Category Archives: World

Dubai police will ride hoverbikes straight out of ‘Star Wars’

Dubai is aggressively turning itself into a “Future City,” putting self-flying taxis in the skies and a facial recognition system in its airport. The Dubai police department’s latest ride is now adding another sci-fi transportation staple: the hoverbike.

The Dubai police, which already has luxury patrol cars, self-driving pursuit drones, and a robot officer, just announced it will soon have officers buzzing around on hoverbikes, which look like an early version of the speeder bikes used by the scout troopers on Endor in Return of the Jedi. 

The force (see what I did there?) unveiled its new Hoversurf Scorpion craft at the Gitex Technology Week conference, according to UAE English language publication Gulf News. The police force will use the hoverbike for emergency response scenarios, giving officers the ability to zoom over congested traffic conditions by taking to the air.  

The Russian-made craft is fully electric and can handle loads of up to 600 pounds, offering about 25 minutes of use per charge with a top speed of about 43 mph. The Scorpion can also fly autonomously for almost four miles at a time for other emergencies. 



The Jones Act Waiver For Puerto Rico Just Expired And Won’t Be Renewed

The Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico expired Sunday night, and “it is not being extended at this time,” Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan told HuffPost on Monday.


DHS had temporarily waived the Jones Act ― an arguably outdated law that imposes exorbitant shipping costs on the U.S. island ― on Sept. 28. The waiver has meant that Puerto Rico has been able to import food, fuel and supplies more quickly, and for half the cost, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.


With the 1920 law back in effect, the island will go back to paying much higher shipping costs to import supplies. The Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between U.S. ports be carried by U.S.-owned and operated ships, which are more expensive vessels than others in the global marketplace. That’s meant that Puerto Rico pays double the costs for goods from the U.S. mainland compared with neighboring islands ― and that U.S. vessels are making bank.

Image result for Puerto Rico damage

The return to higher shipping costs won’t help Puerto Rico as it tries to climb out of economic devastation. Nearly half of the 3.4 million Americans on the island still don’t have drinking water since Maria hit nearly three weeks ago. Just 15 percent have electricity. Many people still haven’t heard from loved ones, and at least 39 deaths have been attributed to the storm.


Despite the DHS position, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Monday night that he wants another extension of the Jones Act waiver.


“I think we should have it,” Rossello told CBS News’ David Begnaud. “In this emergency phase, while we’re looking to sustain and save lives, we should have all of the assets at hand.”


Lapan said DHS is “always prepared to review requests on a case-by-case basis and respond quickly” to possible waivers of the Jones Act. But those decisions have to be related to national defense, he said, and are not driven by cost-related matters.


Fearing eruption of volcano, thousands begin evacuations in Bali

Nearly 50,000 people have fled the Mount Agung volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, fearing an imminent eruption as dozens of tremors rattle the surrounding region, officials said Monday.

Waskita Sutadewa, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency in Bali, said people have scattered to all corners of the island and some have crossed to the neighboring island of Lombok.


Indonesian authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level on Friday following a dramatic increase in seismic activity. It last erupted in 1963, killing about 1,100 people.

Thousands of evacuees are living in temporary shelters, sports centers, village halls and with relatives or friends. Some return to the danger zone, which extends up to 12 kilometers from the crater, during the day to tend to livestock.


Officials have said there’s no immediate threat to tourists but some are already cutting short their stays in Bali. A significant eruption would force the closure of Bali’s international airport, stranding thousands.

“It’s obviously an awful thing. We want to be out of here just to be safe,” said an Australian woman at Bali’s airport who identified herself as Miriam.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said hundreds of thousands of face masks will be distributed in Bali as part of government humanitarian assistance that includes thousands of mattresses and blankets.

“Mount Agung is entering a critical phase. Although it has been declared in the alert status on Sept. 22, it is not guaranteed that it will erupt imminently,” he said at a news conference in the capital, Jakarta.

In 1963, the 3,031-meter (9,944-foot) Agung hurled ash as high as 20 kilometers (12 miles), according to volcanologists, and remained active for about a year. Lava traveled 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) and ash reached Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away.


The mountain, 72 kilometers (45 miles) to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

The country of thousands of islands is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.


Clinton: Trump should send Navy to help Puerto Rico

Hillary Clinton is calling on the Trump administration to send the U.S. Navy to help Puerto Rico in its relief efforts after Hurricane Maria tore through the U.S. territory, leaving destruction and damage in its wake

Clinton in a tweet on Sunday urged President Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis to deploy the Navy, including the United States Naval Ship Comfort, immediately in order to help those on the island reeling from the Category 4 storm’s aftermath.

“These are American citizens,” she added, along with a retweet of the images of the faces impacted by the destruction.

Hurricane Maria brought large amounts of destruction as the whipping winds and relentless rain pummeled the islands in the Caribbean, claiming the lives of at least 19 people in the region. 


About 3.4 million residents in Puerto Rico are living without electricity after the storm knocked out the power on Wednesday. Officials are warning that it could be months before they see the lights flicker back on as repair efforts just begin to get afoot.

Federal emergency relief resources are already strained after a wave of powerful storms hit the U.S. over the past few months including Hurricane Harvey and Irma.

Trump spoke with the governors of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Thursday, a day after declaring the impact of Hurricane Maria a major disaster.


Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló called the Category 4 storm the “most devastating storm to hit the island this century, if not in modern history.” 


Leonardo DiCaprio Commits $20 Million To Fight Climate Change

Leonardo DiCaprio is more than just a leading man in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Along with being a writer and producer, he’s also an outspoken activist ringing the alarm bells of the catastrophe to befall us, should we ignore our role in global warming. DiCaprio himself has been a long-time advocate for the environment, and sits on the board of many prominent organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

He’s also traveled the world speaking on climate change and is currently a UN messenger of peace. He even brought up climate change in his acceptance speech, when he finally won an Oscar last year for his role in The Revenant. In addition, he’s made two speeches to the UN, one in 2014 and another earlier this year.

At a two-day conference that just wrapped up on Tuesday at Yale University, he announced The Leonardo DiCaprio foundation was committing $20 million dollars in grants to 100 nonprofits working to fight climate change. The foundation has six programs. They are: Wildlife and Landscape Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Innovative Solutions, Marine and Ocean Conservation, and Transforming California. Up until now, the foundation has had a direct financial impact of $80 million, which DiCaprio himself raised.

“These facts have been presented time and again, year after year, for decades,” DiCaprio said. “Quite simply, we are knowingly doing this to ourselves, to our entire planet, and we’re risking our very future.” He mentioned that the intense storms hitting the Caribbean and Gulf Coast, along with the horrendous flooding in Southern Asia, make the “results of our inaction even clearer.”   


And yet, “There is still an astounding level of willful ignorance and inaction from the people who should be doing the most to protect us and every other living thing on this planet.” Apparently, DiCaprio and his foundation head met with then President-elect Trump in December and offered a commonsense plan to address climate change, as well as to boost the economy through supporting green jobs. “We talked about how the United States has the potential to lead the world in clean energy manufacturing and research and development,” he said.

DiCaprio called R&D, green jobs, and green engineering “the largest domestic opportunity in all of American history.” Meanwhile, the Trump administration has backed away from the Paris Climate Agreement, which Kerry as Secretary of State helped broker in 2015. According to DiCaprio, the only thing we lack is the political will to tackle this ever-increasing problem.


Strong 7.1 quake hits Mexico, people trapped in collapsed buildings

 A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing buildings and trapping an unknown number of people.

TV images showed a multi-story building in the capital with a middle floor collapsed as sirens blared from first responders rushing to the scene. Other video showed the side of a government building sheering off and falling into the street as bystanders screamed.

In Cuernavaca, a city south of Mexico City, there were unconfirmed reports on local radio of people trapped beneath collapsed buildings.


The quake came just over a week after another major quake shook the country. A civil protection official told local TV that an unspecified number of people were trapped inside various buildings that caught fire in Mexico City.


Mexican TV and social media showed cars crushed by debris. Many people fled into the streets, and electricity and phone lines were down in parts of the capital.

Tuesday’s epicenter was located 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles (51 km), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake hit only hours after many people participated in earthquake drills around the nation on the anniversary of the devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.

Many people were also still shaken from the recent quake on Sept. 7, a powerful 8.1 temblor that killed at least 98 people.

President Enrique Pena was on a flight to Oaxaca, one of the hardest hit areas by that quake, and said via his Twitter account that he was immediately returning to attend to the quake in Mexico City.



10 Big Differences between Asian and American Education Systems

When I first walked into Daewon High School in Seoul (the #1 high school in the country), I wasn’t surprised by the motto over the main door: “Less of me, more of us.” American culture encourages students to express their opinions about a particular subject matter freely. They are also encouraged to discuss some topics with other students and the teacher, and to do projects at home. On the other hand, Asian schools are completely different. Schools in Asian countries are lecture-based, and learning is memorization-based. Creativity is not required, discipline is. The teacher presents a particular matter and lectures while students are sitting and carefully taking notes. Well, at least, they’re supposed to be taking notes! My friend, a school teacher in Seoul, used to constantly agonize over the number of students sleeping in her class, sometimes many at a time, and that it was a common problem for all teachers in Korea.
Although some teachers might encourage student participation after the end of lectures, it’s not considered a priority in the Asian school system.


Teacher – student relationship


The relationship between a student and a teacher in American schools is casual and friendly. Students are allowed to communicate with their teachers freely. Also, teachers value students’ opinions without a dismissive attitude.
Asian countries are characterized by a certain hierarchy, which transmits onto schools as well. Schools have their own hierarchy that doesn’t incorporate casual and friendly relationships between teachers and students. Teacher-student communication in the average Asian school is strictly formal. Teachers respect students and demand respect in return. Openly disagreeing with a teacher isn’t encouraged. As a result, many Western teachers, when teaching in Asia, find the students to be highly respectful.




The American grading system is very simple – when a student gets a particular score, he or she gets a grade that is in the range for that score e.g. scoring higher than 93 gives you an A, but also scoring at least 93 gives you an A as well.
The grading system in Asian schools is more complicated than that in the American system. However, it’s also more precise. Asian schools use a relative grading system, which doesn’t have a set score that defines the great. Instead, the system divides scores into percentages and assigns different grades to specific percentages.
For example, students whose grades are in top 35% in entire class can receive an A, the next 40% get a B, etc. The primary purpose of this grading system is to increase competitiveness and motivate students.


After-school school, sort of


Children in America rely on their “regular” school education to study, get informed, etc. They do homework that was assigned to them by their teachers, and that would be it. On the other hand, Asian kids go to school after their regular schools. These are called different things, like Hagwons (학원) in South Korea, and Eikaiwas (英会話教室) in Japan; they are private academies.
Private academies teach kids subjects and lectures they are taught in schools. Many (all?) mothers in these countries send their children to these academies after school, which range in subjects taught from academic, instrumental, sport, and, most popular, English language study. These after school academies are probably why sleeping students are tolerated on occasion in public schools; their teachers know they have many hours of schooling left! And they know the students are most likely going to listen to the same subject matter in private academy later. Teachers from private academies assign kids additional homework. Some private academies open their doors during vacations only; children can stay there up to 11 PM. The government of South Korea had to place laws against hagwons being open late into the night because there was such demand from parents! Children go to these academies right after their regular schools.


Class size


American teachers usually work with smaller classes. For example, 25 – 30 students in one class. On the other hand, classes in Asian schools are much bigger. They can go from 35 students up to a staggering number of 65 students in some regions.

Of course, in private schools and after-school academies, class sizes can be as small as 10-20.


Homeroom concept


In American schools, children “change” their classmates all the time. One child can attend Math class with one group of students, while at English class he or she will see a completely different group of students in the classroom.
Asian schools have a homeroom concept in which students are assigned to particular classes where they stay throughout their time in that particular school, or if some student is particularly exceptional, then he/she gets the opportunity to advance. This cohort concept aims to bring different children closer together, to allow them to get used to each other which in turn increases productivity – so they say – as well.



Teachers in American schools have their classrooms. Children come to them. Also, each child has his or her own hallway locker where they place their stuff.
However, in Asian schools, each class has its own classroom and the teacher is the one who comes to them to lecture. That’s why there’s no need for hallway lockers. Children have their stuff with them at all times. After the language class is over, they put their books into their backpack and take out the book and notebook for the next class.


Head teacher


This is something that American schools don’t have, though I like it. In Asian schools, besides having teachers for different subjects, each class has its own head teacher (remember kids stay in one classroom the whole day, basically). This teacher is responsible for establishing discipline in his or her class. Also, the head teacher is the one who calls a child’s parents if he or she misbehaves. On the other hand, in American schools, each teacher has to establish discipline or contact parents on a per-student basis, amongst all his or her many students.



Teachers in American schools are allowed to send their students out in case they misbehave or show lack of respect. Also, schools are allowed to suspend students.
Asian schools are different; according to their law, “no child shall be denied an education”, teachers aren’t allowed to send kids out of the classroom. Also, schools don’t suspend kids. They assume kids would fall in with a bad crowd, smoke, drink, or do other mischievous things if they are banned from the class.


In America, kids go to school in a school bus. Once they turn 16 and get their driver’s license, they drive to school. In Asian countries, kids don’t go to school in a school bus. They go to the nearest school. Since they live close, they walk or ride their bikes to school.
Though, high school is a different story. When teenagers go to high school that’s not near their home, they take the subway, bus, or train. They can’t drive because you have to be 18 in Asian countries to get a driver’s license. Even when 18-year-olds get the much-anticipated license, he or she isn’t encouraged to drive to school.

As you can see, American and Asian schools are extremely different. What do you admire the most about the American and Asian school systems? Is there any trait from Asian schools that you’d like to see in America as well? Or vice versa?


China to ban petrol and diesel cars, state media reports

China is joining France and Britain in announcing plans to end sales of petrol and diesel cars.

China’s industry ministry is developing a timetable to end production and sale of traditional fuel cars and will promote development of electric technology, state media on Sunday cited a Cabinet official as saying.

The reports gave no possible target date, but Beijing is stepping up pressure on automakers to accelerate development of electrics.

China is the biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold, giving any policy changes outsize importance for the global industry.

A deputy industry minister, Xin Guobin, said at an auto industry forum on Saturday his ministry has begun “research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles,” according to the Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.

France and Britain announced in July they will stop sales of petrol and diesel automobiles by 2040 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.


Mexico hit by ‘strongest earthquake in a century’ as magnitude 8.2 tremor triggers tsunami waves

A rare and powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico late Thursday, killing at least 15 people as seismologists warned of a tsunami of more than 10 feet.

The quake hit offshore in the Pacific about 75 miles southwest of the town of Tres Picos in far southern Chiapas state, the US Geological Survey said, putting the magnitude at 8.1.

Mexico’s president said the earthquake magnitude was 8.2, the strongest in a century in the country.

The country’s seismologic service initially gave a magnitude of 8.4, which if confirmed would be the most powerful ever recorded in this quake-prone country. 

The quake shook a large swath of the country and was felt as far north as Mexico City – 600 miles from the quake epicenter – where people ran out of their homes in their pajamas as buildings trembled and swayed.

A tsunami warning and the prospect of aftershocks kept the nation on alert.

“Based on all available data … widespread hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

“Tsunami waves reaching more than three meters above the tide level are possible along the coasts of Mexico,” it said, with lower waves in other countries.


The tsunami warning was for the coasts of Mexico, down through Central America into Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras, and as far south as Ecuador.


The quake was felt in much of Guatemala, which borders Chiapas.

President Enrique Pena Nieto ordered schools to remain closed Friday in Chiapas and Mexico City so officials could inspect for structural damage.

He said on Twitter he was overseeing the emergency response from the National Disaster Prevention Center’s headquarters.

In Mexico City, people ran out of buildings after hearing earthquake warning sirens go off just before midnight (6am UK time Friday).


Girl, 7, finds 4ft sword in same lake where King Arthur hurled Excalibur

A seven-year-old girl has found a 4ft sword in the same lake where King Arthur’s Excalibur was said to have been hurled.

Matilda Jones was paddling waist-deep in Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor when she came across the blade while on a family holiday.


According to legend, the lake is believed to be the spot where King Arthur is said to have returned Excalibur after being fatally wounded in the Battle of Camlann.

The story of how the legendary Excalibur and how it started and ended with the Lady in the Lake

Ironically, dad Paul Jones, 51, had recounted the famous folklore of King Arthur to Matilda and her four-year-old sister Lois just before the recovery, the Mirror reports.

Matilda found the sword in Dozmary Pool while paddling on a family holiday (Image: SWNS)

Paul, of Doncaster, said: “It was a blistering hot day and Matilda asked if we could go for a paddle. She was only waist deep when she said she could see a sword.

“I told her not to be silly and it was probably a bit of fencing but when I looked down I realised it was a sword. It was just there laying flat on the bottom of the lake.

Paul and Matilda Jones with the sword (Image: SWNS)

“The sword is 4ft long – exactly Matilda’s height.”

Legend has it that King Arthur was first given Excalibur from the Lady of Lake in Dozmary Pool after rowing out to receive it.

After being mortally wounded in the Battle of Camlann he asked to be taken there so he could return the sword to her.

After three attempts, his loyal follower Bedivere cast it into the water and the Lady of the Lake’s arm rose to receive it.