Sunday, 25 February 2018
News & Stories

News & Stories (1559)

A gold-medal winning Olympian has confronted disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar at his sentencing to reveal he abused her, too.

Jordyn Wieber is the fourth member of the Fierce Five, the winning 2012 Summer Olympics squad, to accuse him.

She joins teammates Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney, who all said Nassar, 54, molested them.

More than 100 victims have come forward. Nassar admitted 10 criminal counts and could face life in prison.

In emotional testimony, 22-year-old Ms Wieber delivered her statement in court near Lansing, Michigan, on Friday.

"I thought that training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing that I would ever have to do," she said.

"But, in fact, the hardest thing I ever had to do is process that I am a victim of Larry Nassar."

Posted On Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:50 Written by

Thousands of women gathered in cities across the United States and around the world on the anniversary of the inauguration of President Donald Trump to call for equal rights in pay and health care, to denounce sexual harassment and to encourage women to run for office.

Marchers also addressed such issues as racial equality, gun control, immigrant protections and conservatives' efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

Members of the "Texas Handmaids" lead a women's march to the Texas State Capitol on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration, Jan. 20, 2018, in Austin, Texas. The costumes are a nod to "The Handmaid's Tale," a novel and television series that tell the story of a dystopian future in which women's rights are suppressed and a class of women are used solely for reproductive purposes.
Members of the "Texas Handmaids" lead a women's march to the Texas State Capitol on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration, Jan. 20, 2018, in Austin, Texas. The costumes are a nod to "The Handmaid's Tale," a novel and television series that tell the story of a dystopian future in which women's rights are suppressed and a class of women are used solely for reproductive purposes.

Crowd estimates for the march in Washington were down from last year's gathering. But marches also were taking place in New York; Philadelphia; Los Angeles; Chicago; Denver, Colorado; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Palm Beach, Florida, where the president has a vacation home.

Marchers gather in the Grant Park area of Chicago, Jan. 20, 2018. (K. Farabaugh/VOA)
Marchers gather in the Grant Park area of Chicago, Jan. 20, 2018. (K. Farabaugh/VOA)
Posted On Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:47 Written by

Fifteen Syrian refugees - some of them children - have been found frozen to death while trying to cross the mountainous border into Lebanon.

Thirteen bodies were found on Friday and two more were discovered on Saturday after the area was hit by a fierce snowstorm.

Lebanese civil defence officials found the bodies after being told a group of refugees were in trouble near Masnaa.

Local reports say the group had been abandoned by smugglers.

Two smugglers have reportedly been arrested.

Several refugees were rescued, including a young boy who was found wandering by himself.

The group were taking the same route hundreds of thousands of Syrians have taken before them trying to flee the conflict at home.

Lebanon, with a population of four million, has taken in nearly one million Syrians since the war began in 2011.

The Lebanese authorities brought in new restrictions in 2015 to try to restrict the number of refugees arriving in the country.

Posted On Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:36 Written by

Facebook has announced it will prioritise news sources deemed to be more trustworthy on its News Feed.

The firm said the social network community will determine which outlets are reliable via the use of user surveys.

Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said news content will soon make up around 4% of what appeared in people's News Feeds - down from 5% before.

The move is the latest attempt by the company to quell the spread of so-called fake news and propaganda on the network.

Mark Zuckerberg vows to 'fix' Facebook

As part of that continuing battle, Twitter also announced on Friday that it had notified 677,775 US-based users who had retweeted, liked or followed Russian bot accounts on the network in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election.

The change is an attempt to shift the key judgements over bias and accuracy away from Facebook's employees, and onto its user base.

"We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that's not something we're comfortable with," Mr Zuckerberg said.

"We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you - the community - and have your feedback determine the ranking."

Users will be asked, as they sometimes are about advertising, whether they recognise a news brand and if they trust it.

Facebook's theory - yet to be tested on a large scale - is that while there are many partisan outlets that have readers that trust them, there is a smaller subset of media companies that a majority people find "broadly trustworthy", whatever their particular leanings.

Social media representatives at a congressional hearingImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google were grilled on the issue of online disinformation at a US Senate hearing last October

"There's too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarisation in the world today," wrote Mr Zuckerberg, who recently announced that his challenge this year was to essentially "fix" Facebook.

"Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don't specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them."

Winners and losers

The news ranking system will first be tested on US-based users only, and the results of the survey will not be made public.

"This is one of many signals that go into News Feed ranking," a Facebook spokesman told the BBC.

"We do not plan to release individual publishers' trust scores because they represent an incomplete picture of how each story's position in each person's feed is determined."

As with any algorithm change, be it Facebook or any other major web service, there will be some that benefit and others that will struggle.

Facebook - the secret election weapon

Among the winners will likely be traditional media organisations with long histories or a strong broadcast presence, such as the New York Times or BBC.

However, emerging brands will suffer if recognition is not as strong, regardless of whether the content is trustworthy or not.

For instance, Buzzfeed's initial beginnings as a viral site would have almost certainly hindered its growth into a serious news organisation had it been subject to the ideas about to be put in place by Mr Zuckerberg's team.

Also, it is unclear how trustworthy, specialist news organisations with smaller readerships - such as science publications - will be treated under these rules, though Facebook's head of News Feed Adam Mosseri said local news would at least be protected.

"We're making it easier for people to see local news and information in a dedicated section.

"We'll continue to work on ways to show more local news that is relevant to where people live."

Posted On Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:33 Written by

Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has agreed to join Arsenal, with Alexis Sanchez set to move in the opposite direction in a straight swap.

Armenia international Mkhitaryan, 28, will have a medical on Sunday and Monday after the paperwork for his transfer was completed on Saturday.

The length of his contract at Arsenal, and his salary, is undisclosed.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had said striker Sanchez, 29, would only join United if Mkhitaryan moved to Arsenal.

Looking at Premier League data since each player arrived in England, Sanchez scores with more regularity while Mkhitaryan delivers assists at a quicker rate
Looking at Premier League data since Sanchez arrived in England in 2014 and Mkhitaryan joined United in 2016, Sanchez scores with more regularity while Mkhitaryan delivers assists at a quicker rate

Sanchez missed Arsenal's 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday because he was travelling to Manchester.

"He didn't play because you cannot drive up north and play football at the same time," said Wenger.

United boss Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, said a deal to sign Sanchez was "close" following his side's 1-0 win at Burnley on Saturday.

The Red Devils beat Arsenal to Mkhitaryan's signature when he signed for the Old Trafford club for £26.3m from Borussia Dortmund in July 2016.

He has made 63 appearances for United - 22 this season - scoring 13 goals.

Sanchez, meanwhile, has scored 80 goals in 166 appearances for Arsenal since joining them from Barcelona for £35m in July 2014.

The Chile international, whose contract Arsenal was due to expire in the summer, had looked set to join Manchester City last August.

It emerged this week that City had decided not to pursue their interest in signing Sanchez.

However that move fell through on transfer deadline day after Arsenal failed to sign a replacement.

Posted On Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:29 Written by

British tourists are being warned they should stay inside their resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The Jamaican government has declared a state of emergency in the St James parish, after a number of "shooting incidents".

The Foreign Office has told British tourists to stay in the confines of their hotels as a "major military operation" takes place.

About 200,000 British tourists visit Jamaica every year.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "[Tourists] should follow local advice including restrictions in selected areas, and exercise particular care if travelling at night.

"[They] should stay in their resorts and limit travel beyond their respective security perimeters."

Jamaican prime minister, Andrew Holness
Image captionJamaica PM Andrew Holness says the government had been planning the operation "for some time"

On Thursday the country's prime minister, Andrew Holness, said the state of emergency was "necessary" in order to "restore public safety" in the St James area.

Chief of defence, Major General Rocky Meade, said forces were targeting gangs, with "particular focus on those that are responsible for murders, lotto scamming, trafficking of arms and guns, and extortion".

He added: "We ask that you co-operate with the troops."

He told Radio 5 live: "Last year there were an average of six killings a week - and since the start of the year it has got even worse."

Jamaican newspaper the Gleaner reported that there were 335 murders in the St James parish in 2017.

It also estimated there had been 38 killings across the country in the first six days of 2018, compared with 23 over the same period last year.

Montego BayImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Tourists are drawn to Montego Bay's white sandy beaches

As the UK Foreign Office has not warned against travel to Jamaica, Mr Calder said holiday firms have no obligation to offer customers alternative destinations.

He added: "I've never seen Foreign Office advice quite like this before. Normally the UK government says either 'it's OK' or 'don't go'."

A military checkpoint in Montego BayImage copyrightBECKS PALOU
Becks Palou says the military told her group it was fine to travel around the country

'Feels safe'

Bristol-based Becks Palou is part of a group of friends on holiday in Montego Bay.

They left their hotel early this morning to drive to Kingston, the capital, after staff said it was safe to travel.

Ms Palou, who is originally from Spain, said they were delayed by stops at military checkpoints but were able to reach their destination.

She said: "When we went out on the road, we arrived at the checks and we were let through. Soldiers felt it was fine to travel.

"It feels safe, more than usual because the roads are quieter."

Sean Tipton, from the Association of British Travel Agents, said that hotels in Montego Bay have "very strict security" which means tourists can feel safe.

He told the BBC: "If you look at the incidents that have occurred, they have been directed at local people.

"It's obviously terrible for them, but in terms of instances affecting tourists, I haven't actually come across one in Jamaica for quite some time."

He also stressed the importance of following the advice from tour operators and the Foreign Office and not leaving resorts unless on an organised excursion.


Posted On Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:25 Written by

Turkish war planes have launched air strikes on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in a move likely to raise tensions with the US.

Turkey wants to oust the YPG militia, which it calls a terrorist group, from Afrin region on its southern border.

The US-backed YPG says at least nine people were killed in the air strikes.

Russia has moved its troops away from Afrin, saying it is concerned but will not interfere. Syria denounced Turkey's "aggression" and "brutal attack".

Turkey had been shelling the area for two days, ahead of its declaration of a military operation on Saturday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey has notified all parties involved - including the Syrian government - about the offensive. Syria denied this was the case.

What is happening in Afrin?

 
Why is Turkey attacking Syria?

On Saturday, Turkey announced that an air and ground campaign, dubbed "Olive Branch", had been launched at 14:00 GMT, targeting the Kurdish YPG (Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units) and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists.

The operation would be carried out "with respect for Syria's territorial integrity", it added. A later statement said 108 targets belonging to Kurdish militants had been hit.

Pro-Turkey rebels, known as the Free Syrian Army, also began moving into the area, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Map showing control of Syria (8 January 2018)

The YPG said the strikes had killed at least six civilians and three fighters, with another 13 civilians wounded. One of the fighters belonged to the YPG and the other two were from its all-female affiliate, spokesperson Birusk Hasaka said.

Ankara also said there were casualties, but they were all Kurdish militants.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that ground forces would join the operation on Sunday.

Turkey's military has been shelling the area since Thursday, a move which it said was in response to fire coming from the area.

On Saturday, a spokesperson for the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said it would have no choice but to defend itself if attacked.


Posted On Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:20 Written by

US Vice President Mike Pence held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Saturday at the start of a delayed Middle East tour overshadowed by Arab anger over Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Controversy over President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem had led to the cancellation of a number of planned meetings ahead of the trip originally scheduled for December.

The Palestinian leadership, already furious over the Jerusalem decision, has denounced the US administration and had already refused to meet Pence in December.

A coalition of Arab parties in the Israeli parliament said Saturday it would boycott a speech by Pence on Monday, calling him “dangerous and messianic”.

Pence held talks with former army chief Sisi in Cairo that were expected to focus on US aid and security, including a jihadist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.

Sisi’s office said the talks also covered Jerusalem, with the president stressing Egypt’s support for a two-state peace settlement and “the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state with east Jerusalem as capital”.

Pence, for his part, said relations between Cairo and Washington had “never been stronger” thanks to the leadership of Trump and Sisi.

Expressing sympathy for deadly jihadist attacks that have targeted both Muslim and Christian places of worship, he said: “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in Egypt in the fight against terrorism.”

The vice president later travelled on to Amman ahead of a one-on-one meeting with King Abdullah II on Sunday before heading to Israel for the final leg of the tour.

Pence went ahead with the trip — which had been pushed back in December as a crunch tax vote loomed on Capitol Hill — despite the federal government shutdown looming over Washington.

Key security partners

The leaders of both Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel, would be key players if US mediators ever manage to get a revived Israeli-Palestinian peace process off the ground, as Trump says he wants.

They are also key intelligence-sharing and security partners in America’s various covert and overt battles against Islamist extremism in the region, and Egypt is a major recipient of aid to help it buy advanced US military hardware.

Sisi, one of Trump’s closest allies in the region, had urged the US president before his Jerusalem declaration “not to complicate the situation in the region by taking measures that jeopardise the chances of peace in the Middle East”.

Egypt’s top Muslim cleric and the head of its Coptic Church had both cancelled meetings with Pence in December in protest at the Jerusalem decision.

After Jordan — the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem — Pence will head to Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

He will also deliver a speech to parliament and meet President Reuven Rivlin during the two-day visit.

Pence can expect a warm welcome after Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, which Israelis and Palestinians alike interpreted as Washington taking Israel’s side in the dispute over the city.

Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The international community considers east Jerusalem illegally occupied by Israel and currently all countries have their embassies in the commercial capital Tel Aviv.

‘Matter of years’
The State Department has begun to plan the sensitive move of the American embassy to Jerusalem, a process that US diplomats say may take years to complete.

This week reports surfaced that Washington may temporarily designate the US consulate general in Jerusalem as the embassy while the search for a secure and practical site for a long-term mission continues.

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has yet to make a decision on either a permanent or interim location for the mission.

“That is a process that takes, anywhere in the world, time. Time for appropriate design, time for execution. It is a matter of years and not weeks or months,” he said.

Pence — himself a devout Christian — will visit the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites of Judaism in Jerusalem’s Old City, and pay his respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

Posted On Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:09 Written by

Buying Saratoga Horse Racing Tickets

Buy Saratoga horse racing tickets and spend the day at the track this year. Every approaching race will be listed above in the Saratoga race track schedule. To take stock of our inventory of fairly-priced tickets and pinpoint which race at Saratoga Springs' historic race track you would like to attend. Advance to our ticket listings and use the various search filters to arrange the inventory by price or seating section. Some Saratoga race tickets may include specific notes in the inventory about email delivery, seating location, etc. Once you select your seats, previous Vivid Seats customers will need to sign into their registered account. If this is your first time ordering tickets through Vivid Seats, fill in the email address and password boxes under the "Create Your Account" section on the checkout page.

Buyer's Guarantee
The Vivid Seats Buyer's Guarantee is intended to put your mind at ease while you shop for Saratoga race tickets. Our comprehensive guarantee ensures your tickets will always be valid, delivered prior to the event, and completely legitimate. In the event that the race is canceled for any reason (weather included) and not rescheduled, we will refund your money barring shipping expenses. The guarantee also promises each and every ticket buyer an absolutely secure transaction.

Quantity of Tickets
Select how many Saratoga horse racing tickets you would like to purchase using the quantity drop-down menu above the inventory. Ticket sellers often sell an even number of tickets to avoid remaining with a single ticket that is difficult to sell. If you are having trouble finding the right number of tickets for any race at Saratoga Race Course, contact Vivid Seats directly by phone or Live Chat. One of our dedicated ticket experts will work with you to find the right number of seats for your party.

More About Vivid Seats
From the first race of the year to the last, Vivid Seats is your one-stop-shop for Saratoga race tickets. We consistently feature some of the lowest ticket prices on the web to every exciting race at the century-old race track. Our relationships with ticket sellers from around the country allow us to present horse-racing fans with a truly exclusive selection of seats from the clubhouse to the grandstands. We also have a strong reputation for first-class customer service in the ticket-selling industry. Get a taste for the level of personalized service we offer all our customers by booking tickets for the Saratoga race track today.

 
 
 
Posted On Wednesday, 23 August 2017 04:54 Written by

Phantom of the Opera Ticket Information

Since it made its world premiere in 1986, the Phantom of the Opera has entranced audiences around the world with an intriguing tale of passion, desire, and ambition. Aspiring opera singer Christine Daaé finds an unlikely benefactor in the form of the mysterious Phantom, but his obsessive attempts to win her affection begin to escalate to a dangerous level. This Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpiece holds the distinction of being the longest-running Broadway show of all time, but it has also delighted audiences during numerous national and international tours. When in New York City, Phantom of the Opera Broadway has typically been stationed at the Majestic Theatre, while the Phantom of the Opera tour has sent the production to cities all over North America. Click on a city, performance time, or month under “Filter Results” to find Phantom of the Opera tickets for the show you want to attend. Next, use the seating chart to sort through listings and find your preferred Phantom of the Opera tickets. Choose a quantity, hit "Buy,” and reach checkout with a valid email address. Pay with a credit card or PayPal account and press "Place Order” to finalize the transaction.

Varied Selection
Whether you’re looking for a bird’s-eye view in the balcony or want premier orchestra seats, our marketplace has a wide offering of tickets for every upcoming show on the Phantom of the Opera tour, including the opportunity to look for cheap Phantom of the Opera tickets, as prices tend to fluctuate due to the nature of the live marketplace. To view just Phantom of the Opera NYC tickets, be sure to filter the schedule accordingly.

Secure Purchases
Your order of Phantom of the Opera musical tickets will be submitted through a secure server that is monitored by the most trusted online security providers.

Helpful Service
To receive friendly one-on-one assistance from a Vivid Seats team member during your Phantom of the Opera Broadway tickets purchase, dial 866.848.8499. The online Live Chat service also can help you connect with a trained customer service representative.

Phantom of the Opera Ticket Prices

How Much Are Phantom of the Opera Tickets?
No matter what you're looking to spend, Vivid Seats has tickets to fit your budget. Currently, Phantom of the Opera tickets at Vivid Seats start at $39.

Cheapest Phantom of the Opera Tickets
There are always great deals to be found at Vivid Seats. The get-in price, or lowest price for a ticket to see Phantom of the Opera live, is $39. Prices will fluctuate based on many factors such as inventory and demand, so be sure to get your Phantom of the Opera discount tickets before it’s too late!

What is the Phantom of the Opera About?
Simply put, the musical, based on the 1910 novel of the same name, centers on the story of a mysterious composer and rising singer, with increasing levels of intensity as the story unfolds.

Where is Phantom of the Opera Playing?
While Phantom of the Opera New York tickets can still be purchased for the ongoing Broadway run, fans of the show nationwide should keep an eye out for touring productions regularly scheduled coast to coast.

How Long is Phantom of the Opera?
2 hours, 30 minutes with one intermission

 

 
Posted On Wednesday, 23 August 2017 04:46 Written by
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