Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Privacy fears raised as researchers reveal file on iPhone that stores location coordinates and timestamps of owner's movements

Security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronised.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program.

For some phones, there could be almost a year's worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple's iOS 4 update to the phone's operating system, released in June 2010.

"Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – a jealous spouse, a private detective – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you've been," said Pete Warden, one of the researchers.

The United States plans to supply Libyan rebels with $25 million in urgent non-lethal aid, bolstering a European effort to help the beleaguered forces battling the army of entrenched leader Moammar Gaddafi.

The U.S. assistance, most of it from Pentagon stocks, represents the first direct American aid to the rebels and comes amid a debate over whether and how to help the Libyan opposition as it struggles to hold ground despite a NATO air campaign against Gaddafi’s forces.

President Obama has informed Congress that he intends to use his “drawdown authority” to provide the $25 million in surplus goods to help protect civilians in rebel-held areas, the Associated Press reported. The list of items is still being revised but includes medical supplies, uniforms, boots, tents, personal protective gear, radios and Halal meals, AP said.

The aid effort came as France pledged to intensify airstrikes against Gaddafi’s forces and Italy joined the French and British in announcing plans to help organize the rebel fighters.

The decisions, announced in Paris and Rome, marked another step toward deeper European involvement in the Libyan uprising as NATO and its allies struggle to break the stalemate there without directly joining the fight on the ground.

On the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, lawmakers are still debating whether to change a law that caps liabilities for oil and gas companies that cause spills at $75 million.

The inability of Congress to resolve this issue reveals a weakness in U.S. spill policies and exposes taxpayers to situations where they could be on the hook for spill-related expenses.

But Capitol Hill lawmakers are divided on the issue. Some Democrats, like Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey want to remove the cap altogether. Gulf Coast lawmakers, such as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.), are looking for more modest changes and say unlimited liability will squeeze small and midsize oil producers out of business.

Efforts to change the liability caps, established under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, became a top priority for Congress last year after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and released millions of barrel of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But lawmakers have since turned their attention to other issues and their ability to change the liability cap this year is uncertain.

"It essentially means that we have refused to learn the lessons of the nation's worst ecological disaster and we're leaving victims of oil disasters unprotected in future spills," said Regan Nelson, a senior oceans advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Current law requires oil and gas companies to pay for oil-spill cleanups, but it places a $75 million cap on liability for economic damages. These are the damages related to compensating oil-spill victims, such as restaurant or hotel owners whose businesses suffer as a result of a spill.

In the wake of the oil spill, BP PLC said it would voluntarily pay for economic damages beyond $75 million and set up a $20 billion fund for that purpose. The organization that oversees the fund, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, has so far approved about $4 billion in claims.

With nine days left until the royal wedding day, tons of exciting tidbits are pouring forth from Buckingham Palace to London's Kings Road.

For starters. Queen Elizabeth II hosted a private luncheon Wednesday to introduce herself to Prince William's future in-laws, Michael and Carole Middleton.

At storied Windsor Castle in south England's Berkshire County, the queen surrounded Kate Middleton's mom and dad with a "warm atmosphere," bringing along her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Middletons reside in the same county, albeit in more modest accommodations.

While the merging families took time to get to know one other, Kate hit a London boutique to gather some items suitable for her royal honeymoon.

At middle-of-the-road women's chain Warehouse, the bride-to-be and a girlfriend caused major excitement while doing a quick browse Tuesday, scoring three summer dresses and a blouse, People said.
Kate Middleton's parents, Michael and Carole Middleton "It was very exciting, and everyone said how lovely and down-to-earth she was," said a rep for the store.

Wills will presumably see Kate's purchases soon enough, but not before some last-minute male bonding. Reports this week confirmed the future king will spend his last night of bachelorhood with his father, Prince Charles, at St. James Palace.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The names Trump and Palin have been the two most talked about people in politics in recent weeks. The duo pulled no punches in separate Tea Party speeches over the weekend, as they harshly criticized the President Barack Obama's handling of both foreign and domestic issues alike.

And in a moment I will be joined live by Governor Sarah Palin. But first, earlier today, Donald Trump appeared on "Good Morning America" and once again, raised questions about President Obama's birth certificate.

Let's take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: There's a real question about the birth certificate. There's a real question about the -- his own citizenship.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: There is -- there is no question. He's got a certificate of live birth that is recognized by the State Department.

TRUMP: George, George, I know exactly what you're getting at.


TRUMP: But for some reason -- no, they're not the facts. He doesn't have a birth certificate or he hasn't provided. He's given a certificate of live birth. It's a much different instrument.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A certificate of live birth meets the standard in the State Department for anyone's citizenship.

TRUMP: George--

STEPHANOPOULOS: There were contemporaneous reports in two Hawaiian newspapers.

TRUMP: George, they have co-opted you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Given the --- no, those are the facts sir.

TRUMP: George, they've co-opted you.


TRUMP: It's not- --obviously, Obama and his minions.


HANNITY: Now, Mr. Trump also appeared on the "Today Show" this morning and had some kind words about my next guest. Let's take a look.


TRUMP: I really respect her a lot. She's got a tremendous energy and a tremendous following. I think that she has been very unfairly treated.


Muammar al-Qaddafi's troops clashed with opposition forces Wednesday in this besieged coastal city and shelled a mountain town, rebels said, as the Libyan leader sought to quell resistance in the western part of the country that is largely under his control.

France and Italy promised more support for Libya's opposition, saying they would join Britain in sending military advisers to help the rebels break a battlefield stalemate. A rebel spokesman welcomed the advisers as a big help.

France also said it would intensify airstrikes against Libyan military targets after a month of NATO airstrikes has failed to rout Qaddafi's forces.

Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi said sending military advisers would worsen the conflict. If NATO attacks stopped, Libya could hold discussions about elections, democracy and constitutional reform, he told the BBC. In comments to The Guardian daily, the minister was more explicit, saying Qaddafi could go as part of reforms.

Discussions on reform could include "whether the leader should stay and in what role, and whether he should retire ... Everything will be on the table," he was quoted as saying.

The U.N's top human rights official, meanwhile, said Libyan government forces may be committing war crimes by using heavy weapons against civilians in the besieged port city of Misrata. Navi Pillay said Qaddafi's troops should be aware that their actions will be scrutinized by the International Criminal Court.

The Department of Homeland Security will officially scrap the much-derided color-coded terror-alert system next week and replace it with a tailored, specific alert system designed to give the public better information about "credible" terror threats facing the U.S.

The color-coded system, which debuted in March 2002, "has faded in utility, except for late-night comics," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a conference call Wednesday. She had pledged earlier this year to replace the old system, which came under fire shortly after its inception for its lack of precision and detailed information.

The new program, called the National Terrorism Advisory System, will go live April 26. Intelligence analysts from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other government agencies will decide when to recommend a specific alert.

If she concurs, Ms. Napolitano will then make a public announcement, followed by detailed information on the Homeland Security website and alerts disseminated through social-media sites.

Classified bulletins to local law-enforcement agencies will continue under the new system.

The fundamental difference with the old color codes is the explicit recognition that the U.S. faces a constant threat of terrorist activity, "an elevated baseline," Ms. Napolitano said.

When Emily Fennell walks into a store or the hair salon, people often ask, "What happened to your hand?" She gets a kick out of their reaction when she casually replies, "I had a hand transplant."

"They say, 'Can they really do that?' " she said, glancing down at the soft brace that covers her right forearm and wrist, slender fingers and neatly trimmed fingernails peeking from the bottom.
Singer also calls songwriting '15 minutes of vomiting'

Lady Gaga has called the gradual leaks of her new single 'Judas' a "slow death".

The track was rush-released last Friday (April 15) after it leaked.

Speaking in her new edition of 'Gagavision', one of her regular webisodes filmed before the track was rush-released, this week's NME cover star said: "'Judas' is leaking, it's like a slow death. They [the leaks] were tearing at the song, first it was the arm and then it was the liver."

Gaga also opened up about songwriting, describing the way she writes songs as "15 minutes of vomiting."

She said: "The creative process is 15 minutes of vomiting and then days, weeks, months, years of fine tuning."

She also added that you "must honour your vomit."

Pick up the new issue of NME to read our Lady Gaga interview. It's available to buy online and is on UK newsstands now.
Robert Pattison wasn't worried about his dramatic acting chops while making "Water for Elephants," but he is now.

The 24-year-old actor and "Twilight" heartthrob trades his pale skin and vampire fangs for a role as a veterinarian on a 1930s circus train in "Elephants," based on the 2006 bestselling novel, in theatres Friday.

Pattinson plays Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary student forced to fend for himself after his parents are killed in a car accident. He hops a train and begins his life in a travelling circus. He quickly sets his sights on the star of the Benzini Bros. show, played by Reese Witherspoon, but lives under constant watch of her husband, an ambitious and often cruel circus owner and ringmaster played by Christoph Waltz.

"There are about 15 Oscar winners at every level of the production," Pattinson says. "I had such an incredible time making it. I would love it if you could make movies and they were never released. That would be so cool. That would be the best job in the world. I'm only nervous now."

The soft-spoken British star became an instant international sensation when he was cast as romantic vampire Edward Cullen in "Twilight." He was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" and one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. "Water for Elephants" is the biggest production Pattinson has appeared in post-"Twilight."

"The only thing you can do is try and work with the best people," he says.

His two Oscar-winning costars have already given his latest performance a thumbs-up.

Witherspoon calls him "the heart of this movie."

Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen went before a Los Angeles judge Tuesday seeking custody of his twin sons with estranged wife Brooke Mueller, who also attended the closed hearing.

No resolution was immediately announced. Sheen left the courthouse flanked by security and was on his way to catch a plane to Washington, DC, for a performance of his stage show. Mueller emerged from court smiling and hugged her attorney but declined to comment. Attorneys for both sides also refused to divulge details of the hearing.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hank Goldberg sealed the hearing at the request of her attorney, saying it was "in the best interest of the children" because of "questions of abuse and other inflammatory and emotional issues."

Sheen arrived in court wearing a black suit, glasses and an orange tie. As the public filed out of the courtroom, Sheen gave a fist bump to a reporter in the audience. One of his girlfriends, whom he describes as goddesses, accompanied him to court and sat on a bench outside the courtroom.

The actor and his estranged wife have sparred in recent months, with Mueller accusing Sheen of threatening her with a pen knife.

India has opposed the proposal of western countries to expand the list of sanctioned Libyan entities by the United Nations Security Council following concerns that such a move may adversely affect its economic interests in the troubled North African nation.

Since February, Libya has been torn apart by a civil war between rebels in the western region and security forces of the long-reigning Muammar Gadaffi.

On Feb 26, the UNSC had first imposed travel bans against 16 individuals and ordered the freezing of assets of Muammar Gaddafi, four of his sons and daughter. About a month later, another UNSC resolution was passed, listing more individuals and for the first time also bringing in five entities.

In the first week of April, the western countries, which include Britain, France, Germany and the United States, circulated two different lists for expanding the group under sanctions. The proposals were made before the UNSC's Libya sanctions committee, of which India is the vice-chair.

"We have put it on technical hold, while we examine how it will affect us," a senior official of the external affairs ministry told IANS. The expansion is also being opposed by Russia and China, both of whom are also executing several projects in Libya.

While Libya's National Oil Corporation had already been sanctioned in the March 17 resolution, the new list would have named more Libyan state companies, most of them subsidiaries of Libya's National Oil Corporation.

According to officials, India is especially concerned that the asset freeze will affect the payment of contracts and salaries for Indians who had been working in that country.

"We had 18,000 Indians working in Libya. How will they be paid? It has to be made clear. There should not be any retrospective freezing of assets," he said.

Apple's iPhone is selling well but, as with any good business, it comes with a headache.

With SK Telecom now the second vendor of the iPhone, that headache, at least from the standpoint of consumers, is easing.

They are the winners.

"Customers are gaining a greater edge irrespective of whether or not to change and renew their contracts with SK Telecom and KT are selling the same products. After-sales policy might be the top concern," said a senior SK executive, asking not to be identified.

"Carriers used to have all the bargaining power. For them, consumers were out of focus. But Apple has changed everything. Carriers are uneasy but they have no option but to spend more for customer satisfaction," added the executive.

South Korea, dominated by Samsung and LG Electronics, has been regarded as a tomb for foreign handset makers as they found difficulties in spending a lot on marketing and strengthening after-sales policies for just the Korean market.

"That's the story of the so-called 'feature phone period.' Amid the smartphone era, more people are ready to endure poor after-sales services if the product is better," said a senior KT executive on the condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media.

SK Telecom and KT are feeling the pinch because the word "customer" is still the most critical factor and should not be underestimated considering carriers' heavy dependence on them for profitability.

"Samsung's Galaxy-branded smartphones still have a long way to go. We need to put more focus on consumers using our new iPhones for the time being," said another SK executive, without elaborating further.

Significant changes

KT, which had been reluctant to improve after-sales services for the iPhone despite numerous complaints, has recently begun its "iPhone care center" in downtown Seoul.

By the end of May KT will expand the number of centers by 10, it said in a release.

A company spokeswoman Kim Yoon-jeong said the center provides face-to-face consultation with an engineer to fix technical flaws.

British military advisers will follow American CIA teams already deployed in Libya as part of the broad Western effort – beyond any UN mandate – to help rebel forces oust the despotic and ruthless Moammar Gadhafi.

Mission creep is denied, nonetheless. “This deployment is fully within the terms of UN [Security Council Resolution] 1973, both in respect of civilian protection and its provision expressly ruling out a foreign occupation force on Libyan soil,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said. “Our officers will not be involved in training or arming the opposition’s fighting forces.”

The British advisers will take handguns but leave their uniforms at home to preserve the appearance that foreign forces are not deploying to Libya. “We will now move quickly to expand the team already in Benghazi to include an additional military liaison advisory team,” Mr. Hague said.

France, the most aggressive of the allies in pushing for robust military strikes to topple Col. Gadhafi, also has military advisers in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. However, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé rejected calls for special forces to help target air strikes. “I remain, for my part, entirely hostile to the deployment of forces on the ground,” he said.

Accusations of “mission creep” are steadfastly rejected, even as senior allied officers charged with running the war acknowledge that air strikes alone won’t save the tens of thousands in besieged Misrata from Gadhafi loyalists indiscriminately engaging in brutal urban warfare.

Although the court session was closed to the media, reports are that Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller's toddler twins will stay with their mother and her family, as agreed on in a March 10 settlement.

Former "Two and a Half Men" star Sheen went before a Los Angeles judge Tuesday seeking custody of the boys. Mueller also attended, and emerged from court smiling and hugging her attorney. Although nothing official was announced to the media, reports that the couple's custody arrangment will not be changed.

Sheen left the courthouse flanked by security and was on his way to catch a plane to Washington, DC for a performance of his stage show, "My Violent Torpedo of Truth — Defeat is Not an Option."

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hank Goldberg sealed the hearing at the request of Mueller's attorney, saying it was "in the best interest of the children" because of "questions of abuse and other inflammatory and emotional issues."

Story: Mueller would 'never let' Richards raise her kids

Sheen arrived in court wearing a black suit, glasses and an orange tie. As the public filed out of the courtroom, Sheen gave a fist bump to a reporter in the audience. One of his girlfriends, whom he describes as goddesses, accompanied him to court and sat on a bench outside the courtroom.

The actor and his estranged wife have sparred in recent months, with Mueller accusing Sheen of threatening her with a pen knife. Recent reports have claimed Mueller has re-entered rehab for addiction issues.

Ray Allen (FSY) jumped straight up with his eyes on the basket and the game on the line for the Boston Celtics.


Then Carmelo Anthony (FSY) had one last chance to win it for the New York Knicks.


Allen hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 12 seconds left off a pass from Paul Pierce (FSY) and Anthony misfired on his long try at the other end, giving the Celtics an 87-85 comeback victory over the Knicks in their playoff opener on Sunday night.

"Ray's the hero with the shot," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Paul's the hero with the pass. That's a great example of not playing hero basketball, just trusting what we drew up. And he made the shot."

Allen led the Celtics with 24 points and Pierce added 18 to go along with solid defense on Anthony. Kevin Garnett (FSY) had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and clamped down on Amar'e Stoudemire (FSY) down the stretch.

BOX SCORE: Celtics 87, Knicks 85
SCHEDULE: First-round matchups, dates, times
PHOTO GALLERY: Top images from the NBA playoffs
NBA BONUS: Wade misses practice with migraine issues

Stoudemire had 28 points and 11 rebounds for New York, and Anthony finished with 15.

"It's all about our defense and execution down the stretch," Pierce said. "We can't rest on this victory because by no means was this our best basketball."

New York may have lost more than a game. Point guard Chauncey Billups (FSY) left with 51 seconds remaining, and doctors told him the injury was a strained left knee or thigh muscle.

Heavy fighting raged Tuesday in the western Libyan city of Misrata, witnesses said, while a NATO commander complained the alliance was having trouble destroying Moammar Gadhafi's mortars and rockets attacking rebels there and Britain said it would send senior military officers to advise the opposition in the east.

A senior Libyan official, meanwhile, ruled out the possibility of allowing foreign troops to escort humanitarian aid convoys in Libya, saying the government would view such a deployment as a military mission.

Explosions and gunfire were heard in central Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, with clashes between government troops and rebels, said a resident who identified himself only by his given name, Abdel Salam, for fear of retaliation. The city has been besieged by government forces for more than a month.

NATO planes flew over Misrata while the shelling from Gadhafi forces continued, he said, adding that the only targets the alliance hit were radars and air defences north of the city on Monday night.

NATO Brig. Gen. Mark van Uhm said fighting has been intense in Misrata for the past 10 days, and he said his forces have destroyed more than 40 tanks and several armoured personnel carriers there.

"The situation on the ground is fluid there, with ground being won and lost by both sides," van Uhm said at NATO headquarters in Brussels, adding: "Gadhafi's forces have shelled Misrata indiscriminately."

But he cautioned that "there is a limit to what can be achieved by airpower to stop fighting in a city."

"We are doing everything to prevent civilian casualties by our own attacks (while) degrading (Gadhafi's) ability to sustain forces there," he said.

Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola, the chairman of the alliance's military committee, said in Rome that even though NATO operations have done "quite significant damage" to the Libyan regime's heavy weaponry, what Gadhafi has left is "still considerable."

Asked if more NATO air power and bombing are needed, Di Paola said any "significantly additional" allied contribution would be welcome.

Given NATO's humanitarian mandate reflecting the U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya, which does not allow ground forces, "it's very difficult" to stop the regime's firepower on Misrata, he said.

A growing wildfire racing through parched fields and woods west of Fort Worth isn't likely to make it far enough to threaten the heavily populated metropolitan area, a state forestry official said Tuesday.

The fire started Friday near Possum Kingdom Lake, 70 miles west of Fort Worth, and linked up with several smaller blazes. By Tuesday, it had burned nearly 150,000 acres, destroyed 30 homes and a church and forced hundreds of residents to flee the area, Texas Forest Service spokesman Marq Webb said.

Webb said crews would be able to use firefighting tactics to keep the blaze from Fort Worth, one of Texas' largest cities with nearly 750,000 residents.

"It's still a long way out there. God help us if it goes that far," Webb told The Associated Press. "Stranger things have happened, but we're not even thinking that at this point."

But the statewide drought, hot temperatures and gusting winds have made for ideal conditions that have allowed wildfires to ignite and spread quickly across much of the state. Wildfires have burned more than 1 million acres in Texas in the past week alone, including several massive blazes in West Texas that firefighters continued battling Tuesday.

Authorities ordered the 400 residents of Palo Pinto, about 50 miles west of Fort Worth, to leave the city on Tuesday evening because of the advancing flames, said Trooper Gary Rozzell of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The county's jail inmates also were evacuated.

But in other towns between the fire and Fort Worth, residents didn't seem worried that the blaze could reach them.

"We don't have the underbrush here, and there are many communities and other developed areas before the fire would get to Fort Worth or Dallas," said Jimmy Peters, who lives in Willow Park, about 30 miles west of Fort Worth.