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  • Fitbit Finally Introduces Its New ‘Ionic’ Smartwatch

    Fitbit unveiled its first smartwatch , a $300 lightweight wearable called Ionic. The aluminum watch, which will come in three colors and with a variety of bands, is available for preorder immediately and hits stores in October. The company needs Ionic to be a big hit this holiday shopping season after sales of Fitbit's simpler line of fitness trackers tanked last year. The former leader in the wearable market appears to be getting squeezed between more expensive devices from Apple (AAPL, +0.01%) and cheaper wearable gadgets from Asian makers like Xiaomi and Huawei. Fitbit's stock price, which closed at $5.73 on Friday, is down 61% over the past year. The smartwatch is CEO James Park's effort to hit back at the competition by offering a far more capable device than anything Fitbit (FIT, -2.40%) has previously released. The Ionic can run third-party apps, make wireless digital payments, and track relative blood oxygen levels in addition to typical heart rate monitoring. The company says the watch can run for at least four days on one charge in typical usage, much longer than most competing smartwatches, which have to be charged every night. And though the Ionic looks somewhat like Fitbit's Blaze with its square shaped display, it has a more substantial and expensive appearance with an aluminum body and extremely bright color display. But despite all the new features, the emphasis is still decidedly on health and fitness, CEO James Park tells Fortune. "We believe success in this category requires a killer app and we feel health and fitness is that killer app," Park says. "Fortunately, that coincides with the core strength of the company. The purpose of this watch is that it's going to be the best health and fitness smartwatch on the market." Read more

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  • UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting over N Korea

    The meeting aims to discuss a course of action in response to North Korea's actions The United Nations Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting later today after Pyongyang claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to a long-range missile. The council will meet in New York this afternoon to discuss a course of action in response to the apparent escalation of North Korea's nuclear arms programme. South Korea has said it has carried out a live fire ballistic missile test in response to North Korea's threats. The US said any threat to it or to its allies would be met with a "massive military response". The United States' most senior military officials yesterday briefed President Donald Trump on the military options available to him. His Defence Secretary James Mattis said that while the US did not want to see the "total annihilation" of North Korea, he warned that they had many options to do so if North Korea threatened the US, its territories or its allies. In addition the US said it may stop trading with any country that does business with North Korea. Both China and Russia have also expressed deep concern at Pyongyang's tests. The EU has also indicated it is prepared to adopt further sanctions against North Korea. Read more

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  • Ethiopian declared Best International Airline at Ghana Aviation Awards

      Leading Airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines has won 3 awards at the 2nd Ghana National Aviation Awards held in Accra. A statement issued in Accra by the Airline said the awards included the Best International Airline of the Year, Best African Airline of the Year and the Best Airline Operator Award. Deputy Minister of Aviation, Mr Kwabena Okyere-Darko, presenting the awards to the Area Manager of Ethiopian Airlines in Ghana Mrs Genet W. Michael commended the Airline its continuous improvement. He said the Government has restructured the industry for better results. He said the removal of VAT on the domestic ticket which has yielded a 23 per cent has increased in Domestic Air Travel, in the first five months of 2017. Mrs Genet W. Michael thanked the passengers, who have patronized the Airline so far and continue to have confidence in the Airline. "The passengers are our best promoters and they have shown confidence in our product," she added. She also commended the organizers of the Ghana National Aviation Awards for putting the event together to reward excellence and performance. Read more

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  • Ethiopia police stop Teddy Afro event in Addis Ababa

    Authorities in Ethiopia have stopped singer Tewodros Kassahun, popularly known as Teddy Afro, from launching his much-acclaimed album, Ethiopia. On his Facebook Page, Teddy Afro says police asked him to have a permit for the launch that was to be held at a hotel in the capital, Addis Ababa, a demand he has termed as ridiculous. A BBC reporter, who was attending the launch, says federal police showed up at the hotel hours before the launch and prevented Teddy's sound team from setting up equipment for the gig. His manager told the BBC, that they are yet to get official reasons as to why the launch was cancelled. His concert scheduled for the eve of Ethiopian New Year, which falls on 11 September, has also been cancelled in unclear circumstances. Teddy's 15-track album has made history as the quickest selling album since its release in May this year and for weeks topped the Billboard World Albums chart. BBC

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  • Faster than hyperloop: China's supersonic 'flying train' would race at 4,000kmph

    China will be getting supersonic trains, speeding up to 2,500kmphSTR/AFP/Getty Images China's top aerospace contractor has disclosed plans to develop 'flying trains' – a new supersonic transport system which in theory would be faster than the proposed hyperloop system. The concept of 'ultra-speed flying trains' might seem a bit far-fetched, or even hypothetical, but China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) has started the groundwork for the project. According to a 30 August announcement from Liu Shiquan, deputy general manager of the state-run contractor, the next-generation of trains would achieve supersonic 'near-ground flights', going up to a whopping 4,000kmph. That's thrice the speed of sound (1,225 kmph), or five times faster than most commercial planes and 10 times faster than most high-speed bullet trains. The transport system would be way faster than the proposed hyperloop system, which is envisioned to travel at speeds of up to 1,200kmph. Among other major benefits, CNS, a state-run media outlet, says, the 'flying train' would not be affected by weather and run seamlessly without using fossil energy. CASIC's system could pose some serious competition to hyperloop, but importantly, it would work on the same idea – magnetic levitation in a near-vacuum tube. Imagine something like a Maglev achieving supersonic near-ground flight in a tube. The contractor claims the ambitious transit-system would be the first to go supersonic. The contractor has started research work for the new transport system. The train will be developed in three stages, first achieving speeds up to 1,000kmph in cities, then 2,000kmph in megacity clusters and finally 4,000kmph for countries connected via China's One Belt, One Road infrastructure. Read more

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  • Kenya sets presidential election rerun for October 17

    (CNN)Kenya will hold another presidential election on October 17 after its disputed vote last month was thrown out, the country's election commission said. This comes after the country's Supreme Court on Friday invalidated the results of the contentious August 8 presidential election and ordered a new vote within 60 days. President Uhuru Kenyatta won the election over veteran opposition candidate Raila Odinga. But the court upheld a petition by Odinga, who had claimed Kenyatta's re-election was fraudulent. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission set the date at its 204th plenary meeting, the body said on Twitter. Kenyatta and Odinga, along with their same running mates, will once again compete for the seat. Read more

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  • Copenhagen University offers course on Beyoncé

    Students at Copenhagen University are being offered classes on “Beyoncé. Already 75 students at the university - which dates back more than 530 years - have signed up for the course. The class, entitled “Beyoncé, Gender and Race” will be taught in much the same way as other cultural courses such as opera, the Local reported. Such is the interest in the class that it has been moved to a larger lecture hall. Erik Steinskog told the Danish broadcaster, TV2 that the work of Beyoncé Knowles was a matter of academic interest. “We will analyse her songs and music videos. There will be a focus on gender, sexuality and race," he said. "One of the goals [of the class] is to introduce black feminist thought, which is not well known in Scandinavia. We want to explore the kind of entity feminism is,” he said. “Beyoncé is important in understanding the world we live in. Beyoncé is one of the biggest pop artists today, which makes her important in an analysis of contemporary times,” Prof Steinskog added. Copenhagen is not even breaking new ground. Rutgers University in New Jersey launched a Beyoncé course several years ago. Read more

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  • UN political chief urges Security Council to 'remain united, take appropriate action' on DPR Korea

    Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefs the Security Council on 4 September 2017 on the latest nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). UN Photo/Evan Schneider 4 September 2017 – The top United Nations political official today urged the Security Council to remain united and take appropriate action against Sunday's nuclear explosive test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). “The latest serious developments require a comprehensive response in order to break the cycle of provocations from the DPRK,” said Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in an emergency Council meeting, noting that “such a response must include wise and bold diplomacy to be effective.” Mr. Feltman, however, stressed the importance of responding to humanitarian needs regardless of the political situation as the people of the DPRK rely on the international community to provide humanitarian assistance. Today's meeting was the Council's second emergency meeting on the DPRK in less than a week and the tenth time the body has met to discuss the DPRK this year. On the details of Sunday's event, Mr. Feltman said that the DPRK characterized it as a “perfect success in the test of a hydrogen bomb for intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)” and as marking “a very significant occasion in attaining the final goal of completing the state nuclear force.” He said that it is evident the yield of the device was larger than any of the DPRK's previous nuclear tests and experts have estimated a yield of between 50 and 100 kilotons, or on average more than five times more powerful than the weapon detonated over Hiroshima and at the low end of the yield of a modern thermonuclear weapon. Citing a DPRK article that stated the hydrogen bomb was “a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack,” Mr. Feltman said that “this was a rare reference by the DPRK to the use of EMP,” which, triggered by a nuclear weapon, would aim for widespread damage and disruption to electricity grids and sensitive electronics, including on satellites. He also drew attention to reports today indicating that the DPRK may be preparing new ballistic missile tests. “We are alarmed by this dangerous provocation,” he said, noting that Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his call on the DPRK leadership to cease such acts and to comply fully with its international obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions. “We will continue to carefully follow the developments and remain in close coordination with the concerned international organizations, Members of the Council and other governments concerned,” he concluded. United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that her delegation will table a draft resolution on strengthening sanctions against the DPRK. Read more

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  • Tenth of men aged 50 'have heart age 10 years older'

    One-tenth of 50-year-old men have a heart age 10 years older than they are, heightening their risk of a fatal heart attack or stroke, a study suggests. The Public Health England analysis is based on responses from 1.2 million people to its Heart Age Test - 33,000 of whom were men aged 50. The organisation also predicts that 7,400 people will die from heart disease or stroke this month alone. Heart disease is the main cause of death among men and second among women. Most of these deaths are preventable and a quarter are people aged under 75. "Addressing our risk of heart disease and stroke should not be left until we are older," PHE's head of cardiovascular disease Jamie Waterall said. How to improve your heart health: Give up smoking Get active Manage your weight Eat more fibre Cut down on saturated fat Get your five a day fruit and vegetables Cut down on salt Eat fish Drink less alcohol Read labels on food and drink packaging Read more

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  • Thousands of Military Vets’ Details Exposed in S3 Privacy Snafu

    A database containing the personal details of thousands of US military vets, including some with top secret government security clearance, has been exposed to the public internet, UpGuard has revealed. The security vendor’s director of cyber risk research, Chris Vickery, discovered the files in a misconfigured AWS S3 data storage bucket located at the subdomain 'tigerswanresumes'. TigerSwan is a North Carolina-based private security firm which hires former servicemen and women, law enforcers and the like. Most worryingly, despite being contacted by UpGuard about the privacy snafu, the firm failed to secure the details for another month, meaning they remained exposed to the public internet, according to cyber resilience analyst, Dan O’Sullivan. The firm told UpGuard that the error was originally made by a third-party recruitment partner, which accounts for the large numbers of CVs and job application documents. “The exposed documents belong almost exclusively to US military veterans, providing a high level of detail about their past duties, including elite or sensitive defense and intelligence roles. They include information typically found on resumes, such as applicants’ home addresses, phone numbers, work history, and email addresses,” explained O’Sullivan. “Many, however, also list more sensitive information, such as security clearances, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers and at least partial Social Security numbers. Most troubling is the presence of resumes from Iraqi and Afghan nationals who cooperated with US forces, contractors, and government agencies in their home countries, and who may be endangered by the disclosure of their personal details.” In total, the researchers found 9402 highly sensitive documents inside a folder marked 'Resumes', including information on four Iraqi and four Afghan nationals who worked for US and Coalition forces in their respective countries. The discovery highlights an increasingly common and highly preventable insider threat which betrays a lack of training and major internal process failures. In July, Verizon admitted a similar error when data on at least six million customers was exposed in a misconfigured S3 bucket by third party partner Nice Systems. Read more

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