Cambridge scientist Helen Lees simple, mobile device will speed up detection and treatment rates

A revolutionary device developed by a team of Cambridge scientists is transforming the diagnosis of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. The machine known as Samba (simple amplification-based assay) can tell whether a person is infected with the virus within two hours of them giving a tiny blood sample. Virus carriers can then be offered immediate treatment and advice.

More than 20 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are thought to be carrying HIV, the virus that causes Aids. The chaotic conditions in some parts of this region with transport, health services and electricity supply often poor or nonexistent have made it extraordinarily difficult for doctors to keep track of infected individuals.

But the new analyser, the size of a small coffee machine, which was developed by a team led by Cambridge blood scientist Professor Helen Lee, needs no laboratory or trained staff. It can be carried on a motorcycle often the only method of transport in remote regions and its reagents can withstand high temperatures and humidity. Basically, they will still work even if the heat goes above 50C, said Lee.

In recognition of her teams achievement in developing Samba, Lee has been named a finalist in the 2016 European inventor awards. Winners will be announced in Lisbon next week.

The crucial point about our device is that it provides you with a simple signal, Lee told the Observer. If two lights are produced, that shows a person has been infected with HIV. If only one light shines, they are not infected. We can show it to a patient and explain to them exactly what the lights mean and what is going on. That is a very powerful way to convince someone of their condition.

Working in close collaboration with charity Mdecins Sans Frontires, Lee and her colleagues have tested Samba on 40,000 men and women in Malawi and Uganda since the first prototype was developed in 2011 and found it works extremely efficiently. Each test costs around 12 to administer.

Now we are going to expand testing for HIV to pregnant women, mothers and newborn children, starting in Kenya, Lee said.

The ability to make quick diagnoses is considered to be of crucial importance in controlling Africas HIV epidemic. Until now, people have had to travel to health centres to provide a blood sample and then return weeks later for the results of their test. Up to 70% of patients will fail to return and are designated lost to follow-up. Lees tests should help to cut that number dramatically. We are taking the test to the people rather than the other way around, she said.

This point was backed by Benot Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office, which is running next weeks inventor awards. The test brings reliable diagnostics of HIV infection to areas where they are needed most and will also allow monitoring of the efficiency of medical treatments without laboratory infrastructure, he said.

Apart from giving reliable diagnoses of HIV infection, Lees device can tell doctors the viral load the amount of live virus material that is flowing through a patients bloodstream. This a critical parameter for gauging drug dosages, and was previously available only in advanced laboratory settings.

Samba works by drawing a blood sample from a patient and then feeding it into a disposable cartridge that contains chemicals including a particular genetic sequence found only in HIV. These chemicals do not require refrigeration and amplify the viral DNA to generate a colour change that appears on the cartridge. Two red lines on the side mean that person is positive for HIV. One line means they are uninfected. No line means that the test has not worked and needs to be retaken.

So many devices for dealing with conditions like HIV are created in the developed world, said Lee. Then scientists try to adapt them to suit the developing world. That always causes problems. So we have designed our system to suit developing countries from the start.

Lee has set up a new company, Diagnostics for the Real World, backed by the US National Institutes of Health and the Wellcome Trust, to raise money for manufacturing the device. There are also plans to use the system to test for other infectious diseases, including influenza and gonorrhoea.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

Icelands nascent relationship with tourism is bringing a new era to the country. Four people chart the changes to the islands image

The economist

Magns Sveinn Helgason, economic historian, Walk the Crash tour guide and contributor to the governments official inquiry into the economic collapse of 2008

People like to say Icelanders are the strongest, smartest, most beautiful people in the world based on successes in global Strongman contests, Nobel prizes and Miss World titles. We think very highly of ourselves, in the nicest possible way.

We are a strange lot, and proud of it. We used to resemble eastern Europe more than Scandinavia or western Europe, right up to the end of the 1980s. There was a lot of political meddling and profit was seen as a dirty word before shares started being traded; it meant prices were too high or wages too low. But attitudes had changed by the end of the 1990s.

Until the 1980s there was no TV on a Thursday because the government thought people should be doing something other than watching TV at least once a week; and for the same reason in the summer there were no broadcasts at all in July.

We had other quirky laws. Dogs were not allowed in Reykjavik, where two-thirds of the population live, because they were filthy farm animals. And can you believe there was no beer till 1989?

We have no McDonalds they left town after the crash no Starbucks, no casino, no motorway and no army. Until as recently as 2000 there was virtually no tourism. And there was no word for corporate raid. As that caused so much of our trouble I invented one and it has been accepted into the language: fyrirtkjagripdeildir.

Theres plenty of good news around now about nature, culture, and football.

The tourism executive

Inga Hln Plsdttir, director at Promote Iceland

After Eyjafjallajkull erupted in 2010 we had our largest marketing campaign ever, involving municipalities, hotels everybody involved in tourism. Looking back, the volcano really put us on the map. There was no real focus on tourism before it happened.

Since then growth has been huge, and we expect an increase of 20-30% this year, about 1.5 million visitors for the year. Ordinary Icelanders get involved in our social media campaign, posting messages, inviting people to their homes about a third of the population is involved.

There has been a huge increase in Airbnb, and the transatlantic stopovers have been very popular, especially for Americans (passengers can stay in Iceland for up to a week at no additional airfare).

Our focus is on responsible tourism and our target is the enlightened tourist, somebody who lives in an urban area and knows a lot about the destinations they travel to. They are likely to travel off season, and to use social media. We are more careful with the cruise market; the average age of tourists on cruises has gone down but they are not in our target group.

Were really excited about the football weve never been involved in anything like this before and its amazing (Iceland will be appearing at their first major international football tournament at Euro 2016). Its a chance to promote Iceland more and we will have activities going on in Paris.

How do we sell Iceland in the freezing winter? I would highlight the geothermal pools we have 170 of them. You can see the northern lights, you can see forever, there are no trees its a beautiful landscape that you wont find anywhere else.

The novelist

lafur Jhann lafsson, author of five novels, all translated into English, and executive vice-president of Time Warner in New York

I played football from the age of four or five in the back yards of Reykjavik. There wasnt a patch of ground or an alleyway where we didnt play. I still play now (aged 52) three times a week indoors, four on four. It saves me a trip to the shrink.

Despite my work and my writing, my wife will tell you that soccer comes first. I am hoping to be in France to watch a couple of the Iceland games with my sons.

There are some similarities between Leicester City and the Iceland national team, and not just because the populations are similar. The teamwork, the togetherness.

Sports clubs play a really important role in the community throughout the country, in summer and winter. Its a place for kids to get together.

Its not exactly nationalistic but you always know where your roots are. I experience it myself I have lived in the US for more than 30 years but I still have a home in Iceland and still consider myself Icelandic.

We also have what I would call a healthy attitude about fame. In general most people are pleased when our people succeed overseas but we treat them as normal human beings and they dont get the sort of special treatment they might have in other countries.

I know foreign celebrities through my job, and they like to go to Iceland because people leave them alone. Theres no paparazzi.

When I first came to the US nobody knew anything about Iceland or where it was. Now I get an email every week from somebody whos going over there. They say to me: Youve got a symphony orchestra, opera, theatre, a vibrant music scene, you publish more books per capita than any other country its amazing. Iceland might be small, but you still have to function as a society.

The political commentator

Egill Helgason, columnist, blogger, TV host

Iceland is being written about a lot. Cond Nast the other day had the 15 most beautiful waterfalls chosen by their readers and three of them were in Iceland.

The British interest in Iceland is very recent and the sudden growth in tourism has led to lots of property being bought for tourism rental. House prices have become absurd.

In houses all over Reykjavik you have the rattle of suitcases on wheels every morning. We do not have enough hotel rooms. You see cranes all over Reykjavik and all of them are for new hotels.

Some think this is a bubble but I think its something that will last. The world has discovered Iceland. You get into a car and within 15 minutes you are in wild nature. No country in Europe can offer that. As soon as you drive from the airport youre in a lava field; it looks like the moon.

The government is doing very little, theyre just happy to sit and count the money. They need to do something maybe charge tourists more tax and we need to spread out visits to other areas where tourists are not going but which are just as spectacular.

Tourism is just a desk in the Ministry of Industry but tourism is now our biggest earner, bigger than fishing. In the near future I think it will be bigger than everything else combined.

But tourism is not all bad, not at all. There are hotels being built, restaurants opening, in places where before you could maybe get a hot dog and nothing more. That has changed for the better.

We can be a bit hot headed. We argue a lot about politics, we kicked out our prime minister over the Panama Papers and now were effectively kicking out a president really, because his wife was involved in the Panama Papers.

Were very quarrelsome. We quarrel about just about everything and were never as organised as our Scandinavian brethren. We look on them with envy but something in the back of our minds tells us that actually theyre a bit boring.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

Minh Quang Pham was sentenced after pleading guilty in January to charges he provided material support to the terrorist groups Arabian Peninsula affiliate

A Vietnamese-born man who US authorities say was instructed by a top figure with al-Qaidas Yemen affiliate to carry out a suicide attack at Londons Heathrow airport was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Minh Quang Pham, 33, was sentenced by US district judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan after pleading guilty in January to charges he provided material support to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the US and other nations as well as the UN.

Nathan cited Phams renunciation of the militant group as a reason for not imposing a 50-year term sought by prosecutors. But she said he deserved more than the mandatory minimum 30 years due to his role in the horrific bomb plot.

Given this, he must face a significantly severe sentence, she said.

Pham has admitted he helped prepare the Islamic militant groups online propaganda magazine, Inspire, and received military-type training after traveling to Yemen in 2010 from his home in the UK.

Prosecutors said Pham was also involved in a never-executed plot to construct and detonate an explosive device in the arrival area at Heathrow after returning to the UK from Yemen in July 2011.

Prosecutors said Pham was trained on how to carry out the suicide attack by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Islamic cleric who became a leader in the group. He was killed in a September 2011 US drone attack.

Upon his return to the UK, Pham was detained by authorities at Heathrow airport, who discovered various items including a live round of .762 caliber armor-piercing ammunition.

He was arrested in the UK in June 2012 at the request of US authorities and extradited to the United States in February 2015.

In court papers, Phams lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, rejected prosecutors claims that Pham was involved in the alleged Heathrow plot, saying he never intended to pursue any such plot or engage in any physical violence.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

Developers expected to welcome ruling that finds Googles employment of Java code in its Android operating system was fair use

Google has won a six-year court case brought by software firm Oracle, which claimed Google had infringed its copyright by using 11,500 lines of Java code in its Android operating system.

The jury ruled that Googles use of 37 Java APIs (application programming interfaces) was fair use. The news will be welcomed by developers, who typically rely on free access to APIs to develop third-party services.

I salute you for your extreme hard work in this case, US district judge William Alsup told the jury, who had deliberated for three days at San Francisco federal court. I know there will be appeals and the like.

Oracle had contested that Googles use of its proprietary Java code exceeded fair use, and was seeking damages of up to $9bn. Android is by far the most popular mobile operating system, with 1.4 billion monthly active users worldwide and a market share of more than 80%. Those users downloaded 65bn apps in 2015 alone.

More importantly, the fair use decision in this case sets a strong precedent in an industry where programs and apps are often as much constructed from various building blocks of code that already exist as they are from whole cloth.

If the company that owns the original code language as Oracle does with Java can claim ownership over systems which use parts of its code, in varying sizes, that might have a serious dampening effect on developers, few of whom have Googles deep pockets and batteries of legal artillery to call into battle in their defence.

That means todays verdict marks a victory for Google of the latest battle in a years-long war between these two titanic companies. It will probably not be the last, as Oracle is likely to appeal.

When it was developed, Android partly used the programming language Java to build its API. Java was a widely used language, developed by a company called Sun Microsystems in the 1990s.

Sun was bought by Larry Ellisons $169bn software conglomerate Oracle in 2010, and after unsuccessfully trying to negotiate for a deal which would allow Google to license the Java APIs, Oracle sued for copyright and patent infringement, firing the first shot in the legal war.

The key question in the case was this: between a patent, in which the mechanism is the idea being protected by law, and a copyrighted text, in which the language is the idea being protected by law, where does a program in which the language is the mechanism fall?

First blood went to Google when in 2012 a Washington DC judge sided with Google, saying that APIs cant be copyrighted, effectively torpedoing Oracles case that the Java APIs used in Android infringed upon Oracles intellectual property. That order which followed a jury trial which had a patent phase which Google also won and a copyright phase, which ended in a split verdict.

In his order, Judge Allsup who described the action as the first of the so-called smartphone war cases dismissed Oracles case, saying that the particular elements replicated by Google were free for all to use under the Copyright Act.

But that was just the beginning. In 2013, the federal circuit court of appeals heard Oracles case again, and in May 2014 the federal judge reversed Allsups ruling, holding that the structure, sequence and organization of the Java API packages there are 37 in total which Oracle claimed Google copied and remanded the case back to the district court to be retried, this time to discover whether Googles actions constituted fair use of Oracles technology.

If you think that all sounds rather arcane, youd be right. Lawyers for both sides in the San Francisco trial attempted in various ways to explain to the jury how fair use might be contemplated in the context of programming language, often using tortuous metaphors.

During opening and closing arguments, Google had filing cabinets to point to as a [metaphor for a] system of organising things, said the Electronic Frontier Foundations Parker Higgins, who watched the trial closely.

At other moments, he said, lawyers pointed to dishes on a menu, pointing out that chefs still have to prepare those dishes themselves, or at a steering wheel and pedals as common factors in all cars of all makes, meaning that drivers dont have to learn entire systems in each new car.

And that seems simple enough, he said, the jurors seemed to be taking notes, but the underlying question of whether they understood the technical aspects, the standard business practices, remains to be seen.

This case should never have gotten this far, Tyler Ochoa, a professor at Santa Clara University school of law who specializes in copyright law. In my opinion, the federal circuit got it wrong when it reversed [the original trial] ruling and sent the case back for a retrial on fair use.

Oracle [was] trying to use software copyright to protect a portion of the software thats basically functional, and copyright isnt supposed to protect functional things, he added.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

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Five hardline conservatives tell Department of Justice to stop any investigations into whether companies lied to the public about climate change

Five hardline conservative senators, including former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, have demanded the US justice department stop all investigations into whether oil and gas companies lied to the public and shareholders about climate change.

We write today to demand that the Department of Justice (DoJ) immediately cease its ongoing use of law enforcement resources to stifle private debate on one of the most controversial public issues of our time, the senators wrote in a letter dated 25 May.

The letter intends to forestall a federal investigation like those begun by states around the US. In New York last year, the state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, began an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil lied to its investors about the dangers of climate change, and subpoenaed the oil giant for records.

The justice department did not immediately confirm that it has any such investigations in progress or under consideration. In March, the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said the question was discussed and information referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for what we could take action on.

Also on Wednesday, Exxons CEO, Rex Tillerson, defied shareholders and activists who have called on the company to acknowledge climate change and change its behaviors. Until we have [breakthroughs in green technology], just saying turn the taps off is not acceptable to humanity, he said.The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not.

Some investors have tried to force change within the company, and the Rockefeller family, descended from Standard Oil tycoon John D Rockefeller, divested fully from Exxon earlier this year.

Exxon funded efforts that cast doubt on climate science for years, research shows, and tried to censor a series of lectures to Congress in 2001, according to former officials of the US Global Change Research Program. But the companys own scientists warned of climate change and records from the 1960s suggest the environment was on the oil companys agenda: it was interested in patents to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in cars.

The company was not mentioned by name in the senators letter.

Parallel investigations have either been announced or reported in more than a dozen other states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia. The senators letter took note of these investigations, and called them disturbing confirmation that government officials are threatening to wield the sword of law enforcement to silence debate on climate change.

The investigations amount to an assault on free speech, the senators argued. Initiating criminal prosecution for a private entitys opinions on climate change is a blatant violation of the first amendment, they wrote, and an abuse of power that rises to the level of prosecutorial misconduct.

At a March press conference, Schneiderman acknowledged this argument, but said that certain actions for instance covering up information from shareholders were not protected free speech. The first amendment, ladies and gentlemen, he said, does not give you the right to commit fraud.

The senators asked for a response within two weeks to confirm that the department ends all investigations arising from any private individual or entitys views on climate change, and assurance that no one will be persecuted simply for disagreeing with the prevailing climate change orthodoxy.

The senators voiced their opposition to the overwhelming evidence of climate change only two weeks after April was confirmed as the hottest on record, and only a month after researchers found alarming signs in cloud analysis and ice levels that suggest the effects of warming are happening faster than predicted. Forty-one percent of Americans, a record high, now believe that global warming will be a serious threat in their lifetime, polling shows.

Some of the senators have embraced this outsider position. Jeff Sessions enthusiastically endorsed Donald Trump for president, Mike Lee has called for the Senate to defund the Paris climate agreement, and David Vitter has called the evidence outlandish, although his state of Louisiana includes an island that has lost 98% of its land.

Cruz has proven a staunch opponent of anyone who warns about global warming, and has called a jazz vocalist to testify opposite a meteorologist and former navy admiral. The oil and gas industry gave more to the Texas senators campaign than to any other candidates in the Republican primary election. The letter is one of Cruzs first prominent actions since his reluctant return to the Senate.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

The former GOP candidate said he wants to be helpful in securing presidency for Republicans amid calls for Rubio to seek re-election for Florida senate seat

Marco Rubio has signaled a thaw in his attitude to Donald Trump, saying that if asked he will speak on behalf of his former rival at the Republican convention in Cleveland in July.

The Florida senator was less willing to come around on the matter of seeking re-election, even as top Republicans mount a campaign to pressure him into doing so.

Rubio, who dropped out of the presidential race in March, after losing his home state to Trump, told CNN he planned to attend the Republican convention and would be willing to help the nominee despite differences on policy and the brutal echoes of a primary in which, responding to the billionaires taunts, Rubio called Trump a con artist and said he was too erratic to have access to the nuclear codes.

Yes Id certainly, yes, Rubio said when asked if he would speak for Trump. I want to be helpful. I dont want to be harmful because I dont want Hillary Clinton to be president.

Look, my policy differences with Donald Trump I spent 11 months talking about them, he added in the interview, which will air in full on CNNs State of the Union on Sunday.

So I think theyre well understood. That said, I dont want Hillary Clinton to be president. If theres something I can do to help that from happening, and its helpful to the cause, Id most certainly be honored to be considered for that.

Although Rubio had already committed to backing Trump, his latest comments stood in stark contrast to the impassioned pleas he made when the two were squaring off just months ago.

In the final weeks of his campaign, Rubio embraced the #NeverTrump hashtag. Speaking to the Guardian the day before he left the race, he said Trump was an embarrassment for whom the Republican party would pay a big price in November and beyond.

You have all kinds of people that are lifelong conservatives, or at least claim to be, who dont seem to care that Donald Trump has never been and is not now a conservative on principles, Rubio said in that interview, on the eve of the 15 March Florida primary. And theyve staked their reputation on their support of him.

To CNN, Rubio also said he would release the 167 delegates he secured in winning the Minnesota, Puerto Rico and District of Columbia primaries. But he again ruled out any interest in serving as Trumps running mate.

He won the nomination and he deserves to have a running mate that more fully embraces some of the things he stands for, Rubio said.

Later in the day, the senator explained to Florida reporters that Trump was substantially better than Clinton and he would vote for him.

The one other choice is someone who I believe is corrupt, Rubio said, according to the Miami Herald. Im not supporting her, and Im not going to abstain from voting.

Separately, Rubio spent much of the day trying to quell speculation that he might reconsider his decision not to run for re-election. On Thursday Republican leaders in the Senate openly encouraged him to reverse course, ahead of Floridas filing deadline on 24 June.

In a closed-door lunch, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, conducted a poll in which virtually everyone raised their hands when asked if the 44-year-old should jump back into the race. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, called on Rubio to do so, as did the foreign relations committee chairman, Bob Corker.

Corker, from Tennessee, said in a statement: Marco Rubio is a very valuable member of the Senate especially in his role on the Senate foreign relations committee, where he demonstrates a deep understanding of foreign policy.

Rubio has repeatedly insisted that from January he will be a private citizen once again. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the senator said: For me, I need time to even talk to anybody about it, but my sense of it is nothing has changed in my thinking.

I didnt think it was fair for me to run for president and freeze that seat in a competitive state I made that decision and Ive lived by that decision. Nothings changed.

Republicans have voiced growing concerns over the Florida Senate race, in which a crowded primary has threatened the partys chances. A longtime friend of Rubio, Floridas lieutenant governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, is among the Republican hopefuls. Rubio has edged closer to endorsing Lopez-Cantera, hosting a fundraiser in Washington earlier this month.

I have a very close personal friend in this race and I think hes a good candidate, Rubio said. Asked how he would respond if Lopez-Cantera were to bow out, he said: I dont do hypotheticals.

Its not like the Democrats have the greatest candidate, Rubio added, in reference to Democratic contenders Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson, both of whom serve in the House of Representatives.

One guy keeps exaggerating his biography and the other guy is a certified lunatic.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

Three teens have been charged over the attack, which took place after one of the victims teammates pretended to give him a hug, lawsuit says

A black teenager who prosecutors say was sexually assaulted by three white football players in the locker room of a Idaho high school has sued the school district, alleging the rape was the culmination of months of racist taunts and physical abuse.

The federal lawsuit filed on 13 May says the school failed to prevent bullying and attacks despite many incidents happening in front of football coaches and other officials at Dietrich High School, which serves a rural town of 330 people that is predominantly white and known for being religious.

The deliberate indifference and negligent actions of these defendants exposed the plaintiff to harm from fellow students, including at least one student known to have a history of aggressive, bullying and violent behavior, the lawsuit says.

School officials declined to comment.

Three teens have been charged in the 23 October attack, which took place after one of the victims football teammates pretended to give him a hug, according to the lawsuit. Instead, the teen held him down so another student could assault him with a clothes hanger.

Despite his screams, no staff members came into the locker room to investigate what was going on, the lawsuit says. It contends that the school had no policy for monitoring locker rooms.

An 18-year-old and 17-year-old have been charged with felonies in adult court, and a third teen is charged as a juvenile. Idaho law mandates that juveniles ages 14 to 18 accused of certain felony crimes on or near school campuses be charged as adults. That includes the sex assault charge.

The Associated Press typically does not name victims of sexual assault or juveniles who have been charged with crimes.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

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Agriculture minister hits back by saying hes turning into Depps Hannibal Lecter after actor mocks Australian dog apology video on US talk show

Johnny Depp has said Barnaby Joyce looks like hes inbred with a tomato as he continues to mock the apology he made with his wife, Amber Heard, for smuggling their two dogs into Australia.

Depp appeared on US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! where the host labelled Australia a dumb country when interviewing Depp about the apology video after Heard was charged with illegally bringing their dogs, Pistol and Boo, into the country.

He [Joyce] looks somehow inbred with a tomato. Its not a criticism, Im just saying, I was a little worried he might explode, Depp said.

At a press conference on Wednesday morning Joyce responded to actors insults with humour.

I think Im turning into Johnny Depps Hannibal Lecter, arent I? he said.

Im inside his head, Im pulling little strings and pulling little levers. Long after Ive forgotten about Mr Depp, hes remembering me.

The agriculture minister also thanked Depp for the free publicity on Australias biosecurity laws.

Depp suggested the video was not sincere after Kimmell said it was the greatest apology he had ever seen.

There are things you have to prepare a long time for to be able to tap into the emotion, he said.

I played that anti-government Australia, when someone threatens to euthanise your dogs … tiny teacup things, [that are] clearly dangerous in Australia because of so many poisonous creatures in Australia you could die at any minute, so the dogs were obviously a problem.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard record bizarre apology for bringing dogs to Australia

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

NFL names Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles as host cities for Super Bowls following 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons

If you spend billions of dollars to build it, they will come.

Three times over.

The NFL awarded Super Bowls to Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles, three cities that made significant financial investments in new stadiums or recently upgraded an existing one. Atlanta will host the game in 2019, followed by Miami (2020) and Los Angeles (2021), it was announced Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings.

I think if they find guys like me that are willing to do it, I think they want to show them that it is worthwhile, Rams owner Stan Kroenke said.

Atlanta will host its third Super Bowl, but the first at its new $1.4bn stadium which opens in 2017. The previous two were at the Georgia Dome.

Miami will have its record-setting 11th Super Bowl following a $450m stadium renovation.

Los Angeles, which gets the relocated Rams this season, has not had a Super Bowl in the area since 1993 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The game will be played at the new $2.6bn stadium in Inglewood, California, which opens in 2019.

Tampa Bay and New Orleans were also in the running to host a Super Bowl.

The selection of Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles maintains the recent cycle of the leagues owners rewarding cities that have built new stadiums or renovated existing facilities with the lucrative financial reward of hosting aSuper Bowl in return.

Last years Super Bowl was played in Santa Clara, California, after the 49ers built a stadium. Minneapolis will host a Super Bowl in 2018 with a new stadium that opens this season.

New York-New Jersey, Indianapolis, Dallas and Detroit all received Super Bowl bids in the past after spending millions on new stadiums.

It shows that the communities and the owners who are willing to make these investments and stick their necks out, if you will, that it is worthwhile and they believe in them long term, Kroenke said.

Atlanta will host its first Super Bowl since 2000, when an untimely ice storm in the Southeast crippled festivities by forcing cancellation of some hospitality events and making travel treacherous. Atlanta subsequently lost bids to host the game in 2009 and 2010, with some owners saying at the time the ice storm was one of the reasons. But Falcons owner Arthur Blanks new stadium put Atlanta back in the picture.

Blank said he was screaming joy for the city of Atlanta and our fans when he learned of the owners decision.

We feel like downtown Atlanta is very unique and the stadium is unique, Blank said.

Atlanta also will stage the College Football Playoff championship game in January 2018.

The Miami area will move ahead of New Orleans, which has hosted 10 Super Bowls, when it stages its first title showdown since 2010. The area remains a popular venue because of its weather, ability to host big events and two major airports that help travel in and out of the city.

The only thing that could be better is if we were playing in the game and winning it, said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.

Hall of Fame running Larry Csonka was an ambassador for the Miami bid. Csonka said he was a little nervous at first talking to the owners, joking he probably should have hit something before walking into the room.

The facts are indisputable, Csonka said. We have had 10 Super Bowls and they have been successful.

The NFL has been eager to have a team in Los Angeles for quite some time and the Rams moved from St Louis with Kroenkes promise of a grandiose stadium one that will be the most expensive in the league.

The reward was the areas eighth Super Bowl overall, but first Super Bowl since 1993, when the Cowboys defeated the Bills 52-17 at the Rose Bowl. Five Super Bowls have been played at the Rose Bowl and two at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Los Angeles is built to host the Super Bowl, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. We helped forge this great American tradition as its very first host in 1967; and now, at long last, were bringing it back where it belongs.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us

Toyota announced partnership with Uber as Volkswagen puts $300m into Tel Aviv-based app Gett, in move that could pave way for apps to use self-driving cars

Two major car companies announced on Tuesday investments in ride-hailing apps, signaling both a growing role for on-demand cars and a new groundwork for app-enabled self-driving fleets.

Toyota will be investing and partnering with Uber, and Volkswagen is putting $300m into Tel Aviv-based ride-sharing app called Gett. In January, General Motors, a longtime Toyota rival, announced that it was putting $500m into Lyft, Ubers most direct competitor.

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Ride-sharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility, said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation and president of the Connected Company, a new group within Toyota. Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.

In their statement, Toyota emphasized new leasing options specifically for Uber drivers, but made it clear that there would be deeper collaboration going forward.

Were excited that Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, is making a strategic investment in Uber as part of a broader global partnership, Emil Michael, chief business officer of Uber said in a statement. Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide and we look forward to collaborating with Toyota in multiple ways going forward, starting with the expansion of our vehicle financing efforts.

If self-driving cars are the future, as many experts think, and if car ownership continues to decline, manufacturers will want to control the new means of distribution: ride-hailing apps. Thus, every major car company will want to align itself with an app.

As Ubers CEO, Travis Kalanick, said: You basically bring the cost [of Uber] below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away.

Source article at => http://www.theguardian.com/us