Articles on this Page
- 01/19/13--07:35: _China's Massive Pro...
- 01/21/13--03:12: _Top BP Exec Killed ...
- 01/21/13--14:33: _Harvard Professor S...
- 01/22/13--03:15: _Prince Harry Return...
- 01/22/13--03:29: _Library of Congress...
- 01/22/13--03:54: _How Explosives I Fo...
- 01/22/13--15:07: _Richard Branson Jus...
- 01/22/13--17:01: _Why Mackerel Has Be...
- 01/23/13--03:31: _Famed Falklands War...
- 01/23/13--04:38: _Steve Jobs Made Agg...
- 01/23/13--09:24: _Bad News Makes You ...
- 01/23/13--09:26: _A British Man Just ...
- 01/23/13--15:36: _Four In 10 Girls Wi...
- 01/24/13--08:45: _Serial Multitaskers...
- 01/25/13--03:40: _32 Militants Overra...
- 01/25/13--05:10: _Facebook Management...
- 01/27/13--16:06: _Court Rules That Ce...
- 01/28/13--03:38: _Russian Prime Minis...
- 01/29/13--04:19: _Apple Will Soon Sel...
- 01/29/13--07:51: _Winning The War In ...
- 01/21/13--14:33: Harvard Professor Seeks Woman Willing To Have A Neanderthal Baby
- 01/22/13--03:15: Prince Harry Returns From Afghanistan Seemingly Battle-Hardened
- 01/22/13--03:29: Library of Congress Is Archiving All Of America's Tweets
- 01/22/13--17:01: Why Mackerel Has Been Taken Off The Ethical 'Fish To Eat' List
- 01/23/13--03:31: Famed Falklands Warship Sinks In Argentina
- 01/23/13--09:24: Bad News Makes You Gain Weight
- 01/23/13--09:26: A British Man Just Got A Bionic 'Michelangelo' Hand
- 01/23/13--15:36: Four In 10 Girls Will Live To 100
- 01/24/13--08:45: Serial Multitaskers Are Terrible At Multitasking
- 01/25/13--03:40: 32 Militants Overran 100 Guards To Take Over Algerian Oil Field
- 01/25/13--05:10: Facebook Management Decides To Nuke Twitter's Big New Product
- 01/29/13--04:19: Apple Will Soon Sell A Much Cheaper iPhone 5 [REPORT]
- 01/29/13--07:51: Winning The War In Mali Is The Easy Part
Chinese spin-doctors have been instructed to step-up their online activities and tap into the social-media revolution to spread "positive energy" across the internet.
Lu Wei, Beijing's propaganda chief, gave the order at a meeting on Thursday, according to a report in the Beijing News.
Beijing's "2.06 million" propaganda workers "should make more efforts in opinion guiding on hot topics", Mr Lu said in an apparent reference to 60,000 directly employed propaganda officials and 2 million informal collaborators, likely including students and Party members.
By expanding its presence on social media sites, the Communist Party would be able to "handle hot topics effectively, strengthen the online mainstream public opinion and improve the 'ecology' of online public opinion."
Referring to Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, Mr Lu said propaganda officials should: "Browse on Weibo, set up Weibo accounts, send Weibo [messages and] study Weibo." Mr Lu's comments come weeks after Beijing appeared to tighten its control over the internet by announcing new regulations that, if enforced, would require users to register their real names before using the service.
According to the Beijing News, Mr Lu listed a series of "hot topics" Party chiefs hoped could be positively spun by Beijing's army of propagandists.
The topics included "economic trends, price controls, transformation and development, employment, housing, social security [and] income distribution." Officials were also ordered to "purify" the internet by continuing their "crackdown on harmful and vulgar information."
The political importance of China's addiction to the internet is not lost on its incoming leaders and there has been recent speculation that incoming president Xi Jinping has taken his first steps into the world of Weibo, which has an estimated 200 million registered users.
Since late last year, a Weibo account called 'Fans Group to Learn from Xi' has been raising eyebrows amid claims is in fact controlled by Mr Xi's staff.
On Thursday, the account – which has around 63,000 followers and enjoys suspiciously close access to Mr Xi – published a photograph of the Communist Party boss smiling at a grimacing Barack Obama. "It looks like Obama is depressed," read the caption.
The Beijing News report left Chinese micro-bloggers bemused and angry.
Many reacted in disbelief to the suggestion that there were 2 million propaganda officials lurking in Beijing.
"This is terrifying," wrote one micro-blogger, under the name Zhao Yajun. "One out of ten of Beijing's population is a propaganda worker.""No wonder we have to pay such high taxes!" complained another.
Anthony Tao, a Beijing-based blogger, wrote: "Holy smoke. Two million paid sycophants."
A senior executive at BP, who lived in London, was among those who died in the attack on the Algerian gas plant, adding to suggestions that the terrorists may have had inside information.
Carlos Estrada, who had worked for the company for 18 years and risen to be vice–president, lived with his wife and family in an exclusive flat in Chelsea, West London.
Sources told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Estrada, who was born in Bogota, Colombia, made no more than one or two visits to the site a year and was likely to be accompanied by other senior executives.
He is thought to have died in the initial attack on a bus carrying workers to the airport to leave the plant on Wednesday, in which Paul Morgan, the plant's British head of security, also died.
Mr Estrada was said to be head of "non–operated assets" in Europe and North Africa, meaning he was in charge of oil drilling partnerships not operated by BP.
He was in overall charge of the joint–venture which is operated by BP in association with Statoil of Norway and Sonatrach of Algeria.
Mr Estrada's wife and BP declined to comment.
A scientist has said it would be possible to clone a Neanderthal baby from ancient DNA if he could find a woman willing to act as a surrogate.
The process would not be legal in many countries and would involve using DNA extracted from fossils.
George Church, a genetics professor of Harvard School of Medicine, said that the process was possible and that far from being brutal and primitive, Neanderthals were intelligent beings.
They are believed to be one of the ancestors of modern man and became extinct 33,000 years ago. He added that altering the human genome could also provide the answers to curing diseases such as cancer and HIV, and hold the key to living to 120.
He told Der Spiegel, the German magazine: “I have already managed to attract enough DNA from fossil bones to reconstruct the DNA of the human species largely extinct. Now I need an adventurous female human.”
The professor claims that he could introduce parts of the Neanderthal genome to human stem cells and clone them to create a foetus that could then be implanted in a woman.
Prof Church helped start the Human Genome Project that mapped human DNA and is well respected in the field. His comments will surprise most geneticists who believe that cloning humans is unacceptable. It is illegal in Britain.
Prof Church said: “We can clone all kinds of mammals, so it’s very likely that we could clone a human. Why shouldn’t we be able to do so?”
He added: “Neanderthals might think differently than we do. We know that they had a larger cranial size. They could even be more intelligent than us.
“When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet or whatever, it’s conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial. They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force. The main goal is to increase diversity. The one thing that is bad for society is low diversity.”
Prof Church said the technique would involve artificially creating DNA from fossilised material and introducing this into human stem cell lines.
He discusses his idea in his latest book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves.
He rules out recreating older human ancestors or dinosaurs, as was the subject of the Jurassic Park films, because the age limit of useful DNA is about one million years, he said.
He told the magazine: “One of the things to do is to engineer our cells so that they have a lower probability of cancer.
“And then once we have a lower probability of cancer, you can crank up their self-renewal properties, so that they have a lower probability of senescence [ageing].”
Prince Harry says he did not come to Afghanistan to kill the Taliban, but says he will "take a life to save a life" and if insurgents attack British forces then he will "take them out of the game".
The Prince, who has completed his four-month tour as an Apache attack helicopter gunner, was matter-of-fact about killing people, saying: "Lots of people have."
The 28-year-old flew on scores of missions with his finger on the trigger of the helicopter's rockets, missiles and 30mm cannon.
He said he had come under fire, adding: "Yes, you get shot at. But if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well."
133,000 gigabytes worth of tweets currently takes days to search, but The Library of Congress is nonetheless trying to archive American Twitter use for posterity
The venerable US institution is assembling all of the 400 million tweets sent by Americans each day, in the belief that each of the mini-messages reflect a small but important part of the national narrative.
"An element of our mission at the Library of Congress is to collect the story of America, and to acquire collections that will have research value," said Gayle Osterberg, director of communications at the library.
The Library of Congress, located off the National Mall in Washington, houses millions of hard copy books and historic documents, and its online archives amass millions of additional works produced by Americans for more than two centuries.
Now it wants to be keeper of the nation's brief internet messages as well: Twitter in April 2010 signed a deal with the Library, giving it access to tweets dating back to the company's inception in 2006.
Collecting the 140-character micro-missives, said Osterberg, is in keeping with the library's main goal "to collect the story of America and to acquire collections that will have research value."
One major challenge to the Library, however, is storing the messages from the popular social messaging site, which now number 170 billion. Twitter last month said the number of active users on the messaging platform has topped 200 million, most of whom are in the United States.
Tweets that have been deleted or that are locked will not be among those gathered by the Library of Congress.
Among the messages to be preserved for posterity are the first-ever tweets sent by one of the company's founders, Jack Dorsey.
Also saved for all time is a famous tweet sent by President Barack Obama after his historic November 2008 victory to claim the White House in his first term. "We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you. Thanks," it read.
Unlike traditional bound books or even digital web pages, the real challenge of preserving tweets is keeping up with their number, which has continued to grow almost exponentially.
There were 140 million tweets sent each day in February 2011, but more than three times as many - about a half billion - by October 2012.
The Library of Congress's tweets are being stored by Gnip, a social media aggregation company headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, which has put more than 133,000 gigabytes of storage space available.
Gnip says it is a particular challenge to gather tweets during "peak" times, such as news event watched the world over like the Japanese tsunami in March 2011, which generated many thousand tweets per second.
It has proven to be a Herculean challenge for Gnip to make tweets accessible to all those who wish to view them.
So far it has been unable to meet the demands of researchers worldwide who hope to access the archive. Even a search among the first four years of tweets, from 2006 to 2010, could take about 24 hours.
"It is clear that technology to allow for scholarship access to large data sets is lagging behind technology for creating and distributing such data," said a recent white paper published by the Library of Congress.
"This is an inadequate situation," the Library concluded, calling the massive archiving project "prohibitively costly."
And yet Lee Humphreys, a professor of communication at Cornell University in New York, said that the brief online messages can reveal volumes "about the culture where they were produced."
When I read the story of Steven McFaul, the hostage from Belfast who did a runner from the jihadis in southern Algeria with a Semtex suicide belt around his neck, I was taken back to a slightly nerve-racking, sweltering afternoon spent in a field on the southern edge of Tripoli, Libya, at the beginning of September 2011.
The city had just fallen to the Libyan rebels, and journalist colleagues and I were being regularly alerted to evidence of atrocities committed by Gaddafi's elite 32nd or Khamis Brigade around their base in Salaheddin suburb. We found the bodies of a hundred men cremated in a barn, after being machine-gunned and blasted to death; decomposing bodies of other victims, hands tied behind their backs, in ditches.
Perhaps the most extraordinary find, though, was something Heathcliff O'Malley, the Telegraph photographer, two New York Times colleagues and I stumbled across almost by chance. We climbed into a field where we were told there might be a mass grave only to discover something even more startling: pile upon pile of landmines, neatly stored in their boxes. I made an initial, conservative calculation that there were 60,000 of them. I now learn that it was two and a half times that: 150,000.
We picked our way nervously through the field, into an orchard. Here there were boxes containing rubbery and plasticky blocks, their lids off and exposed to the harsh summer sun. They were clearly marked: Semtex and TNT. In a guardhouse, carelessly scattered around, were a couple of bags full of hand grenades.
There was also a giant, brand new, German mine-detecting device.
One thing there wasn't was any sign of was security. We were there on our own. A local told us some rebels had visited but disappeared.
As well as writing about and picturing our find, we thought we had better tell someone. That evening, at a press conference, I found Abdulrahim el-Keib, a member of the National Transitional Council who later became interim prime minister, who promised something would be done. Heathcliff spoke to Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch and a weapons expert after years in the field, who himself raised it with the Americans, the Brits, the EU.
Where did those weapons end up? Well, a picture on the Telegraph website today tells one part of the story – in a haul shown off by the Algerian military after the end of the siege in In Amenas are three anti-tank mines of the sort that were in the Tripoli field.
I wondered whether the Semtex I saw had ended up round Mr McFaul's neck. That is hard to say: there's plenty of the stuff around. Gaddafi had a lot of it – he sent some to the IRA of course over the years – and so the jihadists' stock could have come from anywhere.
What we know is that there was a fairly dramatic upping of the weapons supplies available to rebels and their jihadi associates in northern Mali, many of them Tuaregs who had fought for Gaddafi, within months of Libya falling – hence the ease with which they swept past outgunned Malian troops last year. We also know that there was a surge of weapons into trouble spot like the Egyptian Sinai – where police reported another find of explosives in a truck yesterday – and Gaza, where AK103 rifles like those used by the Libyan forces have started showing up in rallies. The jihadis who took the gas field are said to have crossed into Algeria from Libya and Mali.
I spoke to Peter Bouckaert yesterday, and asked him what had happened in 2011. He told me that at first the Americans, who seem to have taken the lead on the issue even though the Libyans' prime backers were France and the UK, tried to leave the issue to the NTC. When they realised that was useless, they set up an emergency meeting at the White House and sent in ex-special forces teams. But they were told only to focus on missing surface-to-air missiles – of which there were estimated to be 20,000 at one point – because of the potential risk to civilian airliners. ("That's one for every passenger plane in the world," one military type said then.)
"When I tried to talk to them about the broader impact, their eyes sort of glazed over," Peter said.
Gaddafi, he said, had built up a vast arsenal of kit, with dumps in every city. Much of it has gone missing – far more than, say, disappeared after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He himself photographed men with 18-wheel trailers towing away the landmines from my field – he reckoned there were 120,000 anti-personnel mines and 30,000 anti-tank mines. He says they were sold to an international arms dealer and are still in circulation.
"The weapons that went missing in Libya are perhaps the greatest proliferation of weapons of war from any modern conflict," he said.
It would seem these weapons, so useless (like many weapons) in achieving anything Gaddafi was likely to need to achieve, say putting down rebellions or fighting off Western jets, were taken out of the Khamis Brigade barracks and dumped in the field to stop them getting hit by Nato missiles.
To me, this doesn't necessarily mean that Britain's intervention in Libya was wrong – who knows what would have happened to Libya if the West hadn't intervened on the side of the rebels. Syria gives us a clue, and that's certainly not pretty.
It does show, however, once again that while the West is now very good at taking down regimes it doesn't like, it's not very good at securing their capitals afterwards.
A few weeks later, I saw something equally remarkable – two warehouses full to the gunnels with tons and tons of yellowcake uranium. It had six guards assigned to it, who were sensibly enough staying well away, at a house a few hundred yards across the sand. For this was down in the desert near Sabha; the city closest to the Algerian border and not far from the camps where, allegedly, Mokhtar Belmokhtar trained his men. That yellowcake was later secured. Or at least, I hope it was.
Sir Richard Branson has thrown down a £1m challenge to Willie Walsh about the future of Virgin Atlantic.
He has been spurred into action by suggestions from Mr Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines, the BA and Iberia group, that Virgin Atlantic could soon be consigned to history if a planned deal involving Delta Airlines goes through.
Sir Richard strongly denied the Virgin name will be dropped and has offered to pay BA staff £1m if the brand name has disappeared within five years. If he wins he wants BA to make a £1m payment to Virgin staff.
Delta is at an advanced stage in talks to buy the 49pc stake held by Singapore Airlines in Virgin Atlantic and an announcement is expected shortly.
Mr Walsh said the Virgin Atlantic name was likely to be ditched by Delta once the deal is finalised. “I can’t see Delta wanting to operate the Virgin brand because if they do what does that say about the Delta brand?”
But Sir Richard, stung by Mr Walsh’s comments, has hit back, using a blog on the Virgin website to reject the suggestion that he is ready to see the brand name disappear.
He wrote: “This is wishful thinking and totally misguided. Will BA never learn? Let’s see how much they believe this. Let them put their money where their mouth is.”
He says he will hand over £1m to BA staff if Virgin Atlantic disappears within five years and “if not BA pays our staff £1m.”
Sir Richard and BA have a long history of soured relations and legal action. Virgin won the last legal encounter in a case involving ‘dirty tricks’ and Sir Richard split the money awarded to the company among his staff.
But rather than suing BA over Mr Walsh’s comments he is putting his money where his mouth is. He said: “Virgin Atlantic was my baby 28 years ago when we set up with just one plane. Like all children, they never really stop being your babies and Virgin Atlantic is still very much cherished.
"It has grown into a wonderful airline which has punched above its weight for almost three decades, giving much larger airlines a real run for their money.
“We intend to carry on doing so for many years to come and contrary to Mr Walsh’s hopes we have no plans to disappear. But since they are so confident will BA accept our challenge?”
IAG, BA's owner, would not comment on Monday.
The North-east Atlantic mackerel fishery has joined the three quarters of worldwide stocks that are either declining or being fished beyond a sustainable level
Only yesterday, it seems, mackerel was the fish to gulp down without a twinge of guilt, good both for your pump and for the planet. Doctors recommended its oily flesh, rich in omega-3, to ward off heart disease. Environmentalists and celebrity chefs trumpeted its eco-friendliness. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a campaign in 2010 to persuade people to switch to it from overfished cod. The sustainable superfood was also cheap and tasty – and made up Scotland’s most valuable catch. What was there not to like?
Today, its sustainable image, at least, lies shattered, and its £205 million annual value to British fishermen is in jeopardy. The Marine Conservation Society has taken the species off its ethical “fish to eat” list because the catch is now “far in excess of what has been scientifically recommended”. And Fearnley-Whittingstall, while insisting that the supply had been robust enough to support his campaign, called the fish’s plight “a farce rapidly becoming a tragedy”.
In other words, north-east Atlantic mackerel fishery has now joined the three quarters of worldwide stocks that are either declining or being fished beyond a sustainable level. In European waters, blighted by the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy, the toll is even worse, with more than 80 per cent of fisheries over-exploited.
In fact, the crisis has long been brewing – and, in retrospect, fisheries campaigners seem to have been over-sanguine. It began more than four years ago, when Iceland started increasing its landings of the fish, unilaterally upping its quota from 2,000 tonnes in 2008 to 146,000 tonnes last year. The Faroe Islands followed suit, raising their own quota sixfold to 150,000 tons. They did so because for some reason (climate change has been blamed) mackerel have been moving northwards. There are now plenty of them in those warming waters, so the locals insist they have every right to harvest them.
The trouble is that when the vastly increased Icelandic and Faroese takes are added to what other countries are legally catching, some 900,000 tonnes of mackerel are being landed a year from a fishery that can only stand to yield 500,000 tonnes. That cannot go on for long without disaster – there is an awful precedent in the North Sea, where the fishery which yielded a one million ton take in the Sixties has since shrunk by 99 per cent – and Britain, which holds more than half the EU quota, stands to suffer most.
Negotiations have so far failed, and, in the absence of agreement, the EU and Norway last week cut their quotas by 15 per cent to try to relieve the pressure. And two weeks ago, Richard Benyon, the fisheries minister, told Parliament that EU trade sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes were now “on the table”.
These could be in operation by the summer, when new quotas are due to be set, directed at imports of mackerel and fishmeal to feed farmed salmon. But – as the former Daily Telegraph writer turned fisheries campaigner, Charles Clover, points out – a “mackerel war” might backfire, since much of the Icelandic and Faroese catch is landed, and processed, in Britain.
Last March the Marine Stewardship Council, which certifies fisheries, suspended its seal of approval for north-east Atlantic mackerel, and later last year Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and the Co-op all boycotted it. So its downgrading on the “fish to eat” list – the Marine Conservation Society says it should now be only consumed “occasionally” – has long been on its way.
The saga is just one episode in an astonishing depletion of the once-rich fisheries around our shores. Prof Callum Roberts, of the University of York, has calculated that as late as 1889 British waters held up to 15 times as many cod, haddock and halibut as today. The devastation long preceded the Common Fisheries Policy, but it has made things worse: more than two thirds of the quotas it set over the past 25 years have exceeded official scientific advice. A minister once told me that the meetings in Brussels were like “Buffalo Bill and Wyatt Earp arguing over who should shoot the last buffalo”.
To its credit, the Government, led by Mr Benyon, has tried to change this. Largely because of its pressure, serious reform seems finally to be under way, with EU ministers and a European parliamentary committee last year agreeing to ban the grossly wasteful practice of “discarding”, dead or dying, nearly one in every 10 fish caught, while the MEPs also voted to stop the setting of quotas above scientific recommendations. But there is still a long way to go.
In the meantime the Marine Conservation Society suggests eating herring and sardine instead of mackerel; it also gives the green light to whiting from the Celtic Sea, coley from the North Sea and Dover sole from the English Channel.
The Holy Trinity, a warship used to land the first Argentine forces in the Falklands War with Britain in 1982, has sunk, the navy said.
Arturo Puricelli, the defence minister, said the loss of the Holy Trinity was due to "negligence in the best-case scenario, or an attack" aimed at making the government look bad. He did not go into detail.
The destroyer, which was retired from active service in 2004, took on water at the Puerto Belgrano naval base after a six-inch pipe burst, the navy said.
The minister later said, however, that he was surprised that the ship sank quickly while it was moored at the port.
First it started listing, he said. "So the breakdown must have been major, or someone opened a value to sink it," he said.
Puricelli ordered the navy to launch an investigation, and said he harboured doubts because the ship was not that old, dating back just to the 1970s.
Authorities had planned to turn the 125-meter ship into a museum.
The vessel is significant historically because it unloaded a team of divers at Puerto Enriqueta on April 1, 1982, the day before Argentine troops invaded the British-controlled Falkland islands .
The 74-day war cost the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British troops, and ended in disaster for Argentina when its forces were routed by a British expeditionary force.
Britain has held the South Atlantic archipelago since 1833 but Buenos Aires claims they are occupied Argentine territory.
In recent months, the sovereignty dispute has again sparked tension between Buenos Aires and London. On March 10 and 11, islanders will vote on whether they want the retain their status as a British overseas territory.
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The communication from the late Apple co-founder came to light in a civil lawsuit brought by five tech workers against Apple Inc, Google Inc, Intel Corp and others, which alleges an illegal conspiracy to eliminate competition for each other's employees and drive down wages.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs estimate that damages could run to hundreds of millions of dollars.
The defendant companies have attempted to keep a range of documents secret. US district judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, rejected parts of that request, which has now led to details of Jobs ' 2007 communications with then-Palm chief executive Edward Colligan being made public.
Jobs proposed eliminating competition between the two companies for talent, according to a sworn statement from Mr Colligan cited by the plaintiffs.
"Mr. Jobs also suggested that if Palm did not agree to such an arrangement, Palm could face lawsuits alleging infringement of Apple's many patents," Mr Colligan said in the statement.
Mr Colligan told Jobs that the plan was "likely [to be] illegal," and that Palm was not "intimidated" by the threat.
"If you choose the litigation route, we can respond with our own claims based on patent assets, but I don't think litigation is the answer," he said.
Ms Koh is due to rule whether the lawsuit can proceed as a class action, which would give the plaintiffs more leverage to extract a large settlement.
At a court hearing last week, Ms Koh cited emails between top executives as key evidence for plaintiffs, though the judge also said plaintiffs' economic analysis had "holes."
The court filings detail how Google developed its no-hire agreements.
Google's then-chief executive Eric Schmidt told his human resources director that he would prefer any agreement over recruitment to be made "verbally, since I don't want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later".
In another internal exchange, Google's former staffing strategist Amnon Geshuri tells Mr Schmidt that a recruiter, having pursued an Apple employee, "will be terminated within the hour".
Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick said Google has "always actively and aggressively recruited top talent."
Mr Schmidt is due to be questioned by plaintiff lawyers next month.
In 2010, Google, Apple, Adobe Systems Inc, Intel, Intuit Inc and Walt Disney Co's Pixar unit agreed to a settlement of a US Justice Department probe that bars them from agreeing to refrain from poaching each other's employees.
The Justice Department and California state antitrust regulators then sued eBay Inc in late 2012 over an alleged no-poaching deal with Intuit.
Evolutionary instincts lead people to put on weight when bad news is on the horizon, a study has found.
A study found that a perception of tough times ahead, makes people more likely to seek higher calorie foods.
It kicks in a survival 'carpe diem' — seize the day — instinct, where higher calorie foods are valued at a premium, reports journal Psychological Science.
Those subconsciously primed with messages such as 'live for today' ate nearly 40 per cent more food than those subjected to neutral messages, the study from the University of Miami found.
Professor Juliano Laran said: "The findings of this study come at a time when our country is slowly recovering from the onslaught of negative presidential campaign ads chalked with topics such as the weak economy, gun violence, war, deep political divides, just to name a few problem areas.
"Now that we know this sort of messaging causes people to seek out more calories out of a survival instinct, it would be wise for those looking to kick off a healthier new year to tune out news for a while."
The study also found that when the group primed with "tough times" messages was then told the food they were sampling was low-calorie, they consumed roughly 25 percent less of the food.
According to the researchers this is because if people perceive that food resources are scarce, they place a higher value on food with more calories.
The groups were given identical foods. However, being told one was higher in calories increased its perceived worth, the study found.
Prof Laran said: "It is clear from the studies that taste was not what caused the reactions, it was a longing for calories.
"These findings could have positive implications for individuals in the health care field, government campaigns on nutrition, and companies promoting wellness. And, certainly beware of savvy food marketers bearing bad news."
Engineer Chris Taylor, who lost his arm in a jet ski accident four years ago, has been fitted with a prosthetic that has electronic fingers and thumb that enable it to function like a human hand.
Chris Taylor's 'Michelangelo Hand' has electrodes that sense movement in the muscles allowing it to match the versatility and complexity of natural hand movement.
Its four fingers and a thumb can be separately moved enabling it mimic multiple grips so he can perform everyday tasks like opening a tube of toothpaste, gripping a key, holding a credit card and ironing clothes.
Mr Taylor from Ivybridge, Devon, is the first person in the UK to have been fitted with the £47,000 device.
Four in 10 girls born today is expected to live to 100, according to a respected health economist writing in the online edition of the British Medical Journal.
John Appleby, chief economist at the King’s Fund, said just 13 per cent of girls born in 1951 were expected to reach their centenary.
But among those born this year, just under 40 per cent are forecast to reach 100, according to the Office for National Statistics . If trends continue, the majority of girls born in 2060 - some 60 per cent - will live to see 2160.
Life expectancy is shorter for boys but is gaining ground, especially among wealthier parts of the population.
Professor Appleby warned that although life expectancy was increasing, one could not assume people would have healthier old ages - raising the prospect of a "scrabble for resources" to cope with ever increasing numbers of infirm elderly people.
He wrote : "Living longer is a good thing but not much fun if those extra years are lived in pain and discomfort.
“How healthy humans will be in the future is an open question, but historically at least … previous gains in health life expectancy have more to do with reductions in mortality than reductions in years lived in disability.”
Increasing longevity has taken many people by surprise. While demographers had expected the increase to plateau in recent years, that has not happened and lifespans seem to be soaring ahead.
Prof Appley also asked: “As more and more people live to older ages what will happen to the world’s population?
"Could we find our aged selves scrabbling for resources as the world’s population explodes?”
However, he concluded this was “very unlikely” as the increase in the world’s population rate was slowing.
Such a benign conclusion is not shared by others, who fear slowing population growth will exacerbate the problem. If fewer babies are born, that will mean less people of working age to support growing numbers in retirement, say many experts.
Workers who boast that they can multitask are actually the worst at doing several things at once and at focusing on single jobs, according to a new study.
Serial multitaskers end juggling two activities at once not because they are good at it but because they are easily distracted and cannot concentrate on the job at hand, researchers said.
Conversely, the people who are the most adept at multitasking are the least likely to do so because they are better at focusing on doing one thing at a time.
The study also found that 70 per cent of people believe they are better than average at multitasking, which is statistically impossible.
Prof David Strayer, senior author of the study, said: "The people who are most likely to multitask harbour the illusion they are better than average at it, when in fact they are no better than average and often worse."
The researchers, from the University of Utah, subjected 310 volunteers to tests and questionnaires designed to measure their actual multitasking ability against their imagined multitasking ability.
They also recorded how likely the participants were to use their mobile phone while driving or use a wide array of electronic media, and personality traits like impulsivity.
People who scored highly on the multitasking test tended not to multitask as much as others because they were better at focusing on completing one job at a time, results showed.
In contrast those who scored poorly at multitasking were more likely to end up doing so because they were more impulsive and easily distracted, and had an inflated sense of their ability to carry out two jobs at once.
"If you have people multitasking a lot, you might come to the conclusion that they are good at multitasking. In fat, the more likely they are to do it, the more likely they are to be bad at it," Prof Strayer said.
"The people who multitask the most tend to be impulsive, sensation-seeking, overconfident of their multitasking abilities, and they tend to be less capable of multitasking."
Overestimating one's own capacity to perform multiple jobs at once could lead to dangerous consequences, the researchers warned.
Prof David Sanbonmatsu, who co-wrote the paper published in the Public Library of Science Journal, said: "What is alarming is that people who talk on cell phones while driving tend to be the people least able to multitask well."
The Amenas gas plant in Algeria was guarded by around 100 armed gendarmes but they failed to fend off an attack by less than half the number of terrorists, it can be disclosed.
A base for the gendarmes was built between the residential compound and the drilling area which are several miles apart in the desert, sources told the Daily Telegraph.
But they failed to react in time when a convoy of around 14 vehicles arrived at the base at 5.40am on January 16 with heavy machine guns mounted on the back and carrying at least 32 terrorists.
Gendarmes accompanying a bus heading for the airport managed to beat off the first attack and Huw Edwards, a British gas worker on the bus, said he owed his life to them.
However the al-Qaeda-backed militants were able to get into the residential compound and take dozens of Westerners hostage.
The army arrived to provide back up from a base around 30km (18.5m) away but their two attempts to launch a rescue ended in a bloodbath and the death of at least 37 foreign workers.
Questions are now likely to be asked about how the terrorist convoy was able to cross the border from Libya 30km away without being detected and why the security failed to respond.
The gendarmes were said to have done a “very good job in a passive environment” but a security source admitted they appear to have “come up short” when tested.
“BP is going to have to ensure there is adequate safety and security if they reopen the plant because no one is going to want to go back there otherwise,” one worker said.
The gas drilling operation in the remote region of southern Algeria, close to the border with Libya, was identified as a dangerous spot when work began in 2006, sources said.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which operates in the Saharan area known as the Sahel, has earned at least £13m in ransoms for kidnapping Westerners and executed captives where no money was paid.
Initially the site at In Amenas was secured by British ex-military guards but around 2007 the Algerian government asked them to hand in their weapons so that they could take over the security operation.
The drilling takes placed in a militarized zone with check points on major roads and an army base around 30km (18.5miles) away
BP largely ran the security operation on behalf of the joint venture with Statoil of Norway and Sonatrach of Algeria.
BP prefers to use local law enforcement to guard their bases in order to avoid the appearance of hiring a private army but they used a private security firm called Stirling Group to liaise with the Algerians.
However the private guards – made up largely of former British military and French Foreign Legion soldiers – were not allowed to carry weapons, or train the local gendarmes and were responsible only for liaising with the local officials.
Paul Morgan, a former French legionnaire from Liverpool who worked for Stirling, died on the bus in the early stages of the attack.
A source at BP said: “The host government was responsible for security and there were several layers, including a military presence in the vicinity.
“What happened was unprecedented and the question of why it happened is crucial but we are not at the stage of looking at the yet.”
Stirling is run by Mike Lord, a former sergeant in the Royal Military Police, who has been working in Algeria for 20 years.
His company has a turn-over of £10m in the country and contracts with the US company Hess, the Australian company Oil Search Ltd and the British company Petrofac as well as BP.
Less than a day after Twitter launched Vine, Facebook has cut off the video-sharing application’s “find people” button, which allowed members to connect to their Facebook friends.
Twitter and Facebook have so far made no comment on the development, the latest in a series of apparent hostilities between the microblogging site and the social networking giant.
At the end of last year Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo sharing app, disabled the feature that allowed Twitter to properly display its photos, in a sign of growing tensions between the two platforms.
This meant that Twitter users were forced to click through to the Instagram site if they wanted to see photos in their entirety.
Instagram used to work closely with Twitter but the relationship worsened after Facebook bought the app in a $1bn deal last April.
It then emerged that Twitter had earlier made a failed $525m bid to buy Instagram. Suggestions that Twitter had “verbally agreed” a deal to buy the app only intensified hostilities with Facebook.
At the end of last year Twitter released Instagram-style photo filters for its own app.
Social networks are growing increasingly protective of their platforms as competition rises for users and for advertising revenue.
Last year, Twitter tightened its rules on what third-party applications are able to do, a move that seen as an attempt to keep users on its platform.
Facebook also proposed changes to its data-sharing rules that would allow the social network to use data collected by Instagram to "tell us information about you" and "improve the quality of ads."
The change allows Facebook, which has more than a billion registered users, to build more complete profiles of its users - and target advertisements - using people's personal data from its social network and from Instagram.
A landmark court case has ruled there is a link between using a mobile phone and brain tumours, paving the way for a flood of legal actions.
Innocente Marcolini, 60, an Italian businessman, fell ill after using a handset at work for up to six hours every day for 12 years.
Now Italy's Supreme Court in Rome has blamed his phone saying there is a "causal link" between his illness and phone use, the Sun has reported.
Mr Marcolini said: "This is significant for very many people. I wanted this problem to become public because many people still do not know the risks.
"I was on the phone, usually the mobile, for at least five or six hours every day at work.
"I wanted it recognised that there was a link between my illness and the use of mobile and cordless phones.
"Parents need to know their children are at risk of this illness."
British scientists have claimed there is insufficient evidence to prove any link to mobiles.
But the respected oncologist and professor of environmental mutagenesis Angelo Gino Levis gave evidence for Mr Marcolini — along with neurosurgeon Dr Giuseppe Grasso.
They said electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile and cordless phones can damage cells, making tumours more likely.
Prof Levis told The Sun: "The court decision is extremely important. It finally officially recognises the link.
"It'll open not a road but a motorway to legal actions by victims. We're considering a class action."
Mr Marcolini's tumour was discovered in the trigeminal nerve — close to where the phone touched his head.
It is non-cancerous but threatened to kill him as it spread to the carotid artery, the major vessel carrying blood to his brain.
His face was left paralysed and he takes daily morphine for pain.
Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch, which campaigns for more research on mobile use, said: "This is an interesting case and proves the need for more studies.
"People should limit mobile and cordless use until we know more."
The World Health Organisation urged limits on mobile use last year, calling them a Class B carcinogen.
But a spokesman for Britain's Health Protection Agency said: "The scientific consensus is that mobile phones do not cause cancer."
International radiation biology expert Michael Repacholi said: "Studies show no evidence of cancer. But if you are worried, use a headset, hands-free or loudspeaker."
Media lawyer Mark Stephens said the verdict could "open the floodgates"— even though there is no direct obligation on British courts to follow the Italians' lead.
He said: "It is possible people will begin legal action here, but I think the chances of success are less. I think they'll join any class action in Italy."
President Bashar al-Assad's chances of staying in power are "shrinking by the day," Dmitri Medvedev said on Sunday in Russia's sternest criticism of the Syrian regime to date.
Mr Assad, a Russian protégé who has survived thanks in part to Moscow's use of its veto at the United Nations security council, made a "grave, perhaps fatal error" in his failure to initiate political reform earlier, Prime Minister Medvedev said.
"He should have acted much more quickly and reached out to the peaceful opposition which was ready to sit at the negotiating table with him," he said in an interview with CNN on the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum conference.
"It seems to me that his chances of staying are shrinking day by day."
Mr Medvedev’s unexected intervention is unlikely to have a major effect on Russian policy, which is directed personally by President Vladimir Putin.
Mr Putin’s over-riding concern is to preserve a key ally and prevent a geopolitical triumph by either the United States or Islamists - a clear possibility if he dropped his backing for Mr Assad. Russia, by Syria’s own admission, continues to provide arms to Damascus.
Russia, by Syria's own admission, continues to provide arms to Damascus.
Mr Medvedev himself went on to say that a compromise had to be found that did not lead to Mr Assad being "executed like Gaddafi or be carried to court sessions on a stretcher like Hosni Mubarak"– referring to the deposed leaders of Libya and Egypt.
But his words are an indication of the seriousness of Mr Assad's predicament.
By contrast, Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, last week, suggested that there were no imminent signs of Mr Assad being forced out, with regime air attacks currently keeping rebel forces at bay.
Oxfam, in a report published on Monday, said there had been a sharp increase in the number of refugees in the past week – threefold in Jordan alone. In total, about 670,000 people have fled the country, on top of millions more who have left their homes for safer areas.
A United Nations appeal for £1.5 billion to provide aid, though, has reached only three per cent of its target, and criticism is growing of countries which support either side in the conflict not doing enough to deal with the consequences.
Justine Greening, the international development secretary, announced that Britain would provide £21 million to bring its total aid package to £89.5 million, and called on other countries to do more to help Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the neighbours playing host to most of those fleeing Syria.
"It's clear the humanitarian crisis is going to be a protracted one," she told The Daily Telegraph, while on her way from visiting a camp in Jordan to a donors' conference in Kuwait. "We need countries attending this conference to provide help."
Apple will release a cheaper, plastic version of the iPhone 5 later this year, primarily in a bid to tackle the Chinese market, according to rumours.
The new iPhone will reportedly resemble the iPhone 5 from the front but Apple will replace that handset's aluminium body with a cheaper plastic casing.
Jeremy Horwitz, of iLounge, claims that "reliable sources" have told him in detail what the new device will look like . He said the new device will have a 'retina' display and feature Apple's new Lightning connector for charging and syncing.
He wrote: "One of our sources claims that Apple’s iPhone prices remain too high for most mainland Chinese customers—the iPhone 5 hardware alone starts at $849 there, versus the iPhone 4 at $500, in a country where the average annual salary is around $3,000 per person).
"The source has said that mainland Chinese iPhone 5 sales are already tapering off as a result of the pricing, which is higher than in Hong Kong. A budget iPhone model would help sales in populous but underdeveloped countries to grow."
Horwitz also says that Apple will release an upgraded iPhone 5S, with an improved rear camera, perhaps in July. He says his sources claim a fifth generation iPad and a new iPad mini - with 'retina' display - will be released in October.
Reports elsewhere suggested that Apple is preparing to add a new iPad model, with 128GB of storage, some time this year, possibly as early as March.
Last week, Apple announced its record profits in its quarterly results but saw share prices fall amid analysts' disappointment over iPhone sales . Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said iPhone 5 supply had been "very constrained for much of the quarter".
The company announced a record 47.8 million iPhones sold but Wall Street expected more. A cheaper version of the device is seen as essential by some analysts, particularly if Apple is to make inroads into the growing Chinese market.
In response to the results, Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research, said: "Apple will need to innovate. For Apple to renew growth they need to come up with new devices."
It appears that Apple is already thinking along the same lines. The earnings report reveals a 32 per cent increase in Apple's research and development budget in the final quarter of last year. Apple increased its spending on R&D to $1 billion, an increase of $252 million, compared with the same quarter in the previous year.
Apple's filing says: "The Company continues to believe that focused investments in R&D are critical to its future growth and competitive position in the marketplace and are directly related to timely development of new and enhanced products that are central to the Company’s core business strategy.
"As such, the Company expects to make further investments in R&D to remain competitive."
Yesterday, Apple released iOS 6.1, the latest version of its mobile operating system. Announcing the release, Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief, said that 300 million Apple devices are now using iOS 6, which was released in September last year.
By all accounts, France's military intervention to prevent al-Qaeda seizing control of Mali has been a great success.
Within a week of the deployment of around 2,500 combat troops, the French have now taken the historic Malian city of Timbuktu without a single shot being fired.
This is because, rather than stand and fight, the Islamist fighters who seized the city last summer have simply disappeared back into the desert whence they came.
This is very much in keeping with the tactic Islamist militants have adopted in various other conflicts, starting with Afghanistan, where the Taliban rely heavily on asymmetric tactics.
Rather than engaging Western forces in direct combat, where they risk facing the kind of devastating defeat the Mahdi's followers suffered at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898, they prefer to melt quietly away so that they can live to fight another day.
Thus the next phase of al-Qaeda's operations in Mali is more likely to take the form of suicide bombings and IEDs than direct confrontations with the French.
Indeed, once the French have finished with their mopping up operations, I suspect they will be keen to leave Mali as quickly as they arrived. The only problem with this otherwise laudable attitude is that if they leave before some semblance of political stability has been established in Mali, the country could quickly disintegrate into chaos.
Downing Street has said it will send around 350 military personnel to help train West African forces to take care of their own security. But this is not something that happens overnight.
The experience of Afghanistan is that it takes years, not months, to train local soldiers to a standard where they can look after themselves, but you get the feeling that neither Britain nor France have much of an appetite for committing themselves to Mali for the long haul.