Friday, May 26, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg: Free Money for Everyone

US economy grew much faster than originally reported in first quarter

Washington (AFP) - The US economy grew much faster than originally reported in the first quarter due to sharp increases in business and consumer spending, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The revised data show GDP growth in President Donald Trump's first quarter was 1.2 percent, half a percentage point higher than the first report, which showed the US economy expanded at its slowest pace in three years.

While putting a far rosier finish on the January-March period, the result may cast doubt on the Trump administration's pledge to boost annual US growth to three percent ....

Estonia expels 2 Russian diplomats, reasons unclear

Two senior Russian diplomats have been ordered to leave Estonia, the Russian embassy and Estonian Foreign Ministry have confirmed to RT, adding that they cannot give any further comment.

Russia's consul general in Narva, Dmitry Kazyonnov, and consul Andrey Surgaev were handed a note to leave the Baltic country on Friday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry told RT it considers the expulsion of the diplomats "yet another unfriendly and absolutely groundless act." Such actions from Tallinn "will not be left unanswered," it added ....

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Venezuela Secretly Plotted to Sell Banned Syrian Oil to the U.S.

Syria and Venezuela plotted in recent years to evade international sanctions on Syria through a secret deal to transport its crude oil through Russia to the Caribbean.

The previously undisclosed plan aimed to sell Syrian oil at a big discount to Venezuela through a Russian shell company, which would send it to Aruba for refining and distribution to gas stations in the U.S. and elsewhere, according to dozens of emails, documents and interviews.

The scheme, which hasn’t been executed, indicates the extent to which the two pariah nations are willing to go to evade international rules and antagonize global powers. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, written off repeatedly during the past six years as hundreds of thousands of his citizens have been killed in a brutal civil war, has clung firmly to power ....

Venezuela prosecutor: Protest victim 'killed by National Guard'

A student who died at an anti-government protest in Caracas last month was killed by a tear gas canister fired by the National Guard, Venezuela's chief prosecutor says.

Juan Pablo Pernalete died of cardiogenic shock after being hit by an object in the chest.

A number of government officials had said he had been killed by hooded men with a bolt gun.

Venezuela has seen almost daily anti-government protests since April.

The country's deepening economic and political crisis has led to triple-digit inflation ....

Venezuela holds 5,000 Russian surface-to-air MANPADS missiles

Venezuela possesses 5,000 Russian-made MANPADS surface-to-air weapons, according to a military document reviewed by Reuters, the largest known stockpile in Latin America and a source of concern for U.S. officials amid the country's mounting turmoil.

Venezuela's socialist government has long used the threat of an "imperialist" invasion by the United States to justify an arms buildup. Much of that arsenal was obtained from Russia by Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, whose tenure lasted from 1999 until his death in 2013.

The missiles, which are shoulder-mounted and can be operated by one person, pose a serious threat to commercial and military aircraft. Weapons experts said there have long been fears that the weapons could be stolen, sold or somehow channeled to the wrong hands, concerns exacerbated by the current civil unrest in Venezuela and the economic crisis roiling the oil-producing nation ....

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Erdogan Says He Will Extend His Sweeping Rule Over Turkey

In a signal that Turkey faces indefinite rule by decree, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday that a state of emergency, introduced as a temporary measure after last year’s failed coup, would continue until the country achieved “welfare and peace.”

The state of emergency allows Mr. Erdogan and his cabinet to issue sweeping decrees without parliamentary oversight or review by the constitutional court, giving him an almost untrammeled grip on power.

So far, the decrees have allowed Mr. Erdogan to jail more than 40,000 people accused of plotting a failed coup, fire or suspend more than 140,000 additional people, shut down about 1,500 civil groups, arrest at least 120 journalists and close more than 150 news media outlets.

In late April, a decree issued under the state of emergency was used to block access to Wikipedia ....

Venezuela Chaos: Protesters Continue to Clash with Police In the Streets

Analysis: Venezuela is sliding into anarchy

In the state capital of Barinas, Chavez's home state and the so-called cradle of his “Bolivarian” revolution, the alleged killing of a protester sent crowds into a fury, attacking government buildings and looting stores.

At least eight people were killed and more than 50 others wounded in the violence Monday and Tuesday, according to local officials, including more than two dozen hit by gunfire.

As many as 200 businesses were gutted, said shopkeeper Samuel Guerrero, reached by phone in the state capital.

“Things are chaotic here,” he said. “There was not enough food in Barinas, and now with the looting it’s going to be even worse.”

The government said it was sending reinforcements to pacify the state. Guerrero said he didn’t know how he would feed his family ....

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rafael Correa leaves his successor to deal with a contracting economy and an authoritarian press law

IN A burst of hyperbole and historical confusion, Rafael Correa compared the run-off election in Ecuador last month to “the battle of Stalingrad” in which his left-wing government was “fighting against the global right wing”. Yet the outcome was far from the rout achieved on the Russian steppes: rather, Mr Correa’s candidate, LenĂ­n Moreno, achieved a narrow victory, by 51% to 49% over Guillermo Lasso, a conservative banker. Even so, the result interrupted the recent ebbing of the “pink tide” in South America that has seen several electoral victories for the centre-right ....

Mexico opposition leaders eye possible election tie-up in 2018

The leaders of two of Mexico's main opposition parties on Saturday floated the possibility of joining forces in the 2018 presidential elections to defeat the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The proposal by the heads of the center-right National Action Party (PAN) and center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) could make it harder for the embattled centrist PRI to retain control of the presidency next year ....

Monday, May 22, 2017

Scientists have found a way to photograph people in 3D through walls using Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi can pass through walls.

This fact is easy to take for granted, yet it's the reason we can surf the web using a wireless router located in another room.

But not all of that microwave radiation makes it to (or from) our phones, tablets, and laptops. Routers scatter and bounce their signal off objects, illuminating our homes and offices like invisible light bulbs.

Now, German scientists have found a way to exploit this property to take holograms, or 3D photographs, of objects inside a room — from outside it.

"It can basically scan a room with someone's Wi-Fi transmission," Philipp Holl, a 23-year-old undergraduate physics student at the Technical University of Munich, told Business Insider.

Holl initially built the device as part of his bachelor thesis with the help of his academic supervisor, Friedemann Reinhard ....