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The latest news on The Telegraph from Business Insider

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    smartband_3158165bIf you managed to put down your credit card during Black Friday, last week’s online shopping free-for-all was a remarkable barometer of the items that retailers are desperately trying to get rid of.

    Among the usual electronics detritus – last year’s TVs, low-end laptops and sat-navs – this year we saw another product whose prices were being slashed by 50pc or more: wearable technology.

    The Up3, an activity tracker launched by US wearable tech company Jawbone earlier this year, was discounted by 40pc; the Pebble Smartwatch, which lets owners check smartphone notifications from their wrist, was half price at £50; Garmin’s fitness-focused GPS watches were £100 off or more.

    It wasn’t the best omen for the technology, which is now struggling to live up to the hype that accompanied the first smartphone-connected fitness trackers and smartwatches when they came onto the market.

    With sales of smartphones plateauing, and those of tablets, televisions and PCs in decline, manufacturers have thrown cash at wearables, hoping to light a fire under the new product category.

    The result has been a plethora of connected watches and wearables from every name under the sun. Samsung has launched seven smartwatches in two years; Apple brought out its own device earlier this year; and even traditional timepiece makers have entered the game: Fossil spent $260m (£173m) buying Misfit, a wearable technology manufacturer this month.


    These manufacturers are hoping for a world in which wearables are at least as common, if not more so, than smartphones. By tracking every facet of our activity – steps, calories, sleep patterns – we are supposed to live healthier, more productive lives. Smartwatches are meant to free us from the distraction of our smartphones, allowing us to instantaneously check emails, messages and maps without the effort of reaching into our pockets.

    Tech enthusiasts and fitness freaks have fostered great expectations about wearables. One researcher, IDC, believes that worldwide sales will grow by 163pc this year, from 28.9m units in 2014 to 76.1m.

    But this is still relatively small, and it’s unclear that wearables are ever going to develop beyond being a niche product. Deloitte’s Paul Lee, who has studied consumer behaviour around wearable technology, says most people buy fitness trackers either to show people how fit they already are; as a motivational tool to encourage them to get fit; or for somebody else, as a (rather unsubtle) suggestion that they could be thinking about getting fitter.

    For the second and third of these, activity trackers are the technological equivalent of the gym membership: people tend to buy them with good intentions, but usage drops off after a while, in tandem with motivation, especially if the results didn’t match up to expectations.

    The concept of the “quantified self” – that humans are hungry for reams of data about how they sleep, how much exercise they get and how their heart rate changes – might be popular in Silicon Valley, but won’t necessarily translate to the mainstream, especially given the discipline needed to deal with it all.

    While sales of activity trackers are improving, the prospects for them may not be. Fitbit, which research suggests is the world’s bestselling wearable manufacturer, has seen shares slide since the summer, even before it announced plans to raise cash earlier this month. Jawbone is currently going through its second round of job cuts this year.

    Gartner’s Hype Cycle, an annual reality check of how excitement surrounding emerging technologies compare to reality, places wearables just past its “peak of inflated expectations” and towards the start of the “trough of disillusionment”.

    2455 14488068201358606848

     The smartwatch is a different sell, of course. As well as fitness, you can do a lot more. An Apple Watch can receive texts, control music , make contactless payments on top of monitoring activity. The product is also newer: Pebble, which started the movement, was only released in 2013 and Apple’s first watch has been on sale for seven months.

    Still, though, the early signs are not particularly promising. Apple easily outsells its smartwatch competitors, but Google search data (not the hardest of statistics, but an interesting tool) suggests more interest in the iPod, a 14-year-old product. Tag Heuer announced its first smartwatch earlier this month with a guarantee that allows you to trade it in for a mechanical version after two years, which is hardly a vote of confidence.

    This may change, but at the moment, most smartwatch apps are just a poor imitation of the versions on their smartphones, and it is unclear whether the key difference – that it sits on your wrist, rather than in your pocket or on your desk – is a big enough selling point.


    Checking texts and emails via a screen on your wrist doesn’t seem so much more convenient than on a smartphone, and it is hardly discreet, as anyone who has held a meeting with somebody constantly turning their smartwatch face upward, as if impatiently checking the time, will attest.

    Despite sales clearly growing, penetration is still low. According to Deloitte, 4pc of the population had a fitness band as of June, and 2pc had a smartwatch.

    Activity trackers, and smartwatches especially, are definitely going to get better, and writing off tech products in their early years often makes one look foolish later down the line. But right now, wearables are little more than a novelty for most people.

    SEE ALSO: Apple Watch is 'showing signs of life' among holiday shoppers

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These are the best watches you can buy for under $1,000

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    Kurdish peshmerga forces stand in the street after Yazidi people loot houses in the town of Sinjar, Iraq November 16, 2015.

    Sulaiman Omar has not heard from his six brothers or their daughters since the day Isil came to town. The 37-year-old Yazidi fighter lost contact with them – as well as other family members – amid the jihadists’ onslaught on his home of Sinjar, Iraq, in August 2014.

    Now, he believes, his brothers are likely to be dead and their daughters sold as sex slaves . As he walks amid the rubble and twisted metal beams of a city liberated but in ruins, his anger turns to some of his former neighbours.

    “It doesn’t matter whether they’re Kurdish or Arab – if they’ve burnt our homes and kidnapped our women we won’t forgive them,” he says.

    As jubilation over the liberation of Sinjar city melts away, brewing tensions between Yazidis and Sunnis are causing ripples of alarm among the residents.

    While civilians have yet to return in any number to the devastated city, the Yazidis who venture on to the shattered roads of Sinjar to claim back what is left of their belongings say they do not wish for Sunni residents to come back to their homes. Reports of Sunni homes being ransacked by Yazidis are abundant.

    In a city where Arabs, Kurds, Yazidis, Turkmens and Christians lived side by side, there is now little space left for forgiveness.

    The advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) through Nineveh Province, in which Sinjar sits, saw the killing of thousands of Yazidis and the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands more.

    “How can we let Arabs back? We lived with them for hundreds of years and they stabbed us in the back,” said Jadan Darush Jadan, a peshmerga colonel and Yazidi from Sinjar. “Arabs who lived here either helped Isil militarily, financially or sympathised with them,” he said, sitting in front of a large wooden desk in what used to be his school.

    Volunteers from the Yazidi sect who have joined the Kurdish peshmerga forces with Yazidi people loot houses in the town of Sinjar, Iraq November 16, 2015.The building was turned into a military base following the retaking of the city by peshmerga forces in November. “We’ve not seen one example of an Arab helping a Yazidi,” he said.

    But, according to four displaced Kurds in Duhok, who claim to have witnessed the killing of three Kurdish men at the hands of Yazidis, Arabs are not the only victims.

    “They [Yazidis] believe all Muslims are Isil,” said Saleh, 41, whose older brother was killed in the shooting. When most of the residents from his hometown of Qabusi, just south of Sinjar city, fled from Isil, Saleh stayed behind and looked after his 200 sheep – his family’s main source of income.

    The shepherd and 600 Sunni Kurds finally escaped Isil-held territory on Nov 15 with the help and protection of peshmerga soldiers. Upon their arrival in Sinjar they were accused by a group of Yazidi peshmerga of stealing the livestock, which led to the violence that killed Saleh’s brother.

    The incident was corroborated by peshmerga lieutenant Khero Khider, who confirmed that three Yazidi peshmerga and three Kurds were killed. “Zuher was about 70 metres from the [Yazidi] ambush and he was the first to surrender,” recounted Saleh. “We heard the Yazidis yell, 'Isil have killed many of us, we will kill you’.”

    According to Saleh, 21-year-old Zuher Hamza Abdullah was shot seven times before he bled to death. Abdullah Mohammad, 60, and Hassan Abbas, 47, were also among the victims. Another Kurd who had been freed from Qabusi claimed to have been kicked and almost killed by a group of Yazidis.

    Yazidi people in vehicles loot the area of Sinjar, Iraq November 16, 2015.“A group of women shielded me and they stopped,” said the 63-year-old. Back in the largely deserted town of Sinjar a young Yazidi peshmerga claimed that had he been present in Qabusi, he would not have allowed the Kurds to leave Isil territory.

    “Half of my family is under Isil … we can’t stop ourselves from wanting to stop the peshmerga from letting them [the Kurds] through,” he said, standing next to the home of a Shia family that had been torched by Isil.

    Outside the city’s main peshmerga base, yellow flags of the KDP flags – the party of Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani – hang from lamp posts.

    On the the day of Sinjar’s liberation, Mr Barzani said the city had been freed by “the blood of the peshmerga and became part of Kurdistan”.

    In an area contested by a concoction of communities and militias, his rhetoric was not well-received by everyone.

    “The Yazidis don’t trust the peshmerga and the peshmerga don’t trust the Yazidis,” said a Yazidi tribal leader.

    “Sinjar cannot be a place of coexistence again,” he added.


    SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: Iran is the biggest thing for the global economy since the Berlin Wall fell

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    One of Britain's biggest gorillas has had root canal surgery.

    Footage shows the operation being performed by specialist Zoo dentist Peter Kertesz and his team.

    The 28 stone ape is a silverback western lowland gorilla named Pertinax and lives in Paignton Zoo, Devon, where the operation was carried out.

    Uploaded on December 10, Jo Reynard from the Paignton Zoo vet team explained: "When a tooth is fractured the living pulp becomes exposed, this can lead to an infection and an abscess.

    "The dentist removed the pulp and replaced it with special biocompatible material, so preserving the tooth."

    Screen Shot 2015 12 11 at 9.51.32 AM

    Mr. Kertesz is one of only a few specialist Zoo dentists in the world.

    He has worked on exotic species such as gorillas, whales, pandas and elephants all over the globe - from Britain, Hong Kong, Moscow and the Middle East.

    Here is the full video:

    SEE ALSO: Researchers have identified a new species of whale — and named it after the creature from Moby Dick

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    NOW WATCH: Here's how the human brain compares to other animals

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    freedom birds geese letting go flying free china

    “Among all poultry, geese [are known] for being extremely vigilant and having excellent hearing,” Zhang Quansheng, a police chief in Xinjiang’s Shawan county, told the newspaper.

    The People’s Daily said the “sharp, keen and brave” animals were proving an invaluable tool in Xinjiang’s war on crime and were now being “actively promoted” across the region.

    Law enforcement agents described the geese as a new “highlight of stability maintenance work” and said they had proved themselves “better than dogs” in tackling crime.

    “Geese are very brave. They spread their wings and will attack any strangers entering [someone’s] home,” said Mr Zhang, the local police chief.

    The birds were like “a radar that does not need power”, he added.

    “In some ways, they are more useful than dogs. A household normally keeps one dog [but] an intruder can throw a drugged bun to kill the dog. Geese are normally kept in groups and they have poor eyesight at night making it very difficult for intruders to [poison them].”

    Authorities in Shawan county say their goose-stepping recruits have at least brought a measure of security to the troubled region.

    In June, one gaggle of police geese reportedly managed to snare a man who had broken into the local police headquarters to take a motorbike, the People’s Daily reported.

    After drugging two police dogs and climbing over the wall, the man was about to make his getaway when he came face-to-face with some 20 feathered “gatekeepers.”

    “The geese fanned their wings and began shrieking when they saw the stranger. The duty officer woke up and the thief was caught red handed.”

    A Uighur man looks on as a truck carrying paramilitary policemen travel along a street during an anti-terrorism oath-taking rally in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

    Xinjiang is one of China’s most volatile regions. In recent years the province has suffered repeated outbreaks of inter-ethnic violence between Han Chinese and Uighurs, a mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking group who make-up nearly half of the province’s 22 million population.

    Tensions between the two groups have been running high since 2009, when nearly 200 lives were lost during rioting in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi.

    Last month there was renewed violence when at least 35 people died during confrontations in Turpan, around 140 miles from the capital.

    Beijing blamed the killings on religious “extremists” and “terrorists” and Zhang Chunxia, the provincial party chief, ordered Xinjiang’s security forces to launch “a high-pressure attack” on those responsible.

    In the wake of the latest round of violence, units of heavily armed police have reportedly flooded parts of Xinjiang and the province’s geese officers have not been tasked with confronting simmering ethnic tensions.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Over 1,300 geese blocked traffic on a Chinese highway

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    Bargain hunters will stop at nothing to bag the cheapest possible flight.

    It will therefore come as no surprise that airlines have introduced a new category – albeit an informal one – for their worst seats, known as “last class”.

    Passengers who pay the absolute minimum for their plane ticket can expect to find the seats closer together, with extra fees for window seats or for changing flights.

    “Last class” seats have been introduced by major airlines to compete with their budget counterparts such as Ryanair and EasyJet.

    American Airlines recently said it will offer tickets with “less frills” but at a far cheaper price.

    Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines has a 'basic' economy class ticket, with no refunds or upgrades.

    While the term is not official, it is used by those in the aviation industry to refer to seats that are a grade below those in economy class.

    “The airlines that really need to meet their bottom line in a big way are going to push the limits of what they can get away with" Industry expert Phil Der ner Jr

    Last class seats are likely to be found at the back of the plane, where it is noisier, or by a toilet.

    Passengers with these tickets often cannot make changes, get a refund or choose their seats in advance.

    “Last class exists because the airlines are a business,” Phil Der ner Jr, from industry news site NYCAviation told the Daily Mail.

    “The airlines that really need to meet their bottom line in a big way are going to push the limits of what they can get away with.

    “Airlines are doing OK at the moment because of the low cost of oil but you have 15 years of downturn in the industry which made them look at their costs and find ways to pass on their costs.”

    Airlines would always appeal to the “lowest common denominator”, Mr Derner said, adding that some seats were “not much more than a park bench”.

    US airline Frontier was even charging for window seats in last class. Mr Derner said other last-class seats might include those that do not recline.

    Last class passengers may be given a number to call if there is a problem with their flight, rather than helped to re-book in person. They could be given completely separate helplines to those who have paid more.

    Fees to change last-class tickets can be around £100, with add-on fees for checked-in baggage and on-board food.


    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A self-made billionaire in Texas just gave each of his 1,381 employees a $100,000 bonus

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    ISISAustralia has warned that Islamic State wants to create a “distant caliphate” in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

    As Indonesian authorities were placed on “high alert” following three days of counter-terrorism raids, George Brandis, Australia’s attorney-general, said Islamic extremists were strengthening across Indonesia in a development that poses a growing threat to Western interests.

    “[Isil] has ambitions to elevate its presence and level of activity in Indonesia, either directly or through surrogates,” he told The Australian newspaper .

    “You’ve heard the expression the ‘distant caliphate’? [Isil] has a declared intention to establish caliphates beyond the Middle East, provincial caliphates in effect. It has identified Indonesia as a location of its ambitions.”

    The warning followed raids across Java which resulted in the arrest of nine extremists who allegedly planned to target shopping malls, police stations and minority groups during the end-of-year holiday period. The group had explosive materials and an Isil-inspired flag.

    Authorities in Indonesia have boosted security at airports, foreign embassies, the presidential palace and shopping malls, and will deploy 150,000 personnel to protect public places and churches across the country over the coming weeks.

    "There is a possibility of other groups, and we will continue to pursue them,” said General Badrodin Haiti, the national police chief.

    "This group [arrested at the weekend] has collaborated with those who returned from war in Syria. They want to perform a 'concert' to attract international news coverage of their existence here … Just like in the past they said "bride" to mean suicide bomber, maybe now they call it 'concert'.”

    Indonesia Police Arrest Map Islamist Militants

    Indonesia has experienced a series of deadly terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists since the early 2000s, including attacks targeting Western tourists, hotels and embassies. The worst of the attacks, in Bali in 2002, killed 202 people .

    However, the most active Islamic terrorist group operating in Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiyah, which carried out the Bali bombings, has links with al-Qaeda and opposes Isil .

    Australian counter-terrorism officials reportedly believe that Indonesia, Australia’s northern neighbour, could become a hub in which extremists roam relatively freely. While Isil is not believed to have the capacity to create a caliphate in Indonesia, officials reportedly fear the group could establish a permanent foothold in the archipelago.

    “The rise of [Isil] in the Middle East is something that has destabilised the security of Australia, it’s destabilised the security of Indonesia and it’s destabilising the security of our friends and partners, particularly here in the region,” Michael Keenan, Australia’s justice minister, told The Australian.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Chilling predictions for what the world will look like in a decade

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    monkey zoo polandChristmas has come early for the animals at the Gdansk-Oliwa zoo in Poland.

    They were given special treats to eat that were hidden in boxes wrapped up like Christmas presents.

    lion cub_3533712b

    "There are surprises hidden in the packages in form of different kinds of food, depending on the species," said Andrzej Gutowski from Gdansk Zoo.

    Meerkats were seen nibbling on a slice of white bread, while a giraffe plucked treats hung from a Christmas tree and a parrot received some nuts.

    giraffe poland zoo

    "We won't give nuts to lions, because they won't be interested in it. So they will get some scented forms of meat meals," Mr Gutowski added.

    The meat meals certainly got the attention of the lion cubs who can be seen tearing away at the wrapping paper.

    Even a fully-grown male lion was not missing out, making sure to have a large box to himself.

    lion poland zoo

    Keeper, Daria Zwierzchowska said: "Today, on the occasion of Christmas, our animals got their presents, including fruits that they don't eat everyday, like pineapples, coconuts and an avocado."

    The Christmas presents were part of an enrichment programme aimed at stimulating behaviours vital to living in the wild.

    Here's a video of the animals unwrapping gifts via The Telegraph:


    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Marc AndreessenThe hype around the Internet of Things has been rising steadily over the past five years.

    In the tech analyst Gartner's "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies" report in 2015, the IoT is at the peak of "inflated expectations," particularly for areas like the smart home, which involves controlling your lights, thermostat, or TV using your mobile phone.

    But the era of sensors has only just dawned, according to renowned technology investor and internet pioneer Marc Andreessen. In 10 years, he predicts mobile phones themselves could disappear.

    "The idea that we have a single piece of glowing display is too limiting. By then, every table, every wall, every surface will have a screen or can project," he told The Telegraph. "Hypothetically you walk up to a wall, sit at a table and [talk to] an earpiece or eyeglasses to make a call. The term is ambient or ubiquitous computing."

    Which is why he has invested $25 million into the Californian startup Samsara, which is the first of a new generation of Internet of Things devices that solve huge industrial problems, rather than turning your fridge or your toothbrush into a portal to the web.

    "This second wave of companies, they don't want to just do Internet of Things," Andreessen said. "They are showing up three years later, saying OK I know exactly how this is going to get used. It's for real businesses in industrial environments."

    Gartner backs this claim — it predicts that businesses alone will double spending on Internet of Things units by 2020, going from $767 billion to more than $1.4 trillion.

    robots machines internet of things ioTOther startups in the space include the San Francisco-based Helium, which has raised $16 million from investors like Khosla Ventures and Ayla, which has raised more than $25 million from the likes of Cisco. In fact, according to the analyst CB Insights, which tracks investments, IoT startups have garnered 7.4 billion investment dollars cumulatively, having more than doubled their funding in five years.

    Samsara, for instance, provides sensors and data analytics in the cloud for heavily instrumented industries like pharmaceuticals, transport, power, and water.

    Pharmaceutical companies transporting drugs or vaccines need to constantly monitor temperature; logistics or delivery companies track their fleet of vehicles over long distances; and perishable food companies need to monitor internal temperature and humidity of trucks to check whether their goods are spoiling.


    Samsara is already trialling its product with a range of industries, including the well-known American yogurt manufacturer Chobani, two multinational pharmaceuticals, and city water districts that want to monitor energy consumption patterns of water pumps, among others.

    "The problem is that manual measurements are very common in hospitals, pharmaceutical delivery chains, and even the distribution of dairy and meat produce. Someone actually goes to the warehouse to fill out a report with pen and paper every three hours," says Samsara's CEO Sanjit Biswas, whose previous network technology startup Meraki sold to Cisco for over $2 billion.

    His big idea: installing cheap sensors, and uploading and analyzing data to the cloud makes Samara one-10th of the cost of existing industrial sensors (complex systems made by huge incumbents like Intel), and deployable in under 10 minutes.

    "If you want a tailored system, someone like IBM will build you a custom solution, but it usually costs $5 million so it doesn't make sense unless you're a large company," he explains.

    Andreessen is a fierce believer in the impact of this wave of software-driven sensor startups. His core thesis is that over the next 20 years every physical item will have a chip implanted in it. "The end state is fairly obvious — every light, every doorknob will be connected to the internet. Just like with the web itself, there will be thousands of of use cases — energy efficiency, food safety, major problems that aren't as obvious as smartwatches and wearables," he says.

    A report from Accenture this year estimated that this new Industrial Internet of Things — which has also been called the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 — could boost the British economy alone by $531 billion (£352 billion) by 2030.

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    trollTwitter is giving its users new powers to block internet trolls amid claims abusive behaviour is hampering the social media site from catching up with Facebook.

    Bruce Daisley, the head of Twitter in Europe, said the site would give its 320 millions users new tools to protect them from trolls and expose the worst offenders by encouraging people to share lists of blocked users.

    Twitter, which celebrates its tenth birthday next year, is worth more than £22 billion but is lagging behind Facebook, which has more than one billion users and a valuation of £167 billion.

    In February Dick Costolo, Twitter's former chief executive, admitted in an internal email that the company "sucked" at dealing with trolls.

    But Mr Daisley now says the site has cracked down on nuisance users who hurl extreme abuse at those they disagree with. Measures include contacting suspected trolls to tell them "what you are doing here exists in the real world" and encouraging people to publish lists of users they have blocked.

    "We have spent longer and more effort on user safety than any single other thing," Mr Daisley told The Independent newspaper.
    "The measures we have done have directly correlated to a reduction in the amount of bad behaviour on the platform. The other part of the strategy has involved giving users new tools to block trolls and to expose the worst offenders by encouraging people to share their lists of blocked accounts."

    Mr Daisley said the measures, introduced over the past year, had led to a massive increase in the number of reports and made people feel a lot safer.

    The hacking group Anonymous recently claimed to have taken down 20,000 Twitter accounts that were supposedly "pro-Isis". Many of them had merely been written in Arabic. Others on the hit-list belonged to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and media outlets including BBC News.

    Twitter recently launched its Moments feature in the UK, working with 18 media production partners to present the best Twitter stories of the day.

    This article was written by TOM MORGAN from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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    A plane passenger complained about “the worst flight of her life” in an epic Facebook rant after being allocated a windowless seat.

    Nat Pelech complained on JetStar Australia’s Facebook page after being left disappointed by the seat she was allocated.

    The flyer explained she had been looking forward to staring out of the clouds but was left stuck in a “claustrophobic, stinky and loud corner” of the plane.

    “I was seated on the very last row at the back of the plane in a cramp[ed] little corner which was made even smaller by not having the window there to open it up.

    “It is right next to the toilet, where it smells and you hear everyone flushing. Right behind you is the chatter and rattle of the flight attendants.”


    She added: “Worst flight of my life. I'm not claustrophobic but do get uneasy in tight spaces... Especially thousands of feet in the air in a dark hole where I can't see where I am going or anything that's happening. Thanks a lot.”

    Jetstar said it offers customers the chance to purchase a specific seat during the booking process.

    “When customers have not pre-selected seats for their flights, seats are assigned for them by an automated program,” said Jetstar in a reply.


    “I’m sorry to hear that you were unhappy with the seat that was allocated to you on your flight yesterday. It certainly wasn’t our intention for you to be uncomfortable on your journey with us.”

    Ms Pelech added that she did not care where she sat but argued that the seat should only be used for storage. She said she simply wanted to warn other travellers about avoiding the row when booking tickets.

    This article was written by Mark Molloy from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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    Twister seats

    The "Twister" seat rotates with the passenger to follow the movements of the human spine in an attempt to make long flights more bearable

    Fourteen hours on a long-haul flight to Japan inspired an aviation expert to design an economy class seat that twists to protect fliers' backs.

    The "Twister" design takes up no more room than a normal seat but is fitted with ribs connected to a central position that mimics a human spine and moves with the passenger’s weight. A button then holds the seat in a position that the person finds comfortable, and returns the seat to neutral position when pressed again.

    Factorydesign, the company behind the seat, came up with the concept after creative director Adam White took long-haul flight to Japan in economy class, and is a riposte to the traditional airline seat that works on a single hinge with five inches of recline.

    Emirates remove first class to fit in most seats ever

    Twister seats

    “From your shoulders to your thighs, the seat follows your profile as you move,” he said.

    Mr White also said the seat design would distribute body weight more evenly and protect against Deep Vein Thrombosis.

    “You wouldn’t get a pressure point under the thigh, which would be a significant health benefit,” he said.

    Legroom wars: the seat to change it all

    Twister seats

    “We see this as a long-haul product. This is all about duration seating.

    “There has been considerable debate about economy class seating in the media, and many concepts which don’t actually seem to have considered the needs of the passenger.

    “This design is completely centered on improving the passenger journey experience.”

    twister chair

    Factorydesign said that the focus of much plane interior innovation was in first and business class seating, and that economy class needed attention too.

    Other recent plane seat innovations from other design companies have included a seat inside a pod on the roof of the plane, a mezzanine to seat passengers directly above others and a plan to house passengers in the hold.

    twister chair ergonomics

    SEE ALSO: I took an 18-hour bus ride from New York City to Atlanta for $40, and I liked it better than flying

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    NOW WATCH: Major airlines are introducing ‘last class’ — a category worse than coach

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    Astonishing video footage has been captured by stunned onlookers showing the unbelievable moment a villager presses the bloated stomach of a 6-feet long python to release two goats.

    The unknown man holds the giant snake and starts squeezing it frenziedly as it painfully throws out two dead goats - a mother and its baby.

    The man can even be seen holding the python’s mouth and pulls out the head of the baby goat from it.

    The python is believed to have reached a highway after it hunted and swallowed the goats from a nearby village in Kerala in southern India.

    When the news spread, men from the village ran to rescue the goats, which are a major source of livelihood for the farmers, but were left shell-shocked when they saw the slithering giant with bloated stomach on the middle of the highway, unable to move.

    Helpless, the man resorted to squeezing out his animals not knowing they had already died.

    This article was written by Claire Lomas video source Caters and words AP from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

    SEE ALSO: US Customs seizes fake carrots stuffed with $500k worth of marijuana

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    Video produced by Barcroft TV.

    Sixty-seven-year-old Lynea Lattanzio has taken the phrase "cat lover" to new heights by giving up her 4,200 square foot home to more than a thousand rescue cats.

    Lattanzio runs Cat House on the Kings, California's largest no-cage, no-kill sanctuary for feral and abandoned cats and, along with her team of volunteers, cares daily for an estimated 800 adult cats and 300 kittens — and even a handful of peacocks.

    You can't really call me a crazy cat lady — I'm obsessive! I'd rather have 800 cats than another man. I don't need a man in my life.

    Lattanzio first began fostering cats in 1992, even going so far as to become a veterinary technician in order to keep the animals' medical costs as low as possible as the number of cats she homed began to grow.

    Since the founding of the sanctuary, Lattanzio and her team have saved over 24,000 cats and 7,000 dogs and is also responsible for 40,000 animals being spayed and neutered over the years.

    While many people will be quick to label her a crazy cat lady, Lattanzio wears the titled with pride: "I'm at the top of the list of eccentric cat ladies — I don't think there has been anyone who has lived with 28,000 cats in 24 years. That's probably a record.

    "I love cats because they're independent, they're beautiful and graceful.

    "Back then I was single, had no kids and bought this 4,200 square foot home and thought what am I thinking. I started taking in cats but it wasn't my intention to have 1,000-plus cats — but it's happened one step at a time.

    You can take the woman out of the [cat] shelter, but you can't take the shelter out of the woman Lynea Lattanzio.

    "I went from my five bedroom home with a swimming pool, bar and a view of the river to a 1,600 square foot mobile home with rusty metal."

    The spacious house is now pure feline territory, consisting of a kitchen where all the cats are fed by staff, a wood stove room for them to keep warm, an indoor "kitty garden" to help acclimate any cats who have spent their lives indoors, and even a "condo room" with beds, food, water, and benches for the cats to sleep on.

    Outside, there is the "pasture project"— a fenced enclosure with two sheds, patios, and enough grass and trees for them to play without getting bored.

    But while Lattanzio has given her cats free rein of the house, some have even begun to invade her trailer: "When I moved to the trailer, I swore it would be a cat free zone, but I currently have 20 kittens and four puppies in there.

    "You can take the woman out of the shelter, but you can't take the shelter out of the woman."

    Lattanzio and her team of volunteers start the day at 4am with early morning feedings and providing medical attention to any critically ill cats: "We have an ICU and a vet that comes once a week to check our animals."

    While Lattanzio loves all the cats in her care, she aims to find them all new homes and currently has over 500 up for adoption who are "friendly and ready to go."

    This article was from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. The video was produced by Barcroft TV.

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    Abandoned Cargo Ship Brazil

    The shipping industry is facing its worst crisis in living memory as years of rapid expansion fueled by cheap debt have coincided with an economic slowdown in China.

    "We are now at the stage where people are struggling to remember an era when it was this difficult, we've gone through what it was like in the '90s, the '80s and the '70s, so expressions like 'living memory' start to apply," said Jeremy Penn, the chief executive of the Baltic Exchange in London.

    The Baltic Exchange has set shipping rates for more than 2 1/2 centuries, and the situation its members now face is grim.

    "Ship owners are facing the tough decision of whether to just drop anchor and hope it gets better," Penn added.

    Baltic Dry Index

    Fears about the global economy have seen the Baltic Dry Index fall by more than 20% this year, to 369 — its lowest level since records began in 1985. The Baltic Dry, which is compiled by the exchange, gives an indicator of the cost of shipping dry bulk goods such as coal, iron ore, grains, and finished goods such as steel, but it is feted for its apparent ability to predict the world's financial fortunes.

    The immediate problem has been the slowing of the Chinese economy; the world's largest consumer of commodities has been the driving force behind the shipping trade for the past two decades.

    China Economic Growth

    But much of the pain is also self-inflicted. Shipping has undergone a period of massive growth, fueled by cheap debt and steady demand.

    Shipping fleet rapidly expands

    The world fleet doubled in size from 2010 to 2013. At the same time, China doubled its shipyard capacity and took huge orders for new ships as it sought to control the commodities trade.

    China Race World's Biggest Shipmaker

    "The dry cargo market was used to growth approaching 10% for quite a few years on the trot," said James Kidwell, chief executive of the London-listed broker Braemar Shipping. "All of a sudden you've hit a market that's gone flat. That is a radical change.

    "If you've got more ships than there are cargos, then freight rates are going to be weak — it's that simple."

    The impact on ship owners' profits has been drastic. The average charter rate for the largest Capesize vessel — named that because they are too large for the Panama canal and have to round Cape Horn — has fallen to about $2,700 a day. By contrast, they had traded within the range of $15,000 to $25,000 during the past two years and briefly touched $250,000 during the mania of 2008, according to Penn.

    Many trips are now loss-making as the cost of running a Capesize vessel, which at up to 340 meters is equivalent of almost four football fields in length, can run to $7,500 dollars a day.

    Drowning in debt

    In a normal market the rational decision would be to remove loss-making ships from the fleet, but this is anything but a normal market. The world shipping fleet is drowning in debt.

    Kidwell describes how ship owners who have financed their fleets with 60% debt and 40% equity have seen that equity become worthless.

    Meanwhile, the banks that provided the debt won't pull the plug, as they would be forced to recognize the losses. Instead, they accept that they won't have debt service, and they are forced to wait and see whether the ship owner can survive until the market recovers. At some point they might be able to sell the vessel at a better price.

    sinking containter cargo ship

    Zombie ships set sail

    "What is damaging shipping is a zombie fleet, which accepts freight at maverick prices just to keep going," Kidwell said.

    A zombie ship is one that can just about repay interest on its debts but has no hope of repaying the capital.

    The situation might be about to get a lot worse for loans to the shipping industry. The calculation of loan repayments and the rate of interest depend on the historic residual value of the ship at the end of the life of the loan.

    Kidwell said a five-year-old Capesize vessel was sold for $19 million in recent weeks, 40% below the normal listing price for a vessel that age of about $33 million, and less than half the $48 million cost of a new ship. The scrap value of ships has also plummeted as China pumps new steel onto world markets.

    The collapse in prices for secondhand vessels will blow a hole in the balance sheet of any bank or individual that is sitting on those loans.

    The UK may no longer be a huge player in the ownership of fleets, but British banks such as RBS have total loan exposures of £8.3 billion, and Lloyds bank also provides finance to the industry. London is still the center of the world for ship broking through companies such as the FTSE 250-listed Clarkson and the smaller Braemar Shipping.

    London also retains is position as one of the world centers for marine insurance, with Lloyd's of London writing £2.1 billion in gross written premiums in 2014.

    It is not all bad news for the brokers, however. The glut of oil on world markets has led to one of the busiest tanker markets for years. The prospect of Iran entering the fray with 41 additional tankers could bring further lucrative commissions after the US lifted its 40-year oil embargo this month.

    But the outlook remains bleak for the owners.

    Oil Price Collapse

    At some stage, ship owners will be forced to take their ships out of the market. This will be a slow process, Penn warns.

    In the old days you could lay up ships fairly easily, and dramatically reduce costs, but these days with all the modern technology and electronics on board it is much more difficult, Penn said. We haven't seen that cold lay up that we have seen in past recessions, he added.

    "Ship owners and people who are still in the market presumably still think there is hope, and that the market turnaround will come before they are completely desperate," Penn said.

    "But there is widespread depression in the market at the moment."

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    NOW WATCH: Former Defense Secretary calls out Trump for 'over-the-top’ ISIS plan

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    ISIS Flag Palestinian Palestine Camp

    Global jihadism has been around in its current form since the 1990s.

    Back then, few could have predicted that it would become a permanent feature of our new world order– and, some would argue, the greatest threat not just to the West per se but to the Western-dominated global system of nation states.

    How did this happen? It is due, I think, to a remarkable combination of ideological and strategic consistency with incredible tactical flexibility and creativity.

    The end goal is the destabilisation and ultimate destruction of non-Muslim power in the world as a precursor to the “rebirth” of “Islamic” geopolitical dominance. The means: whatever works best at any given time.

    Al-Qaeda was the first organisation to dominate the movement. Its tactical approach has been to draw the West into unwinnable wars in the Middle East.

    These wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, may not have led to the collapse of the West in any meaningful sense, but they have certainly overextended the West militarily, and its position in the global balance of power is now greatly diminished as a result.

    Yet in the past 10 years or so, the West would no longer be dragged into such conflicts. Libya, Syria, post-insurgency Iraq, and even post-withdrawal Afghanistan: the West would not allow itself to be dragged into land wars it understood it could not win and stood nothing to gain from. Nor would the West be goaded by waves upon waves of terror attacks and attempted attacks on its home soil.

    When this approach stalled, al-Qaeda lost much of its momentum. As a result, from the ashes of so many failing states, a new organisation came to the fore of global jihadism – the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, with a brand new tactical approach.

    Isil contended that the “rebirth of Islamic hegemony” must start with the foundation of a new, “morally pure” Caliphate (incidentally, a move quite common in Islamic history, such as for example the Islamic revolutions of the Abbasids or the Almoravids).

    This new “Islamic” state was to make concrete the jihadis’ alternative vision of the ideal society as a challenge to the Western global order. And sure enough, that got everyone’s attention.

    ISIS Islamic State Raqqa Syria Member

    Isil has dominated much of the international political discourse for the past four-five years, it has recruited tens of thousands of fighters from all over the world, and has had many other Islamist groups pledge allegiance to it. It almost succeeded in dragging the West into yet another war in the Middle East as well – though instead they caught Russia in the spider’s web.

    This tactical approach worked extremely well for furthering the global jihadist movement – for a while. For the past few months, however, things have become palpably different.

    For one, the most important propaganda asset Isil had was military momentum: the way in which it seemingly came out of nowhere to control large swathes of Syria and Iraq, and took important cities and oil fields. That momentum is now lost.

    Though they remain the favoured faction in the Sunni hinterlands of both Syria and Iraq, they can’t make inroads or hold territory in the Shia and Kurdish areas that surround them – in no small part due to the ideological nature of the group and their genocidal tendencies.

    Meanwhile Assad is being bolstered by Russia, the Kurds are being bolstered by the West and Shia Iraq is supported by Iran. All these alliances are progressively beating Isil back.

    The likely outcome is that from now on Isil will simply be eroded with a long war of attrition, until the group are no longer be able to recruit enough fighters to sustain its gains. At which point, it is likely it will collapse. It will not be easy, and it will not be pretty. But as things stand this is the direction in which the situation is heading.

    This seems to have motivated a tactical change, yet again, from the jihadists: a large part of Isil propaganda has now shifted away from trying to recruit people for the “paradise” of the Caliphate, back towards the original al-Qaeda approach to inspire self-starter terrorist actions abroad, to destabilise hostile countries.

    ISIS Flag Iraq Security Forces Soldiers

    If and when the “Caliphate” collapses, expect a wave of Isil fighters to spread all across the region and beyond. In the meantime, local self-starter cells are preparing the way with attacks such as those in Indonesia, Paris, and the US.

    Perhaps for a brief period of time, the most enthusiastic jihadists genuinely believed that they could just set up a state out of the rubble they left behind while fighting Assad and Malaki, and maybe even that they could fight a war on all fronts against virtually the entire world from this base in the Levant.

    But much of the Isil top brass are former army and intelligence officers from Saddam’s regime. And these people, in particular, are not stupid. By now, they must have realised that they have run out of runway. The question they face now is “what next?”

    Given the grossly disproportionate balance of power in this conflict, where the jihadis’ only advantage is superior resolve and motivation, reverting back to guerrilla tactics seems like the only logical next step. In other words, expect all the manpower and logistical resources at their disposal to now be redirected towards classic terror attacks.

    The targets will be the fragile regimes in the Middle East, and perhaps none more than Saudi and Egypt, but also the West. Europe in particular is likely to be hard-hit, since many of the jihadis can be expected to move in with the flow of refugees.

    The so-called “Islamic State” may be on the way out – but global jihadism is only getting started. And with it, further terror attacks and political instability.

    Dr Azeem Ibrahim is an RAI Fellow at Mansfield College, University of Oxford and Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College .

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    NOW WATCH: EX-PENTAGON CHIEF: These are the 2 main reasons ISIS was born

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    turkey syria

    After five years of war, the doctor working in a Syrian border clinic thought he had seen everything. But with last week’s Russian bombing raids, there was still worse to come.

    The latest surge in Moscow’s air campaign was causing wounds so extreme that traumatised staff were working 24 hour shifts to cope with the severity and volume of the injuries, Dr Adel said.

    “We’re not even treating wounds anymore - the bodies are just blown to pieces,” the doctor, director of a rehabilitation clinic near Turkey’s Oncupinar border crossing, said.

    His staff said that most of the injured were civilians, due to indiscriminate bombing of built up residential areas, including those in which residents were seeking shelter from bombing elsewhere.

    The casualties of Syria’s war are scattered among hospitals and backstreet clinics throughout southern Turkey.

    For more than three years, when rebels swept into the east of Aleppo many of the casualties have ended up in Kilis, nestled against the Turkish side of the border 40 miles to the north. Since Russian jets and pro-regime forces launched their latest attempt to encircle the city, the injuries have come in a flood.

    The director of an unofficial shelter, who like Dr Adel and other doctors, all Syrian, asked not to give a full name, said his staff were witnessing “extreme” injuries” and that the rate of amputation had soared.

    aleppo airstrike

    “Sometimes our nerves fall apart,” he said. “Sometimes we cry. These men are our people, and our families are the ones fleeing.”

    One of the shelter’s usual patients, a 75 year old man from Aleppo, was absent on the day of The Telegraph’s visit. Staff said he was at a condolences ceremony for the sixth of his sons to have died in the conflict.

    In interviews from their hospital beds, rebel fighters said that Russian air power had transformed the battle for Aleppo’s north, grinding down its array of opposition groups before sending in ground troops for the final push.

    “When it was just the regime that bombed us, one or two low-flying planes would set out to bomb our villages, and that was it. But the Russians, they strike us continuously,” said one man, pulling back his blanket to reveal a gaping hole in his femur. He said it had been caused by a bomb he didn’t even hear coming.

    Moscow waded into the Syrian war at the end of September, launching an air campaign that has tipped the balance in favour of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

    syrian refugees

    In Aleppo, it allowed Iranian-backed Shia fighters from the Lebanese militia Hizbollah, Afghanistan and Iraq to achieve in three days what government forces had failed to do in two years - encircle the rebels and break a longstanding sieges on two nearby Shia towns.

    That offensive forced more than 35,000 Syrians to flee, with most now camped in squalid conditions along Turkey’s closed border, waiting for it to open.

    Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, said last night that the country, which is already hosting more than 2.5 million Syrians, had “reached the limit of its capacity to absorb refugees”.

    But he added: "We are not in a position to tell them not to come. If we do, we would be abandoning them to their deaths."

    Mr Kurtulmus estimated that as many as one million more refugees could flee Aleppo and surrounding areas, putting huge pressure not only on his own country’s asylum policy but, down the line, that of Europe.

    syria aleppo airstrike

    In a refugee camp at the Oncupinar crossing, Syrians said their trailers were shaking each night with the force of bombs across the border. Some said their relatives on the other side of the closed crossing were preparing to return to the villages they had fled from, accepting that they would die.

    “My sons knew they wouldn’t get through, so they have gone back to their homes,” said a man who gave his name as Abu Mohamed. “I only wish that I could go with them. I am no better than them. They deserve death no more than me.”

    On the battlefield itself, pro-government forces pressed ahead with their offensive. Opposition activists said Shia fighters were engaged in heavy clashes with insurgents around the village of Ratyan, north of Aleppo.

    An official with one of the province's main rebel coalitions, the Levant Front, said the regime and Russia had also launched more than 150 strikes on three villages between the two regime enclaves it had linked up in last week’s lightening offensive.

    syrian refugee internal

    “Assad’s regime and army have been finished for more than two years - now we are fighting sectarian militias and Russia,” said Mohamed Yasser, a member of the Levant Front’s political bureau.

    The battle for north Aleppo may prove to be a turning point in the war. As well as threatening rebel positions across the province, it could put large parts of the Syrian-Turkish border under the control of pro-Assad forces within a matter of months.

    Although the war has claimed more than a quarter of a million lives, doctors in the Kilis rehabilitation shelter said no one could yet appreciate the toll it had taken on their country.

    “It’s only when we return to Syria one day that we’ll see how many amputees, how many widows, how many orphans there really are,” said one medic. “That’s when we‘ll learn what this war has done to us.”

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    NOW WATCH: Ashton Kutcher just made a surprise appearance on Ian Bremmer's weekly digital video series

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    matt brittin google

    International tax laws should be rewritten so companies are seen to be paying the right amount, a top Google executive has admitted.

    But Matt Brittin, the technology giant's European president, blames governments for not doing enough to make the tax system clear and denies Google won a "sweetheart deal" with the UK.

    Writing in the Telegraph (see below), Mr. Brittin claims the company paid $3.3billion in corporation tax last year — most of it in America. But critics have slammed reports that Google handed over just £130 million in back taxes to the UK over a decade.

    He writes that HMRC conducted an "intensive review" into Google's tax arrangements, interviewing him and other company bosses.

    And adds: "Some have suggested the settlement which concluded the audit was a ‘sweetheart deal’, a cut-price tax rate. It was not ...And let’s be absolutely clear: politicians play no part in deciding and settling tax audits. They set the rules, HMRC independently apply the rules and companies like Google follow the rules."

    Here's Brittin's article in full:

    We at Google believe taxes need simplifying

    By Matt Brittin, Google UK CEO

    Whether it’s a designer handbag, a bottle of single malt or a period TV drama, the UK is rightly proud of its exports.

    British fashion earns the UK billions of pounds every year. In 2014, 99 million cases of Scotch whisky sold worldwide, with fast-growing sales in India and China.

    In the past four years, the UK exported more than 600 television shows to viewers around the world. So, where should these booming British export industries pay most of their corporation tax? In those countries where people consume these great British products, or here in the UK where investment and ingenuity goes into creating what the world enjoys? 

    In the UK we now employ over 4,000 people across a wide range of roles – including sales, marketing, legal, finance and software engineers who work on some of our most popular products, like Android and Maps.

    They all contribute to Google’s success – and our UK corporation tax bill grows as a result. The rules require that our corporation tax bill is based on the value contributed by our teams in the UK, not on the sales Google makes to UK customers.

    That value is precisely what HMRC examined in its six-year audit – an intensive review of our business to determine the amount of profit attributed to Google’s UK operation.

    During the audit we were fully transparent and gave access to commercial information. They interviewed me and other members of Google’s team, they visited our Dublin operation and talked with our customers. They assessed the UK team’s contribution to Google’s profits using internationally agreed formulae and benchmarks.

    Some have suggested the settlement which concluded the audit was a ‘sweetheart deal’, a cut-price tax rate. It was not. Google pays corporation tax on its UK profit at the standard rate – currently 20 per cent - the same as any other business in Britain.

    And let’s be absolutely clear: politicians play no part in deciding and settling tax audits. They set the rules, HMRC independently apply the rules and companies like Google follow the rules.

    Many argue that the system would be better and fairer if products were taxed where they are consumed rather than where they are created.

    It may sound reasonable, but we should remember that such a change would also mean British exporters would pay more of their taxes abroad, where their products are consumed – the US government would get a swig of that single malt, or a cut of that designer handbag after all. And, perhaps oddly, most corporate tax would be paid in the countries with the most consumers – in populous countries like India and China – not where the value is actually created.

    We agree that the international tax system needs reform. We have long been in favour of simpler, clearer rules, because it is important not only to pay the right amount of tax, but to be seen to be paying the right amount.

    But changes to the tax system are not Google’s call. Reform must come from governments, not from the companies who are subject to their rules.

    This article was written by Kate McCann Senior Political Correspondent from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Additional editing by Business Insider.


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    NOW WATCH: How to play the secret chess game hidden in Facebook

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    British Chambers of Commerce Director General John Longworth speaks at their annual meeting in central London February 10, 2015. The director general of the British Chambers of Commerce has been suspended after he called for Britain to leave the European Union, against the wishes of most of the organization's members, the Financial Times reported on March 5, 2016. Photograph taken on February 10, 2015.

    The top business group leader who quit over the weekend to campaign for a Brexit — a British exit from Europe — says the government is being "highly irresponsible" by fearmongering in the debate.

    John Longworth quit as head of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) on Sunday after coming out in support of a Brexit in the upcoming referendum on Britain's membership of Europe. The BCC is officially remaining neutral and Longworth felt his position clashed with this.

    In an interview with The Telegraph on Monday, his first since resigning, Longworth criticises the government's campaigning so far for the referendum, saying it is "peddling hyperbole" to "scare" voters into remaining in Europe.

    Longworth told The Telegraph:

    The government has to be responsible. And the fact of the matter is that there is a chance that the country will vote to leave.

    If the government keeps peddling the line that it will be a disaster if we leave, which it actually won’t be, they are going to put the country in a position where it will be damaged if we do.

    It may work that by scaring people that we don’t leave and they will succeed. But if we do leave, that will be very irresponsible of the government.

    Longworth says that if Brits do vote to leave the European Union on June 23, then stock markets and the pound could collapse as the government and other pro-European groups have been warning.

    But, Longworth said, it will be the government's fault for shouting so much about these dangers and scaring investors, not because of any underlying issues. The pound has already taking a severe battering from traders after the date of the referendum was announced.

    Pro-Brexit campaigners have dubbed their rival campaign "Project Fear", arguing that the bulk of the pro-EU argument is simply fearmongering about what would happen if Britain were to leave. (It should be said, however, that Brexit campaigners are doing their fair share of fearmongering too, with Justice Secretary Michael Gove claiming in an interview with the Sunday Times that the EU fuels fascism.)

    Anti-European MPs and campaigners accused pro-EU forces in the government of forcing out Longworth from his role at the BCC but Longworth insists in the interview that this was not the case.

    You can read the full interview with The Telegraph here.

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    NOW WATCH: Why 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner products don’t work

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    kim jong un submarine

    The following post was originally published on June 14, 2015. We are republishing after news that North Korea lost one of its submarines at sea.

    The admirals of the Soviet Union declared North Korea’s prize submarine to be obsolete back in 1961, and Western experts stubbornly point out its inability to sink enemy vessels.

    But Kim Jong-un, the “Supreme Leader” of North Korea, offered navigation tips and issued stern battle orders during a proud tour of a Romeo class submarine of the People’s Navy.

    Designed in the 1950s, the vessel was in production for the Soviet Union for only 48 months until being succeeded by nuclear-powered submarines 53 years ago.

    kim jong un submarine

    Every other navy in the world then gave up on the Romeo, with its noisy and easily detectable diesel engine — apart, that is, from North Korea’s. The country has 20 Romeo class boats, comprising almost a third of its submarine fleet.

    During his visit, Mr Kim mounted the vessel’s conning tower and went on a short voyage, during which the official news agency reported that the multi-talented leader “taught” the submarine’s captain a “good method of navigation”.

    kim jong Un submarine

    Mr Kim also urged his commanders to think “only” of “battles” and “spur combat preparations”.

    Any captain of a Romeo class submarine might, however, view hostilities with trepidation.

    The boats carry Yu-4 torpedoes, a Chinese-made weapon dating from the 1960s with a range of four miles.

    The Los Angeles Class nuclear-powered attack submarines of the US Navy, meanwhile, carry Harpoon missiles that can sink a ship 150 miles away.

    kim jong un submarine

    The North Korean vessel is a “basic” model with “virtually no anti-submarine performance”, says IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships.

    This means the Romeo might try damaging a ship — provided it happens to be less than four miles away — but it would be helpless against an enemy submarine trying to send it to the bottom.

    At least one North Korean submarine has gone to the bottom without any help from the country’s enemies.

    A Romeo class boat sank in an apparent accident in 1985.

    north korea submarine

    Of North Korea’s 20 submarines in this category, seven were supplied by China between 1973 and 1975 and the rest built in the country’s own shipyards between 1976 and 1995.

    More than three decades after the Soviet Union had stopped making the vessel — and after it had been phased out by the navies of Syria, Algeria and China — North Korea was still producing its own version of the Romeo.

    Mr Kim’s decision to pay a high profile visit seems at odds with the official doctrine of the so-called People’s Navy, which stresses the importance of camouflage and concealment.

    kim jong un submarine north korea

    So seriously were these tasks taken that 2004 was officially declared the “Year of Camouflage”.

    On the 10th anniversary of that occasion, however, Mr Kim allowed photographs of the unlikely pride of his fleet to be released to the world.

    Cdre Stephen Saunders, the editor of IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships, summed up: “The fact that the Dear Successor is spending time on what, in any other navy, would be an obsolete submarine tells its own story.”

    north korea kim jong un navy

    SEE ALSO: US: North Korea lost one of its submarines, and we guess it just sank

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: You are considered a traitor for having dusty photos of the leaders in North Korea

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    Donald Trump’s butler has seen it all.donald trump butler Anthony Senecal

    From the times that Ivanka Trump, the owner’s daughter, ordered the gardeners off the grounds so that she could swim in the pool naked, to the day the historic library was turned into a bar.

    From the happy day Mr Trump married Melania Knauss at the Florida estate, with Hillary Clinton watching on, to the sad moment when he was ordered to move out of his apartment in the 118-room Mar-a-Lago property by Marla Maples, Mr Trump’s then wife.

    Anthony Senecal, 74, has worked at the estate for almost 60 years — almost half of the time for Mr Trump.

    “You can always tell when the king is here,” said Mr Senecal, pointing out the rows of secret service cars parked outside.

    The house was built by Marjorie Merriweather Post, a cereal heiress, in the 1920s. When she died in 1973, she left the house to the United States government with the idea that it would become a presidential retreat.

    But the upkeep proved too expensive, and ownership was transferred back to Mrs Post’s daughters, who sold it to Mr Trump for less than $10 million (£7.07m) in 1985. He turned it into a private club a decade later.

    Mr Senecal has told The New York Times about his long-time boss who, on being told in 2009 that Mr Senecal wanted to retire, told him: “Tony, to retire is to expire. I’ll see you next season.”

    What the butler saw:

    SEE ALSO: 'Today' show plays brutal clip of Donald Trump 'apparently contradicting himself' within minutes

    He does his own hair

    Mr Trump’s hair has, for decades, been a source of fascination to the American public.

    And Mr Senecal revealed that, despite the estate having a salon, the billionaire preferred to style his own hair.

    He only needs four hours of sleep a night

    Like Margaret Thatcher, General David Petraeus, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Pepsi's Indra Nooyi, Mr Trump sleeps only for four hours a night, his butler said.

    Then he rises before dawn to read the newspapers before playing golf.

    The White House has had a light-sleeping incumbent before. George W Bush was famously in bed by 10pm, but Bill Clinton frequently survived on four or five hours sleep.

    He likes his steak rock hard

    Mr Trump famously owned a steak company, which went out of business. He still sells “Trump steaks” at his venues — but they are now sourced from a variety of other producers, rather than Mr Trump’s own supplier.

    But the New Yorker’s decision to go into the steak business may have been a surprise to those who know him, given that his butler confirmed The Telegraph’s observation that he likes his steaks well done.

    “It would rock on the plate, it was so well done,” said Mr Senecal.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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