Southern California Fires Uproot Many Hollywood Celebrities

Thousands of firefighters in California are battling deadly wildfires in the northern and southern parts of the state. At least 44 people have died as a result of the fires. Many more have lost their homes. 

The wildfires in Southern California have been sweeping through many affluent communities near Los Angeles. Some evacuated residents are now returning home. Among them are celebrities who posted their thoughts and experiences on social media.

Actor Gerard Butler posted a video on his Twitter page, showing the charred and blackened remains of homes in his Malibu neighborhood. 

“It’s like a war zone, heartbreaking,” he said in the video. 

Other celebrities tweeted status updates. Singer and actress Miley Cyrus also lost her home in Malibu’s beach community. In a tweet, she wrote, “My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family and friends stand strong.” 

The wildfires also forced actress Alyssa Milano and director Guillermo del Toro to evacuate as they updated their fans on Twitter. 

Del Toro wrote about the home of his collection of fantasy and horror memorabilia: 

As the wildfires burned for days, thousands of firefighters were mobilized to contain the blaze. 

“I’ve been doing this job for 31 years and probably in the last five, maybe seven years, every year seems to get worse. A lot of that has to do with the recent drought and the drought that we’re still going through. And with that, that drought killed a lot of vegetation. And so, that dead vegetation is prone to burning, obviously,” said Cal Fire Unit Chief Scott Jalbert. 

Low humidity and high winds also contributed to what has made the wildfires so devastating to residents.  

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EU Court Rules Taste Cannot Be Copyrighted

The European Union’s highest court has ruled that the taste of a food cannot be protected by copyright.

The European Court of Justice said Tuesday “the taste of a food product cannot be identified with precision of objectivity,” thus making it ineligible “for copyright protection.”

Dutch cheese maker Levola had argued that a rival company copied its herbed spread called Heksenkaas or witches’ cheese. The company claimed Heksenkaas was a work protected by copyright and asked the Dutch courts to insist that the rival firm cease production and sale of its cheese.

But the judges ruled that unlike books, movies, songs and the like, the taste of food depends on personal preferences and the context in which the food is consumed, “which are subjective and variable.”

“Accordingly, the court concludes that the taste of a food product cannot be classified as a ‘work,’ and consequently is not eligible for copyright protection under the directive,” the judges said.

This is not the first time the European Court of Justice had to settle disputes about food.

In July, it ruled Nestle could not trademark the four-finger shape of its KitKat chocolate bars.

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Norway Says Russia Jammed GPS Signal During NATO Drill

The Norwegian Defense Ministry said Tuesday that Russian forces in the Arctic disturbed GPS location signals during a recent large NATO drill in Norway.

The ministry said that Norway’s Foreign Ministry earlier had raised the issue with Russian authorities.

In an email Tuesday to The Associated Press, the ministry said it “was aware that that jamming has been recorded between Oct. 16 and Nov. 7 from the Russian forces” on the Arctic Kola peninsula.

NATO’s huge exercise Trident Juncture, which included soldiers from 31 countries, was staged in Norway from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7. Finland and Sweden, which are not NATO members, also took part in the drill.

The jamming of the location signals is not believed to have caused any accidents.

Over the weekend, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila said his country’s GPS location signals were intentionally disrupted in the northern Lapland region.

Finland’s state Air Navigation Services issued a warning to civilian air traffic earlier last week.

Without providing any further evidence, Sipila said Sunday that neighboring Russia may have been to blame.

“It’s possible Russia was the disrupting party,” Sipila said in an interview with Finnish public broadcaster YLE.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has called for a thorough investigation into the incident.

The Russian Defense Ministry could not be reached Tuesday for comment on Norway’s claim. The Kremlin on Monday denied involvement in the Finnish GPS disturbance.

“We know nothing about Russia’s possible involvement in those GPS failures,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said according to TASS news agency. “There is a trend to blame all mortal sins on Russia.”

Russia is known to have substantial capabilities for electronic warfare. Experts say it has in recent years invested heavily in technology that can affect GPS location signals over a broad area.

The northern Arctic regions of Finland’s Lapland and Norway’s Finnmark are adjacent to Russia’s Kola peninsula, which is home to Russia’s Northern Fleet with major naval and submarine bases and other Russian military installations.

Asked about Finland’s claims, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Monday that cyber and electronic warfare are becoming more and more widespread, “therefore we take all these issues very seriously.”

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Brexit Divorce Deal Draft Agreed by EU and UK; May’s Ministers to Meet

The European Union and Britain have agreed to a draft text of a Brexit withdrawal deal and Prime Minister Theresa May will present it to her senior ministers Wednesday.

While officials choreograph the first withdrawal of a sovereign state from the EU, it remains unclear whether May can get any deal approved by the British parliament.

“Cabinet will meet at 2 p.m. tomorrow to consider the draft agreement the negotiating teams have reached in Brussels, and to decide on next steps,” a spokesman at May’s Downing Street office said.

“Cabinet ministers have been invited to read documentation ahead of that meeting,” the spokesman said, after British media were leaked details of the breakthrough.

Sterling, which has seesawed since reaching $1.50 just before results of the 2016 referendum vote for Britain to leave the EU, surged to $1.3036.

Brexit will pitch the world’s fifth-largest economy into the unknown and many fear it will help to divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China. Others says it will offer opportunities for Britain to develop new trading relationships beyond Europe.

The EU and the United Kingdom need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world’s biggest trading bloc and the United Kingdom, home to the biggest international financial center.

But May has struggled to untangle nearly 46 years of EU membership without damaging trade or upsetting the lawmakers who will ultimately decide the fate of the divorce deal.

​Brexit deal

With less than five months until Britain leaves the EU, the so-called Northern Irish backstop was the main outstanding issue that held up the deal.

The backstop is an insurance policy to avoid a return to controls on the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland if a future trading relationship is not agreed in time.

It was unclear what had been agreed on Ireland. The British government supplied no immediate details on the Brexit deal which runs to hundreds of pages.

According to Irish broadcaster RTE, the backstop will come in the form of a temporary UK-wide customs arrangement, with specific provisions for Northern Ireland which go deeper on the issue of customs and alignment with the rules of the single market than for the rest of the United Kingdom.

It will also include an agreed review mechanism, RTE said, adding that it understood there was still “further shuttling” to be done between London and Brussels.

But the intricacies are unlikely to stem the growing opposition to May at home: Brexit-supporting opponents fear she is signing up the United Kingdom to EU subjugation.

By seeking to leave the EU while preserving the closest possible ties, May’s compromise plan has upset Brexiteers, pro-Europeans, Scottish nationalists, the Northern Irish party that props up her government, and some of her own ministers.

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Greek Authorities Say Lost Ancient City of Tenea Located

Greece’s culture ministry said Tuesday that archaeologists have located the first tangible remains of a lost city that the ancient Greeks believed was first settled by Trojan captives of war after the sack of Troy.

A ministry statement said excavations from September to early October in the southern Greek region of the Peleponnese turned up “proof of the existence of the ancient city” of Tenea, until now known mostly from ancient texts.

Finds included walls and clay, marble or stone floors of buildings, as well as household pottery, a bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to late Roman times.

A pottery jar containing the remains of two human fetuses was also found amid the foundations of one building. That was unusual, as the ancient Greeks typically buried their dead in organized cemeteries outside the city walls.

Lead archaeologist Elena Korka, who has been excavating in the area since 2013, told The Associated Press that her team had only been digging in the rich cemeteries surrounding Tenea until this year. In one, antiquities smugglers dug up two remarkable 6th century B.C. marble statues of young men in 2010 and tried to sell them for 10 million euros.

“This year we excavated part of the city itself,” Korka said.

Excavation work continues on the cemeteries, located near the modern village of Hiliomodi about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Athens.

Archaeologists discovered nine burials there this year, finding gold, copper and bone jewelry, pottery and coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to Roman times.

“The citizens seem to have been remarkably affluent,” Korka said, adding that the city probably did well out of trade, standing on a key route between the major cities of Corinth and Argos in the northeastern Peloponnese.

So far, not much was known about Tenea, apart from ancient references to the reputed link with Troy and to its citizens having formed the bulk of the Greek colonists who founded the city of Syracuse in Sicily.

Korka said more should emerge during the excavations, which will continue over coming years.

“[The city] had distinctive pottery shapes with eastern influences, maintained contacts with both east and west … and had its own way of thinking, which, to the extent that it could, shaped its own policies,” she said.

Tenea survived the Roman destruction of neighboring Corinth in 146 B.C., and flourished under Roman rule. It appears to have suffered damage during a Gothic invasion in the late 4th century A.D. and may have been abandoned around the time of Slavic incursions two centuries later.

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Тренери збірної України назвали склад на перший етап Кубка світу з біатлону

Тренерські штаби чоловічої та жіночої команд України назвали склади для участі в першому етапі Кубка світу, який із 2 до 9 грудня прийме словенська Поклюка. Про це 13 листопада повідомляє телеканал XSport.

Жіноча команда складатиметься з олімпійських чемпіонок Юлії Джими, Віти Семеренко, Валентини Семеренко, Олени Підгрушної, до яких приєдналися Анастасія Меркушина та Юлія Журавок.

Серед чоловіків змагатимуться Дмитро Підручний, Артем Прима, Сергій Семенов, Артем Тищенко, Віталій Кільчицький.

Програма етапу в Поклюці, який відкриває сезон, є ширшою, ніж зазвичай на етапах кубка світу. У ній є одразу п’ять видів гонок: одиночна і класична змішані естафети, індивідуальні гонки, спринти і гонки переслідування. Саме тому тренери обох команд вирішили включити в склад на одну людину більше, ніж це передбачає квота збірної на деякі види гонок. У цьому сезоні в гонці з роздільним стартом збірна України має право виставляти чотирьох чоловіків і п’ять жінок.

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МОН: українські вчені після 17 років перерви відновлюють дослідження Південного океану

Група українських вчених 13 листопада, вперше після 17-річної перерви, вирушає в дослідницьку експедицію з вивчення стану Південного океану, повідомляє Міністерство освіти і науки України.

«Уперше з 2001 року Україна бере участь у подібних дослідженнях. І це, звичайно, є визнанням як високого наукового потенціалу України, так і активної міжнародної позиції нашої держави у питаннях збереження вразливої екосистеми Антарктиди», – заявив керівник Національного антарктичного наукового центру МОН Євген Дикий, який очолюватиме експедицію.

До команди увійдуть науковці Національного антарктичного наукового центру МОН України, Українського наукового центру екології моря й Інституту геофізики НАНУ.

За даними Міносвіти, українська команда досліджуватиме запаси антарктичного криля, збиратиме дані про стан води в океані і відбиратиме зразки «екологічного ДНК», щоб визначити перелік всіх мешканців Антарктичного океану від мікроорганізмів до китів.

У Кейптауні (ПАР) дослідники сядуть на риболовецьке судно і вирушать до берегів Антарктиди. Вісім вчених працюватимуть на кораблі протягом місяця, а одна дослідниця залишиться на судні на весь період, доки вода Південного океану буде вільна від криги. Дослідження триватимуть щонайменше до травня.

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Miro Sorvino Urges #MeToo to Do More Than ‘Name and Shame’

Mira Sorvino believes the key to eradicating sexual misconduct lies more in preventative education than in “naming and shaming” the perpetrators.


The Oscar-winning actress was one of the first to come forward with allegations of abuse against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and her resilience has not wavered.


She wants to work with students — from younger grades to the end of high school — to make them understand consent and their physical rights.


“So we don’t raise boys — because it’s mostly boys who do this, some girls, but mostly boys — who turn into men who commit these heinous crimes,” Sorvino told the Associated Press during a recent interview while promoting her role on the new season of the Sony Crackle series, StartUp.”


Sorvino agrees that the culture has changed over the past year, but feels there’s a long way to go, especially when bad behavior is validated in entertainment.


“That was sort of taught to us by like ’80s movies culture like ‘Sixteen Candles’ or ‘Porky’s’ or ‘Animal House’ which made it OK to commit date rape and it was the women’s fault because she was drunk rather than, ‘That’s date rape. How could you possibly take advantage of somebody who can’t even speak?'” she said.


She added: “That’s not cool. That’s not fun. But that’s what my generation of guys were brought up on. I mean I was brought up watching those movies, so we’ve got to change the culture. It can’t just be punishment and naming and shaming, it’s got to be prevention because that’s what we really want. We want no one victimized,” Sorvino said.


Sorvino has found some solace as a prominent voice in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Advancements by these organizations have become a rallying cry for women victimized over the years by varying degrees of sexual misconduct. On Dec. 1, she will join the Mika Brzezinski-led line-up for the “Know Your Value” event in San Francisco, which is designed to support and empower women.


She’s kept acting, too. In “StartUp,” Sorvino plays a quirky NSA agent with a deadly side that tries to take down a dark-web site to find a terror cell. The series raises questions about online privacy and the government. It’s currently streaming on Sony Crackle.


She also has helped lobby for legislation in California that provides protections and opportunities for women and girls. Three of the bills presented under the proposed #TakeTheLead legislation have been enacted into law after being singed by California Gov. Jerry Brown.


And she has bigger plans in mind, namely a change to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing equal rights for women.


“This year coming up I really want to see the Equal Rights Amendment passed. It’s nuts that we don’t have explicit equality in the constitution,” Sorvino said.

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Gates Links Up with Tokyo 2020 Olympics to Tackle Development Goals

U.S. billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates will launch an ‘Our Global Goals’ partnership with the Japan Sports Agency in an effort to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by publicizing them through the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and the world’s second-richest person, has devoted much of his time in recent years to his family foundation, which aims to help reach the SDG objectives, including ending extreme poverty and combating climate change by 2030.

At an event in Tokyo on Friday, Gates said he was linking up with an Olympic Games for the first time to use it as a way to increase awareness of the SDGs and also urged Japan to become a world leader in aid and development.

The initiative has become an official Tokyo 2020 Olympics program.

“Countries like Japan will need to continue to invest generously, actually even more generously than they currently are,” the 63-year-old Gates said.

“Today, Japan spends around 3-5 percent of its aid budget on global health, so there is an opportunity to do even more.

“The sports community in Japan is fast approaching an exciting moment, as the eyes of the world will be on Tokyo as the Olympics get nearer,” he said.

“I am excited that you are using this opportunity to raise awareness and be ambassadors for a better world.”

Gates, who was joined on stage by Tokyo 2020 President and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, did not release many details on Friday but plans to launch the program in 2019 as the buildup to the Games intensified.

“The opportunity for Japan is, even in a time when many countries are turning inward, to continue to say that we need to help those that are not doing as well,” said Gates.

“Continuing to commit to the Global Fund, continuing to commit to increase what they are doing with vaccines and polio is also part of that.

“The whole world loves sports and we have to be creative in how we take those amazing achievements and use that to remind people that there are some who are facing big challenges.”

Gates said in April he would invest $1 billion through 2023 to fund research and development efforts in combating malaria.

According to the World Health Organization, there were 216 million cases of malaria worldwide, causing 445,000 deaths in 2016, the most recent year with available data.

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