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Health Experts Blame US Food Compan...

With major numbers of US children consuming more than 200 calories in a day, health experts point to a lack of government intervention and prodigious ...

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Thirty-One Estimated Dead in Taiwan...

According to authorities, at least 31 of the 58 passengers of a TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop were confirmed dead. About 12 were still missing and 15...

autonomys

UK SFO Closes Investigation on HP-A...

The controversial $11.1 billion HP purchase of the UK developer Autonomy has raised many eyebrows. Meanwhile, the UK Serious Fraud Office had closed i...

Lebanon-Syria-border-saidaonline

Syrian Refugees Feel The Hurt of Le...

Lebanon’s government has implemented restrictions against Syrian refugees for good reason. They are receiving moderate international support for the...

Health Experts Blame US Food Companies and Lax Governance For Obesity Spread

With major numbers of US children consuming more than 200 calories in a day, health experts point to a lack of government intervention and prodigious advertising and marketing by food companies for obesity.

According to the Lancet Medical Journal’s new estimates, children in the US consume 50% more calories than they did in 1970. They also weigh 11 more pounds than they did 30 years ago.

The US food industry earns £13 billion yearly from extra eating and uncontrolled habits by US citizens. Because of the large revenue, a lacking balance in favour of economic growth compromises health.

The research highlighted the problem of obesity and the food companies’ interest in targeting children with processed foods and sweetened drinks.

It also indicated that at a young age, children’s appetites are shaped by processed infant foods. It could also build taste preference, brand loyalty and high profits.

Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Researcher Dr. Christina Roberto said “Our understanding of obesity must be completely reframed if we are to halt and reverse the global obesity epidemic.

“On one hand, we need to acknowledge that individuals bear some responsibility for their health, and on the other hand recognise that today’s food environments exploit people’s biological (eg, innate preference for sweetened foods), psychological (eg, marketing techniques), and social and economic (eg, convenience and cost) vulnerabilities, making it easier for them to eat unhealthy foods.

“It’s time to realise that this vicious cycle of supply and demand for unhealthy foods can be broken with ‘smart food policies’ by governments alongside joint efforts from industry and civil society to create healthier food systems.”

 

Thirty-One Estimated Dead in Taiwan Airliner Crash

According to authorities, at least 31 of the 58 passengers of a TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop were confirmed dead. About 12 were still missing and 15 passengers survived the ordeal.

The aircraft wobbled over Taiwan’s buildings and descended swiftly, hitting a taxi and a bridge before it landed into the water in the Keelung River.

According to the Air Traffic Control Tower, one of the pilots had sent a frantic message “Mayday, Mayday, engine flamout.” One of the Turboprop’s engines had failed. However, authorities could not find if it were because the engine had a faulty combustion or human error.

The pilot had 4,916 hours of airtime while his co-pilot had 6,992 hours of airtime.

A motorist was able to capture the TransAsia flight GE235 skidding on its wing across the roadway before it plummeted to the river. The plane had also hit a taxi, whose passengers had survived with slight injuries.

The taxi driver said that he was very scared. He is considered the luckiest man alive, along with the passenger. According to him, he fainted the moment the aircraft’s wing hit their vehicle.

Passengers had been wearing life jackets as first responders crowded the water to search for survivors.

Peter Chen, the President of TransAtlantic, bowed before passengers and crew and apologised for the disaster.

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UK SFO Closes Investigation on HP-Autonomy Fraud

The controversial $11.1 billion HP purchase of the UK developer Autonomy has raised many eyebrows. Meanwhile, the UK Serious Fraud Office had closed its investigation, citing the lack of information available to the SFO as its reason.

According to HP, due to many “accounting misrepresentations” at Autonomy, HP has taken a $8.8 writedown of its purchase of the software company. HP had claimed that its former executives and accountants have created a “multimillion dollar fraud” at the company.

The SFO has sent jurisdiction over to US Authorities whose investigations are ongoing.

The USEC and FBI are still conducting investigations regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, a counter-document in December 2014 surfaced, with Autonomy founder Mike Lynch saying that HP has made false representations to the market” over the writedown.

The document proved that HP has not determined whether hundreds of millions of transactions were improperly booked at the time it took its huge charge on Autonomy.

HP responded: “the same fertile imagination that was behind a massive fraud is apparently still hard at work making up stories. We would encourage Mr Lynch to spend as much time as possible with the authorities.”

HP also indicated its plans to sue Lynch, Former Autonomy Chief Financial Officer Sushovan Hussain and company Auditor Deloitte for fraud. All parties have denied wrongdoing.

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Syrian Refugees Feel The Hurt of Lebanon Curbing

Lebanon’s government has implemented restrictions against Syrian refugees for good reason. They are receiving moderate international support for the refugees and their economy is suffering. The roads leading to Lebanon from Syria had become almost empty as the new restrictions were imposed.

The United Nations still wants Lebanon to explain “the most vulnerable refugees” from Syria and how they can gain access to Lebanon.

Today, there are more than a million refugees in Lebanon. A senior minister pointed out that Lebanon’s capacity is at its peak.

“We have enough. There’s no capacity anymore to host more displaced,” Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk said at a news conference on Monday.

Millions of Syrians have been displaced by the civil war as rebel forces try to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

Before the new measures, Syrian refugees could stay in Lebanon up to six months. These new measures need Syrian refugees to fulfil a criteria before they could have a visa to enter the country.

According to Lebanese Lawmaker Basem Shabb “It’s clear to most Lebanese that this situation cannot continue… because it will affect not only the Lebanese but finally it will affect the Syrian refugees in Lebanon if Lebanon descends into chaos.”

There are large numbers of Syrians already in Lebanon who are not registered as refugees. Government officials have said those already in the country would not be forcibly expelled.

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Greepeace Activists Could Face Extradition Due To Their Protests in Peru

Peruvian officials are considering extraditing Greenpeace activists for vandalising the Nazca lines in Peru. The centuries-old etching in the desert is a national historical treasure of the country.

The officials accused the activists of irresponsibility because they caused “irreparable damage” to the Nazca lines after its demonstrations and publicity stunt aimed to send a message to the UN climate talks in Lima.

Culture Vice-Minister Luis Jaime Castillo said “we will extradite them and bring them to face their penal and civil responsibility. Our heritage has been tarnished by this action. Now everyone wants to go the Nazca lines, but to see the area affected by Greenpeace’s actions.”

Peruvian authorities have identified six members of the group who participated in the Unesco World Heritage site protests last week. Proesecutors have filed charges of attacking archeological monuments, which could amount to six years imprisonment.

“Greenpeace says it wants to take responsibility but in not giving us the names so that those responsible can appear before a judge in Peru it is refusing to do that,” he said. “It’s a contradiction in terms.”

“It makes you wonder if they really are as ashamed as they say they are.”

Twenty activists entered the restricted area and left the sign “Time for Change! The Future is Renewable!” beside the giant figure of the hummingbird etched in the desert ground more than 1,000 years ago. Archaeologists said the protester’s footprints could remain on the desert ground for decades.

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UK Teachers Face More Hurdles After More Public Sector Cuts Were Announced

Chancellor George Osborne announced more restraint in public sector salaries after he laid down his plan for the UK economy. The plan gave no assurances to the protection of the Department of Education’s spending and it even laid out the plans to limit public sector pay increases.

Osborne said: “Our control of public sector pay these past four years has delivered £12 billion of savings. By continuing to restrain public sector pay we expect to deliver commensurate savings in the next Parliament until we have dealt with the deficit.”

The public education industry has suffered four years of pay freezes and one-percent salary increases since the current government took position. Teachers leaders had condemned the new plan, stating that the industry and the workforce had suffered their share.

According to General Secretary of the NASUWT, teachers had been cut 15% from their pay packets. Now teachers and other public service workers pay restraint by the end of the decade and will represent even deeper cuts to pay.

NAHT General Secretary Russell Hobby said “We are really starting to see the effect of that policy on recruitment. It’s insidious in that when people come to consider teaching, they see that teacher salaries are becoming less and less competitive and we know you can’t raise standards without attracting the best people into teaching.”
“I’m worried that the government might be preparing the ground to water down its policy of protecting education budgets.”

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Duchess Katharine Might Be Losing Her Appeal

According to writers and surveyors, Duchess of Cambridge Katharine Middleton, also known as Kate Middleton to the entire world might be losing her appeal. While the world respectfully gives her and her husband Prince William the treatment due, back here in the UK, she just seems to be some other person.

Some observers said that it is possible that the media has “moved on” from showcasing Kate. It is also possibly the “love-hate” relationship the British press and the public has with the royal family.

According to surveys, 89% of British women don’t have any interest in stepping into or becoming a Kate Middleton even for a single day. Only 6% of British men said they would date her. She comes fourth in the list after Prince Harry, the Queen and Prince William.

Feminist Commentator and Author Germaine Greer declared Kate has “a bastard job”, is “too thin” and the Duchess has been “made to go through” pregnancy again.

Women’s Wear Daily published the attitudes of the women in the US and UK questioning the validity of the “Kate Middleton Effect” and finds women are gravitating towards individuals who are showing independence instead of dependence.

It might be a falling out of love with the beautiful duchess. It might also be because the public is now focusing on realism

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Lewis Hamilton Loses Against Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi’s Grand Finals

Formula 1 Racer Nico Rosberg had defeated Lewis Hamilton in the finals of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 23 for the second world title. Now, Hamilton is at a disadvantage following the controversial double points decision of the championship’s final race.

Now, Lewis Hamilton will have to be second to Nico Rosberg to be in the same scenario.

Rosberg had recently defeated Hamilton in Brazil, reducing the gap between the two Mercedes drivers to just 17 points. The German driver was flawless in his performance and had won four races. However, Hamilton has 10 races under his belt.

He had only once defeated Hamilton in a Monaco Race where Hamilton was eventfully slowed down at the pit stop.

Despite his brilliant performances, Rosberg receives criticism. By winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Finals, he can definitely prove his critics wrong. He had been the fastest in all practice and qualifying sessions and has led the races.

Most analysts say that Rosberg is the only one who could stop Hamilton’s continuous streak. They also point to Hamilton’s spin on lap 28 where the costly error had put him behind his Mercedes teammate.

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Pentagon Admits ISIS Had Secured One Airdrop

The Pentagon verifies the authenticity of an ISIS video released by its media allies showing fighters securing a single US air drop intended for Kobane Kurdish Defenders. However, they said these are equipment the ISIS already has. According to the Pentagon, one supply drop is not enough to arm a formidable platoon.

The Pentagon said the strong winds blew off the supply drop’s intended target.

In the video, the cache contained a large number of grenades and medical supplies. Some of the equipment were rusty and new. Some of the equipment shown were rocket-propelled grenades.

The Pentagon verified that there was only one supply drop that missed its mark.

US air strikes have destroyed other caches dropped into Kobane to avoid ISIS possession.

The Islamic State had also stolen several American M1 Abrams tanks from the Iraqi army base in the Anbar Province.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, highly opposed to the US air drop, said that the move was “wrong.” He stressed the long-term Kurdish possession of the weapons, which may land to the hands of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party designated as a dangerous terrorist organisation by the US and NATO.

However, Turkey has allowed Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to enter the Turkish border to reinforce Kobane’s defence and push back ISIS from the strategic town.

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Hong Kong Government Remains Powerless Against Protests

The Hong Kong Government announced Saturday that all necessary actions will be taken to ensure protests were removed by Monday morning. However, by 6am, student demonstrators still remained in the Central district and other areas of government offices in the Admiralty areas.

Some protesters have withdrawn from the protest, but hundreds have arrived to replace them. Many of the protesters blocked entrance to the Chief Executive’s Office.

The student protesters had earlier warned of extended protests after no agreement had become fruitful for talks regarding Hong Kong’s political system. As protesters prepared to have themselves forcefully removed by police, not one arrived to make good on the Government’s promise.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government had agreed to have dialogue with the Hong Kong Federation of Students regarding constitutional reform if they call on protesters to clear the streets and lift the blockades on government facilities.

The talks were offered on Thursday, but student leaders did not acknowledge the offer because many students were violently assaulted by riot police in Mong Kok on Friday. However, Federation Secretary Andrew Chow told the crowd that they had now started preparing for dialogue with Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam.

The Hong Kong Federation of Students had also apologized to the public for the transportation inconvenience. Chow said that the protesters will be clearing access roads for government workers and other employees.

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