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9 Sep, 2014
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Urges intelligence cooperation on ISIS

Israeli defense officials urge cooperation between global intelligence services on ISIS. Defense Minister Ya’alon tells Israel Radio:

In order to stop and overcome the Islamic State, we have learnt since 9/11 that there must be cooperation between intelligence agencies from across the free world, a sharing of experience and operational cooperation

Former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin

The intelligence that we gather in the Middle East — which deals with threats from Iran, (Lebanon’s Shiite) Hezbollah, what’s happening in Syria, terrorist organizations in Sinai and the Gaza Strip — is of very good quality and we share it with our allies

10 Sep, 2014
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‘Has the authority to act against ISIS’

The Obama administration says he will ask Congress to quickly authorize training and arming Syrian opposition forces in his prime-time speech on his anti-ISIS strategy due Wednesday night in Washington. The President will push forward on other areas of the anti-ISIS strategy without formal approval from lawmakers, potentially including widening airstrikes in Iraq and possibly expanding the air campaign to Syria. Following an hour-long meeting with congressional leaders, the White House says Obama told them he ‘has the authority he needs to take action,’ but will still welcome action from action from Congress that would…

…aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united in defeating the threat.

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‘No evidence’ ISIS crossing Mexico border

Border officials say there is no evidence that ISIS militants are entering the U.S. via Mexico despite evidence that the possibility is being discussed on social media accounts related to ISIS. They say that radicalized militants returning to the U.S. remain a greater threat. Department of Homeland Security official Jennifer Lasley tells the House Homeland Security border security subcommittee:

We don’t have any credible information, that we are aware of, of known or suspected terrorists coming across the border.

John Wagner, assistant commissioner in the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s Office of Field Operation:

The number of known watch-listed persons we are encountering on the Southwest border is minimal compared to commercial aviation. We’re talking tens versus thousands.

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‘Jihad poster girls’

Austrian authorities are concerned that 16-year-old Samra Kesinovic and 15-year-old Sabina Selimovic are inspiring other Austrian teens to join extremist groups after the pair allegedly ran away from their homes in Vienna to join ISIS. Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Marakovits says authorities are noticing an increase in such incidents after a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old are detained attempting to leave the country, apparently to travel to Syria. Marakovits:

If we can catch them before they leave we have the chance to work with their parents and other institutions to bring the youngsters out of the sphere of influence that prompted them to act in this way the first place. Once they have left the country, even if they then changed their minds, it is then almost impossible to get them back.

11 Sep, 2014
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UK, Germany: No air strikes

Military Action

A day after President Obama tells American that the US will be joined by “a broad coalition of partners,” Britain and Germany announce they will not be participating in airstrikes against ISIS. British foreign secretary Philip Hammond says Parliament decided against participating in airstrikes in 2013, and it won’t be “revisiting” the matter. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said his country would not participate either.

To be quite clear, we have not been asked to do so and neither will we do so.

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‘Obama strategy is credible’

Gen. Petraeus says that Obama’s strategy to counter ISIS will likely be successful, although the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria take years. ISIS is not as great a threat as Al Qaeda was during the height of the Iraq War:

This is not the kind of Iraq on fire, complete desperation we had during the surge. [ISIS] has nowhere the roots and the structure of al-Qaida in Iraq.

The formation of a more inclusive government will address sectarian tensions:

It’s a new Iraqi government now. There’s new hope, there’s outreach.

This could be vital in ensuring the strategy is a success, as ISIS capitalized on sectarian divisions and chain-of-command vulnerabilities when routing the Iraqi military in the group’s initial offensives:

The third failing was the population was not happy with sectarian and loyalist leaders.

In Syria, opposition to ISIS is less cohesive and the Assad regime may have to be removed before a credible force can be assembled against ISIS:

This is going to be years, not months.

12 Sep, 2014
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Not ‘at war’

The Secretary of State repeatedly neglects using the term “war” when describing the military conflict of the United States against ISIS, explaining why the term “war” is not appropriate to use. Kerry:

What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation. It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.

The comment generates confusion on Capitol Hill. McCain:

It’s hard to find a response to that. Then what was the president talking about [Wednesday] night?

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‘Discussed infiltrating Mexican border’

A counter-terror official says ISIS militants have discussed the possibility of entering the U.S. via the Mexican border over social media, but says the Department of Homeland Security believes the border currently remains safe. Francis Taylor, DHS undersecretary for intelligence and analysis:

There have been Twitter and social-media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility. [DHS is] satisfied that we have the intelligence and the capability at our border that would prevent that activity.

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‘Kinetic military action’

Kerry says the U.S. is not fighting a war against ISIS, but is engaged in a counterterrorism campaign. Commenting after Obama’s primetime speech indicates the government is considering expanding airstrikes into Syria:

Look, we’re engaged in a counterterrorism operation of a significant order. And counterterrorism operations can take a long time, they go on. I think ‘war’ is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action

13 Sep, 2014
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‘Third world war’

Pope Francis says that conflicts around the globe represent a third World War. During a Mass held at Italy’s largest war memorial, a Fascist-era monument where 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried, the pontiff appears to be referring to the recent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and Africa. The homily:

Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep … War is madness. Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction … War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying. Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology.

14 Sep, 2014
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Condemns third beheading

Cameron:

This is a despicable and appalling murder of an innocent aid worker. It is an act of pure evil. My heart goes out to the family of David Haines who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude throughout this ordeal. We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.

Obama:

The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines by the terrorist group ISIL.

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Family statement

Haines’s family issues a statement following his death. The aid worker, who spent 12 years with the Royal Air Force and served with the United Nations, has two daughters – Bethany, 17, and Athea, four, who lives with his Croatian second wife, Dragana. His brother:

David was like so very many of us, just another bloke. Born in 1970 to parents who loved us both, our childhood was centred around our family. He was, in the right mood, the life and soul of the party and on other times the most stubborn irritating pain in the ass. He would probably say the same about me. David served with the UN in the Balkans, helping people in real need. There are many accolades from people in that region that David helped. He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion. David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair. He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.

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‘Unspeakable barbarism’

Salmond says the execution by ISIS militants of British aid worker Haines is an ‘unspeakable act of barbarism.’ He indicates that an independent Scotland would favor combating ISIS as the murder of Haines underscores the growing threat the group poses to UK citizens, after the group threatened British volunteer Alan Henning in the video of Haines’s death. But unilateral action would not be considered:

You can’t have a strategy where you bow to terrorism. There’s an urgent requirement to get back to collective [action] under the United Nations.

15 Sep, 2014
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‘Dedicated to Syria cause’

isis-alan-henning-syria-volunteersThe organizer of the British volunteer convoy that Henning was traveling with when he was kidnapped by ISIS militants says that he was dedicated to aid work in Syria. Bolton aid worker Kasim Jameel:

Alan is an amazing guy. He is the best of the best. He is my best friend and I am praying for him. He loved the cause so much that when he went to Turkey on holiday with his family, he had a big tattoo across his arm saying ‘aid for Syria’ – he was that dedicated. The cause had literally changed his life around – it meant that much to him.

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‘Al Qaeda requested Henning’s release’

U.S. journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem, a film-maker who has reported extensively from Syria, says he interviewed a commander of the Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, who confronted ISIS to demand the release of Henning. Kareem says ‘anyone of any influence,’ including Al Qaeda, has sought to intervene on behalf of Haines, as he was a volunteer seeking to help Muslim refugees in the town of Dana and his abduction is ‘wrong under Islamic law’:

Four days after he was captured, the emir went to Al-Dana and said: ‘Look, what you are doing is wrong. You have no business what you are doing. You have no right to abduct him. You have no reason to detain him just because he is not Muslim’.

There were initial hopes that Henning would be released:

But then Henning was removed from his prison in Al-Dana and never heard of again.

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Syrian airstrikes ‘may be illegal’

Officials in the House of Commons Library warn that airstrikes against ISIS in Syria may be difficult to justify under international law, despite Cameron’s view that the Assad regime is illegitimate and does not need to give permission for military operations. A briefing paper prepared for Members of Parliament:

Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request. The British Government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorise it.

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‘Won’t look like shock-and-awe’

Dempsey says strikes on ISIS in Syria will be different from the ‘shock-and-awe’ tactics of the Iraq War:

This won’t look like a shock-and-awe campaign because that’s not how Isil is organized.

The U.S. will work to ensure a Syrian chain of command is in place to lead forces against ISIS in what he says will be a persistent campaign.

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Foley mission ‘riskiest ever’

Gen. Dempsey tells the Senate that the mission to rescue Foley – which ultimately failed – was the riskiest ever attempted:

Having been at this some time, it was the most complex, highest risk mission we’ve ever undertaken.

He says this may provide some solace to Foley’s family, who have said that the government did not offer them enough help.

17 Sep, 2014
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Son comments on Hall of Fame induction

Bearer’s son (D.J.) comments on inducting his father into the WWE Hall of Fame and the process.

We were either in the hotel sleeping or we were at the arena or rehearsing or doing something. It was more walk-through than anything because with it being Wrestlemania 30, they want everything perfect so they’re going to go through it a million times and make sure everything’s right for tv. But what an emotional weekend….what an honor it was, what a weekend it was.

 

18 Sep, 2014
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‘Not just suspicion’

Abbott says the participants in the alleged ISIS plot to kidnap and kill Australian members of the public showed clear intent to commit ‘demonstration’ beheadings in Sydney:

The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country. So this is not just suspicion, this is intent, and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.

23 Sep, 2014
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Responds to fan rumors

WWE responds to fan rumors of Lesnar suffering heart problems in his match with Cena at Night of Champions. The company denies the rumors in an email to The Washington Post.

There is no truth to the rumors about issues with Brock Lesnar’s health.

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‘Kill Americans and Europeans’

ISIS issues a decree calling on its followers to kill Westerners. It is the first official declaration of war against the West by the extremist group. Spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani ash-Shami:

If you can kill an American or European infidel – especially the spiteful and cursed French – or an Australian or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the infidel fighters … then rely upon God and kill them in any way possible. Do not consult with anyone and do not seek anyone’s advice. Whether they are civilian or military, the same ruling applies.

24 Sep, 2014
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‘ISIS wants to kill us’

Cameron warns that ISIS is out to terrorize European nations. He says that the terror groups might be having objectives to carry out terror attacks on Western targets like USA and UK.

These people want to kill us – They’ve got us in their sights.

David Cameron: Isis 'wants to kill us'

26 Sep, 2014
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Warns cash-burning startups

Andreessen warns startups that if they spend money too fast, they can’t rely on a buyer to solve their problems:

When market turns, M&A mostly stops. Nobody will want to buy your cash-incinerating startup. There will be no Plan B. VAPORIZE.

1 Oct, 2014
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Giving back Reddit shares

Altman announces in an AMA that he and other investors in the latest round are giving part of their shares to users of the site:

We’re working on a way to give 10% of our shares from this round to the reddit community. I hope we can increase community ownership over time–I’ve always thought communities like reddit should mostly own themselves, and that it’s time for some innovation around corporate structure here. I’m giving the company a voting proxy on my shares.

3 Oct, 2014
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Parents criticize Columbia lack of action

Sulkowicz’s parents make a statement, supporting their daughter and criticizing what they see as Columbia’s lack of action:

If Columbia remains passive in the face of Emma’s suffering, and does not attempt to rectify the injustice done to her, survivors at Columbia will feel discouraged from entrusting themselves to the system that Columbia has recently worked so hard at putting into place.

Emma’s performance piece, “Carry That Weight,” has galvanized forces around the world for gender equality, sexual assault policy reform, and empowerment of the disenfranchised, and has received praise from the art world. Needless to say, we are proud…However, as Emma’s parents, we do not want her recent celebrity to be a distraction from the fact that the University’s failure to place sanctions on the man she reported for rape, Jean-Paul Nungesser, CC ’15,  is a cause of her continued suffering. The investigation, hearing, and appeals process that followed her complaint to the University were painfully mishandled. We feel that they violated standards of impartiality, fairness, and serious attention to the facts of the case.

If Columbia does not act to expel him before then, their graduation will not relieve Columbia of the burden of this episode. Instead, in this important moment in the history of sexual assault on college campuses, Columbia will remain indelibly in the public mind as the university where good men and women did nothing.

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Foreign Office statement

The Foreign Office releases a statement:

We are aware of the video and are working urgently to verify the contents. If true, this is a further disgusting murder. We are offering the family every support possible; they ask to be left alone at this time.

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Cameron statement

Cameron releases a statement:

The brutal murder of Alan Henning by Isil shows just how barbaric and repulsive these terrorists are. My thoughts and prayers tonight are with Alan’s wife Barbara, their children and all those who loved him. Alan had gone to Syria to help get aid to people of all faiths in their hour of need. The fact that he was taken hostage when trying to help others and now murdered demonstrates that there are no limits to the depravity of these Isil terrorists. We will do all we can to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice.

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Clegg statement

Clegg tweets statements:

Sincere condolences to Alan Henning’s family. Barbaric actions of ISIL are held in complete contempt. We are resolved to defeat this evil.

Oct 2014
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‘Ridiculous expectations’

Pike tells the print edition of Spectrum magazine that people expect too much from marriage:

People have ridiculous expectations of a mate. In my grandmother’s day, you wouldn’t expect your husband to fulfill the same need in you as your sister, or girlfriends, or colleagues at work. You’d have different needs met by different people. Now we want all our needs met by one person, and I don’t believe that’s possible. Or rather, it is, but I don’t think it’s universally achievable.

7 Oct, 2014
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Idaho dairy farmers respond

Following Chobani’s announcement to explore non-GMO fed cattle, Idaho dairy farmers, many of whom supply Chobani, express feasibility concerns. Idaho Dairymen’s Association President Tony VanderHulst, a Wendell, Idaho dairyman is concerned it will be economically difficult.

First off, we need to get farmers together and have a roundtable discussion. There’s a lot to look at. It all comes down to sustainability, economics and feasibility.

9 Oct, 2014
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Responds to valuation critics

Graham responds to criticism that being a Y Combinator alum gains companies twice the valuation they would have had without participating. He tells Bloomberg Television’s Studio 1.0 with Emily Chang:

That means we can take people into YC, and even if we did nothing else, they would be able to get twice the valuation they would have otherwise. Either the company’s worth a lot or it’s not. If it’s worth a lot, then it was a bargain anyway, even if it was overpriced. And if the company ends up tanking, who cares how much you paid for this now worthless stock, right?

13 Oct, 2014
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Comments on older wrestlers

Ross updates the blog on his website and discusses the WWE Network, celebrities on wrestling shows and WWE using older stars.

WWE would be wise to consider hiring a handful of seasoned veterans to work with their highly regarded younger talents if for nothing else a short term IE one year contract. Young talents cannot get better working with those who are not better than the rookies.

15 Oct, 2014
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First public comments since release

Roberts takes to Instagram to release his first public statement since his release from WWE.

Announcing was my dream, until I realized the absolute best part was using my position to help others. It brought me so much joy to bring a smile to a fellow fan’s face.

16 Oct, 2014
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Calls Cosby a rapist

Buress calls Cosby a rapist during his comedy routine at his late night show at the Trocadero.

It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the f-ckin’ smuggest old black man persona that I hate. He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.

Hannibal Buress Called Bill Cosby a Rapist During a Stand up

17 Oct, 2014
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Addresses comeback rumors

Austin addresses rumors that he will be making a comeback to WWE in the near future on his podcast, The Steve Austin Show.

No, man, I’m not looking to make a return. I don’t see that I have time in my schedule or the desire to climb back in the ring to start taking bumps again.

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Defends practice of slavery

ISIS defends its capture of thousands of slaves and forced marriages of Yazidi women. Dabiq magazine article:

Enslaving the families of the [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah. If one were to deny or mock [it], he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Quran.

18 Oct, 2014
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‘Target-rich environment’

U.S. officials say the ISIS offensive on Kobani is concentrating the group’s manpower in a small area and presenting a target for air strikes. U.S. CentCom chief Army Gen. Lloyd Austin:

The enemy has made a decision to make Kobani his main effort…Now, my goal is to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIL. And if [the enemy] continues to present us with major targets … then clearly, we’ll service those targets, and we’ve done so very, very effectively here of late

White House Press secretary Josh Earnest says the administration sees the assault as an opportunity:

That has created a rather target-rich environment around Kobani for American and coalition air strikes that when they see clusters of fighters or they see depots of material or supplies that are critical to the success of those fighters, it’s easier to take them out.

21 Oct, 2014
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Comments on Hell in a Cell

Ross updates the blog section of his website to discuss mid-card champions and WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

I still think that creativity as it relates to stunts, etc for this Sunday’s HIAC will be challenging considering that there will be two Hell in a Cell matches on the show both in a PG world. Anxious to see how the creative minds come up with elements that will make the two main events special, different and perceived as ‘dangerous.’

29 Oct, 2014
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‘Worst is over’ for local papers

Highfields says, contrary to the predictions of media pundits, that Johnston Press will still be printing newspapers in five years. The decline in Johnston Press revenues has slowed from 4.3pc in the first half of the year to 3.1pc in the third quarter. The company cited 40pc year-on-year growth in the audience for its websites, to 27 million users in September, as the main force behind the improvement.

We’re increasingly confident in saying the worst is over for the regional press. We might not be completely out of the woods but the growth in digital audiences, and in fact the performance of print, tells us we’ll get there.

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‘New world order’

Hagel says ISIS is reordering global geopolitics:

I think we are living through one of these historic, defining times. I think we are seeing a new world order. What we’re seeing in the Middle East with ISIL is going to require a steady, long-term effort. It’s going to require coalitions of common interests, which we are forming.

30 Oct, 2014
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Columbia mattress protest

carry-weightHundreds of students carry 28 mattresses and leave them at the door of Bollinger’s home, in a  protest organized by No Red Tape, an anti-rape campus group whose members wear red X’s and stickers urging passers by to “Imagine a world without rape”. The mattresses bear slogans like “NO MORE” and “CARRY THAT WEIGHT”. Students:

The administration isn’t really paying attention to what’s important. They’re dancing around the issue, saying it’s not really Columbia’s problem but society in general’s. Though they’re the people who are not expelling the rapists.

As a trans man, I feel sometimes that … I need to be involved in the male part of it. The entire reason that assault happens is because of the attacker, not the victim.

1 Nov, 2014
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Completes Moon mission

China completes its first return mission to the moon with the successful re-entry and landing of an unmanned probe in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region. The probe was on an eight-day mission to fly around the moon and head back to Earth. The mission tests technology to be used in the Chang’e-5, China’s fourth lunar probe, which will gather samples from the moon’s surface and will be launched around 2017

5 Nov, 2014
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Reassures fans

Illness

 

Iwata's reassures publicIwata addresses public concerns about his gaunt appearance post-surgery via Twitter.

I saw many worried comments over how thin I’ve become. The truth is that after a major operation, I lost weight, but during these past two and a half months, thankfully my weight has stabilized, and I’m progressing well. I would truly like to thank my doctors, the hospital staff, and everyone who has assisted me.

11 Nov, 2014
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PC World interview

Karpeles agrees to an interview with PC World on the condition that he will not discuss other than in general terms what happened at the company, the police investigation into it and other litigation involving him. He says Tibanne now has 13 employees and still does Web and server hosting as well as Web and mobile application development. Tibanne’s graphics editing software subsidiary, Shade3D, has about 10 staff.

I’ve been trying to keep Tibanne and Shade3D running well so we can maybe assist with the Mt. Gox bankruptcy…I cannot apologize enough for what happened. While I believe I did everything I could do to prevent this from happening, it still happened. Right now, I’m trying to do my best to cooperate with the bankruptcy process and the ongoing investigation.

Karpeles says Bitcoin needs the kind of physical security measures that are used to protect gold, including 24-hour operation centers manned by guards and accessed only through hardware tokens, with staff who have undergone extensive background checks.

[Without major investments in security infrastructure] most likely we’re going to see more companies getting hacked, or bitcoin being stolen.