65 The Hill / United States 66 Dainik Bhaskar / India 67 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 68 The Oregonian / United States
69 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea 70 La Nación / Argentina 71 The Hindustan Times / India 72 San Jose Mercury News / United States
73 The Dallas Morning News / United States 74 AS / Spain 75 The Australian / Australia 76 Star Tribune / United States
77 Qingdao News / China 78 The Jerusalem Post / Israel 79 The Plain Dealer / United States 80 L'Equipe / France
81 Komsomolskaya Pravda / Russia 82 The Denver Post / United States 83 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 84 Libération / France
85 O Globo / Brazil 86 Aftonbladet / Sweden 87 The Japan Times / Japan 88 Business Standard / India
89 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 90 Kommersant / Russia 91 Le Parisien / France 92 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand
93 Detroit Free Press / United States 94 Newsday / United States 95 The Baltimore Sun / United States 96 National Post / Canada
97 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 98 The Miami Herald / United States 99 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 100 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States
101 The Irish Independent / Ireland 102 South China Morning Post / Hong Kong SAR 103 The Irish Times / Ireland 104 The Star Online / Malaysia
105 De Telegraaf / Netherlands 106 Dawn / Pakistan 107 Der Standaard / Austria 108 The Sacramento Bee / United States
109 20 Minutos / Spain 110 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan 111 Rossiyskaya Gazeta / Russia 112 Apple Daily / Taiwan
113 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India 114 La Stampa / Italy 115 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / United States 116 20 Minutes / France
117 La Vanguardia / Spain 118 Evening Standard / United Kingdom 119 China Times / Taiwan 120 The Straits Times / Singapore
121 Orlando Sentinel / United States 122 Der Tagesspiegel / Germany 123 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 124 Verdens Gang / Norway
125 Argumenti i Fakti / Russia 126 Boston Herald / United States 127 Infobae / Argentina 128 Dagbladet / Norway
129 Independent Online / South Africa 130 The New York Observer / United States 131 Yeni Safak / Turkey 132 Seattle Post-Intelligencer / United States
133 The Kansas City Star / United States 134 Al-Ahram / Egypt 135 The Scotsman / United Kingdom 136 Nikkan Sports / Japan
137 Deseret News / United States 138 Herald Sun / Australia 139 The Vancouver Sun / Canada 140 Yang Cheng Wan Bao / China
141 Les Échos / France 142 Gulf News / United Arab Emirates 143 Yedioth Aharonot / Israel 144 Sports Nippon / Japan
145 The Orange County Register / United States 146 Expressen / Sweden 147 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 148 / Russia
149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

(*) Selected by 4International Media & Newspapers

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