Biphoo http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:50:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.1 Hillary Clinton may be a good fit for mayor of NYChttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/hillary-clinton-may-good-fit-mayor-nyc.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/hillary-clinton-may-good-fit-mayor-nyc.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:50:53 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19473 Hillary Clinton may be a good fit for mayor of NYC Hillary Clinton may be a good fit for mayor of NYC:- Out and about in New York mostly, attending the theatre, supping at restaurants — “eating burgers with Ralph Lauren” as tweeted by a fellow diner the other day — attending a handful of […]

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Hillary Clinton may be a good fit for mayor of NYC

Hillary Clinton may be a good fit for mayor of NYC:- Out and about in New York mostly, attending the theatre, supping at restaurants — “eating burgers with Ralph Lauren” as tweeted by a fellow diner the other day — attending a handful of public functions, spending grandma time with Chelsea’s kids.

Looking happy enough, a mere five weeks from the electoral disaster that has visited Donald Trump on the world as American president come high noon Friday; relaxed, the stress lines erased from her face. Enduring, just fine.

Yet there’s been no shortage of speculation over what Clinton should do with herself now that she won’t be occupying the Oval Office, or unsolicited advice from supporters and critics alike.

At age 69, one might have thought that whatever Clinton has done with her life — a great deal — has already unspooled. But 69, I suppose, is the new 49 and Clinton seems manifestly indisposed towards a life of retirement leisure.

She’s had decades of experience in picking herself up and reinvention. She’d be forgiven for swearing off a ninth or tenth act in the public domain, although neither she nor husband Bill can ever enjoy the ease of anonymity as private citizens. Perhaps her most useful role during the Trump regime will be as an ever-present reminder of what an unhinged electorate did to spite itself on Nov. 8. These past few weeks — Trump’s cabinet appointments, the ascendancy of a billionaire autocracy in government, the president-elect’s savage incivility on social media, his ham-fisted recent press conference — have already provided dismaying evidence of what the U.S. (and the rest of us) have coming.

Nobody should be surprised because that’s precisely how Trump sold himself during the campaign: thin-skinned, vindictive, loutish, bullying and staggeringly unfit for the highest office in the land. A fifth column party of one.

I wonder if they’re still cheering in the Rust Belt and Middle America.

But about Hillary. The betting line is she will devote herself in some public service capacity because that’s her default switch. After all, the memoirs have already been written. Secretary general of the United Nations might be a good fit but that job has just been filled by former Portuguese president Antonio Guterres and, assuming the usual two-term duration, won’t be open again until Clinton is 79.

The most intriguing hypothesis is that Clinton could run in November for mayor of The Big Apple, a city where she is beloved, receiving 80 per cent of the electoral vote compared to just 17 per cent for Trump. Mayor might seem a huge step down for the woman who would have been the first woman commander-in-chief. But hey, it’s New York, Bright Lights and Big City USA, for all intents and purposes the capital of America, with a population and operating budget larger than many states.

It’s fun just imagining the agro she could cause NYC resident-in-absentia Trump from Gracie Mansion. Certainly it’s been the talk of the town, if more wistfully than realistically. Yet nobody from inside the Clinton camp has attempted to curtail the gossip. It may have begun as a “lark,” as The Washington Post political blogger Chris Cillizza characterized the Clinton-for-mayor buzz last week, but now that scenario is gaining legitimate traction, despite the popularity of left-leaning Mayor Bill de Blasio, who would surely remove himself from a Clinton tsunami at the polls.

Most conspicuously, Clinton hasn’t bothered to publicly rule out the possibility. As Cillizza wrote: “Why would she knock it down, people who know her ask. She still wants to be relevant, and there’s nothing wrong with speculation. The idea that people want to draft her is flattering, particularly after an embarrassing loss, they say. Plus the reality: If she ran, she’d probably be so immediately dominant that de Blasio might have to just step aside rather than get crushed on the way to her victory.”

Cillizza and other commentators, however, are discouraging a mayoralty epilogue for Clinton. Better she should invest her energies in rehabilitating a Democratic Party in such disarray. Barack Obama, busy penning (and burnishing) his own post-White House bio, will likely not immerse himself in that project because hovering on the political scene is just not done by an ex-prez (Bill Clinton a notable exception). There’s no such thing as president emeritus.

This isn’t remotely about the Hillary faction refusing to concede defeat or accept the fact of President Trump, all those Hell-No rallies and petitions notwithstanding. What’s done can’t be undone unless Trump gets himself impeached, no outlier scenario. Just keep talking and tweeting, bub. Carry on your bromance with Vladimir Putin, or continue refusing to disclose your tax returns, or fingering your nose at the U.S. Constitution and ethics laws, or trotting out heavyweight lawyers to show-and-tell rationalize why you won’t divest your assets or place them in a blind trust, as is customary.

Rather, there’s every valid reason in the world for Clinton to apply her vast knowledge of governance and diplomacy to Mayor of Park Avenue America. Heaven knows she already has good relations with the money-bag contingent.

On the Republican go-to cable mouthorgan, Fox TV, former New York mayor and long-time Clinton attack dog Rudy Giuliani advised Hillary not to even think about it, adding a dollop of threatening malice: that Clinton would be exposing herself to resurrected investigative scrutiny, reprising the odious LOCK HER UP mantra that Trump fostered during the campaign, then disowned election night. “I guess all of the investigations get revived again,” Giuliani laughed.

Source:- https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/01/16/mayor-of-nyc-might-fit-hillary-clinton-dimanno.html

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]]> http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/hillary-clinton-may-good-fit-mayor-nyc.html/feed 0 For Obama’s black appointees, a calling that was more than service to countryhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/politics/for-obamas-black-appointees-a-calling-that-was-more-than-service-to-country.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/politics/for-obamas-black-appointees-a-calling-that-was-more-than-service-to-country.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:42:18 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19470 For Obama's black appointees, a calling that was more than service to country For Obama's black appointees, a calling that was more than service to country:- Christina Cue’s supporting role in history began at a South Carolina rally where she was electrified by an upstart candidate named Barack Obama. Jason R.L. Wallace’s opportunity came from […]

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For Obama's black appointees, a calling that was more than service to country

For Obama's black appointees, a calling that was more than service to country:- Christina Cue’s supporting role in history began at a South Carolina rally where she was electrified by an upstart candidate named Barack Obama.

Jason R.L. Wallace’s opportunity came from a chance encounter after his car broke down one Thanksgiving Day. Christopher Epps thought he was applying for an ordinary government job, only to learn in an interview that he’d be a White House appointee.

Their paths were varied, but they all ended up in the Obama administration, among more than 400 African-Americans selected as presidential appointees over the past eight years: campaign volunteers, loyalists from Chicago, private-sector standouts, prominent scholars, public-school teachers and military veterans.

They brought expertise and ideas, but also a deep sense of the historical weight of the moment. Beyond service to country, they embraced a personal mission: ensuring the success of the nation’s first black president.

“Probably after being on the job a couple of months, it started to sink in: ‘Wow, I’m working in the administration of the first African-American president,’ ” said Epps, who served in the Department of Commerce. “And then you talk to former colleagues – and your family, who’s so proud – and you really start to get the breadth and depth of the position.”

The pressure was so intense and the executive branch so isolating that black staff members sought out one another, first for hugs and pep talks, then a brunch of about a dozen, and then, finally, the inaugural meeting of a group that now represents hundreds of African-Americans who’ve served at the highest levels of federal government: the Black Presidential Appointees Association.

Days away from the swearing-in of President-elect Donald Trump and what they jokingly refer to as their “expiration date,” nearly 20 African-American appointees shared memories of the thrills and challenges of being black in the Obama White House.

They listed policy breakthroughs and favorite moments, but also their sacrifices: eight years of missed birthdays and canceled dinner dates, accepted by their families because, like the rest of black America, they knew that this president’s performance would reflect on them all.

They spoke not only of Obama’s legacy but also of their own, wondering what would become of the vibrant black political class that sprang from this administration.

“It’s incredibly exciting to think about in the next five, 10, 15, 20 years, where will we all end up,” said Nate Jenkins, a former Atlanta schoolteacher who’s worked in the White House since 2008. “There’s a lot of talent that’s been developed in this administration that was untapped before. And because we’ve had Barack Obama running the country, a lot more people have raised their hands to say, ‘I want to be a part of that.’ And they’ve been given opportunities they wouldn’t have been given in administrations before.”

No escaping racism

Jason R.L. Wallace’s introduction to the Obama team came through serendipity, when his car broke down in Washington on Thanksgiving Day in 2008.

At the time, Obama was president-elect and Wallace was an ambitious young Howard University student who’d already interned at the White House under President George W. Bush. He’d discovered a knack for “advance” work, handling the logistics of presidential travel.

Always on the lookout for networking opportunities, Wallace kept a stack of résumés with him wherever he went, a move that paid off when he was stranded on the side of the road.

“I had no idea what I was going to do. I was stressed out and frustrated,” Wallace said. “And the person who pulled over to help turned out to be the personal aide to the first lady, Michelle Obama.”

Wallace and the Obama aide chatted. He told her about his work for Bush and handed her a résumé before they parted ways. Not long after that, Wallace received a phone call: Michelle Obama was doing an event on the Howard campus – could he help?

“I ended up traveling with the first lady for four years,” Wallace recalled with a laugh.

Wallace’s job gave him an insider’s view of what the Obamas were like away from the cameras. He was used to staying in the background, a behind-the-scenes guy whose job was to make travel seamless. But Michelle Obama noticed him, like the time she surprised him with a hug after a long day’s work in Los Angeles.

“The first lady is one of the only people I’ve worked for who’s been the same on camera as they are off camera,” Wallace said. “The genuineness, the love and the compassion, the love for people that she has is the same behind the curtain.”

On another presidential trip, to India, Wallace was nervous about proposing to his girlfriend. He polled all the guys around – the agents, the staffers – about what marriage was like. But the best answer, he said, came from watching the Obamas greet each other after a long day of travel and official appearances.

Wallace, who was escorting the first lady, stepped aside when the president arrived, but remained within earshot. The couple hugged and kissed, then teased each other about television appearances, Wallace recalled.

“They were going back and forth very playfully. And I have their schedules – I’ve seen how strenuous it was, how exhausting it must have been,” Wallace said. “But before they walked out, they just had that time together. That was the best advice, without even asking them. It was just seeing them.”

The Obamas’ historical significance became real to him in March 2015, when he worked their trip to Selma, Alabama, where the couple walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge 50 years after Alabama state police had beaten and tear-gassed peaceful protesters in the same spot.

“My grandmother told me how she used to pick cotton. My dad owned a restaurant that, when he was younger, he couldn’t have walked into and sat down to eat,” Wallace said. “Being there and being able to cross that bridge was a very emotional experience. It was not just for myself, but for my ancestors.”

But there were also dispiriting moments that punctured the myth that Obama’s election had moved the country beyond centuries of entrenched racism.

When former first lady Betty Ford died in the summer of 2011, Wallace happened to be in California, his home state. As the only advance staffer on the ground, it fell to him not only to arrange Michelle Obama’s logistics, but also to help former first families who were traveling to Palm Springs for the service: the Nixons, the Reagans, the Clintons.

The funeral was put together so quickly that the Secret Service agents in Palm Springs hadn’t received any “S-pins,” the staff pins that grant White House representatives access to restricted areas. They assured him he’d get in without one and gave him a Secret Service official’s business card to show guards once he got to the funeral site.

Wallace arrived and was denied entry. White colleagues, who also didn’t have pins, were allowed in, he said. Local authorities detained him and stuck him in a police car on a blazing July day.

“The first lady lands at the airport and I’m in the back seat of a police car and I’m getting all these calls saying, ‘Jason, where are you?’ ” Wallace recalled.

White House officials eventually got him released, the officer who’d detained him was disciplined and the Secret Service apologized. Still, five years later, the sting remains.

“Even while you’re working for the White House, you’re still black,” Wallace said. “You’re still black and this stuff still happens.”

A new civil rights movement

That awareness hit home for many when, in the second half of Obama’s final term, a string of police shootings of unarmed black people catalyzed a new civil rights movement. Several black appointees spoke of the anguish of that time, and also a shared frustration because they couldn’t express themselves freely in their sensitive government posts.

Because they couldn’t join protests or vent on social media, African-Americans inside the administration began to organize quietly. Christina Cue, the daughter of a pastor and a teacher from Aiken, South Carolina, already had been thinking of a club to connect black appointees to one another and to communities through service projects. She loved her job in the administration but missed the interaction with ordinary people from her days on the campaign trail.The first “meeting” of what would become the Black Presidential Appointees Association was a brunch Cue arranged with about a dozen staffers in October 2014, when African-Americans across the nation were in collective despair over the acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case and a string of other shootings of unarmed black men.

“As a black appointee working for the first black president, it was important to have a sense of community in those moments,” Cue said. “When you can’t articulate or share what you feel, it was important to have people around to talk to, to lean on.”

When they realized they didn’t even have firm figures for the number of African-American appointees, Cue and her friends began counting, office by office, building a tally through word of mouth. They opened membership to black appointees from previous administrations, with an eye toward building intergenerational connections that would let the group endure once Obama left office.

There were monthly meetings, each time at a different agency so that members could get a fuller picture of how the government works. They joined a White House conference call with black personnel to discuss responses to the wave of officer-involved shootings.

“We have family members, brothers and sisters and cousins, across the country – some in urban America, some in rural America – and this could’ve easily been one of them,” recalled Epps, from the Department of Commerce. “The call was being able to vent a little bit, but also to talk about what the current issues are and what we, in our respective areas, could do.”

As it turned out, they could do a lot. In a series of emotional interviews, black appointees described their quiet work that culminated in some of the administration’s seminal moments of African-American uplift.

Dispatched to funerals on behalf of the White House, they fought back tears as they comforted the families of black men killed by police officers. They set up Obama’s historic summit between 1960s-era civil rights leaders and today’s Black Lives Matter activists; those who were in the room described getting chills when they heard civil rights legend C.T. Vivian tell the president, “I would take a bullet for you.”

The appointees beamed as they watched the official events they’d planned come to life, with African dancers in the East Wing and rappers snapping selfies at receptions. They welcomed as many African-Americans as they could to the White House, moved by the men and women who showed up in their Sunday best to see for themselves that a black family lived in a mansion built in part by slave labor.

“African-Americans have been the president’s backbone throughout this entire administration,” said Stephanie Young, a senior adviser in the Office of Public Engagement. “They have supported him unlike any other constituency. They have loved him through absolutely everything. And they have worked extremely hard to protect him.”

But they recognize that there were disappointments, too. Many African-Americans are proud of the symbolism of the first black president but don’t think Obama did enough to improve the lives of ordinary black families, through changes on schools, affordable housing and law enforcement, for example.

This is a sensitive spot for the appointees – they know the difficult, unseen work that went into addressing those issues, and they know the obstruction they met from a Republican-led Congress. Some appointees explain the hurdles. Others flip the question on the critics: What have you done?

“To tackle the issues we’re dealing with requires all of us to do our part. I think a lot of us have done what we could where we were, but there still needed to be so much more,” said Stephanie Gidigbi, who’d worked in politics for years but started with the Obama administration only in the second term. “The reality is at the local level: Are you serving on a board? Do you know who your police chief is? Have you spoken up?”

Life after Obama

Many black staffers had assumed Hillary Clinton would win the election, leaving open the possibility that they’d continue to serve the executive branch.

Donald Trump’s victory has introduced uncertainty: Would he appoint more than a few token African-Americans? Would black professionals even agree to serve Trump after his disparaging comments on racial minorities, immigrants and Muslims?

For some, the answer is an emphatic “no.” They’re moving on to the private sector, starting nonprofits, applying for jobs on Capitol Hill. For others, it’s a dutiful “yes,” with the reasoning that people of color must be present in the Trump administration to represent the interests of minorities.

Many more are unsure, wary of Trump’s record with people of color but eager to keep sharp the skills they’ve honed over the past eight years, eager to keep their hard-won place at the table.

“We’re passionate about our respective issues. You’ll have someone from Department of Interior talking about pollinators. A colleague at the National Park Service ensuring that parks tell stories for all. Our folks from USDA will tell us why rural is critical,” Gidigbi said.

Gidigbi had just wrapped up her last day of work with the Obama administration. She’d served in the Department of Transportation, a job she loved because of her interest in how transit issues intersect with race and housing concerns.

Gidigbi is heading to the nonprofit world, to work on race, health and climate issues in American cities, a natural extension of her government work. This may be a bittersweet moment for many, but she’s entering post-Obama life feeling triumphant.

“You knew the long nights, you knew the events that got missed, you knew the meetings that took all night, and you stayed because you cared, because you were committed,” Gidigbi said. “You stayed because you wanted to make sure we truly did our best. That’s why I can leave today filled with joy, because I know that we did.”

Source:- http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/politics-government/article126504674.html

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]]> http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/politics/for-obamas-black-appointees-a-calling-that-was-more-than-service-to-country.html/feed 0 South Korea prosecutor seek arrest of Samsung chief for briberyhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/south-korea-prosecutor-seek-arrest-samsung-chief-bribery.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/south-korea-prosecutor-seek-arrest-samsung-chief-bribery.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:00:30 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19467 South Korea prosecutor seek arrest of Samsung chief for bribery South Korea prosecutor seek arrest of Samsung chief for bribery:- South Korea's special prosecutor on Monday sought a warrant to arrest the head of Samsung Group, the country's largest conglomerate, accusing him of paying multi-million dollar bribes to a friend of President Park Geun-hye. Investigators […]

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South Korea prosecutor seek arrest of Samsung chief for bribery

South Korea prosecutor seek arrest of Samsung chief for bribery:- South Korea's special prosecutor on Monday sought a warrant to arrest the head of Samsung Group, the country's largest conglomerate, accusing him of paying multi-million dollar bribes to a friend of President Park Geun-hye.

Investigators had grilled Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee for 22 straight hours last week as a suspect in a corruption scandal, which last month led to parliament impeaching Park.

The special prosecutor's office accused Lee of paying bribes totaling 43 billion won ($36.42 million) to organizations linked to Choi Soon-sil, a friend of the president who is at the center of the scandal, in order to secure the 2015 merger of two affiliates and cement his control of the family business.

The 48-year-old Lee, who became the de facto head of the Samsung Group after his father, Lee Kun-hee, was incapacitated by a heart attack in 2014, was also accused of embezzlement and perjury, according to the prosecution's application for an arrest warrant.

"The special prosecutors' office, in making this decision to seek an arrest warrant, determined that while the country's economic conditions are important, upholding justice takes precedence," special prosecution spokesman Lee Kyu-chul told a media briefing.

Prosecutors have evidence showing that Park and Choi shared profits made through bribery payments, he said, without elaborating.

Lee is due to appear on Wednesday morning at the Seoul central district court, which will decide whether to grant the arrest warrant.

Samsung, whose companies generate $230 billion in revenue, equivalent to about 17 percent of South Korea's economy, rejected the accusation that Lee paid bribes.

"It is difficult to understand the special prosecutors' decision," it said in an emailed statement.

Prosecutors have been looking into whether Samsung's support for foundations and a company backed by Choi was linked to the National Pension Service's 2015 decision to support a controversial $8 billion merger of Samsung C&T Corp and Cheil Industries Inc.

Samsung has acknowledged providing funds to the institutions but has repeatedly denied accusations of lobbying to push through the merger.

"It is especially hard to accept the special prosecutor's assertion that there was improper request for a favor related to the merger or succession of control," it said on Monday.

NPS chairman Moon Hyung-pyo was indicted on Monday on charges of abuse of power and giving false testimony. Last month he acknowledged ordering the world's third-largest pension fund to support the merger of Samsung C&T Corp and Cheil Industries in 2015 while heading the health ministry, which oversees the NPS.

The special prosecutor's office said in its indictment of Moon that Park, through her aides, ordered Moon to ensure the merger of the two Samsung companies succeeded.

Park, 64, remains in office but has been stripped of her powers while the Constitutional Court decides whether to make her the country's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.

Park has denied wrongdoing but admitted to carelessness in her relationship with Choi, a friend for four decades. Choi, in jail as she undergoes criminal trial and also denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors opted not to seek the arrest of three other Samsung executives they had questioned, including Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung, a group veteran who is seen as Jay Y. Lee's mentor and a likely caretaker head of the conglomerate in the event Lee is arrested.

Shares in flagship Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), the world's biggest maker of smartphones, flat-screen TVs and memory chips, ended 2.14 percent lower, underperforming the 0.61 percent drop in the broader market .KS11.

Investors say that while key Samsung businesses are run by professional CEOs and would not be hurt on an operational basis if Lee is arrested, his absence would slow bigger-picture decision-making.

The Korea Employers Federation, a business lobby, said arresting Lee would undermine confidence both in Samsung and the country's economy, Asia's fourth-largest, and called the special prosecutor's probe "very regrettable."

South Korea has seen numerous corporate scandals over the years. Jay Y. Lee's father Lee Kun-hee was himself handed a three-year suspended jail sentence in 2009 for tax evasion. He was later pardoned.

Public opinion has in recent years grown less tolerant of leniency extended to the heads of conglomerates, or chaebols, for the sake of the economy.

POLITICAL CRISIS

South Korea has been gripped by political crisis for months, with Park impeached in December.

If the impeachment is upheld by the Constitutional Court, an election would be held in two months, with former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expected to be a candidate.

Choi, in detention and on trial on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud, again denied wrongdoing on Monday in an appearance at the Constitutional Court's impeachment trial.

She also denied having any prior knowledge of the Samsung Group's controversial 2015 merger of two affiliates.

"Even if I knew, I could not have passed on any information because I have no knowledge about mergers or hedge funds, anything like that, in the first place," Choi told the court.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-politics-idUSKBN150079

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Bomb Blasts at Nigeria’s Maiduguri University Kill 5http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/bomb-blasts-at-nigerias-maiduguri-university-kill-5.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/bomb-blasts-at-nigerias-maiduguri-university-kill-5.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:51:52 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19464 Bomb Blasts at Nigeria's Maiduguri University Kill 5 Bomb Blasts at Nigeria's Maiduguri University Kill 5: Two bombs exploded at dawn Monday at Nigeria's northeastern University of Maiduguri, killing at least five people, witnesses and police said. The first blast ripped through the mosque where professors were saying dawn prayers and at least one is […]

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Bomb Blasts at Nigeria's Maiduguri University Kill 5

Bomb Blasts at Nigeria's Maiduguri University Kill 5: Two bombs exploded at dawn Monday at Nigeria's northeastern University of Maiduguri, killing at least five people, witnesses and police said.

The first blast ripped through the mosque where professors were saying dawn prayers and at least one is among victims, according to a student. The second bomb went off at an entrance gate, said a university worker. Both spoke on condition of anonymity for their safety.

Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu said 5 people died in the explosion at the mosque, including a university professor, and 15 wounded people have been evacuated to hospitals.

It was not clear if the explosions came from suicide bombers or were planted bombs, police said.

Maiduguri has been attacked many times but this is the first attack on the university blamed on Boko Haram — the Islamic extremist group whose name means "Western education is sinful."

It is the first major attack since Nigeria' President Muhammadu Buhari last month declared that Boko Haram was "crushed," after troops destroyed their stronghold in the Sambisa Forest in northeastern Nigeria.

Nigeria's army said Sunday that troops continuing "clearance operations of remnants and fleeing Boko Haram terrorists" killed several insurgents and rescued 58 kidnap victims, mainly women and children last week. One soldier was injured, it said.

Nigeria's 7-year-old Islamic uprising has killed more than 20,000 people.

Source:- http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/01/16/world/africa/ap-af-nigeria-boko-haram.html?_r=0

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Kyrgyzstan plane crash: Dozens die as Turkish cargo jet hits homeshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/kyrgyzstan-plane-crash-dozens-die-as-turkish-cargo-jet-hits-homes.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/kyrgyzstan-plane-crash-dozens-die-as-turkish-cargo-jet-hits-homes.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:42:08 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19461 Kyrgyzstan plane crash: Dozens die as Turkish cargo jet hits homes Kyrgyzstan plane crash: Dozens die as Turkish cargo jet hits homes:- A Turkish cargo plane flying from Hong Kong has crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 37 people, most of them on the ground, officials say. The Boeing 747 TC-MCL aircraft operated by ACT […]

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Kyrgyzstan plane crash: Dozens die as Turkish cargo jet hits homes

Kyrgyzstan plane crash: Dozens die as Turkish cargo jet hits homes:- A Turkish cargo plane flying from Hong Kong has crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 37 people, most of them on the ground, officials say.

The Boeing 747 TC-MCL aircraft operated by ACT Airlines crashed as it landed in fog at Manas airport, 25km (15 miles) north of the capital, Bishkek.

At least 15 buildings were destroyed in a village outside the airport, with a number of children among the dead.

Flight TK6491 was to have stopped at Manas en route to Istanbul in Turkey.

ACT is an Istanbul-based airline operating under the name MyCargo. The plane is believed to have been around 14 years old.

One witness, Baktygul Kurbatova, told local media: "I woke up because of a bright red light outside. I couldn't understand what was happening.

"It turns out the ceiling and the walls were crashing on us. I was so scared but I managed to cover my son's face with my hands so that debris would not fall on him."

Source:- http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38633526

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Americans will get the Trump they elected as presidenthttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/americans-will-get-the-trump-they-elected-as-president.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/americans-will-get-the-trump-they-elected-as-president.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:35:12 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19458 Americans will get the Trump they elected as president Americans will get the Trump they elected as president:- After 10 weeks, dozens of tweets and one rollicking news conference, Donald Trump’s transition into the White House has left little doubt that the man Americans elected in November is the president they’ll get. The immense responsibilities […]

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Americans will get the Trump they elected as president

Americans will get the Trump they elected as president:- After 10 weeks, dozens of tweets and one rollicking news conference, Donald Trump’s transition into the White House has left little doubt that the man Americans elected in November is the president they’ll get.

The immense responsibilities of the office and the daunting decisions that await Trump when he takes office Friday have not appeared to change the confrontational, divisive Republican.

Just days away from his inauguration, Trump is still litigating old campaign fights and picking new ones with intelligence agencies and Rep. John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights movement veteran. Trump is refusing to be boxed in by the conservative ideology his party prefers and he’s battling with journalists, yet still craves their attention.

To supporters, Trump’s handling of this transition period is proof that the political novice-turned-president-elect plans to follow through on his campaign promises to take a sledgehammer to Washington’s traditional ways.

“The American people voted for change,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said. “He is the instrument of that change.”

It’s clear, however, that a solid majority of Americans are not behind him. Trump is poised to enter the Oval Office with a far lower approval rating — 42 percent — than his three predecessors, according to Gallup, which only has comparable data going back to 1992. The previous lowest was George W. Bush, who won positive marks from 59 percent during his transition to office. Bush, like Trump, also lost the popular vote in a tightly contested race.

Gallup found just 44 percent of those questioned approve of the way the incoming president has handled his transition, compared with 83 percent approval of Barack Obama’s transition. Sixty-one percent approved of Bush’s transition.

That leaves a hefty task ahead for Trump, who must take the stage on Friday and, after swearing the oath, address perhaps his largest, broadest audience to date. Presidents typically call for unity and common purpose.

David Axelrod, a longtime political adviser to Obama, cast doubt on whether that was something Trump could do. He pointed to Trump’s postelection “thank you” tour that took the Republican only to states he won.

“It might not be within his emotional range to be a unifying figure,” Axelrod said. He acknowledged that some Democrats might resist any overtures from Trump, though he said total resistance would not serve his party well either.

Advisers and others who have spoken with Trump since the election say that despite his combative public presence during the transition, he’s aware of the grand sweep of history as he approaches the presidency. He’s told friends that he’s drawn to both the ambition and style of Presidents Ronald Reagan, a Republican, and John F. Kennedy, a Democrat.

During a lunch with presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and other guests at his South Florida club, Trump said he was thinking about spending his first night in the White House sleeping in the famed Lincoln Bedroom. A participant in the lunch first recalled the conversation and Brinkley confirmed its accuracy.

Several people detailed their recent interactions with Trump on the condition of anonymity in order to disclose private discussions with the president-elect.

Trump is said to have become particularly fixated on veterans issues, evaluating numerous candidates to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs before settling on David Shulkin, an Obama nominee who is a VA undersecretary. The president-elect said he interviewed “at least 100 people” for the job, though aides said that was an exaggeration.

Between meetings at Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago in Florida — and sometimes during them — Trump is said to be constantly making and taking calls on his personal cellphone from lawmakers, foreign leaders, aides and journalists.

But any behind-the-scene diligence and focus has largely been overshadowed by Trump’s remarkably public battles — against the intelligence agencies, Hillary Clinton, actress Meryl Streep and, over the weekend, Lewis.

One of the biggest questions facing Trump as he prepares to take office is how his confrontational and unpredictable style will affect his ability to enact his agenda and manage the inevitable crises he will face. He has the benefit of a Republican-led Congress, but potential intraparty disagreements loom over spending and entitlements.

Health care will be an early test for Trump and the GOP. The president-elect says he expects Congress to repeal and replace Obama’s signature health care law “essentially simultaneously,” though he has not specified for lawmakers what he expects to be in a new measure. Some Republicans believe the complexity of the current system makes a fast overhaul nearly impossible.

Trump’s relationship with Russia will shadow his inauguration. The Senate Intelligence Committee says it will investigate possible contacts between Russia and the people associated with U.S. political campaigns as part of a broader investigation into Moscow’s purported meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The investigation will include interviews, and potentially subpoenas, for Trump aides.

During a freewheeling news conference last week, Trump acknowledged publicly for the first time that he accepts the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was behind the election-year hacking of Democratic groups. But one person who spoke with Trump following his full briefing with intelligence officials said the president-elect was still raising questions about what proof there was of Russia’s role.

Democrats are yet to decide how they plan to approach a Trump presidency.

Lewis, who worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement, said he does not view Trump as a legitimate president, leading Trump to criticize the congressman in several tweets. Lewis and a small number of other Democratic lawmakers plan to skip the inauguration celebrations.

Obama, who has been offering advice to Trump both publicly and privately since the election, questioned whether a president can be “improvisational” in office. But in an interview with CBS’ ”60 Minutes,” he also suggested his successor’s unorthodoxy should not be misjudged.

sOURCE:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/americans-will-get-the-trump-they-elected-as-president/2017/01/16/7307118a-dbc6-11e6-8902-610fe486791c_story.html?utm_term=.f86d86b8bf97

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Everything we think we know about the Samsung Galaxy S8http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/everything-we-think-we-know-about-the-samsung-galaxy-s8.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/everything-we-think-we-know-about-the-samsung-galaxy-s8.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:57:00 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19455 Everything we think we know about the Samsung Galaxy S8 Everything we think we know about the Samsung Galaxy S8:- Samsung's next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, will be arriving very soon. The pressure is on for the Korean electronics giant to deliver a flagship phone that not only improves on the specs of last […]

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Everything we think we know about the Samsung Galaxy S8

Everything we think we know about the Samsung Galaxy S8:- Samsung's next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, will be arriving very soon.

The pressure is on for the Korean electronics giant to deliver a flagship phone that not only improves on the specs of last year's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, but also kicks the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus' butt.

Adding more features has always been Samsung's approach with new flagships, but as the company is no doubt aware after the Galaxy Note7 literally burned out, everyone will be watching closely to see what new safety measures it includes on the S8.

What exactly can we expect from the S8? Here's what we're hearing from the rumor mill.

4K upgrade?

Samsung's gone with Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) displays for a while now and has yet to launch a phone with a 4K screen.

While rumors suggest the Galaxy S8 will finally make the leap to a larger (5.7-inch) and higher resolution 4K Super AMOLED display (3,840 x 2,160) — if only because the increased resolution and pixel density will make mobile VR look crisper — it's by no means a lock-in.

Another possibility is Samsung will release two S8 phones, a "regular" model and an "Edge" model with Quad HD and 4K resolutions, respectively.

Conversely, another report claims Samsung might ditch flat displays altogether and only launch the S8 with curved edges. (Not a terrible idea since the whole dual curved screen look has become a signature Samsung aesthetic.)

It also wouldn't be a stretch if the S8's screen is HDR-ready, like the Note7 was.

No home button

Speaking of the display, Samsung is reportedly planning to embed the fingerprint sensor underneath it as opposed to putting it inside the home button.

By doing this, Samsung will be able to either increase the screen size and keep the S8's phone dimensions the same (or roughly the same) as the S7, or shrink the device's dimensions (specifically, the height, for better pocketing and one-handed use).

A recent Samsung Display TV ad showed off a mock-up for a phone with no home button. It's unlikely Samsung leaked the S8 and was just showing a reference design, but even if the phone shown in the ad isn't the S8, it at least shows Samsung is thinking of getting rid of the home button.

These renders from case makers also seem to support the curved screen and no home button design.

More performance

If history is any indication, Samsung might release the S8 with two different processors — one powered by its own Exynos chip and another by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.

Last we heard, Samsung might go with an Exynos 8895 chip and a Mali-G71 graphics chip that is said to provide up to 1.8x more graphics performance than the S7.

The other model is expected to come with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 processor, which will — surprise, surprise — be produced by Samsung using its 10-nanonmeter process for greater power efficiency. With the 835 chip, the S8 would gain a 27 percent boost in performance over the S7.

As for how much RAM, we're hearing some sources say 6GB of RAM and others claim 8GB. Either way, it'll be more than the S7's 4GB.

Goodbye headphone jack?

Apple caused quite a ruckus when it removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7/7 Plus. And this year, Android phone makers appear to be ready to join the #noheadphonejack club.

There are conflicting reports saying Samsung will and won't ditch the headphone jack. If the S8 has a headphone jack, Samsung will be able to rub it in Apple's face. But if it doesn't — then it's time to accept it and go wireless.

'Bixby' AI assistant

The iPhone has Siri, Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile phones have Cortana and Google's Pixel phones have the Assistant. Now Samsung is said to be launching its own AI digital assistant.

Rumor has it that the S8 will come with its own assistant, possibly called "Bixby" and powered by Viv, the artificial intelligence assistant Samsung acquired in October. Interestingly, the creators of Viv are the same people who created Siri before selling it to Apple.

Assuming Samsung doesn't dumb Viv down, it could stomp all over Siri.

Weatherproof

Samsung's been waterproofing its phones for years. With the S7 and S7 Edge, the company stepped up its Ingress Protection rating to IP68, meaning the phones can be submerged in up to 4.9 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Additionally, the IP68 rating means they're dust, dirt and sand resistant without needing any caps or covers.

With that level of protection, it seems unlikely Samsung would take a step back with the S8 and nix the weatherproofing. According to The Investor, the S8 will sport the same IP68 rating, making it just as weatherproof as its predecessor.

One or two cameras?

So far, we've heard almost nothing about what kind of improvements will be made to the S8's cameras.

The logical thing would be for the company to copy Apple's iPhone 7 Plus dual-camera setup. After all, any phone that uses Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 chip will be able to support dual cameras without any complex wizardry.

The closest clue to Samsung pursuing dual cameras for the S8 is a patent Samsung filed previously. But like all patents, it may never end up in any real product.

Release date Traditionally, Samsung has used the annual Mobile World Congress as the stage to announce its new flagship phones.

However, this year might be different. Word on the street is the company might skip MWC this year and hold its own own "Unpacked" event in April. It'll be later than usual, but given the disastrous Note7 launch, Samsung probably isn't taking any chances.

Everything else

As much as we think we know about the S8, there's still a lot that we don't know.

For example, how big will the battery be, and what will the software will look like? Will the front-facing camera get an upgrade? Will the S8 include the Note7's iris scanner? Will there be wireless charging? How about expandable storage?

Heck, we don't even know if Samsung will continue with the "glass sandwich" design it has used for the last two years.

Rumors can only tell you so much, and while most of them usually end up being true, there's still plenty of room for Samsung to surprise us.

Source:- http://mashable.com/2017/01/15/everything-we-know-samsung-galaxy-s8/#EKEDvE3pBaqB

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Justin Thomas sets PGA Tour record, claims Sony Open titlehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/golf/justin-thomas-sets-pga-tour-record-claims-sony-open-title.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/golf/justin-thomas-sets-pga-tour-record-claims-sony-open-title.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:44:56 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19452 Justin Thomas sets PGA Tour record, claims Sony Open title Justin Thomas sets PGA Tour record, claims Sony Open title:- Challenged only by the record book, Justin Thomas won the Sony Open on Sunday with the lowest 72-hole score in PGA Tour history. Thomas capped off his wonderful week at Waialae that began with a […]

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Justin Thomas sets PGA Tour record, claims Sony Open title

Justin Thomas sets PGA Tour record, claims Sony Open title:- Challenged only by the record book, Justin Thomas won the Sony Open on Sunday with the lowest 72-hole score in PGA Tour history.

Thomas capped off his wonderful week at Waialae that began with a 59 with his second straight victory. He two-putted birdie from 60 feet on the par-5 18th and closed with a 5-under 65 to set the record at 253.

Tommy Armour III shot 254 at the 2003 Texas Open.

"It's been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable," Thomas said before going to sign his historic card.

The 23-year-old from Kentucky won the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua last week by three shots, then destroyed the full field at the Sony Open to win by seven shots. Thomas is the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 (Buick Open and Bridgestone Invitational) to win back-to-back weeks by three shots or more.

"I felt like I was trying to win a tournament for second place," Jordan Spieth said, summing up the helpless feeling of everyone.

That honor went to Justin Rose, who closed with a 64 to finish alone in second. Spieth shot a 63 to finish alone in third.

The first full-field event of the year on the PGA Tour was a one-man show.

Thomas began the final round with a seven-shot lead and no one got closer than five shots all day. His only nervous moment was an 8-foot par putt on the sixth hole when he was five shots ahead. He made that, and the rest of the day was a Pacific breeze.

Thomas joined Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to sweep Hawaii, and this performance might have been even better. Thomas was 49-under par for his two weeks, compared with Els at 47 under.

Thomas joined Johnny Miller (1974 and 1975) and Tiger Woods (2003, 2008, 2013) as the only players since 1970 to win three of the their first five starts in a PGA Tour season. It started last fall with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

He moved to No. 8 in the world.

"He's got full control of his game, full confidence, and he's executing under pressure," Spieth said. "It's a lot of fun to see. Certainly stuff that myself and a lot of our peers have seen going back almost 10 years now. He's certainly showing the world what he's capable of."

No one ever lost a seven-shot lead in the final round of a PGA Tour event, a fact that never entered the conversation on a balmy afternoon at Waialae.

Thomas, thinking more about the trophy and another record when he started the final round, took no chances early on. He was 1 over through seven holes, making a soft bogey with a three-putt from 45 feet on No. 4 and a tough par save on No. 6, and still no one got closer than five shots.

But when he poured in a 20-foot birdie putt on the eighth, Thomas shifted into another gear. That was the start of four birdies in five holes — the exception was a birdie putt he missed from just inside 10 feet — and he stretched his lead to as many as nine shots.

Waialae was vulnerable all week with not much wind, fast fairways and greens that were softer than usual. Thomas produced the eighth sub-60 round in PGA Tour history on Thursday. Kevin Kisner had a shot at 59 on Saturday until missing a 9-foot eagle putt on his final hole. And on Sunday, Chez Reavie made a hole-in-one with a 6-iron on the 17th hole that gave him a shot at a sub-60 round. Only a bogey on the sixth hole (he start on No. 10) stopping him, and he had to settle for a 61. That matched the third-best score of the week.

Even in easier conditions, no one played like Thomas.

He felt the nerves early, perhaps knowing that he could only lose with such a big lead. But when he made the turn with a six-shot lead, it was a chase for the record, and there was no stopping him. He hit a lob wedge over a bunker to 3 feet for birdie on the 14th, made a 12-foot par save on the 15th and picked up the last birdie he needed on the par-5 18th by easily reaching the middle of the green.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/2017/01/15/thomas-caps-off-record-week-with-trophy-at-sony-open/96628098/

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Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: Ref shouldn’t even work at Foot Lockerhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/nfl/chiefs-te-travis-kelce-ref-shouldnt-even-work-foot-locker.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/nfl/chiefs-te-travis-kelce-ref-shouldnt-even-work-foot-locker.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:54:27 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19447 Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: Ref shouldn't even work at Foot Locker Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: Ref shouldn't even work at Foot Locker:- The Kansas City Chiefs' season ended Sunday night, and tight end Travis Kelce wasn't ready to move past a critical call. The Pittsburgh Steelers staved off a fourth-quarter comeback by the Chiefs to […]

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Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: Ref shouldn't even work at Foot Locker

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: Ref shouldn't even work at Foot Locker:- The Kansas City Chiefs' season ended Sunday night, and tight end Travis Kelce wasn't ready to move past a critical call.

The Pittsburgh Steelers staved off a fourth-quarter comeback by the Chiefs to hold on for an 18-16 win and advance to the AFC Championship Game. After running back Spencer Ware scored on a 1-yard touchdown with 2:43 remaining, the Chiefs appeared to have tied the game on a catch by tight end Demetrius Harris on a two-point conversion attempt. But officials called what looked to be an obvious offensive holding penalty against left tackle Eric Fisher as he blocked outside linebacker James Harrison, and the Chiefs were marched back 10 yards.

Alex Smith's ensuing pass attempt was broken up by the Steelers. After receiving the ensuing kickoff, Pittsburgh was able to convert a third down and run out the remaining time on the clock.

Kelce was still incensed by the holding call when speaking with reporters after the game.

"That wasn't a hold on my guy Eric Fisher. I hope 72 doesn't go the entire offseason thinking it was his fault. That was (expletive), flat out."

Kelce added that he believed the call was made because the official "felt bad for James Harrison falling on the ground."

"It's ignorance. The ref, No. 51, shouldn't be able to wear a zebra jersey ever again. He shouldn't even be able to work at (expletive) Foot Locker."

This was not Kelce's first run-in with an officiating crew. He was ejected from a Nov. 6 game against the Tennessee Titans when he threw his towel at an official, earning a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his mock flag toss.

On Sunday, Kelce was also penalized for unnecessary roughness when he shoved cornerback Ross Cockrell to the ground after a play. Kelce led the Chiefs with five catches and 77 receiving yards.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/chiefs/2017/01/16/travis-kelce-ref-foot-locker-holding-kansas-city/96629590/

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What does NFL playoff destiny look likehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/nfl/nfl-playoff-destiny-look-like.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/nfl/nfl-playoff-destiny-look-like.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:48:18 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19444 What does NFL playoff destiny look like What does NFL playoff destiny look like:- “Not yet,” Randall Cobb maintained Sunday night, after the Green Bay Packers punched their ticket to the NFC Championship Game after outlasting the Dallas Cowboys 34-31. “If we win the Super Bowl, maybe. Now is not the time to say it.” […]

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What does NFL playoff destiny look like

What does NFL playoff destiny look like:- “Not yet,” Randall Cobb maintained Sunday night, after the Green Bay Packers punched their ticket to the NFC Championship Game after outlasting the Dallas Cowboys 34-31.

“If we win the Super Bowl, maybe. Now is not the time to say it.”

Fair enough. There is more work to be done. Another shootout looms next weekend at the Georgia Dome. Then maybe it ends with a bang in Super Bowl LI.

But this is clearly what destiny looks like — like Aaron Rodgers, with that sly grin, picking himself up after absorbing the most punishing blow he endured in the entire game on a blindside hit from blitzing safety Jeff Heath. Too bad for the Cowboys that they couldn’t force a fumble, too, on that 10-yard sack. Because Rodgers still had something left.

Like a few seconds to work with.

Let Jared Cook explain it. It was the tight end's 35-yard toe-drag catch along the sideline, after Rodgers dashed out of the pocket and zipped the ball on the run, that set up the 51-yard field goal by Mason Crosby that won the game as time expired.

“I don’t think you ever get used to things Aaron does,” Cook said. “He always does things that make your jaw drop. Think about it: Dude rolled to his left and put it on a dime.”

So that’s how the game was won. It didn’t take a Hail Mary. The Packers just needed one more big play to position themselves for a shot to win it in regulation, and Rodgers delivered.

With Aaron Rodgers, no ending out of reach for Packers Again.

“As long as we have time and downs, we’ve got a chance,” said Ty Montgomery, the receiver who has morphed into a running back with the team in a pinch.

The Green Bay players toiling alongside Rodgers are probably not unlike the 1920s New York Yankees, who rolled with Babe Ruth. Or the Chicago Bulls teammates of Michael Jordan.

They are playing with a living legend, one of the greatest ever.

“He’s a magician,” Cobb said.

And so crafty. Rodgers pretty much drew up the last offensive play in the dirt, giving each of the receivers instructions on the fly. No wonder Cook flashed an incredulous look when asked if he was the primary target.

“Uh, I don’t think so,” he said. “But you never know.”

Aaron Rodgers, Packers topple Cowboys to advance to NFC Championship Game Just be ready.

“At the end of the day, they’re going to talk about that guy as one of the top three quarterbacks who ever laced them up," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Rodgers.

Back to the throw. Someone asked Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy for an instant comparison of how the completion to Cook ranked with other passes over the course of Rodgers’ career.

“It’s the best one today, that’s for sure,” McCarthy said.

Yeah, why rank it now? There’s probably another crazy throw coming next weekend.

This time, magic came on third-and-20. Just 12 seconds were on the clock. As Rodgers circled left, extending the play as advertised, Cook ran a deep crossing route from the right slot. Rodgers was off balance while on the run, but you couldn’t tell by the velocity on the ball. It was a hummer.

Or, in other words just another ho-hum, routine throw from a legend.

Three things to know: Packers (4) at Falcons (2) NFC Championship Game preview “I feel confident anytime I’m out there, game on the line or not, but we’ve made those throws before in practice,” said Rodgers, who threw for 356 yards, with 2 TDs and a pick. “It’s a matter of trusting your muscle memory and your training and thinking about a positive picture when you break the huddle and executing it right away.”

That’s what destiny looks like, a positive picture. Rodgers must have envisioned something special a few weeks ago when he declared that the Packers could run the table at the precise time they were mired in a four-game losing streak.

Now, after blowing an 18-point lead that put the Cowboys on the brink of a miracle comeback victory, the Pack are on an eight-game winning streak.

As Cobb put it, “We never flinched. We always had faith.”

Never mind that Green Bay players are dropping like flies.

Tornado warning keeps Cowboys, Packers fans at AT&T Stadium after game There was no Jordy Nelson on Sunday. He’s only the team’s top receiver, nursing cracked ribs. The battered secondary lost another man during the game, as safety Morgan Burnett went down with a quadriceps injury.

None of that was enough to derail the mission.

The Packers believe. And that’s a powerful thing to combine with momentum about now — especially as long as they have Rodgers is still out there, sizzling with the hottest hand in the land.

The Atlanta Falcons are warned. He’s coming for you.

And he looks a lot like destiny.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/columnist/bell/2017/01/16/aaron-rodgers-green-bay-packers-destiny-cowboys-falcons/96629552/

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Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime: Why Switch is different from Wii Uhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/nintendos-reggie-fils-aime-switch-different-wii-u.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/nintendos-reggie-fils-aime-switch-different-wii-u.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:04:05 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19441 Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime: Why Switch is different from Wii U Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime is ready for the question of what went wrong with the company’s poor selling Wii U video game console and how the fortunes of the make-or-break Nintendo Switch will be different when it launches March 3 for just under […]

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Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime: Why Switch is different from Wii U

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime is ready for the question of what went wrong with the company’s poor selling Wii U video game console and how the fortunes of the make-or-break Nintendo Switch will be different when it launches March 3 for just under $300.

“I would say the greatest challenge we had with the Wii U was being crystal clear in our communication of what the product was and what the product could do," he told USA TODAY on Friday. "When we first showed off the Wii U for example it was misinterpreted that it was simply a tablet and not a device that truly was connected to your TV and could create two-screen types of gaming experiences. With Nintendo Switch we are being very aggressive and clearly communicating the proposition that it’s a home console you can take on the go wherever and whenever you want… We’re working hard to make sure it’s going to be a success.”

Indeed, in the house, the tablet-like device slides into a dock that is connected to the television, with players using standard video game controllers to have a go at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, or other upcoming titles.

Then, when it’s time to bolt for work or school, players can remove the tablet, which has a 6.2-inch screen, and use a pair of "Joy-con" controllers on each side to barely miss a beat. Joy-Cons can be used independently in each hand, or together as one game controller when attached to the Joy-Con grip.

Switch is not meant to replace the handheld Nintendo 3DS video game system that the company has been selling for years, and which Fils-Aime says had six straight months of year-on-year growth at the end of last year, with Nintendo selling more software for the system in October, November and December than it ever has.

“The 3DS business is incredibly vibrant and with a continuing flow of software it’s going to stay vibrant,” Fils-Aime insists.

Still, Nintendo needs a hit following the Wii U's failures, and given the fierce competition in the video games space posed by such traditional console rivals as Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox, and in mobile gaming on iOS and Android devices.

In one important metric, Fils-Aime says the reaction to Switch from third party developers has been strong, with more than 50 such partners embracing the new system, with more than 80 games under development.

Nintendo has been attempting to leverage its own intellectual property across numerous businesses. It recently teamed up with Universal to announced upcoming Nintendo themed areas at Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando, Hollywood and Japan. Last month it released Super Mario Run for the iPhone, with an Android version still to come. And Fils-Aime says that more near-impossible-to-find NES Classic consoles, the miniaturized version of a product released in 1985 and a hot holiday seller, are going into retail.

“Our thought process is across all of our IP—there’ll be certain executions that will be for the Nintendo Switch, there’ll be different executions on mobile, different executions for Nintendo 3DS. The core is (driving) more awareness, more engagement, more love for the particular franchise,” Fils-Aime says.

Unlike rival Sony, which dove into virtual reality with PlayStation VR, Nintendo continues to resist the technology. Nor does Switch support 4K resolutions.

“We see ourselves as a mass market mainstream company. We have the pride in Game Boy (selling) over 100 million units, the Wii having sold over 100 mill units, the Nintendo 3DS on a global basis over 70 million units. That is our sweet spot. What we do in creating our hardware, is we use some very specialized technology—the technology in Joy-Con is quite sophisticated—but we put it together in a way that is a very approachable price point for the consumer.”

Nintendo has announced that it will ship 2 million Switch units when it launches, which Fils-Aime says given the non-holiday period timing of the release, is a lot of hardware.

“We are preparing to have a very robust supply out there in the marketplace. What I can never anticipate is what’s the overall level of demand? But our commitment is we want every consumer who wants a Nintendo Switch to be able to buy one. I am not successful if I am frustrating consumers with them not being able to buy our product.”

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/baig/2017/01/14/nintendos-reggie-fils-aime-why-switch-different-wii-u/96582926/

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Amazon is creating 100,000 U.S. jobs, but at what costhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/amazon-is-creating-100000-u-s-jobs-but-at-what-cost.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/amazon-is-creating-100000-u-s-jobs-but-at-what-cost.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:54:17 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19436 Amazon is creating 100,000 U.S. jobs, but at what cost Amazon is creating 100,000 U.S. jobs, but at what cost:- Amazon may have raised the bar very high on jobs-creation ambitions in tech — it pledged Thursday to add 100,000 full-time jobs in the USA by mid-2018. But at what cost? The e-commerce behemoth, which […]

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Amazon is creating 100,000 U.S. jobs, but at what cost

Amazon is creating 100,000 U.S. jobs, but at what cost:- Amazon may have raised the bar very high on jobs-creation ambitions in tech — it pledged Thursday to add 100,000 full-time jobs in the USA by mid-2018.

But at what cost?

The e-commerce behemoth, which employs 306,800 in full- and part-time jobs worldwide, said the positions are across all skill and experience levels. Most will be low-paying jobs at fulfillment centers, including ones under construction in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas.

"Innovation is one of our guiding principles at Amazon, and it’s created hundreds of thousands of American jobs," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Though the creation of tens of thousands of jobs is likely to help local economies, please President-elect Donald Trump in his push for more U.S. jobs and signal a PR victory, it's hardly a ringing endorsement for American workers, especially those in retail whose jobs are threatened by the digital behemoth. Amazon has a troubling labor history, marred by lawsuits, picketing, grueling work conditions, complaints of management tactics and lower wages. Consider:

•Pilots contracted to deliver Amazon packages via its new in-house transportation network picketed in November because of a long-standing labor dispute with one of Amazon’s two airline partners.

•As Amazon readies its own shipping business, three company drivers filed a proposed class-action lawsuit in federal court in October in Seattle, alleging the company violated federal labor law by classifying them as contractors rather than employees.

•Amazon clashed with The New York Times over its investigation in late 2015 of allegations of oppressive working conditions and intimidating management practices at the Seattle-based company.

•Amazon is involved in a labor dispute with employees at its warehouses in Germany over pay and conditions.

Amazon has emphasized all 100,000 jobs are full-time, including competitive wages and benefits. It defended its company culture as workforce-friendly.

"We are proud of the work environment and the culture we have at Amazon,'" Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said in a statement to USA TODAY. "We encourage anyone to come see firsthand what it’s like working at Amazon through our public tours that we offer both in our fulfillment centers and corporate offices."

The impact is felt far beyond Amazon, labor and retail experts said. The breakneck growth of Amazon is "upending" the retail industry, which accounts for one out of every eight jobs in the USA, says Stacy Mitchell, co-author of a recent report that concluded Amazon eliminated about 149,000 more jobs in retail than it has created in its warehouses.

"Amazon pays its warehouse employees 15% less on average than the prevailing wage of other warehouse workers in the same region, and it is experimenting widely with ways, such as temporary and on-demand employment, to erode job security," Mitchell says.

“Because its technology can closely monitor worker productivity, Amazon takes surveillance and goals to a higher, grueling level,” says Beth Gutelius, a researcher at the University of Illinois-Chicago, who wrote a dissertation on warehouses.

The massive hiring plan over the next 18 months comes as retail sectors that compete directly with Amazon shed workers. Employment for electronics and appliances stores declined 2.6% year over year, as did those in clothing accessory stores (0.3%), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, retail jobs improved 1.6% — in line with the overall U.S. economy, says Jed Kolko, chief economist at job-search engine Indeed.com.

Amazon has been on a hiring binge. In 2011, it had 30,000 full-time employees in the USA. At the end of last year, it employed 180,000. In the first nine months of 2016, it added 26 warehouse facilities, raising its total worldwide to 149. Roughly half are in the USA. It is ramping up the use of drones and robotics, which could lead to the displacement of some of its workers.

Trump vowed during a news conference Wednesday to be "the greatest job producer that God ever created," and he has persistently pushed for American companies — including those in tech — to bring jobs back to the U.S. or create them here.

The Internet represents approximately 6% of the total U.S. economy, according to an economic policy white paper released by the Internet Society on Thursday.

Trump faces a high bar: President Obama has overseen an economy that created more than 11 million jobs and 75 straight months of jobs growth.

Amazon may please Trump and help get him there. Let's just hope its rank-and-file feel the same way.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/01/13/amazons-jobs-creation-plan-comes-amid-labor-pains/96488166/

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Somalia lurches from chaos to first democratic rule in decadeshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/somalia-lurches-chaos-first-democratic-rule-decades.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/somalia-lurches-chaos-first-democratic-rule-decades.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:42:52 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19433 Somalia lurches from chaos to first democratic rule in decades Somalia lurches from chaos to first democratic rule in decades:- Africa's most chaotic country is struggling to elect its first democratic government in a half-century. Given its recent history for war and turmoil it's not surprising that Somalia's fledging effort at democracy has been marred by […]

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Somalia lurches from chaos to first democratic rule in decades

Somalia lurches from chaos to first democratic rule in decades:- Africa's most chaotic country is struggling to elect its first democratic government in a half-century.

Given its recent history for war and turmoil it's not surprising that Somalia's fledging effort at democracy has been marred by delays, corruption and allegations of vote-buying.

Since October, people have gone to polling stations across the country to cast ballots as part of a complex process to choose members of parliament who will then vote for a new president and prime minister. The goal is to install the Horn of Africa nation's first representative leadership since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre ousted a popularly elected government in a 1969 military coup.

He was overthrown in 1991, engulfing Somalia in a bloody civil war — first between clan militias and then by the al-Shabab terrorist group, which continues to control swaths of territory.

“The last 25 years have been particularly bad with ... the state destroyed,” said Michael Keating, the U.N. special representative for Somalia. This is "the first time since 1969 that the Somalis are attempting to put together a rules-based process involving quite a large number of people to bring about a peaceful transfer of power.”

Though Somalis were promised a direct election for 2016, political leaders instead designed an indirect vote: 14,025 delegates chosen by 135 clan elders are electing members of the lower house of parliament. The clan elders are choosing the upper house members, and the two houses of parliament will then elect a president and prime minister by late January.

The country's last parliamentary election took place in 1984, but was hardly democratic: Strongman Siad Barre only allowed voters to approve a list of 171 members of parliament his regime had chosen.

An indirect process was created for the latest elections, because Somalia has no court system to handle any election disputes and no national census to register voters.

For many Somalis, the lack of promised universal suffrage represents a continuation of government by a powerful elite.

“We are hearing that corruption is high. We are hearing people have been excluded from becoming candidates, and regional administrators are abusing their power,” said Mursal Saney, deputy director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies in Mogadishu. “It's unfair to empower a political elite that already was dominated and to keep others outside the power.”

During negotiations by clan elders on who to choose, seats were being sold for as much as $1.3 million, according to one official involved in the electoral process who was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

In a country where 73% of the population lives below the poverty line, many Somalis see the widespread graft as an indication that the elites aren't serving the country's pressing needs. “We as a civil society would like for the money that is being spent on vote-buying to be spent on the establishment of social services like schools, hospitals, clean water, electricity,” said Abdullahi M. Shirwa of Somalia Peace Line, a non-profit group in this capital city.

Jiiddu Clan elder Suldan Warsame Aliyow admitted that the election has involved some misconduct, but few of the allegations could be proven by the Independent Election Dispute Resolution Committees.

"I'm sure it's not a 100% perfect system, but in every election happening everywhere in the world there are always complaints (of corruption), even in America," he said.

One change that is winning praise is that women get 30% of the seats in both houses of parliament, long dominated by men. “Women are no longer onlookers but active participants in matters that affect them,” said Hamsa Sheikh Hussein, a newly elected female member of parliament in Kismayo.

Hussein says she does not believe the 30% quota will be met, and that those women who do win seats will face tough opposition from male colleagues once parliament is in session.

Her district includes an area still largely controlled by al-Shabab, which remains a continual threat despite the presence of 17,000 African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.

The terrorist group, which has links to al-Qaeda, targeted clan elders and government officials in the past six months to derail the electoral process.

“Their goal has always been to disrupt government operations in Somalia ... to cause an image of insecurity and fear in this country,” said Lt. Joe Kibet, spokesman for the African Union Mission.

Security concerns and logistical problems have delayed the presidential vote three times, but electoral officials hope the vote will occur in January. After that, parliament can begin finalizing a provisional constitution and defining the roles of government positions.

“You know there aren’t often periods in a nation’s history where it has to design itself,” said the U.N.'s Keating, “and that’s what the Somalis are doing.”

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/01/15/somalia-lurches-chaos-first-democratic-rule-decades/95593332/

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Obamas lead a White House tour virtually, with help from Oculushttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/obamas-lead-white-house-tour-virtually-help-oculus.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/obamas-lead-white-house-tour-virtually-help-oculus.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:36:44 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19430 Obamas lead a White House tour virtually, with help from Oculus Obamas lead a White House tour virtually, with help from Oculus:- President Obama wants to give you access to the Oval Office—at least virtually. The broad promise of virtual reality is that it can put us in situations or take us to places that […]

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Obamas lead a White House tour virtually, with help from Oculus

Obamas lead a White House tour virtually, with help from Oculus:- President Obama wants to give you access to the Oval Office—at least virtually.

The broad promise of virtual reality is that it can put us in situations or take us to places that are typically out of reach to the average person. And what could be more out of reach to most of us than the Oval Office, Situation Room and numerous other areas inside the White House that are off limits even to those visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on an official tour?

Now as part of The People’s House: Inside The White House With Barack And Michelle Obama, a Facebook 360 and VR experience that is being released starting today, the President and First Lady serve as narrators and guide you through the West Wing and parts of the executive’s residence, giving a personal and historical perspective as you tour.

Facebook-owned Oculus teamed up with a VR studio called Felix & Paul Studios and the White House, to produce the experience, which is being released in two parts, initially as an 8-minute 360-degree preview that you can watch via Facebook, or by wearing an Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR headset. It will cover nine rooms, and is a preface to the longer more fully immersive stereoscopic VR version for the Rift or Gear VR that comes later, most likely after the Trumps move in. This second piece will last about 20 minutes and give viewers virtual access to about twice as many rooms within the White House. Both experiences are free.

“We all felt the need to release something good before the change of administrations,” says Félix Lajeunesse, co-founder and creative director of Felix & Paul Studios.

You’re meant to watch the experiences from start to finish, rather than jump from room to room. The filming took place in November and December. Though the voice-over narrations read by the Obamas were scripted, there are moments during your tour—a session in the Oval Office, for example--where the President is talking directly into the camera. “The idea is to make it feel like it’s not an interview but someone talking to you in a very conversational way,” explains Lajeunesse. “The point is you have a one-on-one moment with the President.”

President Obama participated in another virtual experience last year in Yosemite during the National Park Centennial. Oculus and Felix & Paul Studios were involved in that project as well, along with National Geographic.

In The People’s House, President Obama remarks that, “Michelle and I always joke, ‘we’re just renters here’ ... the owners are the American people and all those invested in creating this amazing place with so much history. What we wanted to do is make sure that everybody felt they had access to the White House... that as many people as possible could come in and appreciate the place where Lincoln, FDR, or Reagan made the decisions that helped to shape America.”

Among the more personal scenes, the First Lady shows off the renovated family dining room. And you get to see the Obama family dogs, Bo and Sunny, in the Rose Garden.

In the longer yet-to-be-released piece, you’ll also get to explore Vice President Joe Biden’s office.

“There’s a lot of exclusive access in this piece that has never really been granted before,” says Lajeunesse.

One of the things that I observed in watching the preview: the Oval Office appears to be smaller than it does in most other pictures that you see.

“Every president moves to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the full awareness that it is a temporary address,” President Obama noted in the experience. “This is where we watched our daughters grow up. This is where we came to know the talented, devoted, optimistic Americans from every corner of the country and every station in life. Because as beautiful as these buildings are, it’s the people in them and the work that’s done here… the triumphs and tragedies you experience over the course of your years here—that’s what imbues this place with meaning.”

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/baig/2017/01/13/obamas-lead-white-house-tour-virtually-help-oculus/96532192/

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Can the fake news trend be de-escalatedhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/can-the-fake-news-trend-be-de-escalated.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/can-the-fake-news-trend-be-de-escalated.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:24:59 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19426 Can the fake news trend be de-escalated Can the fake news trend be de-escalated:- Journalists and news consumers, along with tech companies such as Facebook, can take steps to temper the fake news phenomenon. But how much progress can be made should the country's head newsmaker himself continue to be among those fueling the fake […]

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Can the fake news trend be de-escalated

Can the fake news trend be de-escalated:- Journalists and news consumers, along with tech companies such as Facebook, can take steps to temper the fake news phenomenon.

But how much progress can be made should the country's head newsmaker himself continue to be among those fueling the fake news fire?

At his first public press conference in nearly six months, President-elect Donald Trump this past Wednesday called CNN a purveyor of "fake news" because the TV network had produced a story reporting that the U.S. intelligence officials had presented Trump and President Obama with allegations that Russian operatives claimed to have unverified, but potentially compromising personal and financial information on the president-elect.

Media observers, as well as journalists at competing outlets — including Fox News' Shepard Smith — agreed that CNN's manner of covering the story met with journalistic standards.

CNN and other news organizations noted that the allegations were unverified, but the situation itself amounts to a news story, says Ed Wasserman, dean of the graduate school of journalism at the University of California-Berkeley, because "what matters is that our intelligence community believes Russia is sufficiently adversarial toward us that they would make an effort (to) ... compile this."The situation cranks up the pressure on an already volatile atmosphere caused by months of hyper-politicized activity online — and in the physical world — during the election cycle and subsequent post-campaign environment. Mainstream journalists feel as if they are under fire, while their readers and viewers get defensive. At the same time, Trump supporters feel not only vilified, but validated.

And Trump is not wrong when he points out that the U.S. intelligence community is not infallible. "The problem with our informational environment, the news ecosystem right now is it is so polluted and so contaminated with falsity that Trump supporters can with justice point to the unreliability of this ecosystem to deliver straight and verifiable news," Wasserman said.

But some wonder whether Trump may be seeking to gain an advantage from the situation — turning fake news on its head — to sow confusion among the citizenry. By attacking the mainstream media as incapable of truth-saying, the President-elect advances the so-called post-truth era.

The CNN declaration is only Trump's latest attack on the media. After the recent Golden Globes Award speech by Meryl Streep, in which the three-time Oscar winner encouraged the support of media, Trump on Twitter called her "over-rated" and cited the "dishonest media." During the waning days of the election campaign, Trump called the media "dishonest" for burying stories about the FBI's ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton.

But it's not just Trump who has attempted to co-opt the fake news phenomenon. Some supporters and alt-right news outlets helped go viral false stories including those that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump and that Clinton & Co. were running a child sex ring from a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.

Man fires rifle in D.C. restaurant at center of fake-news conspiracy theories The Pope Francis story was the most read and shared story on Facebook during the final three months of the campaign, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed. Fake news is rampant on social media with about one-third (32%) of Americans saying they often see made-up political news stories there, according to the Pew Research Center.

Even more, 63%, say that fake news creates "great confusion" among the public about current events, the survey found. An additional 24% said fake news causes some confusion. Why could this be so important? Because about half (47%) of all Americans get some news from Facebook, Pew found in an earlier study.

"Now that anyone - including our president-elect — is a publisher via social media, newsrooms are competing with non-newsrooms," said Jessica Pucci, professor of ethics and excellence in journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Arizona State University. "Trump certainly uses this to his advantage — he can reach audiences directly rather than using the media as a conduit."

The advantage is that "our nation's leadership has never been more raw and accessible," she said, but added "it's troubling that the president-elect calls 'fake news' in one breath, and in the next breath shares unverified or unverifiable information in the next, such as saying the Affordable Care Act will 'soon be history' (on Friday). To my knowledge, it's impossible to verify the future."

Even more concerning is the propaganda potential for Trump and supporters to lead to action. In the case of the Washington, D.C., "pizzagate" conspiracy, an armed man showed up looking to investigate and fired his gun inside.

When Trump criticizes the media, is he acting in the mode of Vladimir Putin, as Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev posits in a recent column entitled "A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media" on Medium.com. "Given that Putin is probably a role model for Trump, it’s no surprise that he’s apparently taking a page from Putin’s playbook," he writes.

Or is Trump simply a bit more obstinate that Obama, who regularly dissed Fox News? "Now you’re experiencing what we have been living," Fox News' Neil Cavuto said on-air Thursday.

When he verbally attacks the media could that lead to attacks on reporters (some verbal and physical attacks were reported during campaign rallies)? And Trump's tweeted reference to the Nazi Germany treatment he got from the intelligence community for leaking the "dossier" on him -- the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper subsequently issued a statement that the agencies did not leak it -- is Trump trying to suggest we are in a modern day Nazi-esque regime?

Recall that Trump supporters began to invoke the German phrase “Lügenpresse,” which means “lying press," at rallies in October.

Trump is treading on dangerous ground, but he's not dictatorial, says Nicholas O'Shaughnessy, author of Selling Hitler: Propaganda and the Nazi Brand. "Fake news played a massively important role both in the rise of Hitler and the conduct of the Nazi regime," he said. "My view of Trump is darker than it was four months ago because of his tendency to invent political fictions and fables. He is a conscious fake news merchant, or a fantasist," he said. "Without a shadow of a doubt Trump is a master manufacturer of fake news and the ideal representative for our post-truth society. But the Nazis did it before him and far more ruthlessly and on a huge scale -- they had groups to spread rumors, groups to spread graffiti, they produced fake horoscopes. Even with the resource of cyberspace we have nothing to compare!"

Speaking of the online sphere, Facebook has said it is taking steps to tackle fake news and plans to build better working relationships with established media to improve the user experience on the network.

Media consumers can do their part, too. "Going forward people have to think for themselves. That is what this election is teaching us. Fake news is not people reporting facts you don’t want to hear," said Nsenga Burton, digital editor for Grady Newsource and an instructor at the University of Georgia's Cox Media Institute for Journalism, Innovation & Management.

News consumers need to consider what "does it really mean to be a journalist," Burton said. The majority of traditional TV stations, newspapers and news organizations — and their online components — are complex businesses that collect and distribute news, she said. "The media is not some person sitting in the basement posting whatever comes to their mind at two in the morning. We have to get busy being real with ourselves why are we OK with the mountains of lies being pushed out."

Meanwhile, media outlets have begun to confront the issue, for instance, with the BBC creating a team to debunk fake news stories."In four years, we may look back and say this is the best coverage of an administration we’ve ever seen," said Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, "because we’ve really had to apply some creativity and some muscle to it in ways we haven’t had to before because stuff had come easily."

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/01/15/can-fake-news-trend-de-escalated/96537288/

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Atlas V rocket set for Thursday night launchhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/atlas-v-rocket-set-thursday-night-launch.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/atlas-v-rocket-set-thursday-night-launch.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:16:53 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19424 Atlas V rocket set for Thursday night launch Atlas V rocket set for Thursday night launch:- Mission managers will gather Tuesday to review their readiness for Cape Canaveral's first rocket launch of 2017, a planned 7:46 p.m. Thursday blastoff by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and a U.S. missile warning satellite. Teams last […]

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Atlas V rocket set for Thursday night launch

Atlas V rocket set for Thursday night launch:- Mission managers will gather Tuesday to review their readiness for Cape Canaveral's first rocket launch of 2017, a planned 7:46 p.m. Thursday blastoff by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and a U.S. missile warning satellite.

Teams last Thursday hoisted the roughly 10,000-pound spacecraft worth $1.2 billion atop the Atlas V at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41.

The Lockheed Martin-built Space Based Infrared System satellite is equipped with infrared sensors to provide early detection and tracking of ballistic missiles.

Known as SBIRS GEO-3, the spacecraft will be the third placed in a geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles over the equator, where it will appear to fly in a fixed position above the planet. A fourth SBIRS satellite is expected to launch late this year to complete the operational constellation.

The Atlas V rocket is expected to roll a quarter-mile from its processing tower to the launch pad on Wednesday. A 40-minute launch window opens at 7:46 p.m. ET Thursday.

The mission is ULA's first of at least 11 planned this year, including seven from Florida.

ULA last Thursday also made progress preparing for its second launch of the year, lifting a Delta IV rocket booster vertical at Launch Complex 37. The rocket is scheduled to launch the Air Force's ninth Wideband Global Satcom communications satellite on March 8. The WGS-9 satellite arrived at the Cape last week.

Flight hardware also arrived for ULA's third planned launch, as Orbital ATK delivered a Cygnus spacecraft's cargo module to Kennedy Space Center. An Atlas V is targeting a March 16 launch of supplies to the International Space Station.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2017/01/15/atlas-v-rocket-missile-warning-satellite/96626502/

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Davos elite gather amid globalization backlashhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/davos-elite-gather-amid-globalization-backlash.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/davos-elite-gather-amid-globalization-backlash.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:04:30 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19421 Davos elite gather amid globalization backlash Davos elite gather amid globalization backlash:- Davos elite gather amid globalization backlash:- Around the globe last year, voters evicted establishment politicians and leaders. Now, quite a few of those cast out will nevertheless layer on expensive clothing and travel to a snowy Swiss resort this week to solve the […]

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Davos elite gather amid globalization backlash

Davos elite gather amid globalization backlash:- Davos elite gather amid globalization backlash:- Around the globe last year, voters evicted establishment politicians and leaders. Now, quite a few of those cast out will nevertheless layer on expensive clothing and travel to a snowy Swiss resort this week to solve the world's problems over fancy canapés and bottles of mineral water.

The World Economic Forum's 47th annual four-day meeting begins Tuesday in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. More than 3,000 participants from 100 countries — including 1,200 CEOs, 50 heads of state and government, and dozens of public intellectuals, media titans and career social activists — will attend the Alpine gathering.

The theme of this year's confab, "Responsive and Responsible Leadership," is likely a veiled reference to any number of shake-ups on the world stage in 2016. That list includes the surprise election of Donald Trump in the United States; Britain's decision to jettison decades of European Union membership with Brexit; the surge in support for far-right and isolationist populist groups from France to Poland to the Philippines; Turkey's slide toward authoritarianism; and a resurgent and trouble-making Russia.

"Many people are living in precarious situations and searching for identity and meaning in a fast-changing world," said Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, explaining this year's theme in a briefing. "They want to regain their sense of purpose."

David Callaway, a Davos veteran and former USA TODAY editor-in-chief who is now CEO at TheStreet, a financial news and services firm, said the theme reflects the multi-pronged attack on globalization that played out over the past year.

"Not just Trump, but Brexit, (Philippine President Rodrigo) Duterte, (French far-right presidential candidate Marine) Le Pen, the list goes on," Callaway said. "The very underpinnings of what makes Davos such a special event each year are under attack across the globe. Now more than ever, corporate and academic leaders need to make their voices heard on the importance of working together — and heard by the new political elite.”

That may prove challenging. Raging socio-economic culture wars over "fake news," allegations of Russia meddling in the U.S. elections, the sense that political protocols and standards are eroding, and the possibility of protectionist trade policies — all are sowing deep divisions among populations and countries.

And few among the new elite will make the trip. With President-elect Trump's inauguration Friday, his new administration will be represented by just one person: Anthony Scaramucci, an entrepreneur and writer.

"The challenge for elites attending this year is to figure out what to do about those who have been left behind by globalization," said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit, a consultancy. "If in a year from now, there are still the same cast of characters coming to Davos but no real change, this conference will seem irrelevant."

Among the forum's key participants and high-profile attendees are President Xi Jinping of China; new U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres; Vice President Biden; and actor Matt Damon. Despite efforts to redress a longstanding gender imbalance, about 80% of delegates will be men, the average age a little over 50.

While the event is as much about networking with the international elite as it is about the 400 speeches, seminars and workshops on topics ranging from how to fight extremism with music to the global water crisis to the rise of China, the meeting has but one ambitious purpose: To improve the state of the world.

There appear to be plenty of troubles to tackle.

Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, called 2017 "the most volatile political risk environment in the postwar period, at least as important to global markets as the economic recession of 2008."One of its chief concerns is what it calls a "G-Zero world — a world with no global leader."

"With the shock election of Donald Trump as president of the U.S., the G-Zero world is now fully upon us," the group wrote in a recent report. An 'America first' foreign policy upends 70 years of American leadership on the world stage, the group said.

"American hegemony in security, trade and promotion of values provided guardrails for the global economy," Eurasia Group wrote.

The World Economic Forum in its Global Risk Report identified extreme weather, the migrant crisis, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and data fraud and theft as the most serious growing dangers in the year ahead. Economic inequality, societal polarization and environmental dangers are the top three trends that will shape the globe over the next decade.

"It's an interesting year to be going to Davos. There are so many changes — real, implied, potential — happening in the world," said Valerie Germain, a partner at executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. "Davos is about bringing people together to talk about big global issues, but it's in a world that in some ways is getting smaller."

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/01/16/davos-world-economic-forum/96480072/

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8 people have same wealth as world’s poorest halfhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/8-people-have-same-wealth-as-worlds-poorest-half.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/8-people-have-same-wealth-as-worlds-poorest-half.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 06:34:40 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19418 8 people have same wealth as world's poorest half 8 people have same wealth as world's poorest half:- Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world. A top corporate CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 garment factory workers in Bangladesh. And the world's 10 […]

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8 people have same wealth as world's poorest half

8 people have same wealth as world's poorest half:- Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world. A top corporate CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 garment factory workers in Bangladesh. And the world's 10 biggest corporations together have revenue greater than the 180 poorest countries combined, according to a study published Sunday by Oxfam.

The report, An economy for the 99%, was released as global leaders and the business elite traveled to Davos, Switzerland, for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, a conference partly aimed at eliminating extreme income inequality. The study found that the richest eight people on the planet have net wealth of $426 billion — equivalent to what's held by the bottom half of the world's population.

"From Nigeria to Bangladesh, from the U.K. to Brazil, people are fed up with feeling ignored by their political leaders, and millions are mobilizing to push for change," British-based Oxfam said in a statement. "Seven out of 10 people live in a country that has seen a rise in inequality in the last 30 years."The study is the latest in recent years by Oxfam, an international poverty-fighting group, to campaign for ways to reduce the growing gap between the rich and poor. Oxfam called on President-elect Donald Trump, world leaders and the international business community to "take urgent action to reduce inequality and the extreme concentration of wealth by ensuring that workers are paid a decent (salary) and by increasing taxes on both wealth and high incomes."

"It is mind-boggling that just eight men own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population, but that's the sobering reality of 2017," said Paul O' Brien, Oxfam America's vice president for policy and campaigns. "Such dramatic inequality is trapping millions in poverty, fracturing our societies and poisoning our politics."

Oxfam based its calculations on data from Swiss bank Credit Suisse's 2016 Global Wealth report and Forbes' billionaires list of the world's richest people.

That means the eight men who have as much wealth as the world's poorest half — 3.6 billion people — are Bill Gates ($75 billion, source of wealth Microsoft); Amancio Ortega ($67 billion, Zara); Warren Buffett ($60.8 billion, Berkshire Hathaway); Carlos Slim Helu ($50 billion, Telecom); Jeff Bezos ($45.2 billion, Amazon); Mark Zuckerberg ($44.6 billion, Facebook); Larry Ellison ($43.6 billion, Oracle); and Michael Bloomberg ($40 billion, Bloomberg LP).

The Credit Suisse report shows that Russia is the world's most unequal country, with the exception of Comoros and Zambia in Africa. Russia's richest 1% of the population controls 74.5% of total wealth. Globally, the corresponding figure is 50.8%, and in the United States it is 42.1%, according to the Zurich-headquartered bank.

Pedro Martins, an economics professor at Queen Mary University of London, says two important forces lead to income inequality: One is inequality between countries, and the second is inequality within countries.

Globalization — a hot-button topic at the Davos forum, which runs Tuesday through Friday — can be a powerful force to reduce inequalities between countries, although it also can increase inequality within countries at the same time, Martins says.

For example, he points to the emergence of China and India, which together account for about a third of the world's population with economic growth rates of 6% to 7%. From a global perspective, they helped make the world overall more equal now than it ever has been. Millions have been raised up from poverty; the problem is a few people at the top are doing increasingly better.

Says Martins, "In economic circles, this is known as the 'superstar economy' — the returns for being very talented can be exceptionally high."

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/01/15/global-inequality-oxfam-report/96545438/

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]]> http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/8-people-have-same-wealth-as-worlds-poorest-half.html/feed 0 El Salvador marks grim milestone: Its first murder-free day in nearly 2 yearshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/el-salvador-marks-grim-milestone-first-murder-free-day-nearly-2-years.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/el-salvador-marks-grim-milestone-first-murder-free-day-nearly-2-years.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 05:58:19 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19415 El Salvador marks grim milestone: Its first murder-free day in nearly 2 years El Salvador, one of the world’s most dangerous places, for the first time in nearly two years passed an entire day without a homicide. The rare reprieve last Wednesday signaled a possible benefit from the recent truce between warring gangs. The country […]

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El Salvador marks grim milestone: Its first murder-free day in nearly 2 years

El Salvador, one of the world’s most dangerous places, for the first time in nearly two years passed an entire day without a homicide.

The rare reprieve last Wednesday signaled a possible benefit from the recent truce between warring gangs. The country sees an average of 14.4 homicides a day.

El Salvador's rate of 81 murders per 100,000 residents, on average, is more than 10 times worse than that of St. Louis, the USA’s deadliest city, which in 2014 recorded 8.8 murders per 100,000 residents, according to the FBI.

Chicago, which has made headlines over the past year for epidemic violence, saw 6.3 murders per 100,000 residents.

The last time El Salvador went a full day without any killings was Jan. 22, 2015, according to The Associated Press. Police said they'd already recorded 99 murders in the first 10 days of 2017, The New York Times reported.

While El Salvador’s homicide rate fell by almost one-fifth last year, the Central American nation is still one of the world's most violent. President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a former guerrilla, took power in 2014 with the aim of confronting the gangs, NBC News reported. Efforts were stepped up after a massacre last year, in which gang members used guns and machetes to slaughter 11 people.

A military counteroffensive has helped reduce killings, the government said, but three main gangs — the Mara Salvatrucha, Barrio 18 Revolucionarios and Barrio 18 Surenos — last March said the crackdown was unnecessary because they had agreed to a non-aggression pact

Howard Cotto, the director of the National Civil Police, told reporters on Thursday that violence had begun to decline last year: 2016 ended with 5,278 murders, 20% fewer than in 2015.

The killings resumed on Thursday, police said, when two gunmen riding a motorcycle fatally shot an off-duty police officer north of the capital, San Salvador. Also, the owner of a San Salvador car wash was killed in a suburb, The Times reported. Police suspected that her death was related to extortion payments often demanded of business owners.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/15/el-salvador-first-day-without-homicide/96620346/

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FBI Most Wanted fugitive arrested in El Pasohttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/fbi-wanted-fugitive-arrested-el-paso.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/fbi-wanted-fugitive-arrested-el-paso.html#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 05:50:08 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19410 FBI Most Wanted fugitive arrested in El Paso FBI Most Wanted fugitive arrested in El Paso:- A tip from an unnamed El Paso resident led to the arrest of a Milwaukee double murder suspect listed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list Sunday morning in El Paso, officials said. Terry A.D. Strickland, 24, was arrested […]

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FBI Most Wanted fugitive arrested in El Paso

FBI Most Wanted fugitive arrested in El Paso:- A tip from an unnamed El Paso resident led to the arrest of a Milwaukee double murder suspect listed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list Sunday morning in El Paso, officials said.

Terry A.D. Strickland, 24, was arrested by El Paso FBI agents and El Paso Police Department officers at about 5:10 a.m. MT during a traffic stop near Woodrow Bean Trans Mountain Road and Dyer Street, said Douglas Lindquist, special agent in charge of the FBI's El Paso division.

Strickland was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list on Dec. 15, five months after he allegedly shot and killed two men during a fight at a Milwaukee home.

FBI agents in El Paso received a call through the agency's public tip line that Strickland, who may have been going by a different name, was believed to be temporarily living in El Paso, Lindquist said.

"FBI special agents conducted an interview regarding a tip from our public access line," Lindquist said at a news conference. "The information involved the possibility that FBI Top Ten fugitive Terry Strickland was temporarily residing in El Paso." He said FBI and partner agencies worked through Saturday night and into the early morning hours Sunday to locate Strickland.

An investigation was conducted by El Paso FBI agents, El Paso police officers, El Paso Violent Crime Task Force, FBI Milwaukee and Albuquerque agents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.

Strickland was spotted by law enforcement leaving the Parkland Mobile Home Park in northeast El Paso as a passenger in a black Dodge Durango, Lindquist said. El Paso FBI agents and police officers conducted a traffic stop and took Strickland into custody without incident.

The driver of the vehicle was questioned by agents, but was not taken into custody, Lindquist said.

Strickland was booked into El Paso County jail several hours later. He did not answer any questions from the El Paso Times as he was being walked into the county jail.

"Today's Top Ten arrest demonstrates great determination, coordination and cooperation the FBI and its law enforcement partners have here in El Paso, Milwaukee and throughout the country," Lindquist said.

It wasn't immediately clear why Strickland, who is originally from Illinois, was in El Paso, near the Mexico border, but Lindquist said they are continuing to investigate any connections Strickland may have to the area.

No information was available on how long Strickland may have been living in El Paso. Officials believe that Strickland was in the process of or had just moved from another location in El Paso to the mobile home park.

"We don't know that (why he was in El Paso) right now," Lindquist said. "That is something else we are still investigating and trying to sort out. But right now the most important thing is that Strickland is in custody and that gives us time to pursue that and help our FBI partners in Milwaukee and also the Milwaukee Police Department make their case."

Milwaukee police found two men, Maurice Brown Jr. and Michael Allen Reed, shot outside the home on July 17 where Strickland was believed to be living at with his 18-month-old daughter, officials said.

Several witnesses reported seeing a group of about seven or eight men arguing in front of the home, according to information released by the FBI at the time Strickland was added to the Most Wanted list on Dec. 15.

Strickland allegedly went into the home and grabbed a .40-caliber handgun. He then began shooting into the group, officials said.

One of the victims attempted to stop the fight but fell to ground.

Strickland allegedly then stood over the man and repeatedly shot him. He then turned around and shot the other man in the head, officials said.

He then fled the scene in a black SUV, leaving his daughter at the home, officials said.



"I am ecstatic that he's been arrested for the murder of my son," Janice Reed told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.on Sunday.

"My son can rest now," she added.Strickland was charged with two counts of first degree intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon. An arrest warrant was issued for him July 28.

A charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution was added against Strickland and a federal warrant was then issued for his arrest by the U.S. Eastern District of Wisconsin, officials said.

Strickland was the 512th fugitive to be placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, which was established in 1950, and the 480th to be taken into custody.

A $100,000 reward was being offered for any information leading to his arrest. Lindquist said the tipster is "certainly being considered" to receive the money reward.

Strickland is the third person on the FBI's Most Wanted list to be arrested in El Paso, according to the agency's records.

Emmett Kervan, wanted in a Connecticut bank robbery, was arrested in El Paso in 1959.

"I am ecstatic that he's been arrested for the murder of my son," Janice Reed told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.on Sunday.

"My son can rest now," she added.

Strickland was charged with two counts of first degree intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon. An arrest warrant was issued for him July 28.

A charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution was added against Strickland and a federal warrant was then issued for his arrest by the U.S. Eastern District of Wisconsin, officials said.

Strickland was the 512th fugitive to be placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, which was established in 1950, and the 480th to be taken into custody.

A $100,000 reward was being offered for any information leading to his arrest. Lindquist said the tipster is "certainly being considered" to receive the money reward.

Strickland is the third person on the FBI's Most Wanted list to be arrested in El Paso, according to the agency's records.

Emmett Kervan, wanted in a Connecticut bank robbery, was arrested in El Paso in 1959.

The last time a Ten Most Wanted fugitive was arrested in El Paso was in 1999 when Angel Maturino Reséndiz surrendered to a Texas Ranger at one of the bridges. Reséndiz, known as the "railroad killer," was wanted for a string of murders across the country. He was executed in 2006.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/01/15/fbi-most-wanted-fugitive-arrested-el-paso/96617392/

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House Republicans take aim at ethics chiefhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/politics/house-republicans-take-aim-ethics-chief.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/politics/house-republicans-take-aim-ethics-chief.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 12:19:12 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19407 House Republicans take aim at ethics chief House Republicans take aim at ethics chief:- The Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is taking aim at the federal government's ethics czar, after the official publicly criticized President-elect Donald Trump's plan to retain ownership of his businesses. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, charged that […]

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House Republicans take aim at ethics chief

House Republicans take aim at ethics chief:- The Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is taking aim at the federal government's ethics czar, after the official publicly criticized President-elect Donald Trump's plan to retain ownership of his businesses.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, charged that Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub was "blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance" and summoned him to appear for an closed-door interview with the committee's staff by month's end.

In a letter issued Thursday, Chaffetz hinted his committee could open a congressional probe of the agency, citing his panel's power "at any time investigate any matter." Chaffetz noted that his panel has power to reauthorize the Office of Government Ethics, which would give it the power to shut it down.

Chaffetz's move came a day after Shaub publicly rebuked Trump's business arrangement as "wholly inadequate" to avoid conflicts of interest between his official duties and the sprawling real-estate and licensing empire he and his family control. "We can't risk creating the perception that government leaders would use their official positions for profit," Shaub said during a Wednesday news conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

This week, Trump and his lawyer Sheri Dillon said he would walk away from management of the Trump Organization and put his business interests in a trust to be overseen by his adult sons and a Trump executive. Executives will not pursue any new foreign deals during his presidency, Dillon said. An ethics adviser also will join the company's management team to help avoid conflicts, she said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Friday called Chaffetz's move an "outrageous" attempt to "intimidate a senior executive branch official who is responsible for enforcing ethics rules."

Chaffetz's letter did not mention Shaub's public comments at Brookings but referred to an unusual string of tweets his office issued in late November, praising Trump for moving to divest his business interests. Trump has not committed to divesting, and the tweets raised eyebrows.

A spokesman for Shaub's agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Chaffetz's letter.

Shaub's five-year term expires in January 2018.

Other Democrats denounced Chaffetz's actions.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight panel, objected to Chaffetz's push to interview Shaub privately. Cummings said any questioning should occur in public "to avoid any perception that he is being unfairly targeted behind closed doors for expressing his views."

On Twitter, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., argued that Chaffetz's move mirrored a short-lived attempt by House Republicans earlier this month to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which polices potential wrongdoing by House members.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/01/13/house-republicans-take-aim-ethics-chief/96539744/

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China confirms one more human death from H7N9 bird fluhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/china-confirms-one-human-death-h7n9-bird-flu.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/china-confirms-one-human-death-h7n9-bird-flu.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 11:25:29 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19404 China confirms one more human death from H7N9 bird flu China confirms one more human death from H7N9 bird flu:- A man in China's central Henan province has become the latest person reported to have died this winter from H7N9 bird flu, the state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday citing local health authorities. The […]

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China confirms one more human death from H7N9 bird flu

China confirms one more human death from H7N9 bird flu:- A man in China's central Henan province has become the latest person reported to have died this winter from H7N9 bird flu, the state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday citing local health authorities.

The 36-year-old roast duck salesman developed a fever and a cough around Dec. 25 in coastal Zhejiang province, near Shanghai, and returned to Henan in early January, Xinhua said. He was diagnosed with H7N9 on Jan. 10 and died the next day.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring. In recent years, farmers have stepped up cleaning regimes, animal detention techniques, and built roofs to cover hen pens, in their efforts to prevent the disease.

China's last major outbreak killed 36 people and caused more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

The H7N9 strain does not seem to transmit easily among people, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, the World Health Organization says. The danger is that any such virus mutates and acquires genetic changes that could boost its pandemic potential.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-birdflu-china-idUSKBN14Y04Z

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SpaceX poised to launch for first time since Sept blasthttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/spacex-poised-to-launch-for-first-time-since-sept-blast.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/spacex-poised-to-launch-for-first-time-since-sept-blast.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 11:20:01 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19401 SpaceX poised to launch for first time since Sept blast SpaceX poised to launch for first time since Sept blast:- SpaceX is poised to launch a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday, marking its first return to flight since a costly and complicated launchpad explosion in September. The launch of 10 satellites for Iridium, a mobile […]

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SpaceX poised to launch for first time since Sept blast

SpaceX poised to launch for first time since Sept blast:- SpaceX is poised to launch a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday, marking its first return to flight since a costly and complicated launchpad explosion in September.

The launch of 10 satellites for Iridium, a mobile and data communications company, is scheduled from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54 am (1754 GMT).

The launch window is "instantaneous," meaning that any technical glitch or poor weather -- the current forecast is just 60 percent favorable -- would push the launch forward to the next opportunity on Sunday at 1749 GMT.

The stakes for SpaceX are high after a pair of accidents.

September's blast destroyed a $200 million satellite Facebook had planned to use to beam high-speed internet to Africa. Another explosion in June 2015 two minutes after liftoff obliterated a Dragon cargo ship packed with goods bound for the astronauts at the International Space Station.

The incidents cost SpaceX dearly, possibly pushing the privately owned company into the red, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

"That June 2015 disaster, followed by months of launch delays, contributed to a quarter-billion dollar annual loss and a six percent drop in revenue, after two years of surging sales and small profits," the paper said after a review of internal financial documents from 2011 to 2015, forecasts for the next decade and interviews with former SpaceX employees.

Three weeks after last September's accident, the company removed a long-standing phrase from its website saying it was "profitable and cash-flow positive."

That "suggest(ed) both profit and cash flow had moved into the red for 2016," the Journal said, noting that it found an operating loss for every quarter in 2016 and negative cash flow of roughly $15 million.

SpaceX, headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, declined to comment on the findings and is not obligated to release its financial figures because it is a private company, the report said.

"The company is in a financially strong position and is well positioned for future growth," with $1 billion in cash and no debt, SpaceX chief financial officer Bret Johnson was quoted as saying.

- Problems fixed -

The June 2015 accident -- in which the unmanned Dragon cargo ship exploded in a massive fireball two minutes after launch -- was caused by a faulty strut that allowed a helium tank to snap loose, SpaceX said.

Last September's explosion, during a test a day prior to a scheduled launch, was traced to a problem with a pressure vessel in the second-stage liquid oxygen tank.

SpaceX said it will change the way it fuels for now and redesign its pressure vessels in the future.

Musk, who cofounded PayPal and also owns Tesla Motors, has lofty goals, including colonizing Mars and revolutionizing the launch industry by making rocket components reusable.

Founded in 2002, SpaceX logged 18 successful launches of the Falcon 9 before the 2015 accident.

The company has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to supply the International Space Station using its Dragon space capsule, which is the only cargo ship that can return to the Earth intact.

SpaceX had hoped to resume Falcon 9 flights as early as November, then in mid-December, before pushing the date to January.

Source:- https://www.yahoo.com/news/spacex-poised-launch-first-time-since-sept-blast-075002958.html

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Samsung Galaxy S8 3D renders: No home button, no dual-camerahttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/mobile/samsung-galaxy-s8-3d-renders-no-home-button-no-dual-camera.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/mobile/samsung-galaxy-s8-3d-renders-no-home-button-no-dual-camera.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 10:51:52 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19397 Samsung Galaxy S8 3D renders: No home button, no dual-camera Samsung Galaxy S8 3D renders: No home button, no dual-camera:- The renders, claimed to be of Samsung Galaxy S8, leaked by the website shows the model with no home button. 3D render images of Samsung’s next flagship, the Galaxy S8, have been leaked by GSMArena, […]

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Samsung Galaxy S8 3D renders: No home button, no dual-camera

Samsung Galaxy S8 3D renders: No home button, no dual-camera:- The renders, claimed to be of Samsung Galaxy S8, leaked by the website shows the model with no home button.

3D render images of Samsung’s next flagship, the Galaxy S8, have been leaked by GSMArena, a technology news website.

The renders, claimed to be of Samsung Galaxy S8, leaked by the website shows the model with no home button. With the removal of the home button, the smartphone is expected to include the button within the screen along with the two other navigation button—menu and back. The fingerprint sensor will also be housed in the screen.

In addition, the Galaxy S8 will feature stereo speakers at the top and bottom edge of the smartphone. Despite ditching the home button, Samsung S series will continue to sport the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, next to the USB 2.0 port.

And then, there is the rear camera. According to earlier rumours, Samsung was likely to introduce dual-camera; however, the renders show no such setup.

Apart from this, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is speculated to sport a 5.1-inch 2K Super AMOLED display, while the larger variant will have a 5.5-inch display with 4K display. Reports suggest the adoption of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC paired with 6GB RAM and 256GB internal storage.

The company is also expected to use its in house Exynos 9 series chip for European and other markets. The Galaxy S8 is also speculated to be the first smartphone to integrate Quick Charge 4.0 fast charging. The Galaxy S8 will also feature an AI voice-assistant, to be called Bixby.

Source:- http://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/mobiles-and-tabs/140117/samsung-galaxy-s8-3d-renders-no-home-button-and-dual-camera.html

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Sony Entertainment CEO exiting for a top role at Snaphttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/sony-entertainment-ceo-exiting-top-role-snap.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/sony-entertainment-ceo-exiting-top-role-snap.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 10:19:42 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19394 Sony Entertainment CEO exiting for a top role at Snap Sony Entertainment CEO exiting for a top role at Snap:- Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton will step down to become chairman of the board of messaging app owner Snap Inc, a move that puts an experienced Hollywood executive in a prominent role as the […]

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Sony Entertainment CEO exiting for a top role at Snap

Sony Entertainment CEO exiting for a top role at Snap:- Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton will step down to become chairman of the board of messaging app owner Snap Inc, a move that puts an experienced Hollywood executive in a prominent role as the technology company prepares for an initial public offering.

Lynton will give up his current position at Sony's movie and television unit on Feb. 2 but remain as co-CEO for six months to help find a successor, Japanese conglomerate Sony Corp said in a statement on Friday.

Snap, the owner of the popular Snapchat app, is expected to go public early this year, vying for a $25 billion valuation. Lynton was an early investor in the company co-founded by 26-year-old CEO Evan Spiegel, and has served on its board for nearly four years.

The Venice, California-based company has made a push into news and entertainment content, a strategy that heightened competition with social networks such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc. In 2015, it began sharing video and articles from TV networks such as CNN and ESPN on a feature called Snapchat Discover.

It also signed deals in 2016 with media companies such as Walt Disney Co and Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal to have them produce original shows for Snapchat.

Lynton, in a 13-year career at Sony, oversaw hit movies including the "The Social Network" and James Bond film "Skyfall," but the studio has lagged behind competitors in box office share and big hits over the past year.

The TV studio under Lynton also produced successful shows such as "Breaking Bad" and "The Blacklist."

Lynton's tenure at Sony Entertainment was also marked by a devastating computer hack in 2014 that exposed a trove of embarrassing e-mails and employee data. The cyber attack, which the United States blamed on North Korea, crippled the studio for months and prompted an executive shuffle.

Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai will take on a larger role at the entertainment division, adding the position of co-CEO and chairman of the unit, the company said. The Tokyo-based Hirai will add a second office in Culver City, California, where the film studio is based.

"As we look ahead, we see our entertainment businesses as essential parts of Sony," Hirai said.

In November, Sony Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida said a turnaround of the movie division was "progressing, but it takes time for the benefit to be realized."

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-sony-moves-lynton-idUSKBN14X2LZ

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Iraqi forces battle on in Mosul university complexhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/iraqi-forces-battle-mosul-university-complex.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/iraqi-forces-battle-mosul-university-complex.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 10:11:44 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19390 Iraqi forces battle on in Mosul university complex Iraqi forces battle on in Mosul university complex:- Iraqi special forces battled Islamic State militants inside the Mosul University campus on Saturday in a second day of fierce clashes in the complex. "There are still clashes. We entered the university and cleared the technical institute, dentistry and […]

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Iraqi forces battle on in Mosul university complex

Iraqi forces battle on in Mosul university complex:- Iraqi special forces battled Islamic State militants inside the Mosul University campus on Saturday in a second day of fierce clashes in the complex.

"There are still clashes. We entered the university and cleared the technical institute, dentistry and antiquities departments," Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) told a Reuters reporter in the complex.

"In the coming hours it will be liberated completely," he said.

CTS troops had gathered in the university canteen. As they unfurled a map of the area, a suspected Islamic State drone flew overhead and they shot at it.

Recapturing the university would be a crucial strategic gain and allow Iraqi forces to advance quicker towards the Tigris river, from where they will be able to launch attacks on the city's west, still all under IS control, military officers say.

The United Nations says the militants seized nuclear materials used for scientific research from the university when they overran Mosul and vast areas of northern Iraq and eastern Syria in 2014.

Source:- https://www.yahoo.com/news/iraqi-forces-battle-mosul-university-complex-092439540.html

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Japan and Australia agree to strengthen defense tieshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/japan-and-australia-agree-to-strengthen-defense-ties.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/japan-and-australia-agree-to-strengthen-defense-ties.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 10:08:11 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19388 Japan and Australia agree to strengthen defense ties Japan and Australia agree to strengthen defense ties:- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Saturday where the pair agreed to deepen defense ties through joint military training and exercises. Abe's visit to Australia is the first since Turnbull became […]

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Japan and Australia agree to strengthen defense ties

Japan and Australia agree to strengthen defense ties:- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Saturday where the pair agreed to deepen defense ties through joint military training and exercises.

Abe's visit to Australia is the first since Turnbull became prime minister in late 2015, and comes amid heightened regional tension as China asserts its claims over disputed territory in the South China Sea.

"We have confirmed our commitment to the rule of law, free trade and open markets in our region," Turnbull told reporters at a joint press conference on Saturday.

Abe said the increasingly uncertain geopolitical landscape made the relationship between Japan and Australia more important than ever.

"It is important to guard and increase the robustness of the free, open and rules-based international order," Abe said.

The two leaders announced the signing of an Acquisition and Cross‑Servicing Agreement (ACSA), which will increase cooperation in combined exercises, training and peace-keeping operations. The agreement is expected to be finalised by the end of 2017.

The announcement comes nearly nine months after Australia chose a French bid over a Japanese design for a new fleet of submarines.

The loss of the $40 billion contract was a major blow for Abe's ambitions to develop Japan's defense export capabilities as part of a more muscular security agenda.

Japan, as well as Australia, is looking to protect its strategic and trade interests in Asia-Pacific, especially as China becomes increasingly assertive in the South China Sea.

Both leaders also reaffirmed the importance of their respective security alliances with the United States on Saturday.

China's recent naval exercises in the South China Sea and the building of islands there, with military assets, has unnerved its neighbours and risks a fallout with the United States.

U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has said China should be denied access to islands it has built in the South China Sea.

China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-japan-security-idUSKBN14Y0AS

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College basketball weekend preview: Gonzaga-Saint Mary in spotlighthttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/college-basketball-weekend-preview-gonzaga-saint-mary-spotlight.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/college-basketball-weekend-preview-gonzaga-saint-mary-spotlight.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 09:47:21 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19385 College basketball weekend preview: Gonzaga-Saint Mary in spotlight Now that matters on the gridiron are settled and most students are returning to campus after the holiday break, fans of collegiate athletics can devote their full attention to activities in the gym. The basketball season is in full swing, and March will be here before we […]

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College basketball weekend preview: Gonzaga-Saint Mary in spotlight

Now that matters on the gridiron are settled and most students are returning to campus after the holiday break, fans of collegiate athletics can devote their full attention to activities in the gym.

The basketball season is in full swing, and March will be here before we know it. Here’s where the most compelling action should be this weekend.

Game of the weekend

No. 21 Saint Mary’s at No. 5 Gonzaga, Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Baylor’s midweek loss at West Virginia left Gonzaga as the last team in Division I men’s basketball with a "0" in the loss column. But the Bulldogs will face their toughest West Coast Conference competition in recent years when the Gaels come to Spokane this weekend. Saint Mary’s doesn’t have as strong a non-conference résumé as Gonzaga were able to compile and could use a quality win in hostile environs.

Enjoy this first head-to-head showdown as Gaels’ big man Jock Landale and Zags point guard Nigel Williams-Goss figure to be in the WCC player of the year discussion all season.

Player to watch: Kelan Martin, Butler

The Bulldogs’ leading scorer (16.8 ppg) is mired in a bit of a shooting slump. He got help from his teammates and was part of a strong defensive effort when the Bulldogs took down then-No. 1 Villanova last week, but there was no rescue from Wednesday night’s drubbing at Creighton. He’ll look to snap out of it in the friendly confines of Hinkle Fieldhouse as the 13th-ranked Bulldogs host No. 14 Xavier on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, FS1).

The Musketeers are coming off an equally humbling road setback themselves at the hands of Villanova and should be just as motivated in pursuit of a bounce-back performance.

Conference to watch: Atlantic Coast

The ACC is still basking in the glow of its champion (Clemson) capturing the football crown, but the league’s prowess on the hardwood remains its calling card.

In an indication of the conference’s depth, Saturday’s first marquee matchup featuring No. 7 Duke at No. 15 Louisville (noon ET, ESPN) will result in a third league loss already for one of those perennial powers.

No. 10 Florida State will then put its perfect ACC record on the line at No. 12 North Carolina (2 p.m. ET, ESPN).

A couple of other ranked league members face road challenges on the Saturday slate as No. 18 Virginia visits Clemson and No. 20 Notre Dame takes on Virginia Tech.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2017/01/13/college-basketball-weekend-preview-saint-marys-gonzaga/96509948/

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NFL divisional playoff matchups: Can Matt Ryan, Falcons exploit Seahawkshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/nfl/nfl-divisional-playoff-matchups-can-matt-ryan-falcons-exploit-seahawks.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/nfl/nfl-divisional-playoff-matchups-can-matt-ryan-falcons-exploit-seahawks.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 09:40:38 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19382 NFL divisional playoff matchups: Can Matt Ryan, Falcons exploit Seahawks NFL divisional playoff matchups:- The Legion of Boom is accustomed to being an answer rather than a question for the Seattle Seahawks. Yet as the NFC West champions prepare to face MVP front-runner Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons' top-scoring offense in Saturday's divisional playoff […]

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NFL divisional playoff matchups: Can Matt Ryan, Falcons exploit Seahawks

NFL divisional playoff matchups:- The Legion of Boom is accustomed to being an answer rather than a question for the Seattle Seahawks.

Yet as the NFC West champions prepare to face MVP front-runner Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons' top-scoring offense in Saturday's divisional playoff matchup, the storied Seattle secondary doesn't appear to offer the same assurances it once did.

Losing free safety Earl Thomas to a broken leg has left cracks in the defense, as the Seahawks allowed 23 points or more in three of their final four regular-season games without the three-time all-pro. But operating to their typical high standards without Thomas might be a prerequisite for beating an Atlanta team on the upswing.

Even in a 26-24 win over the Falcons in Week 6, Seattle showed it wasn't impervious to the Atlanta passing attack. Ryan threw for 335 yards and three scores, and wide receiver Julio Jones's 139-yard day was marred only by an apparent missed penalty on Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman that helped seal Seattle's win.

Without Thomas lurking, the Falcons likely will be willing to further test the deep part of the field and his replacement, Steven Terrell.

Ryan's 9.26 yards per attempt led the NFL and, and he has 10 touchdowns with no interceptions on balls thrown 20 or more yards in the air, according to ESPN. The Falcons also had the most passing plays of 40 yards or more with 17.

Sherman's rematch with Jones will be a focal point, but Ryan threw touchdowns to an NFL-record 13 different receivers this season. Cornerback DeShawn Shead and safety Kam Chancellor, who missed the first meeting, will also have to hold up against Ryan. Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been able to find mismatches against linebackers in the passing game, but Seattle's K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner are among the best at the position in coverage.

The Seahawks may have to pick up any slack on defense with their pass rush. They sacked Ryan four times and tallied 13 hits in the previous meeting, with both Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril disrupting plays consistently. Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Kris Richard could ramp up a blitz-heavy approach to be even more frenetic.

Here are four other matchups to watch in the divisional playoff games:

Chiefs OLB Justin Houston vs. Steelers RT Marcus Gilbert

Houston's presence alone won't be enough to slow a Pittsburgh Steelers offense that rolled to five passing touchdowns in a 43-14 romp over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4. But the pass rusher's return should at least slow Ben Roethlisberger and Co.

Roethlisberger's road woes this season (9 touchdowns, 8 interceptions) could be a troublesome indicator for a chilly Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium, especially with the quarterback recovering from a foot injury. Applying consistent pressure could open up turnover opportunities for a ballhawking secondary, as the Chiefs ranked first in the NFL with 16 interceptions. Roethlisberger was sacked a career-low 17 times this season, however, and Gilbert is one of the line's top performers.

Even if limited while he recovers from knee inflammation, Houston could also play an integral role for the Chiefs' 26th-ranked run defense. The Steelers have showed an increasing willingness to let Le'Veon Bell drive the offense, as he carried the ball on every down in a 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive against the Miami Dolphins last week. The Chiefs' front seven, including 346-pound nose tackle Dontari Poe, will have to find a way to stop the patient Bell before he reaches the second level.

Texans RB Lamar Miller vs. Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower

The Houston Texans need a steady rushing output from Miller to have any chance of upsetting the top-seeded New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. But the running back's impact extends beyond that, as his performance will have a ripple effect on Brock Osweiler and the passing game.

The Patriots consistently mix up their coverages, but the Texans have to be able to run the ball when faced with the repeated Cover-2 looks they witnessed in a 27-0 loss to New England in Week 3. If Hightower and the rest of the New England front seven can keep Miller in check, the defense can continue to neutralize the vertical threat posed by wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. That could prove lethal for Osweiler, as it did in the first meeting when Houston fell into an early 13-0 hole.

Having left tackle Duane Brown healthy should help Houston, but there's only so much Miller can do as the offense's sole threat. Even against a vulnerable Oakland Raiders defense last week, Miller had just 73 yards on 31 carries.

Cowboys secondary vs. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

The Dallas Cowboys don't have the luxury of facing the same version of Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers they saw in Week 6, when the quarterback was mostly held in check in a 30-16 win. With 22 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his last eight games, Rodgers is the foremost threat for sending the Cowboys to an early postseason exit.

The Packers' sound protection combined with Rodgers' evasiveness have made him hard to rattle, and coordinator Rod Marinelli's blitz-averse defense likely will rely on the front four for pressure. It's on the Dallas secondary, then, to keep plays in front of it and avoid the back-breaking gains Rodgers has repeatedly found during the Pack's seven-game win streak. Cornerback Morris Claiborne's return should help, but Brandon Carr and rookie Anthony Brown will be called on to continue their standout seasons.

The loss of Jordy Nelson is a blow to Green Bay, as Rodgers' primary target had five touchdown catches in the last six weeks. Randall Cobb re-emerged with three scores last week, however, and tight end Jared Cook is becoming a steady threat.

Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls vs. Falcons front seven

Rawls may be one of the best safeguards Seattle has against the explosive Atlanta attack. In a 26-6 win over the Detroit Lions last week, he rumbled for a franchise playoff record 161 yards on 27 carries as the Seahawks held the ball for nearly 37 minutes.

Having a healthy Rawls running behind fullback Marcel Reece in the I-formation has given Seattle much-needed consistency in its run game. Rawls could be asked to set the tone again Saturday when facing an Atlanta defense that ranked 29th against the run.

A steady rushing attack should also help the passing game, as an improving offensive line is still struggling to protect Russell Wilson. If he can fend off edge rusher Vic Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks with 15½, then receivers Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson could thrive on downfield strikes.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2017/01/13/divisional-playoff-matchups-seahawks-falcons-cowboys-packers/96548418/

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Obama ends US economic embargo of long-estranged Sudanhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/obama-ends-us-economic-embargo-long-estranged-sudan.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/obama-ends-us-economic-embargo-long-estranged-sudan.html#respond Sat, 14 Jan 2017 07:52:12 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=19378 Obama ends US economic embargo of long-estranged Sudan Obama ends US economic embargo of long-estranged Sudan:- The Obama administration announced Friday the end of a U.S. economic embargo on Sudan, lifting trade and financial sanctions in an eleventh-hour push to expand ties with the long-estranged African government and build on positive signs of counterterrorism cooperation. […]

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Obama ends US economic embargo of long-estranged Sudan

Obama ends US economic embargo of long-estranged Sudan:- The Obama administration announced Friday the end of a U.S. economic embargo on Sudan, lifting trade and financial sanctions in an eleventh-hour push to expand ties with the long-estranged African government and build on positive signs of counterterrorism cooperation.

A week before leaving office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to permanently revoke a broad range of sanctions after a six-month waiting period, designed to ensure that Sudan doesn’t backslide on improved efforts to counter Islamic extremism. In the meantime, the Treasury Department authorized Americans to do business in Sudan and export products there, effective immediately. It also unfroze Sudan’s assets in the U.S.

Washington has maintained sanctions on Sudan since the 1990s. But Obama told Congress in a letter that the situation had changed over the last six months and Sudan had taken “positive actions.” Sudan’s economy has plummeted since its oil revenues crashed with South Sudan’s secession in 2011, which may explain Khartoum’s desire for closer cooperation with the West.

Human rights groups howled with disgust, reflecting the Sudanese government’s long record of atrocities and the International Criminal Court’s indictment of the country’s president. But the Obama administration cast it as a carrot-and-stick strategy, offering Sudan incentives to improve while retaining leverage by preserving the ability to take the incentives away.

The announcement followed more than a year of U.S.-Sudanese talks to boost cooperation in five areas of U.S. concern: counterterrorism, access for aid groups, ending Darfur’s conflict, eliminating safe havens for South Sudanese rebels and fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army.

It will be up to Donald Trump’s administration to decide whether to continue the outreach or re-impose sanctions. Obama’s order would lift the economic penalties on July 12. Trump also could act sooner.

The president-elect, who takes office Jan. 20, hasn’t commented publicly about Sudan sanctions. During the campaign, Walid Phares, a Trump adviser on national security, suggested Trump was opposed to lifting the sanctions.

The policy shift authorizes all U.S.-Sudan trade previously blocked by sanctions to resume immediately. It also unfreezes property and other assets that had been locked up in U.S. banks. Business with oil and gas industries in Sudan, such as pipelines and oilfield services, is now permitted. Americans can facilitate financial transactions between Sudan and other countries.

Senior U.S. officials said they expected the eased sanctions to give way to increased trade of agricultural products and machinery, medical supplies and transportation and computer equipment.

The administration briefed Trump’s team on the plan, officials said, but added they couldn’t predict whether Trump would reverse the policy. The officials weren’t authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity.

Some U.S. sanctions tied to Sudan’s “state sponsor of terrorism” designation remain in place, including a ban on weapons sales and restrictions on U.S. aid. Sanctions related to Darfur also remain in effect.

Human Rights Watch called the decision “inexplicable,” accusing Sudan of ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“The Obama administration is sending the worst possible message to Sudan and other repressive governments: If you cooperate on counterterrorism, then all abuses — including by your president — will be ignored,” said the group’s Africa director, Leslie Lefkow.

But U.S. officials said the new approach signals an admission that isolating Sudan for so many years hadn’t worked and that engagement might prove more effective. Such an acknowledgement fits with a general pattern under Obama of rapprochement with rogue or antagonistic states, including Cuba, Iran and Myanmar.

Last fall, the State Department issued an out-of-the-blue statement welcoming Sudan’s cooperation in fighting Islamic extremist groups, even as it expressed grave concerns about Sudan’s handling of unrest in the western Darfur region. It surprisingly described normalized relations as a possibility.

The department first labeled Sudan a terrorism sponsor in 1993. Among those Sudan harbored was Osama bin Laden, prompting President Bill Clinton to launch airstrikes in 1998.

Sudan’s changes have largely occurred beneath the radar. But the U.S. credits the country with limiting travel of Islamic State militants and shifting toward greater alignment with Saudi Arabia, and less with Iran. Israel also has pressed the U.S. to adopt a friendlier relationship with Sudan after it cracked down on shipments of suspected Iranian weapons to groups hostile to the Jewish state.

Still, Washington’s outreach will be limited. It’s unlikely that the U.S. would commit to any engagement directly with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide charges.

Darfur has been gripped by bloodshed since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government, accusing it of discrimination and neglect. The United Nations says 300,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.7 million have fled their homes.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-to-ease-sanctions-against-sudan-broaden-outreach-efforts/2017/01/13/bde9dbf2-d96d-11e6-a0e6-d502d6751bc8_story.html?utm_term=.e61579abb130

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