Monday, 25 November 2013

Microsoft, partners create opportunities for youth

Lagos - Microsoft, the global technology firm, has partnered with local youth platform, The Future Project, to launch an online employability and mentorship programme that enhances youth’s prospects of securing jobs.

Called the Aiki Nigeria, the programme features a web based job and training resource centre that aims to provide a guide in the areas of career planning, skill acquisition, entrepreneurship development, job sourcing and small business sustainability.

The online programme is expected to go live mid December.

At the unveiling of the programme in Lagos, Microsoft officials said Aiki Nigeria would help create jobs for a new generation of Nigerians and enabling them to contribute to the national economy.

“In working with organizations, technology enthusiasts and governments at every level, we have emphasised the crucial importance of jobs for a new generation of Nigerians. This programme is a major step in leading a coordinated solution to this urgent problem,” said Ugochukwu Nwosu, Microsoft Citizenship Manager for Anglophone West Africa.

Patrick Onwumere, Director of Youth Enablement at Microsoft Africa, noted that the launch of the platform coincided with Microsoft marking 20 years of operations in the continent.

He noted that Aiki Nigeria was part of its African Initiative.

Similar projects are ongoing in Egypt, Ivory Coast and Tunisia.

Chude Jideonwo, Executive Director of The Future Project, said the firm had always invested in enterprise and expanding opportunities for young people.

“Through our enterprise support scheme platform, we have over five years created a platform for young people to build a community of opportunities, to connect with capacity and build a shared future of value. We are glad to be partnering with Microsoft to scale up this engagement and to reach a deeper pool of the un-served across the country,” he said. 

Movie prank scares the living daylights out of innocent people waiting at a bus stop

Brasília – Prankvertising, a combination of pranking and advertising, has seen a rise in popularity lately.

In the latest viral stunt, an actor dressed up as Chucky, the diminutive Child’s Play villain, ambushes people waiting at bus stops by crashing through the glass of a ‘Curse of Chucky’ movie poster and proceeds to chase them with a large knife. 

The poor Brazilians had no clue what hit them.

Watch Video Here

Justin Bieber says he doesn't give a f*** what people say about him

Los Angeles - Justin Bieber doesn't "give a fuck" what people think of him.

The 19-year-old singer doesn't care how his antics such as visiting a brothel or annoying his neighbours with fast driving and wild parties are perceived because he is happy with the person he is becoming.

He said: "Not 'I don't give a fuck' to just be reckless and do whatever, but 'I don't give a fuck what [people] say.'

"I know who I am and what I'm doing in my life and what I've accomplished and continue to accomplish as a performer, as a writer, as an artist, as a person, as a human being. I'm happy with the man I'm becoming."

'I don't really like to say the word swag anymore'

The Believe hitmaker also admitted he only trusts his parents and manager Scooter Braun.

He told the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter: "You shouldn't trust anybody.

"I trust Scooter with my career, he's always made sure I'm taken care of. That's it."

And the Never Say Never hitmaker acknowledged his style is "very influenced by black culture" but insists he doesn't make choices to "pose".

He explained: "But I don't think of it as black or white. It's not me trying to act or pose in a certain way. It's a lifestyle - like a suaveness or a swag, per se. But I don't really like to say the word [swag] anymore. It's kind of played out."

Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter:
justin bieber
(Photo: Hollywood Reporter cover)

Kay-Switch and Dbanj release video for "Obimo"

Lagos - After releasing the single ‘Obimo’ (my heart) in June, Kay-switch has made a video for this wedding anthem. 

The song which features his superstar brother D'banj, was directed by Patrick Ellis who has worked with D'banj on videos like “On top of the world”.

- News24 Nigeria

WATCH IT HERE

Taylor Swift wins AMA artist of the year

Los Angeles - Taylor Swift's fans have done it again, voting her the American Music Awards artist of the year for a third time.
Swift won Sunday night's top honor, giving her a leading four trophies as fans celebrated the women of pop music.
Swift didn't perform, but she was a constant presence on stage and the camera alighted on her as she danced to stars like Kendrick Lamar and Luke Bryan.
Her win came after Katy Perry dazzled with her show-opening performance, Lady Gaga found another inventive way to grab your attention, Rihanna starred with her mother and Miley Cyrus closed the performances with the assistance of a giant lip-syncing CGI kitty on her song Wrecking Ball.
"I'm really out of breath," Swift said after taking the stage in a sequined mini-dress. "I was really going hard with the Wrecking Ball thing."
The 23-year-old pop star also won country album of the year for Red and favorite female country and pop/rock artist.
"Red is very different than any album I've made before and the reason I was able to do that was because of the fans," Swift said. "I cannot believe what you've done in the last year. This album came out almost exactly a year ago and the fact that 6 million of you went out and bought it is crazy."
Justin Timberlake, 1D and Macklemore!!
Justin Timberlake was next with three wins. One Direction and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won two awards and Rihanna was given the AMA's first Icon Award to go with her win as favorite soul/R&B female artist.
Rihanna and her mother took center stage midway through the show when Monica Fenty presented her pop star daughter with the first Icon Award at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
"Can we talk about how cute Rihanna's mom is?" Justin Timberlake asked while accepting one of his three awards, before affecting a Caribbean accent. "She's so proud of the Icon. I am too, Rihanna, I love you."
Fenty told Rihanna how proud she was of her daughter's success, saying, "I know the journey in your career has not always been an easy one."
"Just about 20 years ago is when I really started making your life a living hell with my annoying little husky man voice, you would call it," Rihanna said. "And I mean just disrupting the entire neighborhood. Westbury Road, Barbados, they could tell you that's the truth. I annoyed every one of my neighbors."
She performed Diamonds with an orchestra and took favorite soul/R&B female artist. Timberlake won soul/R&B album, soul/R&B male artist and pop/rock male artist.
More winners!!
Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande was named favorite new artist, Florida Georgia Line won single of the year for Cruise with Nelly in something of a surprise, Luke Bryan won favorite male country artist, and favorite rap/hip-hop act Macklemore & Ryan Lewis used their rap/hip-hop album acceptance speech to send a message of tolerance.
Ben Haggerty, the rapper known as Macklemore, accepted the award for favorite rap/hip-hop album, then quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in a live satellite feed from the rap group's latest tour stop.
"Due to the fact that we are in Florida tonight accepting this award I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids each year that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it," he said. "This is really happening. These are our friends, our neighbors, our peers and our fans, and it's time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it."
Florida became a focal point after Martin's killer was freed under the state's stand your ground law. It was the first win of the night for Macklemore and Lewis, whose album "The Heist" has been an unexpected hit and made them the AMA's top nominees with six.
Katy kicked it off!!
Katy Perry opened the show looking like a princess out of a classic Japanese painting. Dressed in a traditional Japanese dress, Perry's show-starting performance of Unconditionally included dozens of colorfully clad dancers waved fans, shadow danced in front of rice-paper screens and played the drums.
Perry was the early focus of the awards show, held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, arriving on the red carpet in a black strapless dress to screams from hundreds of fans. She said before the show she wanted to up her game, given the chance to open, and the whirling stage production was a wash of colors and movements before Perry disappeared in a puff of smoke.
One Direction was at times drowned out by screams during an understated performance of "Story of My Life." The decibel level was that way from the moment the British boy band arrived on the carpet, all smiles and dapper suits. Harry Styles stopped to take a picture with three fans.
Timberlake strapped on an acoustic guitar and played a soulfully raucous version of "Drink You Away." Macklemore crowd surfed on "Can't Hold Us." Jennifer Lopez absolutely nailed the elaborate dance numbers during her tribute to Salsa queen Celia Cruz, taking two dozen dancers through their paces while wearing a shimmering silver dress.
She winked at the crowd as she finished the number, the dancers sprawled around her on the floor.
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly put on an elaborate production for their song "Do What U Want," staging a presidential affair. Kelly played the president and Gaga a Marilyn Monroe-like mistress. Kelly gazed upward as Gaga table-danced on his desk, then stormed off the stage as an actor playing a reporter chased him asking about the affair.
And Cyrus shut things down with a performance that wasn't quite as over the top as her previous appearances this year but is likely to be talked about just as much. The camera stayed on Cyrus and the lip-syncing tabby throughout, and the cat ended the song by winking and sticking out its tongue — Cyrus' signature move.

Goodluck Jonathan (Nigerian President) arrives from London, thanks Nigerians for their goodwill

Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday arrived in Abuja after attending a two-day meeting of Nigeria’s Honorary International Investors’ Council (HIIC) in London.

The president, who spoke to State House correspondents at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on arrival, thanked Nigerians for their concern, solidarity and best wishes when he took ill.

The president was treated for sudden abdominal pains while in London.

“First, let me thank and appreciate Nigerians for the show of love and concern.”

“Even though I was in London, I read how people congratulated me, remembering my birthday that I don't normally celebrate anyway.”

“I have to thank Nigerians, especially on the issue of my health.”

“I really had some health challenges; I have to thank God and Nigerians for their concern and love.”

When asked if the illness was serious, Jonathan said: “The most important thing is that I am back.”

“You will expect that when you are holding a political office as the president of a country, anything that affects you attracts a lot of attention.”

“So, that the president is sick alone, even if you do not know nature of his ailment, will definitely cause some apprehension,” he added.

Jonathan, who appeared hale and hearty, said that he would resume work immediately.

Specifically, the president said that he would be meeting with the aggrieved faction of the PDP, known as the G7 Governors, with a view to resolving the crisis in the party.

The meeting had earlier been scheduled for Sunday.

“I do not think I will be able to hold any meeting today again; you know six hours’ flight is quite a distance but we will certainly meet.”

In response to a question on the specific time when the meeting would hold, Jonathan said: “I do not know, I am just coming in; I believe within the week, we will be able to meet.”

“Politics is about discussion, we belong to the same political party; even people from different political parties engage in political discussion.”

“Political discussion is a continuous process, even during elections, people discuss. So, we will continue to discuss.”

The president, however, debunked a media report that some ministers refused to participate in the HIIC talks.

“All of them performed very well; I think there are some kinds of misconception.”

“The Honorary International Investor Forum meets two times in a year, one in Nigeria and one outside Nigeria.”

“The ministers are not meant to sit throughout the period; ministers are meant to go and make presentations, even in Nigeria.”

“The only person that normally sits throughout is the Minister of Trade and Investment.”

“Some ministers do not normally sit for two days, in a day you may not see a minister.”

“If a minister is meant to make a presentation on the second day, you would not expect the minister to be at the forum for the two days.”

“I read some of the perceptions in the media that the minister of communication technology and the minister of petroleum were not there on Thursday.”

“They were not meant to make presentation on Thursday, they appeared on Friday and made their presentation,” he said.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Gunners mocking Red Devils?

Cape Town - Arsenal are on top of the English Premiership table - and one of their players already seems to be poking fun at rivals Manchester United.

The Gunners are currently five-points clear at the top of the table, having won eight of their first 10 matches.

On the contrary, their rivals and defending champions, Manchester united, have struggled since the retirement of legendary manager Alex Ferguson.

The Red Devils have won only half their games under new manager David Moyes and currently sit in an unfamiliar eighth spot on the overall log.

And judging by a recent photo taken featuring three Arsenal stars, the Gunners are smirking at the prospect of their great rivals struggling in the post-Fergie era.

Germans Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski were snapped basking in the Gunners' early season success. However, midfielder Ozil decided to take the mickey and pointed to Manchester United's lowly eighth position, instead of Arsenal's one at the summit as can be seen in the picture below...

Arsenal's last league title came way back in the 2003/04 season, and their last trophy of any sort was in 2005 when they beat United in the FA Cup final.

The two teams square off at Old Trafford on Sunday in a game that could go a long way to determining each team's fate this season.



Very cheeky of Ozil. Do you think Arsenal are getting a little ahead of themselves? - Sportingbet SA

Mesut Ozil (Getty Images)

Gitmo prisoner's secret diaries leaked

Washington - Al Jazeera America published on Thursday part of the secret personal diaries of one of Guantanamo's most high-profile prisoners, with records of meetings with al-Qaeda's chieftains.

The six volumes of Abu Zubaydah's diaries, (which span more than a decade from his student years to just before his March 2002 capture) were a key element of the George W Bush administration's justification of its "war on terror".

US officials often use the accounts to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo without charge or trial, but they have never before been made public.

Washington once considered Abu Zubaydah to be al-Qaeda's number three leader, water-boarding him 83 times in a single month and subjecting him to other so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," though it later dialled back its portrayal of the suspect as a senior operative.

The CIA had asked to be able to water-board Zubaydah, a Saudi-born Palestinian whose real name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, fearing he was withholding information about imminent terrorist attacks.

Al Jazeera said the documents (a copy of the government's English translation of the diaries) were obtained from a former US intelligence official who worked with the CIA and FBI on al-Qaeda issues.

The diaries reveal Abu Zubaydah's ambivalence but also his passion over his decision to join Osama bin Laden in the early days of al-Qaeda.

"Yesterday and only yesterday I decided to go to Afghanistan," Abu Zubaydah wrote in an entry dated 6 January 1991, in describing his intent to return to India to complete his studies after receiving training during the trip.

Terror figures

"The intent is bona fide, God willing. Almost everything is ready except I am scared of the circumstances. Yet I trust in God, and we seek refuge in him."

Al Jazeera published the first of six volumes of the diaries with plans to subsequently release the remainder.

He also acknowledged his inner conflict between seeking martyrdom and wanting family life.

"In spite of my yearning for sooner martyrdom, yet it is the truth that I am not denying; I am longing to a good wife, a small house, a child and the word 'Papa,'" Abu Zubaydah wrote.

And the diaries' value to US officials was clear in their account of key terror figures Abu Zubaydah met.

On that list were al-Qaeda's current leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, 1993 World Trade Centre bomber Ramzi Yousef, late al-Qaeda military leader Mohammed Atef, the Taliban's spiritual leader Mullah Omar and bin Laden.

Zubaydah has hinted that the capture of his diaries by US authorities was even worse than water-boarding, and caused him to suffer 40 seizures.

"The mental anguish that came from broken promises in which they said they would give me my diary back contributed to the seizures," Abu Zubaydah told in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing in March 2007.

"For me, it is bigger than what the CIA [did to] me."A guard looks out from a tower at the detention facility of Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba. (AP)

UN: Meth boom sweeping Asia

Bangkok - The United Nations on Friday sounded the alarm over record seizures of methamphetamine across much of Asia, as the illegal drug floods streets and clubs.

Last year 227 million methamphetamine pills were seized in East and Southeast Asia, up 59% from the year before and a more than seven-fold increase compared with 2008, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.

"If you look at the five year trends, since 2008 the seizures have increased pretty exponentially," said UNODC regional analyst Shawn Kelley, who said data suggest the trend has continued into 2013.

He said the "huge spike" was due to increased efforts by law enforcement agencies as well as soaring production in Myanmar and an increase in the smuggling of drugs into Asia from other regions.

Seizures of potent crystal meth also increased, jumping 12-fold in Myanmar, 10-fold in Brunei, 91% in Hong Kong, 75% in both Indonesia and Cambodia, and 33% in Japan.

In its pill form, methamphetamine (known in Thailand as "yaba", which means "crazy medicine") is used both as a party drug and pick-me-up for those working long hours.

Growth

Between them China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos seized 99% of all yaba in East and Southeast Asia, according to the UNODC report.

All countries showed significant increases on a year earlier, with Thai authorities netting 95.3 million pills (a 93% increase) while Chinese seizures rose 25% to 102.2 million and Myanmar's more than tripled to 18.2 million.

Much of the methamphetamine seized in Thailand is thought to be produced in neighbouring Myanmar.

Before the country began opening up to the world under a new reformist government in 2011, it was believed that rebels were increasing drug production to buy weapons amid tensions with the then-ruling junta.

"But now it's still going on," said Kelley, despite ceasefire deals between Myanmar's new quasi-civilian government and many of the armed ethnic minority groups.

In Thailand the use of methamphetamine has become a major public health issue, said Kelley, with signs that traffickers are pushing "promotional sales" of the more potent crystal meth to develop the market.



 (File, AFP)

Mayor Rob ford threatened to 'murder' someone

Toronto - Critics and allies alike renewed their concerns that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is no longer fit to lead Canada's largest city after a new video surfaced showing the mayor in a rambling rage, threatening to "murder" someone.

His mother defended him later on Thursday, saying she has advised him to work on his "huge weight problem," get a driver, put an alcohol detector in his car and watch the company he keeps. But she insisted that her son, who has acknowledged a drinking problem, did not need to enter rehab.

Moments after the video was posted online, the mayor told reporters that he was "extremely, extremely inebriated" in it and "embarrassed" by it. The context of the video is unknown, and it's unclear who the target of Ford's wrath is. The video appeared at length on the Toronto Star's website.

City councillors moved ahead in efforts to force Ford out of office, although there is no clear legal path for doing so.

The controversy surrounding Ford escalated last week when police announced they had obtained a different, long-sought video that shows Ford smoking a crack pipe. After months of evading the question, Ford admitted on Tuesday to smoking crack in a "drunken stupor" about a year ago.

Despite immense pressure, the mayor has refused to resign or take a leave of absence.

Going to kill him

The 44-year-old Ford, who is married with two school-age children, said on Thursday he made mistakes and "all I can do is reassure the people. I don't know what to say."

"It's extremely embarrassing. The whole world is going to see it," he said.

In the blurry, shaky new video, Ford paces around, frantically waves his arms and rolls up his sleeves as he says he'll "make sure" the unknown person is dead.

Ford tells another person in the room that he wants to "kill" someone. "Cause I'm going to kill that [expletive] guy," Ford says. "No holds barred, brother. He dies or I die."

At one point he says, "My brothers are, don't tell me we're liars, thieves, birds" and then later refers to "80-year-old birds."

The Toronto Star said that it bought the video for $5 000 from "a source who filmed it from someone else's computer." The newspaper said it was told "the person with the computer was there in the room."

City Councillor James Pasternak urged Ford to make a "dignified exit."

"The video is very disturbing," he said. "It's very upsetting, it's very sad."

But Ford lawyer Dennis Morris told The Associated Press the context of the video "is skeletal". ''Was it taken eight, 10 months ago or a short time ago?" he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Morris said he was in talks with the police for Ford to view the video that appears to show the mayor smoking crack. Morris said Ford would not answer questions.


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (The Canadian Press/ AP)

New Zealand police: 'We are the good guys'

Wellington - New Zealand's top police officer on Friday defended his force's investigation into an online "rape club" that allegedly preyed on under-age girls, arguing "we're actually the good guys in this business".

Police have faced accusations they were either incompetent or indifferent for failing to launch a prosecution against a gang that boasted online about sexually abusing young girls, despite knowing about it for two years.

But police commissioner Peter Marshall said he had complete faith in his officers and welcomed an independent review ordered by the government amid mounting public discontent.

"Anyone would think we're the bad guys in this situation, let's keep the focus on the individuals who are actually causing the problems out there," Marshall told Radio New Zealand.

He said the failure to prosecute was due to lack of evidence and had nothing to do with the fact that one of the gang's alleged ringleaders is the son of an Auckland police officer.

"Not at all, we have an absolute track record of prosecuting without fear or favour," he said.

The case centres on a gang of young males calling themselves "Roast Busters", who boasted online about plying girls as young as 13 with alcohol then having group sex with them.

Wore a skirt

The gang, most believed to be aged in their late teens, reportedly used Facebook to meet the girls then posted comments and videos on the social media site bragging about their exploits and humiliating their victims.

Police initially said they could not prosecute because no victims had come forward, only to backtrack when it emerged four girls had complained to them, one of whom made a formal statement.

The girl who made the statement told New Zealand television this week that police had not been supportive and implied she was "pretty much asking for it" because she wore a skirt when she met members of the group in 2011.

Her allegation is set to be investigated by the police watchdog but Marshall said questions about her clothing would have been asked as part of a wide-ranging interview.

"She's a young girl, it's an extensive interview, and questions have to be asked in an appropriate and delicate way," he said.

Marshall has appointed a senior officer to take over the case and he said concerns about police conduct should not become a distraction from the inquiry's main goal, gathering enough evidence to launch a prosecution.

He urged any young women who had been abused by the group to come forward and provide police with testimony.

Prime Minister John Key told parliament on Thursday that the performance of police was "frankly, not good enough", but has underlined that hard evidence is needed to bring a prosecution.


New Zealand Police. (Marty Melville, AFP).

Justin Bieber wanted by Brazilian police

Rio de Janeiro - The website of Brazil's biggest news outlet has published photos it says shows pop star Justin Bieber spray painting graffiti on a wall and it says police want to question him.

The O Globo newspaper reports that photographers snapped photos of Bieber as he painted graffiti on a wall of the former Hotel Nacional in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday morning.

Defacing buildings is a crime in Brazil punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine.

O Globo says police went to the mansion Bieber rented in Rio to question him but he was not there.

Phone calls and e-mails to the police department for more details went unanswered. Calls and e-mails to Bieber representatives Melissa Victor, Nick Styne and Aaron Rosenberg were not returned.

According to the Globo TV network Bieber flew out of Brazil on Wednesday afternoon on a private jet and went to Paraguay, where he was scheduled to perform.

In the Colombian capital of Bogota, where he performed last week, Bieber upset authorities when he spray-painted graffiti on a wall along one of the capital city's main avenues while being escorted by officers in a police car.

Check out photos of his graffiti art in Brazil here.
View Justin's Profile on Instagram for more pictures

Gravity reignited Bullock's passion

Los Angeles - Sandra Bullock says Gravity reignited her passion for filmmaking.

The Oscar-winning actress puts on an acting tour-de-force in the new space thriller directed by Alfonso Cuaron, and she admits the gripping flick made her fall in love with her profession all over again.

"I've been granted many times to have different experiences [in my career]. There's the work and there's a career. I can't control the career aspect because it's all about timing and other things."

"For me, it was a rebirth in my excitement at filmmaking and my part in it. Alfonso didn't have to be collaborative, but he's one of the most collaborative people I've worked with. So it was a rebirth in my faith in why I chose this profession."

Shocked at role offer

Bullock had longed to work with Cuaron, who wrote the film's script with his son Jonas Cuaron, and was shocked to be offered the role of Dr. Ryan Stone in the movie.

She explained, "I had been such an extreme admirer of Alfonso's body of work and it was one of those dreams ... 'If I can only work with...' The joke in my office was, every time we had a script, 'Do you think Alfonso will direct it?' We knew the answer was no because he writes his own material. But I always used his films as examples of things I loved, to say what we should aspire to."

"And then it came up that he had this project and I had no intention of working. They said, 'He'll come to Austin.' I said, 'What? Alfonso Cuaron is coming to Austin?' And he did, and the conversation that we had when he came had nothing to do with how to make the film or what kind of film we'd be making; it had to do with the emotional core of what he felt this film was about."

-

Call of Duty: Ghosts top $1bn in 1st day

New York City - Sales of the latest edition in the Call of Duty video game franchise topped $1bn in the first day, the publisher said on Wednesday.
Call of Duty: Ghosts, which went on sale around the world on Tuesday, "has delivered yet another epic thrill ride in the campaign, and what I think is our best multiplayer game yet", said Eric Hirshberg, chief executive of Activision Publishing.
The $1bn figure represented sales to retail store, which may not reflect consumer purchases, according to Activision.
But the company maintained the debut ensures that Call of Duty is "the largest console franchise of this generation".
The debut appeared to eclipse Grand Theft Auto V, which raked in more than a billion dollars in its first three days on the streets in September, according to Take-Two unit Rockstar games.
The latest Call of Duty sequel is set in a desolate United States devastated by a satellite-guided "kinetic" weapon strike on San Diego.
Compatible with smartphones and tablet computers, it promises new missions and extends online capabilities.
Devotees of the decade-old military shooter series queued through the evening to buy Call of Duty: Ghosts, which went on sale just after midnight on Tuesday across the world.
California-based Activision Publishing, which is owned by Activision Blizzard, has released Ghosts for play on PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii U and personal computers powered by Windows operating systems.
Versions of the game will later be available to use on new game consoles PS4 or Xbox One.
Videogame makers are in the tricky position of having to wow fans using PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 consoles as well as create versions that capitalise on new capabilities in next-generation hardware.
A new Call of Duty app will let players use smartphones or tablets to tweak in-game characters or squads, schedule team matches, and share accomplishments using social networks Facebook and Twitter.
Ghosts' features include letting players essentially create their own characters and gear "load-outs" to the extent that entire squads of customised soldiers can been marshalled.

Ice Prince, Olamide Adedeji sign Etisalat endorsement deals

Abuja - Rapper Panshak "Ice Prince" Zamani and Olamide Adedeji have signed endorsement deals with telecommunications company Etisalat Nigeria.

The rappers let the cat out of the bag as they tweeted at each other.

They wrote: "The swaggg ETISALAT get bwuoy no be here!!! Ask @olamide_YBNL !!!! (sic)", with Olamide replying "#EtisalatFrosh my nigga (sic)"

Both deals are worth around N20m each.

A rep for Ice Prince confirmed the deal, he said: "Yes it's true, we've been on it for a while but it finally came through."

Nigeria Entertainment Today earlier reported that Ice Prince had turned down an offer made by Globacom.

BangShowBiz reports that the contracts are valid for a year.

Jennifer Lopez insists she has never had any plastic surgery

Los Angeles - Jennifer Lopez insists she has never had any plastic surgery.
The Dance Again hitmaker has hit back after a British plastic surgeon, Dr. Ayham Al-Ayoubi, suggested she "showed many signs" of having work done to her face.
The 44-year-old star was clearly unimpressed with his medical opinion and tweeted: "@DrAyoubi Sorry Sir, but I have never had plastic surgery of any kind. #fact"
The actress responded to the plastic surgeon, who is based in London, after he tweeted a split-screen photographs of her and wrote: "These before and after pics of @JLo show many signs of #plasticsurgery - naturally pretty but now looks amazing."
He later added: "U are naturally a very beautiful woman and look great, sometimes clever makeup can enhance features slightly changing their appearance @JLo"
But following Jennifer and her fans' reaction, the medic claimed his assistant was responsible for the tweets.
He wrote on Tuesday: "Dear @JLo I wonder if you can accept my sincere apologies about the wrong tweet which was written by my assistant without my knowledge....
"I sincerely apologise to @JLo & her fans. I want to remind everyone it was NOT me who sent that wrong tweet! it was my assistant. (sic)"
The American Idol judge recently revealed that she learnt to stand up for herself from an early age as she was criticised for her appearance and curvy figure early in her career.
She said: "You have to stand up and say, 'There's nothing wrong with me or my shape or who I am; you're the one with the problem!' And when you can really believe that, all of a sudden other people start believing too."

Twitter appeal wanes in parts of Asia

Seoul - Too open. Too crowded. Too difficult.
That's why some Twitter users in South Korea and Japan say they are spending less time on the site or have quit for other services.
After selling shares in a highly anticipated initial public offering, Twitter is set to face minute ongoing scrutiny from a legion of new shareholders and Wall Street investment analysts. The price of $26 per share values Twitter, which has never made a profit, at more than $18 billion.
Waning appeal in parts of Asia, once the fastest growing market for the social network that revolves around users posting 140-character messages online, shows the challenge Twitter faces in keeping overseas users engaged. And in generating enough advertising to be profitable.
International users accounted for about three quarters of Twitter's members but only a quarter of revenue in the first nine months of this year. About 25% of Twitter's 232 million active users are in Asia.
Led by Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and India, Asia was the fastest growing region for Twitter in summer 2010, according to Semiocast, a Paris-based social media research company.
Millions of new users joined in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and during election campaigns. Celebrities, pop stars, politicians and opinion leaders flocked to Twitter, turning an experimental playground for early adopters into a dynamic online forum.
But growth has slowed in South Korea and Japan, a red flag for Twitter since both countries are wealthy and have high rates of mobile device usage - now the predominant way Twitter is accessed. New mobile applications from companies such as South Korea's Kakao and Japan's Line, have experienced explosive growth, making them potent competitors for eyeballs and advertising.
A desire for a less open, more exclusive social networking experience is part of the explanation.
"In South Korea and Japan, open type social networking services like Twitter and Facebook are losing steam," said Justin Lee, an analyst of mobile messengers and games at BNP Paribas. "Closed social networking services where messages are shared among a small group of people will become more popular."
Interacting with strangers
Twitter remains blocked from China's vast market but another giant, India, is open to Twitter and it has amassed 27 million users there, according to Semiocast. Yet Twitter acknowledged in IPO filings that low use of smartphones in the poor country could hamper the ability of advertisers to deliver compelling advertisements and hurt its earnings potential.
"Indian people are still warming up to Twitter," said Karthik Srinivasan, Bangalore-based head of social media at Ogilvy & Mather.
The concept of interacting with strangers instead of friends and colleagues takes getting used to in a society that remains family-oriented, he said. "People probably don't know what to do on Twitter, since you don't see your friends and family on it right away."
In South Korea the number of new users signing up has plunged since December while more Twitter citizens are going dormant, according to CYRAM, a Seoul-based analytics company that specializes in social networks. Some 40 000 new users signed up in August, about a quarter of new users in December.
It estimates there are 7 million Twitter users in South Korea and only 1 million of them send more than one tweet a month. In August, 64% of Twitter accounts based in South Korea had not sent a tweet for more than six months, up from 56% in December of last year.
South Korean entrepreneur Richard Choi is one of those dormant users. After sending more than 18 000 messages to his 8 200 followers in the last few years, he has been silent on Twitter since 25 June. Choi said he has been busy running his start-up company but still found time to share pictures of his birthday cake and a home-made shepherd's pie with friends on KakaoStory, an Instagram-like mobile application that has been a hit in South Korea.
"Twitter is for news and information but there are other channels to get news," Choi said. "I don't feel like I need to come back."
In Japan, Twitter's status was elevated after it functioned as a virtual lifeline for many people following the 2011 tsunami. Japanese were able to communicate with others through Twitter immediately after the disaster as the internet kept working but phones didn't.
Offended, annoyed
It remains a go-to destination for discussing popular television shows.
Twitter is a special arena for "when a certain incident calls for everyone's participation at one time," said Will Tachiiri, a social media producer and CEO of Logkr Media.
But a trend for defections and growing dormancy of accounts in Japan partly reflects that Twitter has also become a nasty battleground, with users hiding behind anonymity to launch vitriolic attacks on those they disagree with.
"Sometimes one can be forced to leave the space or close the account since they were seriously offended, annoyed or traumatized," Tachiri said.
There are bright spots as Twitter courts advertisers overseas including the social networking service's ability to draw people who set trends and influence opinion.
In South Korea, "Twitter is SNS of 1 million people," said Song Seulki, a consultant at CYRAM. "But its impact is valid given that it is the SNS used by people from the 20s to the 40s who are public opinion leaders."
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FBI wants developer of cheating lover spyware

Washington - It's not just the US government intercepting your communications. It could be a nosy relative or jealous partner.
Among the five people added this week to the FBI's list of "most wanted" cybercriminals is a former San Diego college student who developed an $89 program called "Loverspy" or "Email PI."
Sold online from his apartment, the program was advertised as a way to "catch a cheating lover" by sending the person an electronic greeting card that, if opened, would install malicious software to capture e-mails and instant messages, even spy on someone using the victim's own webcam.
The case of Carlos Enrique Perez-Melara, 33, is noteworthy because he appears to have made relatively little money on the scheme, unlike others on the FBI list who were accused of bilking millions of dollars from businesses and internet users worldwide. But Perez-Melara, a native of El Salvador who was in the United States on a student visa in 2003 when he sold the spyware, allegedly helped turn average computer users into sophisticated hackers who could stalk their victims.
Loverspy was designed "with stealth in mind, claiming that it would be impossible to detect by 99.9% of users," according to a July 2005 federal indictment of Perez-Melara.
A section chief with the FBI who oversees operations in the agency's cyber division, John Brown, said Loverspy was one of many illegal "hacking-for-hire" services. In one case earlier this year, a New York police detective was arrested for spending more than $4 000 on hacking services to obtain the e-mails of more than a dozen of his colleagues. Many of the operators tend to be based overseas.
"These are sophisticated folks who know how to hide themselves on the internet," Brown said.
Brown said Perez-Melara was added to the FBI most wanted list in part because the former student has been so difficult to find. Perez-Melara has eluded the authorities since his indictment eight years ago with his last known location as El Salvador. The government is now offering a $50 000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Security fixes
According to his indictment, Perez-Melara sold the software to 1 000 customers, who then tried to infect about 2 000 computers. Victims took the bait only about half the time, the government said.
People who purchased the spyware were charged with illegally intercepting electronic communications. Most of those cases appear to have resulted in probation and fines.
In addition to hacking-for-hire services, there is an established commercial market for snooping software that domestic violence advocates warn can also be used to stalk victims. Software such as ePhoneTracker and WebWatcher, for example, are advertised as ways to monitor kids' online messages and track their location.
For $349 a year, Flexispy promises to capture every Facebook message, e-mail, text and photo sent from a phone, as well as record phone calls. These services generally would be legal only if the person installing the software also owned the device or were given consent by the owner.
Others identified on the FBI most wanted cyber list includes Alexsey Belan, a Russian, who allegedly broke into the computer networks of three major US e-commerce companies. Belan is accused of stealing the companies' user databases and encrypted passwords, which he then sold.
Two others named by the FBI hijacked computers with malware disguised as online advertisements, then sold security fixes to victims. In one case, the loss to consumers was estimated to be $100m.
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