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The latest news on The Telegraph from Business Insider

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    UC Santa Barbara mass shooting mourning ceremony procession

    A man whose son was among the victims of Elliot Rodger's drive-by shooting spree killed quaked with grief and rage as he described his "lost and broken" family and the proliferation of guns he believes led to his son's death.

    "Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven irresponsible politicians and the NRA (National Rifle Association). They talk about gun rights. What about Chris's right to live? When will this insanity stop?" Richard Martinez told reporters, a day after the shootings near the University of California.

    Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez was the last of six people killed by suspect Rodger. Martinez said he talked to his son just 45 minutes before he died inside a local supermarket

    In Santa Barbara, several hundred people attended a vigil for the victims of the massacre which left seven people dead - including the gunman.

    Rodger, 22, who posted a YouTube video calmly describing how he planned to gun down young women, went on the rampage shortly afterward in the beach community of Isla Vista, near the University of California .

    He stabbed three people to death in his apartment complex on Friday night, before fatally shooting three others elsewhere in the area, according to authorities.

    The gunman then apparently shot and killed himself, officials added.

    Source: APTN

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    pope francis palestine wall west bank

    The Pope has prayed at the wall separating Jerusalem from the West Bank town of Bethlehem, in a spontaneous gesture that has surprised many.

    Pope Francis prayed in silence and pressed his forehead against the wall that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Sunday, during a visit which Palestinians claimed as affirmation of their claim to statehood.

    In an unscheduled stop during his visit to Bethlehem, the town where Christ was born, the Pope ordered his white Popemobile to stop as it passed the separation barrier built by the Israelis.

    He prayed for a few minutes at the graffiti-daubed section of the wall, beneath a watch tower manned by Israeli soldiers.

    "He got down from the Popemobile and walked up to the wall," said the Rev Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. "He remained there for some minutes, praying silently. He then touched the wall with his forehead."

    It was an unprecedented gesture which delighted Palestinians. They were also pleased that during his various addresses in Bethlehem, Francis used the term "State of Palestine".

    His decision to travel to Bethlehem by helicopter direct from Amman, where he spent the first day of his three-day visit to the Holy Land, was also interpreted by both Christian and Muslim Palestinians as tacit recognition of the fight for a Palestinian homeland.

    “The fact that he came straight from Jordan is a sign that the Pope sees Palestine as a state,” said Ilias Abdo, 59, a Christian clergyman from Bethlehem. “That was a deliberate decision — it was not by chance. This is a political visit as much as a religious one. He is hinting at recognition of an independent Palestinian state.”

    George Zaineh, 55, a Christian from Bethlehem and the leader of a Scout troop, said: “His arrival from Amman straight to Bethlehem, without going through Israel, is very symbolic for statehood. He’s showing sympathy for the Palestinian people, who are besieged by the separation wall.”

    Nayef Soboh, the Muslim owner of a kebab shop, said: “We are living under the last occupation in the world and the Pope knows that.”

    Ashraf Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said: “This is not just a religious visit but a visit by the head of state of the Vatican City State to the state of Palestine. It shows that the Vatican supports the rights of Palestinians and their pursuit of independence and sovereignty.”

    The Pope said Mass in Manger Square in the heart of Bethlehem's old town, where he was greeted by cheering crowds who waved the Vatican and Palestinian flags.

    He said Mass and delivered a homily in front of a colourful tableau depicting the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph being greeted by the three previous Popes to have visited Bethlehem — Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

    But an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman played down the pope's decision to pray at the separation barrier but accused the Palestinians of turning his visit into a "propaganda stunt" by trumpeting the fact that the pontiff has referred to the "state of Palestine", terminology Israel opposes.

    "We had expected that the pope would make a human gesture. There's nothing political here," the spokesman said, referring to the praying incident.

    "The Vatican has recognised Palestine as a state a long time ago, not that we liked at the time but it's a bit surprising that the Palestinians are making it sound as if it's something new. They are turning the visit into a whole propaganda stunt but that's what they do and the Vatican plays along with it and so be it. We will find the time to speak with the Vatican through diplomatic channels about this.

    "Rather than have a head of state and head of the Catholic church come here and give his blessings, the Palestinians are turning his visit into a compilation of political grievances."

    Additional reporting by Said Ghazali.

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    Freakonomics documentaryFor a pair of economists, Stephen J Dubner and Steven D Levitt are good company. In 2005, the American duo wrote "Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything".

    It challenged conventional wisdom by applying economics to a diverse range of subjects, including drug dealing and abortion. Their theories – legal abortion reduces crime; good parenting has a negligible effect on education – were controversial, but the book sold millions of copies.

    Their third book, Think Like a Freak, was released earlier this month and on Monday afternoon at the Hay Festival, Dubner and Levitt, revealed the tricks that can help all of us think like a freak.

    Be willing to quit

    "If you are the prime minister of a great nation which is facing possible extinction at the hands of Nazi Germany, then yes, giving up is not a good idea. For the rest of us, however, the stakes are usually not so high. So whether it’s a job or a relationship, we encourage quitting much more often than most people would.

    "There are two good reasons why people don’t quit enough. The first one is that it’s been drummed into us that we shouldn’t quit. The second one is that the cost of quitting usually comes right away and the benefits come in the future. It’s painful to tell your boss that you’re going to quit; it’s painful to tell your girlfriend that you don’t want to date her anymore and so you put it off and what really makes it hard is that, even if you really want to quit today, you always think: ‘I could stick it out and quit tomorrow.' It’s the tomorrow that really kills you. If you actually faced a deadline which says you could either quit today or never quit forever, it becomes much easier to quit."

    Put away morality and ethics

    "When you feel strong emotionally about a problem it clouds your ability to actually understand the data. Let’s say you care deeply about climate change and you’re very emotional about climate change, it’s very difficult to think about the solutions to that because you’re so tied up in the emotional side.

    "When you’ve come up with a range of possible solutions, we completely believe that you should put your morality and ethics back into it and say: ‘what’s the positive and right thing to do now that we actually understand how the world works' as opposed to jumping to conclusions before you understand.

    Listen: The Freakonomics authors talk to the Telegraph about Thomas Piketty

    Trick people

    "For all the idea that we want to do the right thing and tell others, especially publicly, that we will do the right thing, humans are complicated, and solving problems by listening to what people say they want and then doing that doesn’t necessarily work.

    "Sometimes you have to nudge or trick or knead people into making it easier for people to do the right thing because we know we don’t necessarily do the right thing by ourselves. This doesn’t make us bad, it makes us human."

    Drink cheap wine

    "I [Levitt] went to the Harvard Society of Fellows, which is this incredibly snooty, academic club in Harvard where the only obligation for three years was to show up at dinner and drink really fancy wines with really smart people. The thing was, I didn’t really value the fancy wines and their nightly budget for my own wine was $80 and I wasn't getting paid very much.

    "They were very surprised when I asked if I could be the guy who ran one of the wine-tasting sessions. I went to the wine cellar and got two very expensive wines of the same grape and went to the liquor store and bought a $6.99 version of the same grape and then poured them into four decanters. We had a blind wine tasting with all the snooty wine experts. The $6.99 bottle did just fine.

    "The most interesting thing was when I asked them to tell me which varieties of wine had been most different, the most frequent combination was the same wine from two different decanters."

    Hay Festival in Pictures

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    Vostok Battalion

    Ukraine's rebel movement was plunged into crisis on Thursday, when pro-Russian fighters backed by armoured personnel carriers seized the movement's headquarters in Donetsk and destroyed the barricades protecting it.

    The surprise move by a group called the Vostok Battalion, a heavily armed rebel unit that has been involved in fighting against the Ukrainian army, sparked speculation about an internal coup within the fractious rebel movement.

    There was also speculation that the move could have been an attempt by the leadership to purge undesirable elements with the Donetsk Peoples' Republic.

    Key rebel leaders, who were not in the building when the fighters arrived, insisted they were still in control and that they had even ordered the operation.

    "This is a police action directed against looters," a rebel source close to Alexander Borodai, the prime minister of the self-declared republic, said on Thursday afternoon. "There is no coup. Everything is under control."

    Gunmen from the battalion, which includes fighters from mainland Russia as well as Ukrainian-born volunteers, said they had acted out of disgust at the looting of a supermarket following the battle for Donetsk airport on Monday.

    "We're on the same side, we're never going back to Ukraine. We're just against lawlessness and theft," said one fighter as he picked through the chaos left behind by the building's occupiers.

    The 11-story regional administration building has been the headquarters of the Donetsk rebel movement since it was stormed and occupied by pro-Russian activists on April 6, sparking the uprising that led to the current conflict in the region.

    Since then it has been used variously as the 'republic's' government headquarters, a parliament, a hospital, a command centre, and most notoriously as a prison.

    Thursday's raid finally put an end to that occupation, with Vostok Battalion fighters evicting hundreds of pro-Russian activists from the building before bringing in bulldozers to destroy the barricades built to protect it against the police.

    In one office on the sixth floor a fridge was stocked with huge cheeses and sausages bearing the logo of the Metro supermarket, a superstore close to the airport that was reportedly raided by well-organised looters after Monday's battle brought life in the district to a standstill.

    In other offices, fighters found vast quantities of cigarettes, soft drinks, and shops own-brand socks and underwear stacked on desks and in wardrobes.

    "We were starving on the battle field for two days," said a masked fighter, as he tested the ripeness of several mangos looted from the fruit and vegetable department that were scattered on a desk in a sixth floor office.

    Access to the building had previously been tightly controlled, and the raid provided a rare opportunity to glimpse the chaotic mechanics of the pro-Russian counter revolution.

    Offices were stacked with used ashtrays, discarded food and mattresses.

    On the tenth floor several offices had been marked with the initials of the NKVD – Josef Stalin's feared secret police force, which the 'republic' appears to have attempted to revive.

    The purge came as republican leaders dropped all pretence of Russian involvement in the uprising, with rebel leaders announcing the repatriation of dozens of bodies of Russian fighters killed in Monday's battle at the airport.

    Lorries carrying the bodies of 33 Russian citizens, who were amongst dozens of rebels killed, left Donetsk for Russia on Thursday evening.

    Casualties from Monday's fighting were so heavy that fighters had to take over a refrigeration facility at a local factory when the main city morgue overflowed.

    The bodies of six fighters were laid in coffins waiting to be loaded on to the huge articulated refrigerator lorry that would carry them to the Russian border when The Daily Telegraph was granted access to the facility on Thursday.

    Workers used painted a huge red cross and the number "200"– Soviet-era military code for dead bodies in transit – on the roof and sides of the lorry, in a bid to ward off attacks by Ukrainian aircraft.

    The convoy, escorted by police, planned to carry the bodies to Rostov-on-Don, where they would be dispatched to families across Russia, rebel spokesmen organising the convoy said.

    Rebel leaders say the Russian fighters were all volunteers, not members of the regular Russian armed forces. They reiterated the hope that President Vladimir Putin would finally send troops to assist them.

    The open admission of the presence of foreign fighters marks a remarkable change of tune from the separatist leadership, which previously maintained that its forces were entirely made up of locals.

    While Donetsk was relatively calm on Thursday, fighting continued around the rebel stronghold of Slavyansk.

    In a serious loss for the Ukrainians, 14 servicemen including a general were killed when rebels downed a helicopter near the city.

    Olexander Turchynov, Ukraine's acting president told parliament rebels used a portable air defence missile to bring the down the helicopter and said Gen Volodymyr Kulchitsky was among the dead.

    A separatist spokesman had earlier told Russian news agencies that the militants had downed a Ukrainian army helicopter in a fierce battle on the southern outskirts of the rebel-controlled city.

    The unnamed spokesman said that "as a result of active military activities, several houses belonging to civilians caught fire".

    The death toll is one of the highest suffered by Ukrainian forces since the separatist insurgency first erupted in eastern Ukraine in early April.

    SEE ALSO: Chechen militants are now spreading chaos in Ukraine

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    Weight Watchers, Chip shop awardsWeightwatchers bread and cheese contain more calories than standard own brand alternatives despite claims from the company that its products aid slimming, a study has found.

    Researchers found that one in ten so-called 'low fat' foods contained the same or more calories than their standard equivalents, warning shoppers to check the labels.

    One, Asda own brand low fat Italian dressing had more fat than Asda standard Italian dressing, it was found.

    The findings are embarrassing as it follows recommendations by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence that overweight and obese people be 'prescribed' weight managment courses through Weightwatchers and Slimming World in a bid to combat the nation's obesity crisis.

    The study also found that 40% of low fat foods contained more sugar than the standard products, as it is often used as a replacement for fat to ensure taste remains acceptable.

    Sugar has been labelled as 'toxic' and some experts have called for a sugar tax to combat the obesity epidemic.

    The findings, presented at the European Congress on Obesity, were based on 62 products from four major supermarkets.

    Lead author, Dr Matthew Capehorn, of the Rotherham Institute for Obesity, Rotherham, said: "Weightwatchers was the biggest disappointment of this study.

    "People who are trying to lose weight are drawn to Weightwatchers' products, and will be even more so now that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended their programme.

    "People don't realise that their products may contain more calories than standard products.

    "It is very naughty of Weightwatchers, they advertise as helping with weight loss, you would expect them to have fewer calories.

    "We looked at Weightwatchers bread and cheese but suspect other products may be higher in calories too."

    He added that substituting sugar for fat in diet or low fat foods has been done for a long time and many people will have been fooled into buying them thinking they were improving their health, he said.

    "In 40 per cent of cases low fat meant high sugar. A lot of people are trying to demonise sugar.

    "We shouldn't be avoiding sugar altogether, we shouldn't avoid any one food group it is overall calories we need to worry about when we are trying to lose weight.

    "The take home message for people is to read the labels and don't assume that low fat or diet foods are lower in calories."

    He added that with more people shopping online it was vital the nutritional information was available to shoppers, as he said six in ten supermarkets did not provide this to online shoppers.

    The researchers looked at the nutritional content of 62 products in November from Sainsbury's, Asda, Waitrose and Tesco.

    They found that 56 low fat products had fewer calories, on average 31% fewer calories than their standard counterparts.

    A Weight Watchers spokesman said: "We strive to provide customers with high quality foods and we are constantly evolving our products to ensure this.

    "As such, we are redeveloping the Weight Watchers Thick Sliced Wholemeal Bread to ensure it is the best choice for our consumers. We believe the nutritional values quoted for Weight Watchers cheese are

    incorrect. The Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Mature Cheese Slices contain significantly lower calories and less fat per 100g than all standard Cheddar Cheese slices."

    The results showed:

    - Asda natural low fat yoghurt had more calories than Asda natural yoghurt

    - Birdseye light and crunchy breaded chicken had more calories that Birdseye crsipy chicken

    - Sainsbury's low fat custard had the same calories as Sainsbury's custard

    - Weightwatchers wholemeal thick slice bread had more calories than any own label (eg Tesco) wholemeal thick slice bread

    - Weightwatchers sliced cheese had more calories than any own brand (eg Tesco) sliced cheese

    - Benecol light spread, which saved 216 kcals/100g compared with Benecol buttery spread

    - Asda own brand low fat Italian dressing, which had more fat than the Asda own brand Italian dressing

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    jim o'neill

    Earlier this year, it was very fashionable for financial market commentators to believe that both the economic influence of so-called “emerging markets” and the case for investing in them were past their peaks.

    As the creator of the BRIC acronym to describe the importance of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and promoter of another acronym, MINT, to highlight the next group of influential emerging nations, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey, I have a big interest in this issue. Perhaps not surprisingly, I didn’t support that recent fashion.

    A few months on, the evidence has swung my way a little, helped by the relative performance of financial markets and, most recently, the exciting Indian election.

    First the markets. Many commentators were worried about the consequences of both Fed “tapering”, the term for the US central bank withdrawing some of its generous liquidity, and by the impact of the slowdown in China, the largest emerging market itself. In January, many markets performed poorly and, in the case of most emerging markets, this continued a trend that started in late spring of last year with the Fed’s increasing focus on tapering.

    Indeed, the US equity market itself declined in the first five days of January, which historically has meant a 50-50 chance of a decline for the year as a whole. This made me believe 2014 might generally be a more challenging year. It was my contention that, for the global equity market rally to continue, it would have to involve leadership from elsewhere in the world, probably Europe and/or China and/or one of the most important emerging nations.

    As we move towards the five-month market, the worries about a Chinese slowdown and its global consequences persist, as do concerns over probable Fed tapering, but the consequences are not panning out the way many pessimists feared.

    Within the BRIC equity markets, India is up more than 15pc year to date, easily leading the others, with the main index in Brazil up a modest 2pc to 3pc, Russia down about 3pc and China’s main indices slightly in the red.

    As far as the MINT markets are concerned, Indonesia is vying with India for the mantle as one of the best market performances in the world; Turkey is close behind, while Mexico and Nigeria have recorded small declines.

    Four of the MINT and BRIC markets – Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey – are part of that group dubbed the “Fragile Five”, the other being South Africa, but perhaps they should have been called the “Fabulous Five” judging by their absolute and relative performances. The bond markets and currencies of most of this group have performed similarly well too.

    So what is behind this: is it simply that the markets misread the consequences from Fed tapering and the China slowdown, or have they been wrong about the emerging markets?

    I think it is probably a combination, plus a more fundamental misreading. The idea that the developed world could start a strong, sustained economic recovery and be insulated from the emerging world seemed most unlikely to me. The recovery in the developed markets has so far been a bit stop-start, with the important exception of the UK. Japan is finding Year Two of Abenomics a lot more difficult than Year One; peripheral Europe is showing some signs of stabilisation, but not much more; the US has disappointed very high expectations.

    All of them need powerful export markets, beyond each other, to fuel a sustained recovery – as does the UK. Without this in the bigger emerging countries, it has always seemed to me that the recovery of developed countries will be vulnerable.

    As for Fed tapering, it has progressed and it looks like it will continue, but under the guidance of its doveish head, Janet Yellen, the message remains that it will be some time before interest rates rise, and when they do, they might not need to go as high as first thought. Whether this is the main reason or not, US bond markets have actually rallied so far in 2014, with yields dropping that is an unexpected outcome and possibly a major reason for the better performance of emerging markets.”

    As for the China slowdown, people seem, if anything, to be even more worried about this than they were at the start of the year. Yet it doesn’t seem to be having the negative consequences that many feared.

    There are three good reasons for this. First, the softer trend in commodity prices associated with the slower Chinese economy is helpful to some economies, including some important emerging ones, such as India and Turkey. It reduces their import bills and makes the challenge of improving their external balance less onerous.

    Secondly, as I have argued before, the China slowdown is partly, if not greatly, a consequence of Chinese policies; we should only worry if the slowdown gets out of hand or is mismanaged. While there are plenty of challenges, in my view there is no reason for excessive concerns.

    Thirdly, unless you are a commodity company or a country whose exports are completely dominated by commodity exports, I don’t see the evidence of a need to worry about China. Those focused on the Chinese consumer, especially what I call the “luxury lite” consumer, are still doing well. Take BMW and Apple for example; both are beating analyst expectations, primarily because of China sales.

    This brings me to the so-called emerging countries themselves and, in particular, India. The size of the victory for Narendra Modi and his BJP party gives his new government the platform to deliver what he claims to have delivered consistently in his own state of Gujarat, namely 10pc growth.

    I met with Modi and his close advisers nearly a year ago, and, judging by the way they responded to my ideas about boosting Indian growth, it was quite clear the markets would be really excited if they were to win with a decent majority. And this is what we have.

    It won’t be easy, given India’s complexities, but it is possible that from 2015 onwards, Indian growth can certainly recover to more than 7pc, and I wouldn’t rule out a chance of 10pc if Modi pushes through many of the reforms he would like. It is certainly possible that India could grow by more than China in the second half of this decade.

    If Modi can encourage more investment and foreign direct investment, as well as supporting a stronger framework for macro-economic governance and sticking to his real passion, “maximum governance and minimum government”, then India looks like it has its best chance for more than 30 years to positively surprise – and significantly.

    Indonesia could be heading towards a similar point if the current favoured presidential candidate, “Jokowi” as he is known, comes to the fore. He is not a member of the oligarchical families and seems keen to introduce better governance, which is as crucial to unlocking this country’s vast potential. This is partly why their markets have done so well recently.

    So what about the problems faced by emerging nations? There remain plenty of those; Russia and Turkey have some big issues to confront, not to mention Nigeria. However, in each case, not all is as negative as much western commentary claims.

    And then, of course, there is Brazil, the World Cup host – and, in coming weeks as the tournament gets under way, I will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing them.

    Jim O’Neill is chairman of the City Growth Commission and visiting research fellow at the Brussels-based think-tank Bruegel

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    human connectome project brain scanA new study in America gives hope of a breakthrough in finding a cure for Alzheimer's

    Scientists in America are hopeful of a breakthrough in curing Alzheimer’s, following a study that shows a way of bringing back the lost memories of dementia patients.

    Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have erased and successfully reactivated memories in rats, offering hope that the same can be achieved with humans.

    The study, published next month, is the first to show the ability to selectively remove a memory and then reactivate it.

    This is done by stimulating nerves in the brain at frequencies that are known to weaken and strengthen the connections between nerve cells, called synapses.

    Roberto Malinow, a professor of neurosciences and senior author of the study, said: "We can form a memory, erase that memory and we can reactivate it, at will, by applying a stimulus that selectively strengthens or weakens synaptic connections.

    "Since our work shows we can reverse the processes that weaken synapses, we could potentially counteract some of the beta amyloid's effects in Alzheimer's patients.”

    Scientists optically stimulated a group of nerves in a rat's brain that had been genetically modified to make them sensitive to light, while simultaneously delivering an electrical shock to the animal's foot.

    The rats soon learned to associate the optical nerve stimulation with pain and displayed fear behaviours when these nerves were stimulated.

    In the next stage of the experiment, the research team stimulated the same nerves with a memory-erasing, low-frequency train of optical pulses.

    These rats subsequently no longer responded to the original nerve stimulation with fear, suggesting the pain-association memory had been erased.

    The scientists found they could then re-activate the lost memory by re-stimulating the same nerves with a memory-forming, high-frequency train of optical pulses.

    These re-conditioned rats once again responded to the original stimulation with fear, even though they had not had their feet re-shocked.

    Sadegh Nabavi, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab and the study's lead author, said: "We can cause an animal to have fear and then not have fear and then to have fear again by stimulating the nerves at frequencies that strengthen or weaken the synapses.”

    A new study in America gives hope of a breakthrough in finding a cure for Alzheimer's

    Scientists in America are hopeful of a breakthrough in curing Alzheimer’s, following a study that shows a way of bringing back the lost memories of dementia patients.

    Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have erased and successfully reactivated memories in rats, offering hope that the same can be achieved with humans.

    The study, published next month, is the first to show the ability to selectively remove a memory and then reactivate it.

    This is done by stimulating nerves in the brain at frequencies that are known to weaken and strengthen the connections between nerve cells, called synapses.

    Roberto Malinow, a professor of neurosciences and senior author of the study, said: "We can form a memory, erase that memory and we can reactivate it, at will, by applying a stimulus that selectively strengthens or weakens synaptic connections.

    "Since our work shows we can reverse the processes that weaken synapses, we could potentially counteract some of the beta amyloid's effects in Alzheimer's patients.”

    Scientists optically stimulated a group of nerves in a rat's brain that had been genetically modified to make them sensitive to light, while simultaneously delivering an electrical shock to the animal's foot.

    The rats soon learned to associate the optical nerve stimulation with pain and displayed fear behaviours when these nerves were stimulated.

    In the next stage of the experiment, the research team stimulated the same nerves with a memory-erasing, low-frequency train of optical pulses.

    These rats subsequently no longer responded to the original nerve stimulation with fear, suggesting the pain-association memory had been erased.

    The scientists found they could then re-activate the lost memory by re-stimulating the same nerves with a memory-forming, high-frequency train of optical pulses.

    These re-conditioned rats once again responded to the original stimulation with fear, even though they had not had their feet re-shocked.

    Sadegh Nabavi, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab and the study's lead author, said: "We can cause an animal to have fear and then not have fear and then to have fear again by stimulating the nerves at frequencies that strengthen or weaken the synapses.”

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar World Cup trophyThe chairman of the Football Association has called for Qatar to be stripped of the World Cup if it is proven that the Gulf state’s top football official paid millions of dollars to African counterparts in the run up to the vote.

    Greg Dyke said that if the process of awarding the World Cup in 2022 was “corrupt”, it had to be “looked at again”.

    He spoke out after the discovery of emails showing that hundreds of thousands of dollars were channelled to dozens of African football officials before and after the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

    His call was echoed by one of Fifa’s vice-presidents.

    Jim Boyce, who sits as Northern Ireland’s member on the Fifa executive committee — the body responsible for awarding the World Cup — said he would be in favour of re-running the vote if the allegations, published in The Sunday Times, were proven by an independent Fifa report.

    Mohammed Bin Hammam, the former president of the Asian Football Confederation, is accused of masterminding the Qatari bid, and showering gifts and money on football officials around the world. He has been accused of channelling tens of thousands of pounds to the presidents of small football associations in Africa over several years. Many of the payments were made shortly before the Fifa vote in 2010, leading some to claim that executive committee members could have felt pressured into voting for Qatar.

    Along with the payments, football officials received all-expenses paid trips to top hotels and gifts including cars.

    Senior figures in football and politics lined up to condemn Fifa’s management of the World Cup. This year’s event opens in Brazil next week.

    Mr Boyce told Radio 5 Live that any evidence of bribery should be given to Michael Garcia, an American lawyer who has been appointed by Fifa to investigate the bidding process.

    “If Garcia’s report comes up and his recommendations are that wrongdoing happened for that vote for the 2022 World Cup, I certainly as a member of the executive [committee] would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a re-vote,” said Mr Boyce.

    “If Garcia comes up with concrete evidence and concrete evidence is given to the executive committee and to Fifa then it has to be looked at very seriously at that time, there’s no doubt about that.’

    The decision to award Qatar the World Cup has been mired in controversy, with serious concerns about its ability to host the tournament.

    The Daily Telegraph has previously disclosed that a senior Fifa official and his family were paid almost $2 million (£1.2 million) from a Qatari firm controlled by Mr Bin Hammam, shortly after the decision to award the tournament to the country.

    Lord MacDonald of River Glaven, the former director of public prosecutions, called Fifa a “cesspit” following yesterday’s disclosures and suggested that a “very serious crime” might have been committed. He added: “The fact that the allegation is that they used dollars, means that the Justice Department in Washington has jurisdiction over this… the United States of course are in the World Cup finals. If the Justice Department started to take an interest in this, I think Fifa would feel the heat very, very quickly.”

    Anna Soubry, the defence minister, said someone has to get a “serious grip” on Fifa, and Nicky Morgan, the financial secretary to the Treasury, said it was “galling” that countries that play by the rules might have lost out to “money talking”. Gary Lineker, the former England footballer, said Fifa should re-run the contest for the 2022 tournament.

    Clive Efford, the shadow sports minister, called on Mr Blatter to resign. “The question has to be asked whether anyone has any faith in a Fifa run by Sepp Blatter?” he said.

    The Qatar 2022 Bid Committee said it had always upheld the highest standard of ethics and integrity in its successful bid to host the World Cup. It said in a statement: “In regard to the latest allegations from The Sunday Times, we say again that Mohamed Bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee. As was the case with every other member of Fifa’s executive committee, our bid team had to convince Mr Bin Hammam of the merits of our bid.”

    It said it was cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation of Mr Garcia and remained totally confident that any objective inquiry would conclude it won the bid to host the World Cup fairly.

    It added: “Following today’s newspaper articles, we vehemently deny all allegations of wrongdoing. We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the integrity of Qatar’s bid and our lawyers are looking into this matter.

    “The right to host the tournament was won because it was the best bid and because it is time for the Middle East to host its first Fifa World Cup.”

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    new zeland rugby hakaIf I were Stuart Lancaster I would be showing the England players the last minutes of New Zealand’s match against Ireland last autumn.

    One mistake and the game was over. But the All Blacks did not make that mistake, and scored a stunning try to win.

    I would be saying: “If you want to understand the approach and attitude needed as a group of players in international rugby, this is it. This is what you must match.”

    I did something similar before the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 1997.

    I showed the players the last minutes of the second Test of the New Zealand v South Africa series in Pretoria in 1996 when the All Blacks took the match 33-26 for their first series victory there.

    The message was the same. They were out on their knees, but that is what it took to beat South Africa. The Lions were going to have the same attitude.

    New Zealand rugby has always been the same. The key is that every player in the country understands the game so well.

    That is why they are so difficult to beat. Sometimes you might have a better team but they might have a better understanding, and that can be crucial.

    It is why they can come back from deficits late in games, why they have won an astonishing 390 of the 512 Test they have played in their history.

    For me this goes back to how much information they share between the coaches.

    When you share knowledge, you have got a very powerful coaching base from which to work.

    You have got people working together, coordinating the development of players through the schools system, to their provincial rugby, right through to the All Blacks.

    There is a big emphasis on skill, and less on tactics, especially in the teenage years. It is a totally integrated system.

    Everyone knows where they stand in it, how the talent is nurtured, the knowledge passed on and it is very, very competitive.

    All Blacks are created by the system and environment, not just when they pull on the jersey.

    I love being there, simply because they are so open.

    John Hart, the former national coach, even let me have time with his All Blacks in 1996 when they were in South Africa when I was preparing for that Lions tour.

    I came back with a 20-page report on what our planning should look like.

    Even as a player I remember when the 1978 All Blacks played against the North of England I got invited on the team coach back to the hotel.

    I found players like Graham Mourie and Bruce Robertson so easy to speak to. They wanted to hammer you once you got over the whitewash, but off the field they were so open.

    There was so much you could take on board. It was the same when talking to Steve Hansen in 2005 during the Lions tour.

    We met for a coffee and just chatted about rugby. He was so willing to talk about what he was doing and how he was doing it. .

    So what of this series now? New Zealand will not be thinking that it will be easy.

    In the past two matches between the teams, England have done very well, winning in 2012 and only losing narrowly last year.

    The set piece was a real strength for them. They only lost control last autumn because their line-out malfunctioned in the last 15 minutes and New Zealand got possession they would not otherwise have got.

    England have now got more ball carriers than they have ever had. They are well organised in defence as well as attack. They do not panic.

    Wales beat them last year because they ended up being a bunch of individuals, trying to win on their own.

    In contrast, when they were under pressure against Ireland this year, they did not crack. They had a collective understanding, and belief.

    But if England do not get their set piece and carrying right, New Zealand, as they proved in November, will find a way.

    They will find that metre of space that others might not, and they will play at a pace that is difficult to match. England can control that pace only if they control the ball.

    New Zealand’s speed off the ball is so impressive. They are in position to attack and defend far quicker than any other team.

    That gives them an edge. Sometimes against England last year, they were three seconds quicker than England in getting into position.

    But what stands out is how good they are at the breakdown. They put a lot of pressure on the ball carrier and the player arriving. If you are loose, you will lose the ball.

    Their body angles are good and the speed at which they arrive means you have to be so technically correct.

    They are accelerating in that last metre, not decelerating. It means they can win the ball with sometimes only two players, usually a maximum of only three.

    Then, because they reposition so quickly, they have got a defensive line of 12 players. They do not go shooting out, but they have got numbers.

    If you do not make good decisions on the ball and make two or three casual passes, so that you find yourself in the outside channels having not committed the defence, you will suddenly find yourself being mugged by three defenders. T

    hat is the difference. It is why the superstar position in New Zealand is No  7.

    They have an awareness of whether to take the player or go straight for the ball.

    If they look as if they might win the ball and turn it over, they might put five in.

    But only if they think they can win it. They rarely send five in and lose it, to be left with 10 defending.

    They will keep challenging. Even when England beat them in 2012, England were desperately defending their line against a New Zealand team who looked tired and had not played that well.

    You just know that you have to get it right for the whole 80 minutes against the All Blacks.

    England must keep that in mind throughout the next three weeks.

    If they do, then the team will have taken a significant step forward.

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    sepp blatter fifa qatarThe question is no longer whether Qatar should host the World Cup; it is whether Fifa should be allowed to survive in its present form.

    The real tragedy of the news that Fifa’s decision to grant the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was driven by pervasive corruption within football’s governing body is that it is no surprise at all. Football supporters have become wearily used to the endless reports of misconduct and private greed in the organisations that control their sport.

    Sadly, then, few eyebrows will have been raised at the revelation that Mohamed bin Hammam, as a top Qatari football official, had facilitated the handing out of more than £3 million in payments to officials in football associations in Africa, the Caribbean and Oceania. As the Telegraph revealed in March, a company owned by bin Hammam had pushed £1.2 million to a Fifa official and his family; bin Hammam himself was banned from world football in 2011 after he was found to have bribed voters in his bid to become Fifa president.

    The discussion is no longer about whether or not the 2022 World Cup should still go ahead in Qatar: it cannot. [Note: Despite broad calls for a revote, FIFA has not announced any change to the 2022 Cup so far.] The original decision to put it there – a country the size of Yorkshire with summer temperatures of 122F – was so ludicrous that if the people making the decision were not corrupt, they must instead have been stupid.

    Now the conversation that needs to be had is: what should be done with Fifa? The body, led by the increasingly ridiculous Sepp Blatter – only its second president in 40 years – is clearly not fit for purpose. It seems to consider itself less a custodian of the world’s most popular game, and more a funnel for pouring fans’ money into its officials’ pockets.

    At the very least, huge, sweeping changes must be made if its credibility is to be restored. Never has the phrase “root and branch reform” been more appropriate. Indeed, if a tree were as rotten as Fifa clearly is, it would need not pruning but felling.

    SEE ALSO: 8 reasons why giving Qatar the World Cup was a huge mistake

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    Screen Shot 2014 05 30 at 3.57.09 PM

    Sudan’s foreign ministry on Sunday repudiated a pledge the government would order the release of Meriam Ibrahim, the mother sentenced to death for apostasy, warning only the country’s courts could order her freedom.

    Western nations including Britain have expressed outrage that Ms Ibrahim, who gave birth to her daughter Maya in prison last week, had been convicted of changing her faith from Islam to Christianity.

    Sudanese officials suggested late on Saturday that the 27-year-old was to be released and her death sentence is to be annulled.

    But Abu Bakr al-Sideeg, spokesman for the foreign ministry in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, said on Sunday that only the courts had such powers and foreign ministry officials would have no power over Ms Ibrahim’s case.

    “[I am] not aware that any release is imminent”, he added.

    Her husband, Daniel Wani, a biochemist, has said that he and his wife’s lawyers will continue to pursue official avenues through the courts to have the sentence and the judgment quashed.

    Mr Wani, who has dual American-Sudanese citizenship, dismissed the reports as “rumors”.

    “No Sudanese or foreign mediator contacted me. Maybe there are contacts between the Sudanese government and foreign sides that I’m not aware of,” Mr Wani told the BBC.

    “As far as I’m concerned I will wait for the appeal which my lawyer submitted and I hope that my wife will be released.”

    Manar Idriss, Sudan researcher for Amnesty International, said: “We’ve received no confirmation that Meriam is going to be released and the appeal court has yet to issue any such ruling confirming a release.”

    Ms Ibrahim’s father was a Muslim, but she was raised as a Christian by her Christian mother, and says that she has not committed apostasy because she was never a Muslim.

    Judges in Sudan’s strict courts system disagreed. Ms Ibrahim was found guilty of abandoning Islam and of adultery with a Christian man and sentenced to 100 lashes and death.

    Ms Ibrahim testified that she was raised as a Christian after her father abandoned the family when she was young.

    She produced a marriage certificate as evidence that she had not committed adultery, and called three witnesses from her eastern Sudanese home town to testify of her lifelong adherence to Christianity.

    But she was found guilty of apostasy on May 11, and given four days to convert to Islam. When she refused, she was sentenced to hang - although the judge ruled that it should not be carried out until two years after she had given birth.

    SEE ALSO: Sudan plans on executing this new mother for refusing to renounce Christianity

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    cancer patients

    A new drug has increased survival chances from advanced skin cancer seven fold and been hailed a paradigm shift in cancer therapy, it has been announced.

    The results of early tests using a drug to prompt the body's own immune system to attack the cancer has found that 74 per cent of patients were still alive after one year, compared to just ten per cent currently.

    Dr David Chao, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, said: “Pembrolizumab looks like it has potential to be a paradigm shift for cancer therapy.

    “The survival results seen in the study which are the most meaningful measures of success to doctors and patients alike, are very promising and could benefit the many patients with advanced melanoma in the UK.”

    Around 13,300 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed in the UK each year and cases have increased fivefold since the 1970s, thought to be due to the rise in sunshine package holidays and sunbeds.

    Advanced skin cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body, has a poor prognosis and currently only one in ten people live for a year after diagnosis.

    However some people have lived for two years while receiving the new treatment.

    The new drug is being evaluated for use in 30 types of cancer.

    The study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO 2014), showed three quarters of patients responded to the drug.

    The drug is an antibody that allows the body's immune system to once again 'see' the cancer as a foreign invader and so attack it.

    Several companies have begun making similar drugs and have been testing them in a variety of cancers.

    One called ipilimumab (Yervoy) is already on the market for advanced malignant melanoma and can increase average survival from six months to ten months when compared with standard treatment.

    The new drug was found to increase survival in those patients whose cancer had started growing again after treatment with ipilimumab.

    Gillian Nuttall, Founder of Melanoma UK said: “Advanced melanoma is a terrible disease with a poor prognosis.

    "Pembrolizumab represents the latest advance in a whole raft of new treatments in advanced melanoma which have come through over the past few years.

    "The pembrolizumab results are really exciting and could represent a turning point for patients affected by advanced melanoma giving them a greater chance of survival.”

    The makers, MSD, are hoping to apply for a European license by the end of the year and it has been accepted for a fast-track licensing procedure in America.

    Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: “It’s exciting to see the range of new treatments that are emerging for people with advanced melanoma. These new therapies harness the body’s own immune system to fight this cancer that has previously been so hard to treat effectively.

    “Melanoma can only grow by finding a way to escape detection by the immune system. One way it does this is by triggering a shut-off switch on immune cells when they get close to the tumor.

    "This treatment blocks the cancer cells' ability to use this switch, allowing the immune system to recognize and destroy the cancer. We are seeing a whole range of these immune treatments coming into the clinic, based upon the great progress we are making in our research into the immune system.”

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    missingplane_2929459bA British woman sailing with her husband across the Indian Ocean from India to Thailand has claimed she may have seen the missing Malaysia Airlines plane on fire.

    Katherine Tee, 41, was on night watch on March 7-8 but said she did not report the sighting until Sunday because she was having marital problems and thought she was losing her mind.

    She said recent media reports about the ailing search for MH370 prompted her and her husband, Marc Horn, to examine their GPS logs and they discovered they were within the plane’s projected flight path. The plane, carrying 239 passengers, disappeared on March 8.

    “This is what convinced me to file a report with the full track data for our voyage to the relevant authorities,” she said.

    “I looked back through our GPS logs and lo and behold, what we saw was consistent with the confirmed contact which the authorities had from MH370,” she told Thailand’s Phuket Gazette.

    Ms Tee said she saw other planes nearby and thought they would have reported the burning plane.

    “I saw something that looked like a plane on fire,” she said. “Then I thought I must be mad. It caught my attention because I had never seen a plane with orange lights before so I wondered what they were … It looked longer than planes usually do. There was what appeared to be black smoke behind it."

    “Since that’s not something you see every day, I questioned my mind. I was looking at what appeared to be an elongated plane glowing bright orange, with a trail of black smoke behind it. It did occur to me that it might be a meteorite. But I thought it was more likely that I was going insane.”

    “There were two other planes well above it — moving the other way — at the time. They had normal navigation lights. I remember thinking that if it was a plane on fire that I was seeing, the other aircraft would report it.”

    Authorities in Australia said last week they has found no wreckage in a targeted zone — based on sounds believed to have been from the plane’s black box locator beacon — and will now shift to a 12-month hunt across a broad stretch of the Indian Ocean. The next phase, which will involve private contractors, will only begin in August and will cover more than 23,000 square miles.

    “Will this help the authorities of the families get closure? I have no idea," Ms Tee said. "All I can confirm is that I have since learnt that we were in the right place at the right time, so it seems possible, but I chose to sweep it under the carpet and now I feel really bad.

    “Maybe I should have had a little more confidence in myself. I am sorry I didn’t take action sooner.”

    Adding to the uncertainty surrounding the plane’s possible final location, scientists are investigating a mysterious low-frequency underwater noise detected off the southern tip of India at about the time the missing Malaysia Airlines plane had its last satellite transmission and disappeared.

    The noise, outside the range of human hearing, reportedly travelled across the Indian Ocean and was picked up by receivers off the west coast of Australia. But its original location – about 3,000 miles north-west of Australia – would not be consistent with the current search area off the Australian coast which is based on analysis of satellite data by British firm Inmarsat.

    Alec Duncan, a marine scientist at Curtin University near Perth, said he believed the chances of the sound being from the missing Boeing 777 were about “25 to 30 per cent”.

    “It’s not even really a thump sort of a sound — it’s more of a dull oomph,” Dr Duncan told The New York Times.

    “If you ask me what’s the probability this is related to the flight, without the satellite data it’s 25 or 30 percent, but that’s certainly worth taking a very close look at.”

    The noise was picked up by a receiver operated off the coast of Perth by Dr Duncan — used mainly for monitoring whales — and another about 220 miles south of Perth by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation in Vienna. The scientists have established the direction in which the sound was travelling but not the distance it travelled, leaving a potential search area spanning more than 200,000 square miles.

    Mark Prior, an acoustics expert at the test ban organisation headquarters, told The New York Times the sound was consistent with an ocean impact or with a sealed, air-filled container sinking until it crumpled due to the water pressure.

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    honeybeeA pesticide made from spider venom has been found to kill insects without harming honeybees.

    Researchers at Newcastle University combined venom from the Australian funnel-web spider and lectin from snowdrops to create a “bio-pesticide.”

    Common neonicotinoid pesticides used on crops in Britain are believed to be behind a catastrophic decline in honeybees in recent years.

    Approximately 90 percent of the world’s plants rely on pollinating insects to survive, meaning that a decline in bees could have a devastating impact on food production.

    The new pesticide — Hv1/GNA — will allow bees to forage and pollinate without harm, scientists at Newcastle University’s School of Biology believe.

    It is thought that neonicotinoids harm honeybee populations by attacking their nerve system, which disrupts learning and memory so that they cannot locate pollen or find their way back to the hive. During the Newcastle study, bees were exposed to varying concentrations of the spider and snowdrop poison over seven days. Researchers found it did not affect the bees’ memory, even in high doses.

    Dr Geraldine Wright, of the university’s Honeybee Lab said: “If we destroy the biodiversity of pollinators then it will be irrelevant how effective our pesticides are because we won’t have any crops to protect.

    “There is now substantial evidence linking neonicotinoid pesticides to poor performance and survival in bees and what we need now is a clear directive from government to develop and introduce bee-safe alternatives.”

    There is currently a two-year Europe-wide ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, which runs out in April.

    Scientists remain divided. Previously, Prof Li Field, head of crop protection at Rothamsted Research, has said the EU ban may cause governments to overlook other factors contributing to the decline in bees, such as climate change or viruses.

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    cruise ships dock

    Cruise lines charge up to £10.50 for just half an hour's internet access. Donald Strachan examines the best and worst operators

    FAQ: What are the cheapest ways to get online while you’re relaxing on board a cruise ship?

    Donald Strachan, travel technology expert, replies
    On-board cruise Wi-Fi often uses satellite technology, and can therefore be expensive. Most cruise lines also admit that signals can occasionally be weak and browsing speeds slow. Skype and video-streaming are unlikely to work reliably. For fast, free Wi-Fi, the best advice is to follow the crew when they disembark at ports of call.

    Most major cruise operators supply Wi-Fi on a pay-as-you-browse basis, generally costing $0.65 to $0.75 (39p­44p) per minute. Prepaid bundles of online time usually work out better value. Prices are broadly similar.

    P&O Cruises (0843 374 0111; pocruises.com ) provides internet at designated hot spots. Bundles are available ranging from £10.50 for 30 minutes to £62.50 for 250 minutes of online time.

    On Norwegian Cruise Line (0845 201 8900; ncl.com ) short trips, prepaid bundles include $24 (£14.20) for one hour. Long-cruise bundle rates include $100 (£59.25) for 250 minutes. Norwegian charges internet users an initial “activation fee” of $3.95 (£2.35), as does Holland America Line (0843 374 2300; hollandamerica.co.uk ), where it also costs $100 (£59.25) for 250 minutes on board.

    Seven Royal Caribbean ships have in-cabroom Wi‑Fi, with the rest providing wireless internet via hot spots in public areas. Prepaid bundles also include $100 (£59.25) for 250 minutes. In March the company announced major investments to boost Wi-Fi speeds on two of its ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

    Celebrity Cruises (0844 493 2043; celebritycruises.co.uk ) offers five internet bundles, including 208 minutes for $100 (£59.25) and 555 minutes for $200 (£118.50).

    Cunard (0843 374 2224; cunard.co.uk ) sells three different bundles on its three Queens, including 240 minutes for $90 (£53.30).

    Arctic and Antarctic specialist Quark Expeditions (0808 120 2333; quarkexpeditions.com ) charges on the basis of traffic, with 30MB costing $50 (£29.60).

    A few lines stand out for slightly cheaper browsing packages. Fred Olsen (01473 742424; fredolsen.co.uk ) has Wi-Fi hot spots in public areas on all four of their ships. The line’s pay-as-you-go rate is 20p per minute, and passengers can buy prepaid tokens up to £50 for 300 minutes.

    Luxury yacht cruise operator Compagnie du Ponant (0800 980 4027; ponant.com ) sells bundles including 240 minutes for €60 (£48.60) and 1,000 minutes for €180 (£145.75).

    Saga Cruises (0800 096 0079; travel.saga.co.uk ) offers free Wi-Fi in public areas on both of its ships.

    From this autumn, Crystal Cruises (020 7399 7601; crystalcruises.co.uk ) will offer repeat guests 60 minutes’ free internet access a day. Standard Crystal Wi-Fi charges come in five bands, with 300 minutes for $115 (£68.30).

    The technical challenges are less severe for river and coastal cruise ships, which can access cellular Wi-Fi. This is reflected in more generous pricing. However, cellular coverage can sometimes be patchy in remote areas.

    Emerald Waterways (08081 020142; emeraldwaterways.co.uk ) reports “being asked more and more during the booking process” about Wi-Fi. Emerald provides free Wi-Fi to all passengers, and an iPad for guest use in some cabins. Viking River Cruises (0800 319 6660; vikingrivercruises.co.uk ) uses a mix of satellite and cellular technology to offer free in-cabin Wi-Fi to all passengers on its European cruises, including in Russia and Ukraine. On Viking cruises around China and south-east Asia, passengers connect using desktop computers at the on board internet cafe (also free). AmaWaterways (0808 223 5009; amawaterways.co.uk ) provides unlimited free Wi-Fi to passengers. Fjord specialist Hurtigruten (020 3582 6642; hurtigruten.co.uk ) offers free onboard Wi-Fi on its coastal routes.

    SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Cruise Lines In The World

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    Ariel_Atom_FAST_PO_2931364b


    It already holds the record for the quickest lap round the Top Gear track but now the Ariel Atom has become the world’s fastest panda car.

    Avon and Somerset police force has taken delivery of one of the 155mph cars which has been painted in the force livery and fitted with special aerodynamic blue lights.

    Able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 2.5 seconds, the £38,000 ($63,627 USD) vehicle will be used by traffic officers to deter speeding motorists and encourage motorcyclists to slow down.

    The vehicle, which looks more like a Formula One racing machine, rather than traditional road car, is thought to be the quickest police car in the world, able to outrun the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia used by Italian officers, the Audi R8 driven by German police, and the Ferrari FF used in Dubai.

    Avon and Somerset Police borrowed the Atom from local manufacturer Ariel for the summer while it promotes a new road safety campaign aimed at slowing down speeding motorcyclists.

    It is hoped the eye-catching machine will dissuade bikers from riding dangerously as it is displayed at promotional events across the south west.

    Seven motorcyclists have lost their life already this year in the area, a 30 per cent increase on this time last year.

    Andy Parsons, a Roads Policing Sergeant, who is involved in the project said: “I am really excited that Ariel has joined with us to bring Project SAFER RIDER to fruition, and I hope that the use of the Ariel PL1 with have a positive impact to promote Road Safety.

    “To be safe, rider and machine need to work in harmony. When this happens it feels immediately right. When it doesn't, things go wrong. Too many injuries and deaths are the result of rider error.”

    Simon Saunders, Director of Ariel said: “Our business is about going fast, very fast, but there is a time and a place.

    “The Atom is designed to be driven to a racetrack, where you can drive to your limits in safety and in a professional environment designed for the purpose. The road really isn't the place to explore your or your vehicle's limits.”

    Motorcyclists are currently 35 times more likely to be killed in a road collision.

    While the car, which weighs just 612kg, is capable of keeping up with many high power road bikes, there are no plans to use it in operational police duties.

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    Jeffrey EpsteinPrince Andrew’s friend may see sex abuse case reopened following appeal court ruling

    The case against Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire sex offender and close friend of the Duke of York, could be reopened following a legal victory by two of his alleged victims.

    An appeal court in the US ruled that the women, who claim they were 13 and 14 when they were abused by the convicted paedophile, could see details of a plea bargain agreed between Mr Epstein and federal prosecutors before he was jailed in 2008.

    Despite making 16 out-of-court settlements with women who said he abused them, the billionaire was convicted of a single charge of soliciting prostitution with a minor and imprisoned for 13 months.

    It later emerged that Mr Epstein had kept a “black book” detailing the names and contact details of under-age girls whom he had allegedly abused in “Michigan, California, West Palm Beach, New York, New Mexico, and Paris”, according to court papers.

    Some of the girls were introduced to him by Ghislaine Maxwell, his friend and the daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, who allegedly told them they should give him a massage. Most were paid about $200 (£119).

    There is no suggestion she was aware of his sexual interest in underage girls.

    Lawyers for the alleged victims say that Mr Epstein, who also counted President Bill Clinton and fellow billionaire Donald Trump as his friends, was given a “sweetheart deal” due to his wealth and connections.

    They hope that by seeing details of the plea bargain they will be able to bring fresh charges against the 61-year-old, who was released in 2009 and has homes in NYC, Paris, New Mexico and the Caribbean.

    The women were not told about the deal before it was agreed which, the south Florida appeals court ruled, breached a 2004 law requiring prosecutors to keep victims informed of plea bargains. They are planning to use the “treasure trove” of released documents to break it.

    Paul Cassell, a University of Utah law professor who is representing the two women, said: “Our complaint alleges that, prodded by Mr Epstein, the federal prosecutors deliberately concealed the sweetheart plea deal they made with him to avoid public criticism.”

    Both the Duke of York and President Clinton have been suggested as likely witnesses in any further proceedings. While there is no suggestion that either did anything wrong, or knew about his sexual activity with underage girls, they were friendly with Mr Epstein at the time he is alleged to have abused girls at his homes.

    Flight records show that Mr Clinton visited him on his Caribbean island of Little St James, where he is alleged to have kept underage girls as sex slaves. The Duke was at one stage photographed with Virginia Roberts, who has since said that she was one of Mr Epstein’s slaves, with Miss Maxwell in the background.

    Mr Epstein, who made his money as a financial advisor to the very wealthy, became friendly with the Duke of York in 2000 and helped his ex-wife, the Duchess of York, with her debts.

    While many of the billionaire’s high-profile associates cut ties with him following his conviction, the Duke was criticised for maintaining their friendship after Mr Epstein’s conviction, staying at his New York mansion soon after his release from jail.

    Mr Epstein’s lawyer and the US attorney’s office in Miami, where the case was heard, did not comment on the ruling.

    But R. Alexander Acosta, the US attorney at the time, said in 2011 that many of the facts in the case emerged only after the original investigation and prosecution.

    He went on: “Many victims have spoken out, filing detailed statements in civil cases seeking damages. Physical evidence has been discovered.

    “Had these additional statements and evidence been known [at the time], the outcome may have been different.”

    In a court document filed last month, Epstein’s attorney Roy Black rejected the suggestion that he had received favourable treatment. He said: “This was no sweetheart deal by any stretch of the imagination.”

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    downtown sao paulo subway crowd commuteTransport workers in Sao Paolo vote to strike a week ahead of World Cup

    Workers on Sao Paulo's subway system will launch an open-ended strike Thursday, the latest to hit Brazil in the run-up to the World Cup.

    The strike will raise fears of transport chaos in the Brazilian economic capital, a sprawling city of 20 million people, one week before it hosts the opening match.

    After negotiations broke down for a 16.5 percent pay raise, the workers decided to go on strike from midnight Thursday (0300 GMT), a union spokesman told AFP.

    The strike will affect about 4.5 million daily passengers.

    Transport chaos erupted in Sao Paulo last month when bus drivers went on strike for two days, affecting more than a million passengers.

    The subway acted as a key pressure valve during that strike, helping stranded commuters reach their destinations - albeit via inconvenient routes in jam-packed trains.

    Brazil has been gripped by a wave of strikes ahead of the World Cup and elections in October, as well as by protests over the more than $11 billion being spent on the tournament.

    The threat of transport disruption was intensified when maintenance crews at LATAN, the region's biggest airline, threatened a 48-hour strike.The crews, seeking pay raises after a decade without them, did not say when the strike might start.

    But the strike will come before June 15 and with participation from crews in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru said LATAM-Peru union leader Juan Carlos Talavera.

    The World Cup starts in Brazil on June 12.

    Chile's flag carrier LAN completed a takeover of TAM, the biggest airline in Brazil, in 2012.

    Lima is one of the regional hubs for the merged airline.

    "If there is no maintenance for these planes, they cannot leave from airports," Talavera warned, noting the strike was planned after talks with management broke down.

    Maintenance workers also are seeking shorter shifts, saying that their 12-hour shifts are unhealthy.

    They want mechanics across the region to get equal work for equal pay.

    A Chilean maintenance crew member currently makes twice the salary of a mechanic in Peru doing the same work, the union said.

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    d-dayWhat happened to the actor who played Scottie in Star Trek during the Omaha landings? And how did soldiers prevent their backpacks from chafing? Jonathan Mayo has the answers

    1. Lieutenant James Doohan of the Winnipeg Rifles was shot in the hand and chest on D-Day. A silver cigarette case stopped the bullet to the chest, but the shot to his hand caused him to lose a finger.

    Doohan later became known to generations of TV viewers as the actor who played Scottie in Star Trek. While on camera, he always tried to hide his injured hand.

    2. Celebrated war photographer Robert Capa was in the second wave of troops to land at Omaha Beach. His pictures of the event are known as The Magnificent Eleven– a title that reflects their number. Despite taking two reels of film, totalling 106 pictures, only 11 survived after 16-year-old darkroom assistant Dennis Banks dried them at too high a temperature.

    3.Juan Pujol was a double agent working for MI5, who helped convince the Germans that D-Day wouldn’t be in June. Bizarrely, his first code name was BOVRIL – but that was soon changed to GARBO as he was such a good actor. GARBO fooled the Germans so completely, Hitler awarded him the Iron Cross. As he was living in Hendon at the time, Pujol asked if they could post it to him.

    4. On the morning of D-Day, J.D. Salinger landed on Omaha Beach with six chapters of his unfinished novel Catcher in the Rye in his backpack. In the afternoon, Evelyn Waugh, recuperating in Devon after injuring his leg in paratrooper training, finished the final chapter of his novel Brideshead Revisited.

    5. The giant wall map used by General Eisenhower and General Montgomery at their HQ Southwick House was made by toy maker Chad Valley.

    6. Lord Lovat led the British 1st Special Service Brigade. An inspiring but eccentric figure, he landed on Sword Beach wearing hunting brogues and carrying a wading stick used for salmon fishing.

    Working as an adviser on the film The Longest Day, Lovat woke up in a taxi surrounded by German troops and instinctively dived out of the car, but then realised they were just extras.

    7. On the morning of D-Day, the House of Commons debated whether office cleaners should no longer be called ‘ charladies .’

    8. News of D-Day reached POW camp Colditz via an illegal radio hidden in an attic. To avoid detection, the POWs used shoes with no tread that left no mark in the attic’s dust.

    On hearing the news, POW Cenek Chaloupka vowed that if the war wasn’t over by December he’d run round the courtyard naked. On Christmas Eve 1944, Chaloupka ran round it twice. It was -7 degrees Celsius.

    9. Like many troops, Lieutenant Herbert Jalland of the Durham Light Infantry ran onto Gold Beach wearing pyjamas underneath his battledress, in order to prevent chafing from his backpack.

    10. General Montgomery helped mastermind D-Day, the largest invasion the world had ever seen. His diary entry for the day read: ‘Invaded Normandy; left Portsmouth 10.30.’

    D-Day Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayois published by Short Books, £14.99 . Out Now

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    hungry empty fridgeFasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as "remarkable".

    Although fasting diets have been criticized by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection.

    Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.

    It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common diseases.

    The researchers say fasting "flips a regenerative switch" which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system.

    "It gives the 'OK' for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system," said Prof Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California.

    "And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting.

    “Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or ageing, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system."

    Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose and fat but also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells.

    During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.

    In trials humans were asked to regularly fast for between two and four days over a six-month period.

    Scientists found that prolonged fasting also reduced the enzyme PKA, which is linked to ageing and a hormone which increases cancer risk and tumor growth.

    "We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system," added Prof Longo.

    "When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged," Dr Longo said.

    "What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, where does it come from?"

    Fasting for 72 hours also protected cancer patients against the toxic impact of chemotherapy.

    "While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy," said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital.

    "More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.”

    "We are investigating the possibility that these effects are applicable to many different systems and organs, not just the immune system," added Prof Longo.

    However, some British experts were skeptical of the research.

    Dr Graham Rook, emeritus professor of immunology at University College London, said the study sounded "improbable".

    Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at UCL, said: “There is some interesting data here. It sees that fasting reduces the number and size of cells and then re-feeding at 72 hours saw a rebound.

    “That could be potentially useful because that is not such a long time that it would be terribly harmful to someone with cancer.

    “But I think the most sensible way forward would be to synthesize this effect with drugs. I am not sure fasting is the best idea. People are better eating on a regular basis.”

    Dr Longo added: “There is no evidence at all that fasting would be dangerous while there is strong evidence that it is beneficial.

    “I have received emails from hundreds of cancer patients who have combined chemo with fasting, many with the assistance of the oncologists.

    “Thus far the great majority have reported doing very well and only a few have reported some side effects including fainting and a temporary increase in liver markers. Clearly we need to finish the clinical trials, but it looks very promising.”

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