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Uber’s harmful culture gambles its driverless future, more

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So Ubers blowhard-in-chief Travis Kalanick is finally out, out as CEO after some of its most prominent investors put the squeeze on him to pas( not only take a time out ).

Scandal after scandal has hammered the company in recent times, culminating in an external is looking into a corporate culture accused by a former girl hire of being rife with sexism, aggression and inequality.

Kalanicks aggressive mode of managing the has been the Uber pattern , not the exception and arguably, setting aside the current batch of internal scandals, the company has been taking a more emollient approaching, at least vis-a-vis business swelling. Working to change governs, for certain, but not ever so publicly razzing roughshod over them as it allows one to.

Although in private the underhand tacticshave apparently continued.

Which does plead the question, why now? Why is Kalanick ultimately being pushed from Ubers driving seat?

The short answer is because a lethal corporate culture has the power to kill a company stone dead by revolving its purchaser basi against it.

#deleteuber has been a very potent hashtag indeed.

Contrast that with the thrusting Uber upstart that was, revving its machines against regulators and be permitted to enroll its own user-base as a lobbying infantry to assist get onto rubber on the road messaging and mobilizing users to apply pressure to metropoli approvals Uber threw asbureaucratic and anti-innovation.

Petitions to save Uber have, previously, garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures. The companionship even Uber-ed in its own consumers to pad out pro-Uber exhibitions in years past.

How eras change. And how far the mighty can fall when they squander goodwill.

Brand car crash

Investors, first and foremost, are concerned with the value of a company because that will ultimately establish the value of their investment. So make no mistake, Ubers investors have calculated the companys poison culture under Kalanicks leadership is a risk to their long term investment.

Yes, its not only Kalanick whos proceeded. There are a raft of changes being driven through the upper echelons of Uber. Prior to Kalanicks resignation his contentious righthand man, Emil Michael, too departed one of the recommendations contained in the external investigation.

More than 20 other Uber hires were also shot earlier this month, following the report. Others are still under investigation.

Meanwhile, Uber poached a female market precede from Apple for a brand-new elderly capacity: chief of branding. Restoring the companys fratboy portrait is clearly front of mind for board member Arianna Huffington, who was reportedlyresponsible for hiring in Bozoma Saint John.

Boz has a long track record of successfully making psychological connections between people and the products they desire, alleged Kalanick in the following statement about the hire earlier this month. Her productivity and deep understanding of consumers will allow us to build the same ardour and appreciation for Ubers firebrand as weve built for Ubers service.

Having the( now ex) Uber CEO speak about psychological communications and adoration is about as far from Travis Kalanick 1.0 as its possible to get. Yet here we are.

Also recently coming in at senior rank: other women, Frances Frei, an academic from Harvard Business School, who takes up another brand-new persona: SVP of leader and strategy.

The message from Ubers investors is clear: aggressive tech bros out; responsibility, accountability, empathy and diversity in.

In Travis own terms, Uber needs to grow up.

Whether this last ditch reboot comes in time to save Ubers tattered and darkened brand remains to be determined. But Ubers investors clearly want the company to programme a very different given of values and idea a revolutionary change in how foreigners realize Uber as key to its future.

Sexism, bully, difference, paucity of diversity, low-grade empathy all are being judged as negative ingredients for ROI.

Looking beyond the immediate injury of a campaign like #deleteuber, theres something else to consider for the long term: A large-hearted part of Ubers recognized significance has been attached to the notion that autonomous vehicle engineering will allow the company to slough off its( human) driver cost-base wholly, i.e. not only by( as it does now) understating engaging payments by exploiting some would say exploiting low paid, freelance contractors who do the actual job of driving beings from A to B.

As far back as 2014 Kalanick has been saying Ubers future lies in driverless cars.

When theres no other buster in the car, the costs of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle. So the magic here i am, you basically accompanied the costs below the cost of owned for everyone, and then auto possession goes away, he saidthree years ago, when Uber was valued at around $17 BN, and without apparently a judgment for the thousands of busters he contrived on leaving in the junk down the road.

Ubers recently completed valuation is~ $70 BN although its not clear what component of value investors are appending to its autonomous long term imagination.( Too worth noting: somequestion whether Uber is worth half so much better .)

Questions about the profitability of ride-hailing simulations are certainly being asked much more frequently these days. And whileUbers business has been growing, with the company drawing in $3.4 BN in income in the first quarter and narrowing its losses to $708 M, it is always igniting a LOT of cash.Ubers route to profitability must at least be on the brains of itsvery long list of investors who have parcelled its coffers with some $8.81 BN over the years.

These investors sure dont want to see their money going sucked into a toxic sinkhole.

One reason for the companys sponsors to be asking more the issue of its future profitability now is because strive costs are unlikely to do anything but rise in the short term i.e. before its be permitted to change all motorists with robots.

Not least because lawmakers and regulators are compensating closer attention to the gig economy eyeing what are being to be considered as hire principle loopholes.

And likewise because a proliferation of ride-hailing challengers are available at the button of an app to pull away disgruntled Uber drivers.

Hence Uber ultimately adding tip-offto try to keep its motorists happy and, if were honest, to support a course to raise their fiscal stipend( i.e. via customer largess) without having to increase how much it pays them.

While Uber trying to flip a future profit by parent the price of razzs would of course danger an exodus of users accustomed to cheap Uber trips.

But if youd bought into the large-scale autonomous eyesight, as Kalanick covered it those sortings of near period problems( and costs) standing in the way of Ubers profitability ogled set to evaporate over thelong term, once the app could extradite glossy, driverless vehicles on requirement, 24/7.

Or if, preferably, Ubers management could deliver on the autonomous promise.

Autonomy and empathy

The questions Uber has run into in developing self-driving technology are thus of enormous significance for its investors. And “theres” problems aplenty.

At the end of last month Uber shot the person Kalanick brought in to passed its autonomous efforts, Otto co-founderAnthony Levandowski, who is now embroiled in a trade secretslawsuit between Uber and Waymo, the Google-owned corporation whereLevandowski used to work.

Its not clear how the client will shake out, with the reviewer disclaiming Ubers request for a bide pending its appeal forarbitration earlier this month. In the meanwhile Ubers efforts to develop self-driving tech are facing an obvious put over. That has to have been a big black mark against Kalanicks judgement as far as Uber investors are concerned.

But Id indicate its not just technology that counts here. Culture is also crucial because sovereignty challenges empathy. Slews of empathy that are intended to triumph human populations into accepting the robots being residence among them.

Even in a 100% driverless scenario Ubers autonomous cars will still have to interact with humans. Firstly as passengers and humans who dont recognize a product or a service wont inevitably treat it very well. Witness the territory of public toilet which dont have attendants, for example.

But likewise, and arguably even more importantly, with non-Uber useds because Ubers robot autoes will be operating in the public surrounding, sharing the street with human pedestrians, human cyclists, humen driving standard vehicles and so on.

Now Uber may have improved its rep as a company with a appetite to rip up the rulebook giving itself accusations of putting business increment before safe( witness, for example, its endeavour to overcome a city bill requiring fingerprint-based background checks for operators; when it lost that duel it pulled its business out of Austin returning merely after Texas legislators reined in the power of municipalities to regulate ride-hailing firms aka: classic Uber 1.0 behaviour ).

But theres no self-driving busines on land which is likely to planned its robots to do anything other than slam on the restraints when a flesh-and-blood human goes out into the road.

Slaying non-users is not a viable business representation unless your business is forming armed drones. So self-driving automobiles will necessarily have to give way to pedestrians. And will require the good will of other drivers giving way to them.

These robots will therefore be highly susceptible to human emotions. And will rely on supportive sentiment in wider culture. Which signifies Uber actually has to care about how non-users consider it. It will need a positive label that they are able shield it from the risk of vandalism and spite.

History has exercises for what can happen to expensive technology that paucity wider public support.And if people generally accompany Ubers label with noxious difference theyre not going to feel inclined to volunteer respect and politenes to Ubers robots. Why should they?

Indeed, some humen may seem be used to justify deliberately messing with Ubers machines as a form of demonstration. Its very easy to suppose a reclaim wall street from robots type of push gaining momentum.

Roads are after all shared seats. Even Teslas Elon Musk is not proposing to repeat the entire superhighway network with bespoke passages that can carry a single type of vehicle.Nor will every autonomous automobile be able to be a running vehiclethan can rise above the fray.

Respect for or at very least tolerance of other road consumers will be vital for commerce to flow for the foreseeable future, and I would also are in favour of Ubers autonomous business to grow.

As weve written before, the limitations of a technology are at least as important as its abilities. So it seems clear that self-driving cars will merely operate with the good will of humans.

And it goes without saying that angry humans forced to wipe up against a harmful firebrand wont have much goodwill to give.

So Ubers path to a profitable, autonomous future arguably relies , not only on it being able to build or acquire the necessary technology, but on building a company whose culture and firebrand shows and represents the kinds of characters courtesy, respect, fairness, humility, endanger, co-operation, concerned about the fact that have been so drastically shortfall at its leadership degree to date.

Nothing short of a 180 degree handbrake turn in fellowship culture will do.

It looks like Ubers investors were eventually realized that too.

Policy changes, austerity hamper Border Patrol as drugs flow into US

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The driver of a silver 2006 Chevrolet Equinox with Mexican license plates, traveling north on Interstate 5 near San Diego on Tuesday, piqued the curiosity of agents with an elite U.S. Border Patrol unit. His driving behavior suddenly changed as he neared the agents vehicle, the agents said.

When they pulled the vehicle over and searched it, near the Camp Pendleton Marine base, the agents suspicions were confirmed. The 45-year-old driver had been traveling with a large cache of illegal drugs concealed in three of the vehicles door frames. The 2.25 kilograms of cocaine, 11.3 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 13 kilos of heroin had a combined street value of $465,302, agents said.

The case continued a trend this year that has seen more cocaine and heroin enter the U.S. via Mexico, while the meth inflow has been holding steady, agents said.

The driver was carrying valid B1 and B2 visas, allowing him to work on a specific project in the U.S. and to travel inside the country. He was taken into custody and now faces federal charges.

When we were talking to him, he just gave in, said Supervisory Patrol Agent Pete Dame, founder and commander of the San Clemente Border Patrol Station Highway Interdiction Strike Team. He has a family with teenage kids in Mexico. His business failed in Mexico and [he was involved with drugs because] he needed the money.

Since 2014, Dames team, which started with three agents and has grown to 10, has aggressively patrolled the high drug-trafficking corridor north and south of the San Clemente checkpoint in California, 67 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, putting a significant dent in the daily flow of drugs into the U.S.

Think about how many people this amount will touch in America, Dame said, referring to Tuesdays catch.

Seizures such as these are occurring increasingly along the border as the number of illegal aliens plummets thought to be at least partly a result of President Donald Trumps rhetoric and policies against illegal immigration.

The U.S. has seen increases in seizures of most major illegal drugs, authorities say, noting that increases in heroin and fentanyl smuggling have been fueling the countrys opioid epidemic.

Nine months into fiscal 2017, Border Patrol agents have seized 745 pounds of heroin, compared with 566 pounds for all of fiscal 2016. Meanwhile, meth seizures stand at 7,287 pounds, compared with 8,224 for fiscal 2016, and cocaine seizures stand at 8,180 pounds, compared with 5,473 for fiscal 2016.

As for Dames team, in fiscal 2016 his five agents seized a total of $3,331,250 in narcotics and prevented $65,941 in cash from being returned to Mexico. So far this fiscal year, his larger team has seized $7,056,087 in drugs and $96,100 in cash.

Dame sees the spikes in drug seizures resulting from agents spending more time pursuing illegal drugs and less time arresting and processing illegal aliens.

He also points a condemning finger toward the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel, considered the primary narcotics traffickers in Southern California.

 

Dame suggested that Border Control agents were working to send a message to Sinaloa and other traffickers in the region.

 

Its a matter of being visible so other would-be smugglers see what we are doing, Dame said. No matter what we do, they figure it out, and we have to change tactics.

Terence Shigg, a veteran Border Patrol agent and president of the National Border Patrol Council local for the San Diego sector, viewed the crisis from various perspectives.

Let’s be honest, Shigg said. Narcotics use is on the rise and has been on the rise for years. The argument that America’s hunger for drugs fuels the drug trade, and all that it entails, is partially true.

But he said that simply blaming Americas drug users was akin to blaming obesity on humans love of sugar.

Shigg noted that Border Patrol agents have been fighting the war on drugs amid shortages in staffing, equipment and political will resulting in seizures of only some 10 percent of the illegal drugs estimated to enter the U.S.

 

What changes does he say would help make Border Patrol agents more effective against drug trafficking?

We need to hire and train more agents, we need more checkpoint officers and more highway interdiction teams, we need better and safer equipment such as radios, mobile computers, VACIS scanners, etc., he said. VACIS scanners help agents examine the contents of a vehicle.

Most of our vehicles are not equipped with laptops to run checks on vehicles in the field, forcing agents to rely on radio communications, he added.   

FoxNews.com observed these very same obstacles during a full shift ride-along with Dame.

But Dame said just adding more agents is not necessarily the answer. Retaining experienced agents and procuring equipment are needed more, he said, adding he had to borrow and barter for much of his equipment.

After three years of successful operations, Dame said he believes the tactics and strategies his team employs are not only effective, but should serve as models throughout the agency. Some districts have variations of highway interdiction teams while the majority dont have any at all, he said.

Dame said there are huge gaps in law enforcement coverage that smugglers know about and exploit, demonstrating the need for more inland enforcement measures.    

Shigg said some civil rights advocates have pushed against immigration checkpoints, and limiting agents to mostly immigration issues hinders Border Patrol from being able to stop drugs more effectively.

All of our stops have to be immigration-related, he said. If we do get drugs, the attorneys push to get the stop thrown out because we are immigration officers and we are only supposed to look for immigration violations.

Despite the parameters Border Patrol has been given to work within, Shigg wonders how much more efficient and effective the agency would be if it were not limited to mostly immigration violations.

Dame and his team keep an open but cynical mind when scrutinizing drivers.

We have to be suspicious of everyone, he said, while checking license plates and the behavior of drivers on a busy freeway. We look at the totality of the situation before we pull someone over, such as how they are driving, body language, and violations pulled from a record search.

While the teams tactics may appear random to some observers, their methods for selecting suspicious drivers have already passed judicial scrutiny twice by the reputedly liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco.

We have to work within a framework. Thats why we are successful, he said. Weve never had a case thrown out.

One woman driving a silver Mazda was pulled over for inspection. While a background check revealed she had an arrest record linked to drug smuggling, agents found no incriminating evidence during a search of the car, which included use of a drug-sniffing dog.

 Its their job to keep us safe so I really dont mind, said 36-year-old Dannia Lizarraga.

President Trump, who in 2016 became the first presidential candidate to receive an endorsement from the Border Patrol agents union, has been vocal against Mexicos drug-trafficking organizations.

 The drug epidemic is poisoning too many American lives, and were going to stop it in many different ways. One of them will be the wall, Trump said in May, during a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Cheap heroin and the synthetic opioid fentanyl continue to flood into the U.S. with little sign of abatement. This is not good news for the U.S., which has seen heroin overdose death rates quadruple since 2010.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 12,989 heroin deaths in 2015, a 23 percent increase from the previous year, and 9,580 fentanyl overdose deaths the same year, a 73 percent increase from 2014.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/07/13/policy-changes-austerity-hamper-border-patrol-as-drugs-flow-into-us.html

Rob& Chyna: the saddest evidence on Tv

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The format of this painfully dull show is identical to other persons of the Kardashian empire: interminable scenes of parties sitting in kitchens not gobbling cheese plates

Is there a less qualified reality reveal starring than Rob Kardashian? If you lined up 10 beings from the shedding file of A& Es Intervention and Rob Kardashian and had to choose one to base an ongoing tv series around, would you ever pick him unless you knew his last name? Isnt this a tragedy? Shouldnt we all be more unnerved?

Sunday darkness premiere of the new E! line Rob& Chyna marks the reappearance of the black sheep Kardashian to the public eye. Hes wasted years of their own lives unwilling to leave his room, which induced him to income( his words) a grasp of heavines. He gazes less comfortable becoming gaze contact with other human beings than the little orphan daughter Newt from the movie Aliens. A Los Angeles Dodgers hat covers whats left of the poorest of the poor guys thin, matted whisker. His wardrobe consists of T-shirts , nondescript jeans and sneakers. In other terms, when I watch this astoundingly depressing platform, I interpret myself and what I might become( minus the millions of dollars ).

The first few minutes of Rob& Chyna intend to construct us sympathize with Rob and his pregnant fiancee Blac Chyna. As an digression, isnt it a little bit ghoulish that Blac Chyna extends almost exclusively by the mention Chyna in the first occurrence now that the original Chyna the former WWE wrestler has died? Its like rummaging through people jewelry after a funeral.

Regardless of what you call her, Blac Chyna is the actual hotshot of this demonstrate, even if her reputation is second on the marquee. She came up from the world-famous airstrip clubs of Atlanta and became something of an entrepreneur, at least in the way that we characterize that parole in 2016. She took the Kardashian template of monetizing tabloid notoriety through a sect of identity social media ubiquity, labelled makes, and now, the final bit of the mystify, an E! actuality franchise. Shes become a major supporting player in the ongoing Kardashian meta-narrative having a baby with the rapper Tyga, who then leaves her for Kylie Jenner, which leads to Chyna connect pressures with Rob. Whether or not her relationship with Rob is genuine or a calculated effort to increase her making potential is not for me to decide (* cough its bullshit cough *) but what is is whether or not this Tv show is good. Its not.

Rob
Rob& Chyna: started with the wind. Photograph: E!

If your litmus test for sticking with a program is answering the issues to does someone fart within the first 10 hours with a yes, then Rob& Chyna is for you. Spoiler alert, Chyna farts in the car. If “youd prefer” a bit of drama, then maybe flip over to another path. Or throw your cable casket or streaming device into the nearest open body of water and wander into the town square. Either one is fine with me.

The format of this dreadfully monotonous show is identical to the other outposts of the Kardashian empire: wearisome backgrounds of people driving indulgence gondolas on featureless roads, be standing kitchens not eating cheese plates, or folding invests for a business journey that may or may not ever happen. During these backgrounds, mush-mouthed pod parties debate some ill-defined conflict. Someone needs to go to rehab for a ambiguous problem. Someone needs to text person back about a situation that happened off camera. Someone finds disrespected. A party invite is lost in the mail. Watching these establishes is like speaking “the worlds largest” banal email thread at 3am. Plug sad-eyed agoraphobe Rob Kardashian into this format and you have a cure for insomnia so potent, the Food and Drug Administration should regulate it.

The ostensible scheme of this occurrence revolves around Rob alleging Chyna of texting people behind his back. He testifies this to be the case because he discovers that Chyna has changed the passcode on her iPhone. He even insinuates that shes fastening up with her ex, Tyga. All of this takes home with Rob spread out comfortably on a plot. Chyna denies any immorality, then alleges Rob of contacting ladies behind her back. He apparently acknowledges it, which I vaguely recollect before my eyelids glued closed for the night. It must be the case, because the very next incident is Chyna in another expensive auto screaming at Rob to stop texting bitches.

These are the moments one watches reality TV for hostility, incoherent shout and curse. This is why I favor the Andy Cohen Bravo model for reality over the clumsy Ryan Seacrest/ Kris Jenner luxury gabfests. Contrast Rob& Chyna with Bravos Below Deck, currently on its fourth season and with one spinoff under its loop. Below Decks premise is simple: give a bunch of attractive deckhands on a mega-yacht, cater them with alcohol, and be fostered to melt down every occurrence. Would you instead watch that or a picture starring beings too far-famed to realize proper clowns of themselves for your amusement? The refute is, neither, Im a grownup who is too busy lending evaluate to the culture to devalue myself with such trifles, but dont fret, I picked the show about yachties drunkenly robbing up too.

I will say that the producers of Rob& Chyna( which include the titular Rob and Chyna among their grades) do try to spice occasions up. Scott Disick appears in the responsibilities of Robs only friend in around the world and his chauffeur, schlepping him around Los Angeles like a pasty white Morgan Freeman from Driving Miss Daisy. Theres a memorable vistum where Rob steps into Chynas home in full Eeyore mode, carrying blooms to apologize for texting bitches. Chyna isnt having it, grabs the flowers, grubs them in a kitty, then knocks Rob out of her live. This is the turning point of the alleged fib, as the rest of the occurrence commits Chyna trying to get Rob to text her back, as she has seemingly forgotten that she screamed at him to leave her alone while pee-pee all over his nostalgic gesture. Im sure Rob Kardashian, AKA Calabasas Morrissey, genuinely took that well.

Finally, Kris Jenner, matriarch of the expansive Kardashian family and former nemesis of Blac Chyna, appears to counsel Chyna on how to handle Rob. Jenner is shown to be so shrewd that I half expected her to have grown a beard, picked up a large wand, and shed on a pointy hat off-screen. Much has been made of how Blac Chyna is so clever and took down the Kardashians by getting engaged to Rob. Thats a nifty little underdog narrative, but if you think that Kris Jenner isnt ingeniou enough to use this to her advantage and will be the ultimate win of this dim-witted rivalry, then you arent paying attention to the picture. Thats fine, since it probably attained you pass out from boredom, but the facts of the case remains that one of the last faces you see in this first occurrence is Kris Jenner. The whole silly enterprise is hers and hers alone. Chyna can have a piece, as long as she pays her taxes to her feudal lord.

And then theres Rob. At last-place, they found a mode to monetize his mopey look and wrinkled robes. Instead of a Shrek-like animal they continue locked away in a basement, he has his own prove, which only furthers the aims of his family. In exchange, this mortal who likely has real clinical depression has to pretend to be a Tv sun. By accident, E! has stumbled upon the saddest demonstrate on television, so filled with existential despair that youd usurp it was drummed up by a government-funded writer in some sodden Scandinavian country over a bottle of cheap scotch. If “youre watching” more than one of the following options episodes, youll likely find yourself not leaving the house for years, just like Rob Kardashian.

18 -Yr-Old Dies in Car Crash. 3 Yrs Later, Mom Hears What He Left Behind& Its Hauntingly Beautiful

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It was a sound she never imagined she’d hear again …

This psychological momma is about to hear her son’s heartbeat inside an organ recipient, and it will just rend your center fibres in every direction.

Lisa Swanson’s son died in a vehicle wreck when he was just 18 years old, but threeyears later, she got to meet “the mens” who now lives because her son diedand it is every colour of beautiful.

Every day 22 people just like Terry are waiting for an organ transplant, and only onedonor can save eightlives.What a beautiful reminder that there’s no greater talent than the knack of life!

British category in lethal car disintegrate in France, French police enunciate – BBC News

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Image copyright FranceTVPluzz

A UK father and two of his children have died in a auto crash on a motorway in east France, French police say.

The family were in a black Nissan on the A39 at Savigny-en-Revermont, near Dijon, when the car left the road at about 07:00 local experience on Sunday.

The 31 -year-old father, who has yet to be called, expired alongside “their childrens”, believed to be aged four and 12.

His wife and another of “their childrens” endured and were sent to hospital with serious injuries, police say.

Witnesses added driving provisions were good and no other vehicles were involved.

They find the car turn off the road and follow through a safe barrier.

Police are trying to determine why the man lost controller of the car and are looking into the alternative he fell asleep at the wheel.

‘First observations’

BBC Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield said the car left the motorway for unexplained intellects and ploughed into an embankment supporting a bridge.

Prefect of Louhans George Bos, who was in charge of the recovery procedure, alleged: “The first watchings seem to indicate that the car floated to the safety fence on the right and territory on the pier of the bridge for unknown reasons.

“We be thought that the papa may have fallen asleep or that he may have been confused by something and moved aside.”

Our correspondent enunciated police were trying to find out whether the family had spanned over from the UK late on Saturday and been travelling overnight. They have issued alarms about safety on long journeys.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman alleged: “We are providing assistance following a road traffic accident in France, in which three British nationals have sadly expired and two others have been hospitalised.

“We are working closely with local authorities and supporting the families at this difficult time.”

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How an agoraphobic travels the world – BBC News

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Image copyright Jacqui Kenny

Jacqui Kenny’s agoraphobia means a trip to the supermarket can trigger an anxiety attack and fears of impending “catastrophe”. But she says her Instagram account is helping her and sufferers like her to explore remote corners of the world.

Jacqui, 43, takes shots from Google Street View – among them a group of nuns in Peru and high-rise flats in Russia – posting images to her 20,000 followers under the pseudonym “Agoraphobic Traveller”.

Since her 20s she has feared busy places and public transport – despite living in central London – but says the digital age has helped her travel to places she would otherwise never see.

“I’ll go anywhere that feels a little bit magical,” she says. “They are places that would be incredibly difficult for me to travel to, so inevitably I’m attracted to them.”

Image copyright Google
Image caption Children playing near the Atacama Desert in Chile

Jacqui, who was diagnosed with agoraphobia in 2009, chooses remote, eerie places to capture and says she likes anywhere with an “other-worldly feel”.

“There’s a lot of isolation in the shots but there is also colour and hope in there,” she says. “The photos I take reflect how I feel and my agoraphobia is part of that.”

But her “thrill” at discovering faraway places contrasts with her fear of everyday situations.

She describes going to the local supermarket as “a nightmare” and says she has not taken a Tube train in 10 years.

“I’ll start to panic – my palms are sweaty, I have a racing heart, I feel that my feet aren’t touching the floor,” she says.

“Thoughts are racing through my mind – that I’m going to lose control, smash everything in the aisle – and everyone will see.”

Image copyright Google
Image caption A remote bus stop in Belgorod Oblast in Russia

Jacqui was 23 and living in Australia when she had her first panic attack during a busy day at work.

“No one told me what it was and I thought I was dying,” she says. “Later, a doctor said it must’ve been something I’d had for dinner.

“He blamed it on the black bean sauce – no one was talking about mental health.”

Hidden illness

Before starting the project in 2016, Jacqui managed to hide her symptoms from everyone except her family.

At work, she ran a digital marketing company but only went to meetings in the office which was two minutes’ walk from her house.

She says finding and posting the images has helped her come to terms with being agoraphobic, which she had felt angry about for a long time.

“Before my anxiety set in I dreamed of being a photographer,” says Jacqui. “I’d resigned myself to this never happening.”

“Now I feel that the condition doesn’t define me but is within a part of me,” she says.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Fallen branches from a tree in Senegal, Western Africa

But does spending hours online posting photos really help her condition?

Jacqui admits she “thought it could be an unhealthy thing to do” to trawl the internet for hours at a time.

But she says it has given her the confidence to speak about the condition and come to terms with it.

“It’s only when I started posting these photos I went beyond telling my family and really close friends,” she says.

“Before, nobody knew,” she says. “Now people from all over the world are coming to me sharing similar struggles – it’s amazing.”

Image copyright Google
Image caption High-rise flats in Russia

She says many people misunderstand agoraphobia as a fear of open spaces, but she has discovered how varied people’s anxiety can be.

She has been contacted by an agoraphobic journalist who struggles in a busy newsroom and photographers who may fear travelling to a photo shoot.

“Quite a few young women have asked me for advice,” she says. “I tell them about my experience, but I can only offer my viewpoint as I’m obviously not a psychologist.”

She adds: “Everybody’s dealing with something and I’m really starting to realise that.”

Image copyright Google
Image caption A street dog chases the Google car Arequipa, Peru

Jacqui now manages her anxiety with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which aims to change patterns of thinking – recently attending her sister’s wedding in New Zealand.

“I had therapy which involved a lot of anxiety and not sleeping for three months,” she says.

But she managed the flight after seeing a psychologist, who made her act out her worst fears. “I pretended to bang down the door of the plane, trying to get out of there,” she says.

“I realised how funny the situation was, and we both fell around laughing, and when I actually boarded the plane that humour helped me through it.”

It was not easy – but she says the trip has given her hope.

“I try to do these things,” she says. “There are times when I can’t do it and I go home – but I know that is making it worse.”


What is agoraphobia?

Image copyright Reuters
  • Agoraphobics may fear being left alone, in a situation where they feel trapped, or travelling away from a “safe” place
  • The condition usually starts between the ages of 18 and 35 and is twice as common in women as men
  • Many agoraphobics fear having a panic attack others might see, or suffer an anxiety attack
  • They may get anxious when waiting in long lines, being in crowded places, or in wide-open spaces
  • People can seek advice from NHS Choices. their GP or the charity Anxiety UK

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39970205

Congrats to All You Gravity-Bound Earthlings, From NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins

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Astronaut Kate Rubins is no stranger to desolate environs. As a molecular biologist, she has done fieldwork in the Congo and worked withsome of the world’s most dangerous pathogens. So she was more than up to the challenge of spaceflight. In July, Rubins and two spacegoers from Russia and Japan launched to the International Space Station for a four-month adventurefull of spacewalks, science, and a bit of civic duty–Rubins filedher electronic vote from low Earth arena.

Rubins wanted to vote early in cases where her return to Earth wasdelayed. But it wasn’t: On October 30, Rubins and her colleagues landed safely in Kazakhstan aboard aSoyuz capsule. Not that she’d have time to vote today, anyway: Her schedule is parcelled with medical exams, debriefings … and a quick check-in with WIRED. We expected Rubins about the experiments she conducted at the ISS, her first spacewalks, and what it can still feel land on Earth after months in microgravity.

You got to do the first DNA sequencing in space with the portable MinION device. Did it wreak any differently than expected ?
Were said he hopes that some of that get publicized very soon. We were able to do the first proof of principle experimentation and show that its feasible to string DNA in arena. After we got done with the tech dev part of it “weve been” hit right out of the entrance and purposed up sequencing a little bit over 2 billion base duets by the time I left. We did a number of experimentations to look at how the nanopore engineering works for sequencing, and in talking to the principal investigators, it actually operates somewhat better in space. It may be something due to the flow cells we dont fairly understand yet.

Before “youve left”, you talked about rehearsing to be employed in the tissue culture punk in microgravity. What was the learning arc like?
It takes fairly some time to learn how to control flow in six axes. The large-scale delta is youre moving and youre restricting your motion with your feet while youre doing culture. Your two paws are in some foot rails, and then you use your shins and the tips of your toes to restrict your flow as your arms are in the hood. It takes some time, because on Earth you want to launch yourself up a little bit to counteract seriousnes and thats a recipe for smack-dab the top of your psyche into a wall or a hatchway. So theres a bit of immediate reinforcement.

What experiments from the terminal are you most interested in following up on ?

All of them. All of the cellular, the molecular biology experimentations are fascinating to me contributed my background. I plan to work on a lot of those actually from the ground, so I don’t have to leave. I believe I have about 12 jobs waiting for me when I get back into the office.

Were there any things about being on the ISS that altered your perspective ?

The really interesting thing from the cupola is that its went spaces all around it, so you can actually witness the Milky way system on both sides of you. I genuinely reassured myself that we live in a spiral galaxy by looking at both sides of the Milky Way. You also actually get a chance to see orbital motion. It took me a few months of exactly kind of ogling out the window, but if you reach the right beta slant with the moon, youre orbiting around the planet, the moon is orbiting around the planet, and its ignite up by the sunshine. I’ve always taken this as happening, you know, Kepler was right, but I genuinely got a chance to see it, and its that amazing to attend occasions in trajectory around a planet with your own eyes.

Can you describe the physical know of your two spacewalks?

You perfectly know youre in space when youre doing a spacewalk. That was pretty interesting because you can look vacuum-clean. It actually changes your vocal cords because the pressure inside the suit descends quite a bit, so your articulation experiences different. When you go to vacuum in the airlock and you take the hose off the figurehead of your room suit, theres a bit of ocean in there, and you can see that sublimate and frost crystals shape and fly away. My thought at that moment was,” Oh we are no kidding at vacuum-clean here, we are genuinely in space .”

What did it look like up there ?

The experience of being able to see the planet through merely a visor is unbelievable. When were doing the cavity walks were working extremely very hard. Every single instant is choreographed. But theres a few minutes here and there where dirt is maybe talking about something and you have to put your implements down and wait. Just get a chance to look through your visor and learn the planet go by was incredible.

How did the arrival lead ?
The arrival string is unbelievably dynamic. You get buckled down a little bit like an Indy race car driver. We affected a heyday of about 4 Gs, which weve done in the centrifuge before, so I know what that felt like. But after months of weightlessness, 4 Gs felt like about 9 or 10, so it was quite a loading! There’s a huge opening stun of the parachutes–I repute Scott Kelly has said it’s like youre in a barrel well-lighted on fire going down Niagara Falls, and that is about the best description Ive heard so far. Theres another immense impact when you land thats about like a car gate-crash. The vessel leapings and rollers a bit and decides down. At some moment and we examined out the window and we viewed grunge. We were pretty sure that we touched planet Earth at that point.

After the initial affect, how did you detect your torso responding to the gravity ?
Yeah about 48 hours into it, I was ready to go back into cavity again. I dont know you guys deal with gravitation all the time! It seems very heavy to me.

Will law should be brought into ‘modern world’ – BBC News

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Image copyright Getty Images

The law around wills should be updated and brought into the “modern world”, the Law Commission for England and Wales has said.

The current rules were “unclear” and could be putting people off from making a will, it added.

It is considering whether texts, emails and other electronic communications should be recognised as a valid will in exceptional circumstances.

The commission has launched a consultation on the proposals.

‘Outdated’

Currently, for a will to be legally valid it must be written by someone who is 18 or over and of sound mind in front of two witnesses who are also both over 18.

But the commission wants to change the existing formality rules where the will-maker has made clear their intentions in another form.

It gives the example where a car crash victim has not made a formal will but has expressed their intentions in electronic or other messages, such as a text or email.

The family could then apply to a court to have those communications recognised as a formal will.

These messages could only then be recognised as a will if a judge approved.


What happens if there is no will?

  • If someone dies without a will, rules dictate how their money, property or possessions should be allocated, and potentially not in the way the deceased would have wished
  • Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will
  • If there are no surviving relatives who can inherit under the rules of intestacy, the estate passes to the Crown
  • Specific rules can vary across the United Kingdom

Source: Citizens Advice


The Law Commission acknowledged the proposals on electronic communications could cause family arguments or worse.

It said the plans could provide a “treasure trove for dissatisfied relatives” and lead to a “variety of avenues by which probate could become both expensive and contentious”.

But it said on balance it believed they should be recognised by the courts, noting that 40% of people currently die without making a will.

Law Commissioner, Professor Nick Hopkins, said making a will should be “straightforward” but the law was “unclear and outdated”.

“Even when it’s obvious what someone wanted, if they haven’t followed the strict rules, courts can’t act on it.

“And conditions which affect decision-making – like dementia – aren’t properly accounted for in the law.

“That’s not right and we want an overhaul to bring the law into the modern world.

“Our provisional proposals will not only clarify things legally, but will also help to give greater effect to people’s last wishes.”

The consultation closes on 10 November.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40590117

Rob& Chyna: the saddest testify on TV

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The format of this painfully dull show is identical to other persons of the Kardashian empire: wearisome panoramas of people sitting in kitchens not chewing cheese plates

Is there a less qualified actuality present whiz than Rob Kardashian? If you lined up 10 beings from the shedding file of A& Es Intervention and Rob Kardashian and had to choose one to base an ongoing tv series around, would you ever pick him unless you knew his last name? Isnt this a tragedy? Shouldnt we all be more disturbed?

Sunday darkness premiere of the brand-new E! serial Rob& Chyna marks the revert of the black sheep Kardashian to the public eye. Hes spent years of their own lives unwilling to leave his room, which generated him to addition( his texts) a grasp of weight. He examines less comfy building seeing contact with other human beings than the little orphan girl Newt from the movie Aliens. A Los Angeles Dodgers hat covers whats left of the poorest of the poor people thin, matted whisker. His wardrobe consists of T-shirts , nondescript jeans and sneakers. In other statements, when I watch this astoundingly depressing curriculum, I look myself and what I might become( minus the millions of dollars ).

The first few minutes of Rob& Chyna intend to represent us sympathize with Rob and his pregnant fiancee Blac Chyna. As an digression, isnt it a little bit horrid that Blac Chyna extends almost entirely by the reputation Chyna in the first episode now that the original Chyna the former WWE wrestler has died? Its like ransacking through someones jewelry after a funeral.

Regardless of what you call her, Blac Chyna is the actual hotshot of this establish, even if her refer is second on the marquee. She came up from the world-famous deprive fraternities of Atlanta and became something of an entrepreneur, at least in the way that we characterize that text in 2016. She took the Kardashian template of monetizing tabloid notoriety through a sect of identity social media ubiquity, labelled commodities, and now, the final bit of the problem, an E! actuality franchise. Shes become a major supporting player in the ongoing Kardashian meta-narrative having a baby with the rapper Tyga, who then leaves her for Kylie Jenner, which leads to Chyna join troops with Rob. Whether or not her relationship with Rob is genuine or a calculated effort to increase her making potential is not for me to decide (* cough its bullshit cough *) but what is is whether or not this Tv show is good. Its not.

Rob
Rob& Chyna: extended with the wind. Photo: E!

If your litmus test for staying with a program is answering the issues to does someone fart within the first 10 minutes with a yes, then Rob& Chyna is for you. Spoiler alert, Chyna farts in the car. If “youd prefer” a bit of drama, then maybe flip over to another channel. Or hurl your cable chest or streaming invention into the nearest open body of water and stray into the town square. Either one is fine with me.

The format of this painfully monotonous show is identical to the other outposts of the Kardashian empire: wearisome incidents of parties driving luxury vehicles on featureless roads, be standing kitchens not snacking cheese illustrations, or folding invests for a business trip that may or may not ever happen. During these incidents, mush-mouthed pod people debate some ill-defined conflict. Someone needs to go to rehab for a vague question. Somebody must text person back about a happen that happened off camera. Person detects disrespected. A party invite is lost in the mail. Watching these depicts is like speaking the most banal email thread at 3am. Plug sad-eyed agoraphobe Rob Kardashian into this format and you have a panacea for insomnia so potent, the Food and Drug Administration should govern it.

The ostensible planned of this episode revolves around Rob accusing Chyna of texting people behind his back. He affirms this to be the case because he discovers that Chyna has changed the passcode on her iPhone. He even insinuates that shes robbing up with her ex, Tyga. All of this takes lieu with Rob spread out comfortably on a berth. Chyna disclaims any immorality, then alleges Rob of contacting girls behind her back. He apparently acknowledges it, which I vaguely remember before my eyelids glued slam for the night. It must be the case, because the very next background is Chyna in another expensive automobile screaming at Rob to stop texting bitches.

These are the moments one watches actuality TV for aggressivenes, incoherent cry and curse. This is why I favor the Andy Cohen Bravo model for reality over the clumsy Ryan Seacrest/ Kris Jenner indulgence gabfests. Contrast Rob& Chyna with Bravos Below Deck, currently on the work of its fourth season and with one spinoff under its loop. Below Decks premise is simple: introduce a knot of attractive deckhands on a mega-yacht, travel them with booze, and be fostered to melt down every escapade. Would you preferably watch that or a appearance starring beings extremely famous to realize proper clowns of themselves for your delight? The reaction is, neither, Im a grownup who is too busy contributing importance to the culture to debase myself with such playthings, but dont obsess, I picked the show about yachties drunkenly fastening up too.

I will say that the producers of Rob& Chyna( which include the titular Rob and Chyna among their ranks) do try to spice occasions up. Scott Disick appears in the role of Robs only friend in around the world and his chauffeur, schlepping him around Los Angeles like a pasty white-hot Morgan Freeman from Driving Miss Daisy. Theres a memorable situation where Rob moves into Chynas home in full Eeyore mode, carrying blooms to apologize for texting bitches. Chyna isnt having it, grabs the flowers, grubs them in a pond, then knocks Rob out of her house. This is the turning point of the alleged story, as the rest of the episode concerns Chyna trying to get Rob to text her back, as she has apparently be pointed out that she called at him to leave her alone while pissing all over his romantic gesticulate. Im sure Rob Kardashian, AKA Calabasas Morrissey, really took that well.

Finally, Kris Jenner, matriarch of the extended Kardashian family and former nemesis of Blac Chyna, appears to counsel Chyna on how to deal with Rob. Jenner is shown to be so prudent that I half expected her to have grown a beard, picked up a large twig, and hurled on a pointy hat off-screen. Much has been made of how Blac Chyna is so cunning and took down the Kardashians by getting engaged to Rob. Thats a nifty little underdog narrative, but if you think that Kris Jenner isnt clever enough to use this to her advantage and will be the ultimate winner of this dim-witted contest, then you arent paying attention to the display. Thats fine, since it probably prepared you pass out from boredom, but the facts of the case remains that one of the last faces you see in this first escapade is Kris Jenner. The whole brainless enterprise is hers and hers alone. Chyna can have a piece, as long as she pays her taxes to her feudal lord.

And then theres Rob. At last-place, they found a direction to monetize his mopey look and wrinkled clothes. Instead of a Shrek-like individual they impede locked up in a basement, he has his own prove, which only furthers the attainment of the objectives of their own families. In exchange, this boy who perhaps has real clinical depression has to pretend to be a TV whiz. By collision, E! has stumbled upon the saddest establish on television, so fitted with existential hopelessnes that youd expect it was drummed up by a government-funded writer in some mushy Scandinavian country over a bottle of inexpensive scotch. If “youre watching” more than one of the following options episodes, youll probably find yourself not leaving the house for years, just like Rob Kardashian.

Venus Williams car crash: Video establishes tennis whiz entered intersection legally, police do

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Tennis star Venus Williams legally enrolled an intersection and did not burst the laws and regulations in the ensuing auto disintegrate that resulted in one person’s demise, police enunciated Friday upon exhausting a surveillance video of the incident.

The video shows that Williams was cut off by another gondola, specifying off a chain of events that seconds later resulted in a lethal disintegrate with a third automobile, police said.

Investigators have now annulled their originial conclusion that Williams was at fault.

The video testifies Williams honcho north as she stops her 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV at a stoplight behind a white-hot car as she departs her Palm Beach Garden vicinity shortly after 1 p.m. June 9.

When the light rotates light-green, the white-hot auto alters left onto a six-lane, heavily traveled street, but Williams premiers directly. A darknes coloured sedan moves left in front of her, making her to stop.

She then prolongs straight into the far, westbound trails, where her SUV is impressed in the passenger’s back by a 2016 Hyundai sedan driven by Linda Barson.

Palm Beach Garden police said in a statement Friday that Barson’s light had become light-green just before Williams moved in front of her. Barson’s 78 -year-old husband, Jerome Barson, expired June 23 from injuries suffered in the crash.

Williams, who was not hurt, had still not been quoth or charged. Police spokesman Maj. Paul Rogers said Friday that no blamed has yet been determined.

Jerome Barson’s owned has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams endeavouring unspecified shatters. Linda Barson, 68, sustained several ruptures to her arm.

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