Donald Trump 'tells Japanese emperor mass shootings can happen anywhere' — in country without mass shootings

Donald Trump reportedly told the Emperor of Japan that mass shootings can occur “anywhere”, despite the country having some of the world’s most stringent gun control policies.

The US President met Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko before a round of talks with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on Monday.

When the emperor brought up Sunday’s mass killing at a church in Texas, Mr Trump called it a “terrible incident” and said the killings “can happen anywhere”, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

A lone gunman killed 26 people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the worst such massacre by a lone gunman in Texas and one of the five most lethal in modern US history.

It came a little over a month after another lone shooter killed 58 people and injured hundreds more in Las Vegas.

But in Japan, gun deaths are measured in single figures annually, compared to tens of thousands in the US.

Handguns are banned and anyone seeking a licence for a shotgun or air rifle must undergo a string of background checks, a written test and health evaluations.

Even police rarely use their sidearms and must attain a black belt in judo or other Japanese martial art before qualifying.

Journalist Anthony Berteaux told the BBC earlier this year: “What most Japanese police will do is get huge futons and essentially roll up a person who is being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station to calm them down.”

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UK house price growth hits highest quarterly rate since January as supply remains low

House prices across the UK rose at their fastest quarterly rate since January in the three months to the end of October, according to figures published by Halifax.

Prices in the three months to the end of last month were 4.5 per cent higher than in the same three months a year earlier, the bank said on Tuesday.

They rose by 0.3 per cent between September and October, following a 0.8 per cent increase in September, taking the average price to £225,826. That’s the highest on record and 2.8 per cent higher than where it was in January, Halifax said.

“The fact that the supply of new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low, combined with historically low mortgage rates and a high employment rate, continues to support house prices and is likely to do so over the coming months,” said Russell Galley, managing director at the Halifax Community Bank.

He also said, however, that “increasing pressure on household finances and continuing affordability concerns are some of the factors likely to dampen buyer demand”.

Inflation hit a five-year high of 3 per cent in September, largely as a result of the slump in the pound in the aftermath of last year’s Brexit vote.

And separate data last week from Nationwide showed that house price growth had cooled to 0.2 per cent in October from an increase of 0.4 per cent in September. 

Nonetheless, Russell Quirk, the founder and chief executive of online estate agent, said that even the recent increase in interest rates was unlikely to seriously slow momentum in the market.

“Although the increase […] may stretch some who have borrowed beyond their means and are now treading on thin ice, it is unlikely to impact the wider market,” he said.

“The cost of borrowing money remains at an ultra-low level and this, coupled with persistent buyer demand, should see the market continue to gain momentum,” he added. 

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Kabul TV station attack: 'Many killed' in Isis-claimed suicide bomb and gun assault in Afghanistan

Isis has said it is behind a suicide bombing and gun attack on a prominent TV station in the Afghan capital Kabul, claiming to have killed as many as 20 security workers and staff, without providing evidence.

Officials confirmed a gun battle was still going on inside the compound of the Shamshad TV station after it was attacked by three people including a suicide bomber.

The station confirmed reports there had been several casualties in a tweet.

Despite the Isis claim, it was initially unclear from the officials’ accounts how many of the station’s staff were killed or wounded.

The jihadist group often inflates reports of its atrocities in propaganda.

Najib Danishe, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said there were three attackers and one was killed by police.

Mr Danishe said at least some of the TV staff were rescued by the police but he did not elaborate.

The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack. 

More follows

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Stranger Things creators under fire for pressuring child actors into kiss

Stranger Things fans have grown concerned after learning of the circumstances surrounding an on-screen kiss between two child actors in the Netflix show’s most recent season.

The kiss in question, which took place during the season 2 finale, happened between Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and new character Max (Sadie Sink) at the climactic Hawkins Middle School Snow Ball dance – something, it emerged on after-show Beyond Stranger Things, was unscripted and sprung upon both actors.

15-year-old Sink recounts the build-up to the moment that Ross Duffer brands “all [her] own fault.” 

She said: “I get there, the first day of Snowball… one of you, I think it was you Ross, you say, ‘Ooh, Sadie, you ready for the kiss?’ I’m like, ‘What! No! That’s not in the script… that’s not happening.’

“So the whole day I was like stressed out, I was like ‘Oh my god, wait, am I gonna have to…’ and it didn’t happen that day, but then the second day of Snow Ball.” 

It’s here where Duffer wades in telling Sink that, despite the fact he had been joking, he felt inspired to make her do the kiss due to her initial reluctance.

“You reacted so strongly to this – I was just joking – and you were so freaked out that I was like well, I gotta make her do it now… that’s why I’m saying it’s your fault.” 


Sink and McLaughlin performed the kiss in a room full of extras as well as “their parents, and the crew and [Sink’s] mom.” 

 Many are expressing their concern regarding the moment via social media wondering why the Duffers didn’t work with the actors in order to make them feel comfortable in performing the moment.

Last week, a model came under heavy fire for making an “inappropriate” comment about 14-year-old actor Finn Wolfhard who plahys Mike Wheeler in the hit Netflix show. 

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New Look crashes to half-year loss of £10.4m

Struggling fashion chain New Look has swung to a half-year loss as it became the latest retailer to fall victim to tough conditions on the high street.

New Look, owned by South African investment group Brait, booked an underlying operating loss of £10.4m in the six months to September 23, which compares with a £59.3m profit in the same period last year.

The retailer’s UK like-for-like sales crashed 8.4 per cent in the period, while total revenue fell 4.5 per cent to £686m.

Retailers across the board, such as Next, have been stung by rising costs and falling consumer confidence as Brexit-fuelled inflation hits the sector hard.

The results come as growth in non-food sales hit a record low in October ahead of the critical Christmas trading season, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Alistair McGeorge, who has been parachuted into the role of executive chairman for another stint at New Look, said the results reflect a “challenging retail environment on the UK high street”.

Mr McGeorge returned to the firm following the abrupt departure of chief executive Anders Kristiansen in September.

At the time, Brait said that Mr Kristiansen’s departure was “mutually agreed”.

Mr McGeorge said: “The immediate focus in this period of transition will be to deliver stability and get the business back to basics by reconnecting with the New Look customer and recovering our broad appeal.

“Whilst we’re not anticipating a reversal in fortunes overnight, I am confident we will implement the necessary changes to get the company back on track.”

The group is also struggling under a £1.2bn debt mountain and is reportedly in talks with its lenders about restructuring.

But New Look said that it has an “adequate liquidity and cash position” with £242.5m in cash, liquidity and operating facilities available.

John Gnodde, the chain’s non-executive director, said: “Brait remains committed to being a long-term shareholder of New Look.

“Whilst the second half of the year is likely to remain challenging, the company retains an adequate liquidity position.

“I am confident that we have a fundamentally good brand with a strong team in place to deliver a significant improvement in our performance.”


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Meet the sisters keeping Cambodia's dying art of shadow puppetry alive

“When I was 10 years old, I saw a film about the Killing Fields,” Lomorpich Rithy recalls. “I said, OK, that’s a Cambodian-Hollywood film. 

“But 15 years later, it’s still all about the Khmer Rouge. Khmer Rouge and Angkor Wat are the only two things that outside people know about us. What about my generation?”

While Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father may have reminded the international community of Cambodia’s heavy history, the nation’s arts still remain unknown to most outside the country. 

That’s set to change, however, if Rithy has anything to do with it. Along with her sister and two other friends, she’s the driving force behind the annual Bonn Phum festival, which takes place in a different village each year.

A free three-day celebration of traditional performing arts, games, and food, it grew out of Rithy’s friendship with one of Cambodia’s best known artists: Mann Kosal, who runs Sovanna Phum Arts Association in Phnom Penh. 

Kosal established Sovanna Phum, the first independent art association in Cambodia, in 1994. At his small theatre in Phnom Penh, he directs actors and musicians in weekly shows combining music, dance, and Sbek Thom: the sacred art of vast-scale shadow puppetry that dates back to pre-Angkor Wat times, used for tales based on ancient Sanskrit epic the Ramayana. Unesco declared Sbek Thom an “intangible cultural heritage” in 2005.

Not that Rithy knew anything about it back then. “I had zero knowledge about my own country’s art,” she admits. In 2012, when a Japanese exchange programme required her to research her cultural heritage, she went along to a performance. “I remember the darkness and the sound of the drum. Master Kosal started to sing. It was the key to my soul.” Afterwards, she and her sister, Lomorkesor, began volunteering at the theatre. 

Over the years, Rithy’s post-show talks with Kosal gave rise to the idea of Bonn Phum. “We talked about a setting for people to sit down and see performances in a traditional environment.” The first festival in 2014 was such a success, the team decided to make it a yearly event.

However, unbeknownst to Rithy, her mentor was growing increasingly desperate. Last year, after 20 years running the theatre, Kosal almost quit to become a tuk-tuk driver. Without government or NGO funding, income from ticket sales couldn’t keep up with rent hikes and expenditure. What’s more, after years of hand-carving the 2m-high puppets from cowhide, Kosal suffered from chronic back pain. To pay his hospital bills, he sold his car, then some of his puppets. Finally, he went to the papers and announced his intended change of career.


Rithy was in Thailand when her sister called with the news. “I felt like…oh my god, without Sovanna Phum, shadow puppet theatre is going to die,” she tells The Independent. “I knew it couldn’t end like this. I know Master Kosal, and how much he loves the place. I tried to call him but he didn’t answer the phone. He wanted to disappear. It was too much for him to handle alone.”

So she took on his fight. Determined not to let Sovanna Phum close, Rithy and the team behind Bonn Phum launched a Kickstarter campaign, organised puppet-carving workshops and garnered support from Cambodian franchise Brown Coffee. Pop star Tena was even inspired to use Sbek Thom in a music video

“It was first time we saw the culture of sharing money in Cambodia for art,” she says. “Usually that only happens around religion. We are a country with a lot of culture and art history, but we don’t really value it.”

Though he plays a vital part in conserving Sbek Thom, Kosal tells The Independent that he’s no purist. He welcomes collaboration, for starters, saying, “all types of artists should learn from each other.” He also breaks with tradition by including female performers. It’s “not about gender,” he says; instead his bid to work with women is “questioning why we need to class this and that. There are many classes even within art forms in Cambodia. It’s such a reflection of our society.” 

In the planning stages for the fifth Bonn Phum festival due to take place next April, Rithy is passionate about modern Cambodia’s duty to critique itself through art. “We only ever look 1,000 years back and say, ‘We are the sons and daughters of Angkor Wat,’” she says. “But how about now? Who are we now?” The festival, she hopes, will answer that question. 

More information

Sovanna Phum Theatre in Phnom Penh has shows every Friday and Saturday at 7pm. The gallery is open 9am-5pm, Monday to Saturday. Workshops and other activities are also available upon request. Contact them through Facebook, or by calling +855 10 33 75 52 to book.

The Bonn Phum Festival takes place every April. The location for the 2018 festival has yet to be announced.

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Fox held talks to sell most of company to Disney

Fox’s shares jumped 9.9 per cent to close at $27.45 (£20.89) on Nasdaq, and Disney shares climbed 2.0 per cent to $100.64 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The two sides are not currently talking, but had held talks in the last few weeks, CNBC reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The discussions reflect a view among Fox executives that the media company could not reach the size needed to compete with Amazon, Netflix and other major media players, according to CNBC. 

Representatives of Disney and Fox had no comment.

For Disney, a deal could bring additional programming it could use to lure audiences as the company tries to navigate consumers’ rapid migration to digital viewing and compete with heavy spending by technology companies pushing further into Hollywood. It also could extend Disney’s reach into international markets.

Disney, which under US rules could not own two broadcast networks, would not purchase all of Fox, CNBC reported. It would not seek to buy Fox’s sports programming assets for fear of running foul of antitrust laws with its own ESPN network, and also would not buy Fox News or Fox’s broadcast network or local broadcasting affiliates, the report said.

It did discuss buying Fox’s movie and TV production studios, cable networks FX and National Geographic and international assets such as the Star network in India and European pay TV provider Sky, CNBC said.

Fox has bid $14.5bn to acquire the remaining 61 per cent of Sky it does not own, but the acquisition has been delayed by British regulators.

“I see lots of synergies for Disney. It’s a no-brainer,” Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser said. “The confusion is what it means for Fox.”

Traditional media giants are scrambling to increase their scale and add new businesses, particularly after AT&T’s bid for HBO and CNN owner Time Warner Inc, which is awaiting regulatory approval. Other media companies also could be interested in Fox’s assets, Wieser said.

Credit Suisse analysts said the talks increase uncertainty around the Sky transaction. Disney may want Sky as part of an international streaming strategy, but a deal also would deepen its exposure to traditional businesses that have been under pressure.

“It is not clear whether the main Disney shareholders will agree and give their support to management on this point,” the analysts said in a research note.

Disney has been struggling with subscriber declines at ESPN, its biggest network, and is planning to launch direct-to-consumer video streaming services to reach younger audiences that have shunned traditional cable and satellite offerings.

Chief Executive Bob Iger has said he plans to retire from Disney in July 2019, and the company is searching for a successor.

Much of Fox’s revenue has come from its cable division, which houses Fox News, FX and other channels. Fox said in August that it expects to see high single-digit domestic affiliate fee growth every quarter in fiscal 2018.

Fox and Disney are co-owners of Hulu, a streaming service that offers on-demand and live TV packages. Hulu also is partially owned by Comcast and Time Warner.


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Ashes 2017: Steve Finn ruled out of England's tour and will be sent home from Australia due to knee injury

Steven Finn’s Ashes tour is over after England confirmed he has sustained a torn cartilage in his left knee.

The Middlesex fast bowler will return to the UK within the next 48 hours before seeing a specialist to determine whether he requires surgery on the freak injury he sustained batting in the nets last week.

Finn’s third Ashes tour has lasted just nine days following the bizarre incident in Perth last Thursday when he struck himself with his own bat attempting a drive during practice.

Three players are in contention to replace Finn in the Ashes squad, with Liam Plunkett, a regular in England’s limited-overs team, Tom Helm, the 23-year-old Middlesex seamer, and Surrey’s Tom Curran all being discussed by team management.

An England statement said: “Steven Finn will miss the remainder of England’s tour of Australia after scans revealed he has a torn left knee cartilage.

“The Middlesex seamer will now return to the UK in the next 48 hours where he will meet a knee specialist to ascertain whether he will have an operation. England will announce his replacement for the rest of the tour in due course.”

England, who will start a four-day pink-ball match against a Cricket Australia XI at the Adelaide Oval tomorrow, had given Finn a week to prove his fitness after initial scans proved inconclusive.

But despite receiving anti-inflammatory injections, further scans revealed a more serious problem.

Finn had only been selected himself as a late replacement for Ben Stokes, the all-rounder who has remained in England while police investigate his involvement in the late-night altercation in Bristol during the one-day series against West Indies in September.

However, this is another setback in Finn’s career after he was sent home early from the 2013-14 Ashes tour when he was deemed “unselectable” by then limited-overs coach Ashley Giles.

Meanwhile, Joe Root’s vice-captain for this tour is set to be announced within the next 48 hours.


With Stokes absent, Root is without a deputy for the Ashes. Alastair Cook, the Yorkshireman’s predecessor as captain, Stuart Broad and James Anderson are all in contention for the role.

England coach Trevor Bayliss confirmed: “Rooty and I have had a bit of a chat about it over the last few days, and you’ll probably see an announcement in the next day or two,” said Bayliss.

“There’s probably three or four guys in the team that could do it – older guys who play that role anyway as leaders of the team.”

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Donald Trump says US will defend allies from North Korea with 'full range of unmatched military capability'

Donald Trump has said the US will defend its allies against North Korea using the “full range of our unmatched military capabilities, if need be”.

The US President raised the spectre of nuclear war during a visit to Seoul, South Korea.

At a press conference alongside President Moon Jae-in, Mr Trump said Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes were threatening “millions” of people.

“It’s time to act with urgency and great determination,” he said.

While the US was trying to talk Kim Jong-un down from his nuclear ambitions using “all available tools short of military action”, Mr Trump said that “the US stands prepared to defend itself and its allies using the full range of our unmatched military capabilities, if need be”.

He made similar comments earlier in his tour of the Asia-Pacific region, when he told troops at Yokota air base near Tokyo: “Together with our allies, America’s warriors are prepared to defend our nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities.”

Mr Moon said he and Mr Trump had finalised an earlier agreement to allow South Korea to possess more powerful missiles in the face of growing North Korean threats. 

He said the two had agreed to lift the warhead payload limits on South Korean ballistic missiles and that the allies are also cooperating on strengthening South Korea’s defence capabilities through the acquisition or development of advanced weapons systems.

منبع مطلب :'s tech startup raises $117m, the tech startup founded by pop star and entrepreneur, has raised $117m (£89m) in venture funding, the company told Reuters on Monday as it announced its entry into the corporate computing market with a voice assistant for customer service.

The company, founded in 2012, initially focused on consumer electronics devices such as headphones. The new artificial intelligence product, similar to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, marks a sharp departure for the firm, which now employs about 300 people.

Its most recent funding round, an $89m investment by a group including Salesforce Ventures, closed in March but had not been previously announced., who rose to prominence as a member of The Black Eyed Peas, said the corporate market offered the company an opportunity to quickly deploy and develop its assistant, called Omega.

“I wanted to create something that allows us to do many things,” said, founder and chief executive of the company, in a telephone interview with Reuters. “There’s so much you can do with a voice platform.”

Though many celebrities and athletes including Jessica Alba, Ashton Kutcher and Joe Montana have made their way into the tech sector through investments and their own startups, most have tended to focus on consumer technology.’s first enterprise customer is Deutsche Telekom, the German telecommunications giant and parent company of T-Mobile.

Since July, the company has been using Omega to power an AI customer support chatbot and it plans to add a voice phone system soon, said. said customer support is just the start of Omega. The plan is to use the technology to build several more enterprise voice AI products.

“One of those things is handling hundreds of thousands of customers’ inquiries about their data plans simultaneously,” said. “If it can do that, your imagination’s the limit.”


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