Putin Says He Is Satisfied With Biden's Explanation For Calling Him A 'Killer'

14 hours 48 minutes ago

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said this Wednesday that US President Joe Biden had contacted him on the phone to explain why he had called him a 'killer' and that his explanation was satisfactory.

Putin stated this at a news conference following a summit in Geneva with Biden.

During An ABC News broadcast interview this March, Biden had replied 'I do' after he was asked whether he thought that Putin is a killer.

This resulted in Russia recalling its ambassador in Washington for consultations and also the US ambassador in Moscow to return home. Putin and Biden later agreed to return their ambassadors at the summit on Wednesday.

Speaking of Biden's ABC interview, Putin said:

"As regards those sharp declarations what can I say, we're all familiar with them. President Biden phoned me afterwards and we exchanged views on the subject. These explanations suited me."

Putin went on to state the numerous human rights violations performed by US authorities and emphasised the fact that the US military was responsible for the murder of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said:

"Who takes responsibility for that? Who is the murderer?"

[h/t: Reuters]

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Astronomers Estimate That There May Be As Many As 6 Billion Planets In Our Galaxy Similar To Earth

15 hours 10 minutes ago

Photo: Artist’s conception of Kepler telescope observing planets transiting a distant star (NASA Ames/W Stenzel).

Researchers have estimated that the number of planets that are similar to Earth in our own galaxy could be as many as 6 billion.

Data from NASA's Kepler mission were analysed by astronomers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to reach the conclusion. The information on 200,000 stars was gathered by the Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft between 2009 and 2018.

Among the criteria set by the scientists for selecting candidate planets were, rockyness, its size being similar to Earth and orbiting a star similar to our Sun. The latter criterion also involved the planet being within the habitable zone of its star, allowing for the development of life.

Michelle Kunimoto, UBC researcher and co-author of the study, who had previously discovered 17 planets outside our solar system, said that their calculations:

"place an upper limit of 0.18 Earth-like planets per G-type star."

Meaning that there are roughly about 5 Earth-like planets per candidate Sun.

Jaymie Matthews, UBC astronomer who also co-authored the study, explained:

"Our Milky Way has as many as 400 billion stars, with seven per cent of them being G-type. That means less than six billion stars may have Earth-like planets in our Galaxy."

In order to conduct the study, Kunimoto used a technique known as, 'forward modelling', which allows to spot Earth-like planets that are too small and orbiting far from their star.

She said in a press release:

"I started by simulating the full population of exoplanets around the stars Kepler searched. I marked each planet as 'detected' or 'missed' depending on how likely it was my planet search algorithm would have found them. Then, I compared the detected planets to my actual catalogue of planets. If the simulation produced a close match, then the initial population was likely a good representation of the actual population of planets orbiting those stars."

While the number of possible Earth-like planets that the scientists came up with is impressive, this does not necessarily mean that they are actually habituated, or that the life that might exist there is similar to ours. But this new research definitely affirms the possibility that such planets do exist.

[h/t: Big Think]

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Teenager Who Filmed The Murder Of George Floyd Is Awarded Special Journalism Prize By The Pulitzer Committee

1 day 10 hours ago

A teenager, who was one of the people to catch on camera the killing of George Floyd, and who later was a witness at the murder trial of one of the officers convicted of his killing, has been awarded a special ward by the Pulitzer committee.

The Pulitzer Prize is the most esteemed prize in journalism, but the committee occasionally give other prizes to others of note in the journalistic world.

Darnella Frazier, who was just 17 at the time, was awarded for her courage.

The Pulitzer committee said they awarded Frazier for:

"Courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice."

In court, Frazier said of the incident:

"I saw a man terrified, begging for his life. [I saw George Floyd] saying 'I can't breathe'. He was terrified, he was calling for his mom."

She later said:

"When I look at George Floyd I look at my dad, I look at my brother, my cousins, my uncles - because they are all black. And I look at how that could have been one of them."

The killing of Floyd, and the resulting video evidence, sparked huge protests across both the United States and the rest of the world against racism and police brutality. Millions took part, and some of the protests descended into rioting and looting. It was the worst summer of civil strife in the United States since at least the late 1960s.

The Black Lives Matter movement played a key role in organising the protests and were successful in some of their campaigns to defund the police and instead have money put into social projects.

[h/t: BBC]

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Ronaldo And Pogba Remove Coca-Cola And Heineken Bottles At Euro 2020 Match Conference Causing A Stir On The Financial Markets

1 day 11 hours ago

There has been great interest in refreshments during Euro 2020 after two players removed the drinks offered to them at post-match press conferences.

In one incident, Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo, believed by some to be the world's greatest footballer, removed two bottles of Coca-Cola from the desk from which he was giving the interview and said, 'drink water'. It caused the Coca-Cola share price to fall by more than $2 billion.

In the other post-match conference, French star Paul Pogba removed two bottles of alcohol-free Heineken from his table due to the fact he is a practicing Muslim and does not drink or endorse alcohol consumption.

Ronaldo has previously said that he hates to see his son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., drink fizzy juice or eat junk-food.

Pogba, who became a Muslim in 2019, previously told a journalist of his conversion, saying:

"It's everything. That's what makes me thankful for everything. It made me change, realise things in life. I guess, maybe, it makes me more peaceful inside. It was a good change in my life because I wasn't born a Muslim, even if my mum was. I just grew up like that, respect for everyone."

He added:

"Islam is not the image that everyone sees – terrorism… What we hear in the media is really something else, it's something beautiful. You get to know it. Anybody can find that he feels connected with Islam. It came because I have a lot of friends who are Muslim. We always talk. I was questioning myself in a lot of things, then I started doing my own research. I prayed once with my friends and I felt something different. I felt really good."

Pogba has also completed the Hajj, a holy pilgrimage Muslims are expected to take once in their life to the holy site of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Both Pogba and Ronaldo have seen their respective teams get off to a winning start, with France beating Germany 1-0 and Portugal beating Hungary 3-0. Both are seen as potential winners of the entire competition.

[h/t: Daily Mail]

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Pink Floyd Member Roger Waters Turns Down Huge Facebook Offer To Use One Of The Band's Songs Calling Zuckerberg 'One Of The Most Powerful Idiots In The World'

2 days 13 hours ago

On e of the founding members of legendary rock band Pink Floyd has spoken of how they refused to let Mark Zuckerberg use one of their songs in a Facebook advertisement.

Roger Waters said that the company made an offer of 'a significant sum of money' to use the Pink Floyd song 'Another Brick In The Wall'. Waters says he refused to let the song be used because Zuckerberg was a power-hungry monopolist and because he had a poor attitude towards women.

Waters said:

"It arrived this morning, with an offer for a huge, huge amount of money. And the answer is: 'F--- you. No f---ing way.'"

He added:

"I only mention that because this is an insidious movement of them to take over absolutely everything. I will not be a party to this bulls---, Zuckerberg."

Waters also said in the interview:

"Facebook and Instagram [want to be] even bigger and more powerful than it already is so that it can continue to censor all of us in this room and prevent this story about Julian Assange getting out to the general public so the general public could go: 'What? What? No. No More.'"

It was then Waters moved to Zuckerberg's alleged attitude towards women, saying:

"How did this little prick who started off by saying, 'She's pretty, we'll give her a four out of five; she's ugly, we'll give her a one,' how did he get power in anything? And yet here he is, one of the most powerful idiots in the world."

Facebook had approached Waters saying:

"We feel that the core sentiment of this song is still so prevalent and so necessary today, which speaks to how timeless the work is."

After Water's refusal, Facebook released a statement saying:

"[We approached Waters asking if he] wanted to work with us on that particular song, but that's kind of all we really have to share. There wasn't really much else other than an initial concept phase. The initial details that were discussed mostly happened between third parties: our Instagram marketing agency and representatives for Mr. Waters. So that being said we 100% respect any artist's decision, whether or not they want to work with us on this kind of stuff."

[h/t: Insider]

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Mackenzie Scott, Billionaire And Ex-Wife Of Jeff Bezos, Gives Away A Further $2 Billion To Charities

2 days 14 hours ago

The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and one of the richest women in the world, Mackenzie Scott, has given away over $2 billion of the money she received from Bezos as part of a divorce settlement.

Scott has said 286 organisations linked to culture, racial equality, the arts and education will have the money shared between them.

In a blog post announcing the money give-away, Scott said:

"People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating. This is equally — perhaps especially — true when their work is funded by wealth. Any wealth is a product of a collective effort that included them. The social structures that inflate wealth present obstacles to them. And despite those obstacles, they are providing solutions that benefit us all."

She added:

"Because community-centered service is such a powerful catalyst and multiplier, we spent the first quarter of 2021 identifying and evaluating equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected. The result was $2,739,000,000 in gifts to 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked."

Scott also said that her husband, a science teacher, had helped pick which charities to donate to. He said in a letter:

"In a stroke of happy coincidence, I am married to one of the most generous and kind people I know - and joining her in a commitment to pass on an enormous financial wealth to serve others."

Scott had previously given away $4 billion to a number of female-led charities that focus on the rights and wellbeing of women and girls.

Scott inherited the money after her divorce from Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, in 2019. Despite the money she has given away, she still has almost $60 billion left and is the 22nd richest woman on Earth.

[h/t: BBC]

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19 Fast-Food Staff Members Are Arrested In Pakistan After Refusing To Give Free Burgers To Police Officers

3 days 16 hours ago

19 members of staff at a fast-food restaurant in Pakistan have been arrested after allegedly refusing to give free food to a group of police officers. The controversy has sparked debate in the country about corruption and privilege.

Staff at the Johnny & Jugnu fast food joint in Lahore were arrested and held in detention overnight. Johnny & Jugnu is a famous chain restaurant in Pakistan.

The burger chain said that this was not the first time such a thing had happened, they said in a statement:

"This is not the first time something like this has happened... at our restaurant."

They went on to say:

"Upon rejecting their request for free burgers, which has become a common practice for them, the police officers threatened our managers and left, only to return the next day to further harass and pressurise our teams... with baseless arguments. Some police officers came to our... outlet and took our manager into custody, without giving any reason whatsoever. Then they emptied out our entire branch, taking all of our kitchen crew, including the rest of the managers".

The staff has now been released without charge and nine police officers involved in the arrests have been suspended pending further investigations.

Senior provincial police official Inam Ghani told reporters:

"No one is allowed to take the law into his own hands. Injustice will not be tolerated. All of them will be punished."

The workers have since said that they were harassed and pushed around by police following their arrest.

Corruption in major institutions is a huge issue in Pakistan and billions of dollars are spent in bribes every year. Corruption is known to undermine economic growth and the faith citizens have in the police and wider institutions.

On taking office, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan vowed to crack down on what he said were 'local political cronies' who were running the police in the Lahore region.

[h/t: BBC]

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Chinese Nuclear Power Plant Leak Near Hong Kong Is Posing 'Imminent Radiological Threat'

3 days 17 hours ago

US Intelligence officials have stated that they believe a Chinese nuclear power facility has been leaking radioactive gas for the last 2 weeks and that a major nuclear disaster may be unfolding in the southern Guangdong province near Hong Kong.

The issue was flagged to US officials by the French company that partly owns and operates the facility. They said while a leak is occurring, they do not believe the situation is as of yet at 'crisis-level'.

In a note, they warn of an 'imminent radiological threat to the site'. They also say that Chinese authorities are now operating the facilities at levels that would not be deemed safe in other countries.

Some have suggested that the recent Covid-19 lockdowns that have been imposed in the region could be a cover for the authorities wanting to keep people safe from the radioactive gas while at the same time avoiding mass-panic. The plant overwent a recent overhaul, though it is unclear if this is linked to the present crisis.

The China General Nuclear Power Group said in a statement:

"The environmental indicators of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and its surroundings are normal."

The Taishan plant has been operational since 2018 and is part of a huge electricity and nuclear program that China has put in place to help fuel its booming economy.

At present, China has 47 nuclear power plants in operation around the country, producing around 5% of China's energy, around 48.75 million kilowatts. China is the third-biggest user of nuclear energy behind both the United States and France. China sees the building of nuclear power plants as a way of becoming carbon neutral because, despite the obvious risks of nuclear power, it does not release many greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. China aims to achieve this carbon-neutral goal by 2060. Over the last year, it is known that Russia and China have been discussing Russia building new nuclear power plants within China.

[h/t: Daily Mail]

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UN Report Reveals That Turkey Unleashed Autonomous Drone In Libya

4 days 14 hours ago

A United Nations report has stated that an autonomous drone carried out an attack in Libya, making it the first recorded attack in military history by a robot.

While drones have been used frequently in a number of conflict zones in the past, this drone is thought to have been under its own guidance.

The drone is believed to have been Turkish-made. Turkey has backed several extremist groups involved in the Libyan civil war and is arming them in direct contravention of international law.

Military expert, Zachary Kallenborn, said of the attack:

"If anyone was killed in an autonomous attack, it would likely represent an historic first known case of artificial intelligence-based autonomous weapons being used to kill."

Ziya Meral of Britain's Royal United Services Institute added:

"It is time to assess where things are with Turkish drones and advanced warfare technology and what this means for the region and what it means for NATO."

Autonomous military machines pose a range of threats, and it is feared that they could target civilians, allow militaries to avoid moral accountability and become out of control.

Kallenborn states:

"Many people, including Steven Hawking and Elon Musk, have said they want to ban these sorts of weapons, saying they can't distinguish between civilians and soldiers, while others say they'll be critical in countering fast-paced threats like drone swarms and may actually reduce the risk to civilians because they will make fewer mistakes than human-guided weapons systems."

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists also condemned these weapons, adding:

"These types of weapons operate on software-based algorithms 'taught' through large training datasets to, for example, classify various objects. Computer vision programs can be trained to identify school buses, tractors, and tanks. But the datasets they train on may not be sufficiently complex or robust, and an artificial intelligence (AI) may 'learn' the wrong lesson."

It has been suggested by some analysts that Turkey may have engaged in autonomous drone activity in the territory of Artsakh where Turkey assisted Azerbaijan in attacking pro-Armenian forces.

[h/t: NPR]

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Angela Maxwell: The Woman Who Walked Around The World For 6 Years

4 days 14 hours ago

A woman has told her story of how she walked the Earth for 6 years, a journey that she undertook almost entirely alone.

Angela Maxwell left her home in 2014 after overhearing a conversation about a man who had walked the world in her art class. She had not previously had any great ambition to travel extensively and decided to start the journey on a short notice.

She wasn't escaping any terrible tragedy or a hard life either. She was a successful career woman and had a partner. But she was in her early 30s and knew that if she did not travel now, she may never get the chance again.

She told the BBC:

"I thought I was happy. But in retrospect, I realised that I was searching for more… for a deeper connection with nature and people – by living on less and connecting with the world around me."

Maxwell chose to walk as not only was it an eco-friendly way to travel, but it also allowed her to meet people and immerse herself in local cultures.

As she began her journey, she read books about and by others who had undertaken similar adventures. These included Robyn Davidson, who travelled across the whole of Australia on camels, Ffyona Campbell, who was a long-distance walker, and Rosie Swale-Pope, who hitchhiked from Europe to Nepal.

Maxwell said of these inspirational travellers:

"I read their books in hopes of finding encouragement – and I did – by learning about their challenges and struggles as well as their triumphs. Each woman's story was vastly different and it gave me the confidence to give my walk a try."

After selling all her belongings and packing a 50kg rucksack, Maxwell set off. By June 2018, she had crossed 12,500 miles and 12 countries.

At no time was the walk planned. Maxwell decided to travel based on gut instinct, never knowing what the next day would bring. It was never easy, suffering heatstroke, exotic diseases and was attacked on more than one occasion by bandits. Regardless, she pressed on.

By December 2020, and in the midst of the pandemic, Maxwell found herself back where she had started, at home in the United States where her huge journey has now ended.

Maxwell now speaks out on female issues and on female empowerment.

[h/t: BBC]

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UK Billionaire Richard Branson May Beat Bezos And Musk In The Race To Enter Space

5 days 12 hours ago

It was recently announced that Jeff Bezos plans to fly into outer space with his brother aboard his own Blue Origin space rocket. Tesla founder Elon Musk has also declared that he plans to enter space aboard one of his SpaceX vehicles. However, they may not be the first billionaire to make it to the outer reaches. British billionaire, and founder of Virgin, Richard Branson, has now said that he plans to go into space within the next few weeks.

Branson made the statement in a tweet congratulating Bezos, in which he said:

"Many congratulations to @JeffBezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space - how extraordinary! Watch this space…"

Many congratulations to @JeffBezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space - how extraordinary! Watch this space…

— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) June 7, 2021

Branson owns his own space company known as Virgin Galactic.

While nothing has been declared officially as of yet, Branson is expected to fly in a rocket known as VSS Unity. The rocket has been used recently and was reached an altitude of over 55 miles. It is designed to carry a crew of 6 and can be in orbit for around 2 hours.

Bezos' plans involve sending six crew members into space for just 10 minutes about 60 miles above Earth's surface. While Bezos and his brother are confirmed passengers, a third seat has been auctioned to the highest bidder. As it stands, the bid sits at just under $3 million.

While Musk says he wants to enter space, there has been no definitive plan or time schedule laid out as to how he plans to do this.

Branson became famous as the founder of the Virgin, which first specialised in music and then moved onto banking and transport. He became world-famous in the 1990s for attempting huge stunts and daring deeds, including flying around the world solo in an air balloon. These air attempts failed.

Time will tell which billionaire makes it into space first.

[h/t: Inverse]

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Herd Of Asian Elephants Is Heading Towards Major City In China After Unexpected 500Km Trek

5 days 12 hours ago

A herd of elephants has become world-famous after being tracked for a year on a 500km journey in China. A journey that was both unexpected and is now posing problems for the human population.

The elephants first came to prominence in China but were soon picked up by international media outlets and their escapades have been documented both on social-media and on streaming sites.

The elephants are usually at home in a wildlife reserve in mountainous southwest Yunnan province and have wowed people from across the globe. Many have been left transfixed as the elephants overcome obstacles, such as getting stuck in a ditch, and as they continue their epic journey.

Other adventures of the 15-elephant herd include being watched walking down urban streets, raiding farms for food and water, and even exploring people's houses. They are believed to have caused over $1 million in damages.

They have been tracked in part by camera crews on the ground and by drones.

This epic journey is not normal. Asian elephants tend to stick to their own area unless they have been disturbed, prompting many wildlife experts to ask why the elephants have gone so far.

Nilanga Jayasinghe, manager for Asian species conservation at the World Wildlife Fund, said:

"In this case, we don't really know why they left their home range, but do know that there has been significant habitat loss due to agriculture and conversion of forests into plantations within that range in the last few decades. What possibly happened here is that in their search for new habitat, they got lost along the way and kept going."

They added:

"This is a real-time example of the importance of addressing the issue and its root causes for the benefit of both wildlife and people."

Chinese law states that elephants are a protected species, and this means that they can't be killed or hurt in any way. Therefore, authorities are trying to find other ways to keep them from going near urban areas, a particular worry as they are now heading towards the outskirts of Kunming, a city of 7 million.

One tactic the authorities are using is to try and guide the elephant herd using food.

At present, there are less than 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild.

[h/t: Bloomberg]

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Panama Seeks To Adopt Bitcoin As Official Currency In Wake Of El Salvador Adopting The Crypto-Currency

6 days 17 hours ago

A Panamanian Congressman, Gabriel Silva, has called for the nation of Panama to follow the lead of El Salvador and Paraguay and adopt crypto-currency Bitcoin as an official national currency.

The move comes just over a week since El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced that the Central American nation would be making the radical monetary move.

Silva said:

"This is important. And Panama cannot be left behind. If we want to be a true technology and entrepreneurship hub, we have to support cryptocurrencies. We will be preparing a proposal to present at the Assembly. If you are interested in building it, you can contact me."

The El Salvador President announced that his nation was adopting Bitcoin as an official currency on June 5th, causing widespread interest and publicity across the globe. It is thought that El Salvador could heavily benefit from the currency for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Bukele has said that even if just 1% of Bitcoin wealth came to El Salvador, it would increase the nation's GDP by 25%, and there are hopes that as an official currency, El Salvador could become a hub of crypto-currency activity.

Secondly, 2.2 million of El Salvadorians live outside of El Salvador, mostly in the United States, and send back huge amounts of money to the country each year, as much as $6 billion. Because this money has to be passed through banks to get the money back to El Salvador this means that as much as 20% of that money is lost to financial institutions. If using Bitcoin to transfer money and no exchange fees are extracted, much more money would be coming into El Salvador.

Thirdly, 70% of El Salvadorian citizens lack bank accounts, making overseas payments, purchases and investment very difficult. With access to bitcoin wallets, this will be much easier and could strongly promote economic growth within the country.

Bukele's proposal states:

"Central banks [like the U.S. Federal Reserve] are increasingly taking actions that may cause harm to the economic stability of El Salvador…in order to mitigate the negative impact of central banks, it becomes necessary to authorize the circulation of a digital currency with a supply that cannot be controlled by any central bank and is only altered in accord with objective and calculable criteria."

These are the exact same benefits to the El Salvadorian economy that countries like Panama and other Central American states will seek to gain by adopting Bitcoin officially, many of whom face the same social and economic problems.

[h/t: The Street]

Join the following websites and apps to get free #BTC and ways for passive income.

#UnbankYourself #Cryptocurrencies #PassiveIncome

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Town In Croatia Puts Homes On The Market For 16 US Cents To Boost The Local Population

6 days 17 hours ago

A small town in the north of Croatia which has been undergoing a fall in the local population, is seeking to bring in new residents by selling abandoned homes for just 1 Kuna ($0.16), 16 US cents.

The town of Legrad hopes that the move will bring new residents and much-needed revenue to the local community and local businesses.

The town sits near the border with Hungary and has a population of just over 2,000. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside but has declined economically over recent decades.

The town, once part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, was the second most populated in Croatian territory.

The Legrad mayor, Ivan Sabolic, told reporters of the plan:

"We turned into a border town with few transport connections to other places. Since then the population has been gradually falling. After some media reports about our action we got enquiries about houses from very distant places like Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Argentina or Colombia."

Just under 20 homes will be sold in the project. There is, however, a major catch… All the houses are in serious need of repair, and some are almost complete ruins and will need to be rebuilt. That said, the town of Legrad says it will cover 20% of all renovation costs.

Other criteria must also be met when buying a property. The applicants must be under 40 years old, be financially solvent, and pledge to stay in the town for at least 15 years.

Jobs in the town include agriculture, working in the timber industry, food production and metallurgy.

Danijel Harmnicara, a Croatian citizen who moved to the town with his wife and child and bought one of the homes said:

"It is much nicer to live in your own place than to be a tenant. Staying 15 years here is not a problem for us, we don't plan to move."

The town is not the first to carry out such a scheme, a small town in Italy facing similar issues last year put homes on the market for 1 Euro to widespread publicity and interest.

[h/t: Reuters]

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Elon Musk Paid $0 In Federal Income Tax In 2018 According To IRS Leak

1 week ago

Internal Revenue Service data obtained from ProPublica has revealed that some of the richest people in the world paid very little to zero income tax in recent years.

One of the billionaires that the data revealed paying zero income tax is Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, who managed to do so in 2018. Another billionaire, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, now the world's wealthiest person, did not pay any federal income taxes both in 2007 and 2011.

The report highlights a contrast that exists between the richest people in the United States who contribute close to nothing in tax revenue, and those who have to pick up the tab, barely getting by.

According to estimations by ProPublica, 25 of the wealthiest individuals in the United States became wealthier by $401 billion between 2014 and 2018, whilst barely paying $13.6 billion in federal income taxes at a rate of onlu 3.4%.

The current phenomenon is unlikely to change as lawmakers struggle to pass bills putting forward tax increases for the super-wealthy. Small changes also fail to be passed by Congress.

The Biden administration has proposed raining the top tax rate from 37 to 39.6 percent for the following fiscal year. Earlier this month, Biden also unveiled $3.6 trillion in tax increases on large corporations and extremely wealthy US citizens.

As expected, Republicans have condemned the plans which will likely not be enacted, The New York Times reports.

But there are loopholes that billionaires will keep taking advantage of in order to pay very little taxes, a problem that remains to be addressed.

[h/t: Futurism]

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Girls Are Asked For Nude Pictures By Up To 11 Boys A Night According To UK Survey

1 week ago

A report from England has shown that girls can be contacted by up to 11 boys a night, asking them for nude pictures.

Girls responding to a survey by Ofsted conducted in the UK have said that when boys are blocked on social media, "they just create multiple accounts to harass you".

The survey also found that nine out of 10 girls have experienced sexist name-calling or have received photos or videos with explicit content.

It has been noted that sexual harassment has become a 'norm' among children and teens who attend school.

The incidents of harassment have become so frequent in recent days that students often feel that there is no point in reporting them. The report also highlights that teachers are not aware of the scale of the problem.

Girls reported in the survey that boys "just won't take no for an answer" when asking for explicit images.

Advocates for women's rights are asking for school staff to receive proper training to be able to change the current culture.

Ministers in the UK have said that schools and colleges will be offered dedicated training days to assist staff in spotting and dealing with sexual abuse.

An investigation conducted by the BBC revealed that between 2018 and 2020, there have been reported at least 13,000 sex assaults in under-18-year-olds every year in England and Wales.

Responses to a Freedom of Information request by thirty police forces revealed that in about 2,000 of the cases, both the perpetrator and the victim were 10 years of age or under.

1,000 of the reported cases took place on school premises.

This is in line with Ofsted's findings that inappropriate sexual behaviour is 'filtering down into primary schools'.

21-year-old Cerys admits that most girls she knows have received sexually explicit images from boys or men. She said:

"When I was younger at school I received 50 or 60 on Instagram, Facebook Snapchat, images of privates that I didn't want to see. I think the first port of call is to go to your mum...you feel like 'I don't want to see that, I don't know what to do with that and no one's asked for it'. It's not very nice to receive it."

18-year-old Lucy stated that receiving nude pictures have become "so normalised" that if they turn up in message requests in their social media accounts, they "just delete it". She said:

"Some girls do get it very often but it's something you brush away because it's not something you think of that's out of the ordinary... and there's nothing you can do about it."

Lucy believes that the teachers do not know what to do about the problem.

Cerys said:

"We were told if you're going to be involved in this then the police are going to be involved. It was more of a scary assembly rather than let's get all the girls together and tell them how to emotionally deal with receiving these kinds of images."

[h/t: BBC]

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The New York Times Accidentally Publishes An Article Claiming That Watermelons Come From Mars

1 week 1 day ago

The New York Times had recently published an article by accident, which made the peculiar claim that watermelons had been discovered on Mars.

The story, which was deleted less than an hour later, read:

"Authorities say rise of fruit aliens is to blame for glut of outer space watermelons. The FBI declined to comment on reports of watermelons raining down, but confirmed that kiwis have been intercepted."

A snapshot of the story which has been archived shows that it was just a stub, including several non-sequiturs.

Part of it reads:

"This story is terribly boring."

After the article disappeared in less than an hour, it was replaced by a message saying: "published in error".

A spokesperson from the New York Times said of the story:

"Earlier today, a mock article intended for a testing system was published on our site in error. The article has since been removed."

It is important to note that there has not been any evidence of watermelons ever existing on Mars.

Nevertheless, there have been several missions that investigate the possibility of ancient life on the red planet, while scientists estimate that some forms of microbial life still exist there, likely deep under the planet's surface.

[h/t: Futurism]

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Woman In South Africa Gives Birth To 10 Babies

1 week 1 day ago

Photo: Gosiame Thamara Sithole who gave birth to 10 children, and her husband Tebogo Tsotetsi, from Tembisa Township in Ekurhuleni; Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

A 37-year-old woman in South Africa, Gosiame Thamara Sithole, has given birth to ten babies, breaking the world record.

Her husband, Teboho Tsotesi, is amazed by the remarkable event. He told Pretoria News after the birth:

"It's seven boys and three girls. I am happy. I am emotional. I can't talk much."

An official from South Africa has confirmed the births to the BBC, although he has yet to see the babies.

A family member, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the BBC that five of the babies were delivered via natural birth while five were delivered via caesarean section.

The Guinness World Records is currently investigating the case, according to the BBC.

The woman currently holding the Guinness World Record for the most babies delivered at a single birth had eight babies in 2009.

A month ago, 25-year-old Halima Cissé from Mali had nine babies at a clinic in Morocco. Reports say that all of the babies are doing well.

Although multiple births are a rare phenomenon and are often the result of fertility treatments, the couple says that they conceived naturally.

Ms Sithole had previously given birth to twins, six year ago. She delivered the 10 babies in Petoria on Monday evening and she is reportedly in doing well.

When interviewed by Petoria News last month, Ms Sithole said of her pregnancy:

"[It was] tough at the beginning... How would they fit in the womb? Would they survive?" she wondered, but was reassured by doctors that her womb was expanding.

It initially was believed that she was carrying eight babies and she was suffering from pain in the legs when the doctors discovered that two of the babies "were in the wrong tube". She said the newspaper at the time:

"That was sorted and I have been okay since then. I can't wait for my children."

Her husband was also delighted and said it felt like "one of God's chosen children. It's a miracle which I appreciate".

[h/t: BBC]

Pen S

The Amazing Greek Mosaics Of Zeugma Were Saved By A Team Of Dedicated Archaeologists

1 week 2 days ago

The stunning Mosaics of Zeugma stand as a testament to the unique art that took place in ancient, post-classical Greece.

Zeugma, which is situated in modern-day Turkey, now hosts a museum in which all of the artefacts can be seen in their full glory.

Zeugma itself was founded by Seleucus I Nicator, a general in Alexander the Great's Army, in 305 BC, who named the town originally after himself 'Seleucia'. The town later became an important trading centre and was home to Greeks, Jews and Syrians. In the subsequent centuries, the town fell under the control of the Roman Empire, Persians, Byzantines and Ottomans.

The mosaics lay largely undisturbed until 2000 when a large man-made flood consumed much of the town. Archaeologists then set to work recovering and preserving the ancient artefacts and mosaics, most of which are over 2,100 years old.

While most of the mosaics depict the Greek era, many are also from the time of the Roman Empire. Some even depict Greek and Roman Gods, and mythical deities, together. A highly unusual occurrence, which makes Zeugma of extra-special importance and places the mosaics as items of profound historical and cultural importance.

The area around Zeugma also hosts an ancient Greek agora (marketplace) a stadium, a theatre and ancient city walls. For this reason, it has now been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

This short documentary extract shows the challenge and skill of the archaeologists as they struggled to save the Mosaics of Zeugma from rising flood waters. It also shows many of the mosaics in their full unfiltered glory.

[h/t: Greek Reporter]

Pen S

Bride In India Dies Of Heart Attack At Her Wedding And Her Sister Marries The Groom Instead As The Family Decides To Carry On With Festivities

1 week 2 days ago

There has been widespread shock after a bride died of a heart-attack on her wedding day, but instead of the festivities being cancelled, her sister married the groom instead.

The incident happened in Etawah City in Uttar Pradesh, India.

The initial bride, Surbhi, collapsed suddenly as she took part in the Hindu wedding ceremony with husband-to-be Manjesh Kumar. While medics were called to the scene, it was revealed that the wife had tragically died of a sudden and unexpected heart-attack.

Instead of the wedding being cancelled, both the family of the groom and the family of the bride decided that the deceased woman's sister, Nisha, would marry the groom instead. The wedding ceremony was then carried out and the couple were married. As the wedding ceremony took place, the dead woman lay in a nearby room awaiting a Hindu ceremonial cremation.

A family member said it was a 'tough call' to carry on with the wedding.

Surbhi's brother Saurabh told the Daily Mail:

"It's hard to believe a dead body was in the other room — and a bride was being prepared in next one. 'We did not know what to do in the situation. Both the families sat together and someone suggested that my younger sister Nisha should be married to the groom. The families discussed the matter and both agreed."

The brother of the deceased woman and the new bride, said of the family's mother:

"Mummy is in a lot of pain. She calls for her day in and day out as she was the eldest daughter. She had dreamed of doing wonders in her life. May she rest in peace."

While an uncle added:

"One daughter lay dead in one room and the wedding of another daughter was being solemnized in the other room. We have never witnessed such mixed emotions. The grief over her death and the happiness of the wedding has yet to sink in."

Many marriages in India are arranged marriages that cost vast sums of money. It is thought that the second wedding may have took place as the family may not have been able to afford another wedding for their unmarried daughter in the future.

[h/t: Daily Mail]

Pen S
1 hour 42 minutes ago
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