July 29, 2019

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India’s tiger population rises to 3,000 despite cities expanding

India’s tiger population has grown to nearly 3,000 and has been described by the country’s prime minister as a “historic achievement”.

India estimates its tiger population every few years and the number for 2018 was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

The tiger population was 2,226 in 2014 and just 1,400 about 15 years ago.

Mr Modi said the number of protected areas for tigers rose from 692 in 2014 to 860 last year while the number of community reserves went from 43 to 100 over the same period.

“With around 3,000 tigers, India has emerged as of one of the biggest and safest habitats for them in the world,” he said.

Belinda Wright, founder of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, based in New Delhi, said India “still has a long way to go to secure a long-term future for wild tigers”.

But she also said India should, nevertheless, be pleased with the results of what was the largest and most thorough estimation of the tiger population.

(SKY News)

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  • An eight-year-old boy is killed and his mother injured after being pushed by a man into the path of an oncoming train at Frankfurt‘s main station, in HesseGermany. The attacker, a 40-year-old immigrant Eritrean man, also attempted to knock a third person onto the tracks. The suspect and the victims did not appear to have known one another. (Sky News)
  • 2019 Altamira prison riot
    • At least 57 people are killed, including sixteen who were beheaded, during prison riots in ParáBrazil, which saw rival gangs battle for five hours. (BBC)

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July 30, 2019

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Chinese vlogger who used filter to look younger caught in live-stream glitch

Fans of a popular Chinese video blogger who called herself “Your Highness Qiao Biluo” have been left stunned after a technical glitch during one of her live-streams revealed her to be a middle-aged woman and not the young glamorous girl they thought her to be.

The revelation has led to discussions about standards of beauty across the country’s social media platforms.

The blogger, who initially boasted a follower count of more than 100,000 on Douyu, is believed to have used a filter on her face during her appearances, and had been renowned for her “sweet and healing voice”.

China’s Global Times said she had been “worshipped” as a “cute goddess” by some members of her loyal audience with some fans even giving her more than 100,000 yuan ($14,533, £11,950).

However, live-streaming platform Lychee News says the incident happened on 25 July, during a joint live-stream with another user, Qingzi on the Douyu platform.

The Global Times reports that all was as normal and that her fans urged her to show her face and remove her filter but she refused, instead apparently saying: “I can’t show my face until I receive gifts worth 100,000 yuan ($11,950). After all, I’m a good-looking host.”

Followers began to send her donations with the largest reported to be 40,000 yuan ($5,813, £4,780) during the session.

However, at some point, it seems the filter being used by the vlogger stopped working and her real face became visible to her viewers.

She is reported to have noticed only when people who had signed up to her VIP access room started exiting en masse.

Many of her original followers – especially men – are said to have stopped following her and withdrawn their transactions after seeing her true identity.

Your Highness Qiao Biluo without a filter and with a filter
Your Highness Qiao Biluo’s real appearance (left) and her filtered face (right) on Douyu

(BBC)

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  • At least 18 people, including thirteen civilians and five crew members, are killed and 12 others injured after a small military plane crashes into a residential area near the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi(BBC)

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July 31, 2019

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YouTube ‘King of Random’ dies in paragliding accident

YouTuber Grant Thompson, star of the “King of Random” channel, has died in a paragliding accident.

The 38 year old, whose channel had 11 million subscribers with billions of views, failed to return from a trip in Utah on Monday.

Thompson had a GPS device which helped locate his body the next day.

His YouTube channel was known for its creative – and sometimes dangerous – experiments such as “What does Liquid Nitrogen do to Your Face?”

Thompson’s death was officially announced on his Instagram page, with calls for his fans to “do a random act of love or kindness today in honour of The King of Random”.

In an interview with MediaKix in 2017, Thompson explained how he was bullied at school but eventually became a pilot. After flying planes for more than a decade, he went into real estate, became “semi-retired” and started his YouTube channel.

“I started making videos on YouTube showing people what I was tinkering with and what I was coming up with,” he said at the time.

(BBC)

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August 1, 2019

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Milky Way galaxy is warped and twisted, not flat

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is “warped and twisted” and not flat as previously thought, new research shows.

Analysis of the brightest stars in the galaxy shows that they do not lie on a flat plane as shown in academic texts and popular science books.

Astronomers from Warsaw University speculate that it might have been bent out of shape by past interactions with nearby galaxies.

The new three dimensional map has been published in the journal Science.

The popular picture of the Milky Way as a flat disc is based on the observation of 2.5 million stars out of a possible 2.5 billion. The artists’ impressions are therefore rough approximations of the truer shape of our galaxy, according to Dr Dorota Skowron of Warsaw University.

“The internal structure and history of the Milky Way is still far from being understood, in part because it is extremely difficult to measure distances to stars at the outer regions of our galaxy,” she said.

The Milky Way
OGLE/WARSAW UNIVERSITY

(BBC)

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  • The town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire, England, is evacuated after heavy rain and flooding causes structural damage to the nearby dam at the Toddbrook Reservoir amid fears the dam could collapse. A severe flood warning has been issued for communities situated along the River Goyt(BBC)

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August 2, 2019

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Lionel Messi Suspended 3 Months and Fined $50,000 for CONMEBOL Criticism

The Argentine star Lionel Messi was barred on Friday from playing for his national team for three months and was fined $50,000 by CONMEBOL, the South American soccer governing body, after he heavily criticized the organization during the Copa América.

Messi, 32, accused CONMEBOL of corruption after he was sent off against Chile in the third-place playoff match during the tournament in Brazil, which ended last month.

Messi was angered by two incidents during the Copa.

Argentina was denied two penalty claims in its 2-0 semifinal loss to the hosts, after which Messi claimed Brazil was “managing a lot in CONMEBOL these days.” And when he was harshly dismissed in the next game, which Argentina won, 2-1, he could not contain his anger.

“Corruption and the referees are preventing people from enjoying the football, and they’re ruining it a bit,” Messi said.

He was given his marching orders after a first-half scuffle with Chile’s captain, Gary Medel, although television images suggested he had done little wrong.

In a statement on its website, CONMEBOL did not specify why Messi was being punished but said the punishment was related to articles 7.1 and 7.2 of the organization’s disciplinary regulations.

(NY Times)

Lionel Messi at 2018 World Cup
Lionel Messi at 2018 World Cup [Кирилл Венедиктов]

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August 3, 2019

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El Paso Shooting: Massacre at a Crowded Walmart in Texas Leaves 20 Dead

A 21-year-old gunman armed with a powerful rifle turned a crowded Walmart store in this majority-Hispanic border city into a scene of chaos and bloodshed on Saturday, stalking shoppers in the aisles in an attack that left at least 20 people dead and 26 others wounded, the authorities said.

For several minutes late on Saturday morning, the packed Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall on the city’s East Side filled with gun smoke and the echo of gunfire. Workers and customers, some bloodied, fled out the doors. Others huddled in the aisles or on the ground.

“Texas grieves for the people of El Paso today,” the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, told reporters. “On a day that would have been a normal day for someone to leisurely go shopping, turned into one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas.”

The authorities identified the gunman as Patrick Crusius, from a Dallas suburb. He was taken into custody after he surrendered to the police outside the Walmart. The authorities said they were investigating a manifesto Mr. Crusius, who is white, may have posted before the shooting, which described an attack in response to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

(NY Times)

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