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- 01/29/13--08:03: _Chinese Millionaire...
- 01/29/13--08:11: _The Awards Season G...
- 01/29/13--08:26: _Financial Advisor: ...
- 01/29/13--17:12: _Family Tortoise Sur...
- 01/30/13--04:41: _Ashton Kutcher: Pla...
- 01/30/13--05:39: _Facebook And Twitte...
- 01/30/13--07:36: _The US Can Legally ...
- 01/31/13--03:24: _Chinese Hackers Hav...
- 01/31/13--03:57: _North Korea Placed ...
- 01/31/13--06:04: _Dakota Fanning Laug...
- 01/31/13--12:18: _Taiwan's First Barb...
- 02/01/13--08:16: _Dogwalker Finds Rar...
- 02/03/13--05:28: _Sheryl Sandberg: Fu...
- 02/03/13--07:30: _Google Glass Will S...
- 02/03/13--09:39: _Russia's Old Soldie...
- 02/04/13--03:38: _North Korea Is 'Pre...
- 02/04/13--04:50: _Twitter Blew Out Fa...
- 02/05/13--03:32: _North Korean Video ...
- 02/05/13--04:02: _The Humble Sea Urch...
- 02/05/13--06:21: _Somali Terrorist Gr...
- 01/29/13--08:03: Chinese Millionaire Is Selling Canned Fresh Air
- 01/29/13--08:11: The Awards Season Guide To Black Tie
- 01/30/13--04:41: Ashton Kutcher: Playing Steve Jobs Was 'Terrifying'
- 01/31/13--03:57: North Korea Placed Under Martial Law Ahead Of Expected Nuclear Test
- 01/31/13--12:18: Taiwan's First Barbie Cafe Is Open For Business
- 02/01/13--08:16: Dogwalker Finds Rare Whale Barf Worth Up To $150,000
- 02/03/13--05:28: Sheryl Sandberg: Future Moms Are Wrecking Their Own Careers
- 02/03/13--07:30: Google Glass Will Send Sounds Straight Through Your Skull (GOOG)
- 02/03/13--09:39: Russia's Old Soldiers Remember The Country's Bloodiest Battle
- 02/04/13--03:38: North Korea Is 'Preparing For Two Nuclear Tests' At The Same Time
- 02/04/13--04:50: Twitter Blew Out Facebook In Last Night's Super Bowl
- 02/05/13--03:32: North Korean Video Simulates Attack On US City
- 02/05/13--04:02: The Humble Sea Urchin Could Hold Key To Tackling Climate Change
- 02/05/13--06:21: Somali Terrorist Group Gets Its Twitter Privileges Back
This is a story that shows how deliriously capitalist China has become (for good and bad).
Rapid industrialisation has covered northern China in a dense pea soup of toxic chemicals.
In the past, the old fashioned communist solution might have been either to ignore the problem or, if people insist on dying, organise the entire country in a “popular war on bourgeois toxins.”
But in a post-Mao order, how does China’s elite deal with pollution? Yuppie consumerism.
They go for 5 yuan each and, according to one report, they come with atmospheric flavours including “pristine Tibet, post-industrial Taiwan and revolutionary Yan'an.” Presumably the “pristine Tibet” can smells ever so slightly of gunpowder.
The story tells us two things. First, the price of China’s rapid development is that it now has to cope with the same problems that beset the already developed world. It’s good, because it means people are getting richer.But it’s bad because it means the country is experiencing what London went through in the 1950s as the industrial landscape coughs up its blackened lungs.
According to the BBC, Beijing has reported air quality readings that show pollutants present at 20 times the recommended limits; visibility has been reduced and residents have been advised to stay indoors. Prosperity creates its own kinds of poverty.
But the story also suggests that the response of China’s new middle class is to ape the indulgent lifestyle consumerism of their Western counterparts. The cans of air are partly being sold asa way of promoting environmentalism, although no one has pointed out that the manufacture and disposal of all the cans used in the process will, itself,contribute towards China’s pollution.
But Chen also seems deadly serious about the profitability of selling cans of basically nothing to his countrymen. In an interview last year, he explained the process for canning the air thus:
Chen said the air is put into pull-tag cans he invented, with a chip in each can. The air is not compressed – he said his staff need only swing their hands three times to push the air into the can. When there is enough air, the chip will make the cap close automatically.
So, in short, some bloke stands on a mountain, waves a can about, takes it to market and sells it for money. And aside from fooling the buyer in to thinking that they're helping to keep China clean, what are the benefits?
According to Chen, “Open the can and three deep breaths will allow you to have a good mood and a clear mind.” In the West, such vague nonsense would probably get you hauled before the advertising standards people. But China is still in the early, naive stages of consumerism.
We've all been there. It won’t be long before we see Clive Sinclair’s C5 buzzing through Beijing’s bust streets, and dream catchers hanging in Tiananmen Square.
I blame celebrities for nearly killing off this elegant evening dress code known as Black Tie.
The Golden Globes heralded the start of the annual massacre.
And at almost every luvvie love-in up until the Oscars, the same crimes will be committed.
We’ll be subjected to endless pictures of the A-list at these Black Tie events, at which the male guests will ignorantly ignore the dress code.
Nowadays it seems that with any dress code or sartorial convention there is an urge to tweak it. But bother going to the event if you don’t want to adhere to the rules?
Admittedly, the current conventions did come from fiddling around with a previously accepted dress code (White Tie). But what is now Black Tie looks so chic, and I am yet to see a celebrity improve what is, to me, the epitome of sophisticated contemporary evening dress.
The origin of Black Tie is hotly debated. Americans will argue that it was first seen at the Tuxedo Club in New York, and was the doing of Pierre Lorillard and his son Griswold.
Apparently the latter became rather bored of the White Tie faff. He turned up one evening to the club in a bastardised version of White Tie and, after the initial cries of shock had died down, men decided they rather liked the idea of something less fussy and formal, and so it caught on.
We British say that it was the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, who first wore a similar outfit to an event in Monte Carlo for similar reasons as Lorillard. The jury is out and a definite answer will probably never be found.
But the rules are perfectly clear. Hollywood A-list men take note: here is what you should and should not be wearing.
Hair: This should be washed and brushed. Similarly, you should be clean-shaven (unless you always have a beard or moustache). There is no point going to a smart event if your head and face looks like it hasn’t seen a comb or razor in years
Shirt: A white dress shirt with a turned-down collar is called for with Black Tie. Winged collars, once acceptable, are now the reserve of the White Tie dress code. Dress shirts, which are generally slightly thicker in material, have a marcella or frilled front. Button-down collars are a no-no. Dress shirts can be fastened with buttons or with studs and are double-cuffed.
Bow tie: Black Tie does not mean a black necktie: they are for funerals and downmarket actors. Bow ties should be hand-tied (Her Majesty the Queen is said to be able to spot a ‘fake’, pre-tied bow tie a mile off.) If you cannot tie one, then I suggest you learn.
Jacket: Black, or midnight blue, jackets can be single- or double-breasted with either notched or shawl lapels. Double-breasted jackets (of any variety) often look best on very slim men. Dinner jackets are never fastened when single-breasted. Unlike day suit jackets, dinner jackets have no vents at the back, and the buttons are ‘covered’. White dinner jackets are only acceptable in tropical climates – unless you want to look like the barman
Pocket square: If you wish to wear a ‘top pocket handkerchief’ then you may do so. In white.
Decorations: Not usually worn to Black Tie events unless the invitation reads ‘decorations’
Waistcoat: Very rarely seen nowadays but they should be low-cut and worn only with a single-breasted jacket
Cummerbund: Worn around the waist instead of a waistcoat, cummerbunds are sadly a dying breed. The folds should point upwards
Braces: Don’t wear a belt, even if hidden by a cummerbund. Instead opt for braces, preferably black, if you need to keep your trousers up
Trousers: These should match the material of the jacket and are usually tapered slightly with one braid running down the outside of each leg
Socks: Black silk evening socks are technically correct but these are not widely sold and most people wear conventional black wool or cotton socks
Shoes: Well-polished, smart black shoes are perfectly acceptable. But if you have black patent leather shoes by all means wear them
Accessories: Visible timepieces are technically not worn (although a subtle wristwatch is now okay) because Black Tie events are not something in which timekeeping is a priority. White gloves and scarves are a bit OTT nowadays and were only worn when travelling to and from the venue.
Investors should be wary of believing market adages warns one financial adviser.
1. “Never Confuse Brains with a Bull Market”
When stockmarkets are flying, making money feels easy, but it is important to realise that a good couple of months in equity returns does not make you Warren Buffett.
The converse, of course, is also true – “Never Confuse Stupidity With a Bear Market”!
2. “It’s not me, it’s the market”
With the best will in the world, we can all look back on some investment decisions that we have made in the past and realise that we were not as correct as we might have liked to have been if we were in full position of information that subsequently came to light.
Or, to put it another way, we were wrong. This is a difficult thing for investors to admit as it is an admittance of failure. However, it is essential that you examine your failures as well as your successes. Indeed, one probably learns more from less successful investments, provided one accepts them.
3. “I will wait until the share price recovers to what I paid”
Closely related to the last point is the reluctance to take a loss. Sometimes, the first cut is the cheapest. If the investment circumstances have changed, leaving funds tied up in a company that one suspects is going to underperform in the hope that the share price will recover rather than reinvest into something where the prospects are brighter seems a ludicrous approach.
4. “I don’t need the money for six months, I’ll stay invested”
If you know you are going to need to disinvest, the only thing you can say with any certainty is what the assets are worth now. Everything else is just speculation as there are so many variables that can affect asset values.
That is fine, as long as you have a suitable time frame, but an investment strategy based upon squealing to a halt at the edge of the cliff with ones wheels smoking carries, inevitably, a degree of risk that is simply inappropriate for most people
5. Higher Risk = Higher Return
This can be true, of course, but volatility works in two directions, not just upwards! In the event of a market sell off, higher risk portfolios and assets can suffer significant falls in value. This ties in, of course, with the point above about time frame.
For a 30 year old investor, looking at saving for his retirement, a higher risk portfolio might be entirely appropriate as the funds will not be required for (probably) 40 years. However, for someone just entering retirement, with no great capacity for loss, one would have to question how great a proportion of ones assets should be in a high risk environment.
A family found their missing pet tortoise in a store room – more than thirty years after they lost her.
Manuela disappeared from her home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1982 and despite a lengthy search was never seen again.
Her owners, the Almeida family, assumed she had run away after builders working on the house left the front door open.
It was only after their father Leonel died earlier this month that the Almeida children began clearing out a second-floor room in the house that he had filled with broken electrical items and always kept locked.
Leonel's son Leandro said he was astonished to find Manuela alive inside a box containing an old record player.
He told Brazil's Globo G1 website said: "I put the box on the pavement for the rubbish men to collect, and a neighbour said, "you're not throwing out the tortoise as well are you?"
"I looked and saw her. At that moment I turned white, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing."
Leonel's daughter Lenita, who had been given the tortoise as a childhood pet, said : "Everything my father thought he could fix, he picked up and brought home.
"If he found an old television he thought he might be able to use a part of it to fix another one in the future, so he just kept accumulating things. We never dared go inside that room.
"We're all thrilled to have Manuela back. But no one can understand how she managed to survive for 30 years in there, it's just unbelievable."
Rio de Janeiro vet Jeferson Pires explained that Manuela's red-footed species of tortoise, can go for long periods without eating.
He said: "They are particularly resilient and can survive for two to three years without food. In the wild they eat fruit, leaves, dead animals, even faeces."
He said Manuela may have survived by eating termites from the wooden floor.
The 34-year-old actor helped unveil the premiere of the biopic jOBS on Friday at the closing film of the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Kutcher plays the Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs from the company's humble origins in the 1970s until the launch of the first iPod in 2001. A digital entrepreneur himself, Kutcher said he considers Jobs a personal hero -- and knows he's opened himself up to criticism.
"It's really scary when everyone has a right to be like a legitimate critic. Because he was very public. There are people here who probably know him way better than I do, who shook his hand, knew him, hung out with him. So that's terrifying. Especially when you're playing somebody that people really admired," Kutcher said.
The actor watched "hundreds of hours of footage," listened to Jobs' past speeches and interviewed several of his friends to prepare for the role.
Kutcher was up to the challenge of playing Jobs, who died in October 2011, in part because of his admiration for the man who created the Macintosh computer and the iPod.
"I don't know if there's ever been an entrepreneur who's had more compassion and care for his consumer than Steve Jobs," Kutcher said. "He wanted to put something in your hand that you could use and you could use it easily... and he really cared about that."
jOBS will be released in the next few months.
Contains video from APTN
Sex workers are openly using Facebook, Twitter and other social media to openly advertise their services.
Prostitutes and escort agencies have created hundreds of unrestricted pages on Facebook, causing concern that children are being exposed to both explicit content as well as the services of the sex industry.
Many of the pages include explicit photographs, descriptions of services alongside phones numbers, addresses and prices.
Facebook has removed dozens of the pages after being contacted by The Times newspaper.
The site said it “has a clear set of rules and these pages broke them”, but said it could only take action when offensive items were reported to them by members of the public.
The postings were also reported to Twitter, but the microblogging site declined to comment or take action. Under the company’s rules, content would need to be illegal to be considered in breach of its terms and conditions.
The concern over prostitution follows recent complaints that crimes involving Facebook and Twitter have increased 780 per cent over the last four years.
This included offenses committed on the sites, such as posting abusive messages, and those which were provoked by postings, including violent attacks.
But researchers said police forces refused to tackle the issue of prostitution because of the perception that it is a “victimless crime”. According to The Times, a parliamentary committee on prostitution has pledged to investigate the problem after the revelations.
The researchers said that, in the past, the calling cards of prostitutes had littered the walls of phone boxes, but social networks had become a more common way to attract clients.
Facebook said that it encourages people “to use the reporting tools on almost every page of the site so we can take swift action against content or behavior that breaks our rules.”
Mills Kelly, from George Mason University in the US, who has studied the impact of the internet on prostitution, said: “If you want an escort or sex worker in any major city in the world, Facebook is a good place to start your search."
Personal information uploaded by British computer users to cloud services such as Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Drive can be spied upon by US intelligence without the need to apply for a warrant, it has emerged.
All documents and photographs stored on computer systems based in the US can be accessed without telling the owners under newly approved legislation.
Cloud services are a cheap and supposedly secure way for computer users to store information. Rather than saving it on their own machines, they upload it via the internet where it is held on central computer servers.
In addition to the private users, it is estimated that 35 per cent of British companies store information on cloud systems.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows US government agencies open access to any electronic information stored by non-American citizens by US-based companies.
Introduced towards the end of President George W Bush’s administration in 2008, it was renewed in December. But only now are privacy campaigners and legal experts waking up to the extent of the intrusion, according to The Independent.
Caspar Bowden, who served as Microsoft Europe’s chief privacy adviser for nine years until 2011, told the newspaper: “What this legislation means is that the US has been able to mine any foreign data in US Clouds since 2008, and nobody noticed.”
Bodies such as the National Security Agency, the FBI and the CIA can gain access to any information that potentially concerns US foreign policy for purely political reasons – with no need for any suspicion that national security is at stake – meaning that religious groups, campaigning organisations and journalists could be targeted.
The information can be intercepted and stored in bulk as it enters the US via cables crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
A Google spokesperson said: “It is possible for the US government (and European governments) to access certain types of data via their law enforcement agencies. We think this kind of access to data merits serious discussion and more transparency.”
The New York Times has claimed that Chinese hackers have "persistently" attacked its computers over the past four months following the an investigation into Premier Wen Jiabao's family's fortune.
The newspaper claimed that hackers had stolen reporters' passwords and hunted for files on the investigation, published last October, which claimed that Mr Wen's family had accumulated at least $2.7 billion in "hidden riches" .
China said the accusations of hacking were "groundless". At the time of the report, China claimed it was false, that it had smeared the country's name and had ulterior motives.
The report, which was posted online on Oct 25, embarrassed the Communist Party leadership, coming ahead of a fraught transition to new leaders and exposing deep-seated favouritism at a time when many Chinese are upset about a wealth gap.
"For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees," the newspaper said on Thursday.
"Security experts hired by The Times to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times's network."
The hackers broke into the email accounts of Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who wrote the story on Mr Wen's family, and Jim Yardley, the paper's South Asia bureau chief in India who was previously the Beijing bureau chief, it added.
"Computer security experts found no evidence that sensitive emails or files from the reporting of our articles about the Wen family were accessed, downloaded or copied," said Jill Abramson, the paper's executive editor.
Security experts found evidence that the hackers stole the corporate passwords for every New York Times employee and used those to gain access to the personal computers of 53 employees, most of them outside The New York Times's newsroom, the paper said.
"Experts found no evidence that the intruders used the passwords to seek information that was not related to the reporting on the Wen family."
Computer security experts at Mandiant, the company hired by the newspaper, said the hackers tried to "cloak" the source of their attacks "by first penetrating computers at United States universities and routing the attacks through them".
"This matches the subterfuge used in many other attacks that Mandiant has tracked to China."
The Chinese government has repeatedly said it opposes hacking and that China too suffers frequently from these kinds of attacks.
North Korea has been placed under martial law and Kim Jong-un has told his front-line troops to "be ready for a war," according to South Korean media reports.
In an emergency meeting of his top defence and security officials on Saturday, the North Korean leader issued a series of orders that included the conclusion of preparations for a new nuclear test, the Joongang Daily reported.
North Korean state media has also reported that Kim ordered his officials to take "effective, high-profile state measures."
While it has been anticipated that Pyongyang will go ahead with what will be the regime's third nuclear test, in spite of international pressure to refrain from doing so, analysts had predicted that the blast would be timed to coincide with the birthday on February 16 of Kim Jong-il, the former leader who died in late 2011, or the inauguration of the new government in South Korea nine days later.
The reports now suggest that the demonstration of North Korea's nuclear prowess is more imminent.
In March 1993, North Korea placed the nation under martial law shortly before it announced it was withdrawing from the Treaty in the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The regime also ordered its troops to be ready for war.
Pyongyang's preparations have been corroborated by South Korean government officials and sources in Beijing, with surveillance images suggesting that the mouth of the shaft has been sealed in readiness for the test at the Pyunggye-ri site.
North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006 and carried out a second underground detonation in May 2009.
This latest test is in direct response to international criticism of its launch of a rocket in December that Pyongyang claimed was for peaceful purposes. The United Nations Security Council concluded unanimously that it was a test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Lee Myung-bak, the president of South Korea, ordered the military to be ready to make a "strong response" to any provocation from North Korea.
Teen actress Dakota Fanning reveals that she and Marc Jacobs laughed off the fuss surrounding her banned Oh, Lola! ad.
All grown-up actress, Dakota Fanning, has been talking to US Glamour magazine about the furore over her 2011 Marc Jacobs ad for the brand’s Oh, Lola! fragrance.
The suggestive ad, which featured a then 17-year-old Fanning reclining in a mini-dress, with a bottle of Oh, Lola! between her legs, was banned here in the UK after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the image portrayed Fanning in an ‘irresponsible and sexualized manner’.
But Fanning reveals that she and Jacobs never could see what all the fuss was about.
“If you want to read something into a perfume bottle, then I guess you can. But it’s also like, ‘Why are you making it about that, you creep?’ I love Marc and trust him, and we just laughed about it.”
After receiving several complaints about the as, the ASA stated in their ruling:
"We noted that the model was holding up the perfume bottle which rested in her lap between her legs and we considered that its position was sexually provocative. We understood the model was 17 years old but we considered she looked under the age of 16. We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality. Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child."
However Coty, makers of Oh, Lola! said it did not believe the ad suggested the model was underage or that it was "inappropriately sexualised' as it didn't show any "private body parts or sexual activity". They said the giant perfume bottle - shaped like a vase holding a blooming pink flower - was "provoking, but not indecent".
Marc Jacobs isn’t the first fashion and beauty brand to fall foul of such a ruling. Take a look at some of the other ads that got the chop.
The first Barbie-themed restaurant has opened in Taiwan, where Barbie dolls were originally manufactured.
Barbie has inspired many things in her 54-year existence: little girls’ imaginations, artwork and feminist ire among them. Now Barbie Cafe, a restaurant dedicated to the doll, has opened in Taiwan and it’s as pink and plastic as one might expect.
The restaurant has been licensed by Mattel, the US toy manufacturing giant and creator of Barbie, and has opened in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. Mattel hopes that the café, located in the shopping district of the city, will promote Barbie as a fashion brand. The staff who work at the restaurant sport a not-entirely practical uniform of pink Barbie logo T-shirts, matching tutus, Barbie logo armbands and glitter and tiaras on their heads. The fashion lines available on the Mattel website include a similar pink tutu intended for toddlers.
Iggy Yip, a senior managers at Mattel’s Greater China division, commented on the café: “We picked Taiwan because theme restaurants are very popular and successful here. We are very confident that the Barbie Cafe can promote our brand image ." There are also hopes that the café will attract Barbie fans from China, Hong Kong and Japan. Taiwan used to manufacture the Barbie dolls until the 1980s, when Mattel moved its production lines to China.
The café is 660 square metres of pink dining space, furnished with fashionable illustrations of Barbie in a range of outfits on the walls and chairs, which have red corset-style lacing and tutus around the seats.
Local office worker Jessica Ho, who has a five-year-old daughter, approved of the venture. She said, “My child and I both love Barbie and this lovely and cute place is like a dream come true for us. I will take her here to celebrate her next birthday."
Mattel’s products include the Spa to Fab Barbie and the career-inspiring I Can Be Pancake Chef Barbie, as well as 22 dolls themed around the beauty industry. Barbie has consistently come under attack for presenting an unrealistic image of femininity to young girls.
Rhiannon Williams, editor of feminist website The Vagenda Magazine, commented on the café: “I cannot imagine anything less pleasant and more nausea-inducing than a Barbie themed restaurant. Not only because I prefer low-impact environments and none of the major food groups are pink for a reason, but also because Barbie is an outdated model of stereotypical femininity and needs to die a death.”
A Barbie restaurant opened in China in 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the doll, but it was closed two years later amid reports that the outlet was unsuccessful. Theme restaurants are popular in Taiwan. Taipei has a restaurant based on eating in an airliner, complete with air hostess waiting staff and trolleys and a hospital-themed bar, where customers consume ‘medicine’ drinks from drips or are ‘syringed’ by waitresses. Curious tourists can also enjoy a meal at the Modern Toilet, where food is served from tiny lavatories, and customers sit on loo seats. The cat café phenomenon is popular in Japan, where customers can enjoy contact with cats after a drink.
Ken Wilman, 50, was walking along Morecambe beach in northern England when his dog, Madge, discovered a large, hard smelly rock.
Upon returning home he looked the object up online and realised that Madge may have found ambergris, a waxy by-product of sperm whale digestion that has traditionally been used in perfumes, spices, and medicines.
Mr Wilman went back to the beach and brought the rock to home immediately.
After contacting companies in Europe, he learnt the musky material could be worth as much as £100,000.
Ambergris has been used in fragrances for centuries and is a component of many popular perfumes.
Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg argues in a controversial new book that women's lack of commitment, even before they have a family, is why so few make it to the top. Is she right?
In a sea of blue and black, Sheryl Sandberg, a vivacious brunette in an orange jacket, stood out. Intense, engaged, gesturing for emphasis, Facebook’s chief operating officer and one of the most influential women in global business, was intent on getting her message across.
“We know the childbearing years are a challenge for women, [for companies] to keep them, we know that,” Sandberg said. ''How many managers in this audience have sat down with a woman – who has not mentioned it to you [before] – and said, 'You may want to have a child one day, I want to talk to you about that. Are you thinking of having children?’ Who’s done that?”
Among the hundreds of chief executives attending the session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week not a single hand was raised.
“Every HR department tells you not to do that,” nodded Sandberg. “But how are we going to get women through that frame if we can’t have that conversation?”
There were heads of state, Hollywood stars and even royalty competing for headlines at Davos, but it was Sandberg, 43, who managed to make a splash by tackling this business taboo .
But rather than reinforcing firms’ grumbles over maternity leave, her point was that more openness could actually help women themselves, as well as helping companies plan staffing and maternity leave.
If that suggestion raised eyebrows, Sandberg’s take on another issue concerning women in the workplace is likely to prove much more controversial: could women be doing more to promote their own success? Do their plans for family life mean women are wrecking their own careers – even before they have begun?
The book in which Sandberg lays out her arguments, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead will be published in March, but it is already causing a stir across the Atlantic.
“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” Sandberg writes, according to a preview in the New York Times. “We internalise the negative messages we get throughout our lives, the messages that say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve.”
As a result, she says many women are quietly checking out of their careers, years before they actually start a family. She believes women rarely make a sweeping decision to give up work to look after children, but instead make a string of choices from early on that propel them towards that end result, none the less.
“Maybe it’s the last year of med school when they say, 'I’ll take a slightly less interesting speciality because I’m going to want more balance one day,’” she has said. “Maybe it’s the fifth year in a law firm when they say, 'I’m not even sure I should go for partner[ship at the firm], because I know I’m going to want kids eventually.’ These women don’t even have relationships, and already they’re finding balance, balance for responsibilities they don’t yet have. And from that moment, they start quietly leaning back [from their careers]. The problem is, often they don’t even realise it.”
It is a message that Sandberg has been honing for some time.
“Do not leave before you leave,” she told students graduating from New York’s Barnard College for women in 2011 . “Do not lean back; lean in. Put your foot on that gas pedal and keep it there until the day you have to make a decision, and then make a decision. That’s the only way, when that day comes, you’ll even have a decision to make.”
At Davos she won a global audience for her views, which is likely to be reinforced by the Lean In Org, a social media movement in development.
Sandberg will be listened to: she is a woman who walks her talk. The first female on Facebook’s board, her $30million-plus (£19m) pay packet in 2011 made her the social media giant’s best-paid executive – not to mention her share options, which run into millions of dollars. This follows senior roles as chief of staff for the US Treasury Department (1996-2001) and at Google (2001-2008).
Family life – she is a mother of two – is important to her. She famously leaves the office – although it is not necessarily the end of her working day – at 5.30pm. Her husband, Dave Goldberg, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, leaves work at the same time and has commented wryly that “nobody asks me about it”.
So, does Sandberg hold the answers? Those wanting to see women better represented in senior jobs know there is some way to go. While Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, this week boasted that only seven firms in the prestigious FTSE 100 index now have all-male boards, the unspoken caveat is that just two out of those 100 corporate giants are led by a woman.
Research shows that even when men and women enter a company in equal proportions, the number of women drops the higher up you get. Rather than focusing on the glass ceiling, the talk now is of a “cliff” – not at the top, but in the middle – which women fall off when they have a family.
In this context, Sandberg’s call is striking a chord. At that Davos session, Christine Lagarde, who as head of the International Monetary Fund is one of the world’s most powerful women, was shaken out of the usual generalities and platitudes to get personal.
“When you say you leave your job at 5.30, Sheryl … you dare the difference,” she told Sandberg, praising her for resisting the pressure to fit in. “When I was raising my kids, I was not going to work at my law firm on Wednesday afternoon. I was taking a risk at the time. [But] who cared? I did the job, I followed clients’ business, I delivered.”
And yet, Sandberg’s message is not being received with universal acclaim. While she makes it clear that organisations play a critical role and may be guilty of “the overt discrimination, the non-overt discrimination, the lack of flexibility”, her solution is more focused on ''a much more open dialogue about gender”.
“I think we need to… understand that the stereotypes that start in childhood hold us back in the professional world, and start having a much more open conversation,” she said in Davos. “Think of it like a marathon. Everyone’s cheering the men on. The messages for women are different: are you sure you want to run, don’t you want to run, don’t you have kids at home? We have to talk about this.’’
Try looking for a working mother, she told her audience, in “movies, TV, anything… who has a job and kids, who is not frazzled, [thinking] she can’t do it, breaking down, getting divorced. There are none.”
From Diane Keaton, wrestling with a briefcase and toddler in 1987’s Baby Boom, to Sarah Jessica Parker starring a near quarter-century later as a harassed executive in I Don’t Know How She Does It, it is true that not much seems to have changed.
For Sandberg, even in these supposedly more enlightened times, this gender bias takes hold early on. She points to T-shirts for babies bearing the message “Smart Like Daddy” for boys and “Pretty Like Mummy” for girls. Studies show that as a man climbs the professional ladder he is seen as more likeable, while the opposite holds for a woman. “That starts with those T-shirts,” she said.
All well and good, say her critics, but calling for a change in mindset ignores the very real obstacles facing working mothers.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, the first female policy director at the US State Department, has complained that “Sandberg’s exhortation contains more than a note of reproach. We who have made it to the top, or are striving to get there, are essentially saying to the women in the generation behind us: 'What’s the matter with you?’”
What is the matter is that they are comparing themselves with “genuine superwomen”, was Slaughter’s blunt assessment . “Consider Sandberg herself, who graduated with the prize given to Harvard’s top student of economics,’’ she added. ''These women cannot possibly be the standard against which even very talented professional women should measure themselves.”
Rather than just encourage young women to reach for the stars, Slaughter calls for practical measures that will actually help them to combine career and family life: making school schedules better match the working day, for example.
And yet, one of our home-grown “superwomen” thinks Sandberg is on to something. Helena Morrissey, the mother-of-nine who manages billions of pounds as head of Newton Investment Management, sees a “vicious spiral” at work, where women get discouraged from “leaning in” to their careers by a working environment they see as stacked against them.
“I hope Sandberg’s book will help and not be seen as blaming women for the problem,” she said. “There’s clearly a shared responsibility of women to 'lean in’, as she puts it - but also for corporate culture to be conducive to encourage women to do that.”
Currently, research by the 30% Club, the initiative Morrissey heads to boost women’s presence on boards, finds that sometimes “the prize is not seen as worth the price they perceive is required,” she says.
Even if she fails to win over her critics, Sheryl Sandberg is trying hard to move the women and workplace debate on to new ground and air issues that have been marked out as ''no go areas’’ by employment regulations.
At Davos she described how her own lawyer tried to block an article she wrote telling women to “lean in before they have children”, in case she was fell foul of legislation. “Wait a minute, he works for me,” she remembered, before deciding to publish and be damned.
“If someone wants to sue me for gender discrimination because I’m talking to women about childbearing, go ahead,” she said. “No one talks about this and companies don’t talk about this. And we need to see the cost of this – and change it.”
Lean in: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (WH Allen, £20) is available to pre-order from Telegraph Books (0844 871 1514) at £18 + £1.35 p&p
Google Glass, the web giant's augmented reality spectacles, create sound by sending vibrations directly through the wearer's skull, it's been revealed.
Documents filed with American regulators show the hardware, due to be introduced in later this year in an experimental form, uses "bone conduction" to create sound instead of a traditional speaker.
The technology, which sends vibrations to the inner ear through the skull, is not new but has not been widely adopted. Panasonic introduced a prototype set of bone conduction headphones at this year's Consumer Electronics show, however.
A major advantage of bone conduction audio is that it allows the listeners to hear the noise in the environment too. For a Google Glass wearer crossing a busy street the technology could be a life saver.
Google filed a patent for bone conduction spectacles last month, and the Federal Communication Commission this week published it approval for Google Glass, including "integral vibrating element that provides audio to the user via contact with the user's head".
Google's co-founder Sergey Brin, who is leading the development, has already been pictured testing Google Glass on the New York subway .
As well as unusual audio, the spectacles feature Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a small screen that appears in the wearer's normal field of vision. The tiny computer inside Google Glass runs the Android mobile operating system and responds to voice commands.
It is planned that wearers will be able to summon up maps and other useful data from the web with having to look at a smartphone or other mobile device.
The first complete Google Glass hardware will be sent to developers who have paid $1,500 to help the firm refine the technology. Google has said it hopes to introduce Google Glass commercially in 2014.
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Russia has marked the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad with memories of survivors and fallen soldiers as President Vladimir Putin warned the country can be 'invincible'.
Safron Ryzhakov, 90, did not flinch as the cannon salute rang out across Volgograd's Square of the Fallen Fighters, sending drifts of wet snow down from a roof onto the crowds below.
"The worst thing was the German artillery strikes," he told The Sunday Telegraph as he peered through rheumy eyes at the phalanxes of soldiers marching by the tribune. "They worked us over good and proper. I lost many friends."
Seventy years to the day, this southern Russian city – once called Stalingrad – on Saturday commemorated the end of the battle that turned the course of the Second World War. More than one million soldiers perished here in five months of bombing and fierce house-to-house fighting.
The victory of Soviet forces in a clash of appalling terror and violence turned the tide of Adolf Hitler's war in Europe, forcing the retreat that would eventually send German troops all the way back to Berlin.
President Vladimir Putin flew in to Volgograd to honour the dead on Saturday afternoon, after a military parade of 650 soldiers had passed through the city centre followed by a veteran T-34 tank puffing blue fumes.
A handful of elderly veterans, some smothered in medals, came to watch the march past – braving cold and slush to celebrate victory and honour their fallen comrades, who fell in one of the greatest pitched battles in history. In another decade there may be none of them left.
"Stalingrad will forever remain a symbol of unity and invincibility of our people, a symbol of genuine patriotism, a symbol of the greatest victory of the Soviet liberator soldier," Mr Putin said at an evening commemorative concert. "And as long as we are devoted to Russia, our language, culture, roots and national memory, Russia will be invincible."
Mr Ryzhakov's Soviet 321st Division helped protect the pincer movement that encircled and crushed the German Sixth Army to the west of Stalingrad, leading to the final capitulation of General Friedrich Paulus's troops on February 2, 1943. He recalls fighting Italian and Romanian troops, as well as Germans. "That sticks in my mind most of all: the pale blue dress uniforms of the Italians lying dead, scattered in the snow," he said.
Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, his surprise invasion of the Soviet Union, in June 1941 and 14 months later Panzer companies had reached the Volga.
The Battle of Stalingrad would be a decisive moment for both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army: a furnace in which the future course of war was forged.
By summer 1942, Paulus's Sixth Army had struck deep into the Soviet heartland, winning battle after battle. But the German soldiers were already feeling the strain. The retreating Red Army poisoned wells and poured petrol on supplies of grain: there was a constant, wracking thirst, and cases of dysentery and typhus began to rise.
Still, the Nazis advanced across the Don and on Aug 23 Stalingrad became an inferno as Heinkel bombers dropped thousands of tonnes of explosives on the city. An estimated 40,000 people died in the first week of bombardment.
"The first three days were a slaughter," recalled Petr Kovalenko, 85, pointing down the road from the tribune on the Square of Fallen Fighters. "I was standing in a bread queue just over there when the bombs hit. There was a hum in the sky and you looked up and there was an armada of planes. A piece of shrapnel hit me in the back."
Soon the German forces were inside the city and Hitler had such high hopes for a swift victory that Josef Goebbels had to tone down propaganda, emphasising the toughness of the fighting.
Soviet forces gave desperate resistance, refusing to relinquish their hold on three beachheads and withdraw to the east bank of the Volga, knowing that if the Wehrmacht crossed the river, southern Russia and the Caucasus would be in Hitler's grasp. Josef Stalin ordered "not one step back" and General Vasily Chuykov, the Soviet army commander in the city, told his soldiers to dig trenches as close as possible – sometimes 30 yards - from German positions, keeping the aggressor constantly under stress and guarding against air strikes.
In another canny move, Chuykov created "breakwaters"– buildings among the ruins that were occupied by small detachments of troops, who held them like fortresses to disrupt the advancing German units. The battle soon descended into "Rattenkrieg", as the German soldiers called it – rats' war, a grinding struggle fought out in cellars, basements and shattered shops.
Red Army snipers such as Vasily Zaytsev – played by Jude Law in the Hollywood film Enemy at the Gates– notched up scores of kills. Meanwhile, Soviet artillery kept up a constant artillery barrage from across the river, answering similarly ferocious firing from the west.
Worn down and surrounded by a Soviet counter attack north and south of the city, Paulus finally capitulated, infuriating Hitler by giving himself up rather than fighting to the death or committing suicide. Ninety-one thousand Axis soldiers surrendered.
After 70 years, the victory at Stalingrad remains burned into the national psyche as an emblem of grit and defiance. It is also a powerful motivator for Mr Putin, who is given to hinting darkly at foreign states plotting Russia's downfall.
"Today we are putting huge resources into the rebirth of the Russian defence industry," Dmitry Rogozin, a deputy prime minister and hawkish ally of the president, told the crowd of 20,000 at the parade.
"Every enemy must see that, understand that, feel that. Let anybody who thinks of plans to seize our country remember Stalingrad." As if to underline his words, a pair of new truck-mounted Iskander ballistic missile units stood parked at the end of the square, with more rocket launchers and tanks on display behind them.
The patriotic theme continued on Mamayev Kurgan, the ancient Tartar burial mound in Volgograd topped by a giant statue of Mother Russia waving a sword. By her feet lie tens of thousands of Stalingrad in mass graves. A stream of mourners climbed the steps to lay carnations at the statue and an eternal flame in the nearby Hall of Military Glory.
Among them were activists from the ruling United Russia party, Mr Putin's legislative sledgehammer in parliament. They carried a banner reading, "We are proud of the past and we believe in the future".
"I just saw a veteran pour a glass of vodka on General Chuykov's grave and drink a second one in tribute, breaking down in tears," said Alexei Sharbelsky, 44, a party worker. "We must preserve this memory and emotion of Stalingrad, and pass it from generation to generation."
Units of Cossacks in shaggy hats filed past and children posed for photographs by the graves of heroes. Many people spoke together of whether the name Stalingrad – removed in 1961 - should be returned to the city. In recent weeks, 50,000 of the city's residents signed a petition in favour of the change.
Vladimir Kazachkov, 75, was – unsurprisingly - in favour of giving Josef Stalin's name back to the town. He stood nearby holding up a portrait of the dictator. Underneath was written: "Today is a Day of Victory and Stalin is the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Victors.""You can't cut down trees without woodchips flying," said Mr Kazachkov, who was five at the time of the battle and hid in a cellar under his parents' kitchen.
"Stalin made some mistakes, he killed some people, but he won the war and rebuilt the country. And people here fought for Stalingrad, not Volgograd."
Away from Mamayev Kurgan, down below the hill and across the railway tracks, Valentina Savelyeva, 75, was spending the day in quiet reflection at her ramshackle house at 1 Kubinskaya Street.
Mrs Savelyeva was five years old when the bombs started raining down in 1942. Her father Timofey was away at the front; first near Moscow and then in Stalingrad, manning an anti-aircraft gun on an island in the middle of the Volga as the Germans planes swept overhead.
"Father came home just once and told us, "We will stay and die in our city'," remembered Mrs Savelyeva. She would never see him again. In September 1942, her two-year old brother Gennady died of diphtheria as the intensity of the battle increased, and hunger and disease began to take hold of the thousands of civilians who remained in the city. She and her mother and grandmother abandoned their home a month later – it was soon swept from its foundations and left in a crumpled heap by the force of an explosion.
The three of them dragged a sack of potatoes and a few possessions to a ravine that cut down to the river near the Red October steel plant.
"The oil tanks nearby had been hit and the Volga was a sheet of fire," Mrs Savelyeva recalled. Irregular soldiers had burrowed into the side of the ravine, creating tiny living spaces, each with a front door ripped from a ruined house.
"We crouched in the burrow, peeping out," said Mrs Savelyeva. "The potatoes lasted as week. When the incendiary bombs fell we would rush out and cook them on the flames."
After that the family survived for three months by eating lumps of clay from the river bank. "It was slightly sweet and I would suck on it all day long. My mother collected water from the Volga. There was blood floating downstream. She would crouch down and skim it away with her hand, and then filter the water into a saucepan with a piece of cloth."
The aerial bombardments were unremitting. Once, Mrs Savelyeva and her grandmother were trapped as their burrow was covered by debris. A group of Soviet soldiers poked their rifles through the earth to locate the door and then dug the pair out with their trowels.
On another occasion a family who had carved out a larger bunker all asphyxiated when it was buried in an explosion.
"I'll never forget the moment when the bodies were dug out," said Mrs Savelyeva. "There was girl a little older than me. She had clumps of hair in her hands that had she torn out in desperation as she choked to death."
Not until three years ago did she find out the fate and final resting place of her father. Military records, only recently made widely available, show he died near the Volga on October 16th, 1942, and was later reburied with tens of thousands of others in a mass grave on Mamayev Kurgan.
"I lived here all my life, close to the Kurgan, and I never knew he was just up the hill," said Mrs Savelyeva. "I'm still alive and I'm glad my father's name will live in stone. But I feel an emptiness inside."
North Korea is preparing to carry out two nuclear tests, either simultaneously or in rapid succession, to demonstrate to the world the advances it has made in its weapons programme, according to intelligence reports.
Analysis of recent satellite images has shown new activity on the southern edge of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, while preparations at a second tunnel to the west were apparently completed earlier, a South Korean government source told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
The paper quoted a military official as saying, "There is a chance that the southern tunnel is a decoy, but we are not ruling out that the regime will conduct nuclear tests simultaneously at both tunnels."
There is a widespread belief that North Korea will go ahead with what would be its third nuclear test in the near future, with the regime still angrily denouncing criticism by the United Nations Security Council for the launch in December of what Pyongyang claims was a rocket to put a satellite into orbit.
That protestation has been undermined by North Korea putting on display in Pyongyang a section of fuselage from an identical vehicle and labelling it as a ballistic missile.
The South Korean military and international intelligence agencies have prepared for the North's anticipated nuclear test and hope that data they can retrieve will provide new pointers on just how far Pyongyang has advanced in its efforts to develop a nuclear warhead that is small enough to be attached to a ballistic missile.
Super Bowl XLVII was close on the pitch, but the battle of the social networks was a walkover, with Twitter being mentioned in half of all adverts aired during coverage on the US television network CBS.
As the Baltimore Ravens were narrowly beating the San Francisco 49ers, Twitter featured in 26 out of 52 nationally aired advertisements, while Facebook only featured in four, and Google+ was not mentioned at all.
YouTube and Instagram were mentioned once each, according to the website MarketingLand.com.
In last year’s Super Bowl, Twitter and Facebook tied with only eight mentions each out of a total of 59 advertisements.
For Twitter, the change from eight mentions to 26 represents a gain of more than 300 percent. For Facebook, it is a 50 percent drop.
According to recent research, Twitter is now the fastest-growing social network in the world, with almost half a billion people worldwide now having an account.
Of all internet users worldwide, 36 percent – an estimated 485 million - have signed up.
The number of account holders who use the microblogging site at least once a month grew 40 percent in the second half of 2012 to 288 million, according to the internet research company Global Web Index (GWI).
This figure means Twitter - which has been valued at $9bn (£5.7bn) - is growing faster than both Facebook and Google+.
In the same period Facebook grew 33.4 percent to 693.5 million.
Google+ grew 27.7 percent to 343 million active monthly users.
During the Super Bowl, counting of the adverts started after kick-off and stopped when the game clock reached zero. Only nationally-sold commercials were counted, not those sold and aired by local affiliate stations. Also not included were the adverts by the NFL and by CBS promoting their own properties.
North Korea, poised to conduct a nuclear test any day now, has posted a video on YouTube depicting a US city resembling New York engulfed in flames after an apparent missile attack.
The footage was uploaded Saturday by the North's official website, Uriminzokkiri, which distributes news and propaganda from the state media.
The video is shot as a dream sequence, with a young man seeing himself on board a North Korean space shuttle launched into orbit by the same type of rocket Pyongyang successfully tested in December.
As the shuttle circles the globe - to the tune of "We Are the World" - the video zooms in on countries below, including a joyfully re-unified Korea.
In contrast, the focus then switches to a city - shrouded in the US flag - under apparent missile attack with its skyscrapers, including what appears to be the Empire State Building, either on fire or in ruins.
"Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing," runs the caption across the screen.
"It seems that the nest of wickedness is ablaze with the fire started by itself," it added.
The video ends with the young man concluding that his dream will "surely come true".
"Despite all kinds of attempts by imperialists to isolate and crush us... never will anyone be able to stop the people marching toward a final victory," it said.
The North is expected to conduct its nuclear test as a defiant response to UN sanctions imposed after its December rocket launch.
The humble sea urchin could hold the key to turning harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into chalk on an industrial scale, British scientists have revealed.
At the moment, pilot studies for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) systems propose the removal of CO2 by pumping it into holes deep underground, but it is both costly and has a long term risk of the gas leaking back out - possibly many miles away from the original downward source.
But now scientists have discovered that sea urchins use nickel ions to harness carbon dioxide from the sea to grow their exoskeleton - or shell. It could be a way to capture tonnes of CO2.
Using the nickel nanoparticles suspended in water vats at factories, power stations would capture the CO2 as it is pumped through, converting the gas into the chalk.
The nickel catalyst can be recycled and the by-product - the carbonate - is useful and not damaging to the environment.
Physicist Dr Lidija Siller, a PHD student at Newcastle University, discoverd the nickel enzyme by chance.
"We had set out to understand in detail the carbonic acid reaction - which is what happens when CO2 reacts with water - and needed a catalyst to speed up the process.
"At the same time, I was looking at how organisms absorb CO2 into their skeletons and in particular the sea urchin which converts the CO2 to calcium carbonate.
"When we analysed the surface of the urchin larvae we found a high concentration of nickel on their exoskeleton. Taking nickel nanoparticles which have a large surface area, we added them to our carbonic acid test and the result was the complete removal of CO2."
Each year, humans emit on average 33.4 billion metric tons of CO2 - around 45% of which remains in the atmosphere. Typically, a petrol-driven car will produce a ton of CO2 every 4,000 miles.
Chalk, found in the shells of marine organisms, snails, pearls, and eggshells, is a completely stable mineral, widely used in the building industry to make cement and other materials and also in hospitals to make plaster casts.
The process developed by the Newcastle team involves passing the waste gas directly from the chimney top, through a water column rich in nickel nano-particles and recovering the solid calcium carbonate from the bottom.
Dr Siller adds: "The capture and removal of CO2 from our atmosphere is one of the most pressing dilemmas of our time.
"Our process would not work in every situation - it couldn't be fitted to the back of a car, for example - but it is an effective, cheap solution that could be available world-wide to some of our most polluting industries and have a significant impact on the reduction of atmospheric CO2."
The team have patented the process and are now looking for an investor to take it forward.
This findings are published in the academic journal Catalysis Science & Technology.
Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab militants, who have used Twitter to announce assassinations and bombings, are back on the microblog service two weeks after their account was suspended.
"Our new account will function like the one they closed," a spokesman who declined to be named said on Tuesday.
Al Shabaab's previous official Twitter account was suspended around Jan 24, days after group, which is aligned with al-Qaeda, used the social media site to threaten to kill two Kenyan hostages.
The group tweeted a link to a video of the abducted civil servants and threatened to kill them unless the Kenyan government released all Muslim prisoners in its jails.
Twitter rules say threats of violence are forbidden but the site declined at the time to comment on why al Shabaab's account, which had thousands of followers, had been suspended.
Al Shabaab's Somali- and Arabic-language Twitter accounts were never closed.
The new account, using the handle @HSMPRESS1, has attracted over 1,100 followers within two days.
Al Shabaab wants to impose its strict version of sharia, or Islamic law, across Somalia. However, it has lost significant territory in the southern and central parts of the country in the face of an offensive by African Union troops.