Uber, France argue over whether company is a transport service

In its latest European legal battle with the taxi industry, Uber told Europe’s top court that it was a digital service, and not a transport service.

In its latest European legal battle with the taxi industry, Uber told Europe’s top court that it was a digital service, and not a transport service.

The U.S ride-hailing app accused a French law of apparently targeting online taxi services.

Uber expanded to Europe five years ago and has been attacked by taxi companies who see it as unfair competition bypassing strict licensing and safety regulations.

In a hearing in Europe’s top court in Luxembourg, the U.S tech start-up described itself as a digital platform connecting willing travelers with drivers.

The start-up added that it does not itself provide a transport service, which would lead to it subjected to stricter regulations.

The company’s lawyer, Hugues Calvet, compared Uber to online hotel booking services loke Booking.com, arguing that they did not provide the room.

“In fact, it doesn’t give the transport service itself,” Calvet said.

The case was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) by a court in Lille.

The suit concerns a 2014 French law on taxis and chauffeured services which make it a criminal offense to organize illegal taxi services and puts restrictions on the use of software to find customers in the street.

Last year, two of Uber’s executives in France were fined over UberPop, the company’s service employing unlicensed drivers.

UberPop has since been suspended.

Uber, as well as the European Commission, argued that the French law targeted electronically provided taxi services, and therefore Brussels should have been notified about it.

European Union law requires that Brussels be informed of measures related to online services.

Uber argued that France failed to notify Brussels of its law, and as such, criminal penalties cannot be enforced against it.

The court duels come as Uber tries to stem a wave of executive departures and criticism of its work culture.

New Zealand tech could reveal world’s largest waves

A New Zealand company has deployed a wave buoy in the thick of the world’s wildest ocean, Southern Ocean.

A New Zealand company has deployed a wave buoy in the thick of the world’s wildest ocean, Southern Ocean.

With the buoy, the company expects to record the largest waves ever known – some potentially reaching up to the height of an eight-storey building.

Working with the New Zealand Defense Force, science-based consultancy Metocean Solutions fixed the high-tech instrument in the Southern Ocean, off Campbell Island.

The buoy was moored nearly halfway between the South Island and Antarctica.

Persistent westerly winds and a large area for waves to build has made Southern Ocean waves among the largest in the world.

But due to subantarctic waters being extremely difficult to work in, reliable data for the area has been limited.

The company’s managing director Peter McComb said the moored buoy was designed strong enough to survive a monster wave with a height of 25 cm.

“And indeed, that’s what we are hoping to measure if we get a big storm coming through,” McComb said.

The buoy has already registered waves as high as 16 cm. The record is taller than huge waves that were recorded rolling off the Bay of Plenty during Cyclone Cook.

However, this was still well off the largest waves ever recorded: a 19cm wave recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and the UK last year.

According to McComb, scientists are aware that individual waves of 25cm can occur in the area where the buoy was moored.

The scientists are hopeful of recording one, even though it might take years.

25cm is the height of 16 cars stacked on top of each other, or an eight-storey building.

U.S citizen detained in North Korea

The university is populated by students of North Korea’s elite.

A United States citizen was detained Friday as he attempted to leave North Korea.

This brings the total number of Americans detained by North Korea to three.

Korean-American Tony Kim had spent a month teaching an accounting course at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), the university’s chancellor, Chan-Mo Park told Reuters on Sunday.

According to Park, Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-Duk, was detained by North Korean officials at Pyongyang International Airport as he attempted to leave the country.

“The cause of his arrest is not known, but some staff members at PUST told me his arrest was not related to his work at PUST,” Park said, adding that Kim had been involved with other activities outside the university, such as helping an orphanage.

An official at South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said he was not aware of any arrest.

The U.S State Department confirmed it had received reports that a United States citizen was detained in North Korea, but could not give further details due to privacy issues.

Kim is listed as an accounting professor on the website China’s Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST), PUST’s sister institution.

PUST was formed by evangelical Christians and has a curriculum that includes subjects such as capitalism, which was once considered taboo in North Korea.

The university is populated by students of North Korea’s elite.

North Korea has been in the past criticized for its human rights record.

The country has in the past used detained Americans to extract high-profile visits from the United States, with whom it has no formal diplomatic ties.

 

The hunt for the DNA of Jesus

Science and religion do not always see eye-to-eye, but they have now joined forces to uncover new details about Jesus and his descendants.

Science and religion do not always see eye-to-eye, but they have now joined forces to uncover new details about Jesus and his descendants.

A biblical scholar and a geneticist are trying to trace Jesus’ DNA, and are using modern technology to analyze artifacts from around the world, including the shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, and a recently discovered set of bones thought to belong John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin.

They hope that their investigation will guide them to a DNA sample that could belong to Jesus or a member of his family, to identify any ties to people living today.

In a new documentary aired on Easter Sunday by the History Channel, Oxford University geneticist George Busby and biblical scholar Pastor Joe Basile, travel from Spain and Italy to Israel and the Black sea to search for Jesus’ DNA.

Among the items the researchers investigated, are the ‘bones of John the Baptist.’ The bones were discovered in Bulgaria in 2010.

The 2, 000-year-old bones showed similarities to Middle Eastern populations and could be substantial in the research, as he was thought to be Jesus’ cousin as well as his disciple.

“We can compare the DNA from a relic to DNA from other relics,” Busby wrote in an article for The Conversation.

According to Busby, if they find other relics purported to be from John the Baptist or any other close relative of Jesus, then they could use genetics to compare the two to see if they came from the same or related people.

The scientists hope that if they can find a sample of Jesus’ DNA, they can then identify any possible descendants living today.

New discoveries could also shine new insight on Jesus himself.

Survivor castaways reflect on experience

Hali Ford reflected on her experiences on Survivor: Game Changers.

Hali Ford reflected on her experiences on Survivor: Game Changers.

Ford was cast off of the double show of episodes eight and nine. The competitor spoke with CBS Local reporter, Samantha Bennet, about being voted off of the show. She also gave some insight into her strategy on playing the “game”. She also talked about the remaining competition in the show.

“My first game I wasn’t thinking independently,” admitted Ford. “I wasn’t in the game. I was more into this, sort of, internal space. I was thinking about home basically. This game I was all in. I was completely present. I was excited to be playing. My strategy going in was to lay low and paint myself as a non-threat, which I tried to do throughout the game, to kind of tell people that I was a goat. But I was completely confident and when it got to that final vote I’d be able to make an argument as to why I deserved a million dollars. If I could make it to the end, I wasn’t concerned that people would perceive me as a goat. I mean, if they did that would be tragic but I’ve never really felt that. But that was my strategy and I think it’s true, to an extent; there were people in the game who were much bigger threats than me. So, you know, I think it was a strong argument to make.”

Unsealed documents highlight Prince’s struggle with opioid addiction

Prince was 57 when he was discovered alone and unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park on April 21.

Search warrants and affidavits unsealed Monday reveal that before his death, Prince abused opioid pain drugs, suffered withdrawal symptoms, and got at least one opioid prescription under his bodyguard’s name.

Prince was 57 when he was discovered alone and unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park on April 21.

Approximately a year after Prince’s accidental overdose death at his suburban Minneapolis studio and estate, investigators are yet to find out how he acquired the fentanyl that killed him.

However, the newly unsealed documents provide the clearest picture yet of the Purple Rain hitmaker’s struggle with opioid painkillers.

Investigators talked to plenty of people at Paisley Park where the star’s body was discovered.

The people told the investigators that Prince had been “going through withdrawals, which are believed to be the result of the abuse of prescription medication.”

When police later checked a database used to monitor who is getting prescriptions for controlled substances, they found no record of Prince.

There was, however, a prescription for the opioid painkiller oxycodone. The prescription was written for Kirk Johnson, Prince’s bodyguard.

The opioid prescription was dated April 14, 2016, the same day Prince was revived with an anti-overdose drug after getting sick on a plane.

Dr. Michael Schulenberg, who wrote the prescription, told the police he put the prescription in the bodyguard’s name to protect Prince’s privacy.

In a statement, Schulenberg’s lawyer, Amy Conners, said that her client never prescribed opioids to Prince directly, or to another party with the intent of providing them to the award-winning musician.

Writing a prescription under another person’s name is contrary to state and federal law.

 

 

 

Jen Chaney writes an open letter to Hannah Horvath

Vulture TV columnist, Jen Chaney, penned a letter to Girls protagonist, Hannah Horvath.

Vulture TV columnist, Jen Chaney, penned a letter to Girls protagonist, Hannah Horvath.

The HBO hit series, Girls, is in its final season. Chaney has decided to write a letter of advice to main character, Hannah. She admits that her advice to the characters are totally unsolicited, also admitted that she was in no position to give advice in general.

“I’m not sure why I thought it made sense to offer advice to you or your friends throughout the final season of Girls. Seriously, when have any of you ever taken the advice that’s been given to you?” wrote Chaney. “And who am I to give advice to you anyway? I’m just an old(er) lady who doesn’t live in Brooklyn, hates being naked, and has never taken cocaine or surfing lessons for the purposes of a writing assignment. Our worlds are pretty different. Plus, as you told Marnie during that disastrous trip to Poughkeepsie, none of us knows anything, and I am no exception.”

Many viewers have decried the show for its depiction of careless characters that seem not to have true concerns and reflect the “first world problems” of modern Americans. Chaney forgave Hannah and her friends for the accusation.

“For six years, you and all of your friends have been told by countless critics, writers, and bloggers that you’re self-involved, inconsiderate, coddled children” wrote Chaney. “Sometimes those comments were more than justified. Sometimes they were unnecessarily harsh and felt like a pile-on, especially considering there are lots of self-involved, inconsiderate, coddled man- and woman-babies on television. You and your friends became convenient targets, and I have no energy to throw darts at you anymore.”

Angelina Jolie honors late mother with new endorsement

Actress, Angelina Jolie honored her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand, by signing a new endorsement deal.

Actress, Angelina Jolie honored her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand, by signing a new endorsement deal.

Jolie signed recently to be the face of perfume, Mon Guerlain. The decision to sign a campaign deal with the company raised eyebrows. Jolie has not taken part in an international beauty campaign in over a decade. She explained her choice to take part in the campaign as an ode to her mother. Bertrand died in January, 2007. She had been suffering from cancer for over seven and a half years and passed at 56 years of age. Jolie followed in the footsteps of her mother, who acted in such small films as The Man Who Loved Women. She divorced Oscar winning actor and father of Jolie, Jon Voight, and raised her brother, Haven, and Jolie when Angelina was only a small child. In an interview with Marie Claire, Jolie said that Mon Guerlain reflected her mother in many ways.

“It was a brand my mother loved, so I knew it from my childhood,” said Jolie, who is now 41 years of age. “It spoke to her, as it does to me, of beauty, history, and quality; one of the oldest perfume houses in the world, from France, a country I love and feel connected to. She was a very natural woman who never spoiled herself, never wore makeup, and wore modest jewelry, but she always had a few special items for when she wanted to feel like a lady.”

Finally, HIV breakthrough has been made

Until now, efforts to find a treatment and cure have focused on blocking the virus T-cells, which is a type of white blood cell that is important to the immune system.

Scientists have confirmed that HIV can survive in another less-explored type of white blood cell.

Until now, efforts to find a treatment and cure have focused on blocking the virus T-cells, which is a type of white blood cell that is important to the immune system.

However, new research by the University of Carolina reveals that HIV can also persist exclusively in macrophages – large white blood cells found in the liver, lungs, bone marrow and brain.

This pioneering discovery could explain why no treatment has successfully cured anyone with the disease, despite tremendous advances in suppressing the virus.

“These results are paradigm changing because they demonstrate that cells other than T-cells can as act as a reservoir for HIV,” said Dr. Jenna Honeycutt.

“The fact that HIV-infected macrophages can persist means that any possible therapeutic intervention to eradicate HIV might have to target two very different types of cells,” Honeycutt, the lead author and postdoctoral research associate in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases, added.

Advances in HIV treatments have made it possible for a daily regimen of pills to render the virus undetectable and untransmittable.

Approximately 30 percent of the United State’s 1.2 million infected with HIV have attained an undetectable viral load.

A person with the virus becomes ‘undetectable’ when treatment targeting T-cells suppresses the virus to a level so low in their blood, that it cannot be detected by measurements.

If a person is undetectable and stays on treatment, they cannot pass the virus to a partner.

Up to now, an undetectable load is almost always achieved with daily doses of antiretroviral drugs.

 

New study: Salty food doesn’t make you thirsty

A landmark scientific study has shattered the belief that salty food makes living organisms crave a drink.

A landmark scientific study has shattered the belief that salty food makes living organisms crave a drink.

An international group of scientists tested the theory by monitoring the salt intake and hydrating levels in cosmonauts during a year-long simulated mission to Mars.

After the study, researchers concluded that the adage could not be further from the truth. In fact, they found that food with lots of salt quelled thirst, making cosmonauts more hydrated and energetic.

The study will change the way scientists look at urea in the body. Once seen as simply a wasteful protein excreted in urine, it may turn out to be a valuable body product.

The decision to test the theory in space had two benefits:

One, It is useful information for cosmonauts. Hydration is important on long space voyages, where food and drink are rationed.

For cosmonauts to efficiently organize their food stock and remain healthy, space teams need to determine the relationship between salt and liquid consumption accurately.

Secondly, space provided an entirely controlled environment. Every aspect of a person’s water use, nutrition, and salt intake could be calculated and calibrated during the simulation.

The test subjects were two groups of ten male volunteers. The volunteers were sealed into a mock spaceship for stimulated flights to the red planet.

The first batch was studied for 105 days, while the second one was examined over 205 days.

The two groups had identical diets, except that over periods lasting several weeks, they were provided with three different levels of salt in their food.

The test results showed that eating more salt leads to a higher salt content in urine.

However, the increase was not due to more drinking. Salt was triggering a body mechanism to conserve water in the kidneys.

Salt remained in the urine, while water moved back into the kidneys and body.