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Tracks non-users

A report by the Belgian Privacy Commission says that Facebook is tracking non-users by placing cookies — a common way to track people’s browsing habits on the Web — on “some” people’s browsers, even if they had never visited The researchers hold that Facebook is collecting data from users who have logged out of their accounts or opted out of tracking altogether, monitoring them through the social buttons (social plug-ins) used to share third-party content, and placing cookies on users and non-users who visit websites that are owned by the domain.

It is important to note that tracking of non-users initiates even if one does not visit the Facebook homepage. In principle, any page belonging to the domain will result in the placement of a long-term, identifying cookie (e.g., an event page, a shop page, fan page …)

Facebook responds:

Virtually all websites, including Facebook, legally use cookies to offer their services. Cookies have been an industry standard for more than 15 years. If people want to opt out of seeing advertising based on the websites they visit and apps they use, they opt out through the EDAA, whose principles and opt out we and more than 100 other companies comply with. Facebook takes this commitment one step further: when you use the EDAA opt out, we opt you out on all devices you use and you won’t see ads based on the websites and apps you use…We’re disappointed that the authors of this opinion and the Belgian DPA, who we understand commissioned it, have declined to meet with us or clarify the inaccurate information about this and other topics. We remain willing to engage with them and hope they will be prepared to correct their work in due course.


New Girl renewed

New Girl renewed for fifth season. Fox Entertainment President David Madden:

Four seasons in, New Girl continues to be one of the smartest and most relatable comedies on television. The writing is razor-sharp, the ensemble is consistently hilarious, and we couldn’t be more proud of Liz [Meriwether], Brett [Baer], Dave [Finkel] and the entire New Girl team. We absolutely love this show and we’re so excited to bring it back for Season Five.

30 Mar, 2015

Quits Instagram

Fry posts a blank picture on Instagram and declares that he is quitting the social media platform.

Newspapers, as ever, suck all the joy out of everything. Closing down. It was, briefly, fun. Bye.

29 Mar, 2015

Calls whistleblowers ‘whiners’

Reid says that the government whistleblowers who accused him of using political pressure to obtain special treatment for a Las Vegas casino are “a bunch of whiners.” Reid stated that it’s his job to pressure the federal government into fast-tracking decisions concerning his constituents’ needs.

If I had to do over again, I would do it again. If I did it over again, I’d probably be stronger than I was…The homeland security report came from a bunch of whiners at the Department of Homeland Security who they felt I guess that they weren’t included in my conversation. Maybe I should have called them.

27 Mar, 2015

Not filing charges

Tymon decides not to file charges against Clarkson for punching him in face.

I’ve worked on Top Gear for almost a decade, a program I love. Over that time Jeremy and I had a positive and successful working relationship, making some landmark projects together. He is a unique talent, and I am well aware that many will be sorry his involvement in the show should end in this way.

Tymon’s lawyer:

The events of the last few weeks have been extremely unpleasant for everyone involved. The matter has taken a great toll on Oisin, his family and his friends….Quite simply, Mr Tymon just wishes to return now to the job at the BBC he loves, as soon as possible. Further, the BBC have, in his view, taken action with a view to addressing the issues at hand. Mr Tymon agrees with the BBC’s stated view that all parties should now be allowed to move on, so far as possible.


‘Wiped email server clean’

Gowdy claims that Clinton wiped her email server clean and refuses to turn it over to an independent third party for investigation.

Not only was the secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest.

26 Mar, 2015

‘Co-pilot crashed plane deliberately’

French Prosecutor Brice Robin claims that Lubitz, the co-pilot, crashed the plane deliberately.

While the co-pilot was alone he locked the door and engaged a system which started the descent of the plane. This can only be done voluntarily….The co-pilot didn’t say a single word while he was alone and could be heard breathing normally. It wasn’t the breath of someone who was struggling. He didn’t say a single word, it was total silence.

24 Mar, 2015

Flights cancelled

Several Germanwings flights are cancelled after their crews refuse to fly over concerns the crash may have been linked to a repair to the nose-wheel landing doors on Monday, according to an unconfirmed report in Spiegel magazine. Lufthansa denies that there was any link between the repair and the cancelled flights. The airline confirms that the aircraft had been grounded for an hour on Monday for repairs to the nose-wheel landing doors, but insisted the issue was not “safety-related”.

The repair was purely to fix a noise that the door was making, and the aircraft was flying again from 10am on Monday.


Black Box found

French Interior Minister Cazeneuve says a black box has been located at the site in the French Alps where a plane crashed while traveling from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.  Investigators described a scene of devastation where the airliner crashed. Aerial photographs showed smoldering wreckage and a piece of the fuselage with six windows. Bruce Robin, prosecutor for the city of Marseille, says he saw the destruction from a helicopter:

We saw an aircraft that had literally been ripped apart, the bodies are in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage.

French police at the crash site said it will take days to recover the bodies due to difficult terrain, snow and incoming storms.

We are still searching. It’s unlikely any bodies will be airlifted until Wednesday

23 Mar, 2015

Doesn’t like spellcheck

At the red carpet premiere of Season 5 of Game of Thrones, Martin says he will continue to use Wordstar 4.0, the 1980s-era word processor, saying he doesn’t need spellcheck features of modern word processors:

Until they come up with something better, which they haven’t…Don’t help me. I’ve been writing for a long time…And don’t change my spelling….I don’t need things underlined in red, like ‘Targaryen. I know how to spell ‘Targaryen.’ Don’t tell me it’s misspelled.

22 Mar, 2015

Ends ‘Race Together’

Starbucks ends the “Race Together” aspect of its broader campaign on race, meaning that baristas will no longer be writing “Race Together” on customers’ cups. Baristas complained that they barely had enough time to complete orders and that they were never even trained about the campaign before it launched. Starbucks is still going ahead with other parts of the initiative, including forums to discuss race and the hiring of 10,000 employees from diverse backgrounds to staff new stores in poor, urban areas. Schultz:

While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise…The promise of the American Dream should be available to every person in this country, not just a select few.

21 Mar, 2015

Thanks supporters

Clarkson thanks his supporters who have called for his reinstatement to Top Gear.

20 Mar, 2015

Hit list of 100 Military Personnel

ISIS affiliate group posts names, pictures and addresses of 100 U.S. military members and instructs supporters to kill them.

With the huge amount of data we have from various different servers and databases, we have decided to leak 100 addresses so that our brothers in America can deal with you. And now we have made it easy for you by giving you addresses, all you need to do is take the final step, so what are you waiting for?


Interested in front office position

Iverson says he is interested in working within the team’s front office.

I would like to be even in that war room. Even if they don’t go with my decision or whatever, just to have an opinion and putting out what I think and trusting the organization to do what’s right.

Their fight. Their fight. The fight in a guy. I’m the biggest [Russell] Westbrook fan I think there is. You know what I mean? Because he reminds me so much of myself as far as his heart and laying it on the line night in and night out. This is a guy who’s going to bring it every single night.


Requests apology

King asks for an apology from LePage for claiming that he doesn’t pay his taxes.

In 2013, my wife and I paid approximately 1.4 million (dollars) in state taxes. As this is a matter of public record, I have no problem telling you that. I would imagine 2014 was about the same, but I do not have those figures.

18 Mar, 2015

Obama reacts to Netanyahu’s statement

President Obama states he will re-evaluate the relationship the U.S. has with Israel in light of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement that he will never allow a two-state solution. Press Secretary:

The United States will re-evaluate our approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has been the longstanding policy of the United States that a two-state solution is the best way to address this conflict. The president still holds that view. [Netanyahu’s statement] undermines the values of democratic ideals that have been important to our democracy and an important part of what binds the United States and Israel together.

17 Mar, 2015

Joins D&G boycott

Stone backs Elton John’s call for a Dolce and Gabbana boycott.

16 Mar, 2015

Denies doing cocaine

Hadid denies doing cocaine at Victoria’s Secret bash

15 Mar, 2015

Threatens to blow up Eiffel Tower

ISIS vows to blow up famous landmarks like Big Ben, Eiffel Tower and the White House in an audio broadcast. ISIS spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani:

We will make you lives black and dark


Boycotts Dolce and Gabbana

John boycotts Dolce and Gabbana because of their views on gay adoptions and IVF

14 Mar, 2015

Denies immigration flip-flop

Walker denies that he has flip-flopped on issues related immigration.

It’s just a narrative from the other campaigns in response to the fact that we have a strong reputation for keeping our word…This is one that we listened to the people all across the country-particularly the board of governors-and saw how this president messed that up and that’s an issue where I think people want leaders who are willing to listen to people.

12 Mar, 2015

Addresses weight loss

Rancic speaks out about her weight-loss critics:

I think the best thing to do, honestly, is not even talk about it. You know? As long as you know the truth, that’s all that matters.

11 Mar, 2015

‘I don’t think it’s that serious’

May comments on Clarkson’s suspension:

No, I think he has been involved in a bit if a dust up, but I don’t think it’s that serious.

Asked if he supports Clarkson:

In many ways no, I have said many times before the man is a knob, but I quite like him. It’s all getting a bit ridiculous.


Stores offline

The Company’s iTunes and App stores are offline for more than eight hours due to a DNS (doman name service) error. During this time customers worldwide are not able to buy or download items. Service for the iBooks Store also was interrupted. A timeline on Apple’s page said the outage started before 5 a.m. Access issues for users of iCloud Mail and other cloud services lasted about four hours, according to the timeline.

We apologize to our customers experiencing problems with iTunes and other services this morning. The cause was an internal DNS error at Apple. We’re working to make all of the services available to customers as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience.


Lifts suspension

NASCAR lifts its suspension of Busch, although he will remain on NASCAR probation. He is eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. After missing the first three races of the season, Busch will return to the No. 41 car at Phoenix International Raceway.

We appreciate the steps Kurt Busch has made while following NASCAR’s process for reinstatement. He has taken this path seriously, which allowed him to return to our race team.

As we stated last week, the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges removed a significant impediment to Kurt Busch’s return to full status as a NASCAR member. We therefore have decided to move him to indefinite probation and waive the Chase requirement. He has fully complied with our reinstatement program during his suspension and the health care expert who conducted his evaluation recommended his immediate return.

10 Mar, 2015

Journalists job losses warning

While speaking at the Digital Media Strategies conference, a gathering of more than 400 CEOs and senior leaders from the media industry, Highfield warns that the number of full-time journalists working across the group’s local titles will fall from its current figure of about 1,000. He says Johnston Press is aiming to increase the proportion of its revenue from digital advertising to about 23% in 2015, up from 17% in the current financial year, and that the group is headed towards a point at which digital ad revenue is growing four times faster than print declines.

The economics of this business means we will end up with fewer full-time journalists on our books. What you end up with is a much more fluid model with contributors producing a larger percentage of the newspaper. That’s not something we can duck. The economics of the digital world are going to mean our businesses can grow, not just survive but grow, but we need to go about things in a different way. It doesn’t mean the front of the book or the quality of editorial oversight will be diminished.


Defends private email use

In a press conference Clinton says she used a private e-mail account to conduct State Department business for “convenience”. She says she has released more than 27,500 emails (from a total of 62,320) that involved official government e-mail addresses, such as those addressed to .gov addresses, names of government officials and Clinton’s staff, but also for terms including “Benghazi” and “Libya.” 31,830 e-mails were deemed personal and deleted. She said she did not discuss classified information on her personal e-mail.

I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two…Looking back it would have been better to use separate phones and two separate e-mail accounts. I thought one (mobile) device would be simpler. Obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way…I have no doubt we have done exactly what we should have done.

Clinton said she “chose not to keep” personal e-mails:

No one wants their personal e-mails made public and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy.

When asked about the impact of the controversy on whether she will run for President:

I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters and I feel that I’ve taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related emails, they’re going to be in the public domain, and Americans will find that interesting and I look forward to having that discussion.


Wall of Shame to stop outside defecation

West Bengal’s Nadia district uses a ‘wall of shame’ to stop villagers from attending nature’s call in the open fields. Names and photographs of those who defecate in the open are pasted on a village wall. The district, which has a population of 5.2 million, strives to achieve the target of 100 per cent open defecation-free status by 2019.

This is being done to attach a sense of stigma and shame for those defecating in the open. We have constructed around 95 per cent toilets so far but this is not enough as people who have been going out in the open (to defecate) since generations cannot be expected to use toilets suddenly. Once they start using toilets their names would be restored.

9 Mar, 2015

Top Gear postponed

BBC postpones three remaining episodes of season 22 of the series after suspension of host Jeremy Clarkson for punching a male producer. Statement from the corporation:

Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation. No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.


Announces departure from team

In a blog post, Smith announces that he will not be playing for the Ravens in 2015.

Although I may no longer be a member of the Baltimore Ravens, at heart, I will always be a Raven. What we accomplished together is timeless…This isn’t a goodbye because I will still be around, and Baltimore will continue to be my home in the offseason and when my career is done. I’m on to the next chapter of my life and football career, but I will see you guys later…I literally dreamed of playing for the Baltimore Ravens, not just because it is a great organization with an amazing fan base, but because of the foundation of the team and the principles that the men who run it stand by and for.

4 Mar, 2015

Won’t play

Allen announces that he won’t play this season. He will reassess his options next season.

Over the past several months, I have taken a lot of time to deliberate what is best for me. I’ve ultimately decided that I will not play this NBA season. I’m going to take the remainder of this season, as well as the upcoming off-season, to reassess my situation, spend time with my family and determine if I will play in the 2015-16 season.


Adds Muslim holidays to school calendars

De Blasio adds Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha to the school calendars of all New York City public schools. The schools will close for these holidays.

We’re here today to make good on a promise to our Muslim brothers and sisters that a holiday of supreme importance to the Muslim community will be recognized in our school calendar so that children can honor the holiday without missing school…We are committed to having a school calendar that reflects and honors the extraordinary diversity of our students.

2 Mar, 2015

Launches exploratory panel

During an interview on Fox News, Carson says he is launching an exploratory panel to determine if there is enough support to make it feasible for him to run for president. He says he has already hired around twelve people to conduct focus groups and polling. The committee will be based in Alexandria, VA.

We are officially launching our exploratory committee. That means we have put in motion the staffing and the mechanism to explore to see whether me running for President in 2016 is a viable thing…We have tremendous popular support. The money will be there if the people want me to do this.

27 Feb, 2015

Publicizes referee calls

For the remainder of the season and throughout the playoffs, the NBA will release play-by-play reports of all referee calls and relevant no-calls in the final minutes of close games. Each play is reviewed by a senior basketball operations manager or senior referee manager. The reports will include grades for each play and whether or not the call was correct. The NBA’s Mike Bantom:

We tried to come up with a system that would allow us to provide some insight into our process and set a criteria that would allow us to be more standardized and more consistent…I think this is a solution that puts them [referees] in a much better light, doesn’t hide the fact that they are human and will make mistakes, but also points out the fact that the overwhelming majority of the calls that they get correct.

25 Feb, 2015

Vatican statement

The Vatican issues a statement regarding Francis’ comments about ‘Mexicanization’. Rev. Federico Lombardi:

The pope intended only to emphasize the seriousness of the phenomenon of the drug trafficking that afflicts Mexico and other countries in Latin America. It is precisely this importance that has made the fight against drug trafficking a priority for the government.


Apology response

Zendaya accepts Rancic’s apology on Twitter:

Giuliana, I appreciate your apology and I’m glad it was a learning experience for you and for the network. I hope that others negatively affected by her words can also find it in their hearts to accept her apology as well.


First transplant ‘possible in two years’

Canavero says the first full-body transplant could take place within two years. He plans to announce the project at the annual conference of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons (AANOS) in Annapolis, Maryland, in June.

The procedure involves cooling the recipient’s head and the donor body to extend the time their cells can survive without oxygen. The tissue around the neck is dissected and the major blood vessels are linked using tiny tubes, before the spinal cords of each person are cut. The recipient’s head is then moved onto the donor body and the two ends of the spinal cord – which resemble two densely packed bundles of spaghetti – are fused together. To achieve this, Canavero intends to flush the area with a chemical called polyethylene glycol, which encourages the fat in cell membranes to mesh. The muscles and blood supply would be sutured and the recipient kept in a coma for three or four weeks to prevent movement. Implanted electrodes would provide regular electrical stimulation to the spinal cord. When the recipient wakes up, Canavero predicts they would be able to move and feel their face and would speak with the same voice. He says that physiotherapy would enable the person to walk within a year.

I think we are now at a point when the technical aspects are all feasible…This is why I first spoke about the idea two years ago, to get people talking about it. If society doesn’t want it, I won’t do it. But if people don’t want it in the US or Europe, that doesn’t mean it won’t be done somewhere else. I’m trying to go about this the right way, but before going to the moon, you want to make sure people will follow you.

24 Feb, 2015

Twitter rant suspension


ESPN suspends Olbermann for one week following his Twitter exchange with Penn State students regarding a story about a Penn State charity event that raised more than $13 million to help support children fighting pediatric cancer. Olbermann later apologizes for his posts via Twitter. ESPN:

It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the views of ESPN. We have discussed it with Keith, who recognizes he was wrong. ESPN and Keith have agreed that he will not host his show for the remainder of this week and will return on Monday. The annual tradition of THON [the fundraising event] and the efforts of the students of Penn State to fight pediatric cancer should be applauded.


Oscar snub statement

The Academy issues a statement regarding the omission of Rivers from the Oscars In Memorium segment.

Joan Rivers is among the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year’s Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on


Lawsuit response

Purina responds to the class action lawsuit that alleges Purina’s Beneful brand dry dog food causes illness and death to dogs. Keith Schopp, Purina’s vice president of corporate public relations:

We believe the lawsuit is without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves. Beneful is a high-quality nutritious food enjoyed by millions of dogs each year and there are no product quality issues with Beneful.


No federal charges

The Justice Department says its independent investigation finds “insufficient evidence” to charge Zimmerman with federal civil rights violations in the shooting death of Martin. Attorney General Holder says the evidence did not meet the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution. The decision closes the federal investigation.

This young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface. We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.

The Martin family says they are “disappointed” by the decision.

20 Feb, 2015

Ban seeks action on barrel bombs

A report by the UN chief Ban to the Security Council lists five priorities for action including the lifting of sieges on 212,000 people, ensuring access to medical aid to all of Syria, and rebuilding the education system. He also says the 15-member council must address barrel-bomb attacks on civilians and ending the practice of denying services as a weapon of war. Ban says barrel bombs are used against civilians in Aleppo, where the United Nations is seeking to freeze fighting as part of peace efforts. Ban:

This conflict has become business as usual.