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How to earn $1185 a month doing nothing

Written By kom limapulan on Selasa, 29 Juli 2014 | 21.13

Only use your car part of the week? Rent it out to strangers. Source: Supplied

Take a look at the ins and outs behind the online community marketplace sensation; Airtasker. Courtesy Airtasker.

NO, IT'S not a pyramid scheme, an email from your departed grandmother or a plea for help from a Nigerian prince.

It's called the sharing economy.

Around the world, peer-to-peer sharing is taking off. The internet has opened up giant marketplaces for everyday people to share goods and services with one another.

While there have been some horror stories, in general the public honour system incentivises good behaviour. Think eBay, whose early success was underpinned by publicly rated seller profiles.

RENT OUT YOUR SPARE ROOM

+$375/MONTH

Author Rachel Botsman estimated the peer-to-peer consumer rental market to be worth upwards of $26 billion in her 2010 book, What's Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.

That figure would be substantially higher today, with many platforms reporting rapid growth in the past 24 months. Accommodation site Airbnb, for example, has grown from 120,000 listings globally in 2012 to more than 800,000 today.

While the company doesn't give out local numbers, it claims listings in Australia have grown 97% year-on-year. In Sydney, 85 per cent of hosts rent out the home they live in, and the typical host earns $4,500 per year renting out their property for an average of 37 nights.

Spare bedroom? Peer-to-peer sharing sites like Airbnb can make it work for you. Source: Supplied

RENT OUT YOUR CAR

+$550/MONTH

Will Davies, founder of Sydney-based car-sharing start-up Car Next Door, says since January the service has grown from 600 to 2000 users sharing 120 cars — up from 45 at the start of the year.

"Our top owner has made $1330 profit in the past 30 days," Davies says. "We routinely have owners earning $400 or $500 a month."

One car owner, Sarah from Bondi, earns around $550 a month from letting out her VW Golf. She usually only drives on weekends, with the car sitting idle on the street the rest of the time.

So how does it work? The most important aspect, says Mr Davies, is you never have to waste time meeting the person renting your car.

Car Next Door founders Dave Trumbull (left) and Will Davies. Source: Supplied

"Basically you list your car and we come out and install the GPS tracker and an electronic lockbox that handles the key exchange. When a borrower wants to use your car, they go on the platform, search for the location, and you get an SMS when your car has been booked.

"It's very hands-off. If a borrower borrows a car for three hours, that owner might be making $15 from that transaction. But if they have to meet the borrower at the start and the end [to hand over keys], there's a lot of friction."

Mr Davies says peer-to-peer sharing of this kind only makes sense if the item is expensive. The big three are house, car, and — as sites like TaskRabbit and Australian rival Airtasker are now showing — time.

Pikachu will hold your spot in line — for a fee. Source: Supplied

WALK SOMEONE'S DOG

+$260/MONTH

With 130,000 active users, Airtasker now processes more than $5 million a year worth of jobs — everything from setting up computers to delivering KFC — with the majority of that growth coming in the past six months.

"The average task run is $120," Airtasker founder Tim Fung says. "That equates to a little over $26 an hour. What a platform like this does is allows you to open up skills that might not have been considered 'skills' in the traditional sense.

Making cash in your spare time is a walk in the park. Source: Supplied

"We've got a whole bunch of people making money off stuff like paper mache, making costumes, walking dogs — I would call them skills because some people are better at them than others. We've had someone fly over to the US to pick up an engagement ring, elaborate proposals, flashmobs, baking, knitting, all these things."

The company is eyeing a US expansion next year to take on TaskRabbit, and Fung wants to develop relationships with professional recruiters to take on larger, enterprise-scale projects for businesses.

"To get the first 100,000 users on the site is always the toughest," Mr Fung says. "There's been teething issues, sure, but we basically want to replicate all the dynamics of a real-world labour market.

"We're building in a calling feature, video interviewing, a project feature — that's allowing companies like TripAdvisor and Delivery Hero to make use of not just one-to-one but hundreds of people doing transactions."

GRAND TOTAL: $1185


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The story we can’t publish

UK police are outside the Ecuador embassy where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up for 56 days seeking asylum

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange. Picture: AFP Photo/Anthony Devlin Source: AFP

WIKILEAKS co-founder Julian Assange has accused the federal government of "blindfolding the Australian public" over what it calls an "unprecedented" case of censorship.

The whistleblower website has published an explosive Victorian Supreme Court suppression order, concerning a corruption case that involves former and current leaders of Asian nations.

"With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public," Mr Assange said in a statement.

"This is not simply a question of the Australian Government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian Government."

Julian Assange speaks to Meet The Press and News Ltd journalist Charles Miranda inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Limited

The gag order justifies suppressing the information on the grounds that it would prevent damage to Australia's international relations and that it may damage the reputations of the other individuals who are not the subject of charges in the case.

It also says the information may put national security at risk.

"The concept of 'national security' is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere," Mr Assange said.

"It is in the public interest for the press to be able to report on this case, which concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank. Who is brokering our deals, and how are we brokering them as a nation? Corruption investigations and secret gag orders for 'national security' reasons are strange bedfellows. It is ironic that it took Tony Abbott to bring the worst of 'Asian values' to Australia."

WikiLeaks is a non-profit organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks and classified media from anonymous sources.

Mr Assange co-founded the site in 2006 and received notoriety in 2010 when WikiLeaks published classified US military and diplomatic documents.

He has lived a solitary life in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since he was granted political asylum there in 2012. He is wanted in Sweden over sex assault charges, which he denies, and fears being turned over to the US to face criminal charges.

A policeman watches the crowd as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012. Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Source: Getty Images


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Airports on high alert over Ebola

Written By kom limapulan on Minggu, 27 Juli 2014 | 21.13

A US doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus.

Treatment ... A staff member of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse spraying product as he treats the premises outside the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa's Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia. Source: AFP

A MAN collapses at an international airport: It's a hackneyed scene from almost every plague film ever made. But now it has happened — airports around the world are on high alert as fears mount that the deadly Ebola virus is on the move.

Nigerian health authorities are racing to stop the spread of the flesh-eating Ebola virus after a man sick with one of the world's deadliest diseases carried it by plane to Lagos, Africa's largest city with 21 million people.

Nigeria is so concerned it has ordered the establishment of "disease isolation centres" at international airports across the country to prevent any further entry of the untreatable disease.

But the horse may have already bolted.

Not only did the passenger come into contact with people at the megacity's main airport and in the aircraft itself, he'd spent time in an airport at the uninfected African country of Togo where his flight had a scheduled stopover.

ISOLATING DESPAIR: Doctor tells of Ebola outbreak horror

Any number of the passengers, staff — and even visitors — to these places may have already been exposed. Togo is now on high alert as it government fears it will become the fifth African nation to be afflicted by the poorly understood virus.

Screening ... Protection, detection and healthcare equipment has been set up in major Nigerian airportsto prevent the spread of the Ebola virus. Source: AFP

Airports in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three other West African countries affected by the current Ebola outbreak, have implemented preventive measures, according to officials in those countries. But none of the safeguards are foolproof, say health experts.

IS EBOLA HEADED OUR WAY? A look at the spread of the virus

The head of efforts in Liberia to contain the Ebola outbreak, Dr Lance Plyler, says that such screening may help slow the spread of the disease — but it was no guarantee it wouldn't be spread by aircraft travellers.

"Unfortunately the initial signs of Ebola imitate other diseases, like malaria or typhoid," he said.

Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria spokesman Yakubu Dati confirmed health officials were now working at airports, sea ports and land border crossings.

"They are giving out information ... on what to do, what to look out for," he said.

Preparations include the setting up of secure holding rooms where any potential cases would be isolated.

Health care ... An agent checks a passenger leaving at Conakry's airport Protection and healthcare material are being set up at African airports to fight against the spreading of the Ebola virus. Source: AFP

This is by far the deadliest ever Ebola outbreak.

Some 670 deaths have been reported since it was declared an outbreak earlier this year.

Most have been in remote and regional areas. The largest population centre so far affected is Conakry, capital of Guinea.

Last week, the West African nation of Sierra Leone had a "Typhoid Mary" scare where an Ebola-infected woman escaped into their capital city of Freetown. She has since turned herself in — and died in an ambulance on the way back to hospital.

Any outbreak in the Nigerian city of Lagos, where a large portion of its population live in squalid, close conditions, could prove catastrophic.

"Lagos is completely different from other cities because we're talking about millions of people," said Plan International's Disaster Response and Preparedness Head, Dr. Unni Krishnan.

Deadly patient ... The First Consultants Medical Centre in Lagos, where a 40-year-old Liberian man died from the Ebola disease. Source: AFP

'CONSULTANT' CARRIED THE DISEASE

Patrick Sawyer, a consultant for the Liberian Ministry of Finance arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday last week and was immediately detained by health authorities suspecting he might have Ebola, according to Dr Lance Plyler, who heads Ebola medical efforts in Liberia for aid organization Samaritan's Purse.

On his way to Lagos, Sawyer's plane also stopped in Lome, Togo, according to the World Health Organisation.

Authorities announced on Friday that blood tests from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital confirmed Sawyer died of Ebola earlier that day.

Spreading alarm ... A man reads a local newspaperson a street with the headline Ebola virus kills Liberian in Lagos, in Lagos Nigeria, at the weekend. Source: AP

Sawyer reportedly did not show Ebola symptoms when he boarded the plane, Plyler said, but by the time he arrived in Nigeria he was vomiting and had diarrhoea. There has not been another recently recorded case of Ebola spreading through air travel, he added.

Nearly 50 other passengers on the flight are being monitored for signs of Ebola but are not being kept in isolation, said an employee at Nigeria's Ministry of Health, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

Sawyer's sister also died of Ebola in Liberia, according to Liberian officials, but he claimed to have had no contact with her. Ebola is highly contagious in unsanitary conditions and kills more than 70 per cent of people infected.

The virus is believed to have originated among fruit bats.

Emergency response ... A member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) (C-L) supervises the unloading of protection and healthcare material at Conakry's airport, to fight the spread of the Ebola virus and treat people who have been already infected. Source: AFP

HOW FAR CAN EBOLA SPREAD?

Ebola is not a highly contagious disease. It requires contact with bodily fluids.

Toronto-based international infectious disease specialist Kamran Khan told NPR: "The chance of Ebola spreading out of West Africa is very, very low. But if it did spread, Paris is probably the first city on the list."

The specialist studies how viruses move around the globe in an effort to predict the spread of major contagens.

The key factors here, he said, were how many people had the infection and how many of them travel: "The big question is whether sick people are going to get on a plane and spread the disease."

The city currently experiencing the worst Ebola outbreak is Conakry, in Guinea. About 10 per cent of the flights out of this city's airport, he explains, end up in Paris.

If Ebola were to establish itself in a nation such as Nigeria, with international airports sending flights to all the world's major hubs, the equation gets more confused.

Cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore and London could also be among the first to record cases.

A Qantas spokesperson said the World Health Organisation had implented strict constraints to ensure the disease was contained in North Africa and at the moment the airline was operating as normal. Qantas only flies into Johannesburg in South Africa.

Deadly remains ... Workers wearing protective clothing bury victims in a recent Ebola outbreak. Source: AP

Nigerian health official Mr Yakubu Dati said screening would examine passenger manifests to determine who had been to areas afflicted by the virus and could therefore be potential carriers.

The screening centres were being set up to prevent further arrivals of the disease in Nigeria, he told Punchng.com

"It is for international airports and international points of entry. Ebola is not in Nigeria. So, our strategies are for the points of entry," he said.

EARLY SYMPTOMS 'COMMON'

Some of Ebola's symptoms are similar to other diseases — and it has an unpredictable incubation period. A person can carry the disease for anywhere between two and 22 days before diagnosis is possible.

There is no known cure for Ebola, which begins with fever and sore throat and escalates to vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.

The World Health Organisation says the disease is not contagious until a person begins to show symptoms.

Ebola is passed by touching bodily fluids of patients even after they die. Traditional tribal burials that include rubbing the bodies of the dead contribute to the spread of the disease.

Thin line of defence ... Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wear protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry. Source: AFP

There is no "magic bullet" cure for Ebola, but early detection and treatment including fluids and nutrition can be effective. Quickly isolating patients who show symptoms is also crucial in slowing the spread of the disease.

West African hospital systems have weak and "often paralysed" health care systems and are not usually equipped to handle Ebola outbreaks. International aid organisations have stepped in, but they also lack enough funding and manpower. "We need more humanitarian workers," one aid worker said. "We need resources."

Decontamination ... Protective gear including boots, gloves, masks and suits, drying after being used in a treatment room in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. Source: AFP

AID WORKERS AFFLICTED

A US doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia had tested positive for the deadly virus late last week, and now a second US health worker has been diagnosed with the disease.

A news release from US-based Christian relief group Samaritan's Purse said Dr. Kent Brantly was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia.

Now aid worker Nancy Writebol — who worked at the same medical compound — has tested positive.

The news follows the death last week of prominent Liberian doctor, Samuel Brisbane, after a three-week battle with the virus.

"It's been a shock to everyone on our team to have two of our players get pounded with the disease,'' Isaacs said. Writebol had been working as a hygienist who decontaminated those entering and leaving the hospital's Ebola care area, he said.

Both Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly, the 33-year-old medical director at the centre on the outskirts of the Liberian capital, Monrovia, have been isolated and are under intensive treatment, Isaacs said. Brantly was in stable and in very serious condition, and Writebol was in stable and serious condition, he said.

Front line ... Staff for the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa's Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, as has an aid worker. Source: AFP

Writebol's husband, David, told an elder in the church via Skype on Saturday that she was very sick and he couldn't even enter the same room with her, according to the Rev. John Munro, pastor of Calvary Church in North Carolina. The church has sponsored her work with SIM, or Serving in Mission, which runs the hospital where Samaritan's Purse has the Ebola care centre.

"We are hopeful and prayerful," Isaacs told The Associated Press by telephone.

Health workers are at serious risk of contracting the disease, due to its spread through contact with bodily fluids.

Early treatment improves a patient's chances of survival, and Brantly recognised his own symptoms and began receiving care immediately, said Melissa Strickland, a spokeswoman for Samaritan's Purse.


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The world’s coolest internship

SpaceShipTwo takes flight, and will (eventually) go into suborbital space. Source: AFP

On the 10th of January 2014, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo completed it's third powered test flight. Courtesy: Virgin Galactic

MEET Barbara Schloss. When she was 11-years old, her 'space geek' parents took her and her brother to the Mojave Desert in California to watch a space race in which a privately developed spacecraft broke a world record.

Ten years later, Ms Schloss is an aerospace engineering student at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). But more interestingly, she's now an intern at Virgin Galactic where she works on the liquid propulsion system for LauncherOne — a launch vehicle for satellites.

Barbara Schloss' internship is working with rockets. Source: LinkedIn. Source: Supplied

If you don't know what a liquid propulsion system is, just know that it's heady, important stuff.

Virgin Galactic is Richard Branson's attempt to conquer space. It is developing commercial spacecraft which, for a fee, will take tourists up to suborbital space. But it won't come cheap; a single flight will cost you at least $250,000.

According to Ms Schloss' LinkedIn profile, she's also been an intern at Draper Laboratory, where she worked on projects including modelling the lunar surface, and in the Jet Propulsion Lab at NASA. Not quite the coffee fetching tasks characteristic of most internships.

Virgin boss Richard Branson singled out Ms Schloss in his latest Influencer post on LinkedIn in an article about encouraging children to shoot for the moon, literally.

Richard Branson wants kids to shoot for the moon. Source: AFP

He wrote: "Children are sponges; they absorb what we say and do. Our actions and words can greatly influence and inspire their young minds, and ultimately their future.

"By exposing her the XPRIZE [the space race Ms Schloss witnessed at 11] — a prize that encourages radical breakthroughs for the benefits of humanity — Barbara's parents unknowingly sparked her life's passion. Barbara claims to have enjoyed maths and science before she can remember, but on that day, she set her sights on becoming an aerospace engineer.

"I've always had a soft spot for dreamers — not those who waste their time thinking 'what if' but the ones who look to the sky and say 'why can't I shoot for the moon?'"


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Geale suffers brutal knockout

Written By kom limapulan on Sabtu, 26 Juli 2014 | 21.13

Daniel Geale has been knocked out by Gennady Golovkin in the third round of the middleweight world title event at Madison Square Garden.

Australian boxer Daniel Geale. Source: Supplied

THE most feared man in boxing, Gennady Golovkin, proved far too strong for Australia's Daniel Geale, winning by third-round TKO to retain his world middleweight crown.

Fighting at the holy grail of boxing, Madison Square Garden, Geale found it impossible to stop the runaway champion.

Golovkin collected Geale with a right hand overhand bomb that would have knocked plenty of boxers clean out, sending Geale to the canvas.

The Australian rose to his feet but was absolutely rattled, with the referee opting to end the fight.

Gennady Golovkin lands a savage punch to knock out Daniel Geale in the third round. Source: AFP

Cut around the eye in the opening round, Geale toiled hard with movement and speed but the freight train that is the power-punching Golovkin was simply too strong, earning his 17th straight knockout win.

The middleweight world champion known as "GGG" knocked Geale down with big shots in the the second and third round, with Geale unable to continue despite rising to his feet.

Gennady Golovkin knocks out Daniel Geale in the third round to win the WBA/IBO middleweight championship at Madison Square Garden. Source: AFP

Golovkin will now aim for a super fight with WBC champion Miguel Cotto and seems destined to become a brilliant champion, such is his poise and power inside the ring.

Geale can hold his head high. His footwork and movement to survive three rounds with Golovkin was classy and highly skillful, but unfortunately the Australian was outclassed.

Geale will leave New York to return home to Australia tomorrow.

Golovkin's professional record moves to 30 wins (27 knockouts) while Geale's record drops to 30 wins (16 KOs) and three losses.

Gennady Golovkin celebrates after his TKO victory. Source: AFP

ROUND-BY-ROUND COVERAGE

1.06pm - GOLOVKIN WINS BY THIRD ROUND TKO

IT'S OVER. Golovkin wins by third-round TKO with heavy right-hand to finish Geale's night.

Earlier in the round, Golovkin shook Geale with a brutal left and had knocked him down in the second round as well.

1.03pm - SECOND ROUND

GEALE hit the floor early in the second round on the back of an onslaught from Golovkin. The "Real Deal" has a cut above his eye.

According to most pundits, Geale needed to take the first couple of rounds to be any chance.

But it's the Kazahstan fighter who has taken the first two.

1pm - FIRST ROUND

SOLID first round from Geale, taking the fight to the highly fancied Golovkin. The Aussie hit the deck but it was just a trip.

Golovkin still takes the round, commanding the fight from the middle and landing a number of solid lefts.

12pm - CAHILL TO CARRY IN FLAG FOR GEALE

SOCCEROOS hero Tim Cahill will carry the Australian flag in for Daniel Geale at Madison Square Garden.

Geale looking very focused in the background.


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Fans divided over new-look Wonder Woman

THE film is still almost two years away from release, but eager fans have been given their first glimpse of Wonder Woman in the upcoming DC Comics blockbuster, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Played by Israeli model and actor Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious, Date Night), the new-look Wonder Woman's outfit is a world away from the colourful tube-top and hot pants rocked by Lynda Carter in the TV version of Wonder Woman back in the 70s.

The new look. Hit or miss? Source: Twitter

As with the picture of Ben Affleck as Batman revealed a few days ago, it seems the look for Wonder Woman circa 2016 (the film is due for release in April of that year) is dark and brooding — with a touch of the Xena: Warrior Princess, might we add.

The Wonder Woman of the 1970s, played by Lynda Carter: fighting crime with fashion. Source: Supplied


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Gynaecologist secretly filmed patients

Written By kom limapulan on Jumat, 25 Juli 2014 | 21.13

Patients of the gynaecologist who secretly took thousands of intimate videos of their genitals can finally get some justice after a settlement was agreed. Source: ThinkStock

THE trusting patients of a gynaecologist who was caught secretly taking over a thousand explicit recordings of them can finally gain some closure after a settlement has been agreed.

For Myra James, the process of going to the gynaecologist is now too much to bear.

Since she found out her practitioner of 20 years, Dr. Nikita Levy, had been using tiny cameras to secretly record his patients' genitals, she said, "I can't bring myself to go back."

Levy, 54, had worked at the East Baltimore Medical Center, a Johns Hopkins community clinic, for 25 years before he was fired in February of 2013 after admitting to the misconduct and surrendering his devices to authorities.

A search of his home revealed 1,200 videos, and hundreds of images, according to authorities. Levy committed suicide 10 days after his firing.

On Monday, Johns Hopkins Hospital agreed to a $190 million (A$202 million) settlement with about 8,000 former patients of Levy's who contacted lawyers after Levy's conduct was made public last year.

James, like all 12,600 of Levy's former patients, does not know if she is among those who were recorded — faces of patients are not visible in the images, lawyers said, rendering it impossible to identify their subjects — but she said her faith and trust has been irreparably eroded by the possibility.

"You're lying there, exposed. It's violating and it's horrible, and my trust is gone. Period," she said.

The Associated Press normally does not identify possible victims of sex crimes, but James, 67, agreed to the use of her name.

The settlement all but closes a case attorneys for both Johns Hopkins and Levy's former patients say traumatised thousands of women who, according to the women's lead attorney, Jonathan Schochor, are still — a year and a half later — "extraordinarily upset."

"They are in fear, dismayed, angry, and anxious over a breach of faith, a breach of trust, a betrayal on the part of the medical system," Schochor said during a news conference Monday. "Many of our clients still feel betrayed, and still feel the breach of trust they have experienced, and they have fallen out of the medical system."

The preliminary settlement is one of the largest on record in the US involving sexual misconduct by a physician.

Hopkins said insurance will cover the settlement, which "properly balances the concerns of thousands of plaintiffs with obligations the Health System has to provide ongoing and superior care to the community."

Hopkins' attorney Donald DeVreis on Monday said the hospital was unaware of Levy's "horrible conduct," and that he had become a "rogue employee" when he began recording his patients.

Levy graduated from the Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, and completed his internship and residency at Kings County Hospital Center. He began working at Hopkins in 1988, and was working at Hopkins East Baltimore Medical Center at the end. He saw roughly 12,600 patients during his years at Hopkins.

"He was cold, and I was kind of scared of him," James said. "His bedside manner — he didn't have any. But all my doctors were at Hopkins. I've had two surgeries there, my primary doctor is there. I was used to going there for everything."

Some women told of being inappropriately touched and verbally abused by Levy, according to Schochor. Some said they were regularly summoned to Levy's office for unnecessary pelvic exams.

"Did he take pictures of me? There's no way of knowing," said another former patient whose two children were delivered by Levy. "I felt violated, because I don't know if for sure if he had pictures of me, or who has seen them."

Once alerted to Levy's conduct, hospital authorities quickly notified Baltimore police and escorted Levy off campus. Police and federal investigators later said they found no evidence he shared the material with others. Schochor said all the images will be destroyed by court order.

"It is our hope that this settlement — and findings by law enforcement that images were not shared — helps those affected achieve a measure of closure," DeVreis said.

The settlement involves eight law firms and is subject to final approval by Judge Sylvester B. Cox after a "fairness hearing" where the women can speak. Each plaintiff was interviewed by a forensic psychologist and a post-traumatic-stress specialist to determine how much trauma she suffered and how much money she will receive.

Hopkins sent out letters to Levy's entire patient list last year, apologising to the women and urging them to seek care with other Hopkins specialists.

"Hopkins had no idea or inkling," DeVreis said. "This conduct, we agree, was not just inappropriate but outrageous, and it was a breach of trust. At this point we're doing our best to work with the former patients to achieve a measure of closure for the patients and the Hopkins community."

But for some of Levy's patients, the settlement provides little solace.

"It doesn't make me feel better," said the former patient. "I don't think any amount of money can replace feeling violated like that."


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Blood-red river mystifies locals

A similar incident occurred in 2011, with the Jian River turning red for multiple days. Source: Getty Images

In a story straight out of Exodus, a river in eastern China has mysteriously changed to a crimson colour.

The river's plague-like transformation was noticed early Thursday by residents in Zhejiang province who said they initially noticed a weird smell coming from the area, ABC News reports.

Locals said the river appeared perfectly fine around 5am local time, but less than one hour later, people suddenly noticed the blood-red metamorphosis.

Upon inspection, investigators with the Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau were unable to find any specific causes for the bloody incident.

"We suspect that somebody dumped artificial colouring in the water because he thought the typhoon yesterday would cause heavy rain, and nobody would notice [the colour]," bureau chief Jianfeng Xiao told China News.

"It turned out there wasn't heavy rainfall yesterday, so the evidence is left behind."

Xiao added that the businesses along the river include a food colouring company, a clothing shop and a paper manufacturer, according to ABC News.

Despite the inexplicable strangeness of the blood-red waterway, locals said they have been reaping benefits.

"The really weird thing is that we have been able to catch fish because the water is normally so clear," a villager said on Weibo.

This article originally appeared in the New York Post.


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NASA: Earth was nearly destroyed

Written By kom limapulan on Kamis, 24 Juli 2014 | 21.13

This ball of fire almost gave Earth a bashing back in 2012. You wouldn't believe how close we came to a catastrophic solar flare. Source: AP

NASA has released rare footage of a coronal mass ejection (CME) showing a huge amount of solar material surging off the sun. Courtesy NASA

TWO years ago we were all going about our daily business blissfully unaware that our planet almost plunged into global catastrophe.

A recent revelation by NASA explains how on July 23, 2012 Earth had a near miss with a solar flare, or Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), from the most powerful solar storm on the sun in over 150 years, but nobody decided to mention it.

Err, what? Well that's a sobering bit of news.

"If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces," says Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado.

COULD A GIANT SOLAR FLARE CAUSE A CATASTROPHE ON EARTH?

We managed to just avoid the event through lucky timing as the sun's aim narrowly turned away from Earth. Had it occurred a week earlier when it WAS pointing at us the result could have been frighteningly different.

That purple arc billowing north west in this model shows how big the CME was and how we just dodged it. Source: NASA Source: Supplied

"I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did," says Baker. "If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire.

The power of this ejection would have raced across space to knock us back to the dark ages. It's believed a direct CME hit would have the potential to wipe out communication networks, GPS, and electrical grids to cause widespread blackout. The article goes on to say it would disable "everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn't even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps."

Just ten minutes without electricity, internet or communication across the globe is a scary thought and the effects of this event could last years. It would be chaos and disaster on an epic scale.

"According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair."

So can all breathe a worldwide sigh of relief? Well, not quite. Physicist Pete Riley, who published a paper entitled "On the probability of occurrence of extreme space weather events" has calculated the odds of a solar storm strong enough to disrupt our lives in the next ten years is 12 per cent.

"Initially, I was quite surprised that the odds were so high, but the statistics appear to be correct," says Riley. "It is a sobering figure."

However, the CME that almost battered us was a bit of a freak occurrence as it was actually two ejections within 10 minutes of each other, plus a previous CME had happened four days earlier to effectively clear the path.

Sleep well, everyone.


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‘Traces of rain, bodies torn apart’

The wreck of an Air Algerie plane that went missing with 116 people on board has been found in Mali.

Ill-fated flight ... an Air Algerie plane carrying 116 passengers and crew crashed in a rainstorm. Source: AFP

THE wreckage of an Air Algerie plane missing with 116 people on board has been found in Mali's Gossi region, the French president's office said today.

The jet was clearly identified even though it had "disintegrated".

A Burkina Faso official said investigators saw no survivors in the wreckage, Reuters reports.

A "French military unit has been sent to (the area) to secure the site and gather evidence", the French president's office said.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is due to visit the crash site today.

The jetliner crashed on Thursday in a rainstorm — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.

The plane, owned by Spanish company Swiftair and leased by Algeria's flagship carrier, disappeared from radar screens less than an hour after takeoff, en route from Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou to Algiers.

RECOVERY MISSION: Latest updates on the MH17 disaster

Grim news ... Algerian Transport Minister Amar Ghoul announces that the wreckage of the Air Algerie plane had been sighted in Mali. Source: AFP

PASSENGERS FROM AFRICA, EUROPE, CANADA AND LEBANON

A Canadian family of four were among the victims of the Air Algerie plane crash, local media said.

Four members of the same Longueuil family, Winmalo Somda, his wife Angelique and their children Nathanael and Arielle all died, as did the children's uncle Wilfred (the brother of Winmalo), CTV News reports.

Wilfred Somda had been living in Longueuil for two years but is not a Canadian citizen. His wife did not accompany him because she is expecting her second child.

They were returning home from another couple's 50th wedding anniversary celebrations in Burkina Faso, said French-language broadcaster LCN.

The fifth Canadian victim was Isabelle Prevost, a mother of three from Sherbrooke, who had planned her trip for years and reportedly had never been on a plane before the trip.

Prevost was travelling to Burkina Faso for 10 days. She spoke to her stepmother before leaving.

"At one point, she told us: "I love you all," her stepmother Lucie Morel-Frappier told TVA, the Calgary Sun reports.

"I'll bring pictures. You'll have beautiful pictures."

"It is confirmed that Canadians are among the victims," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement the Toronto Sun reports.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragedy."

Air Algerie said it had 50 French, 24 from Burkina Faso, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, six Spanish, five Canadians, four Germans and two Luxembourg nationals on board.

It said the passenger manifest also included one person each from Belgium, Cameroon, Egypt, Mali, Nigeria, Romania, Switzerland and Ukraine as well as "three nationalities yet to be determined".

France's Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said after a government meeting that top civil aviation officials were holding an emergency meeting and a crisis cell had been set up.

CRASH IN NO-MAN'S LAND

French fighter jets, UN peacekeepers and others hunted for signs of wreckage of the MD-83 plane in the remote region, where scattered separatist violence may hamper an eventual investigation into what happened.

The wreckage was found about 50km from the border of Burkina Faso near the village of Boulikessi in Mali, a Burkina Faso presidential aide said.

''We sent men with the agreement of the Mali government to the site and they found the wreckage of the plane with the help of the inhabitants of the area," said Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a close aide to Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore and head of the crisis committee set up to investigate the flight.

''They found human remains and the wreckage of the plane totally burnt and scattered," he said.

Conflict zone ... French soldiers taking position in the vast deserts of northern Mali which has fallen under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists. Source: AFP

He told The Associated Press that rescuers went to the area after they had heard from a resident that he saw the plane "falling" 80km southwest of the Malian town of Gossi.

"A witness informed us they had seen the plane falling at 0150 GMT (11:50am AEST)," said General Diendiere at the time.

"We are in contact with the witness and we intend to survey the site" to verify the information, he added.

"We believe this information is accurate as we have compared it to radar images showing the flight path until the plane disappeared."

Burkina Faso's government spokesman said the country will observe 48 hours of mourning.

Malian state television also said the wreckage was found in the village of Boulikessi and was found by a helicopter from Burkina Faso.

Takeoff point ... the Ouagadougou airport in Burkina Faso. Source: AFP

Algeria's transport minister also said the plane's remains had apparently been found.

"We found the plane by accident" near Boulikessi, said Sidi Ould Brahim, a Tuareg separatist who travelled Thursday from Mali to a refugee camp for Malians in Burkina Faso.

"The plane was burned, there were traces of rain on the plane, and bodies were torn apart," he told The Associated Press.

Families from France to Canada and beyond had been waiting anxiously for signs of Flight 5017 and their loved ones aboard. Nearly half of the passengers were French, many en route home from Africa.

"Everything allows us to believe this plane crashed in Mali," French President Francois Hollande said Thursday night after an emergency meeting in Paris.

He said the crew changed its flight path about 21 minutes after takeoff because of "particularly difficult weather conditions."

Emergency meeting ... an Algerian crisis unit, chaired by Minister of Transport Amar Ghoul (R), meets at the Houari-Boumediene International Airport in Algiers. Source: AFP

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, his face drawn and voice sombre, told reporters, "If this catastrophe is confirmed, it would be a major tragedy that hits our entire nation, and many others."

Before vanishing, the pilots sent a final message to ask Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rain, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said.

French forces, who have been in Mali since January 2013 to rout al-Qaeda-linked extremists who had controlled the north, searched for the plane, alongside the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA.

No sign ... an arrival information screen shows the delayed Air Algerie flight 5017 (top) at the Houari Boumediene airport near Algiers, Algeria. Source: AP

Algerian Transport Minister Omar Ghoul, whose country's planes were also searching for wreckage, described it as a "serious and delicate affair."

Flight AH5017 took off at 1.17am local time (11.15am AEST) but vanished not long afterwards when after it left Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso on its way to Algiers, Algeria.

The plane was due to land in the Algerian capital at 5.10am local time (2.10pm AEST), but the flight was missing for hours before the news was made public.

Political response ... French Prime Minister Manuel Valls leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris after meeting with the French president and his cabinet regarding an Air Algerie plane. Source: AFP

FIFTH CRASH FOR SWIFTAIR

Swiftair said the plane was built in 1996 and has two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 PW engines.

Swiftair took ownership of the plane on October 24, 2012, after it spent nearly 10 months unused in storage, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets, which sells and tracks information about aircraft.

It has more than 37,800 hours of flight time and has made more than 32,100 takeoffs and landings.

If confirmed as a crash, this would be the fifth one — and the second with fatalities — for Swiftair since its founding in 1986, according to the Flight Safety Foundation.

The MD-83 is part of a series of jets built since the early 1980s by McDonnell Douglas, a US company now owned by Boeing Co.

The MD-80s are single-aisle planes that were a workhorse of the airline industry for short- and medium-range flights for nearly two decades.

As jet fuel prices spiked in recent years, airlines have rapidly being replacing the jets with newer, fuel-efficient models such as Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s.

There are 496 other MD-80s being flown, according to Ascend.

Boeing spokesman Wilson Chow said the company was aware of the reports on the plane and was "gathering more information."

CASTRO'S DAUGHTER ALIVE AND WELL

The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro assured journalists that she is alive and well, contradicting reports that she had been on-board the Air Algerie plane that went missing in Mali.

Mariela Castro, a sexologist and gay-rights activist, said she had been told there was another passenger of the same name aboard flight AH5017, which disappeared 50 minutes after takeoff from Burkina Faso and is feared to have crashed.

"From what I learned from a journalist friend, it seems there was a Mariela Castro on the (passenger) list, but with a Spanish passport," she said in Havana.

"I've found other Mariela Castros on the internet. But one of them has the second last name Espin, which is me," said Castro.

"Unfortunately there was a passenger by that name and it seems that, without confirming the objectivity of the news, (some journalists) rushed to create a media spectacle over something that wasn't so important. The most important thing is the number of victims of these recent air accidents."

The 51-year-old spoke at Havana's National Hotel, where she was attending a scientific seminar organised by the National Center for Sex Education, which she directs.

Alive and well ... Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban president Raul Castro, talks to the press at the National Hotel in Havana after report she was on the Air Algeria flight that crashed in Mali. Source: AFP

Castro, who is also the niece of Cuban Revolution leader Fidel, said she had received calls from "many people" worried by the reports," which were widespread in Latin American media.

"It seems horrible to me that truly important, troubling news for international public opinion doesn't travel around the world as quickly as this false report. I don't think my death is as important as those of so many people who are dying in so many parts of the world with violent conflicts and other unjust situations," she said.

Castro, who is married to an Italian photographer and has three children, is the second of Raul Castro's four children with Vilma Espin, who died in 2007.

UNSTABLE SITUATION IN MALI

Despite an international military intervention still under way, the situation remains unstable in northern Mali.

The vast deserts and mountains of northern Mali fell under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists and then al-Qai'da-linked Islamic extremists after a military coup in 2012.

The French-led intervention scattered the extremists, but the Tuaregs have pushed back against the authority of the Bamako-based government.

On July 17, the Bamako government and armed groups from northern Mali launched tough talks in Algiers aimed at securing an elusive peace deal.

Meanwhile, the threat from Islamic militants hasn't disappeared, and France is giving its troops a new and larger anti-terrorist mission across the region.

A senior French official said it seems unlikely that fighters in Mali had the kind of weaponry that could shoot down a jetliner at cruising altitude.

While al-Qai'da's North Africa branch is believed to have an SA-7 surface-to-air missile, also known as MANPADS, most airliners would normally fly out of range of these shoulder-fired weapons.

They can hit targets flying up to roughly 12,000-15,000 feet.

ANOTHER AIR DISASTER FOR ALGERIA?

One of Algeria's worst air disasters occurred in February this year, when a C-130 military aircraft carrying 78 people crashed in poor weather in the mountainous northeast, killing more than 70 people.

The plane was flying from the desert garrison town of Tamanrasset in Algeria's deep south to Constantine, 320 kilometres east of Algiers.

Tamanrasset was the site of the country's worst-ever civilian air disaster, in March 2003.

In that accident, all but one of 103 people on board were killed when an Air Algerie passenger plane crashed on takeoff after one of its engines caught fire.

Passers-by walk past the Air Algerie company office, on the Opera Avenue in Paris. The French transport minister said there may have been 50 French nationals on the plane. Picture: Remy de la Mauviniere Source: AP

The sole survivor, a young Algerian soldier, was critically injured.

In December 2012, two Algerian military jets on a routine training mission collided in midair near Tlemcen in the northwest, killing both pilots.

A month earlier, a twin-turboprop CASA C-295 military transport aircraft, which was carrying a cargo of paper for the printing of banknotes in Algeria, crashed in southern France.

The five soldiers and one central bank representative on board were all killed.


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