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The latest news on The Telegraph from Business Insider

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    Atomic_bombing_of_Japan

    The meteor that streaked across the skies over Russia in a blinding fireball on Friday struck Earth's atmosphere with a force about 40 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb, Nasa scientists have said.

    The 17 metre rock, said by Nasa to have a mass of 10,000 tonnes, plunged to Earth in the Urals region on Friday morning, causing shockwaves that injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of homes in an event unprecedented in modern times.

    Nasa estimate that the energy released by the meteor's impact with the atmosphere was 500 kilotonnes, around 40 times the force of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

    Divers were this morning searching the Chelyabinsk region's frozen Lake Chebarkul for a fragment of the meteorite. No fragments have been found in the region so far - despite some 20,000 rescuers and recovery workers being dispatched to help the hundreds of people injured.

    Scientists from Nasa, the US space agency, estimated that the amount of energy released from impact with the atmosphere was about 30 times greater than the nuclear bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II.

    "We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years on average," said Paul Chodas of Nasa's Near-Earth Object Program Office.

    "When you have a fireball of this size we would expect a large number of meteorites to reach the surface and in this case there were probably some large ones," he said in a statement published on the Nasa website.

    The strike brought traffic to a halt in the industrial city of Chelyabinsk as residents poured out on the streets to watch the light show before hovering for safety as a sonic boom shattered glass and set off car alarms. Most of the injuries were caused by glass.

    "We have a special team working... that is now assessing the seismic stability of buildings," Vladimir Puchkov, the Emergencies Minister, told residents as he inspected the damage in the city.

    "We will be especially careful about switching the gas back on," he said in televised remarks.

    The meteor explosion appears to be one of the most stunning cosmic events above Russia since the 1908 Tunguska Event in which a massive blast most scientists blame on an asteroid or a comet ripped through Siberia.

    The drama in Russia developed just hours before an asteroid - a space object similar to a tiny planet orbiting the sun - whizzed safely past Earth at the unprecedented distance of 17,200 miles.

    That put it closer to the ground then some distant satellites and sent off alarm bells ringing in some Russian circles about this being the time for joint global action on the space safety front.

    "Instead of fighting on Earth, people should be creating a joint system of asteroid defence," the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee chief Alexei Pushkov wrote on his Twitter account late Friday.

    "Instead of creating a (military) European space defence system, the United States should join us and China in creating the AADS - the Anti-Asteroid Defence System," the close ally of President Vladimir Putin wrote.

    The US space agency said the 2012 DA 14 asteroid's passing was "the closest-ever predicted approach to Earth for an object this large."

    Nasa estimated that a smallish asteroid such as the 2012 DA 14 flies close to Earth every 40 years on average while only hitting the planet once every 1,200 years.

    Astronomers have detected some 9,500 celestial bodies of various sizes that pass near Earth.

    Source: AFP

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    Obama sad frownIn a speech in his home city of Chicago, President Obama says "strong, stable families" can help reduce gun violence in the US.

    Mr Obama, who was raised by his mother, told an audience in his old Chicago neighborhood: "There's no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us in reducing violence than strong, stable families."

    He added that his attempts to introduce new gun control laws must be matched by more men behaving like role models who are “held up in respect” by their sons, grandsons and nephews.

    "You know, don't get me wrong, as the son of a single mom who gave everything she had to raise me with the help of grandparents I turned out OK," he continued.

    "But at the same time, I wish I had had a father who was around and involved. Loving, supportive parents, and by the way, that's all kinds of parents.

    "That includes foster parents, and that includes grandparents, extended families. It includes gay or straight parents. Those parents supporting kids, that's the single most important thing."

    Source: APTN

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    Oscar Pistorius and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

    Oscar Pistorius carried his dying girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp downstairs from the bathroom where he allegedly shot her and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in a desperate bid to save her life, according to a report in South Africa this morning.

    Miss Steenkamp, 29, an FHM covergirl, is said to have still been breathing when security guards and neighbours arrived at Pistorius' house in the early hours of St Valentine's Day, but was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived shortly afterwards.

    Sources told Beeld, the Afrikaans language newspaper, that security guards who heard the shots and rushed to the house saw the Paralympic gold medalist running down the stairs with the blonde model in his arms.

    Paramedics who arrived shortly afterwards were unable to revive her.

    She had been shot four times, in the head, chest and hand, through the bathroom door. Initial reports suggested Pistorius fired the fatal shots believing she was an intruder, although the claim has since been played down by police.

    Neighbours and security guards at the exclusive Silver Woods Country Estate, to the east of Pretoria, reported by Beeld to have heard Miss Steenkamp's last, ragged breaths.

    Blood spatters ran along the route Pistorius is said to have carried his girlfriend as he sought help, and bloody towels lay on the floor where police found her when they arrived moments later, the paper said.

    Forensic teams are still working at the luxury home of the double amputee, until this week one of South Africa's most celebrated heroes.

    They are reported to have removed the bullet-marked bathroom door as evidence. According to the paper's source, they apparently believe that Miss Steenkamp was sitting on the lavatory when she was shot.

    Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale refused to confirm or deny the claims when questioned by Beeld, saying they formed part of the police investigation.

    Annie Kruger, Pistorius' cousin, said the family were all extremely worried about him.

    "We are all very sad for him, the whole thing is terribly bad for him," she told Beeld. "We want the right things to happen (with reference to the legal process), but it feels like people are a little too hastily."

    The athlete's brother Carl thanked friends for their support on Twitter, adding: "This tragedy has changed the landscape of our lives.”

    Yesterday, Pistorius, 26, was shaking and broke down in tears as he was charged with premeditated murder at Pretoria magistrates' court. If convicted, he faces a life sentence of at least 25 years in a country with some of the most brutal prisons in the world.

    Henke Pistorius reached out to comfort his son in court, telling The Daily Telegraph that he did not believe the accusations. "We just want this over with," he said. "Until it's proven otherwise, I can't believe that this was anything but a tragic accident."

    Police said they were investigating claims that guards at Silver Woods Country Estate had gone to the house two hours before the shooting after neighbours reported a disturbance.

    Detectives were also understood to have approached Samantha Taylor, a former girlfriend of Pistorius, who told a local newspaper last year that she was "prepared to reveal what Pistorius made me go through". According to her father, she was asked by police to testify against the athlete.

    Yesterday, friends of the double-amputee made a concerted effort to defend his character.

    Jenna Edkins, a business student in Johannesburg, wrote that she had dated Pistorius "on and off" for five years. "Not once has he ever lifted a finger to me [or] made me fearful for my life," she wrote on Twitter. "People must stop jumping on the bandwagon with such hurtful allegations. Os is the loving, amazing inspirational person we know him to be."

    Her comments brought a response from Miss Taylor's sister, Kerri-Lee, who tweeted: "Jenna you are such a walk over. How can you support a guy that has taken an innocent life?"

    Pistorius kept guns in his home, including a revolver by his bed, and was a regular at a local shooting range. "He grew up with firearms and went hunting all the time," said Henke Pistorius, but he denied that his son was gun-obsessed.

    A statement released by the family said he would fight the charge against him, saying: "The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms".

    It added: "Oscar Pistorius has made history as an Olympic and Paralympic sportsman and has been an inspiration to others the world over. He has made it very clear that he would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva.

    "He would also like to express his thanks through us today for all the messages of support he has received, but as stated our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family, regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy."

    The court will reconvene next Tuesday to decide whether to grant Pistorius bail until a full trial.

    Until then, he will stay in a police cell in Pretoria, where his mental state was assessed by a psychologist. Brigadier Denise Beukes, a police spokesman, said he would receive "special visits on a regular basis".

    Miss Steenkamp's body was formally identified by a close family friend on Friday and will be flown to her home town of Port Elizabeth, where a memorial service will be held on Tuesday, according to local reports.

    Meanwhile it was confirmed that a reality television show featuring the model will be shown in South Africa as planned this weekend.

    Tropika Island of Treasure was filmed in Jamaica and shows Miss Steenkamp and other celebrities competing for a prize of £73,000.

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    Richard Branson

    Sir Richard Branson is one of the latest batch of billionaires to pledge to donate at least half their wealth to philanthropic causes.

    Twelve new signatories have added their names to the Giving Pledge initiative started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.

    Under the pledge, wealthy individuals commit to donating at least half their wealth to philanthropy and Tuesday's signatories mark the first time billionaires from outside the US have joined the initiative.

    Sir Richard, the founder of Virgin Group, said his family will invest in “entrepreneurial approaches to help make a difference in the world,” when they take their wealth out of Virgin’s airline, media and other holdings.

    “‘Stuff’ really is not what brings happiness. Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters,"said Sir Richard and his wife Joan in a letter .

    "Happily our children, who will be our principal heirs, agree with me on this."

    The couple added: "We want the value created by the Virgin Group to be used to invest in new collaborative approaches to addressing issues, where business, governments and not-for-profits join forces to create a healthy, equitable and peaceful world for future generations to enjoy."

    Members of the Giving Pledge commit to give away at least half their wealth to charitable organisations and philanthropic causes.

    The pledge was established three years ago by Mr Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, his wife Melinda and Mr Buffett. Speaking to The Telegraph last year about his philanthropic work, Mr Gates said: “Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organisation and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world.”

    Co-founder Mr Buffett is the fourth richest person on the planet with a reported worth of $53.5bn while Mr Gates has a fortune of $66.2bn. According to Forbes, Sir Richard has a net worth of $4.2bn.

    Other billionaires to sign up to the pledge on Tuesday include Russian nickel and media mogul Vladimir Potanin and India’s software magnate Azim Premji. A total of 105 families from nine countries have now signed the pledge.

    “I am excited about the conversations and ideas that will happen thanks to this impressive group of international philanthropists,” said Mr Gates.

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    british airways plane boeing 747

    British Airways is to offer cheaper fares on selected routes to passengers who travel without checked luggage.

    The airline says the fares – which will initially be offered on flights from Gatwick to Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin – will give its passengers “more choice”, and is likely to be viewed as an attempt to compete with low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

    “The surprise is not so much that BA has made this move, but that it has taken so long to do so,” said Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s Consumer Editor. “It appears to be a reaction to commercial pressure from its no-frills rivals, which quote lower headline fares because they don't include the cost of checked bags. This can make BA's fares look expensive and so less attractive by contrast.

    “BA says that the new fares are about giving it customers ‘more freedom to choose the kind of flying they want’, but they are also about giving British Airways the freedom to make its fares look cheaper.”

    He added that those passengers who do check a bag into the hold could eventually end up paying more.

    “Airfares are so variable that, within a few weeks, it will be impossible to know whether BA passengers without hold luggage are getting a better deal, or whether those who check in their bags are being charged extra,” he said.

    But Peter Simpson, director of Gatwick for British Airways, claimed that passengers who check in a bag will not be expected to pay extra to make up for those who choose the cheaper fares.

    "It is all about giving our customers more freedom to choose the kind of flying they want," he said. “Many British Airways customers at Gatwick choose not to check in a bag as they’re already taking advantage of our generous two-bag hand luggage policy. Those who still want to check in a bag will simply pay the same price they do now.”

    The new “hand baggage only fares” go on sale next Tuesday (February 26), with starting prices ranging from £39 (one-way to Amsterdam) to £69 (one-way to Turin). BA said that, depending on the route, the fares are between £9 and £15 cheaper than usual.

    The announcement by BA — which axed free meals on some flights in 2009 in a bid to cut costs — follows KLM's decision to begin charging customers who check in luggage on short-haul flights. KLM's policy will be effective from April 22.

    SEE ALSO: I Flew On The Plane That's The Unbelievable 'New Face' Of American Airlines

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    Hamburger Patty

    In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, north London butcher Chris Godfrey reveals the simplicity of his supply chain as he champions British meat.

    The discovery of horse meat in burgers and lasagnes has prompted shoppers to question to what degree they can trust what is in their supermarket food.

    While the blame for the crisis may lie with suppliers and fraud, the scandal has nonetheless shone an unflattering light on the supply chains used by supermarkets. As a result, shoppers are now asking whether the cheaper alternative is really an alternative at all.

    Speaking to the Telegraph, Chris Godfrey, butcher and owner of F Godfrey, said it was "unbelievable" that meat was sourced from outside the UK when "so much good meat" was produced with the UK.

    He queried: "Why do you have to drag animals halfway across Europe to feed our protein appetite?"

    He added that more EU regulations would not strike at the heart of the problem.

    Industrial meat production, he said, meant that most factory workers wouldn't be able to tell one type of meat from another.

    "Our meat starts on the farm, we order it, it comes through on the hoof, it's killed," he added.

    "We know exactly what it is, the sex and age, and we butcher it."

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    tim cook appleApple is releasing a malware removal tool after a number of Mac systems were infected by computer hackers.

    The admission by Apple of a widespread cyber-security breach comes the week after Facebook revealed it had been the victim of a similar attack.

    Unknown hackers infected the computers of some Apple workers when they visited a website for software developers that had been infected with malicious software. The malware had been designed to attack Mac computers.

    The same software, which infected Macs by exploiting a flaw in a version of Oracle Corp's Java software used as a plug-in on Web browsers, was used to launch the attacks against Facebook

    A site devoted to sharing information called iPhoneDevSDK has been named by website AllThingsD as a possible source of the hacks on both Apple and Facebook.

    Apple said there was no indication that any data had been taken and it was working with authorities in the US to investigate the incident.

    The California-based makers of the iPhone and iPad said in a statement: "Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers.

    "The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers. We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network.

    "There is no evidence that any data left Apple."

    It added that it was releasing an updated Java malware removal tool that would remove the malware from computers if found.

    Last week Facebook said on its security blog the company discovered that its system had been targeted in a sophisticated attack in January.

    The attack occurred when a handful of the company's employees visited a developer's compromised website, which led to malware being installed on their laptops.

    Facebook also said it has found no evidence that user data was compromised.

    Twitter , which disclosed that it had been breached earlier this month and that hackers might gave accessed some information on about 250,000 users, was hit in the same campaign, according to a person close to the investigation.

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    liborA top American regulator has suggested that Libor was often "completely made up" and that authorities could not guarantee the rate is free of fraud.

    Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, likened Libor to an estate agent trying to sell a house.

    "They are trying to reference the price of the houses in the neighbourhood [when] there have been no transactions in the neighbourhood and furthermore, the agent is not willing to share the data and is often just making it all up," he told the BBC.

    Banks have already been fined hundreds of millions for attempting to rig the Libor rate, which is a benchmark interest rate used to fix the cost of borrowing on mortgages, loans and derivatives worth more than £28 trillion globally.

    Speaking about the scandal, Mr Gensler commenting on "pervasive rigging" and said authorities could not guarantee the rate was free of fraud.

    "We have a lot more work to do," he said.

    His comments came as the Financial Services Authority - Britain's regulator - said it will publish its internal review into when it first knew about banks rigging the Libor rate within weeks.

    The watchdog told parliament's Treasury Select Committee in a written submission that the review was being conducted by its internal audit division.

    The FSA was responding to the committee's report last year on the Libor scandal.

    Members of the committee were concerned the watchdog was two years behind US regulatory authorities in starting formal probes.

    The FSA said in its submission it had worked jointly with the US authorities from 2008 onwards.

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    air india pilot raps

    An Air India pilot has angered his employers by appearing in a YouTube video rapping about poor working conditions and the carrier’s ageing flight attendants.

    In the five-minute, expletive-laden video, which has received just over 70,000 views since it was posted last week, the pilot appears in his uniform and recites lines such as “It’s been more than five months since I haven’t got paid [sic]”, and “how do I fly with women in their sixties. They call them air hostesses, we call them aunties.”

    Other include: “I am in India but not in the air, is there anyone here who’s got some extra money to spare” and “The news is everywhere that airline is in a mess, I hate to listen to that news, I hate the -------- press.”

    Despite a disclaimer - “Dear friends and fellow pilots, the following content is not meant to harm anyone’s feelings for the company. I love Air India and am very thankful to ICPA for making every effort to get us out the mess we are in [sic]. This is for all you guys…enjoy the music video” – the rap has reportedly angered the carrier’s bosses.

    A spokesman told the Times of India that the matter was being investigated and described the video as “an immature act”.

    But the majority of YouTube users appear to support the pilot. The video has received more than 1,000 "likes", while comments include "Air India should appreciate this person. He is so proud of being a part of Air India" and "Really appreciate your courage and sense of humour with all the shit happening with Air India."

    Air India, the country’s flag carrier, has struggled in recent years, losing its market share to rival airlines.

    Several bailout package have been used to prop up the airline, while pilots took part in a two-month strike last year.

    Here's the NSFW video:

    SEE ALSO:  This Gadget Will Prevent The Guy In The Row Ahead Of You From Reclining His Seat

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    xian china smogThe Chinese government has admitted for the first time that decades of reckless pollution have spawned a string of toxic "cancer villages".

    The admission by China's Environment ministry came in a five-year plan on tackling pollution.

    “In recent years, toxic and hazardous chemical pollution has caused many environmental disasters, cutting off drinking water supplies, and even leading to severe health and social problems such as ‘cancer villages’” the document says.

    Environmentalists have long campaigned for the government to recognise and help the hundreds of cancer clusters caused by poisoned soil, water or air. In 2009, Deng Fei, an investigative journalist helped to plot some of the worst-hit villages on a Google map.

    “I do think this shows a positive development,” said Ma Jun, one of China’s leading environmentalists. “The recognition of the existence of problems is the very first step and the precondition for us to really start solving these problems.”

    “Before there was always this tendency to play down or even cover up the issues. If that continues then all these problems with air, water, soil and groundwater pollution and their health impact could drag on for a long, long time.”

    The plan outlines a clampdown on the use and production of 58 types of toxic chemical.

    “The document warns that China faces a grave situation in terms of chemical pollution control, citing inadequate pollution risk control by enterprises, a lack of systematic policies to restrain the making and use of highly toxic and dangerous chemicals and authorities’ insufficient pollution monitoring and supervision capabilities,” state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.

    The plan’s publication comes amid a growing public outcry over the toll pollution is taking on public health. Cancer is now China's biggest killer, and cancer rates have surged since the beginning of China's economic miracle. One in four Chinese now die from cancer, and there has been an 80pc rise in the mortality rate from cancer over the past 30 years.

    Experts predict that lung cancer rates will continue to skyrocket because of air pollution, even if China's addiction to cigarettes is brought under control.

    Since January, repeated bouts of toxic smog in Beijing and other major cities have thrust the issue of air pollution to the top of China’s political agenda.

    This month the focus has shifted underground, with a series of local media reports on how factories are allegedly pumping huge quantities of toxic waste into groundwater supplies.

    The issue of groundwater pollution hit the headlines after Mr Deng launched an online campaign inviting internet-users to post photographs of polluted rivers near their homes.

    Mr Deng said he was “petrified” by the state of China’s waterways. “If things continue like this, we will all be doomed,” he said.

    “If the issue [of ground water pollution] is not properly solved, not only will it kill people but it will also drag down the entire healthcare system because of the number of cancer patients it causes.”

    Ma Jun, who runs the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said government officials had traditionally claimed there was insufficient scientific evidence to link “cancer clusters” and pollution.

    While more research was required to establish a clearer connection, Mr Ma said China urgently needed to follow in the footsteps of the United States and Japan by adopting “precautionary” measures.

    “We cannot just say that until all these links have been proved 100 per cent, scientifically and medically, [we do nothing].”

    Mr Ma said the government’s acknowledgment of “cancer villages” was part of an ongoing shift towards greater environmental transparency.

    “Recently the government, especially the central government, has been more open about these environmental pollution problems, much more open than before. The health impact used to be considered a highly sensitive issue because it matters to (political) stability.”

    SEE ALSO: These Photos Show Why China's Smog Problem Is Completely Out Of Control

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    FBIThe reports describe a "rash of sexting cases", include examples of employees using staff Blackberry devices to send rude texts and photos

    Confidential internal disciplinary reports obtained by a US broadcaster have detailed the lurid reasons that some agents are facing disciplinary proceedings.

    Among the misconduct recorded in the files, revealed by CNN, are that employees have bugged their bosses office, sent naked photos of themselves to co-workers, have paid for sex in a massage parlour and have dated drug dealers.

    The reports, which the FBI hopes will stop what the assistant director described as a "rash of sexting cases", include examples of employees using staff Blackberry devices to send rude texts and photos.

    "We're hoping (that) getting the message out in the quarterlies is going to teach people, as well as their supervisors... you can't do this stuff,"

    FBI assistant director Candice Will told CNN.

    "When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it's for official use. It's not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry."

    Between 2010 and 2012 the FBI disciplined 1,045 of its 36,000 employees. Eighty five of the staff were fired by the organisation. The documents detail a range of misdemeanors from the serious to the silly.

    One FBI supervisor "repeatedly committed check fraud and lacked candor under oath." One employee was involved in a drunken domestic incident where they 'refused to relinquish their weapon' to police, requiring them to physically subdue him.

    A number of officers were charged with driving under the influence, one used a stolen credit card to buy petrol and another was involved in a child pornography investigation.

    One female officer was disciplined after she  emailed a "nude photograph of herself to her ex-boyfriend's wife", and allegedly harrassed the couple, despite warnings.

    Two other employees were disciplined for sending sexually explicit messages to fellow FBI staff, one during office hours.

    The logs also descrive how one woman was sacked after lying about a relationship, "with a former boyfriend (now husband) knowing he was a drug user/dealer".

    The incidents were included in quarterly emails sent to employees to help them in "steering clear of ethical pitfalls and other violations".

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    sarah jessica parker harpersActress Sarah Jessica Parker is the latest celebrity to fall prey to heavy-handed airbrushing on the cover of Chinese 'Harper's Bazaar'.

    Sarah Jessica Parker has paid a visit to the Photoshop of horrors for her latest cover appearance.

    The Sex and the City actress stars on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar China’s March issue but appears to have had more than a little post-production work done. Her eyes are painfully piercing, cheekbones razor sharp and we’re pretty sure that’s not her real mouth.

    READ: Eva Longoria falls prey to heavy-handed Photoshop butcher

    Bizarrely, SJP is one of the few ‘older’ (we mean that purely in Hollywood land terms) that seems to being growing old gracefully and not resorting to the surgeon’s knife to banish those pesky wrinkles, making her brush with the airbrush all the more obvious.

    But Parker’s not alone, she’s just the latest in a long line of over-airbrushing victims – Eva Longoria, Demi Moore and Lady Gaga have all fallen prey, and countless models have lost limbs and an unfeasible amount of inches, so maybe SJP should count herself lucky.

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    blowThe email specifies that potential participants must be: 'Fit and well, have no past medical history and not be users of recreational drugs

    A prestigious London university has asked for volunteers to take part in an experiment where they will be required to take cocaine.

    An email sent by a professor at King's College London asks for 'healthy male volunteers, 25 – 40 years of age, to take part in a clinical study involving nasal administration of cocaine.'

    The email, which was sent on Thursday afternoon to hundreds of postgraduate and undergraduate students at the university, is in seven sections, each titled with a question.

    Under the section, 'What will happen?', the email states: 'After cocaine administration, repeated biological samples (blood, urine, hair, sweat, oral fluid) will be taken to compare and investigate how cocaine and its metabolites are spread through the human body.'

    The email specifies that potential participants must be: 'Fit and well, have no past medical history and not be users of recreational drugs.

    According to reports the project has been approved by London Westminster Research Ethics Committee and "contributes to the College's role in conducting research, and teaching research methods".

    The email also tells students: "You are under no obligation to reply to this email, however if you choose to, participation in this research is voluntary and you may withdraw at anytime."

    A spokesperson for Kings College London said today, "This is an important scientific study to investigate how cocaine and its metabolites are spread through the human body. All the relevant ethical approvals were received for this study. The study will be conducted under the highest level of medical supervision in a dedicated clinical research suite."

    The Email:

    HEALTHY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

    Who are we looking for?

    Healthy male volunteers, 25 – 40 years of age, to take part in a clinical study involving nasal administration of cocaine. Medical and dental students will not be enrolled to this study.

    What will happen?

    After cocaine administration, repeated biological samples (blood, urine, hair, sweat, oral fluid) will be taken to compare and investigate how cocaine and its metabolites are spread through the human body.

    What are the requirements?

    Potential participants must be fit and well, have no past medical history and not be users of recreational drugs. They must be happy not to cut or dye their hair for 120 days during the study follow up period.

    How long will it take?

    During the first visit we will check your suitability for the study. The second visit (main experiment) will be around thirty days later and will take most of the day. We would then like to see you 5 more times over a 90 day period so that some repeat biological samples can be taken.

    Will you benefit from taking part in this study?

    There is no direct benefit from taking part. Reasonable financial compensation will be made for your time, effort and expenses incurred from completing the study.

    Who is overseeing the study?

    The study will be supervised by the Clinical Toxicology department from St Thomas' Hospital, London. The research team includes a medical doctor (registrar or consultant) who will be present at all times.

    What now?

    All participant information will be anonymised and held confidentially. All participant information will be anonymised and held confidentially. If you are interested in taking part and would like to find more information please primarily address any enquires to the Chief Scientific Officer) at [email address deleted] were  you will be provided with a full participant information sheet.

    SEE ALSO: The Top 11 Cocaine-Using Countries In The World

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    finger print IDStudents in South Dakota are the first people to use a system to prevent fraud that not just scans your fingerprints but checks you have a pulse.

    More than 50 students and faculty members at the School of Mines and Technology in South Dakota are part of that pilot programme which uses biocryptology – biometrics and cryptology combined – to allow them to buy items at campus shops.

    Users must first set up an account in person, bringing with them identification, banking information and their index fingers.

    To buy an item, students enter their birthday, as an extra identification step, and then put their index finger into scanner, which encrypts the fingerprint and sends the data over the intranet to a secure system that checks it against their records.

    The scan goes beneath the top layers of skin to detect haemoglobin in the blood, meaning a pulse must be detected before the purchase is allowed.

    Joseph Wright, the school's associate vice president for research-economic development, said: "It's no secret that in our society, identity theft and credit card theft are huge problems. It's a huge sap on our economy combating these plagues – and they're growing."

    About half of identity thefts are committed by people stealing physical objects, such as purses and credit cards, he said.

    "What this allows you to do is get rid your credit card, get rid of your wallet, get rid of the items in your purse that could be used to identify you and make purchases or transactions, and really use your own self, your biometrics, as your authentication," Wright said.

    The system will warn users if they have insufficient funds to buy something and they will also automatically be emailed receipts showing what they have bought and how much it cost.

    The developers are planning to build in the option for users to choose an "emergency finger" to use in case of a hold-up. A scan of the middle finger, for example, could alert police that something's amiss.

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    australian cigarette pack warning

    Should a cigarette packet beat an Anish Kapoor book design at this year's Design Awards?

    Possibly the ugliest, perhaps the smallest, almost certainly among the cheapest items to be shortlisted for the prestigious Design Awards is the above olive green box (this dubious shade being least likely to make smokers part with their cash, according to market research).

    It's the only design on the annual list that doesn't even have a designer name credited. Credit goes to the Australian Government Department for Health and Ageing, who commissioned the nation-wide cigarette packet following a law passed last year, which banned cigarette suppliers from using any distinctive branding.

    It's the ultimate anti-design - the irony being that if it wins, it will become as desirable and collectible as any brand design.

    New Zealand has just announced that it will follow Australia’s example and, according to the press release, the UK is considering it too.

    At the other end of the spectrum, in the 'Graphics' category, British sculptor Anish Kapoor - the artist who perhaps more than any other sits comfortably and unabashedly on the fence between art and design (think ArcelorMittal Orbit) - is on the list.

    He's co-nominated for his collaboration with design studio Brighten the Corners for a vibrant coffee table book containing facts about the year: the ultimate luxury item, but one that feels less obviously "2013" than the cigarette packet.

    Meanwhile, other categories see a typically clever fusion of beauty, form and utility. In the Architecture category, for example, we see the macho new addition to London's skyline, The Shard, next to a modest and homely little curio museum in Istanbul, The Museum of Innocence, based on a novel of the same name by Orhan Pamuk.

    Yayoi Kusama's handbags for Dior have made the 'Fashion' category, as have the costume designs for Anna Karenina.

    The 'Product' category is surely a foregone conclusion: Heatherwick Studio's Olympic Cauldron.

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    Producer Michael Bay has announced that Megan Fox will star in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, despite the actress comparing him to Hitler.

    The feud between filmmaker Michael Bay and actress Megan Fox may have come to an end, as Bay has announced Fox is being brought "back into the family" in a blog post about the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film.

    The pair fell out while working on the Transformers film franchise. Fox appeared in the first two Transformers films, released in 2007 and 2009, but was replaced by British actress and model Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley in the third.

    Bay, who directed the films, said he was ordered to fire Fox by Transformers' producer, Steven Spielberg, after she compared Bay to Hitler in a magazine interview. Fox told Wonderland magazine: "Michael wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and so he is. He's a nightmare to work for."

    Bay said he wasn't offended by the comments, but implied a lack of professionalism on Fox's part in a later interview with GQ magazine, saying: "I'm sorry, Megan. I'm sorry I made you work twelve hours. I'm sorry that I'm making you show up on time. Movies are not always warm and fuzzy."

    Since leaving the Transformers set, Fox has appeared in a several films, including This Is 40, a sitcom starring British actor Rafe Spall. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bay and Fox have been reconciling their differences over a series of meetings and the actress decided to take a role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after seeing the film's storyboards.

    The film is currently in the casting stages, and although Fox's role hasn't been revealed, it's expected that she will play the reporter April O'Neil.

    The film will be the first time the four Turtle – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphel – have appeared in motion-capture. The film is expected to be released in 2014, with a new twist: the turtles will have an extraterrestrial origin. Bay has come under attack for the plot development from fans and cast-members of the original Nineties films.

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    machiavelli wanted_2481787bProf Stephen Milner from Manchester University discovered the historic document by accident while researching town criers and the proclamations they read out in archives in Florence.

    The 1513 proclamation, which called for the arrest of Machiavelli, eventually led to his downfall and death.

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    Cessna172 CatalinaTakeOffHis flight will be powered by five tons of discarded packaging and waste collected from rubbish dumps and – using a pioneering technique – melted down into 1,000 gallons of aviation-grade diesel.

    The 41-year-old will leave Sydney in July, flying over Asia, the Middle East and then Europe, and hoping to arrive in London six days later, after flying a single-engine Cessna 172 about 1,500 miles a day at a speed of about 115mph.

    To do this, he will have to fly for up to 15-hour stretches to reach his scheduled stops on time. He will travel at an altitude of 5,000ft – much lower than commercial airliners, which reach up to 40,000ft on long-haul flights.

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    Chemical WeaponsThey fear that nerve agents and chemical weapons held by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime could fall into terrorists’ hands if the government collapses entirely.

    Senior officers have also held talks on a range of “rogue state” contingency plans to prevent chemical, biological or nuclear weapons from being seized by terrorists, which they fear could also happen if Pakistan or North Korea’s regimes were to collapse.

    Iran, which according to one senior British source is “bent on developing nuclear weapons”, is also causing great concern to western governments.

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    samsung galaxy note 8.0The 8” Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will join the Note 2, the 5” device that has defined a new category of device.

    Launching the second quarter of the year for an as yet undisclosed price, the Note 8 will fill a gap between Samsung’s popular Note 2 and the larger Note 10.1.

    Following the success of Google’s Nexus 7 and Apple’s iPad Mini, Samsung had widely been expected to launch the new size, which runs Android Jelly Bean and features the S-Pen stylus and multi-window app support pioneered by its Samsung siblings.

    The new Galaxy Note was the original “phablet”, with a screen larger than a typical phone but smaller than a tablet.

    It was, however, defined by the S Pen stylus, allowing users to make notes and also offering handwriting recognition, and sales have surpassed original expectations. It’s various models have now sold well over 10million units.

    Simon Stanford, of Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland said, “This year, we expect tablet growth to accelerate at the same fast pace we saw last year.”

    He conceded that when it was first launched, consumers didn’t immediately understand quite what it was for, however.

    “The Galaxy Note was a completely new category of device when we launched the first one back in 2011, and it’s been extremely satisfying to watch it sell so well and grow in stature as our customers’ understanding of the category has grown,” he said.

    Samsung has also updated its ChatOn instant messaging service, and it will include FlipBoard, the news reading app, and its Smart Remote TV controller app too.

    Announcing the device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung also said it would introduce a media server called the HomeSync Cloud. The Android device will feature a 1TB storage drive to allow streaming from a single hub to multiple devices.

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