Ukraine’ security services have thwarted a plot to kill Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, according to Russian officials.
Two suspects were detained in the Ukrainian port of Odessa, Russia’s state-owned Channel One TV reports.
The two men were both shown on TV admitting their involvement in the plot, after an explosion at a flat in January in which one suspect died.
The attack was to happen after next Sunday’s presidential vote.
Vladimir Putin is expected to win the election and get a third term as president.
The two men were both shown on Russian TV, one being interrogated and the other giving an interview.
Ukraine’ security services have thwarted a plot to kill Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
In the footage, both admit plotting to attack Vladimir Putin. One, identified by Ria Novosti as Ilya Pyanzin, said he had been hired by Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov to carry out the killing and also by Ruslan Madayev, the suspect who died in the Odessa explosion.
The other suspect was named by Channel One as Adam Osmayev, said to have been on an international wanted list since 2007.
The plotters were planning to plant mines on Kutuzovsky Avenue in Moscow, used by Vladimir Putin on a daily basis, the report said.
The Russian prime minister’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed the report, without making any further comment.
Russian media report that Dmitry Pyanzin was arrested in the Odessa flat where the explosion happened. He told police that he and Madayev had flown to Ukraine from the United Arab Emirates via Turkey, with precise instructions from representatives of Doku Umarov.
According to the reports, details of the plot were found on laptops in the flat, along with a video showing Vladimir Putin’s motorcade.
Adam Osmayev was reported to be the local fixer in Odessa and the instructor for the plotters, and had lived for a long time in London.
The silent black and white French film The Artist is the clear favorite to take the coveted best picture prize as the final countdown to the 2012 Oscars has begun.
The Artist has won most of the major pre-Oscar honors during awards season.
The film has 10 nominations in total, while Martin Scorsese’s 3D family film Hugo leads the race with 11, including best film and director.
The 84th Academy Awards takes place on Sunday and will be hosted by Billy Crystal.
Billy Crystal is back for his ninth stint as host, with Oscar-watchers predicting lots of silent film gags and jibes about the recent legal wrangle over the Kodak-branded theatre where the Oscars is held.
Billy Crystal himself is giving nothing away, but tweeted this week: “First rehearsal: They said keep it <<fresh and new>>. This from an industry that just brought us Fast & Furious 5 and Harry Potter 7, part 2.”
The final round of voting by the Academy’s 5,783 members ended on Tuesday. Outside the venue, a section of Hollywood Boulevard has been sealed off and the red carpet is in place.
Industry newspaper The Hollywood Reporter says The Artist’s predicted win for best picture follows its victory in the two strongest “Oscar bellwethers”, the Producers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America awards.
“This French-financed, Hollywood-shot, Harvey Weinstein-distributed love letter to the movies has gone on to seduce Hollywood since being unveiled at Cannes in May.
“It is now poised to become the first silent film in 83 years and the first black-and-white film in 18 years to win the top Oscar.”
The silent black and white French film The Artist is the clear favorite to take the coveted best picture prize at Oscars 2012
A change in the Academy voting rules means that there are nine films in the best picture race this year.
Alongside The Artist and Hugo, those in the running include War Horse, Moneyball, The Tree Of Life, Midnight In Paris, The Help, The Descendants, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
George Clooney and Brad Pitt are both up for best actor, and Meryl Streep has her 17th Oscar nomination for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
Meryl Streep has won two Oscars – best supporting actress for 1979’s Kramer vs Kramer and best actress for 1982’s Sophie’s Choice – but has been overlooked on her last 12 attempts.
Oscar pundits predict a close race between Meryl Streep and Viola Davies, for her performance as maid Aibileen Clark in civil rights drama The Help.
In the supporting actress category, The Help’s Octavia Spencer is the frontrunner, ahead of fellow cast member Jessica Chastain, and Melissa McCarthy and Britain’s Janet McTeer – for Bridesmaids and Albert Nobbs respectively.
Unusually, this year’s race for best supporting actor boasts two octogenarians: Christopher Plummer for Beginners and Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Both are 82, and if either win they would become the oldest recipient of an acting award. The record is currently held by Jessica Tandy, who won for Driving Miss Daisy, aged 80.
Christopher Plummer is widely predicted to take the statuette for his role as an elderly father who comes out as gay after his wife dies.
The others in the category are Nick Nolte, for Warrior; Kenneth Branagh, for My Week with Marilyn; and 28-year-old Jonah Hill, for Moneyball.
Things are less clear-cut in the race for best actor.
Hollywood heart-throbs George Clooney and Brad Pitt face a stiff challenge from The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, who beat them – and British star Gary Oldman – at the BAFTAs earlier this month.
It’s Oldman’s first Oscar nomination, which recognizes his quietly powerful performance as mole-catcher George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
The outsider in this category is Mexican actor Demian Bichir for his role as a Los Angeles gardener, struggling to keep his son out of gang culture, in A Better Life.
Earlier this week, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Academy demographic is much less diverse than the movie-going public.
Oscar voters, it said, are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male. They have a median age of 62, and under 50’s constitute just 14% of the membership. All of which, puts The Artist in pole position.
Mike Goodridge, editor of Screen International, said: “You’re looking at a group that are going to vote for The King’s Speech over The Social Network, for The Hurt Locker over Avatar, and this year it’s going to go for this portrait of days gone by.”
Sea otters have had to survive famine, disease, and clashes with boats, but shark attacks may be to blame for the significant decline in the cute creature populations around the California coast.
Scientists are mystified at the recent number – up to 30% of dead otters found along the coast have shark bites, up from ten per cent in the mid-1990s.
Mercury News reports that in 2011, 70 sea otters washed up on shore, showing tell-tale signs of a shark attack.
Some otter carcases even had shark teeth embedded in their skin.
Tim Tinker, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological survey told the website that one popular theory is that sharks are mistaking otters as sea lions and elephant seals – their primary prey.
Those creatures, he said, have increased in population over the last decade and have moved to other locations.
Great whites have never been seen eating a whole otter for food, Mercury News reported, nor have they been known to actively hunt otters.
In 2011, a study revealed that there were about 219 great white sharks off the coast of California, fewer than originally thought.
According to experts, shark attacks may be to blame for the significant decline in sea otter populations around the California coast
Stanford University marine biology professor Barbara Block told the News that other sharks such as sevengills and makos could be the culprits of the attacks.
Barbara Block added: “It could be just a few individuals, or a few species.
“We need to keep in mind it’s a wild place out here.”
Another theory why sea otter populations are dwindling is that sharks are attacking female otters, who usually produce eight or more pups in a litter.
Without new generations of otters, the species will continue to struggle.
Tim Tinker said that there is nothing to be done about the supposed shark attacks, calling the trend, calling the shark’s behavior “natural”.
Sea otters are the heaviest members of the weasel family, weighing between 35 to 100 lbs. However, they are the second smallest marine mammal. Its coat is the densest in the animal kingdom and allows them to stay warm despite frigid water temperatures. They live on a diet of mussels, clams, crabs, and urchins. In recent years, fur trade and oil spills have whittled away otter populations.
The 18th edition of SAG Awards was held at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium on Sunday evening, January 29. Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Actor statuette honored the prime-time television performances and the exceptional motion pictures of 2011.
The SAG Awards was transmitted live on TBS and TNT. Berenice Bejo, Brad Pitt, Bryan Cranston, Don Cheadle, George Clooney and Viola Davis were among the presenters. About 100,000 members of Screen Actors Guild were able to vote for the nominees.
Mary Tyler Moore received the lifetime achievement award at SAG awards 2012.
Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie in The Dick van Dyke Show. She won the prize for life time achievement at SAG Awards 2012.
Dick Van Dyke, her co-star on the sit-com “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, introduced her to the public.
In 1955, when she had 18, there were six Mary Moores in the Screen Actors Guild, thus she had to change her name, she recalled. Tyler is the middle name she shares with her father, George.
“I was Mary Tyler Moore. I spoke it out loud. Mary Tyler Moore. It sounded right so I wrote it down on the form, and it looked right. It was right. SAG was happy, my father was happy, and tonight, after having the privilege of working in this business among the most creative and talented people imaginable, I too am happy, after all,” she said.
Moore, 75, is especially known for “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961–66) and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970–77).
Jean Dujardin surpassed George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio and won the prize for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role. In “The Artist” he plays the role of a silent-film star which career starts to move to an end when the talkies arrive.
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer (“The Help“) won prizes in the leading and supporting actress categories at SAG Awards 2012.
They play the roles of two black maids. In the 1960s Mississippi they have the courage to go public about the bigotry. “The Help,” also won outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture.
“I just have to say that the stain of racism and sexism is not just for people of color or women. It’s all of our burden, all of us,” Viola Davis said.
Christopher Plummer won supporting-actor prize for his part in “Beginners“. He plays the role of an old widower who comes out as gay. He is also nominated for an Oscar and won at the Golden Globes. The 82-year-old artist could be the oldest actor to receive an Academy Award. Jessica Tandy was 80 when she won best actress for “Driving Miss Daisy.”
“Modern Family” received the outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series award; Alec Baldwin won best actor for “30 Rock“.
Betty White won best actress at SAG awards 2012 for her Elka Ostrovsky part in “Hot in Cleveland.”
“You can’t name me, without naming those other wonderful women on `Hot in Cleveland. This nomination belongs to four of us. Please, please know that I’m dealing them right in with this. I’m not going to let them keep this, but I’ll let them see it,” she said.
Betty Marion White Ludden turned 90 on January 17. She is known for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls“.
“Game of Thrones” won the outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble award in a television series, outgoing “Dexter“,” Spartacus: Gods of the Arena”,” Southland“, and “True Blood”.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” took the prize in the category of outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture.
Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was created in 1933 to protect the actors in Hollywood from beeing exploited.
It represents over 200,000 film and television principal performers and background performers worldwide. The Screen Actors Guild is associated with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America (AAAA) and is affiliated with the International Federation of Actors.
In 1995, the guild has started Screen Actors Guild Awards, this gala is perceived as an indicator of success at the Academy Awards.
Who wins one of the SAG awards has a good chance to win Oscars, too. Actors who received acting awards at SAG 2011, won Oscars later: Christian Bale and Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”), Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”), Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”).
Mary Tyler Moore, SAG Awards 2012 winner, in “The Dick van Dyke Show” (video):
Researchers from Austin, Texas, have “cloaked” a 3-D object, making it invisible from all angles, for the first time.
However, the demonstration works only for waves in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The demonstration uses a shell of what are known as plasmonic materials; they present a “photo negative” of the object being cloaked, effectively cancelling it out.
The idea, outlined in New Journal of Physics, could find first application in high-resolution microscopes.
Most of the high-profile invisibility cloaking efforts have focused on the engineering of “metamaterials” – modifying materials to have properties that cannot be found in nature.
The modifications allow metamaterials to guide and channel light in unusual ways – specifically, to make the light rays arrive as if they had not passed over or been reflected by a cloaked object.
3-D object cloaking demonstration works only for waves in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum
Previous efforts that have made three-dimensional objects disappear have relied upon a “carpet cloak” idea, in which the object to be cloaked is overlaid with a “carpet” of metamaterial that bends light so as to make the object invisible.
Andrea Alu and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin have pulled off the trick in “free space”, making an 18 cm-long cylinder invisible to incoming microwave light.
Light of all types can be described in terms of electric and magnetic fields, and what gives an object its appearance is the way its constituent atoms absorb, transmit or reflect those fields.
Prior metamaterial approaches sidestep these effects simply by channeling light around an object, using carefully designed structures that bounce light in prescribed way, like a pinball machine.
By contrast, plasmonic materials can be designed to have effects on the fields that are precisely opposed to those of the object.
“What we do is different; we realize a shell that scatters [light] by itself, but the interesting point is that if you combine the shell with the object inside, the two counter out and the object becomes completely invisible,” said Prof. Andrea Alu.
The plasmonic material shell is, in essence, a photo-negative of the object being cloaked.
As a result, the cloak has to be tailored to work for a given object. If one were to swap different objects within the same cloak, they would not be as effectively hidden.
But the success with the cylinder suggests further work with different wavelengths of light is worth pursuing: “It’s a real object standing in our lab, and it basically disappears,” said Prof. Andrea Alu said.
However, the idea is unlikely to work at the visible light part of the spectrum.
Prof. Andrea Alu explained that the approach could be applied to the tips of scanning microscopes – the most high-resolution microscopes science has – to yield an improved view of even smaller wavelengths of light.
Ortwin Hess, professor of metamaterials at Imperial College London, said the work was a “very nice verification that this approach works”.
“There are some limits on where these things can be applied, but nevertheless it’s really, really interesting and fundamental indeed,” he said.
Prof. Ortwin Hess explained that for future applications, plasmonic materials could be combined with the structured metamaterials idea already in development elsewhere. Light can be channelled where it needs to go, or its effects undone, as need be.
Cloaking in visible light, hiding more complex shapes and materials – that is, a cloak of Harry Potter qualities – remains distant, but Prof. Andrea Alu pointed out that the steps in the meantime will be put to use.
“There is still a lot of work to do,” he said.
“Our goal was just to show this plasmonic technique can reduce scattering from an object in free space.
“But if I had to bet in five years what kind of cloaking technique might be used for applications, for practical purposes, then I would say plasmonic cloaking is a good bet.”
Scientists who created a mutant bird flu, a potentially more deadly strain, have temporarily stopped their research amid fears of bioterrorism.
In a letter published in Science and Nature, the scientists call for an “international forum” to debate the risks and value of the studies.
US authorities last month asked the authors of the research to redact key details in forthcoming publications.
A government advisory panel suggested the data could be used by terrorists.
Biosecurity experts fear a mutant form of the virus could spark a pandemic deadlier than the 1918-19 Spanish flu outbreak that killed up to 40 million people.
The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) recommended key details to be omitted from publication of the research, which sparked international furor.
“I would have preferred if this hadn’t caused so much controversy, but it has happened and we can’t change that,” Ron Fouchier, a researcher from Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, told Science Insider.
“So I think it’s the right step to make.”
While bird flu is deadly, its reach has been limited because it is not transmissible between humans.
However, the H5N1 flu virus was altered to be passed easily between ferrets, during the joint research by Erasmus University in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.
Two scientific journals want to publish the research – albeit in redacted form – and are trying to work out with the US government how to make the data accessible to “responsible scientists”.
H5N1 flu virus was altered to be passed easily between ferrets, during the joint research by Erasmus University in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US
The World Health Organization said in a December statement that limiting access to the research would harm an agreement between its members.
The NSABB is made up of scientists and public health experts, 23 from outside the government, and 18 from within.
It cannot stop publication but makes recommendations to researchers.
The scientists’ letter published on Friday argues that knowledge of more infectious strains before they mutate in nature is valuable for public health.
“More research is needed to determine how influenza viruses in nature become human pandemic threats,” the statement says, “so that they can be contained before they acquire the ability to transmit from human to human, or so that appropriate countermeasures can be deployed if adaptation to humans occurs.”
But some said the pause on research was not enough.
One critic of the studies, Richard Ebright, a biologist at Rutgers University, told Science Insider that the letter “includes flatly false statements” making assurances about the safety of H1N1 research labs.
Reports say that a meeting debating the research and steps forward could come during a World Health Organization meeting in February.
An unclaimed $16.5 million winning lottery ticket from December 2010 has just hours to lose the payday.
If the $16.5 million Iowa Lottery ticket is forfeited it will be the second time this week that someone lost out on a million dollar payout.
On Monday, a $77 million lottery ticket went unclaimed in Georgia.
With each passing day, the Iowa Lottery receives more and more inquiries from those who wonder if they may have made the jackpot-winning purchase in Des Moines.
So far, no one has presented the winning ticket which is a requirement for claiming the prize.
The prize is so huge Iowa Lottery security investigators have even worked to identify the jackpot winner by tracking similar ticket purchase patterns.
Lottery CEO Terry Rich said: “It is sad to see this huge prize continue to sit there without being claimed. Someone legitimately won this money and we want them to take it home.
“But you must present the winning ticket to the lottery in order to claim the prize.”
“This has been an unusual story all the way around,” Terry Rich added.
“But we’re hoping that our reminders will cause someone to double-check their ticket and realize they’re the big winner before time runs out.”
Terry Rich said that the lottery does not release a ticket’s date or time of sale for security reasons.
“Some information is kept as our way to double-check that the winner is legitimate,” he said.
Iowa lottery has provided some key information that might jar a winner’s memory.
The Hot Lotto jackpot-winning ticket was purchased at Quik Trip, 4801 N.E. 14th St. in Des Moines. The lucky ticket matched all six numbers selected in the Hot Lotto drawing on December 29, 2010, to win the grand prize.
The winning numbers that night were 3-12-16-26-33 and Hot Ball 11.
Hot Lotto tickets in Iowa expire a year from the date of the drawing in which a prize is won, so the jackpot prize will expire at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday if it isn’t claimed by then.
In Iowa, the money from unclaimed prizes goes into the lottery’s prize pools for future games.
Iowa would get back about $1.3 million if this prize were to go unclaimed.
Giuliana Rancic has decided to return to work just two weeks after undergoing a double mastectomy.
Giuliana Rancic, 37, looked radiant as she got back to her hosting duties on E! News last evening.
Before presenting the entertainment news, including stories about Matthew McConaughey engagement to Camilla Alves and Katy Perry and Russell Brand being separated on Christmas Day, Giuliana Rancic expressed her thanks to her many supportive fans.
“It is so good to be back two weeks after my surgery,” Giuliana Rancic said.
“Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers. It means the world to me. Thank you so much.”
Giuliana Rancic has decided to return to work just two weeks after undergoing a double mastectomy
Ahead of her appearance, Giuliana Rancic tweeted her excitement about getting back in front of the camera.
“Back at work today since surgery,” the TV host wrote on the social networking site.
“Excited to be on set of @ENews. I’ve missed my 2nd family (co-workers and you guys!!!) #thankful.”
“Even though I moved a tad slower than usual today, everyone welcomed me back with open arms and it was a wonderful homecoming,” Giuliana Rancic added on the E! website.
Giuliana Rancic revealed that it was touch and go as to whether she would be well enough to go back to work today.
“It feels great to be back at work,” she said.
“I wasn’t sure whether I was going to return to E! News this week or after the new year. The last thing I wanted to do was rush my recovery.
“Thankfully, I’ve been feeling better every single day since surgery and this weekend my doctors gave me the green light to get back to work.”
After the program, Giuliana Rancic also appeared on a special edition of Fashion Police.
Joining Joan Rivers, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos on the couch to critiques this year’s fashion hits and misses, she looked great in a black lace shirt, black miniskirt and matching over-the-knee boots.
Earlier this month, Giuliana Rancic told People magazine that she would also be working on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
Meanwhile, she recently sent out a heartfelt thank you to her husband Bill Rancic on Twitter.
“Dedicating this #FF to @BillRancic for taking such wonderful care of me this past week!!! Love you baby:)” Giuliana Rancic wrote in the endearing post.
She ended the touching sentiment with the hashtag “#HotMaleNurse”.
Bill Rancic, 40, hasn’t left his wife’s side since she first announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in mid-October.
As she underwent a lumpectomy, followed by radiation, Bill Rancic was at Giuliana’s hospital bedside and continued to take care of her when she returned home.
The American entrepreneur has also been nursing his wife back to health after she underwent her recent successful double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
Giuliana Rancic was released from hospital to recover at home a few days after the procedure.
“I’m feeling good and I’m happy to be back home,” she told E! News at the time.
“It’s been tough, but I’m trying to stay strong and manage the pain.
“I have a new found respect for women who have been through breast cancer and this surgery.”
Giuliana Rancic decided to undergo the four-hour procedure, after learning that she still had breast cancer following her treatment in October.
Before the surgery, Giuliana Rancic admitted that while she was putting on a brave face, she was fearful.
“[I’m scared] just of the unknown,” the TV star told Us Weekly.
“I’ve never been through anything like this. I’m scared of waking up and the pain.
“I do hear it’s a painful recovery, so I worry about that.”
Explaining her choice to undergo the surgery before Christmas, Giuliana Rancic said: “It’s a great time to do it. I’ll be recovering during the holidays.
“It’s kind of quiet, and my family – and of course [my husband] Bill will be with me, so it’s great.”
Giuliana Rancic said her husband has been assuring her every step of the way, and told her he doesn’t care what her breasts look like following the surgery.
“He looked at me and said: <<I want you to know that I could not care less about the physical aspect of this. I need you here to be my wife, and I need you here to be the mother of my children one day>>.”
In an interview with Wendy Williams, Giuliana Rancic said it was important that the couple remain lighthearted about the mastectomy.
“They might come out looking even hotter,” she laughed.
“You gotta have fun with this. We find the humor in everything. Bill helped pick ’em out. I’m like, Bill, that big? Really?”
Bill Rancic said this month that with less then 1% chance of the disease returning following the operation, they “wanted to bring in 2012 [and] not look back”.
“There’s something really symbolic about starting out the new year like this,” Bill Rancic said.
“I always tell Giuliana, once the clock strikes midnight, we’re taking the rear view mirror off the car and we’re not looking back because we’re going to be done.
“No looking over her shoulder, no worries. We can start living life.”
A strange metal sphere that looks like a prop from a science fiction film fell to the ground in a remote area of northern Namibia, Africa, and nobody can explain where it came from.
The metallic sphere weighs around 13 lbs, has a diameter of 14 inches and its rough surface looks like “two halves welded together”, said police forensics director Paul Ludik.
When the ball came down it caused a crater 12 inches deep and 13 ft wide, although it was found some 60f t away.
Locals claimed to have heard several explosions in the days before it was discovered by a farmer on his land.
The metallic sphere weighs around 13 lbs, has a diameter of 14 inches and its rough surface looks like “two halves welded together”
The find sparked speculation on the internet that it could finally be proof of extra terrestrial life, even though it bore a passing resemblance to the head of a character from the children’s series Teletubbies.
Some claimed that it could be an escaped particle from the Large Hadron Collider, reindeer droppings or a Quaffle from the Harry Potter films.
Others – arguably with more accuracy – guessed it was a hydrazine tank, which are used on space satellites to store the flammable chemical.
Paul Ludik however was quick to point out that more tests need to be done and that NASA and the European Space Agency had been notified.
He said that the ball was discovered a month ago but it has only now been made public. Whilst it was made of a “sophisticated material”, it was something that was known to mankind.
Paul Ludik explained that the explosion heard by locals could have been the sonic boom when it broke the sound barrier coming down to Earth, or by the impact on the ground.
The compound appeared to be a “metallic compound normally used in space vehicles”, although he would not be surprised it it was actually from a normal aircraft.
Police deputy inspector general Vilho Hifindaka added that the sphere, which landed 480 miles from the Namibian capital Windhoek, did not pose any danger.
Vilho Hifindaka said: “It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first”.
Earlier this year Britain and the rest of the world was put on alert when one of NASA’s satellites broke up and crashed to Earth.
Huge chunks of titanium up to 350lbs from car-sized Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite tore through the atmosphere at 1,800 mph but the best NASA could guess was that they landed somewhere south of Inverness on the equator.
To try and reassure the public it also revealed that the odds of being hit were one in 3,200 – more likely than getting a hole-in-one in golf.
Weeks later Germany’s Roentgen satellite crashed to Earth and split up into 30 huge chunks including one which weighed 880 lbs.
NASA space telescope has detected Kepler-20f, a rocky planet the same size as the Earth orbiting a star like our sun.
This is the first time a planet of this size has been detected in another solar system. Scientists have hailed the technical achievement of detecting Earth sized “exoplanets” – the technical term for planets outside the solar system – as it increases the chances of finding life-bearing worlds.
Although Kepler-20f could have a thick water-vapor atmosphere, its surface is believed to be too hot for life.
A second planet in the same system, Kepler-20e, is only slightly smaller than Earth and even hotter.
Both worlds circle their parent star closely with “years” that last just nine and sixteen days respectively.
Dr. Francois Fressin, one of the astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, US, said: “It is the first time humanity has been able to discover an object similar to the Earth around a star, so maybe we will be able to find others.
“This could be an important milestone. I think 10 years or maybe even 100 years from now people will look back and ask when was the first Earth-sized planet found. It is very exciting.”
The parent star, Kepler-20, is not exactly a close neighbor, being 945 light years away.
Neither lies within the “habitable zone” where temperatures are just warm enough to allow liquid surface water, increasing the prospects for life.
A number of extra solar planets have already been identified with radiuses of 1.5 to twice that of the Earth.
But Dr. Francois Fressin pointed out that even these have far more volume than the Earth and it would be wrong to consider them truly “Earth-like”.
Earlier this month the telescope discovered Kepler-22b, a planet 2.4 times the size of the Earth situated in the middle of its habitable zone. But scientists say that Kepler 22-b may not be suitable for life.
“You could fit 13 Earths inside Kepler-22b,” said Dr. Francois Fressin.
“The most likely thing is that it’s simply a mini-Neptune, not suitable for life. Just because a planet lies within the habitable zone that doesn’t mean it is habitable.”
Like Kepler-22b, the two new planets were found by the American space agency NASA’s Kepler space telescope – which scans distant stars for the signs of “transits”, planets passing in front of them.
The findings are reported Wednesday in an early online edition of the journal Nature.
Both planets are part of a solar system family already known to contain three larger worlds.
Kepler-20f has a radius just 1.03 times larger than Earth’s, while Kepler-20e is 0.87 the size of the Earth.
The astronomers spent years making sure the signals they detected really were from planets.
“We simulated all possible alternative configurations and tried to quantify the probability that a false signal could occur,” said Dr. Francois Fressin.
“We confirmed that the signals were coming from an Earth-size planet. It couldn’t be due to anything else.”
Both planets are believed to be rocky, with a composition of iron and silicate, and very hot.
Kepler-20f is a baking 426 C and Kepler-20e a scorching 726 C.
The solar system is not hugely like our own, though. In our solar system small, rocky worlds orbit close to the Sun and large, gas giant worlds orbit farther out. In contrast, the planets of Kepler-20 are organized in alternating size: big, little, big, little, big.
“We were surprised to find this system of flip-flopping planets,” said co-author David Charbonneau of the CfA.
The planets of Kepler-20 could not have formed in their current locations. Instead, they must have formed farther from their star and then migrated inward, probably through interactions with the disk of material from which all the planets orbiting the star formed from.
Kepler identifies “objects of interest” by looking for stars that dim slightly, which can occur when a planet crosses the star’s face.
To confirm a transiting planet, astronomers look for the star to wobble as it is gravitationally tugged by its orbiting companion.
Dutch researchers who developed a deadly strain of bird flu to help create vaccines have been told their research is a terrorist threat.
Scientists have for the first time been able to mutate the H5N1 strain of avian influenza so that it can be transmitted easily through the air.
Previously it was thought that H5N1 bird flu could only be transmitted between humans if they came into very close physical contact.
The research team of the Erasmus Medical in Rotterdam was hoping their work would help with the development of drugs and vaccines to counter mutations of the disease.
However, the groundbreaking investigation may never see the light of day amid fears that it could be used to develop a biological weapon.
Last month it was reported that there were fears the modified strain of the H5N1 virus is more dangerous than anthrax.
At the time, virologist Ron Fouchier admitted the strain is “one of the most dangerous viruses you can make”, but is still adamant he wants to publish a paper describing how it was done.
Last month it was reported that there were fears the modified strain of the H5N1 virus is more dangerous than anthrax
The findings had been due to be published in the American journal Science, but the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity is now reviewing the paper to assess whether it should be blocked from publication.
One senior scientific advisor to the U.S. Government was last night quoted as saying: “The fear is that if you create something this deadly and it goes into a global pandemic the mortality and cost to the world could be massive. The worst-case scenario here is worse than anything you can imagine.”
The mutated virus is being stored under lock and key in a basement building at the centre in Rotterdam, but is without armed guards.
Dr. Ron Fouchier, who led the study, said that by experimenting on ferrets, whose immune system is very similar to humans, it is possible to create a highly-infectious strain through just a few mutations.
The decision on whether the findings should be published has divided academics as well as security specialists.
Thomas Inglesby, of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, told the New Scientist: “The benefits of publishing this work do not outweigh the dangers of showing other how to replicate it.”
Some critics have said that the research should never have been carried out because there is a risk that the dangerous form of flu could escape from the laboratory.
But Dr. Ron Fouchier defended the experiment, saying: “We know which mutation to watch for in the case of an outbreak and we can then stop the outbreak before it is too late. Furthermore, the finding will help in the timely development of vaccinations and medication.”
A second team of independent researchers at the universities of Wisconsin and Tokyo have carried out a similar study and are thought to have found similar results, which show how easy it is to create a more contagious strain.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu is fatal in 60% of human cases, but its spread has been limited because it is not passed between humans easily.
It has led to the deaths of millions of birds, but has only killed around 300 people since 2003.
There are more than a dozen strains of bird flu in the wild. The most virulent are H5 and H7, while the H5N1 subtype is the deadliest.
Scientists have previously warned that H5N1 could mutate into a new, deadly form of human flu.
Paul Keim, chairman of NSABB, said: “I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one. I don’t think anthrax is scary at all compared to this.”
Traditionally scientific research has always been open so that fellow scientists can review the work of others and repeat their methods to try and learn from them.
But numerous scientists have said they believe research on the avian flu should be suppressed.
However bio-defense and flu expert Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the work carried out was medically important.
He added he could not discuss the papers because he was a member of NSABB but said if they were published certain information could be withheld and made available to those who really need to know.
“We don’t want to give bad guys a road map on how to make bad bugs really bad,” Michael Osterholm said.
Google reveals its annual zeitgeist – the people, places and things that are clicking the most with UK internet users in 2011.
Top of the most-searched celebrities is US reality star Kim Kardashian, whose profile was boosted further this year after marrying and then divorcing basketball player Kris Humphries in just three months.
Next behind her was Victoria Beckham, who gave birth to her and husband David’s first daughter, Harper Seven, in July, followed by Harry Potter actress Emma Watson in third.
Amy Winehouse, who died earlier this year in tragic circumstances, comes in fifth.
Ricky Gervais, undoubtedly buoyed by his notorious appearance as MC for the Golden Globes, was the only male to make into the top ten.
Google also revealed the year’s fastest-rising searches which was topped by a country mile by the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, who also featured in the top ten fasting-rising people section.
Another American reality TV star, the late Ryan Dunn of Jackass fame, was the fastest-rising person ahead of singer Adele, while Breaking Dawn leads the fastest-rising movies list.
X Factor hit number 1 in the TV shows chart.
1. Kim Kardashian
2. Victoria Beckham
3. Emma Watson
4. Scarlett Johansson
5. Jennifer Aniston
6. Britney Spears
7. Megan Fox
8. Ricky Gervais
9. Jessica Jane
10. Angelina Jolie
1. Royal wedding
2. iPhone 5
3. Fifa 12
5. iPad 2
6. Ryan Dunn
9. Rebecca Black
10. Ed Sheeran
1. Ryan Dunn
3. Rebecca Black
4. Ed Sheeran
5. Amy Winehouse
6. Charlie Sheen
7. Steve Jobs
8. Kate Middleton
9. Nicki Minaj
10. Darren Criss
TV SHOWS (FASTEST-RISING)
1. X Factor 2011
2. Apprentice 2011
3. X Factor USA
4. NCIS season 9
5. House season 8
6. Glee season 3
7. Thundercats 2011
8. Big Brother 13
9. Supernatural season 7
10. Smallville season 10
There is also a list of the most popular “what is…” searches, in which AV – the Alternative Vote – clearly baffled electors the most. This was followed, bizarrely, by scampi, piles and truffles.
Also revealed are the fastest rising travel destinations, sports terms, news, food and drink, music and top TV searches.
The Google zeitgeist list – meaning spirit of the times – is compiled from the searches through Google each year. Individual searchers are not identified.
One of the challenges of the U.S. government during nuclear weapons testing in the early 50’s was to design a camera capable of capturing a nuclear device mid-explosion.
The result, unearthed this week by blog Damn Interesting, was the “Rapatronic” camera – an ultra-high-speed camera that sat seven miles from the blast site and captured images at high speed – including the image of an 100-ft ball of fire, one ten-millionth of a second after detonation.
The images were taken during the Tumbler-Snapper nuclear tests in 1952.
The “Rapatronic” camera - an ultra-high-speed camera that sat seven miles from the blast site and captured images at high speed - including this image of an 100-ft ball of fire, one ten-millionth of a second after detonation
Damn Interesting wrote: “These single-use cameras were able to snap a photo one ten-millionth of a second after detonation from about seven miles away, with an exposure time of as little as ten nanoseconds.”
“At that instant, a typical fireball had already reached about 100 feet in diameter, with temperatures three times hotter than the surface of the sun.”
No technology at the time was available to wind the cameras on fast enough to take a second photo – so the military typically used arrays of ten cameras aimed at the same bomb.
No shutter could move fast enough, either, so the camera specialist who designed the Rapatronic camera used an array of polarized lenses combined with an electrical element to “shut” the camera shutter in one ten-millionth of a second.
The designer, Harold Eugene Edgerton, a MIT photography specialist, is also credited with popularizing strobe lighting.
Three wealthy bankers from Connecticut, who came forward to claim a $254 million record Powerball jackpot are facing claims that they were not in fact the real winners.
An anonymous man – one of the bankers clients – is said to have actually purchased the ticket but came to Tim Davidson, Brandon Lacoff and Greg Skidmore to avoid the “hassle” of his name becoming public.
They then allegedly set up a trust “as a front” so that Tim Davidson, Brandon Lacoff and Greg Skidmore could be the public face of the win.
In a further twist, it was also claimed that rather than donate a large proportion of the money to charity, the winner has requested that the majority just be invested for his personal gain.
The explosive claims blow apart the fairytale story that Tim Davidson bought the ticket at a gas station in Greenwich Connecticut for $1.
It would also explain the bankers’ sheepish performance at a press conference to collect their “jackpot”, during which they refused to discuss their relationship with each other.
It had been suggested that Tim Davidson bought his ticket on November 1 and the following day they realized their numbers had come up, beating odds of 195,249,054 to one.
The jackpot was the largest ever won in Connecticut and the 12th biggest in Powerball history.
The jackpot was the largest ever won in Connecticut and the 12th biggest in Powerball history
It means the three bankers will take the after-tax lump sum of nearly $104 million in cash between them.
Now, according to a family friend who has known Brandon Lacoff since he was a boy, the truth behind what happened is very different.
Tom Gladstone said that a client at investment company Belpointe LLC, which was founded by Brandon Lacoff and provides investment advice, much of it to wealthy individuals, was the real winner.
He, Tim Davidson and Greg Skidmore then set up the Putnam Avenue Family Trust which will allow the man to keep out of the spotlight.
Tom Gladstone, a real estate agent who rents Brandon Lacoff the Belpointe office space, said: “The person who really won it is anonymous.
“They set up the trust so that Brandon and his two partners could claim they won it and that the real winner wouldn’t get hassled.
“They have said they are going to give it to charity but they are going to manage the money. They are going to make a donation but they keeping a large proportion of the money and they are going to manage it.
“The winner is a client of theirs and their clients are a mixture of larger and smaller investors. By Wall Street standards they are not big players.
“They set up the trust as a front to ensure their client anonymity. It clearly took them some time to work it out as they won on November 1, realized the next day and have only now come forward.
“I saw Brandon last Friday and he didn’t say a word to me. They are smart, rich Greenwich men.”
Tom Gladstone added that he had known Brandon Lacoff’s father Marty, an anti-trust lawyer, for 30 years and that the family were “hard working people”.
He said: “Brandon is a good kid, I don’t know how else to describe him. Obviously the client is putting their faith in him to look after this very substantial amount.”
According to the story which has been told so far, Tim Davidson bought the $1 quick pick ticket for the November 2 drawing at the Shippan Point BP gas station in Stamford. It was the only ticket he bought.
During the press conference Tim Davidson and his two colleagues sat stoically at a conference table sipping bottled water as Jason Kurland, the group’s attorney, answered questions but declined to address basic issues about the win.
Jason Kurland said: “Obviously, everybody is extremely excited. These numbers are huge. This is going to benefit many people.
“From the first conversation I had with them, it was very philanthropic. Charities was definitely, probably No. 1 on their priority list.”
As they were leaving the news conference, Greg Skidmore stopped at the microphone to identify himself and his partners and said: “And it feels good,” before leaving the room.
The winning numbers were 12-14-34-39-46, Powerball 36.
Lottery officials had used billboards across the state to urge the ticket holder to come forward as the weeks went by without a winner.
Jason Kurland said the group called him the day after the draw.
He said: “They thought they were the winners, and then, that night, I think, one of the local TV stations had the numbers, and the Powerball number was wrong on the TV screen, so that put them into a little bit of a tizzy.
“But the news, to their credit, corrected it a few hours later, and they were confident they had it.”
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Belpointe manages $82 million which makes it a boutique investment firm by the standards of many New York finance houses.
Brandon Lacoff was an accountant for Ernst & Young before founding an investment company known Belray capital, which became Belpointe LLC.
He “owns a number of properties and businesses throughout the region”, according to the Belpointe website.
Greg Skidmore, the company’s president and chief investment officer, formerly worked as an investment banker for a subsidiary of AXA Financial Services and Citigroup.
He is a former member of the U.S. sailing team who was once an Olympic hopeful, according to the company’s website.
Greg Skidmore is also the grandson of Louis Skidmore, the notable American architect and founder of the firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, which created the Sears Tower in Chicago amongst other buildings.
Tim Davidson started his career at a French bank where he worked in foreign exchange before moving on to advise companies, hedge funds and “ultra high worth” individuals.
The 85th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took the streets of Manhattan in its spectacular style in front of 3 million spectators who watched the fourteen giant helium balloons, including Buzz Lightyear and SpongeBob SquarePants.
The US biggest singing stars also came to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011 to entertain the crowds, including award-winning singers Cee Lo Green, Mary J.Blige and Neil Diamond.
At a 40 F temperatures, the crowd was entertained by the helium-filled balloons, including Clumsy Smurf, Kermit the Frog – and some newcomers, as Julius The Monkey.
Paul Frank’s sock puppet-inspired monkey Julius made its debut as a 41-foot-tall balloon. The crowds chanted “Jul-i-us! Jul-i-us!” as it passed.
Julius The Monkey was followed by “B”- a spooky character covered in stitches created by filmmaker Tim Burton.
And making their first appearance at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were a pair of bike-powered balloons, one featuring a large green elf designed by Queens resident Keith Lapinig, who won a nationwide contest with more than 10,000 entries.
But there were also some much-loved favourites, including video game character Sonic the Hedgehog, who returned after an 18-year absence, and a navel-themed Mickey Mouse.
They were joined by SpongeBob SquarePants, Snoopy, Spiderman and Kermit the Frog.
With a 40-ft Sonic the Hedgehog at its helm, the 85th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off in spectacular style
As the balloons, held up by scores of rope-bearers, snaked along the route, crowds were also entertained by the top vocal talents, including Cee Lo Green, Country singer Rodney Atkins and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery.
Canadian singer Avril Lavigne sat on a float featuring a giant fattened turkey as she sang, followed by a musical set from the colourful cast of Sesame Street.
Brass bands from high schools and colleges around the country also marched along the route, such as the Nation Ford High School from South Carolina, which included sixteen sets of siblings.
Macy’s Great American Marching Band, with trombones, tubas and booming drums, led the march.
Ana Santiago, 34, a said receptionist from Park Slope, Brooklyn said:
“The parade makes you enjoy life.”
“You see the kids cheering and celebrating, and that makes the day.”
“It’s a tradition,” Ana Santiago added.
“New Yorkers should take advantage of it. You never know what you’ll see.”
The parade followed high-energy performances from glitzy cheerleaders and characters from Broadway show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, including Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.
In total, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade boasted more than 40 smaller balloons, 27 floats, 800 clowns and 1,600 cheerleaders as an estimated 50 million people watched the television coverage from home.
Floats included a mini version of Mount Rushmore from the South Dakota Department of Tourism. The grey granite structure also featured Black Hills National Forest and Badlands National Park in an effort to drive more visitors to the state.
Grammy winner Neil Diamond performed on the float as it moved through the streets.
The crowd on Seventh Avenue started singing “Sweet Caroline! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” as the singer waved.
Ronald McDonald, joined by scores of waving children, drove a large red shoe float. It pulled along a giant helium float of the food chain’s grinning ambassador.
Another float featured popular cartoon character Dora the Explorer alongside children dressed as Christmas presents. Olympian ice skater Johnny Weir waved to the crowds as he rode on a white horse float.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011 started at 77th Street and headed south on Central Park West to Seventh Avenue, before moving to Sixth Avenue and ending at Macy’s Herald Square.
Despite fears that stormy weather would batter the balloons, the balloons floated under blue skies.
Joe Sullivan, a balloon handler, who has been volunteering at the parade for more than 15 years, held a line securing a huge floating pumpkin.
“When it’s windy it’s a struggle,” Joe Sullivan said.
“But today is great weather. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Thousands of children flocked to the event, which closed with Santa Claus riding on a sleigh float and waving to the spectators.
“We’ve been up since two o’clock in the morning,” said Jodi Caplan, 40, of Westtown, in upstate Orange County, who brought her two kids to witness the festivities.
“It’s their first parade. This is the perfect day – perfect weather.”
The giant balloons were created at Macy’s Parade Studio, and each undergoes testing for flight patterns, aerodynamics, buoyancy and lift.
The helium heavies were inflated on Wednesday across the street from the western side of Central Park.
Thousands of people, many families with children in tow, were drawn to the spectacle of the balloons lying as if asleep on the streets, held down by weighted nets.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade got its start in 1924 and included live animals such as camels, goats and elephants. It was not until 1927 that the live animals were replaced by giant helium balloons. The parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 because rubber and helium were needed for World War II.
Since the beginning, the balloons have been based on popular cultural characters and holiday themes.
Halloween is nearly upon us and with it, the need for some seriously spooky last minute costumes. So whether you seek some full-on Dracula attire, a ghostly frock, a dash of fake blood or pair of comedy fangs, you’ll find them all here:
London’s most famous and well-equipped fancy dress shop stocks everything from opulent Elizabethan frocks to contemporary, freakish rubber costumes. There are new costumes being added constantly, from Angry Birds to the Honey Monster. Online store is also excellent.
One of London’s biggest and best second-hand shops and an excellent place to get kitted out for a fancy-dress party, with a mighty selection of cheap garments and accessories from the 1920s-1980s. They’ll be choosing extra stock especially for Halloween so there will be plenty to choose from for vintage scares. Also have branches in Dalston, Soho and Brighton.
Charles H. Fox Ltd., 22 Tavistock Street, WC2E 7PY (020 7257 6159)
This is the place professionals in the film and theatre industries come for make-up, wigs, latex and lashes. 1-2-1 tranny workshops are also on offer, alongside glamour, editorial and avant-garde make-up workshops.
An impressive selection of authentic-looking costumes and trimmings but at a price: around £80 an outfit for a week’s hire. Their attention to detail makes them a popular choice for costume drama inspired dress. If you’re channeling Downton Abbey or Jane Eyre, The Costume Studio can help.
Find your memorable Halloween costume in one of the London shops
This well-known Camden shop has an extensive range of masks and accessories, as well as full character outfits from Harry Potter to Superman. You can also order from their website to avoid the inevitable and enormous Halloween queues.
With more than 35,000 costumes from historical to comic, crammed into a warehouse basement, this is Old Street’s hidden gem. These guys are well prepped for Halloween, but transformed many people’s outfits during Vintage at Southbank too.
National Theatre Costume Hire, Chichester House, Kennington Park Business Estate, 1-3 Brixton Road, SW9 6DE (020 7735 4774).
Any member of the public can can make an appointment at the National Theatre’s costume warehouse, whether they’re looking for a specific item or a whole ensemble. Rails are arranged chronologically from dramatic 18th century ballgowns to 1920s flapper dresses for women, and top hats and tails to Elizabethan ruffs and doublets for men. Enthusiastic staff are on hand to help you build a top-to-toe look.
Prangsta, 304 New Cross Road, SE14 6AF (020 8694 9869).
A bespoke costumier in New Cross with a unique made-to-measure service as well as ready made costumes and staff who can help you put an outfit together thanks to their styling service. This is the go-to venue for circus styling, and 18th century outfits are their bestsellers, but recent demand means they’ve just increased their 1920s range.
A vast selection of theatrical make-up, fake eyelashes and body jewellery will help you get into character. Plenty of scary effects available for Halloween, from realistic gelatin wounds to dental fit vampire fangs. Book in for a dramatic make-over if you’d like them to do the hard part for you.
Universal Orlando is altering its iconic twin roller coasters Dragon Challenge after a man claims he had his eyeball removed in one of two horrific accidents on the ride.
Dragon Challenge twin roller coasters has been the most thrilling experiences at Universal Orlando for more than ten years, as they race at 60 mph and intertwine within 18 inches of each other.
Universal Orlando officials have announced that they will no longer launch the twin roller coasters simultaneously following an internal investigation stemming from the incidents this summer.
“We believe this is the best path forward for our guests and for the attraction,” a park spokesman told the Orlando Sentinel.
Universal Orlando is altering its iconic twin roller coasters Dragon Challenge after a man claims he had his eyeball removed in one of two horrific accidents on the ride
Universal Orlando started launching the two coasters – the Chinese Fireball dragon and the Hungarian Horntail dragon – on a staggered basis after two riders were thought to have been injured by loose objects. That change has now become permanent.
On July 31, Carlos Montalvo, 52, from Puerto Rico, suffered a lacerated right eye while riding Dragon Challenge. The man’s lawyer says he had his eyeball removed.
Universal Orlando has refused to discuss what exactly happened in the incidents, but in a statement it reminded guests to secure all loose items, suggesting that they may have been caused by items falling out of guests’ hands or pockets.
After two weeks, Jon Wilson, 19, from Ohio, said he was hit on his foot, arm and face by something on the attraction.
Dragon Challenge was built when Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park opened in 1999 and was called “Duelling Dragons” but was re-branded when it received a themed makeover when the park opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010.
Passengers on Dragon Challenge twin roller coasters ride, which lasts two minute and twenty-five second, are suspended with their legs dangling below and pass through five inversions.
The ride has had few accidents and was built to calculate the weight of the two coasters when filled with passengers so that their timing was optimized.
There have only been five reported injuries on the ride during the last ten years, but lawyers for the man who lost his eye claim others have gone unreported.
“We are aware of several other incidents where people have been struck by objects [while riding Dragon Challenge],” Carlos Montalvo’s lawyer Clay Mitchell told the Orlando Sentinel.
The issue of loose objects has become more of a problem for roller coaster operating as more guests carry smartphones and other devices.
Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services told the Orlando Sentinel: “Today, we hear a lot about cell phones because people are trying to take pictures while they’re riding.”
“Sometimes they lose their grip, and the thing flies out.”
An Universal Orlando spokesman said that the park has many warning signs and has staff in ride queues to help spot potential problems.
A terror plot of the Iranian government to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in Washington has been revealed to press yesterday.
Attorney General Eric Holder spoke during a press conference of how elements of the Iranian government financed and aided the plot to murder Adel al-Jubeir , the Saudi ambassador in US- offering a bounty of $1.5 million to the plotters.
Two persons have been charged with the plot, according to the authorities; Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old U.S. citizen who also holds an Iranian passport and Gholam Shakuri, whom it said to be a member of the Iranian regime’s hard core “Quds Force”.
It was reported that when asked by undercover agents about the potential loss of innocent life in the bombings, Manssor Arbabsiar replied:
“They want that guy [al-Jubeir] done.
“If the hundred go with him, f**k ’em.”
Saudi ambassador in US, Adel al-Jubeir was the target of the Iranian plot
Attorney General Eric Holder said: “The criminal complaint unsealed today exposes a deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign Ambassador on U.S. soil with explosives.
“Through the diligent and coordinated efforts of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we were able to disrupt this plot before anyone was harmed.
“We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously and bring those who have violated any laws to justice.”
According to US Justice Department, from the spring of 2011 to October 2011, Manssor Arbabsiar and his Iran-based co-conspirators, including Shakuri of the Quds Force, had been plotting the murder of the Saudi Ambassador.
Manssor Arbabsiar was said to have unknowingly hired informant from the Drug Enforcement Administration to carry out the plot.
The informant [CS-1], who was posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel, met with Manssor Arbabsiar several times in Mexico.
Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old U.S. citizen who also holds an Iranian passport, has been charged with the Saudi ambassador assassination plot
Manssor Arbabsiar was said to have first met with CS-1 in Mexico on May 24, 2011, inquiring informant’s knowledge of explosives before explaining that he was interested in, among other things, attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia.
According to the charges, CS-1 allegedly indicated he had knowledge of using C-4 explosives.
Manssor Arbabsiar has returned to Mexico in June and July 2011 where he held additional meetings with CS-1.
In a July 14, 2011, they had another meeting in Mexico and CS-1 allegedly told Manssor Arbabsiar that he would need to use four men to carry out the Ambassador’s murder and that his price for carrying out the murder was $1.5 million.
Manssor Arbabsiar then offered a $100,000 down payment and during the same meeting, he boasted to CS-1 his cousin in Iran – a “big general” in the Iranian military, as Arbabsiar said – had knowledge of the attack.
In July 17, Manssor Arbabsiar and CS-1 met again, with the informant saying one of his men had already carried out surveillance of the ambassador.
On August 1, and August 9, 2011, with Gholam Shakuri’s approval, Manssor Arbabsiar allegedly made two overseas wire transfers “totalling approximately $100,000” that prosecutors say were sent to an FBI undercover account.
After the informant then demanded a further down payment, Manssor Arbabsiar flew to Mexico to act as a guarantee the fee would be paid.
After being refused entry to Mexico on September 28, Arbabsiar was returned to New York’s JFK airport, where he was arrested by federal agents on September 29.
Iran’s secretive Quds Force is an elite brigade within Iran’s revolutionary Guard.
The Guards, with their own navy, air force and command structure separate from the regular armed forces, are seen as fiercely loyal to the supreme leader.
Within the Guards, Quds are tasked with “exporting” the Iranian revolution abroad.
The Quds Force, which is said to contain 15,000 troops, is accused of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa and now North America.
In the past, the U.S. has accused Quds of arming Iraqi militants with deadly bomb-making material, building up an extensive network in the war-torn country, recruiting Iraqis and supporting not only Shiite militias but also Shiites allied with Washington.
Emma Watson dumped again; this time for being too famous.
Emma Watson, know for her role in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, revealed thather ex-boyfriend dumped her because she’s too famous.
She dated Francis Boulle, who now stars in British reality TV show Made In Chelsea, for a short period of time. Francis Boulle claimed he broke up with Emma because he did not want to become known as the Harry Potter star’s boyfriend.
“We had a bit of a thing a while back, but I have always been an ambitious person and I want to achieve my own notoriety for what I’ve done,” claims Francis Boulle. “That’s why I chose not to pursue it any longer, because I didn’t want to be the boyfriend of some child actress.”
He added in an interview:
“I actually really like Emma. She’s a really cool person. She’s a very different person to who she is in the media. That’s what I liked about her – she’s very interesting.”
When Reality TV star was asked whether they stay in touch, he admitted he was no longer in regular contact with the actress, though they occasionally run into one another.
“No, but we do share a lot of mutual friends and our paths cross from time to time.”
A power cut could have prevented a shark spotter from sounding a warning alarm just before Michael Cohen was savaged by a great white off the coast of Cape Town in South Africa.
The shark spotter is thought to have seen Michael Cohen, the 43 year-old British swimmer enter the water and attempted to warn him of danger – but the siren didn’t work because of a city-wide power cut, it has been reported.
Michael Cohen was dragged on to Clovelly beach near Fish Hoek , then he was airlifted to hospital and is in a critical
An official incident report from the City of Cape Town claimed there was an electricity failure with the power company Eskom, according to South Africa’s Daily News website.
“At around 12.25 p.m. (on Wednesday), the mountain shark spotter saw a swimmer enter the water near the Clovelly Corner area.
“The spotter tried to sound the alarm, but due to an Eskom-related city-wide electricity failure, the alarm did not sound.”
The power company, Eskom was unable to comment as its officials said they were unaware of the City of Cape Town’s incident report.
But a company spokeswoman confirmed a power cut lasted for two hours, starting from just before 11:00 a.m. to shortly after 1:00 p.m. The power cut was apparently caused by a trip on the power line supplying Cape Town.
However, Eskom was unable to comment on the possible impact this had on the shark alarm as they unaware of the authority’s incident report.
Two men who dragged Michael Cohen to shore described how the creature swam around them as if to distract the 12 feet (4 m) Great White shark, which appeared to be preparing for a second strike.
Michael Cohen, who lost his right leg and part of his left foot, yesterday remained in a critical condition in hospital.
Michael Cohen, a British accountant, had ignored warnings of a shark in the area before taking to the water off Fish Hoek beach.
Yesterday, passers-by Hugh Till, 66, and Douglas Drysdale, 61, told how they ran into the blood-clouded surf to help pull Michael Cohen to safety after watching the attack.
“As Douglas and I were pulling him in towards the shore, the seal frolicked nearby, and kept swimming past us, it seemed rather agitated.
“It occurred to us afterwards how unusual it was for a seal to stick around in an area where a shark is, or where there is blood.
“It really did feel to us as though he was offering support to us, or the swimmer, and was prepared to act as a diversion if the shark went after us as well,” Hugh Till said.
Hugh Till was in the area with his friend Douglas Drysdale trying to spot whales when they saw the shark looming towards Michael Cohen, who was swimming a few yards from the beach.
The pair stopped their car and ran to shout warnings, but it was too late, leaving them to watch helplessly as Michael Cohen was pulled under.
Even though the shark remained in the area, possibly preparing for a second strike, Hugh and Douglas plunged into the water to help in the efforts to drag Michael Cohen to safety.
Prof. Andrew Nicol, who operated on Michael Cohen, said he had needed seven litres of blood on arriving at hospital.
Professor had fought to save one of the Michael’s legs, even though it was badly bitten, because he had lost the other leg. Michael Cohen’s femoral artery and vein were both torn – usually a fatal injury – and Prof. Nicol praised the life-saving first-aid efforts by a member of the beach’s shark-spotting team.
“The tourniquet resulted in the almost complete stopping of blood loss from the thigh and I just want to commend the people giving first aid on the beach for saving the life of this patient.”
“Self-made improvised tourniquets don’t tend to work and are frowned on in medical literature, but this really was life-saving. If the femoral artery and vein are both severed you don’t tend to make it into hospital alive,” Prof. Nicol said.
Michael Cohen, who has lost his lower right leg and left foot, was carried from the beach by members of the Fish Hoek emergency services to a waiting helicopter
Michael Cohen is a Canadian-born accountant, who has a British passport and lived in London before moving to South Africa. He had taken to the water even though the beach was closed after shark sightings.
Michael Cohen was said to be a regular swimmer at the beach, who had previously ignored warnings to stay out of the water.
The site of the attack is close to one of the highest populations of Great White sharks in the world, and has seen a number of deaths and injuries to swimmers and surfers.