Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A Minute With: Oscar Isaac on the hustle of acting and 'Star Wars'

I've been looking for means to get in touch with one of the acts of Star Wars, but it got more easier for me and all thanks to RUETERS... Read the Interview below.

From playing a struggling folk musician to an ambitious heating oil entrepreneur, actor Oscar Isaac is all about the hustle.

After his breakout in 2013's "Inside Llewyn Davis," Isaac's profile is on the rise with roles in the upcoming "Star Wars" and "X-Men" films.

Isaac, 35, spoke to Reuters about the notion of ambition in his latest film "A Most Violent Year" and those pesky "Star Wars" questions.

Q: Did Abel Morales' ambitions in "A Most Violent Year" resonate with your own?

A: These tales of ambition are fascinating, and the rise to power, what power means. For me, I've never been interested in that, although ultimately it'd be great to find a story and be able to make it and to some extent, you do need a sense of power to be able to have that happen.

But what I'm trying to do is not be so goal-orientated, Abel is very goal-orientated. For me, it's less about a goal and more about a state of mind.

Q: Is there an aspect of "selling out" as you become more successful in your own career, and take on bigger roles?

A: Between my Llewyn Davis and Abel Morales, the people tend to admire Abel a lot more, and it's very telling that they pick the person who's ambitious, goal-orientated, hyper capitalist.

I think there's been a shift. I'm in "Star Wars" and going to be in "X-Men," I believe people can say that I've sold out, but I think there's a different feeling nowadays about 'hey man, you've got to hustle.' This country is based on the hustle, hustle for your dollar, whatever you've got to do, and you give props to the person that hustles the most. There is a sense of whatever you can get away with, more power to you.

Q: How are you planning to dodge "Star Wars" questions for a year? Are you allowed to drop any tidbits to satisfy curiosity?

A: No permission to satisfy curiosity. We finished shooting (in November), and there's a trailer out already so that's just a testament to JJ (Abrams, the director) and how much he loves what we've made.

And it's also how much he loves the fans, that after three weeks being done shooting, he releases a trailer and it's so representative of what the movie's going to be, which actually has an intimacy, a vitality to it.
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New 'Star Wars' tops 2015 most-anticipated movie list: survey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The upcoming installment of the "Star Wars" franchise tops moviegoers' lists of most anticipated films of 2015, ticket seller Fandango said on Tuesday in what Hollywood watchers expect to be a banner box office year for studios.

"Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" highlights a year of big-budget franchise releases that includes runner-up films "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2."

Those films are expected to push challenge 2013's record year of about $11 billion in U.S. ticket sales. This year so far, films have grossed $9.4 billion domestically, according to boxofficemojo.com.

The new "Star Wars" film, which will be the first produced by Walt Disney Co, is set to be released on Dec. 18 and the reboot of George Lucas' sci-fi universe will be directed by "Star Trek" filmmaker J.J. Abrams.

"Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence was the top female actor moviegoers wanted to see for the second consecutive year, according to Fandango's survey of more than 1,000 people.

The final installment of Lions Gate's young-adult thriller is scheduled to be released on Nov. 20, 2015. This year's installment has so far grossed $306.7 million five weeks into its run at U.S. theaters, the second-highest in 2014 ticket sales behind "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Robert Downey Jr, who returns as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the follow-up to Disney's 2012 "Avengers" superhero film, was the top male actor, according to Fandango.

Other anticipated films include erotic thriller "Fifty Shades of Grey," from Universal Pictures' art house unit Focus Features, and "Jurassic World," Universal's resurrection of the "Jurassic Park" dinosaur disaster series.

"Fifty Shades" star Jamie Dornan was picked as the biggest breakout male star, while "Star Wars" actress Daisy Ridley was the biggest female breakout star.

The top anticipated family movie was "Minions," Universal's next installment in the animated "Despicable Me" franchise. It was followed by "Cinderella," "Inside Out," "Peanuts" and "Pan."
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Actress Luise Rainer, 1930s back-to-back Oscar winner, dies

(Reuters) - Luise Rainer, the German-born actress who made cinema history by winning back-to-back Oscars as best actress for the 1936 musical "The Great Ziegfeld" and the 1937 drama "The Good Earth" during a brief, stormy Hollywood career, died on Tuesday at age 104.

Rainer, a former star of the Vienna stage who had been the oldest living actor to have won an Academy Award, died of pneumonia in London, her daughter said.

"She was an extraordinary woman who will undoubtedly leave an indelible print on the industry," her daughter Francesca Bowyer told Reuters. "She was a legend, she was my legend."

Rainer enjoyed a meteoric rise in Hollywood followed by an equally dramatic fall after she clashed with imperious Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio boss Louis B. Mayer over his iron-fisted control over her career.

After being assigned a succession of parts she did not like and being denied ones she wanted, Rainer contentiously parted ways with MGM, leaving Hollywood in 1938. She returned only briefly in 1943 to make a film for rival studio Paramount.

In a 1999 interview with the New York Times, Rainer recalled Mayer's parting threat: "We made you and we can kill you." She said she retorted: "Mr. Mayer, you didn't make me. God made me."

Rainer had an unhappy three-year marriage to playwright Clifford Odets, ending in 1940. When she became friends with Albert Einstein, Odets was said to have become so jealous that he used scissors to shred a photograph of the scientist.

Rainer wed British publishing executive Robert Knittel in 1945 and lived with him in London and Switzerland until his death in 1989. She lived alone in London afterward, with her two Oscars on a bookshelf in her study.

The statuette for "The Great Ziegfeld," in which she starred with William Powell and Myrna Loy, was the original. The one for "The Good Earth" was a replacement. She told the Telegraph in 2009 she gave that original to the workers who moved her from Switzerland to London after Knittel's death.

"I used it as a doorstop," Rainer said. "And it was bent."

Katharine Hepburn is the only other woman to win the best actress Oscar in consecutive years, for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967) and "The Lion in Winter" (1968).

Rainer was born on Jan. 12, 1910, in Dusseldorf. She earned early success as a stage actress in Vienna, a protege of theatrical director Max Reinhardt, before dabbling in films. The rise of the Nazis in the early 1930s prompted Rainer, the daughter of a prosperous Jewish businessman who was an American citizen, to move to the United States.

'THE NEXT GARBO'

Rainer was an accomplished stage and screen actress when an MGM talent scout spotted her and told Mayer she would become "the next Garbo," referring to incandescent Swedish film superstar Greta Garbo, who was five years older than her.

Rainer replaced Loy opposite Powell in her first Hollywood film, "Escapade" (1935), then was cast again with Powell in the musical "The Great Ziegfeld," delivering an Oscar-winning performance as Ziegfeld's first wife.

For the epic film adaptation of the Pearl S. Buck novel "The Good Earth," Irving Thalberg, MGM's production chief, had wanted to cast Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong opposite Paul Muni, a white actor playing a Chinese farmer. But Thalberg was blocked from doing so because of Hollywood's ban at the time on on-screen interracial relationships.

Rainer got the role - over Mayer's opposition - of the long-suffering Chinese peasant wife, and won her second straight Oscar. That made Rainer the first actress to win multiple Academy Awards.

But things were souring at MGM, and she lamented that she was treated as merely a "tool in a big mechanical factory."

She appeared again with Powell in "The Emperor's Candlesticks" (1937), with Spencer Tracy in "Big City" (1937), with Melvyn Douglas in "The Toy Wife" (1938), and headed an ensemble cast in "Dramatic School" (1938). She starred as the wife of composer Johann Strauss in "The Great Waltz" (1938) before turning her back on Hollywood.

She returned to cinema at the age of 86 after an absence of more than half a century in the 1997 European film "The Gambler."
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Bodies from crashed AirAsia plane arrive in Indonesian city

Indonesia (Reuters) - The first two bodies from the AirAsia plane that crashed off the coast of Borneo arrived on Wednesday in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, where relatives have gathered to await news of their loved ones.

Rescuers believe they have found the plane on the sea floor off Borneo, after sonar detected a large, dark object beneath waters near where debris and bodies were found on the surface.

Ships and planes had been scouring the Java Sea for Flight QZ8501 since Sunday, when it lost contact during bad weather about 40 minutes into its flight from Surabaya to Singapore.

Seven bodies have been recovered from the sea, some fully clothed, which could indicate the Airbus A320-200 was intact when it hit the water. That would support a theory that it suffered an aerodynamic stall.

Tatang Zaenudin, an official with Indonesia's search and rescue agency, said earlier that one of the bodies had been found wearing a life jacket.

But he later said no victim had been recovered with a life jacket on.

"We found a body at 8.20 a.m. and a life jacket at 10.32 a.m. so there was a time difference. This is the latest information we have," he told Reuters.

Two bodies, in coffins bedecked with flowers and marked 001 and 002, arrived by an air force plane in Surabaya.

Most of the 162 people on board were Indonesians. No survivors have been found.

HUNT FOR "BLACK BOX"

Hernanto, of the search and rescue agency in Surabaya, said rescuers believed they had found the plane on the sea bed with a sonar scan in water 30-50 meters (100-165 feet) deep.

The black box flight data and cockpit voice recorder have yet to be found.

Authorities in Surabaya were making preparations to receive and identify bodies, including arranging 130 ambulances to take victims to a police hospital and collecting DNA from relatives.

"We are praying it is the plane so the evacuation can be done quickly," Hernanto said.

Strong wind and waves hampered the search and with visibility at less than a kilometer (half a mile), the air operation was called off in the afternoon.

"The weather today was really challenging in the field, with waves up to 5 meters high, wind reaching 40 km per hour (and) heavy rain, especially in the search area," Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, the head of the search and rescue agency, told reporters in Surabaya.

He added that the plane's whereabouts had not yet been confirmed and so the search for it would continue.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said his priority was retrieving the bodies.

Relatives, many of whom collapsed in grief when they saw the first grim television pictures confirming their fears on Tuesday, held prayers at a crisis center at Surabaya airport.

"UNBELIEVABLY" STEEP CLIMB

The plane was traveling at 32,000 feet (9,753 meters) and had asked to fly at 38,000 feet to avoid bad weather. When air traffic controllers granted permission for a rise to 34,000 feet a few minutes later, they received no response.

The pilots did not issue a distress signal.

A source close to the probe into what happened said radar data appeared to show that the aircraft made an "unbelievably" steep climb before it crashed, possibly pushing it beyond the Airbus A320's limits.

"So far, the numbers taken by the radar are unbelievably high. This rate of climb is very high, too high. It appears to be beyond the performance envelope of the aircraft," he said.

The source, who declined to be named, added that more information was needed to come to a firm conclusion.

Online discussion among pilots has centered on unconfirmed secondary radar data from Malaysia that suggested the aircraft was climbing at a speed of 353 knots, about 100 knots too slow, and that it might have stalled.

The Indonesian captain, a former air force fighter pilot, had 6,100 flying hours under his belt and the plane last underwent maintenance in mid-November, said the airline, which is 49 percent owned by Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia.

Three airline disasters involving Malaysian-affiliated carriers in less than a year have dented confidence in the country's aviation industry and spooked travelers.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing in March on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew and has not been found. On July 17, the same airline's Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

On board Flight QZ8501 were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. The co-pilot was French.

The AirAsia group, including affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India, had not suffered a crash since its Malaysian budget operations began in 2002.
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Monday, 29 December 2014

'Hobbit' battles 'Unbroken,' 'Into the Woods' to second box office win

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The last movie of Peter Jackson's three "Hobbit" films rode to a second consecutive win atop U.S. and Canadian weekend box office charts, selling $41.4 million worth of tickets to triumph over new releases "Unbroken" and "Into the Woods."

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" grabbed another $13.1 million from Christmas day screenings for a combined four-day total through Sunday of $54.5 million and a domestic haul of $168.5 million since its Dec. 17 release, according to estimates from tracking firm Rentrak.

Director Angelina Jolie's World War Two drama "Unbroken" finished second with $31.7 million after winning the box office duel on Christmas, narrowly edging out another new film, the musical "Into The Woods" which claimed the No. 3 spot with $31 million.

"Unbroken," Jolie's second directorial effort, tells the real-life story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini's two years as a prisoner of war in Japan.

"None of us ever would have thought a picture like this -- an inspirational story about a World War Two hero and Olympian -- would have performed at this level," said Nikki Rocco, president for domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, the Comcast Corp unit that released the film.

"We would have been happy at $25 million," Rocco said, adding that the release had capped Universal's most profitable year.

"Into The Woods," the adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical which puts a dark spin on fairy tales, stars Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Johnny Depp.

The film, which saw the biggest opening in history for a screen adaptation of a Broadway musical, added $15.1 million from Christmas day screenings for a four-day total of $46.1 million, distributor Walt Disney Co. said.

"Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" took fourth place in its second week of release with $20.6 million, while the musical "Annie" rounded out the top five with $16.6 million. In a rare feat, box office sales for both films exceeded their opening weekend numbers.

Another new release, "The Gambler," opened in seventh with $9.3 million, behind "The Hunger Games"' $10 million take. The low-budget film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, is a remake of the 1974 James Caan classic about a professor with a devastating weakness for high-stakes gambling.

The relatively solid box office numbers put Hollywood on track to end the year down just over five percent from 2013's record performance, an improvement over the double-digit falloff that was in place during the summer, according to Rentrak.

Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. released "The Hobbit."
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Comedian Chris Rock and wife to divorce: People magazine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedian Chris Rock and his wife, Malaak Compton-Rock, will divorce after nearly 20 years of marriage, People magazine reported on Sunday.

"After much contemplation and 19 years of marriage, Chris and I have decided to go our separate ways," Compton-Rock was quoted as saying in a statement, People reported.

Rock, best known for his trenchant comedy routines about relations between black people and white people, most recently wrote, directed and starred in the film "Top Five," released earlier this month.

Compton-Rock is the founder of Styleworks, a nonprofit salon for women returning to work after receiving welfare benefits.

The couple lives in Alpine, New Jersey, with their two daughters, aged 12 and 10, People said.

Neither Rock's publicist nor his divorce lawyer responded to requests for comment on Sunday.
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U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan ends combat role; thousands of foreign troops remain

KABUL (Reuters) - The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan formally ended its combat mission on Sunday, more than 13 years after an international alliance ousted the Taliban government for sheltering the planners of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on American cities.

About 13,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, will remain in the country under a new, two-year mission named "Resolute Support" that will continue the coalition's training of Afghan security forces.

The Afghan army and police are struggling to fight against Taliban militants who this year killed record numbers of Afghans.

"Today marks an end of an era and the beginning of a new one," said U.S. General John Campbell, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), at the ceremony marking the end of the mission held at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul.

"We will continue to invest in Afghanistan's future," Campbell said at the ceremony, during which he rolled up the coalition's flag.

Since 2001, nearly 3,500 foreign soldiers have died in the Afghan war, including around 2,200 Americans.

"Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

The late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had strong relations with the Taliban, who let him and other members of his global militant network hide in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have launched increasingly deadly attacks in the past year. Nearly 3,200 Afghan civilians were killed in the conflict between the militant group and the army in 2014, and more than 4,600 Afghan army and police died in Taliban attacks.

For Afghanistan's new president, Ashraf Ghani, keeping government control of territory and preventing security from further deteriorating is a top priority.

ISAF said it had withheld details of Sunday's ceremony until the last moment for fear the insurgents might attempt an attack with rockets or mortars.
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U.S.-led forces launch 13 air strikes in Syria, Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-led forces on Sunday conducted eight air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and five strikes on IS targets in Iraq, the U.S. military said in a statement.

In Syria, air strikes centered on the town of Kobani near the Turkish border, the Combined Joint Task Force said.

The strikes in Iraq included IS positions near Sinjar and near Mosul, the task force said.
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Amid hacking tensions, South Korea proposes resuming talks with North

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea proposed on Monday to resume stalled talks with North Korea, an overture that comes amid heightened diplomatic tension after Seoul's key ally the United States blamed the North for a cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

North Korea has denied responsibility for the hack against the U.S.-based film studio arm of Japan's Sony Corp, which distributed a comedy film featuring an assassination plot against the North's leader, Kim Jong Un.

Pyongyang subsequently blamed Washington for its own internet outages, and has denied any involvement in recent system breaches into South Korea's state nuclear power operator.

Seoul's unification minister said the South had sent a letter to Pyongyang seeking negotiations, which it hopes to hold in January and would cover issues including reunions for families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean war and possible co-operation projects.

The North had accepted the letter but had yet to respond, South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told a news briefing.

"I don't think we will have any particular agenda, but our position is to discuss everything that South and North have mutual interests in," said Ryoo, noting that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan.

A delegation of high-level North Korean officials made a surprise visit in October to the closing ceremony of the Asian Games hosted by the South, and promised to reopen dialogue between the two. However, the two sides failed to hold follow-up talks as tension persisted, with the North lashing out at the South over anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets sent to the North via balloon by activist groups.

Military officials from North and South Korea met in October to discuss border altercations, including exchanges of fire, but they did not resolve their differences.

South Korea imposed a broad set of sanctions on Pyongyang in 2010 following the sinking of a South Korean corvette that killed 46 sailors. South Korea blamed the North, while Pyongyang denied it was responsible, and the issue has been an obstacle to re-engagement ever since.

Ryoo said South Korea would explain to the North its inter-Korean cooperation plans, including a peace park at the demilitarized zone, adding that it was seeking a fresh round of reunions for families separated by the Korean War before the Lunar New Year holidays in February.

The two Koreas have remained technically at war for more than six decades as the Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. Reunification of the Korean peninsula has been a priority for South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
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Hundreds still awaiting airlift on stricken Italian ferry

ATHENS/ROME (Reuters) - Italian and Greek helicopter crews worked into the night to airlift passengers off a burning ferry adrift in the Adriatic Sea, battling darkness and bad weather that hampered rescue efforts by other ships throughout Sunday.

Helicopters were plucking passengers off the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic and transferring them to a nearby vessel, after a dramatic day that began when a fire broke out on its lower deck in the early hours.

Authorities said one Greek man had died and there were reports of four injured among 478 passengers and crew and as night fell. The Italian navy said 190 people were clear of the danger zone, with 287 still on board.

The Italian coastguard said the fire on board had been "tamed" and the ship was being stabilized by cables attached to a tug in order to assist rescue operations which remained extremely difficult in rough seas and strong winds.

The ship will be towed to a nearby port after cables are securely attached but an official from the Italian navy said it had yet to be decided whether this would be in Italy or Albania, following conflicting statements from officials in Greece, Albania and Italy.

The ferry is just 13 miles (21 km) from the Albanian port of Vlore but an Italian navy spokesman said it may be towed to either Otranto or Brindisi in the south-eastern heel of Italy.

The airlifts would continue while the boat was being towed towards port, and rescue workers would try to get closer by boat to bring people off if conditions allowed, Greek Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told reporters.

"It will be a very difficult night and I hope that everything will go well and we will rescue all passengers and all crew members," Varvitsiotis said.

The Italian navy said two Italian air force helicopters, one Greek Superpuma helicopter and an Italian plane were taking part in the rescue, winching up passengers in small groups. Other aircraft and 10 ships were also taking part in the operation in support roles.

Earlier, Greek coastguard spokesman Nikos Lagkadianos said the heavy rain that was hampering the rescue had helped contain the fire although the ship was still burning.

Terrified passengers told how they had to move higher and higher in the ship to escape the flames.

"We went to the deck where there were life boats, but at some point we felt the floor burning and we went higher up to the heliport," Rania Fireou told Greek television by phone before the airlifts began.

"There are many children and elderly people aboard," she said. "We have gathered all together and we are trying to warm ourselves."

COMPLICATED RESCUE

Varvitsiotis said the bad weather, with winds of up to 55 mph (88 kph) earlier, made the operation one of the most complex Greek authorities had been involved in and vowed that no one would be left behind.

Coastguard officials said the Norman Atlantic, which was also carrying more than 200 vehicles, was 44 nautical miles northwest of the island of Corfu when it radioed for help. It had been traveling from Patras in western Greece to the Italian city of Ancona.

Command of the operation was transferred to Italy after winds took the helpless vessel out of Greek waters but officials were coordinating closely and an Albanian coastguard vessel was also taking part.

A coastguard official said nearby passenger and container ships had attempted to form a ring around the burning vessel to try to form a windbreak to allow small rescue boats to approach.

Officials said most of the passengers were Greek but the passenger list included names from several other countries including Germany, Italy, Austria, Turkey, France and the Netherlands. Many appeared to be truck drivers.

The fire broke out in the lower deck garage of the vessel but there were differing accounts of when it started. Initial reports said the fire began at around 6.00 a.m. (0400 GMT) but Italian officials put the time at 4.30 a.m.

The Norman Atlantic is a 26,900-tonne, roll-on roll-off ferry chartered by Greek ferry company ANEK. According to marine traffic data, it was built in 2009 and previously operated in Italy. ANEK said in a statement it was cooperating with rescue authorities.
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Indonesia says missing AirAsia plane could be at 'bottom of sea'

(Reuters) - A missing AirAsia jet carrying 162 people could be at the bottom of the sea after it was presumed to have crashed off the Indonesian coast, an official said on Monday, as countries around Asia sent ships and planes to help in the search effort.

The Indonesia AirAsia plane, an Airbus A320-200, disappeared after its pilot failed to get permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather during a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday.

Flight QZ8501 did not issue a distress signal and disappeared over the Java Sea five minutes after requesting the change of course, which was refused because of heavy air traffic, officials said.

"Based on our coordinates, we expect it is in the sea, so for now (we think) it is on the sea floor," Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, told reporters when asked about the missing plane's likely location.

A senior Indonesian civil aviation source told Reuters that authorities had the flight's radar data and were waiting for search and rescue teams to find debris before they started their investigation into the cause of the accident.

Onboard Flight QZ8501 were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. The co-pilot was French.

The incident caps a disastrous year for Malaysia-affiliated airlines, with Indonesia AirAsia 49 percent owned by Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia.

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 went missing on March 8 on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew and has not been found. On July 17, the same airline's Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

The AirAsia group, including affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India, had not suffered a crash since its Malaysian budget operations began in 2002. The group's shares in Kuala Lumpur fell as much as 12.9 percent on Monday.

MULTINATIONAL SEARCH

Indonesian Air Force spokesman Hadi Thahjanto said two C-130 Hercules planes were focusing the search for Flight QZ8501 in areas northeast of Indonesia's Bangka island, which lies roughly halfway between Surabaya and Singapore, in the Java Sea.

An Australian P3 Orion surveillance plane had joined the search, the Australian Defence Department said.

Singapore said it had sent two navy ships to help, while Malaysia said it would send three naval vessels and a C-130.

China also offered to send aircraft and ships to help in the search, as well as any other assistance Indonesia needed.

Soelistyo said Indonesia might not have the best technology to search underwater and had accepted offers of help from the United States, Britain and France.

"An underwater search is not easy based on experience," Soelistyo said, referring to the months it took Indonesia to recover flight data recorders from a Boeing 737-400 operated by Indonesia's Adam Air which crashed off Sulawesi island in 2007, killing all 102 people on board.

Flight QZ8501 was traveling at 32,000 feet above the Java Sea and had asked to fly at 38,000 feet to avoid clouds, said Joko Muryo Atmodjo, air transportation director at Indonesia's transport ministry.

Permission was not given at the time due to traffic in the area. Five minutes later, at 6:17 a.m. on Sunday (2317 GMT Saturday), the plane lost contact with air traffic control, Atmodjo said.

Data from Flightradar24.com, which tracks airline flights in real time, showed several nearby aircraft were at altitudes ranging from 34,000 to 36,000 feet at the time, levels that are not unusual for cruising aircraft.

Pilots and aviation experts said thunderstorms, and requests to gain altitude to avoid them, were not unusual in the area where the flight disappeared.

"You can climb to push above the cloud layer to get clearance and radar readings to pick your way over the storm," said a Qantas Airways pilot with 25 years experience flying in the region.

"But the airplane's performance is directly related to the temperature outside and increasing altitude can lead to freezing of the static radar, giving pilots an erroneous radar reading."

The resulting danger is that pilots take incorrect action to control the aircraft, said the pilot, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

"WORST NIGHTMARE"

The Indonesian pilot was experienced and the plane last underwent maintenance in mid-November, the airline said. The aircraft had accumulated about 23,000 flight hours in some 13,600 flights, according to Airbus.

Malaysia AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes flew to Surabaya and, along with Indonesian officials, updated distraught relatives of passengers at a makeshift crisis center at the airport in Indonesia's second-largest city.

"This is my worst nightmare," Fernandes said on Twitter. "But there's no stopping", he said of the search.

Indonesia's Transportation Ministry said the government would carry out a review of AirAisa's Indonesian business unit to improve safety.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged his people to pray for the safety of the passengers and crew. Pope Francis, during his Sunday address at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, said those on board were in his prayers.

Louise Sidharta was at Singapore's Changi Airport waiting for her fiancée to return from a family holiday.

"It was supposed to be their last vacation before we got married," she said.
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Saturday, 27 December 2014

Queen Elizabeth II praises workers who fight Ebola

London - Queen Elizabeth II will use her traditional Christmas broadcast to call for international reconciliation and to praise medical workers fighting Ebola in Africa.
The queen plans to say she has been "deeply touched" by the "selflessness" of doctors and nurses combating the Ebola outbreak.

Each year the queen writes her own Christmas speech, which is pre-recorded and televised in many parts of the world on the afternoon of Christmas Day. She made her first Christmas broadcast on radio in 1952.
The queen plans to celebrate the holiday with her husband Prince Philip and other senior royals at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.
They will attend a church service Christmas morning before enjoying a gala lunch.
- AP
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All Mariah Carey wants is a happy family

Los Angeles - Mariah Carey is still devastated over her split from Nick Cannon.

The 44-year-old singer, who separated from the America's Got Talent host over the summer after six years of marriage, is reportedly suffering from severe insomnia because she's a ''mess.''

A source close to the Beautiful hitmaker, who has three-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan with Nick, is frustrated that she no longer has the happy family unit she wants and ''can't sleep."

The couple have yet to file for divorce and friends believe Mariah is eager for a reconciliation.

The insider told Us Weekly magazine that she isn't ready to "give up the idea of a happy family."

The Hero singer broke down in tears while performing at the Beacon Theatre in New York City last week.

Nick recently insisted he and the blonde beauty would always be family despite reports their split was getting contentious.

Asked about their plans for Christmas, he said: "Always focus on family. We'll forever be family.

"At the same time, we're there for our children, making them the No. 1 priority and understanding they're loved and can have an amazing holiday."


- BangShowBiz
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Condom campaign against Russian opposition

Moscow -Pro-Kremlin activists are distributing condoms on the streets of Moscow with the images of opposition leaders whom they blame for the collapse of the Russian currency.
The LifeNews TV channel late Thursday showed activists handing out condoms with pictures of Alexei Navalny, tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and others on the packets.
LifeNews quoted one activist as saying that the opposition leaders have been fueling the panic about the collapsing ruble, which lost half of its value this year.

Navalny is awaiting the 15 January verdict in his trial, where prosecutors demanded a 10-year prison sentence. His supporters are gearing up for a protest on the day of the verdict, which Russian authorities dismissed as illegal.
Navalny has been the focus of Kremlin-instigated smear campaigns before.
- AP
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#Kanye_West doesn't like Taylor Swift

Los Angeles  - Kanye West is ''jealous'' of Taylor Swift.

The Stronger hitmaker - who infamously interrupted the 25-year-old singer's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 when she won the Best Female Video - reportedly ''loses it'' when people mention how successful she is.

A source revealed: ''There's just something about Taylor that sends Kanye into a rage. He just doesn't get why she's so successful.''
The 37-year-old rapper is believed to have ''lost it'' when he discovered her Shake It Off video had received nearly eight times more views than his Bound 2 video.

A source shared to Star magazine: ''He can't let go of a grudge, and it's never more apparent than with Taylor.

''If he hears her music or her name, he'll curse Taylor out as long as anyone will listen.''

His ''jealousy'' is reportedly only getting worse now Jay Z has refused to include Kanye in his musical plans with Taylor, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake.

A source explained: ''Kanye doesn't see things over his ego very often - if ever - and he is upset that he isn't in the club with Taylor, Jay Z, Beyoncé and JT.''

The Blank Space hitmaker's dislike of Kanye is believed to be so strong that ''Jay Z doesn't want to ruffle any feathers with her by bringing Kanye into the fold on his Mount Rushmore idea.''

However, the loss doesn't appear to be too upsetting for the 45-year-old rapper and music producer who is ''moving on''.

A source shared: ''Jay Z did his thing with Kanye and he is moving on to bigger and better things.'
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Jolie's 'Unbroken' sprints to front of Christmas Day box office

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Director Angelina Jolie's World War II drama "Unbroken" finished first at the Christmas Day box office in its debut and edged out another new film for the holiday season, modern fairy tale musical "Into The Woods," tracking firm Rentrak said on Friday.

"Unbroken," the real-life story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini's two years as a prisoner of war in Japan, brought in $15.6 million, helping Comcast Corp.'s Universal film and Jolie's second directorial effort stand out in the crowded U.S. and Canada holiday film offering.

It came in just ahead of the $15.1 million made by "Into The Woods," Walt Disney Co.'s film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical. Actresses Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep and the film itself have received Golden Globe nominations.

The last of Peter Jackson's three "Hobbit" films, "Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," from Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., tacked on another $13.1 million on Christmas Day after winning the box office in its debut last weekend.

Far down on the list, in 14th place, was "The Interview," the Seth Rogen-James Franco farce about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that sparked the devastating cyberattack on Sony Pictures. The raunchy comedy earned $1.04 million playing in 331 mostly independent theaters after the big movie chains bowed out due to threats from hackers.
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#Jackie_Chan says feels ashamed of son's drug abuse

BEIJING (Reuters) - Hong Kong kung fu movie star Jackie Chan feels ashamed of his son's drug abuse and hopes that one day he will speak out about the dangers of taking drugs, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Jaycee Chan was formally charged with a drugs offense this week, meaning he is almost certain to face trial.

The younger Chan, a 32-year-old actor and singer, was arrested in Beijing this year after testing positive for marijuana, with police saying they found 100 grams of the drug at his home.

"I hope that in the future, he could become an anti-drug spokesman and tell his experiences to young people," Jackie Chan told Xinhua, in comments released late on Wednesday.

Chan also said that he never used any of his connections to help his son out, the report added.

In August, his father offered the public a "deep bow of apology" for his son's arrest.

Action and comedy star Jackie Chan, 60, served as a goodwill spokesman for the China National Anti-Drug Committee in 2009, state media reported, promoting anti-drug education.

China has detained a string of other mostly B-list celebrities in recent months on drug-related charges, cases that have been publicized widely in both state and social media. They have included movie and television stars, film directors and a prominent screenwriter.

Drug crimes carry harsh penalties in China including death or life imprisonment in serious cases.

Illegal drugs, especially synthetic substances like methamphetamine, ketamine and ecstasy, have grown in popularity in China in tandem with the rise of a new urban class with greater disposable income.
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Former 'Saved by the Bell' actor Dustin Diamond arrested in Wisconsin

(Reuters) - Former "Saved by the Bell" actor Dustin Diamond, who played the nerdy "Screech" on the high school sitcom, has been arrested for stabbing a man with a switchblade at a bar north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, police said on Friday.

Dustin Diamond, 37, and his girlfriend were arrested shortly after they drove away from the Grand Ave Saloon in the town of Port Washington following the altercation on Thursday night, police said in a statement.

The man Diamond is suspected of stabbing at the saloon was treated for wounds that were not life threatening and he is recovering at home, according to Port Washington police.

Celebrity website TMZ showed video of a man it identified as Diamond standing next to a table soccer board while someone exclaims that he has a knife.

Police arrested Diamond for recklessly endangering safety, carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a switchblade knife, said an Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office jail clerk.

He appeared in court on Friday and his bail was set at $10,000, with his next court appearance scheduled for Dec. 29, the clerk said.

Diamond's public defender could not be reached for comment.

The former child actor's girlfriend was charged with disorderly conduct, police said.

Diamond played socially awkward but brainy student Samuel "Screech" Powers as a cast member in the sitcom "Saved by the Bell," which ran from 1989 to 1993 and was popular with children and teenagers.

Since then, he has had a number of smaller television roles and has made appearances on reality programs and game shows.

He lived in Port Washington as recently as 2009, according to an article from that year in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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Egypt bans biblical epic 'Exodus,' 20th Century Fox says

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Egypt has banned Hollywood's big screen biblical epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings," a 20th Century Fox spokesman said on Friday.

The studio owned by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc declined to give a reason for the ban, but films that depict biblical figures have been prohibited before in the Muslim country.

Paramount Pictures' Bible tale "Noah" was banned in several countries in the Middle East this year for its depiction of a prophet, which is forbidden in Islam.

The film, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale, dramatizes the Bible's Book of Exodus about Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt.

"Exodus," which has an estimated $140 million budget, has come under criticism for casting mostly white actors in the lead roles and some historical anachronisms.

Morrocco has also reportedly banned the film, which has so far grossed $107 million in two weeks in worldwide release.

The film's ban comes as Sony Pictures faced a devastating cyberattack blamed on North Korea for "The Interview," a raunchy comedy that depicts a fictional plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
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Kiev, rebels exchange POWs; trains, buses to Crimea suspended

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's government and pro-Russian separatists on Friday exchanged hundreds of prisoners of war while Kiev said it would suspend all train and bus service to Crimea, effectively creating a transportation blockade to and from the region.

The agreement to swap 150 Ukrainian servicemen for 222 rebels followed peace talks between envoys of Ukraine, Russia, the separatists and European security watchdog Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Wednesday.

Ukrainian transportation chiefs said the reason for suspending train and bus service was the need to protect passengers due to a "deteriorating" security situation on the Black Sea peninsula, annexed by Russia in March.

Crimea is controlled by Russia, but its only land link is with Ukraine and it has remained dependent on the Ukrainian mainland for most of its supplies, including much of its electricity and water. Ukraine already has banned sea and air traffic with Crimea, which is still serviced by Russian airlines.

Other road transportation including passenger cars and trucks will still be allowed to travel into and out of Crimea.

State rail company Ukrzaliznytsia said cargo trains would be suspended beginning on Friday, while passenger routes would gradually cease running over the weekend and on Monday.

PRISONER EXCHANGE

"The head of the SBU (security service) reported the release of 146 Ukrainians to the President. The SBU expects another four prisoners to be released tomorrow. They will all be able to celebrate New Year ... with their families," Svyatoslav Tsegolko, a spokesman for President Petro Poroshenko, said in a Facebook post.

Earlier, an SBU aide had said they would hand over 225 rebels for the Ukrainian servicemen.

It is not known exactly how many prisoners are held by the two sides, but Ukraine's military said this month about 600 Ukrainians were in rebel hands.

In addition, Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc, the world's two largest credit and debit card companies, said they could no longer support bank cards being used in Crimea following U.S. sanctions imposed earlier this month.

The United States last Friday prohibited U.S.-registered companies from investing in Crimea or providing services to companies operating there, among measures imposed over Russia's annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.

Russia's takeover of Crimea, an annexation Kiev does not recognize, pushed relations between Moscow and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new military doctrine, naming NATO expansion among key external risks, the Kremlin said on Friday, days after Ukraine made fresh steps to join the Atlantic military alliance.

The uprising by separatists began a month after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in March, following the popular overthrow of Ukraine's Moscow-backed president. The conflict has killed more than 4,700 people.

Kiev's pro-Western government has said Russia orchestrated the rebellion in Ukraine's east, a charge denied by Moscow.

Violence arising from Kiev's conflict with pro-Russian separatists has been confined almost exclusively to eastern regions of Ukraine and has not affected Crimea. But the Ukrainian government has repeatedly warned of a build-up of Russian forces on the peninsula.
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Syria says to discuss Russia peace plan talks, opposition rejects

BEIRUT/CAIRO (Reuters) - Syria said on Saturday it is willing to participate in "preliminary consultations" in Moscow aimed at restarting peace talks next year to end its civil war.

But members of the Western-backed Syrian opposition dismissed the Russian plan on Saturday, saying there was "no initiative."

Syrian state television quoted a source at the foreign ministry saying "Syria is ready to participate in preliminary consultations in Moscow in order to meet the aspirations of Syrians to find a way out of crisis."

Moscow, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has pushed to restart talks that collapsed in Geneva in February.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this month that he wanted Syrian opposition groups to agree among themselves on a common approach before setting up direct talks with the Damascus government.

But Lavrov did not specify which opposition groups should take part. Some opposition groups are tolerated by Damascus but shunned by the opposition in exile.

Hadi al-Bahra, head of the Turkey-based opposition National Coalition, met with Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby in Cairo on Saturday and told a news conference that "there is no initiative as rumoured".

"Russia does not have a clear initiative, and what is called for by Russia is just a meeting and dialogue in Moscow, with no specific paper or initiative," he was quoted by Egyptian state news agency MENA as saying.

Russia has long backed Assad, including with arms supplies for Syria, but he has become a more important ally for Moscow since the 2011 Arab Spring protests toppled several autocrats in the Middle East, some of whom had close ties with Moscow.
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North Korea blames U.S. for Internet outages, calls Obama a 'monkey'

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea called U.S. President Barack Obama a "monkey" as it blamed Washington Saturday for Internet outages that it has experienced amid a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of the film studio Sony Pictures.

The National Defence Commission, the North's ruling body, chaired by state leader Kim Jong Un, said Obama was responsible for Sony's belated decision to release the action comedy "The Interview", which depicts a plot to assassinate Kim.

"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," an unnamed spokesman for the commission said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, using a term seemingly designed to cause racial offence that North Korea has used before.

Sony cancelled the release of the film when large cinema chains refused to screen it following threats of violence from hackers, but then put it out on limited release after Obama said Sony was caving in to North Korean pressure.

Obama promised retaliation against North Korea, but did not specify what form it would take.

North Korea's main internet sites experienced intermittent disruptions this week, including a complete outage of nearly nine hours, before links were largely restored on Tuesday.

In the statement on Saturday, the North again rejected an accusation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation that North Korea was behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, and demanded that United States produce evidence for its accusation.

The National Defence Commission also dismissed U.S. denials of involvement in North Korea's Internet outage.

"The United States, with its large physical size and oblivious to the shame of playing hide and seek as children with runny noses would, has begun disrupting the Internet operations of the main media outlets of our republic," it said.

In a separate commentary, the North denied any role in cyberattacks on South Korea's nuclear power plant operator, calling the suggestion that it had done so part of a "smear campaign" by unpopular South Korean leaders.

A South Korean official investigating the attacks this week, which led to leaks of internal data from Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, said authorities were not ruling out North Korean involvement.

"The South Korean puppet authorities are working hard to link this case with (us) though the truth about it has not been probed," Minju Joson, the official publication of the North's cabinet, said in a commentary carried by KCNA.
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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

SpaceX to attempt rocket landing at sea


A Falcon 9 rocket is launched by Space Exploration Technologies on its fourth cargo resupply service mission to the International Space Station, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida September 21, 2014.  REUTERS/Michael Brown(Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies will attempt to land its Falcon 9 rocket on a sea platform following launch on Friday, company officials said, a vital step to prove its precision landing capabilities needed before it can gain a ground landing license.

SpaceX, as the California-based firm is known, has been working on developing technology to return its rockets intact so they can be refurbished and reflown, dramatically cutting costs.
Falcon rockets practiced ocean touchdowns in September 2013 and twice the following year, demonstrating their ability to relight engines, position nose-up and deploy landing legs. But the rockets toppled over and smashed into the sea. “Returning anything from space is a challenge, but returning a Falcon 9 first stage for a precision landing presents a number of additional hurdles,” the company said in a statement.
“At 14 stories tall and traveling upwards of 1,300 miles per second (2,092 km per second), stabilizing the Falcon 9 first stage for reentry is like trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm,” SpaceX said.
SpaceX put the odds of success at about 50 percent. “Though the probability of success ... is low, we expect to gather critical data to support future landing testing,” it said.
Launch is scheduled for 1:22 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
After separating from the capsule and the rocket’s upper-stage booster, the first stage will attempt to slow its fall back through the atmosphere by relighting its Merlin engines three times and positioning itself using steerable fins.
The landing target is a specially made floating platform that will be positioned in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 miles (322 km) northeast of Cape Canaveral.
Though the barge has thrusters for stability it will not be anchored. “Finding the bullseye becomes particularly tricky,” SpaceX said.

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Ancient DNA reveals history of horse domestication


A farmer rides his horse after finishing his day's work as the sun sets in the outskirts of Managua November 11, 2014. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas(Reuters) - Speed, smarts, and the heart of a champion: using genomic analysis, scientists have identified DNA changes that helped turn ancient horses such as those in prehistoric cave art into today's Secretariats and Black Beautys, researchers reported Monday.

NASA rover finds organic molecules, methane gas on Mars


NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drilled into this rock target, ''Cumberland,'' during the 279th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars, on May 19, 2013 and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock's interior, in this handout photo provided by NASA .  REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/HandoutReuters - NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has found carbon-containing compounds in samples drilled out of an ancient rock, the first definitive detection of organics on the surface of Earth’s neighbor planet, scientists said on Tuesday.

Songbirds fly coop long before tornadoes arrive in Tennessee


(Reuters) - You might want to be careful about who you call a birdbrain. Some of our feathered friends exhibit powers of perception that put humans to shame.

U.S, China making progress on biotech crop talks: USDA's Vilsack


(Reuters) - The United States and China are making progress in talks over Beijing's acceptance of new biotechnology for crops, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday.

Monday, 22 December 2014

SpaceX delays planned cargo run to space station to early January


A Falcon 9 rocket is launched by Space Exploration Technologies on its fourth cargo resupply service mission to the International Space Station, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in this file photo dated September 21, 2014.  Space Exploration Technologies is delaying the planned launch on Friday of an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA, to early January, officials said on Thursday. REUTERS/Michael Brown(Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies is delaying the planned launch on Friday of an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA, to early January, officials said on Thursday.

Elton John weds partner of 21 years as stars look on

Sir Elton John from ShutterstockWindsor - British pop superstar Elton John married long-time partner David Furnish in Windsor on Sunday, the ninth anniversary of their civil partnership, with David Beckham and actor Hugh Grant among the guests.

Buhari, Tinubu beg Atiku over Osinbajo's choice

(News24)Abuja - The choice of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as the vice-presidential candidate to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari is causing disquiet among top members of the party, reports NewsDay.

Back to the future: Scientists want 'rewilded' crops to boost agriculture


ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Scientists should "re-wild" food crops by inserting lost genetic properties of ancient, edible plants in order to boost agricultural output for a growing population, a new study said.

Jonathan, Buhari urged to sign undertaking

(Picture: Sapa)Lagos -  President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the Peoples Democratic Party's presidential candidate and the All Progressives

India tests its heaviest space launch vehicle, eyes global market


(Reuters) - India's space agency successfully tested on Thursday its most powerful satellite launch vehicle that can put heavier payloads into space, and, it hopes, win India a bigger slice of the $300 billion global space industry.

Disgraced Japan researcher fails to replicate 'game changing' stem cell results


Haruko Obokata, a researcher at semi-governmental research institute RIKEN, lowers her eyes during a news conference in Osaka, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 9, 2014. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo(Reuters) - A disgraced Japanese researcher has failed to replicate results hailed as a potential breakthrough in stem-cell treatment and efforts to do so will be abandoned, officials at her research institute said on Friday.

Europe recommends approval for first stem-cell therapy


(Reuters) - European regulators have recommended approval of the first medicine containing stem cells to treat a rare condition caused by burns to the eye.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

John Legend hires food trucks for Ferguson protestors

John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen (AFP Photos, Twitter)Los Angeles - John Legend and Chrissy Teigen hired food vans to feed demonstrators and the homeless in New York on Sunday.

NASA Mars rover finds key evidence for lake at landing site


Gale Crater on the planet Mars, is shown in this artist's depiction provided by NASA December 8, 2014. REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters(Reuters) - Billions of years ago, a lake once filled the 96-mile- (154-km) wide crater being explored by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity,

B’Haram: ‘100 ex-soldiers killed in N’East’

Members of Boko Haram sectThe National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Col. Micah Gaiya (retd.), on Monday said that 100 ex-servicemen had been killed in the North-East part of the country, being ravaged by the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Scientists find brain mechanism behind glucose greed


(Reuters) - British scientists have found a brain mechanism they think may drive our desire for glucose-rich food and say the discovery could one day lead to better treatments for obesity.
In experiments using rats, researchers at Imperial College London found a mechanism that appears to sense how much glucose is reaching the brain and prompts animals to seek more if it detects a shortfall. In people, the scientists said, it may play a role in driving our preference for sweet and starchy foods.

Grandfather tattoos all The Simpson characters onto his back

Michael BaxterMichael Baxter has been a big fan of the legendary show since it began in 1989 - and is making a world record attempt to coincide with its 25th anniversary

Adam Levine is the best husband and we know why!

Los Angeles - Behati Prinsloo says Adam Levine is the "best husband".

Monday, 8 December 2014

Pluto-bound spacecraft ends hibernation to start mission


An artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, currently en route to Pluto, is shown in this handout image provided by NASA/JHUAPL.  REUTERS/NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Handout(Reuters) - After nine years and a journey of 3 billion miles (4.8 billion km), NASA's New Horizons robotic probe awoke from hibernation on Saturday to begin an unprecedented mission to study the icy dwarf planet Pluto and sibling worlds in its Kuiper Belt home.

Cuba says Ebola doctor to leave Swiss hospital

Health workers in protective suits unload Dr Martin Salia, a surgeon working in Sierra Leone who had been diagnosed with Ebola, from an ambulance at the Nebraska Medical Centre in Omaha. (Sarah Hoffman, AP)Havana - A Cuban doctor infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone will soon be released from the hospital in Switzerland where he has been receiving

Sunday, 7 December 2014

2face Idibia jumps on track with Wizkid

2face Idibia and Olivia (BangShowBiz)Lagos - Singers 2face Idibia and Wizkid’s Hennessy studio session has sparked up another collaboration.

Shocking news: Electric eels exert remote control over prey


An electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters December 4, 2014. REUTERS/Kenneth Catania/Handout via Reuters(Reuters) - Electric eels, those perilous predators of South America, can unleash a potent electrical jolt to wallop their hapless prey. But this zap is not used merely to stun other fish.

Nigerian peacekeeper brought to Netherlands for Ebola care

The Hague - A Nigerian UN peacekeeper infected with Ebola in Liberia arrived Saturday for treatment in The Netherlands, Dutch authorities said.

Madonna is the new face of Versace!

Rome - Madonna, still toned at 56 and riding a wave of acclaim for a recent topless photo shoot, was named the face of Versace's spring/summer 2015 collection on Thursday.

Miley Cyrus smoked a joint on stage!

https://igcdn-photos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/10831683_1533723413551726_233367798_n.jpgLos Angeles - Miley Cyrus smoked marijuana on stage on Wednesday night.