International Round Up

Russia admits Syrian Government is losing territorial control

Syrian men break the concrete of a residential building destroyed in a government airstrike. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

Syrian men break the concrete of a residential building destroyed in a government airstrike. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

The situation in Syria is aggravating for the local Government. An official from the Russian Government has said for the first time that opposition forces might defeat Syrian government. The opposition is gaining legitimacy after more than 100 countries signed a declaration yesterday in Morocco to give it a political lift. The United States formally recognises the opposite party as “the legitimate representative” of the people in that country.

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North Korea launches rocket ignoring UN Security Council

A screen shows the Unha-3 rocket being launched from a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at North Korea's satellite control centre in Cholsan county (AP)

A screen shows the Unha-3 rocket being launched from a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at North Korea’s satellite control centre in Cholsan county (AP)

The UN Security Council has condemned North Korea for launching what they consider to be a long-range missile, while Pyongyang states that it was a satellite. The Council is going to have a meeting next Wednesday to consider an “appropriate response” to the threat.

In the meantime, the US has considered the action as “a highly provocative act that threatens regional security.”  In a statement released last Friday, they announced their intention was to send warships to the Asian country.

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The Eurozone agrees rules towards banking union

The headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt (Johannes Eisele/AFP) Photo/Johannes Eisele)

The headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt (Johannes Eisele/AFP)

Economy and finance ministers have reached an agreement today on rules for supervising Eurozone banking. The biggest banks of the Union will be under the direct oversight of the European Central Bank.

The supervision will be made over the biggest banks, with assets over 30,000 millions or the 20% of the GDP. The main obstacle has been a disagreement over power distribution in terms of the supervisor. Germany wants to leave out regional banks, while France and Spain have asked the supervisor for an inspection of every bank, without exception.

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Putin wants Russian couples to have at least 3 children

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a state-of-the nation address in Moscow, Russia (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a state-of-the nation address in Moscow, Russia (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

The Russian president Vladimir Putin called on Russians to have at least three children each. He added that he wants people who own luxury goods to pay higher taxes.

After the end of the Soviet Union, the standard of living decreased due to a growth in the mortality rate and a substantial reduction of births. “In order for Russia to be a strong and sovereign country, there must be more of us and we must be better in morality, in our competences, our work and our creativity”, the Russian leader said.

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Oregon mall gunman identified

Police handout photo of suspect from Tuesday's shooting in Happy Valley, Oregon (Clackamas County Sheriff's Office)

Police handout photo of suspect from Tuesday’s shooting in Happy Valley, Oregon (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office)

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office have identified Jacob Tyler Roberts as the gunman who shot two people before killing himself in Oregon last Tuesday. According to Oregon law enforcement, he opened fire on a crowded Portland shopping mall and was shooting victims at random.

Roberts was armed with a stolen AR-15 semi-automatic rifle when he opened fire. Two victims were fatally shot, identified as Cindy Yuille, 54 and Steven Forsyth, 45. A third victim, 15 year-old Kristina Shevchenko, is still in serious condition at the Oregon Health and Science university Hospital, in Portland.

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First Pope tweet in eight languages

Pope Benedict XVI sends his first tweet (EFE)

Pope Benedict XVI sends his first tweet (EFE)

The Pope has tweeted for the first time in eight languages in his eight Twitter accounts. “Dear friends,” he wrote, “I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”

He delivered it from a tablet computer at the end of a general audience in the Vatican, with a group of young people gathered round him and after an official announced: “And now the Pope will tweet!”. He has already reached over one million Twitter followers.

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No progress in fiscal cliff talks

US House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the media outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)

US House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the media outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)

Large differences remain between congressional Republicans and the White House to avert the “fiscal cliff” of steep tax hikes and budget cuts. House Speaker John Boehner called on President Barack Obama to produce a new offer. “I was born with a glass half full. I remain the most optimistic person in this town. But we’ve got some serious differences,” Boehner has told reporters at a news conference.

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Worldwide Geminid meteor shower tonight

A massive Geminid fireball from 2009's shower, one of the brightest ever recorded (NASA)

A massive Geminid fireball from 2009’s shower, one of the brightest ever recorded (NASA)

The annual meteor shower will reach its peak later tonight and into the early hours of Friday morning. The meteors will appear to radiate from a point near the star Castor, in the constellation Gemini. The skies will thus be free of the moon’s glare, allowing viewers in rural areas to see perhaps 100 or more meteors per hour, experts say.

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Nation celebrates National Cleavage Day

Celebrate National Cleavage Day!

By: Pamela Paterson

Today women are celebrating their decolletage as they take part in National Cleavage Day.

The unusual event takes place in March or April each year and has been running since 2002. It is sponsored by well known bra maker Wonderbra, and according to them, “is a day for women to acknowledge that their cleavage is something unique and encourage you all to be proud of it.”

In a recent poll of 1000 women carried out by Wonderbra, 50% of women admitted to flashing some flesh in order to get served quicker in bars. 28% revealed that they wear a bust enhancing bra on a first date to impress a potential suitor, while one in seven admitted to wearing revealing necklines at work to get a career boost. A further 8% found that showing some cleavage helped them escape a parking fine.

Wonderbra also compiled a list of the top ten most boobilicious celebrities in their celebrity cleavage hall of fame. Television presenter Holly Willoughby came top of the list.

Wonderbra’s celebrity cleavage hall of fame:

1.    Holly Willoughby
2.    Scarlett Johansson
3.    Beyonce
4.    Rihanna
5.    Marilyn Monroe
6.    Dita Von Teese
7.    Katy Perry
8.    Brigitte Bardot
9.    Kim Kardashian
10.  Lara Stone

National Cleavage Day has remained one of the top trending topics on Twitter. Here’s what some Tweeters have been saying:

@wonderbra_uk Happy National Cleavage Day to everyone!!!
@NotBillWalton Today is National Cleavage Day! Ladies, be proud of your twins, be bold, show them off, throw them down, and set the world on fire!
@moonsez What’s different on National Cleavage day? Do the men look at your face while talking to you?
@ollyofficial Just heard NATIONAL CLEAVAGE DAY!!! Excited about getting out of this studio…. #schwing
@AnnSummersPR Happy National Cleavage Day…we are all rocking our best bras today ;)
@stuheritage Is it National Cleavage Day? Finally, a national day that I have a chance of winning.

@Charles_HRH Camilla, one doesn’t care if it’s ‘National Cleavage Day‘. You’re not having your “crown jewels” on display. #nationalcleavageday

UK’s 2012 Eurovision entry unveiled

Engelbert Humperdink is the UK entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

The UK’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 has been unveiled today on the official Eurovision website. The entry, a ballad entitled “Love Will Set You Free” is performed by veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck.

Humperdinck, 75, will perform the song at the Contest finals in Baku, Azerbaijan on May 26, in a bid to reverse the recent UK bad fortune in the competition.  It has been 15 years since the UK have won the first place prize, with the 1997 entry from Katrina and the Waves, “Love Shine A Light.” It has won the competition a total of 5 times since first entering in 1959.

Born Arnold Gerald Dorsey, Humperdinck is best known for his 1967 hit, “Release Me.” His career has spanned 56 years, and he will be the oldest male performer to take part in Eurovision.

A soaring power ballad with lyrics, “Though I’ll miss you forever, the hurt will run deep. Only love can set you free,” the song has drawn mixed reactions on twitter.

User @barnabyedwards was enthusiastic, “What madness is this? The UK’s Eurovision entry appears to be a proper song sung by a proper singer,” while @garydunion was more condemnatory:  “Oh Jebus, the UK eurovision entry is even worse than I feared. This is truly dire.” His thoughts were not echoed by @dvolvemusic “Love that people are being forced to EAT THEIR WORDS about Humperdinck’s eurovision song. Its insanely brilliant, Yeah, i still love it :D”

That’s tweeting brilliant! Twitter is five years old

by Tom Barry

Twitter is 5 years old today. Picture: P McPartlin

 

Social networking website Twitter celebrates its fifth birthday today.

The micro-blogging site, which enables users to follow the antics of friends and celebrities via posted updates known as tweets,  was founded in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, and has since grown from the simple idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group to being one of the most popular forms of communication in the world and is today estimated to have over 200 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day.

[Read more…]

Latest Tsunami Updates

  • More Tsunami warnings are coming in. Over 53 Countries  including the entire West Coast of the U.S. , Russia, Kenya, Canada, Indonesia, Central America are now on Tsunami Watch.
  • Although alerts have been lifted for some countries, including Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Tsunami has struck the Hawaiian Island of Honolulu and it set on a path of destruction.
  • President Barack Obama has sent condolences and has stated that the U.S. stand ready to help on his Twitter Page. He has instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the U.S. states & territories that could be affected.
  • The US State Oregon emergency management has advised coastal residents to evacuate before 7am PST due to tsunami risk.
    More than 200 dead and several hundred missing after Earthquake and Tsunami strikes Japan.
  • The UN Secretary General, has stated that the UN will do anything to Help Japan and that 30 International Rescue Teams are ready to be sent out.

One must updates One’s status

Queen Elizabeth

The Queen's Facebook page joins her Twitter and YouTube accounts.

By Jessica Swift

Today’s launch of ‘The British Monarchy’ page on one of the world’s best known and most popular social networking sites has sparked some controversy.

The page was launched this morning at 8am, and just 2 hours later over 44, 000 people had logged on to ‘like’ it. While you cannot become online ‘friends’ with the queen herself, the page is set to provide daily updates on Royal events and regularly post pictures of the Queen and her family.  The page also includes a ‘Near Me’ application which allows people to find out about past and future Royal visits, events and ceremonies in their area. The page has received positive feedback from users worldwide, many of whom posting comments such as ‘Long live the Queen’.

Despite the page’s apparent initial success, other groups and events have popped up on the site asking and inviting people to ‘troll’ (intentionally cause rifts and arguments on the page by deliberately posting provocative messages and/or comments on a news group or message board) the Queen’s new page.

Already, the page has some negative feedback along with the positive majority (be it through comment screening or otherwise). For example, one Facebook user has commented ‘Why is my money being spent on this parasite when we [are] suffering massive cuts in our public services?’ and users from all over the world have posted their opinions on such matters.

The clear on-going debate over the need for a British Monarchy on it’s own page begs the question of the page’s popularity and success, as there is no question that some members of the site who have opted to ‘like’ the page have only done so in order to  voice their opposing opinions.

To ‘like’ ‘The British Monarchy’ on Facebook or join the discussion you can click here.

To visit her Twitter account click here.

To view the Royal YouTube channel click here.

Edinburgh to host Twestival on Thursday

All Twitterers, people who tweet on Twitter, from Edinburgh on Thursday will converge at Ghillie Dhu on Rutland Place for a Twestival, an offline event. It would include music, magic shows and prizes.

By doing so, Edinburgh would join other cities in the globe in a worldwide fundraiser for charity, Concern Worldwide. Tickets are priced £8 each and it would be given to the charity.

Bands inlcuding Shooting Stansfield, Pose Victorious and Mitchell Museum are expected to perform at the Twestival. George Wallace of Groove City Soul Club and members of Idlewild would be DJing.

Protests in Glasgow as BNP appear on ‘Question Time’

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Protesters outside Pacific Quay, Glasgow (copyright Duncan Brown, flickr.com/duncanbrown)

Anti-fascism campaigners demonstrated at BBC Scotland’s headquarters in Glasgow on Thursday, in protest at British National Party leader Nick Griffin appearing on ‘Question Time’. [Read more…]

Celebrity Twitter Debate

Tweet Tweet
Tweet Tweet

By Claire White

After teen sensation Miley Cyrus deleted her account on social networking site ‘Twitter’ a fortnight ago, it seems to have sparked some notice in the way celebrities are using the website.

Social networking phenomenon ‘Twitter’ has reached its popularity thanks to the many celebrities to posting to the site daily answering the simple question ‘What are you doing?’.  The site allows you to view celebrities posts, ‘follow’ them and see what they are saying on your own twitter homepage and even have the chance to reply to them, in hope for an answer back. It is a new revolution to contact celebrities easily any place, any time and is at the person’s decision whether to reply or not and what content they post.

The newest celebrity to join in against the site is Lily Allen. Today she has been rumoured to have quit the site as it has apparently been interfering with her personal life. She has not updated her profile in just under a month and the last words she ‘twittered’ on the 28th of September were;
“I am a neo-luddite, goodbye.”

This is interesting as a neo-luddite is someone who does not believe in the use of technology and as the stories have been told today in the Daily Mirror she has apparently rid off her computer, Mac Book and Blackberry to stop her having a temptation to go on the site. Could this be a new turn in Lily Allen’s life? Or has she just become rebellious towards the site?

Many celebrities have opted to go without a twitter page, thinking it could interfere with their lives, yet as stated before with it being at your own discretion what is posted the blame for content cannot be shifted to anyone but yourself.

‘Star Girl’ Reaches New Heights

By Claire White

 

Chart-topping band Mcfly had a unique experience yesterday, having their number one hit single “Star Girl” played in space to the astronauts, thanks to the overwhelming response of their fans on social networking site Twitter.

NASA launched a competition on Twitter for 35 people to talk live to the astronauts, yet Mcfly fans had another plan in mind. Their devoted fans overwhelmed NASA’s twitter page requesting them to play the single in space. “Star Girl” contains lyrics such as “dance on the milkyway” and “surfing the sun as it starts to rise”. The space station are played songs of their choice every morning, yet this is the first time they had no say in the song choice. NASA were shocked by the response with millions of requests and decided to make the wish come true. Fans were able to tune in live to the space station, streamed online via NASA’s website, to witness the event.

'McFLY-ing Into Space'

The date of the event was also just 2 days from the release date of the single in 2006 (23rd October) making it an excellent way to celebrate the singles third year of success.

Mcfly have never been shy of admitting their love for space, particularly lead vocalist and guitarist Tom Fletcher who as a young boy even attended space camp. Bassist Dougie Poynter even has a large tattoo of a space scene on his chest. Earlier in the year they were also trying to complete deal with Richard Branson to be the first band in space, yet there is no news if this will actually occur, perhaps this happening is even a sign of things to come in the future.

At the time of the event fans yet again showed their thanks to NASA posting on twitter “star girl in space” and again entering it into the ‘Trending Topics’ at number one, making it the most talked about topic on twitter at that time.

After the event Tom Fletcher posted to NASA on his twitter saying,
“Thankyou SO much!!! We were watching here in London. Was brilliant. Our fans should be very proud of themselves!!!”

Danny Jones, lead guitarist and singer in the band also stated that it was a “dream come true”.

The event has given publicity not only to the band but also NASA, making Mcfly fans aware of the events in Space and witnessing the space station orbiting around earth to one of their favourite band’s songs.

This event has clearly shown that a large fan base really can make dreams come true for their idols.

You can witness the event taking place on the link here.

The Citizen Blogger-Coming To A City Near You

by Kira Weir

The Guardian have announced that they will hire bloggers to provide local news in three major cities

The Guardian newspaper plans to implement the use of  locals in Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh by the start of next year. The service, entitled Guardian Local will use the writings of inhabitants of each respective city to source local news.

The job is advertised on the Guardian’s recruitment website encourages those without any Journalistic qualifications to apply for the job stating that such is “desirable” but not a requirement.

The advertisement states

” This is a completely new role for the Guardian, which we believe reflects the shifting nature of journalism.” and asks for those to apply who possess a “willingness to embrace new working methods.”  The role will require applicants to be familiar with the ever growing “bloggersphere” and sites such as Twitter.

BLOG

Some fear that this will result in widespread cases of news being reported as fact that is based in fiction. One much publicised example of this shows that blogs can spread rumour like wildfire. In the case of a fake CNN website that was producing bogus stories that were then taken up by other online news publications and published as fact on 2003.

The newspaper however claims that Guardian Local will combat the possibility of “corruption” in local new reporting in the press release from   Emily Bell.

photograph courtesy of She Writes

The service is set to be available in January 2010 and the deadline for applications is the 8th of November.

Getting started with Twitter

By Jodi Mullen

Tonight the News Room bar on Leith Street will play host to Edinburgh’s first ‘Tweetup‘, an informal gathering for local users of social networking phenomenon Twitter. The meet follows the success of last month’s Edinburgh Twestival, a charity event which saw Twitter users raise thousands of pounds for good causes.

Twitter courtesy of searchengineland

Twitter courtesy of searchengineland

Over the last few months Twitter has become something of a media darling, with news organisations, including the BBC, and a host of major and minor celebrities jumping aboard the bandwagon. But the service, heralded as ‘the next Facebook‘ by some, has alienated many internet users who have questioned whether it’s anything more than a new way to waste time.

So what is Twitter exactly? In a nutshell, it’s a way to exchange short messages, also known as ‘tweets’, each no more than 140 characters long, over the internet. Subscribing to another user’s tweets is as simple as choosing to ‘follow’ them. The updates will then show on your own Twitter page, along with those of anyone else you follow.

Naturally, Twitter is reciprocal in nature. Just as you’re free to follow other users, they’re also free to follow you and view your tweets. Messages can be sent to other users by adding ‘@’ and their username at the beginning of a tweet – so, for example, replying to me on Twitter would just involve beginning the message with ‘@jodimullen‘.

Unlike Facebook and other popular social networking services, follower lists on Twitter are rarely confined to real-life friends and colleagues. With millions of users around the world, it’s easy to follow anyone who grabs your interest and build up a network of hundreds, or even thousands, of people you’ve never met but with whom you share interests.

The nature of individual tweets and their actual worth has been hotly debated by social media experts. Critics point out that at their worst, tweets can be little more than constant updates from boring people with nothing better to do, made all the more obnoxious by the fact that they can be shared with such a vast audience.

However, others have pointed to the many positive uses of Twitter. The service has become almost omnipresent amongst technology and IT professionals and has proved an important means of communication at various conferences and networking events. Many companies now issue announcements about software updates and new features over Twitter as it’s often the fastest way to disseminate information online. It’s an excellent way to share links and to make contacts online and has already become an indispensable networking tool for thousands of users.

And when Twitter has broken into mainstream news, it has usually done so in spectacular fashion. The service underpinned much of the Barack Obama’s online campaign in the run-up to last year’s presidential election and his team were praised for engaging with voters via the latest technology. More recently a group of mountain climbers in the Swiss alps were rescued after one of the team posted to Twitter that conditions had become dangerous and that members of the party were missing. His followers were able to alert the authorities and the climbers were airlifted to safety, though one man died on the mountain.

The service has also attracted a number of celebrity users, with Stephen Fry being one famous early adapter. Fry holds the record for the highest number of Twitter followers for a single user – well over 300,000 at last count. He has used Twitter to keep in touch with his fans as well as promoting his latest work. Jonathon Ross, Russell Brand and Alan Davies also have strong online presences, with ever-increasing numbers of followers.

Getting started with Twitter is easy – simply create an account at the service’s website, find some likely people to follow and start tweeting! For those interested in meeting Edinburgh’s Twitterati in the flesh, there’s still room for a few more at tonight’s Tweetup but the last few places are expected to go quickly.

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