Suspended Fox News host suing over sexual harassment, claims network spied on her

A former Fox News host, who is a plaintiff in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the network and its former CEO Roger Ailes, argues the network contrived "to have her private communications spied on as part of a campaign of intimidation." The allegations come in a new lawsuit filed in Manhattan District Court on Monday by suspended Fox News host Andrea Tantaros. The lawsuit states that Fox News executives, including co-President Bill Shine, hacked into Tantaros's digital devices and eavesdropped on her phone calls as retaliation for her claims against Ailes. Tantaros says in the suit that a fleet of anonymous social media accounts, known as "sock puppets," used the information to send her subtle and disconcerting signals that she was being watched.

Bright light seen shooting across Wellington's night sky

When Stephen Moore installed a dashcam in his vehicle, it wasn't to capture footage of UFOs. But that's exactly what happened when his son witnessed a bright light shoot across the Wellington sky shortly before 8pm on Tuesday. The pair eagerly returned to their home in Hataitai and downloaded the footage from the camera. "It records in real time, so after we saw it we thought it was too fast to be a plane," said Moore. Brett Jennings saw something similar in Nelson, and said the light was bright green in colour.

Rewiring the brain can end the cycle of inter-generational poverty

You saw the pictures in science class—a profile view of the human brain, sectioned by function. The piece at the very front, right behind where a forehead would be if the brain were actually in someone's head, is the pre-frontal cortex. It handles problem-solving, goal-setting, and task execution. And it works with the limbic system, which is connected and sits closer to the center of the brain. The limbic system processes emotions and triggers emotional responses, in part because of its storage of long-term memory. When a person lives in poverty, a growing body of research suggests the limbic system is constantly sending fear and stress messages to the prefrontal cortex, which overloads its ability to solve problems, set goals, and complete tasks in the most efficient ways. This happens to everyone at some point, regardless of social class. The overload can be prompted by any number of things, including an overly stressful day at work or a family emergency. People in poverty, however, have the added burden of ever-present stress. They are constantly struggling to make ends meet and often bracing themselves against class bias that adds extra strain or even trauma to their daily lives. And the science is clear—when brain capacity is used up on these worries and fears, there simply isn't as much bandwidth for other things.

Nature's answer to plastic pollution: Scientists discover a caterpillar that eats plastic

Scientists have found that a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene: one of the toughest and most used plastics, frequently found clogging up landfill sites in the form of plastic shopping bags. The wax worm, the larvae of the common insect Galleria mellonella, or greater wax moth, is a scourge of beehives across Europe. In the wild, the worms live as parasites in bee colonies. Wax moths lay their eggs inside hives where the worms hatch and grow on beeswax - hence the name. A chance discovery occurred when one of the scientific team, Federica Bertocchini, an amateur beekeeper, was removing the parasitic pests from the honeycombs in her hives. The worms were temporarily kept in a typical plastic shopping bag that became riddled with holes. Bertocchini, from the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria (CSIC), Spain, collaborated with colleagues Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe at the University of Cambridge's Department of Biochemistry to conduct a timed experiment.

Russia and Qatar: Back channel diplomacy over Syria

Two of the world's seemingly most unlikely partners, Russia and Qatar, have been moving closer to one another over the past year in spite of their polar opposite views towards the War on Syria. It's well known among the global public how Moscow supports the democratically elected and legitimate leadership of President Assad, while Doha has been behind Al Nusra and countless other "moderate rebel opposition" (terrorist) groups since day one, though the time appears to be coming where both state sponsors are making inroads towards reaching a fabled so-called "political solution". Russia has made it abundantly clear on many occasions that the War on Syria can only be wrapped up with a political, not military, solution, which therefore infers some sort of vague power-sharing agreement between President Assad and the "opposition". The Astana format brokered between itself, Iran, and Turkey is a step in that direction, and Moscow's peace-making efforts have won the acceptance of Damascus, although the lengthy process has only just begun and many important issues still remain unaddressed at this moment.

Facebook thought police: Fake news obsession may have unintended consequences

The social panic and media hysteria over fake news continues unabated. And once again, Facebook's reaction is all wrong. The left's intense focus on false news stories exploded in the wake of what seemed like an inexplicable Republican victory in the 2016 election, with Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton despite an avalanche of bad press directed at the former, especially in the final weeks of the campaign. The GOP also unexpectedly retained control of the Senate, winning surprise victories in Wisconsin and Indiana to confound the Democratic Party's advantage in incumbent seats and normal presidential-cycle turnout models. Attention quickly focused on a BuzzFeed story about traffic generated by stories on Facebook, and how much more popular fake news was over real news. The analysis had significant flaws, however, beginning with the fact that there was no evidence of correlation between Facebook traffic and voting behavior, let alone causation. Furthermore, the top five "real news" articles in the analysis turned out to be four opinion essays opposing Trump and the New York Post's story on Melania Trump's suggestive modeling pictures from two decades earlier. Nonetheless, much of the left and the mainstream media stuck with the fake news narrative to explain the election outcome, and have continued to pressure Facebook to take action against it.

Le Pen campaign brands front-runner Macron as oligarchs' candidate

The far-right National Front attacked presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron as a "candidate of oligarchs" and banking lobbies, who parties with show-business celebrities, as it sought to portray Marine Le Pen as more in touch with the French people. The morning after the election-night parties, the National Front was eager to underscore the differences between long-time opposition politician Le Pen and political newcomer Macron, a former investment banker and economy minister. Macron had 23.8 percent in the first round and Le Pen had 21.5 percent, according to results from the Interior Ministry with 97.4 percent of votes counted. "We are in almost perfect opposition on all points," Florian Philippot, the party's vice-president, told France 2 television on Monday. With both establishment parties knocked out of the race after Sunday's first round, anti-euro Le Pen and independent Macron have two weeks to secure a majority in the May 7 runoff. The next round will present their starkly different visions, with Macron representing a France that has thrived on its openness to the world and Le Pen speaking for those who have been hurt by it.

How dare he! PACE President under fire for Syria trip and meeting Assad

The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has appeared before a hearing after some members demanded a vote of no confidence following his unauthorized trip to Syria and meeting with President Bashar Assad. The hearing took place on Tuesday after Pedro Agramunt apologized for the trip during the first day of PACE's spring session in Strasbourg on Monday. "President Pedro Agramunt, in view of the request of a significant number of members, has agreed to participate in a hearing on his recent visit to Syria," the statement read.

Julian Assange takes to Twitter blasting fake, mainstream news

What the mainstream media said is far different from what western intelligence heads and a former US President said. In spite of looming threats from the United States, including CIA director Mike Pompeo and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Julian Assange continues to defend his record of factual accuracy and independence from any government body in any country. Assange has taken to Twitter to post a short video demonstrating how western mainstream media pundits told total lies about Wikileaks. The video illustrates how even the heads of US intelligence and former President Obama admitted that Wikileaks had no connection to Russia. Does truth still matter? Watch this video from Julian Assange and see for yourself.

'A child dies every 10 minutes': UN and Amnesty call to stop Saudi-led attack on critical lifeline in Yemen

The UN has appealed for $2.1 billion to prevent the "starving of an entire generation" in Yemen. But it says a lack of funds is not the only issue of concern in the war-torn country, amid reports that the strategic port of Hodeidah may be targeted by the Saudi-led coalition. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for the multi-million aid package for Yemen on Tuesday during the opening session of a donor conference in Geneva. "On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes," Guterres said. "This means 50 children in Yemen will die during today's conference, and all of those deaths could have been prevented," he added. "We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation," the UN Secretary-General warned, saying that two-thirds of the population or nearly 19 million people need emergency aid in Yemen.

We hate to say it but it's probably time for us all to admit that Ivanka Trump is somewhat vacuous and abysmally ignorant

We take no pleasure in typing this internet article, but the evidence doesn't lie: Ivanka Trump is almost certainly a Moloch-worshipping weirdo who is going to get us all killed — or worse, force us to buy her dumb clothes. With the ascendance of public relations, glossy magazines specifically designed to murder brain cells, and cosmetic dentistry, we inhabit a world that delights in self-soothing images and scorns anything that might unsettle our McDonald's-filled stomachs. In this context, Ivanka Trump is Peak Photoshop — she's a manufactured image of human perfection which, once deprived of its artificial layers, evaporates. Ivanka is a lovely, articulate woman who even has a daughter who can recite ancient Chinese hip-hop. Her appeal is undeniable. But remove the airbrushing and we're faced with the reality that a lady who pimps shoes is driving us towards the abyss.

China issues list of banned Islamic names for Muslim-dominated region of Xinjiang

Chinese authorities have released a list of some common Muslim names used in Xinjiang region that are forbidden to use for newborns from now on, according to Radio Free Asia report. Twenty-nine names, which are commonly used by the predominantly-Muslim Uighur population of the northwestern region, were featured in the document, entitled 'Naming Rules for Ethnic Minorities' and issued last Wednesday, according to Channel NewsAsia. Names with strong religious meanings like Islam, Koran, Mecca, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, and Medina, as well as names that have "connotations of holy war [Jihad] or of splittism [sic - Xinjiang independence]" are included in the list, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports, citing a police official. However, more neutral names are still allowed. If parents break the ruling, their children won't be registered in the government household system known as 'hukou', which provides access to social services, like healthcare and education, the official added speaking to RFA.

Judge blocks Trump's executive order on 'sanctuary city' funding

A US judge in San Fancisco has placed a preliminary injunction on President Donald Trump's executive order vowing to restrict federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities that do not comply with immigration enforcement orders. On Tuesday, San Franciso and Santa Clara County won a preliminary injunction, barring enforcement of the executive order signed January 25. US District Judge William Orrick III agreed that the executive order violated the US Constitution, by punishing local governments that did not participate in federal immigration enforcement.

Föhn winds: New insight into what weakens Antarctic ice shelves

New research describes for the first time the role that warm, dry winds (katabatic winds) play in influencing the behaviour of Antarctic ice shelves. Presenting this week at a European conference scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) explain how spring and summer winds, known as föhn winds, are prevalent on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, West Antarctica and creating melt pools. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is of particular interest to scientists because it of the collapse of Larsen A in 1995 and Larsen B in 2002. The researchers observed the föhn winds, which blow around 65% of the spring and summer period, extend further south and are more frequent than previously thought, and are likely to be a contributing factor that weakens ice shelves before a collapse. The results are presented this week (Tuesday 25 April) at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU) in Vienna. In 1995 and 2002, the Larsen A and B ice shelves collapsed, depositing an area the size of Shropshire into the Weddell Sea. Whilst ice shelf collapse doesn't directly contribute to sea level rise, the glaciers which fed into the ice shelves accelerated, leading to the loss of land ice, and subsequently indirect sea level rise. The processes responsible for the collapse of these ice shelves were largely debated, and it is now thought that crevasses on the ice shelf were widened and deepened by water draining into the cracks. Föhn winds are thought to be responsible for melting the ice shelf surface and supplying the water.

Air China reopens Pyongyang route despite political tensions and pressure from Trump

China's national airline has backtracked on its decision to suspend flights to the North Korean capital Pyongyang, according to reports. Air China had cited poor sales as the reason for suspending flights on its Beijing-Pyongyang route, with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reporting on April 14 that flights would be halted indefinitely. It now appears this was actually a temporary measure. The carrier, which has been operating the route since 2008, now plans to reduce the number of weekly round-trips from three to two starting on May 5 through to October 27, Reuters reported.

CBO study: Trump's Navy expansion plan would cost $102 billion a year

The estimated cost of simply constructing a 355-ship Navy fleet would average $27 billion per year over the next 30 years, add in crew and operating costs and its plan would cost $102 billion a year, according to CBO study. Those costs would represent a 60 percent increase on what the Navy has spent over the past 30 years, according to a study released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Tuesday. Expanding the Navy was first broached in a new force assessment document released in December 2016. The House subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces tasked the CBO with estimating the costs of achieving the Navy's objective within 15, 20, 25, or 30 years.

Corbyn slams ex-Labour PM Blair for suggesting voters back Tories to get a soft Brexit

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn slammed Tony Blair after the Iraq War-era PM suggested that people vote Tory or Lib Dem in areas where it could deliver a soft Brexit. He argued that if voters had a choice to vote for a likely winner in their constituency who would favor a softer version of Brexit than so-called 'hard' Brexiteers, then they should. Hard Brexit, which is favored by UKIP and the Tory Right, is a full and rapid withdrawal from the EU. Liberals, including Blair, want a slower exit with terms carefully negotiated to soften the impact of the divorce.

Male student sues Notre Dame University for sexual discrimination

An undergraduate student is suing the University of Notre Dame in federal court, alleging the Indiana school launched a discriminatory investigation that found him guilty of stalking, dating violence, and harassment of an ex-girlfriend, then expelled him just three weeks before he was set to graduate. Filing his suit under the pseudonym "John Doe," the former student is asking for undisclosed damages, but first his lawyers say he just wants to be let back in. John's case joins dozens of other pending lawsuits nationwide alleging colleges and universities have over-corrected in recent years when it comes to the investigation of sexual assault and harassment on campus. Parroting several other suits currently making their way through the courts, the complaint alleges that in recent years Notre Dame has "created an atmosphere of institutional hostility toward accused male students." The investigation against John began in 2016, according to the complaint. During a year-long "intimate but tumultuous" relationship with his girlfriend, named under the alias "Jane Roe," John says he developed depression and started having suicidal thoughts after the suicide of a colleague during a summer internship. When the couple broke up in November 2016, the suit says, Jane filed a complaint with the University, alleging John was harassing her and inundating her with texts threatening suicide.

Researchers solve the century-old mystery of Blood Falls

From the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the "at least they didn't blame climate change" department: A research team led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College has solved a century-old mystery involving a famous red waterfall in Antarctica. New evidence links Blood Falls to a large source of salty water that may have been trapped under Taylor Glacier for more than 1 million years. The team's study, published in the Journal of Glaciology, describes the brine's 300-foot path from beneath Taylor Glacier to the waterfall. This path has been a mystery since geoscientist Griffith Taylor discovered Blood Falls in 1911. Lead author Jessica Badgeley, then an undergraduate student at Colorado College, worked with University of Alaska Fairbanks glaciologist Erin Pettit and her research team to understand this unique feature. They used a type of radar to detect the brine feeding Blood Falls. "The salts in the brine made this discovery possible by amplifying contrast with the fresh glacier ice," Badgeley said. Blood Falls is famous for its sporadic releases of iron-rich salty water. The brine turns red when the iron contacts air.