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05 December 2017, 17:47
DR Congo's child labor spurs demand from Apple, Tesla for ethically produced cobalt

VIDEO. Apple

Some estimates say more than a third of all cars in the world could be electric in 20 years. But as the demand and interest for an obscure mineral increases, car manufactures are presented with a new challenge: acquiring enough in time to make electric vehicles.

Tesla is among the companies looking for stable and responsibly-sourced supply chains of cobalt, which helps power everything from smartphones to laptops to electric vehicles.

It's a key ingredient in lithium batteries, a product that has seen an explosion in demand recently.

But 60 percent of the world's cobalt comes from the Congo, where children often do much of the hard labor.

Because of that, Apple and Tesla are among companies refusing to use what they term "unethical cobalt" in their batteries. In 2014, a spokesperson for Tesla promised to use only cobalt mined in North America.

But mining industry analysts like Gino Chitaroni say that's just not possible.

"It is highly unlikely that there's gonna be enough cobalt to come out of here in the next year to two years that would satisfy any needs in the EV market in North America," Chitaroni said.

That's because outside of the Congo, there are few options.

Tesla alone will require 7,800 tons of cobalt for the half-a-million Model 3s the company expects to be producing annually by 2018. That's more cobalt than is mined in North America in a year.

And not all cobalt goes into batteries. Fifty-six percent of the world's production is used in military and industrial products like jet engines.

Batteries for electric vehicles require a great deal more cobalt than other products.

"Never in the history of modern mining have you seen cobalt as a primary focus for us miners," said Trent Mell of mining company First Cobalt. "It was an after-thought."

The company is one of a handful hoping to breathe new life in an old Canadian mining town.

"Our own little property itself that we have right now that we're focused on could produce enough cobalt to supply the gigafactory that Elon Musk is building today," Mell said.

Another location with substantial cobalt resources is in Idaho, where prospectors will break ground within the year. But it isn't expected to start producing cobalt for a hungry lithium battery market for at least five years.

Adding to the shortage: hedge funds buying up thousands of tons of cobalt, waiting to sell until the prices spike.

And to protect its electric-vehicle industry, China is cornering the market, aggressively buying controlling interests in all of the largest mines in the Congo.

By DON DAHLER CBS NEWS November 25, 2017, 8:48 PM
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
21 October 2017, 15:00
VIDEO. In a statement on Twitter, Trump revealed he will be allowing the “long blocked” documents to be opened for the first time.

Donald Trump Authorises Release Of JFK Assassination Files
The moment President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963

Donald Trump intends to authorise the release of “classified” files relating to the assignation of 35th President John F. Kennedy, despite concerns from officials.

Trump caveated the decision as being “subject to the receipt of further information”.

The move comes against the advice of federal bodies that have expressed concern at the release of the documents.

The National Security Council warned Trump to withhold a batch of files that could shed more light on the November 1963 assassination.

Legislation passed in 1992 led to the release of millions of papers, memos and other evidence relating to the shooting, carried out by Lee Harvey Oswald.

But a stumbling block presented itself with a final cache of documents, due to be revealed by October 26 this year.

As sitting president, only Trump has the power to override the Security Council’s advice.

HuffPost UK by George Bowden Oct. 21st 2017 14H47
21 October 2017, 3:45
A new report alleges that several 2011 transactions at the Congo-based BGFIBank DRC involved companies that had been linked to Kassim Tajideen—a Lebanese-Belgian businessman who was designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

VIDEO. DR Congo bank helped Hezbollah company avoid US sanction
Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo sits in the chair reserved for heads of state before addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - RC1C411AA540

DR Congo bank helped Hezbollah company avoid US sanction
Kassim Tajideen

EXCLUSIVE – One of the most prominent banks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may have been diverting assets to enable financiers of terrorism avoid U.S. sanctions, an explosive new report says.

The report, entitled “The Terrorists’ Treasury,” was published Monday by The Sentry, an initiative of actor George Clooney and human rights activist John Prendergast. It raises red flags about several transactions in 2011 at BGFIBank DRC, a bank operated by the brother of Congo President Joseph Kabila.

The Sentry alleges that the transactions involved companies with links to Kassim Tajideen — a Lebanese-Belgian businessman who was added to the U.S. government’s sanction list in 2009 for his support of the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

The nonprofit says the transactions took place despite warnings from bank employees who said they might violate the U.S. sanctions. The transactions showed that BGFIBank had made wire transfers on behalf of several subsidiaries of a Tajideen company, Congo Futur, which had accounts at the bank, and was also on the U.S. sanctions list.

The Sentry investigators say they became aware of the transactions as they were investigating separate allegations that BGFIBank had been used to divert public funds, including millions in withdrawals by Congo’s electoral commission.

DR Congo bank helped Hezbollah company avoid US sanction
Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where both Congo Futur and BGFIBank DRC are headquartered. (M. Torres/iStock)

“We started off looking at BGFIBank DRC because of numerous reports that the bank had been implicated in suspect transactions involving Congolese state institutions and assets,” J.R. Mailey, Investigations Director for The Sentry, told Fox News. “What our investigation revealed what jarring but perhaps not entirely unexpected -- the same banks used by kleptocratic governments to divert state assets can also be used by terrorist financiers to move money.”

According to The Sentry report, an eagle-eyed BGFI employee first noticed the transactions in June of 2011. That employee alerted others at the bank to the transactions which involved transfers in U.S. dollar denominations to several companies. Several weeks later, the employee tied the companies to Congo Futur and recommended that the bank discontinue further transactions with those firms because of the U.S. sanctions against Congo Futur.

Other employee then discussed their concerns about the transactions in writing with BGFIBank higher-ups, according to the report.

DR Congo bank helped Hezbollah company avoid US sanction
BGFIBank DRC is headed up by Zoe Kabila (pictured left with Janet Kabila her sister) the brother of DRC President Joseph Kabila Kabange. The Sentry originally was investigating the bank for separate allegations that the banking institution had been used to divert public funds, including millions in withdrawals by Congo’s electoral commission. (Reuters)

But despite those warnings and concerns, BGFIBank continued to process the transactions and even took it one step further when they made a request to the U.S. Treasury to unblock a transaction that was put on hold for compliance reasons by another bank, the report says.

“We have seen documents showing that the transactions continued for several more months,” Mailey said. “After other financial institutions began to block Congo Futur-linked transfers initiated by BGFIBank DRC in mid-2011, the bank went so far as to request to the OFAC [U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control] to unblock these transactions. The Sentry has not seen any documents indicating that BGFIBank DRC processed any transactions for companies linked to Congo Futur or Kassim Tajideen in 2012 or after.”

But he said there is evidence that the bank continued to communicate with at least one subsidiary of Congo Futur as recently as March 2016.

A BGFIBank spokeswoman says the allegations against the bank were politically motivated and false.

“This allegation was made nearly a year ago,” the spokeswoman told Fox News in an e-mailed statement. “It was one of many highly personal and political attacks by a former employee.”

The spokeswoman said BGFIBank is an established international bank with branches in 12 countries, including France, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal and that is independently audited by accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte.

“The Bank takes its compliance responsibilities very seriously,” the spokeswoman said. “Our compliance procedures have also been reinforced with the constant technological support of our reach of correspondent bankers based in the United States of America as well as Europe. Therefore, the bank formally rejects this allegation and all other negative allegations from this source.”

This is something that the U.S. can stop completely.
- J.R. Mailey

In March, Tajideen was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in Washington with fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and violating global terrorism sanctions. It’s alleged that he evaded the sanctions imposed on him because of his financial support of Hezbollah.

His arrest was part of “Project Cassandra,” a Drug Enforcement Administration two-year probe targeting Hezbollah’s global support network.

“Because of his support for Hezbollah, a major international terrorist group, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Kassim Tajideen in 2009 that barred him from doing business with U.S. individuals and companies,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in announcing Tajideen’s arrest.

“Those sanctions are a powerful tool in our efforts to combat terrorists and those who would support them,” he said. “Indeed, the sanctions posed such a significant threat to Tajideen’s extensive business interests that he allegedly went to great lengths to evade them by hiding his identity from the U.S. entities he did business with, and from the government agencies responsible for enforcing the sanctions.”

DR Congo bank helped Hezbollah company avoid US sanction
Marriage of Ruwez Mtwale and Zoe Kabila CEO of BGFIBank

The indictment accused Tajideen of concealing his activities to the Treasury on three separate occasions in 2010, 2012 and 2014, according to The Washington Post.

Last November, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department was looking into whether a U.S.-based company had tried to mask sales of wheat-flour to firms that were linked to Tajideen.

Tajideen has pleaded not guilty.

The Sentry’s Mailey says his team did not go out looking for sanction-busting, but the discovery has serious implications.

“Even a Lebanese terrorist financier operating in Africa was making transactions using the U.S. dollar,” he said. “That shows the might of our currency.

“This is not an immovable object,” Mailey said. “This is something that the U.S. can stop completely.”

By Perry Chiaramonte, Fox News
Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @perrych
21 October 2017, 2:57
Islamic State-loyal group calls for people to join the jihad in the Congo
Logo of the “City of Monotheism and Monotheists” group

A recently emerged video shared on various Islamic State channels appears to show jihadists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) calling on people to join them in the fighting there. The video, which is very low quality and grainy, is undated and cannot be independently verified by FDD’s Long War Journal.

In the video, a group calling itself “The City of Monotheism and Monotheists (MTM)” is shown grouped together in a jungle. It is unclear where the group might be based, however, the DRC’s North Kivu province near the Ugandan border has been the flashpoint of Islamist violence for the last 20 years.

An Arabic-speaking militant is then shown speaking to the camera where he calls on those “in Dar al Kufr [Abode of Apostasy] to migrate to Dar al Jihad, Dar al Qitl [Abode of Fighting], and Dar al Eman [Abode of Faith].” He continues by saying that “this is Dar al Islam” and that “I swear to God that this is Dar al Islam of the Islamic State in Central Africa.” He ends his speech by again calling on people to migrate to the DRC and join them and that “here we are Emigrants and Helpers fighting in the path of God…I swear to God that here [we] are in the Jihad.”

MTM, as shown in the video, appears to be a small unit that contains at least one non-Congolese militant. At least three child fighters are also seen in the video. The group claims to be loyal to the Islamic State and the video has made its rounds in Islamic State-affiliated social media accounts. No official statement has been made by the Islamic State on any bayah statement or otherwise on the Congo.

This group is likely minor and does not pose a major Islamic State threat in the Congo. Most of DRC’s Islamist violence is perpetrated by the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The ADF is purported to have links to al Qaeda’s Shabaab and other African jihadist groups, while its leader allegedly met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan in the early 90s.

That said, some have cast doubt on the relationship between ADF and other African jihadists. Claims of cooperation have been made by DRC and Ugandan officials, which is often difficult to independently verify.

However, the video’s significance among Islamic State channels and supporters represents a current trend of attempting to show victories or expansion despite major setbacks in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. It remains to be seen how well this call to join the jihad in the DRC will go over for the apparently nascent Islamic State-loyal group.

Screenshots from the video showing the Arabic speaker and child fighters:

BY CALEB WEISS | October 15th, 2017 | | @Weissenberg7
Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.
21 October 2017, 2:13
VIDEO. These are the world's most expensive places to buy food

DR Congo : Among world's most expensive places to buy a meal
Income inequality: Hunger down the block from wealth

In some parts of the world, a single plate of food can eat up more than an entire day's earnings.
That's according to a new joint study by the United Nations' World Food Programme and credit card company Mastercard, which lays bare the real cost of feeding yourself around the world. In some countries, buying a meal can cost the local equivalent of hundreds of U.S. dollars, the research says.
In the state of New York, for example, a simple serving of food like rice over beans costs $1.20 -- an estimated 0.6% of the average daily income there. Compare that with the situation in South Sudan, where the same dish would set someone back 1½ days of income.
That's the equivalent of a New Yorker having to shell out $322. For rice and beans.

Here are the world's five most expensive places to buy a meal, based on people's average daily incomes, according to the study:
    1. South Sudan: $321.70, relative to New York purchasing power (155% of South Sudan's average daily income)
    2. Nigeria: $200.32, in New York terms (121% of Nigeria's average daily income)
    3. Deir Ezzor, Syria: $190.11, in New York terms (115% of Syria's average daily income)
    4. Malawi: $94.43, in New York terms (45% of Malawi's average daily income)
    5. Democratic Republic of Congo: $82.10, in New York terms (40% of the Congo's average daily income)

Researchers said they wanted to "highlight some of the real reasons countries often end up in a vicious cycle of poverty, such as conflict and insecurity."
As of March, more than 20 million people across four war-ravaged regions -- South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and northeast Nigeria -- faced starvation and famine, according to the U.N.

The new food study is "a stark reminder of how conflict can create cruel inequalities in terms of access to food," said World Food Programme executive director David Beasley.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong)
First published October 16, 2017: 5:32 AM ET by Michelle Toh
20 September 2017, 20:04
British tourist chased by Nepalese woman hurling rocks after complaining about paying £1 for cup of tea
'You English people are rich. Why bargain?'

Nepalese woman chased British tourist with a plank of wood

A British tourist was chased along a mountain path by an angry local in Nepal, after she complained about the price of a cup of tea.

Gemma Wilson, 35, was trekking along the Annapurna Circuit with her teenage stepson when they stopped to buy refreshments at a tea house.

Ms Wilson complained to the shop owner after being told a black tea would cost 150 rupees (£1), insisting she normally paid less.

“I always ask how much something is first before buying and for some reason I didn't this time. I had always paid 50 rupee for black tea,” Ms Wilson told the Mirror.

“When I got up to pay she told it was 150 rupee. I asked her again and she repeated it, so I got the money out and paid her, but I said to her it was seriously pricey.”

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the majority of its citizens surviving on less than 75p a day.

When Ms Wilson and her stepson left the tea shop, they stopped to take photos of the sign outside.

Nepalese woman chased British tourist with a plank of wood

The owner spotted the pair taking pictures and ran towards them, calling Ms Wilson a “b***h” and attempting to hit her with a plank of wood.

The incident was caught on camera.

As Ms Wilson and her stepson walked away, the woman chased them along the path throwing stones.

“You English people are rich. Why bargain?” she can be heard saying.

Ms Wilson said she was left unharmed, with the exception of a bruise on her hand.

“I was just begging her to leave us alone,” Ms Wilson said.

“I knew fighting back was a really bad idea because had I gone over the edge it is highly likely I would have died.”


Lydia Smith 10h45 20/09/2017
The Independent Online
15 September 2017, 19:33
VIDEO. Atmospheric physics. Battling rumours of death beams and mind control, an ionosphere research facility in Alaska finally brings science to the fore. Sharon Weinberger reports.

VIDEO. GLOBAL WARMING : Heating up the heavens & artificial clouds

It's a Strangelovian scenario that only the Pentagon could dream up: North Korea, in the throes of a military coup, launches a nuclear weapon that explodes 120 kilometres above the Earth. The blast fills the atmosphere with 'killer' electrons that would within days knock out the electronics of all satellites in low-Earth orbit. It would cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage, and affect military, civilian and commercial space assets.

If this doomsday scenario sounds outlandish, then the possible response may sound even more improbable: injecting radio waves into the atmosphere to force these energetic electrons out of orbit. Yet this is exactly what the US Department of Defense is looking at in a major ionospheric research facility in Alaska.

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) has been entwined with controversy since its birth. Originally envisioned as a way to facilitate communications with nuclear-armed submarines, HAARP took almost two decades to build and has incurred around US$250 million in construction and operating costs. It consists of 360 radio transmitters and 180 antennas, and covers some 14 hectares near the town of Gakona about 250 kilometres northeast of Anchorage.

VIDEO. GLOBAL WARMING : Heating up the heavens & artificial cloudsThe HAARP facility includes 180 antennas.E. KENNEDY/NAVAL RES. LAB.

With 3.6 megawatts of power at its command, HAARP is the most powerful ionospheric heater in the world. At its heart is a phased-array radar that emits radio waves that are partially absorbed between 100 kilometres and 350 kilometres in altitude, accelerating electrons there and 'heating' the ionosphere (see graphic, right). In effect, HAARP allows scientists to turn the ionosphere, the uppermost and one of the least understood regions of the atmosphere, into a natural laboratory.

It is one of several ionospheric heaters scattered around the world. The facilities create unique opportunities to study the fundamental physics behind how plasma and electromagnetic waves interact. Researchers have already used HAARP to create an artificial aurora and otherwise study the basic physics of how charged particles behave in the ionosphere.

Experiments have been ongoing for several years, but the facility didn't reach full power until last June. As yet it may be too early to assess whether its research potential has been worth the time and money invested in it, particularly given the ever-changing justifications for building it. The facility, which has been passed around varying military agencies, including the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is perhaps the only research facility that has had to justify itself as being neither a death beam aimed at Russia nor a mind-control device. So prevalent are the conspiracy theories that HAARP has even been referred to in a Tom Clancy novel, in which a fictional facility is used to induce mass psychosis in a Chinese village. In fact, HAARP is a unique case of cold war-era military goals meshing with scientific research, and then maintaining that linkage even after the end of the war. If the conspiracy theories surrounding HAARP draw on fantastical ideas of death beams, then the real history of the facility is almost as colourful.

Death beams and submarines

HAARP traces its origins back to cold war-era concerns over nuclear annihilation, when US and Soviet submarines prowled the deep seas, engaged in an elaborate game of hide and seek. By staying underwater, the submarines avoided detection, but they also couldn't communicate well — the deeper they went, the weaker the contact signal became. Then, in 1958, Nicholas Christofilos, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, proposed using extremely low frequency (ELF) waves to communicate with submarines underwater. His idea, adopted as Project Sanguine, eventually led to the development of operational facilities in Michigan and Wisconsin. But these were mired in controversy. They were huge — needing 135 kilometres of antenna wire to transmit the signal — and many took exception to their goals and to the possible detrimental effects on the health of people living nearby. The Navy eventually closed them down in 2004, saying that they were no longer needed.

VIDEO. GLOBAL WARMING : Heating up the heavens & artificial clouds

Another approach to ELF submarine communication was to take advantage of electrojets — currents of charged particles that flow through the ionosphere and could act as a virtual antennas, transmitting messages to submarines. Once this idea was proven experimentally1 in the mid-1980s, physicist Dennis Papadopoulos, then of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, began trying to drum up support for a new facility.

At the time the Pentagon was shutting down over-the-horizon radar sites that had been designed to detect Soviet bombers attacking the United States — including one in Gakona, an ideal location because it is underneath an electrojet. So Papadopoulos, who is now at the University of Maryland in College Park and has served as a scientific adviser for HAARP since the project's inception, argued for building an ionospheric heater there. The facility would help the Navy to study ELF waves, it would provide scientists with an ionospheric heater and it would guarantee continued life for the military site in Alaska, something that Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens, famous for steering congressional dollars to his home state, also liked. “That,” says Papadopoulos, “was the genesis.”

Scientists want to better understand the processes involved in creating auroras.

VIDEO. GLOBAL WARMING : Heating up the heavens & artificial cloudsBut even before construction began, people started to speculate about what the facility could be used for and why it was being built. In a news conference in 1990, Stevens talked about bringing energy from the aurora borealis “down to Earth so it could be used” to solve the world's energy crises, earning him the mockery of physicists. Others such as Nick Begich, the son of another Alaskan lawmaker, began claiming that HAARP was really intended as a missile defence weapon. According to Papadopoulos, these claims, although far-fetched, were based on a sliver of truth: Bernard Eastlund, a consultant to one of the firms building HAARP, had filed a series of patents making extraordinary claims that HAARP-like technology could be used as a defence shield by transforming natural gas into microwaves, which would knock out incoming Soviet missiles. The idea, jokingly dubbed the “killer shield”, was even reviewed by the JASON defence advisory group, but was dismissed as “nonsense”, according to Papadopoulos.

From annihilation to defence

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, submarine communications no longer seemed as crucial, and HAARP needed a new raison d'être. Supporters proposed new tactics, such as studying ELF waves' ability to map out underground bunkers like those found in North Korea, a goal that quickly drew scepticism.

“Scientific research to better understand Earth's ionosphere is a worthwhile endeavour.”
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, however, the military found a new use for HAARP. In 2002, a panel headed by Anthony Tether, the director of DARPA, recommended that the facility be used to study ways to counter the effects of a high-altitude nuclear detonation, which would release energetic electrons that could cripple low-Earth satellites.

Electrons are produced naturally in this region when the solar wind, a stream of energetic particles flowing from the Sun, slams into the magnetic envelope that protects Earth. The planet has its own self-cleaning mechanism to rid itself of the particles: it eventually dumps them lower into the atmosphere through natural auroras and lightning. Scientists are now looking at whether they can accelerate this process by creating 'whistler' waves, which would kick the electrons into low enough altitudes — around 100 kilometres — where they would rain out naturally.

VIDEO. GLOBAL WARMING : Heating up the heavens & artificial cloudsNo one knows for sure whether it will work. “It is what we call a data-starved area — theory is ahead of actual observations,” says Paul Kossey, HAARP's programme manager at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. Several experiments are being done to look at this possibility. Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, for example, is involved in the One Hop Experiment, which uses HAARP to inject very-low-frequency waves into the magnetosphere to create whistlers. The investigators use a buoy and ships in the South Pacific, where the waves fall back to Earth, to measure the presence of whistler waves2.

Mitigating the radiation from an atmospheric nuclear detonation would require an entirely new facility, and the technology would be daunting. In 2006, a New Zealand-led group of scientists published a paper3 arguing that any attempt to remediate radiation could lead to worldwide blackouts of high-frequency radio waves, disrupting communications and navigation. And some say that countering such high-altitude nuclear detonations is simply unrealistic. “I think scientific research to better understand Earth's ionosphere is a worthwhile endeavour,” says Philip Coyle, a former associate director of the Livermore laboratory who served as the Pentagon's chief weapons tester during the administration of President Bill Clinton. But, he adds, they don't know how much energy they would need to flush the electrons, or how, ultimately, injecting this much energy would change the ionosphere.

In the meantime, there are plenty of straightforward science questions for HAARP to look into. The ionized part of the atmosphere has long captivated researchers, going back to the days of Nikola Tesla, who dreamed of using it to send electricity around the world. In 1933, scientists found that changing the electron density in the ionosphere could alter the propagation of radio signals4. That discovery eventually led to the development of ionospheric heaters to study these and other effects.

Bells and whistles

Radiation from solar flares is one area of interest. “These things are really important because it is the radiation coming off the Sun that is the main cause of satellite failure or potential death in human space exploration,” says Michael Kosch, the deputy head of the communication systems department at Lancaster University, UK. Other areas include looking at the processes that cause an aurora — when electrons in the magnetosphere collide with the uncharged particles of the atmosphere, creating the optical emissions often seen as brilliantly coloured lights in the night sky. One of HAARP's most cited accomplishments is the creation of the first artificial aurora visible to the naked eye5. On zapping the ionosphere, HAARP created a green aurora between 100 and 150 kilometres high — in the middle of a natural aurora. “That was something you couldn't predict,” says Michael Kelley, a physicist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who has been involved with HAARP.

GLOBAL WARMING : Heating up the heavens & artificial clouds
Scientists want to better understand the processes involved in creating auroras.B. MARTINSON/AP

Other ionospheric heaters around the world include a lower-power US facility in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, which has been offline since a flood several years ago (although plans are under way to refurbish it), and one in the Russian city of Vasilsursk, which has struggled with funding issues. HAARP's closest peer is a powerful ionospheric heater at the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) Scientific Association in northern Scandinavia. EISCAT's heater has cost roughly $24 million to build and operate to date, and was the first to create an artificial aurora, even before HAARP.

HAARP, though, has the highest power as well as the most advanced optics and diagnostic equipment. But most of all, its phased-array radar means that the signals can be steered and controlled digitally. It can also create multiple beams, which can be shaped, or changed instantaneously to sweep north, south, east and west. “I think the main thing that makes it unique is that it has a much wider frequency operating range,” adds Kosch, who has also worked extensively at EISCAT. HAARP operates between 2.8 and 10 megahertz, whereas EISCAT operates between 3.9 and 8 megahertz. “It can operate in a much lower frequency range than the one we can use here in Europe,” Kosch says.

GLOBAL WARMING : Heating up the heavens & artificial cloudsAs HAARP was only finished in 2007, scientists and Pentagon officials involved in the project concede that management issues, such as allocating time at the facility, are still in the formative stages. In fact, one of the most recent HAARP experiments is something that's not likely to show up in the scientific literature at all: an experiment done in January that involved sending radio waves to the Moon and then having amateur radio enthusiasts and a receiving antenna in New Mexico measure the reflected signals. But Papadopoulos says that the experiment was more for the amateur radio community than for scientists.

“HAARP can operate in a much lower frequency range than the one we can use here in Europe.”

At the moment, time at the facility is divided between researcher-directed work, which takes place during 'campaigns' of two to three weeks, and military needs. “It's a fairly complicated situation in which we support new researchers, and new people, by getting them involved in the campaigns, which is relatively cheap,” says Kossey. “Then of course we also fund [military] proposals and contracts that come in under broad agency announcements, in which researchers propose research that is of interest to the various organizations.”

And even though HAARP is a military-owned facility, academics say that access has not been a problem. Umran Inan, the lead scientist for the Stanford work, says that Stanford has been one of the most frequent users, with numerous graduate students and foreign scientists working at the site. “Obviously, there are security arrangements, because it's a US Department of Defense facility,” says Kosch. “I'm a foreigner — escort required — but I am already so familiar to the people there, and so familiar with the facility, that it's not really a major problem.”

HAARP's evolution may not have been straightforward, but it is, in the minds of many scientists who work there, a success. “HAARP has been a boon to science in this area, and I think the managers that run HAARP, from the very beginning, have involved the community,” says Inan. So unlike many other Department of Defense facilities that are built before there is a clear rationale, “in this case the community was involved from the very beginning, so the properties of the facilities were all defined with the involvement of the community. Now, I think it's a thriving success,” he says.

As for HAARP's original legacy, as an antenna to send signals to submarines, that era has come and gone with the end of the cold war. “The communications for submarines is not as important any more,” says Papadopoulos. “There are,” he acknowledges, “no submarines from the other side.”

Sharon Weinberger is a freelance writer in Washington DC
14 September 2017, 17:43
Serena Williams shares first picture of adorable baby girl she shares with fiancé Alexis Ohanian and announces her unusual name
The former Wimbledon Women's champion welcomed her first child earlier this month

VIDEO. Serena has shared the first picture of her baby

VIDEO. Serena has shared the first picture of her baby
Serena and Alexis announced the pregnancy back in April on her Snapchat, with a snap of the nine-time Wimbledon champion showing off her bump in a swimsuit (Image: Internet Unknown)

Serena Williams has shared the first picture of her baby girl.

Taking to Instagram stories, the tennis champ shared an adorable video of her newborn.

And she announced her unusual choice of name for her firstborn - Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Sharing the video, the new mum wrote: "Hello, world. Baby girl Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

VIDEO. Serena has shared the first picture of her baby
"Born: September 1, 2017. Weight: 6lb 14oz. Grand slam titles: 1."

Serena famously won her 23rd Grand Slam at the Australian Open while pregnant, and it was soon after the milestone that she announced she was temporarily retired from competitive tennis in order to focus on the impending arrival of her baby.

Earlier this month, Beyonce was one of the first celebrities to congratulate Serena after she gave birth to her first child.

The news was broken by WPBF-25 news producer Chris Shepherd on Twitter, with the journalist writing: "Tennis star Serena Williams gives birth to a baby girl weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces. Mom and baby doing well."

First to lead the messages of congratulations, Beyonce took to social media just hours after the happy news was announced.

The superstar singer, who welcomed her own newborn twins two months ago, shared a picture of a very pregnant Serena posing in a flowing white silk dress.

"Congratulations Serena," it simply said.

VIDEO. Serena has shared the first picture of her baby

The tennis star, who made a cameo in Beyonce's Sorry video, checked in St. Mary's Medical Center in Palm Beach, Florida, with an entire floor of the hospital reportedly being cleared in order to ensure the mother-to-be had the maximum amount of privacy possible.

Pregnant Serena Williams goes into labour as entire hospital floor cleared for arrival of first baby

Serena and fiance, 33-year-old Reddit co-founder Alexis, announced the pregnancy back in April on her Snapchat, with a snap of the nine-time Wimbledon champion showing off her bump in a swimsuit, alongside the caption: "20 weeks."

Their new-born daughter is the first child for both of them - though it's worth noting that Alexis had said he was sure their bundle of joy would be a boy.

VIDEO. Serena has shared the first picture of her baby

Serena seems to have been correct with her own predication though, as she previously told Vogue earlier on this year: "Two weeks after we found out [I was pregnant], I played the Australian Open.

"I told Alexis it has to be a girl because there I was playing in 100-degree weather, and that baby never gave me any trouble. Ride or die. Women are tough that way."

14:38, 13 SEP 2017
11 September 2017, 1:31
Make Golden Coins (really Easy)

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold with this simple trick, King Midas hates him!

Well, it's not really gold, but the results look just as cool, you could easily fool somebody into believing it's the real deal. Amaze your friends and family and maybe some cashier or bartender with these easy to make, shiny, golden coins.

This chemistry trick has been around for a long time but I haven't seen an instructable on the subject, so I decided to share my method which uses common household chemicals that can easily be obtained.

ATTENTION: This instructable deals with caustic materials and hot surfaces/objects, follow the steps under adult supervision.

Step 1: Materials


  • Copper coins (The shinier the better)
  • Zinc plate (Can be obtained from alkaline batteries)
  • White Vinegar
  • Sodium Hydroxide (aka Lye, a common drain cleaner also used to make soap)
  • Power supply
  • Plastic tray
  • Glass of water
  • Heat gun or electric stove
  • Tweezers

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

If you don't have a power supply you can use a couple of AA batteries in series.

Step 2: Choose Your Coins

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

Chose the coins you want to plate, the coins must be made out of copper or be copper plated, they also need to withstand temperatures of up to 450ºC in the case of plated coins.

If you can, choose the shiniest coins you can find, a shiny copper coin will keep being shiny after it's plated, while a dull coin will show a dull golden color. Shinier coins are also easier to clean and won't leave unplated spots due to rust or grease on the surface.

I chose some 2 and 1 Euro cent coins, 5 cent coins can also be plated but I didn't have shiny ones.

Step 3: Clean Your Coins

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

For the electroplating process to work the coins must be impeccably clean, they are first washed with regular dish soap to remove all the grease on their surfaces and then they're submerged in vinegar for a couple of minutes to remove any rust from the surface, then they're rinsed in water and transferred to a paper towel.

If your coins are very rusty you can clean them with a mix of vinegar and salt, although the final result will not be as good as with a new, shiny coin.

Step 4: Prepare Your Setup

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

Fill the plastic container with water, one tea spoon of sodium hydroxide is added per 1/4 of a liter (1 cup of water), the zinc plate is placed at one side of the container. Sodium hydroxide reacts exothermically with water, stir the solution for the first minute to dissipate the heat from the bottom.

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

Connect the positive wire of your power supply to the zinc plate, and the negative wire of the power supply to the tweezers, hold the coin with the tweezers by the rim.

Set the voltage of your power supply between 1.5 and 5 volts, more voltage will result in poor plating. The voltage will depend on the concentration of the solution and the distance from the coin to the plate, you can play around to find the voltage that works for you, any voltage in that range will work, but with lower voltages it will take more time.

Step 5: Plate Your Coins

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

With everything ready and connected submerge the coin in the sodium hydroxide solution, you'll see the coin starting to fizzle, releasing tiny bubbles. Rotate your coin around to plate it evenly.

The gases produced aren't toxic, they are oxygen and hydrogen, however, the bubbling might cause some of the solution to turn into a fine mist above the container, to avoid inhaling it, the experiment must be performed on a well ventilated area.

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

After a minute of two the coin should be fully plated, the copper color should not be visible anymore, instead, the coin should have a silvery coat.

After the coin is pulled out of the solution the potential is no longer present, so the zinc atoms in the coin will want to redissolve again into the solution, to prevent this, the coin is pulled out, rinsed in water and dried with a paper towel as quickly as possible. You can see how the zinc plating disappears if you leave the coin out of the solution while still wet for too long.

Once the coin is plated it should look like the image above. At this point you can end the process and keep your shiny silver coins, or turn them into gold with the next step.

Step 6: The Golden Touch

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

To turn the silver color to gold we need to heat the coins at a considerable temperature, enough to melt the zinc so that it fuses with the copper, mixing their colors to create a shiny golden coin. I did this using a hot air gun set to 450ºC (840F), but you can use an electric stove, letting the coins heat up on it's surface.

Fire can be used too, but I don't recommend it, since it easily produces uneven results.

When the coin heats up to temperature you'll see the color rapidly changing, then, the coin is carefully removed with pliers or tweezers, it's very hot, so leave it to cool down for some minutes.

Turn your lame copper cents and pennies into gold

Thanks for watching, I hope you liked it

by Victor
07 September 2017, 22:17
VIDEO - Woman in labour begs her family for a caesarean on her knees before killing herself when it's refused
WARNING: DISTRESSING FOOTAGE. The woman was seen doubled over in pain just hours before her death

Girl in labour kill herself because family refused Caesarean


A heavily pregnant woman who apparently committed suicide after begging for a caesarean was seen on CCTV doubled over in pain in the final hours before her death.

The 26-year-old woman and her unborn baby died after she fell from the fifth floor of the hospital she was being treated in.

She had reportedly begged for a caesarean after the baby’s head, which was too large for a natural delivery, caused her intense pain.

But she reportedly killed herself when her family, who under Chinese law had to give permission, refused her surgery.

This video shows her hobbling around the maternity ward in the final hours before her death.

Girl in labour kill herself because family refused Caesarean
Pictured:She begs on her knees to be allowed a caesarean (Image: Peoples Daily Online)

Pregnant woman who killed herself after 'family refused her a caesarean and insisted she should "persevere"'

She is seen walking around, aided by an unknown man, and falling to the floor doubled over in pain.

At one point, she leans against a wall and looks almost ready to collapse.

She is also seen kneeling on the floor in distress as others, who appear to be her family, crowd around her.

The woman, who was reportedly 41 weeks pregnant, was unable to stand unaided and was visibly upset and in pain.

Doctors at the No 1 Hospital in the city of Yulin in Shaanxi Province, northern China, examined her and determined that she needed a caesarean as she was not able to give birth naturally because the baby’s head was too big.

But her family insisted on a natural birth and refused her the right to undergo the procedure.

Under Chinese law, family must give their permission for a woman to have a C-section.

The woman fell to her death from the window after repeatedly trying to leave the medical centre.

Her unborn foetus also died in the incident.

The woman’s medical notes read: "The pregnant woman twice walked out of the ward to tell her family that she wanted a caesarean because she could no longer bear the pain, but the family continued to insist on a natural delivery."

Girl in labour kill herself because family refused Caesarean
The woman's family would not allow the operation (Image: AsiaWire)

Police told local media that the woman’s death was being treated as a suicide.

Her death has sparked protests online with other women calling for greater reproductive rights.

One internet user commented: "Besides the pregnant woman, nobody else should have had a say."

Another noted: "A married woman isn’t a tool for producing babies, how can people still be so ignorant these days!"

14:16, 6 SEP 2017
18 August 2017, 5:32
'I thought I was going to die': Young model tells of terror as blood streamed down her face after 'raging Robert Mugabe's wife savagely beat her with an electric plug'
  • Grace Mugabe, 52, allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels, 20, at a hotel
  • Mrs Mugabe is accused of beating her with an extension cord inside hotel room
  • The young model has now relived the moment she feared 'it was the end of me'
  • Mrs Mugabe is now back in Zimbabwe despite initially telling South African police that she was willing to answer questions

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
South African Gabriella Engels, 20, described the terrifying minutes she spent cowering on her knees in a hotel in Johannesburg

A model has re-lived the moment when she feared 'it was the end of me' during a savage beating at the hands of Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe, who is facing GBH charges over the attack.

South African Gabriella Engels, 20, described the terrifying minutes she spent cowering on her knees, blood streaming down her face, as despot Robert Mugabe's second wife viciously struck her with a weighty electrical plug and chord 'with such force and energy that I never thought she was going to stop'.

The cover girl needed 14 stitches for gashes to her face and many more to her scalp after Mrs Mugabe's 'vicious unprovoked attack' in a hotel room in Johannesburg on Sunday night as she hunted for her playboy sons.

On Tuesday night it was reported that the tyrant's wife had fled justice and crossed the border back to her mansion in Harare despite her lawyers assuring South African police that she was prepared to answer questions about the assault.

A senior Zimbabwean government official said: 'Yes, she is back in the country. We don't know where this issue of assault charges is coming from.'

Devastated Gabriella, from Johannesburg, told MailOnline she was 'furious' at the thought that her attacker might never be held to account.

Eyewitnesses in the Zimbabwe capital reported seeing Mrs Mugabe's motorcade speeding from the airport a few hours after she had been due to surrender to police.

'I am scared she will never be held to account for what she did to me,' Gabriella told MailOnline from the home she shares with her mother, Debbie.

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
The 20-year-old (pictured) had been partying with Robert Mugabe Jr, 25, and Chatunga Mugabe, 21

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Alleged attack: Gabriella Engels claims Grace Mugabe beat her in a hotel room after she found the model in the company of her sons

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Mrs Mugabe (pictured) 52, who is First Lady of Zimbabwe, allegedly attacked the model at a South African hotel

'She beat me so badly, with all her power and might, I honestly thought it was the end of me.

'Her security guards and bodyguards just stood and watched that happen, I was pleading with her for mercy, I was crying out for help at the top of my voice,' she revealed.

Gabriella explained how she had been briefly introduced to one of the first lady's playboy sons by a mutual friend at the weekend, without knowing who he was.


She said: 'I had been introduced to Chatunga Mugabe, but I wasn't told his last name so had no idea who he was and barely spoke to the guy.

'On Sunday night, me and two other friends were with this mutual friend, who is also from Zimbabwe, and had not even seen the Mugabe brothers that evening, let alone been in the same room as them when this woman came in and just started attacking us.

'I had no idea who she was. She was shouting at us to tell her where her sons were, we just kept repeating that we didn't know them, that we hadn't seen them.

'But she did not listen to that and picked up an electrical cable and just started hitting us with it, including with the plug.

'One of my friends managed to run away, but me and my other friend were just pinned up against the side of the room, I was on my knees and she beat me until blood was running down my face, I could taste it.

'I thought I would fall unconscious. The power of the first blow to my head was just brutal. I thought she was never going to stop, she just kept going and going.

'The room was full of security guys, including her bodyguards. They just stood there, in silence, watching it all happen. Eventually, I managed to get out of the room and run for help.'

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Injured: The model uploaded an image of her injuries to her social media accounts

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
The model accuses Mrs Mugabe of beating her with an extension cord and leaving her with a head wound

Grace Mugabe, 52, allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Accusations: The model accuses Mrs Mugabe of beating her with an extension cord and leaving her with a head wound

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Claims: The hotel confirmed guests had been asked to leave but would not confirm whether they were Mrs Mugabe, pictured with husband Robert, and her sons

Mugabe wears jacket embellished with his face for 93rd birthday

It was only later that Gabriella learned the true identity of her notorious attacker, whose reputation for ruthless political ambition, violent outbursts and lavish spending habits as earned her the nicknames 'DisGrace' and 'the First Shopper' of Zimbabwe.

Following the alleged attack, Miss Engels tweeted a picture of a wound on her head.

She wrote on Twitter: 'What is a girl compared to a women beating you and 10+ body guards standing back leaving her to do this s***.

'She split my head open in 3 places with an extension cord and used the plug to hit me.'

Gabriella's mother, Debbie, told MailOnline: 'I am so proud of her for standing up for herself against such a powerful person.

'I am going to feel very let down if it turns out that Grace Mugabe does not face justice over what she did. When I first saw my girl covered in blood after that beating, I almost collapsed.'

Vish Naidoo, spokesman for the South African Police Service, confirmed to MailOnline that 'a female suspect' in the case made by Gabriella had been due to present herself to police for questioning at 10am this morning, after her lawyer contacted the authorities to make arrangements.

Tonight 52 year-old Mrs Mugabe's whereabouts remain unknown, although her lawyer has reportedly told police that she had not left South Africa.

'An investigation into the case will continue,' Mr Naidoo said, 'and the findings will be presented to the Senior Public Prosecutor in due course.

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Ms Engels (pictured) claim Mrs Mugabe beat her in front of more than ten bodyguards

The assault on the young model is he latest in a string of violence incidents linked to Mrs Mugabe's conduct at home and abroad.

Earlier this month, she was reportedly held briefly in Singapore after attempting to destroy camera equipment belonging to two journalists. In 2009 she was accused by British photographer Richard Jones of punching him in the face repeatedly while her bodyguards pinned him to the ground, outside a hotel in Hong Kong. On both occasions, her diplomatic immunity protected her from further investigation or criminal charges.

In Zimbabwe, which descended into political chaos under the rule of her 93 year old husband, she was accused by Human Rights Watch in May this year of ordering the harassment, assault and violent eviction of 200 families.

She is a leading candidate to succeed her ageing husband as both leader of the ruling party and head of state in Zimbabwe.

By Jane Flanagan In Cape Town for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 20:39, 15 August 2017 |

17 August 2017, 9:08
Elvis Presley's fiancee tells of chilling moment she found star slumped on the bathroom floor 40 years ago
Ginger Alden has revealed how her fiance met his tragic end in heartbreaking extract from her memoir

Ginger Alden has revealed how her fiance Elvis Presley met his tragic end
Elvis Presley's fiancee Ginger Alden has told in her own words the moment she found the King dead (Image: 2002 Credit:Topham Picturepoint)

He was the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, cherished the world over. But 40 years ago this week the reign of Elvis Aaron Presley came to a sudden end. The singer, who had sold more than 60 million albums, had suffered a fatal heart attack , aged just 42.

In the months before his death, the Jailhouse Rock legend and dad to Lisa Marie, then nine, had been struggling with a raft of health problems. His love of junk food caused his weight to hit 25 stone, and prescription drugs left him lethargic.

But few could ever imagine it would all end in tragedy in August 1977. As the world mourned, one person was closer to him than anyone in those final days – his last love, fiancee Ginger Alden.

Ginger Alden has revealed how her fiance Elvis Presley met his tragic end
Elvis died of a heart attack aged just 42 at his Graceland home (Image: Getty)

Ginger Alden has revealed how her fiance Elvis Presley met his tragic end
Ginger said her world crumbled when she found Elvis collapsed on the bathroom floor (Image: Getty)

They had fallen for each other after Ginger’s sister Terry won Miss Tennessee and was invited to Elvis’s Graceland mansion in Memphis with her family. Ten months later it was Ginger, aged 21 and looking forward to becoming the second Mrs Presley, who opened that bathroom door and found the world’s most famous man collapsed in front of her.

Now, in an extract from her personal memoirs, Ginger, 60, reveals The King’s chilling final moments…

"Just after 2pm, I awoke and walked into Elvis’s bedroom in search of him. The bathroom door was cracked open a little.

I knocked on the door and said, “Elvis?” There was no answer. Slowly opening the door, I peered in and saw Elvis on the floor. I stood paralysed.

Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position then fallen forward.


His legs were bent, the upper part of his chest and shoulders touched the ground, and his head was slightly turned to the left with his cheek resting on the floor.

His arms lay on the ground, close to his sides, palms facing upward. It was clear that, from the moment he landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved. I rushed over, bent down beside him and said, “Elvis?”

A horrible fear shot through me. His pyjama top had slid forward a little. I touched his lower back. His skin felt cool.

I gently turned his face toward me. A hint of air expelled from his nose. The tip of his tongue was clenched between his teeth and his face was blotchy.

I gently raised one eyelid. His eye was staring straight ahead and blood-red. Frantic now, I reached for the phone by the toilet and called downstairs. His dad Vernon arrived, accompanied by his partner Sandy and Elvis’s cousin Patsy. “Oh God, son, don’t die,” he pleaded.

He looked as if he might collapse.

He sat down and shouted “breathe” with the rest of us as Sandy tried giving Elvis mouth-to-mouth. Looking over my shoulder, I saw a couple of paramedics arrive and quickly moved out of their way.

Ginger Alden has revealed how her fiance Elvis Presley met his tragic end
Ginger met Elvis just ten months earlier (Image: Getty)

Ginger Alden has revealed how her fiance Elvis Presley met his tragic end
She would have been Elvis' second wife (Image: Getty)

They began CPR as Lisa suddenly appeared in the bedroom doorway. “What’s wrong with my daddy?” she asked. I didn’t want her to see her father like this. “Nothing, Lisa,” I said, turning her away.

As I watched the paramedics carry Elvis downstairs and out the front door, the reality of what was happening suddenly hit me. I began to cry as the amb­ulance sped away. I suddenly felt very alone.

It was shortly after 4pm when I turned from the window in the living room. I would later learn that this was the time Elvis’s death was announced publicly.

This day had begun with excitement and hope for Elvis and me, but ended in heartache and disbelief. At the age of 42, my fiance, Elvis Aaron Presley, was dead.

The world around me had crumbled and my heart was broken. Elvis had become my total focus. I had become so consumed by being with him, and taking care of him, that my own needs and identity had been partly steamrolled by trying to keep up with his fast-paced life and be the best partner I could be for him.

I loved him and wanted to be with him, but I also was starting to feel a little lost. For me, trying to feel at home at Graceland was like trying to feel at home in the White House. Learning how to be part of Elvis’s life was like running next to a fast-moving train, grabbing a door handle and jumping on board.

On the day he proposed, he said: “Ginger, I’ve been searching for love so long, and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would find it in my own backyard.


“I’ve been 60% happy and 40% happy, but never 100%. I’ve loved before but I’ve never been in love. Ginger, I’m asking you, will you marry me?” Elvis brought his hand out from around his back. In it was a small, green velvet box.

Nearly overcome by emotion, my voice quavered. “Yes,” I managed. Our relationship had been so intense, as if he wanted me to know almost everything about him in a short time. I felt I’d found my soulmate.

Our tranquil days and nights were occasionally interrupted, however, by Elvis’s mood swings. One night, Elvis and I were watching TV in Lisa’s bedroom when a programme came on that Elvis didn’t care for. He started making comments about it, then suddenly left the room.

He returned with a gun and shot the television. I didn’t like this behaviour, but I loved Elvis. He wanted me by his side nearly every minute. I was his primary focus, and he was mine.

Still, I often felt like I’d been transported to a foreign country where I had yet to understand the language and customs.

Getting to know the average person is one thing, but trying to understand Elvis, his job, and the many different people who surrounded and supported him, was a steep learning curve.

Ginger Alden has revealed how her fiance Elvis Presley met his tragic end
But the star struggled with weight gain and his health (Image: LFI)

Ginger Alden has revealed how her fiance Elvis Presley met his tragic end
The ring Elvis popped the question to Ginger with

The best analogy I can come up with is that Elvis at work was like a champion athlete competing in an event each day, with trainers, doctors and staff keeping him performance ready. I was concerned about his health. Elvis and I enjoyed eating similar things such as hamburgers, steak and omelettes, but I continued to notice certain foods were being brought to Elvis in larger than normal portions.

I hoped to move us toward a healthier diet, but I just didn’t know how to because he was used to getting what he wanted.

When I lost him, I lost the man who had turned my life upside down and become my friend, teacher, protector and lover; the man I’d loved deeply and planned to marry.

His funeral was a beautiful ceremony. Afterward, each row of people was instructed to file past Elvis’s casket. As I walked toward the front, I struggled to hold back tears. I had made it a point to never say goodbye to Elvis when leaving Graceland in the time we had together.

Now, looking at him for the last time, I forced myself to whisper goodbye.

My whole being – physically, emotionally and spiritually – had become intertwined with Elvis. To me, his death was no news story. It was my life being torn apart."

Adapted from Elvis and Ginger: Elvis Presley’s Fiancee and Last Love Finally Tells Her Story by Ginger Alden, published by Berkley Publishing Group.

19:48, 16 AUG 2017
16 August 2017, 3:41
Indonesia - Plastic you can drink: A solution for pollution?

Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year

Green allies – Avani Eco has allied with "Bye Bye Plastic Bags" campaigners Melati and Isabel Wijsen to lobby the Balinese government to control plastic pollution.

As of 2018, conventional plastic bags will be banned on the island.

Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year

Plastic plague – Garbage dump in Bali, Indonesia. The island has earned a reputation as a tourist paradise but has suffered with high levels of plastic pollution.

Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year

Ethical consumption – Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year, which is used to produce a wide range of products including food packaging. Photos: Turning back the tide

Balinese company seeks to fight plastic pollution through a sustainable alternative. Cassava-based product can be drunk by humans, emerging field of bioplastics is growing rapidly.

(CNN)The island of Bali is a jewel of the Indonesian archipelago, a tourist magnet known for idyllic beaches and lush forests.

Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year

Suck it up – The material is also used to produce drinking straws.

But the curse of plastic pollution threatens to make this a paradise lost, disfigured by trash-strewn shores and sprawling landfill sites.
Only China dumps more plastic in the ocean than Indonesia, and much of it washes up in Bali.
The crisis inspired local surfer and entrepreneur Kevin Kumala to find a novel solution.
"I was with a friend sitting outside a bar and we were seeing hundreds of motorcyclists wearing vinyl ponchos," he recalls. "It clicked that these disgusting, toxic ponchos would be used a few times and then discarded, but they would not decompose."
The biology graduate resolved to create a better plastic, that would leave no trace.

Laying roots

Salvation took the shape of cassava, a cheap and common root vegetable across Indonesia.
Kumala and his school friend partner studied the emerging field of bioplastics, and took inspiration from new materials based on corn and soy starch. They devised their own recipe using cassava starch, vegetable oil, and organic resins.

The resulting "100% bio-based" material was biodegradable and compostable, breaking down over a period of months on land or at sea, or instantly in hot water. Kumala claims the bioplastic leaves no trace of toxic residue, a point he demonstrates by dissolving and drinking it.
"I wanted to show this bioplastic would be so harmless to sea animals that a human could drink it," he says. "I wasn't nervous because it passed an oral toxicity test."
The entrepreneur launched a company in 2014 selling cassava-plastic ponchos. Today, Avani Eco produces four tons of material a day that is used for products including plastic bags, food packaging, and covers for hospital beds.
Avani's factory has the capacity to produce five times as much plastic, and the founders hope to push it to the limit.

Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year

Cassava plastic bag from Avani Eco.

Turning the tide

Establishing the cassava material as a competitor to traditional plastic has been an uphill struggle.
Few reliable investors have been prepared to back the venture -- although Avani recently secured funding from a private equity group for the first time.
"We want to do this on a bigger scale but it depends who gets on the bus," says Kumala.
Beyond funding, another challenge has been selling the products to businesses despite the "green premium" that makes them more expensive than conventional plastic. Kumala estimates that Avani plastic bags are around twice the price, although some products such as ponchos can be cheaper than vinyl rivals.

Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year

Cassava plastic ponchos; cheaper than some vinyl rivals.

But the company is well-placed to benefit from a movement for change in Bali. Campaigns such as "Bye Bye Plastic Bags," led by two charismatic teenage girls from the island, have raised awareness of plastic pollution and compelled the government to take action -- recently committing to ban plastic bags by 2018.
"The government is supporting us and we are working with them to create a roadmap to be plastic-free by 2018," says Kumala. "On an island like Bali it is becoming inevitable that they have to execute right away."

Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year
Donating to "Bye Bye Plastic Bags" campaigners Melati and Isabel Wijsen, who successfully lobbied the Balinese government to ban plastic bags by 2018.

Plastic prospects

Avani exemplifies the dynamism of the bioplastics industry, according to Patrick Krieger, assistant director of the Plastics Industry Association.
"One of the great things about bioplastics right now is there are always new feedstocks being explored, and what (Avani) is doing with cassava is a great innovation," he says.

Algae and shrimp shells are just two of the many emerging feedstocks, and the bioplastics industry is projected to expand rapidly.
Krieger believes much of this growth will come through replacing conventional plastic products associated with pollution, such as bags and food packaging. He adds that government preferential purchasing schemes in favor of bioplastics can help to overcome the "green premium" as a barrier to growth.

Avani Eco produces four tons of cassava bioplastic a year
Shrimp shells are among the new feedstocks being used to produce bioplastics.

But the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been sceptical of bioplastics, noting that some purportedly "biodegradable" plastics do not break down completely and leave toxic residue.

"There are no golden bullets," says Heidi Savelli, who leads a UNEP programme on marine litter. "Innovation is necessary and we should definitely work on it, but it shouldn't make us lazy. The most urgent challenge is to improve our management of plastic."
Kumala disagrees, believing that a new paradigm is necessary to halt the runaway train of plastic pollution, one that takes the emphasis away from consumers and offers a ready-made solution.

Make your own bioplastic

"The notion of reduce, re-use, recycle has always been preached, but it is crucial to complement this with the notion of 'replace,'" he says. "We are not antagonistic to reduce, re-use, recycle but it needs a mental revolution to carry out. We believe governments need to support the idea of replacing plastic."

By Kieron Monks, CNN 1709 GMT (0109 HKT) January 17, 2017
15 August 2017, 8:41
Deadpool 2 stuntwoman who died on film set identified as professional road racer Joi 'SJ' Harris. The Marvel blockbuster was reportedly her first film as a stunt driver.

Stuntwoman died on the set of Deadpool2 in a motorbike scene
Harris tragically died on the film set in Canada on Monday (Image: Facebook/ SJ Harris - Threader24 Racing)


A stuntwoman who died on the set of Deadpool 2 in a motorbike scene that went wrong has been named as Joi 'SJ' Harris.

Harris, who was believed to be the stunt double for actress Zazie Beetz who plays Domino in the film, was a professional road racer born in Brooklyn, New York.

According to her website, she was the first licensed black woman "in U.S. history to actively compete in AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) sanctioned motorcycle road racing events.”

Deadpool 2 is believed to be her first film as a stunt driver, reports TMZ.

Stuntwoman died on the set of Deadpool2 in a motorbike scene
The stuntwoman has been named as Joi 'SJ' Harris (Image: Facebook/ SJ Harris - Threader24 Racing)

Just days ago she shared a series of scenic photos on Facebook that were taken in Vancouver.

"Just taking in the sites," she wrote.

Harris had successfully completed the stunt four times in the Canadian city's Jack Poole Plaza, before disaster stuck on the fifth attempt.


Local media said Harris appeared to lose control of the motorbike, which drove off the set and through the window of a building across the street.

It was reported that the "the throttle somehow engaged" and the rider lost control while 'stood' on the motorbike.

Stuntwoman died on the set of Deadpool2 in a motorbike scene
A police officer examines the motorcycle (Image: Rex Features)

The incident is said to have occurred about 8.20am local time (4.20pm UK time) on Monday.

Police and ambulance rushed to the scene and the rider was put in an Advanced Life Support ambulance.

However, the vehicle remained at the scene for 45 minutes - and eventually left for the hospital without lights and sirens.


Stuntwoman died on the set of Deadpool2 in a motorbike scene
It was reported that the "the throttle somehow engaged" and the rider lost control while 'stood' on the motorbike (Image: Rex Features)

"Heartbroken, shocked and devastated": Ryan Reynolds says "heart pours out" to family of stuntwoman killed on Deadpool film set
Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds later took to social media to pay tribute to Harris, saying the cast and crew were "heartbroken, shocked and devastated... but recognise nothing can come close to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment."

He continued: "My heart pours out to them along with each and every person she touched in this world.''

A spokesman for 20th Century Fox commented, "We are deeply saddened by the accident that occurred on the set of Deadpool 2 this morning. Our hearts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of our crew member during this difficult time."

Harris had successfully completed the stunt four times in the Canadian city's Jack Poole Plaza, before disaster stuck on the fifth attempt (Image: Ben Miljure? @CTVNewsBen /Twitter)

The Deadpool 2 death came one month after a stuntman died on the Atlanta, Georgia set of AMC horror TV series The Walking Dead.

John Bernecker, 33, died after hitting his head during a stunt where he fell from a height of 20 feet to a concrete floor.

Separately, Tom Cruise, known for doing most of his own stunts, appeared to have been injured on the London set of his upcoming spy action movie Mission: Impossible 6.

Video emerged on Monday on celebrity news website TMZ showing Cruise, 55, trying to jump onto the roof of a high-rise building and landing hard against its wall.

Moments later Cruise, who was attached to a harness, limped off the set Representatives for Cruise and movie studio Paramount Pictures did not respond to queries about the incident or the nature of the actor's injury.

Stuntwoman died on the set of Deadpool2 in a motorbike scene

BY ZOE SHENTON 09:09, 15 AUG 2017
14 August 2017, 5:17
Horrifying Dash Cam Shows Cops Strip Woman Naked & Rape Her on the Roadside

Cops Strip African american girl Naked on the Roadside

Disturbing images from dash cam footage shows cops strip a college student nude and publicly rape her on the roadside in search of a plant.

Houston, TX — On Friday, TFTP reported that the officers responsible for the public rape of an innocent woman on the side of the road would not be charged. After hearing the news, the attorney for Charnesia Corley announced that they had dash cam video of this sexual assault and they promised to release it.

“Once the community sees this video, they’re going to be outraged, disgusted with what they see and the District Attorney’s Office stuck themselves right in the middle of this case,” Sam Cammack, Corley’s attorney said. Cammack was correct — the video is horrifying and serves as a testament to the immoral and tyrannical devastation the war on drugs leaves in its path.

“A 21-year-old African-American, female, college student, had never had any criminal history never been in trouble,” said Cammack. However, these officers couldn’t have cared less about Corley’s innocence.

As TFTP reported at the time, Corley was on her way to the store to get medicine for her sick mother in June of 2015 when she was detained by police for allegedly running a stop sign. Within minutes, this routine traffic stop turned into a waking nightmare as cops publicly raped her in search of a plant.

The incident was so horrific that the cops involved in the public rape were actually charged with official oppression. However, like most cops who get charged with a crime, this month, those charges were dropped.

As ABC 13 reports, a Harris County grand jury cleared William Strong and Ronaldine Pierre of official oppression last week. It was the second time the case against them had been presented. The first time, under the previous DA administration, a grand jury indicted the officers and former Sheriff Ron Hickman was furious.

Last week, as ABC 13 notes, the District Attorney’s Office took the cases to a second grand jury, who dismissed the charges. Court documents note the reason as “grand jury action.”

“They were already indicted and set for trial under the old administration and the new administration no bills them, finds a grand jury that will no bill them and they claim it’s based on new evidence,” Cammack said.

However, that ‘new evidence’ is nothing more than medical records the state always had, according to Cammack.

Both of the rapist deputies have kept their jobs in spite of the now dropped charges. Since they publicly raped Corley on the side of the road 2015, they’ve been collecting their paychecks.

As TFTP reported at the time, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, Strong, the deputy who pulled Corley over asked her to step out of the vehicle after “smelling what he believed to be marijuana.”

“One of the officers on the tape, he was talking to a passenger who was already in custody in the officer’s car and you could hear him telling that individual ‘Oh we are going to find something, even if we have to put our hands on her’,” said Cammack.

“They then took Miss Corley and placed both ankles behind her ears spread eagle position and started to search for something in Miss Corley’s cavity in her vaginal area,” said Cammack.

The horrifying images show cops strip Corley nude on the side of the road and publicly rape her for over ten minutes — in search of a non-existent plant.

Corley maintains that at no time did she ever consent to be raped by deputies.

“I felt like they sexually assaulted me. I really do. I felt disgusted, downgraded and humiliated,” Corley said.

According to Harris County Sheriff’s spokesperson, however, this stop was justified and the department did everything by the book. Also, the county prosecutor says nothing illegal happened either.

“No one in this office stands by the search the way it was conducted. No one condones that. No one thinks it’s appropriate. It should not have happened.

“However bad decisions, bad judgment may not rise the level of a criminal offense,” Harris County prosecutor Natasha Sinclair.

When viewing the horrific images below, ask yourself what society would think about people — if they didn’t wear a uniform and a badge — who did this to a woman. Would anyone in their right mind claim that nothing criminal happened if the perpetrators weren’t cops?

Please share this article with your friends and family to help wake them up to this very real American Horror Story.

By Matt Agorist - August 12, 2017

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