million, year

Marriott hotels offer savings on weekend stays all year long   43%

Marriott is offering travelers a discount on weekend stays, up to 20% in the U.S. and Canada and up to 25% in the Caribbean and Latin America. The sale is good through the end of the year.

The deal: Room prices and savings vary by hotel, so shop carefully. The deal is good for Friday and Saturday...

If Detroit Lions go OL early in NFL draft, its one of these 2 players  

Despite taking a first-round OL two of the last 3 years, the Detroit Lions could go that route again Thursday.


San Franciscos Big-Hatted Beach Blanket Babylon to Close After 45 Years   -16%

“Beach Blanket Babylon,” a long-running San Francisco musical revue known for its giant hats and silly spoofs, will close on New Year’s Eve. Shown here is the finale of the 2018 New Year’s Eve performance at Club Fugazi.

The Premier League teams ineptitude index 2018-19   13%

It’s awards time for the most incompetent teams in the Premier League, from those who can’t take throw-ins to others who revel in needless yellow cards

Welcome to the Guardian’s fifth annual index of ineptitude, a catalogue of calamity, a prospectus of the piss-poor.

As each season draws to a close, the best moments, players and teams of the year are all charted, celebrated and cheered. Which means that what comprises most of the rest of the Premier League experience is missed.

Continue reading...

Nadler wants the full Mueller report. What happens if Barr says no?   -10%

If the executive branch resists, enforcing subpoenas becomes a matter for the courts – where it can drag on for years. 

Lens: A Photographer Confronts His Familys Tragic Past in Colombias War   -26%

Colombia’s bloody conflict left Andres Cardona an orphan. After years of covering how political violence devastated others, he now looks at how it changed his life forever.

Listen: Jarvis Johnson talks teeth, slavery and the case for independent oversight of Texas prisons   -2%

"We had long conversations, and she talked about my great-great grandmother and how my great-great-grandmother was a runaway slave, and when she was 5 years old - between 5 and 10 the only food that she could eat was the food that he master would chew and then give it to her."

WHO recommends one-hour maximum screen time per day for under-5s   -3%

Young children should not spend more than an hour a day watching television and videos or playing computer games and infants less than one year old should not be exposed to electronic screens at all, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Disgraced director Roman Polanski sues Oscars academy over being expelled for sexual misconduct   43%

Roman Polanski asked a judge on Friday to restore his membership in the organisation that bestows the Academy Awards nearly a year after he was expelled from it for sexual misconduct.Lawyers for the 85-year-old fugitive director petitioned Los Angeles Superior Court to compel the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make him a member in good standing again.In May, the academy made the rare move of expelling Polanski and Bill Cosby, months after ending the membership of disgraced movie…

Mozambique: Fastjet Revenue Hit By Cyclones  

[AIM] London -The Pan African low-cost airline Fastjet on Tuesday announced that its revenue this year has been reduced due to the two category 5 tropical cyclones that have hit Mozambique.

Ai Weiwei exhibit honors unsolved case of missing Mexican students   17%

Large colorful portraits in Mexico’s capital depict 43 students who disappeared at the hands of police five years ago. Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei was inspired to create the exhibit after meeting the students' relatives.

Computers, not TV, are to blame for increase in US sitting time, study says   -6%

There's a key culprit in the battle against sitting. Time spent watching TV and videos has remained consistently high in the United States over the past 15 years, but time sitting at a computer has increased dramatically, new research finds.

Selling a home without a real estate agent  

For Sale By Owner transactions have been declining in recent years but can be a way to save on realty commissions.

What to expect at Mesamrica L.A., the kickoff event for this year's Food Bowl  

What is Mesamérica L.A.?

It’s the kickoff for this year’s monthlong Food Bowl festival. It’s a party with tacos and mezcal. And it’s a low-key symposium that will celebrate and explore the relationship between Los Angeles and Mexico City.

When I joined the Los Angeles Times in the fall, I was asked...

On Pro Basketball: The Celtics Really Need Jayson Tatum to Soar Again   5%

Jayson Tatum took on LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the playoffs last year and nearly led the Celtics to the N.B.A. finals.

Israel Invokes Anti-Boycott Law to Order Human Rights Worker Deported  

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine director, at work in Ramallah last year.

New Zealand nurse Louisa Akavi, kidnapped in Syria five years ago, may still be alive, Red Cross says   12%

A New Zealand nurse kidnapped in Syria more than five years ago may still be alive, the International Committee of the Red Cross has said, revealing her identity for the first time in a bid to secure her release.Louisa Akavi, 62, and two Syrian colleagues have been held hostage for longer than anyone in the 156-year history of the international aid organisation, and the fall of Isis’s last stronghold has renewed hopes of finding them, The New York Times reported on Monday.Akavi, a highly…

Mozambique: Attorney-General Briefs Assembly On 'Hidden Debts'   -12%

[AIM] Maputo -Mozambican Attorney-General Beatriz Buchili, in her annual report to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Wednesday announced that, after almost four years of investigation, prosecutors have charged 20 suspects in connection with the financial scandal usually known as the "hidden debts".

The European Press Corps Cannot Cover the EU   1%

BRUSSELS—The European Union is a vast entity, stretching across 28 nations, with regulations, directives, and debates that affect each one. Every year, the EU holds several major summits, dozens of high-level ministerial gatherings, and hundreds of committee meetings at the European Parliament.

Seeking to project influence and unity, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, holds a daily news conference open to journalists from across the continent, and, in fact, the world. Yet most media coverage is stubbornly parochial. Reports from European news outlets have a national flavor, catering to local sensibilities. Whether a national leader won, lost, or tied, whether a representative was able to extract a concession to bring back home or capitulated to counterparts, is often more important than how members’ decisions affect the EU as a whole.

This national focus has outsize consequences, helping to make the European project a soft target for its opponents, such as those who campaigned for Britain to leave the bloc. Fractured reporting on the EU also reinforces the idea that differences between Europeans are impossible to smooth over. It is not unrelated that the vast majority of European citizens are poorly informed about the procedures and compromises needed to craft policies for an entire continent. Filling that knowledge gap is far from straightforward.

[Read: A new European political bloc wants to dismantle Europe]

I should know: As an accredited member of the Brussels press corps who was a correspondent for the International Herald Tribune and later The New York Times over more than a decade, I see colleagues locked in a daily struggle to reconcile the reality of complex pan-European decision making with national-news agendas and domestic politics.

European integration is a relatively recent phenomenon. Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU just 12 years ago; Hungary and Poland have been members for 15 years; Austria and Sweden for less than a quarter century. Britain, the first to vote to leave the EU, joined 46 years ago. Yet even after joining, most news has remained, to borrow a phrase from politics, local.

Even in a country such as France, which is among the bloc’s six founding members, many editors have little appetite for interviews with some of the most senior figures running the EU, unless they are French, Jean Quatremer, a polemical blogger and longtime Europe correspondent for Libération, a French daily, told me. To investigate wrongdoing and mismanagement at the European Commission, Quatremer often had to reach out for assistance from colleagues from countries like Germany and Italy.

“The more Europe develops … and the more the European Union looks like a federal state, there’s still no federalized press,” Quatremer said. At its origins, “there was no great popular movement demanding the European Union,” he said, and so “Europe is seen through the prism of states.”

One way to gin up interest in the EU is to lace reporting with satire. There are rich pickings, such as when the European Commission regulated toilet flushes, attempted to ban olive-oil jugs, or bought deluxe coffee machines that produced foul-tasting brews. (Mea culpa: I broke the coffee-machines story.)

Boris Johnson played his own role in this. Earlier in his career, the former British foreign secretary was the Brussels correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, and he frequently skewered European officials for focusing on minutiae such as the curvature of bananas. Although Johnson's articles were amusing, many of them were wildly exaggerated, and they served to reinforce the idea that the British were superior to hapless and meddlesome Eurocrats.

On a quotidian level, Brussels-based journalists exchange details over Twitter and in person about the shifting positions and compromises. Yet correspondents struggle to reflect that texture in their reports, and the national focus can sometimes make European integration seem like a mirage. Take, for example, media coverage of the quarterly economic outlook for the European Union and the member countries that use the euro, the tool meant to unite disparate economies and peoples with varied levels of prosperity. That shared endeavor was all but forgotten as correspondents asked questions about their own countries, in their own languages, to garner sound bites for their national media.

[Read: The British lawmakers stuck in limbo—and Brussels]

More recently, the chauvinism has taken a more divisive turn. Last month, a trio of Hungarian reporters started asking questions at daily briefings about migration that matched the agenda of their country’s anti-immigration prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who has himself been highly critical of Brussels. The questions focused on a single case involving a migrant allegedly associated with the Islamic State who had been given a prepaid card, funded by the European Union but managed by the United Nations, that entitled him to buy food and clothes. After each member of the trio asked questions, blaming Greece for its management of refugees and the EU for the card system, Georgi Gotev, a Bulgarian and a senior editor at Euractiv, a Brussels-based news service, took the microphone.

“You know, I have lived in a totalitarian country, and I am really disturbed when the press room is used for governmental purposes,” Gotev told colleagues in a thinly veiled reference to Orbán. “I’m sure you understand what I mean,” he said.

The situation is amplified by the worsening finances of many news organizations, making them reluctant to assign full-time Brussels correspondents—there were 770 journalists accredited with the various European Union institutions at mid-April, down from 893 four years ago, according to a European Commission spokesperson.

To be sure, some specialist and pan-European media are free from national agendas. Gotev’s employer, Euractiv, is a pioneer. Its stories are produced by about 50 journalists, and are freely available in 12 languages. (About a fifth of Euractiv's income comes from public sources, including the EU.) Another pan-European outlet, EUobserver, has high journalistic standards that attract a readership beyond Brussels, and its stories are differentiated and well-written enough for it to use a paywall. But EUobserver lacks a large staff to take on more ambitious projects. Then there is Politico. The outlet’s European operation, which was founded in 2015, appears to have achieved the impossible: It has grown to scale and expects to break even this year, Politico Europe said in an emailed statement. But some of its highest-value content—wonky daily briefings—are consumed by elite decision makers rather than a mass-market readership.

[Read: Can Europe enforce its founding ideals?]

Those services compete against global newswires such as Reuters and Bloomberg, and against the Financial Times, a London-based newspaper that had full-time Brussels correspondents before Britain even joined the EU, according to Peter Spiegel, who spent six years as the Financial Times’s Brussels bureau chief and who takes over this month as the paper’s United States managing editor. “We’ve always known you can’t cover Brussels properly from London,” he told me.

Spiegel sharply criticized some of the mass-circulation British tabloids that promoted Brexit but only deployed Brussels correspondents after the complicated reality of leaving the EU was laid bare. But he cautioned against blaming the media for helping ignite the populist fires ravaging Britain and putting long-settled political orders to the test in France, Germany, and Italy. More relevant, he said, was how European leaders mishandled the overlapping financial and migration crises during the first half of the decade.

“Europe's national leaders get the European press they deserve,” Spiegel told me.

A decade ago, in the wake of the 2005 rejection in France and the Netherlands of a Constitution for Europe, stacks of studies were produced on the need for pan-European media coverage and discourse. Since the turmoil of the economic and migration crises, and of Brexit, the appeal to an “ever closer union” in Europe's founding treaties has lost momentum among member states’ citizens and politicians. But the EU’s goal of getting journalists to report on Europe as a coherent whole persists, and the European Commission spends tens of millions of euros each year, a spokesperson told me, to subsidize programming and reporting on European affairs in newspapers, on radio, and on television.

The commission also plans to spend 61 million euros, or about $68 million, to promote quality journalism and media freedom, and even more ambitious initiatives are afoot. Guillaume Klossa, who served as a special adviser to the European commissioner for digital affairs, ended his term with a call for a 1-billion-euro digital-innovation fund, partly to lessen Europeans’ dependence on Facebook and Google to serve them their news. Klossa also wants automated online translation to be widely available, so that citizens will read more news in their native language and form “a real transnational public and media space by the end of the next decade.”

That might be a naive hope. As Quatremer told me, the EU is still seen by the people who live in the bloc as a mere sum of its member states and their leaders, and that might be an insurmountable hurdle. “There is the language problem,” he acknowledged, before adding, “There also is a cultural problem.”

One hour a day: World Health Organisation issues first guidelines for kids' screen time  

Children younger than a year old shouldn't be exposed to any electronic screens, according to guidelines issued Wednesday by the World Health Organisation.

Pearl farming in Japan in pictures   -12%

Japan still dominates the global cultured pearl market, despite a fall in specialised pearl farmers. In the past 10 years it has produced annually about 20 tonnes of farmed pearls

Continue reading...

Cyclone Kenneth forecast to hit Mozambique   -25%

Mozambique has already been hit by one devastating tropical cyclone this year, now Kenneth is threatening the country again. Chad Myers has the latest forecast for Tropical Cyclone Kenneth.

U.S. and Afghan Forces Killed More Civilians Than Taliban Did, Report Finds   -10%

Mourning civilians killed in a raid last year by a C.I.A.-sponsored strike force in Khogyani, Afghanistan.

'Really difficult decision': Conti traded to Richmond for pick one  

Emerging AFLW star Monique Conti explains why she left the Western Bulldogs after just two years.

Facebook copied email contacts of 1.5 million users   3%

The social network was grabbing email contacts of some new users for almost three years, it says.

Spain mulls Super Cup in Saudi Arabia; human rights concerns   8%

The president of the Spanish soccer federation says he is looking into the possibility of playing the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia beginning next year

Former Barcelona president acquitted of money laundering   5%

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has been acquitted of money laundering charges after spending nearly two years in prison

British diver Josh Bratchley, who helped save Thai soccer team, brought back from US underwater cave in dramatic rescue   -3%

The passageway at the floor of the underwater cave was about 60cm (two feet) high and just a little wider than a broad set of shoulders. Just wide enough for Edd Sorenson to fit.He was on a mission to find Josh Bratchley, a British diver who just last year had assisted in the harrowing rescue of the boys’ soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand – but who was now in need of a dangerous rescue himself.'TWO LIGHTS!' Josh Bratchley, a diver who went missing while exploring an underwater cave in…

Canada's Stanley Cup curse reaches 25th season with Leafs' loss   15%

This season will mark the eighth straight time two U.S.-based teams will compete for the Stanley Cup but Canada's teams will have their chance next year. Expect Montreal and Vancouver, with an exciting young core, to join Calgary, Toronto and Winnipeg in the playoffs.

He Stopped a Global Cyberattack. Now Hes Pleading Guilty to Writing Malware.   9%

Marcus Hutchins, right, a British security researcher, at the Federal Courthouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2017. He was arrested at the airport in Las Vegas earlier that year.

Zero waste lifestyle: How one family learned to live with less   -20%

Bea Johnson’s family produces just one jar of trash per year. Ms. Johnson shares how her family came to adopt this zero waste lifestyle.

After Israel cuts tax transfers, Palestinian electricity debt soars  

A year after debt pact, Palestinian electricity bills to Israel are piling up

National Awards: Declaration post elections  

The selections for the National Film Awards are made by an independent and impartial jury consisting of eminent film makers and film personalities and declared in the month of April every year, the ministry said.

Myanmars Supreme Court rejects final appeal by jailed Reuters reporters   -10%

Myanmar’s top court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail for breaking the Official Secrets Act, in a landmark case that has raised questions about the country’s transition to democracy.“They were sentenced for seven years and this decision stands, and the appeal is rejected,” Supreme Court Justice Soe Naing told the court in the capital, Naypyidaw, without elaborating.Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, have spent more than 16 months in…

ATP Finals to move from London to Turin in 2021  

The indoor Pala Alpitour stadium will stage the prestigious event as the season-ending competition heads to Italy after 12 years in London

Children of notorious Australian terrorist reunited with grandmother in Syria refugee camp   12%

After more than five years of sleepless nights, Australian grandmother Karen Nettleton has finally had a chance to embrace her orphaned grandchildren – the children of Australia’s most notorious Islamic State terrorist, Khaled Sharrouf.The emotionally charged moment when Nettleton was reunited with the children in a Syrian refugee camp was broadcast by the ABC on its programme Four Corners on Monday night.Sharrouf’s daughters – Zaynab, 17, who is pregnant, and Hoda, 16 – and son Hamza, eight,…

Rwanda court repeals law banning satirical cartoons   -43%

Rwanda's supreme court on Wednesday repealed a law that banned the publication of political cartoons, while upholding another that punishes insulting or defaming the president with at least five years in prison.

Supreme Court to rule on workplace bias against gay and transgender employees   13%

The Supreme Court on Monday set the stage for a landmark civil rights decision next year on whether gay, lesbian and transgender employees are protected nationwide from being fired or not hired under the federal law that bars sex discrimination in the workplace.

After weeks of internal debate,...

Why Archaeologists Are Studying 10,000-Year-Old Urine   75%

About 10,000 years ago, a group of hunter-gatherers settled on a floodplain in modern-day Turkey and stayed for a millennium. You can still see remnants of the houses they built. Archaeologists have mapped out alleyways and uncovered intact skeletons under ancient plaster floors. After all this time, Aşıklı Höyük is remarkably well preserved.

But Jordan Abell did not come for these sights when he last visited Aşıklı Höyük in 2017. He came to look for something invisible: ancient urine.

The people of Aşıklı Höyük all, presumably, peed. So did their sheep and goats. By estimating the quantity of ancient urine deposited at Aşıklı Höyük, Abell and his collaborators reconstructed the population of humans and animals at the site 10,000 years ago. You might call it urine archaeology.

[Read: Who’s peeing in the global pool? ]

“The method is, as far as I see, totally new and creative,” says Benjamin Arbuckle, an anthropologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who studies animal domestication in Turkey during the same period. Sheep and goat domestication is what got Arbell and his co-authors interested in urine in the first place. Animal bones and even dung at Aşıklı Höyük suggest that its occupants were among the first people in the world to domesticate sheep and goats. They penned the once-wild horned creatures near their homes. They learned to cull young males to maximize the size of their herds.

It was the discovery of unusual nitratine crystals that prompted the team to think about sheep and goat pee. “There’s very few places on Earth that have these nitratine crystals forming,” says Abell, who is now a paleoclimate researcher at Columbia. These places tend to be very dry, and they have high concentrations of salts. Abell, along with his collaborators at the University of Arizona and Istanbul University, wondered if urine was the source of those salts. So they went out and collected 113 samples from Aşıklı Höyük. They were especially interested in “middens,” ancient refuse heaps where human and animal waste may have piled up. And they made sure to collect samples from different layers in and around the middens, spanning the 1,000 years that people lived at Aşıklı Höyük.

Back in the lab, Abell looked for the chemical signatures of urine—sodium, nitrate, and chlorine—in each of these samples. The tricky part is that these salts can come from elsewhere, too. They are also found in various concentrations in rainwater and in the natural sediment around Aşıklı Höyük. So Abell built a model attempting to account for those sources. To make sure his assumptions weren’t totally off base, he compared the urine salt concentrations at Aşıklı Höyük with that of modern livestock feedlots, and found they were similar. The model ultimately estimated that an average of 1,790 humans and animals were peeing per day in Aşıklı Höyük during the 1,000 years of settlement.

Aşıklı Höyük was built along the Melendiz River, and its inhabitants were among the first to domesticate sheep and goats. (Güneş Duru / Aşıklı Research Project)
A deep trench at Aşıklı Höyük where some of presumed urine samples were excavated (Mary Stiner / Asikli Hoyuk project photo archive)

As the team went up the dirt layers and through time, they found 10- to 1,000-fold increases in the concentration of urine salts at the latter end of the millennium-long period of occupation. This suggests that the human and/or animal population of Aşıklı Höyük was getting bigger and denser. (Unfortunately, archaeologists don’t have a way to distinguish between ancient human and animal urine using this method.) Assuming the model holds up, these urine deposits can be seen as a record of humanity’s transition from hunters to animal farmers.

[Read: What you can learn from hunter-gatherers’ sleeping patterns]

Bones, Arbuckle points out, are evidence of animals being eaten by humans. “It’s really hard to tell if they’re being hunted or if they’re being herded or if some of them are being hunted and some are being herded,” he says. Vast quantities of urine, on the other hand, would suggest that animals and the people herding them were in fact staying and peeing in one place.

At this point, using urine salts to understand Aşıklı Höyük’s population relies on a lot of assumptions. Canan Çakirlar, a zooarchaeologist at the University of Groningen, calls the technique “very promising,” but she also points out that not very much is known about how urine deposits might have chemically changed over the millennia. Other factors may have changed too: People and livestock had different diets 10,000 years ago than they do now, which could produce different concentrations of salts in their urine.

Sheep still graze in the fields around Aşıklı Höyük. (Jordan Abell)

Rainfall patterns over Aşıklı Höyük could have changed as well. Today, it’s a fairly dry place. The region gets about 400 millimeters (15 inches) of rain a year. It would be harder to study urine deposits in wetter places, says Abell, where rainfall and a changing water table would blur the fine layers of urine salts. He hopes to get more data from Aşıklı Höyük next year, to sample more sediment from more areas and study what little rain falls over the site. He would also like to get some urine from the local sheep that still roam the fields. Ten thousand years after humans first learned to raise their flocks here, they’re still at it.

Peterman, Gallant chasing history in Norway  

Out of all the victories through all the years, Canadian curlers have yet to win the mixed doubles world championship.