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World News

Artist Peter Doig wins case over painting he said was not his work

A Chicago court accepts that artist Peter Doig did not paint a landscape, valued at $10m (£7.6m) when it was believed to be by him.
Posted: August 24, 2016, 12:59 am

Go-getters in the ghetto

France's immigrant suburbs have a terrible image and are accused of breeding jihadists, but there is a hidden, dynamic side to them, says Henri Astier.
Posted: August 24, 2016, 12:23 am

Prison ramen

A new study suggests ramen noodles are now the most valuable prison commodity. Why and how do inmates whip up their own delicacies?
Posted: August 24, 2016, 12:03 am

HIV effort let down by test shortages, says WHO

A shortage of HIV testing could undermine global efforts to diagnose and treat people with the infection, warn experts from the World Health Organization.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:45 pm

North Korea submarine fires ballistic missile

North Korea has fired a submarine-based ballistic missile, the US and South Korea report, which flew for 500km (300 miles).
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:39 pm

Tesla's Elon Musk says new car battery is a milestone

Tesla Motors unveils a new battery pack for its cars that boss Elon Musk says marks a profound milestone for the speed and distance of its electric vehicles.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:28 pm

Into the lion's den?

As US Vice-President Joe Biden arrives in the Turkish capital, how do relations between the two countries stand?
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:19 pm

Dreams and despair in the desert: Africa's new gold rush

The world's newest gold rush is under way in the West African country of Mauritania as thousands rush into the Sahara hoping to strike it rich.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:16 pm

Female gaze

Indian woman takes on the trolls after writing in defence of the female gaze.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:10 pm

Gaza's last tiger to leave for new home in South Africa

Gaza's last tiger Laziz is leaving for a new home and life in a South African sanctuary.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:10 pm

Hundreds of thousands of dead fish wash up in New Jersey

Hundreds of thousands of fish, commonly known as peanut bunker fish, have washed up dead in a New Jersey creek.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 10:15 pm

Cat 'adopts' baby squirrel monkey

A baby squirrel monkey, who was rejected by her mother, has been cared for by a cat.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 10:05 pm

Louisiana floods: Obama 'heartbroken' after tour

President Barack Obama tours the flood-ravaged areas of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he vowed to help residents rebuild in the coming months.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 10:05 pm

It's final: Russia banned from Paralympics

Russia will not compete at next month's Paralympic Games in Rio.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 9:43 pm

Rio police 'find Olympic ticket emails'

Emails linking IOC (International Olympic Committee) member Pat Hickey to the head of a company alleged to have resold Olympic tickets have been found, say police in Rio.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 9:25 pm

Turkey evacuates town amid anti-IS Syria campaign

Turkey evacuated Karkamis near Syria, as it prepares an offensive against so-called Islamic State holding Jarablus.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 9:00 pm

Turkey, Syrian Kurds on track for conflict in northern Syria - Daily Mail

The News International

Turkey, Syrian Kurds on track for conflict in northern Syria
Daily Mail
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey signaled Tuesday it would step up its engagement in the Syrian war, as Turkish-backed Syrian rebels massed along the border to assault one of the last Syrian frontier towns held by Islamic State militants. Foreign Minister ...
Turkish border town evacuated after hit by ISIS mortar from Syria: local
Turkey evacuates town amid anti-IS Syria campaignBBC News
Turkish Shelling Presages New Rebel Offensive in Syria Against Islamic StateWall Street Journal
Haaretz -The Guardian -680 News
all 209 news articles »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 8:43 pm

ISIS turns to kids

A boy stands shaking in the street. Fear etched across his face. Two men flank him on either side as a third rips through the boy's Barcelona football shirt to reveal what appears to be an explosive belt.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 8:34 pm

US says it has received a formal extradition request for the exiled cleric Turkey blames for failed coup - National Post

National Post

US says it has received a formal extradition request for the exiled cleric Turkey blames for failed coup
National Post
WASHINGTON — With suspicions on both sides mounting, the United States is struggling to preserve its wobbly partnership with Turkey as the Turks entertain closer relations with Russia and fume over a U.S.-based cleric blamed for orchestrating last ...
Here's How to Stop Turkey's Anti-American TurnForeign Policy (blog)
Biden walks a tightrope in Turkey visitFinancial Times
Turkish Actions in Syria Could Complicate Biden VisitVoice of America
Reuters -USA TODAY -Al-Monitor -WKOW
all 226 news articles »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 8:33 pm

Trolls bombard with Irish model with slurs

Posted: August 23, 2016, 8:26 pm

Flood situation in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh turns grim; 10 more NDRF teams deployed - Economic Times

Economic Times

Flood situation in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh turns grim; 10 more NDRF teams deployed
Economic Times
NEW DELHI/PATNA/LUCKNOW: The flood situation in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh turned grim on Tuesday with most of the rivers in the two states flowing above the danger level. 10 more NDRF teams have been deployed in the two states for relief and rescue ...
Needed: Scientific flood managementThe Hindu
Water from Nepal, MP worsens UP flood situation; Bihar battles rivers in spateTimes of India
Over 200000 villagers evacuated by rescue teams in
Times of Oman -Financial Express -Reuters India -Sky News Australia
all 157 news articles »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 7:43 pm

US 'heartbroken' at flood deaths in Louisiana, Obama says in Baton Rouge -

US 'heartbroken' at flood deaths in Louisiana, Obama says in Baton Rouge
U.S. President Barack Obama says the nation is "heartbroken" by the loss of life during recent flooding in Louisiana. Obama was speaking in East Baton Rouge Parish as he toured flood damage in Louisiana on Tuesday. Obama said people's lives have been ...
Obama tours Louisiana amid criticism that he's lateCNN
Obama visits flood-damaged Louisiana in show of supportCTV News
Obama heads to Louisiana to tour flood-battered neighborhoodThe Globe and Mail
The Guardian -Los Angeles Times -New York Times -WDAM-TV
all 1,075 news articles »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 6:33 pm

Sarkozy: The former president who wants France back

The former president wants France back.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 6:28 pm

South Sudan conflict: Riek Machar in Khartoum for 'medical treatment'

Riek Machar, who was sacked as South Sudan's vice-president last month, is in Sudan to receive "urgent medical attention", state media report.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 5:51 pm

Bono, Prince of Bahrain and Clinton Foundation donors given access to Hillary's - Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun

Bono, Prince of Bahrain and Clinton Foundation donors given access to Hillary's
Toronto Sun
A sports executive who was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation and whose firm paid Bill Clinton millions of dollars in consulting fees wanted help getting a visa for a British soccer player with a criminal past. The crown prince of Bahrain, whose ...
More than half the non-government people Clinton met with at the State Department were Clinton Foundation donorsBusiness Insider
Clinton asks Romney's allies for cash to stop TrumpPolitico
Clinton's health is fine, but what about Trump?CNN
Reuters -Christian Science Monitor -Wall Street Journal -Daily Mail
all 1,551 news articles »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 5:50 pm

Philippines war on drugs leaves 1900 dead in seven weeks - The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail

Philippines war on drugs leaves 1900 dead in seven weeks
The Globe and Mail
Initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte, the death toll has spiked since he took office. Nightly police raids have been condemned by international human rights advocates as out of control. They are calling on the government to end the drug raids and ...
Philippines' war on drugs leaves 1900 dead in less than two monthsChicago Tribune
Philippines' Duterte says talks with China on sea dispute 'within the year'Daily Mail
Philippines police chief: 300 dirty cops will be brought to...Local 10
The Guardian -Foreign Policy (blog) -teleSUR English -New York Times
all 305 news articles »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 4:38 pm

Muslim Frenchwoman 'fined for veil on Cannes beach'

A Frenchwoman said she was fined for wearing a hair-covering veil on the beach in Cannes, after the mayor imposed a controversial ban on "burkinis".
Posted: August 23, 2016, 4:14 pm

Paris tourism hit by militant attacks, strikes and floods

Attacks by Islamist militants, strikes and floods have caused a substantial drop in the number of tourists visiting Paris, officials say.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 4:14 pm

Harambe the gorilla: Cincinnati Zoo deletes Twitter account

An Ohio zoo where a gorilla was shot and killed deletes its Twitter account following constant online harassment about the animal's death.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 4:14 pm

Power play

It's hard to locate on a map, but a new plan to disconnect from Australia's power grid is bringing a surge of attention to the village of Tyalgum.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 4:13 pm

Rio Paralympics 2016: Russian doping ban 'cynical', says PM

Russia's PM Dmitry Medvedev says the decision to uphold a blanket doping ban on Russia's Paralympians is "cynical".
Posted: August 23, 2016, 3:53 pm

Risking lives?

Wikileaks has been criticised for not doing enough to screen sensitive information found in documents released via the site.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 3:15 pm

Roadside bomb kills US soldier in Afghanistan, coalition says - Channel NewsAsia

Roadside bomb kills US soldier in Afghanistan, coalition says
Channel NewsAsia
LASHKAR GAH: A roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier in Helmand, a province in southern Afghanistan that has seen an upsurge in violence in recent weeks. The bomb also wounded another U.S. soldier and six Afghan soldiers, coalition forces said in a ...

and more »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 3:00 pm

Peru investigates 'police death squad' after killings

Prosecutors in Peru investigate allegations that a group of rogue police officers killed civilians and passed them off as dangerous criminals to secure promotions.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 2:48 pm

She's the world's highest paid actress

Posted: August 23, 2016, 2:46 pm

Barack Obama goes to Baton Rouge, La., to tour flood damage

Barack Obama returns from Martha's Vineyard

U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Baton Rouge today to tour some flood-ravaged areas of Louisiana and meet with local officials.

Posted: August 23, 2016, 2:30 pm

Check out the 1st internet page, which went public 25 years ago today


What did web pages look like 25 years ago? Well, there was only one, and why not celebrate Internaut Day today by checking it out?

Posted: August 23, 2016, 2:21 pm

Turkey strikes ISIS, Kurds in northern Syria

Turkey's military bombarded ISIS targets in northern Syria for the second consecutive day Tuesday after mortars from Syria struck two Turkish border towns, a senior Turkish official and state media reported.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 2:09 pm

See Donald? Hillary can at least open a jar of pickles


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joked on a TV talk show about health rumours fuelled by supporters of Republican rival Donald Trump. Here's a look at how Trump's stamina attack on Clinton is stirring talk of gender bias.

Posted: August 23, 2016, 2:04 pm

Boko Haram leader fatally wounded in 'spectacular' air raid, Nigeria says

Nigeria Boko Haram

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is believed to have been fatally wounded in an airstrike while he was praying in a forest stronghold in northeast Nigeria, the military said Tuesday.

Posted: August 23, 2016, 1:27 pm

Palestinian suspect in police killings 'beaten to death'

The Palestinian Authority launches an investigation after a suspect linked to the killing of two policemen is apparently beaten to death in jail.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 1:25 pm

How Canada's indigenous teenagers are being sold for sex

As Lauren Chopek painfully details her story, she does so with the reticence of a survivor, as if somehow remaining silent would have been better.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 12:50 pm

4 dead, including small child, in South Chicago fire - WLS-TV


4 dead, including small child, in South Chicago fire
A 3-month-old child has died and three other people were injured in a fire in the South Chicago neighborhood. WLS. By Diane Pathieu. Tuesday, August 23, 2016 07:48AM. CHICAGO (WLS) --. Four people died, including a 3-month-old child, and three ...
Baby, 2 girls and man die in South Chicago fire, suspect in custodyChicago Tribune

all 16 news articles »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 12:48 pm

Fruit smugglers 'upgrade' Russian border road

Route on the Russian-Belarusian border is secretly upgraded by fruit smugglers.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:39 am

Who said Japan's politicians were boring?

Japan's establishment shakes off its grey reputation, with rapping and underpants - and even the PM lightens up by dressing as Super Mario.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:31 am

The job with the best view in the world.

Asnath Mahapa is the first African female pilot in South Africa. Not content with breaking boundaries she has set up her own flight school to inspire the next generation.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 11:29 am

North Korea threatens to turn Washington and Seoul into a 'heap of ash' -

North Korea threatens to turn Washington and Seoul into a 'heap of ash'
NORTH Korea has issued a fresh warning to Seoul and Washington, threatening a huge nuclear attack if provoked. The North's military warned it will turn the cities into “a heap of ash through a Korean-style pre-emptive nuclear strike” if they show any ...
North Korea seeks UN meeting on US-South Korea exercisesMetroNews Canada
North Korea Plants New Landmines Along DMZVoice of America
North Korea Reportedly Lays New Landmines Near Border Truce VillageHuffington Post
Daily Mail -Washington Post -Radio Free Asia -The Guardian
all 412 news articles »
Posted: August 23, 2016, 10:39 am

Nation went from boom to bust in 5 years

Posted: August 23, 2016, 10:33 am

Sports court confirms Russia ban from Rio Paralympics

putin mutko 1180

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has confirmed Russia's ban from the Paralympic Games as punishment for a state-backed doping program.

Posted: August 23, 2016, 10:15 am

India doctors remove 40 knives from man's stomach

Doctors in India say they have surgically removed 40 knives from a man's stomach, although it is not clear why the man had swallowed them.
Posted: August 23, 2016, 9:52 am

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

The government is expected to confirm that so called, ‘driverless’ trucks will be trialed in the UK.  Generally met with shock and condemnation, what is actually being proposed?

The correct term for the proposed system to be trialled is not ‘driverless trucks’, but ‘platooning’. This is where a series of vehicles use technology to enable drivers to move more closely to each other in convoy than would be safe if he or she were not using them. The UK government has agreed to a limited trial of platooning on a stretch of the M6 in Cumbria, a portion of UK motorway that is relatively quiet with larger sections between junctions.

There is clearly plenty of concern from road safety campaigners and industry bodies concerned for the long term future of lorry driver jobs.

The RAC’s chief engineer, David Bizley said, “One of the main questions is really whether lorry platoons are appropriate for our motorway network, which is why the choice of the M6 in Cumbria for the trials is a good one because the junctions are few and far between and the traffic density is low compared with most stretches of motorway. So while this is a potentially welcome extension to the driverless technology we are seeing trialled in cars, it’s not clear yet whether it is something that would work in practice on the UK’s motorway network.”


Platooning is nothing new – research into these systems started back in 2009 with EU funding – with the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project. The project tested combinations of cars, coaches and trucks and resulted in some significant fuel savings across the board between ten and twenty percent.

The first public road test took place back in 2012 in Spain involving three cars and a truck with a gap of 18 feet between each vehicle at a speed of 85 km/h, covering some 200 kilometres.

Since this time, platooning has been trialled in Sweden, Germany and in the United States. Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett commented: “At the outset, it is important to note that these trucks will not be ‘driverless’. Each cab will be manned. As far as we are concerned, this is an issue where the devil lies in the detail.”

Fuel Saving not Driver Saving

There has been plenty of scaremongering in the press that this will be the end of the long-distance lorry driver as we know it.   The platooning system very much needs the driver to be in control, he needs to be able to join and exit the system to continue the journey and deliver the load.  Platooning saves Fuel

The most likely outcome of the test is a significant improvement in fuel consumption or not only vehicles following in the platoon, but also of the lead vehicle.  Additionally, traffic flow should be smoother when sufficient numbers of vehicles are included.

Tests by Scania have shown that convoy driving using truck “platoons” can reduce fuel consumption by up to 12%.  This could mean a fuel saving per vehicle of some 4,000 litres annually.  This would be able to power a typical family car some 35,000 miles.

“On the test track we’ve driven with a distance of about 10 metres between the vehicles, and we were able to achieve a 12% fuel saving for the trailing vehicle,” says Magnus Adolfson, Scania’s Manager for Intelligent Transport Systems. “If you want to get as close as a couple of metres, then you need several automatic systems that also take control of the steering from the driver during the time that the vehicle is in the truck platoon. That’s also something we’re focusing our research on.”

How Does it Work?

The platooning system uses a combination of existing technologies that have been tweaked to make the system as safe and effective as possible.

Sophisticated Cruise Control

Effectively, the system uses an improved ‘advanced adaptive cruise control’ (ACC), a system that we have enjoyed using on cars for many years now.  Rather than setting a desired speed, the driver selects a desired distance from the vehicle in front which is maintained through the use of radar and cameras.

Driver Aids – Autonomous Braking

Legislation that came into force as recently as November 2015 compels all new trucks over 8 tonnes GVW to be fitted with ‘Autonomous Emergency Braking’ systems – AEB for short.  This means that the driver is taken out of the equation if an accident is likely.

These systems have been fitted to trucks (as an option) for a number of years.  They have clearly proven themselves so effective in stopping the vehicle that they have made their way into legislation.

So we have been able to automatically keep our distance from the moving truck in front and automatically come to an emergency stop for some years.  So what’s new?

Steering by Wire

Volvo Truck (well) controlled by a small hamster

Truck steering systems have become more sophisticated with steering columns becoming a thing of the past with ‘drive by wire’ control. These systems have been wonderfully demonstrated by Volvo Trucks in a series of YouTube videos – one involving a hamster steering a truck by running around a wheel attached to the steering wheel and the second showing a small girl controlling a 32 tonne truck using a remote controller.

Volvo (badly) controlled remotely by 4-year old

Technology that steers trucks using electrical inputs is therefore mainstream and used on our roads every day.

Making it Work

Even if platooning can be made to work technically – safely and reliably – it is of no use unless a system is developed to ‘book a vehicle’ into the convoy.  Simply stumbling across a platoon and tagging along cannot be an option. RHA’s Richard Burnett agrees, “In addition to the concerns of the motorist, is platooning practical for the haulier? Does it make operational sense?” The truck makers are already looking at this. To develop a system to coordinate platoons, Sweden’s Scania is focusing on its COMPANION joint research project with KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The next stage of development involves coordinating truck convoys, thereby making the whole logistics system more efficient. Scania’s researchers are designing a system that allows transport managers to input the routes their vehicles will take, with the system then finding joint routes with other operators who can ‘platoon up’.

An additional issue is related to the length of these platoons and how it might affect other road users.  The maximum length of a tractor unit and trailer combination is currently 16.5 metres in the UK.  Add an extra ten metre gap between a platoon of ten vehicles and you get something that is more than a quarter of a kilometre long.  Would the average UK motorist be able to contend with this moving obstruction when turning off a motorway junction? We have all seen most drivers leaving it to the last minute to turn off after accelerating past slower traffic.  This may therefore lead to platooning in the centre lane or lane three.  Not a popular alternative with car drivers.

UK Leading The Way?

The Department for Transport claims that it would like the UK to ‘lead the way’ in testing platoons.  It is difficult to see this happening when all the manufacturers are based in Sweden, (Volvo, Scania), Germany, (Daimler, MAN), Italy, (Iveco) and France (Renault). However, eight new projects have recently been awarded £20 million in funding from the UK Government to research and develop enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems, including new ‘talking car technologies’. Some of this has been awarded to a consortium looking at tyre pressures and safety concerns – an area ignored in the projects to date.

Is the UK a suitable test bed? Our road network is amongst the world’s most congested with the greatest number of junctions.  It is more likely that the UK would be used in the final instance as a ‘stress test’ rather than involved in the fundamental testing process.  It is unlikely that the R&D departments will be upping sticks from Sweden and Germany to spend time in Cumbria.


The UK has the reputation in Europe for being ‘Tail-End Charlie’ in accepting and promoting environmental improvements in commercial vehicle technology.  Germany and others were offering significant financial incentives for truck operators to become early adopters of Euro 6 technologies (and the emissions standards that came before them), whilst the UK government offered a few hundred pounds incentive to invest in new technology, the cost of which ran into the tens of thousands.

Consider also, the levels of support from the relevant governments.  Historically, the UK government has been less than supportive of the UK road haulage industry and we see no reason why this approach should suddenly change.  The level of support from the Netherlands is already far greater than the UK – they have also authorised the testing of platooning on their roads and are actively promoting the system with impressive glossy brochures.

During its Presidency of the European Union in 2016, the Netherlands will put together a European Truck Platooning Challenge. This will involve various brands of automated trucks driving in platoons. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Mrs. drs. M.H. Schultz van Haegen said, “The Netherlands now offers an international testing ground for innovative mobility. Applications for cars and trucks will be warmly welcomed.”

Time will tell if the UK truly gets behind this initiative or is simply paying lip service to a high-tech scheme that is bound to grab headlines.

What Next?

Daimler already have a truck that can actually drive itself.  Sven Ennerst, Head of Truck Product Engineering at Daimler is the man behind the Future Truck 2025 Mercedes-Benz program which takes platooning one step further.


In May last year, their Highway Pilot autonomous truck control system won approval for trials on public highways in a (Daimler) Freightliner truck in the US state of Nevada. Then in October 2015, the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg approved trials of Mercedes-Benz trucks with the Highway Pilot system on its autobahns.

Ennerst says, “We expect a change in the organisation of the freight forwarding industry. The driver will take over many of the traffic planner’s functions. He will become more of a transport manager than a driver, from our point of view.” “One thing is for sure – the Highway Pilot system is steering the vehicle by itself. It builds a picture around the truck, looking up to 250 metres ahead, so basically it can react and drive by itself.”

Ennerst is equally concerned about the fuel efficiency of the trucks, “We are fighting like hell for every tenth of one per cent in truck efficiency gains at present,” he says. “We expect a fuel economy improvement of up to five per cent with trucks like this, as a result of less acceleration and braking and less waiting in traffic.”

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