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Canada: Vancouver Police to Use Facial-Recognition Technology in Riot Investigation

The hundreds that broke windows and burned cars following Vancouver's game 7 Cup loss to Boston might want to take a cue from the handful that have already turned themselves in.

Vancouver police are combing through more than one million photos from the infamous riot, as well as thousands of hours of raw footage, using facial-recognition technology to aid in the investigation.

"Subject to receipt of a court order, the (Crown) corporation's facial-recognition technology will be able to support the identification of suspects," states a news report from Christy Clark's office in a Straight.com story.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. has been using the technology since 2009, identifying those involved in theft or fraud by cross-referencing results with provincial driver licences.

By analyzing fixed facial characteristics such as the size/location of cheekbones and the distance between eyes, facial-recognition technology is able to extract the finite details of a person's face. Investigators then cross-reference the results with a database of photos, which can include drivers licences, health cards, passports, etc.

Better Earth

US: Library of Congress to Get Rare 120 Year Old Map of Flat Earth

© The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
An Oregon man has given the Library of Congress a rare and unusual gift: a 120-year-old map supporting the theory that the Earth is flat.

Don Homuth, of Salem, Ore., says the map was given to him by his eighth-grade teacher. It was created by Orlando Ferguson of Hot Springs, S.D.

Homuth used to live in Fargo and was a North Dakota state senator.

Library of Congress spokesman Robert Morris told The Forum newspaper that officials checked more than 75 maps before confirming the design was one-of-a-kind.

He says the only other known copy of the map is in the Pioneer.

Source: The Associated Press

Cell Phone

US: Silence Used to be Golden at Movies, but Talking and Texting are Now the Norm

© The Associated Press / Damian Dovarganes
In this June 15, 2011 photo, moviegoers Luis Garcia, 37, left, and Elias Sanchez 26, watch movie trailers on Flixster on their iPad and iPhone, before buying their tickets at the ArcLight Hollywood cinema in Los Angeles. Theater owners have tried a variety of methods to get folks to keep quiet and stay off their phones during shows, from playing amusing messages beforehand to having ushers sweep through the auditorium during the show, said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners.
It seems like such a quaint notion: Folks would go to the movie theatre, buy their tickets at the box office, then sit down, shut up and pay attention for two hours to what was on the screen.

Now, the piercing glow of cellphones lights up the darkness like so many pesky fireflies, and people talk to each other in a packed auditorium as if they were sitting in the privacy of their own living rooms.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, did something about this trend by kicking out a patron who refused to adhere to the theatre's rule against talking or texting, then turned the ranting, profane voice message she left into a hilarious public service announcement. It's gotten over 1.75 million hits on YouTube in just a couple of weeks.

But what happened to our attention spans? Why must we talk, text and tweet in the middle of a movie? And what - if anything - can theatres do to stop this erosion of cinema civility?

Matt Atchity, editor-in-chief of the Rotten Tomatoes film review website, crafted "10 Commandments for Movie Audiences" including "Thou shalt not text." But the ubiquity of cellphones makes these sensible suggestions hard to enforce.


US: Family Says Woman Died Protecting Toddler from Cow

© Allan Baxter/Getty
60-year-old Jean Fee was fatally trampled by a cow (not pictured) that may have been defensive around its calves.
A rural Urbana woman died after a cow attacked her while she was feeding her animals, leaving people baffled.

"It's pretty unusual for a cow to become aggressive," said Terry Engelken, an associate professor at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "We have a few instances of (cow attacks) across the country every year - but it's uncommon. For it to result in a fatality is very uncommon."

Jean Fee, 60, died Saturday after being attacked on the family farm in rural Benton County, the sheriff's office said. She was with her 1-year-old grandson when the attack happened at about 3 p.m.

Her son Matt Fee said his parents and nephew often would go out to pasture to feed the cows ears of corn.

Jean Fee, her husband and her grandson were on such an outing Saturday afternoon. "My dad went back to the house to get my nephew a drink. The last thing he saw was my mom holding" the boy, Matt Fee said.

Matt Fee said that his dad heard screaming, came out to the pasture and saw his wife lying on the ground and the child standing beside her.


Internet Minders OK Vast Expansion Of Domain Names

Keynote Address by BC
© Associated Press
FILE - In this March 16, 2010 file photo, former President Bill Clinton gives the keynote address at the "25 Years of Dot Com Policy Impact Forum" in Washington. Internet minders voted Monday, June 20, 2011 to allow virtually unlimited new domain names based on themes as varied as company brands, entertainment and political causes, in the system's biggest shake-up since it started 26 years ago. Groups able to pay the $185,000 application can petition next year for new updates to ".com" and ".net" with suffixes using nearly any word in any language, including in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided at a meeting in Singapore.

Internet minders voted Monday to allow virtually unlimited new domain names based on themes as varied as company brands, entertainment and political causes, in the system's biggest shake-up since it started 26 years ago.

Groups able to pay the $185,000 application can petition next year for new updates to ".com" and ".net" with website suffixes using nearly any word in any language, including in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided at a meeting in Singapore.

"This is the start of a whole new phase for the Internet," said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN's board of directors. "Unless there is a good reason to restrain it, innovation should be allowed to run free."

ICANN's decision culminates six years of negotiations and is the biggest change to the system since ".com" made its debut in 1984. The expansion plan had been delayed largely because of concerns that new suffixes could infringe on trademarks and copyrights.


Canada:1918 mass murder mystery still puzzles Albertans

© Bruce Edwards, edmontonjournal.com
These red and orange trees in the Grande Prairie area, shown in July 2007.
Amateur historian Wallace Tansem spent a decade looking into the biggest unsolved mass murder in Alberta history, a case his father and uncles had talked about for years.

As Tansem learned more about the killings near Grande Prairie, Alta., in June 1918, he was haunted by one thought, the same question another man had asked an undercover police officer more than 70 years earlier.

"How is it that six men are killed and no one knows anything about it?"

It was first assumed to be a murder-suicide. The bodies of Joseph Snyder and his nephew, Stanley, were found in the remains of their burnt-out shack near Grande Prairie. Both had been shot, likely with the .38 revolver found near the bodies. The Snyders were quiet and had always seemed to get along well, but 1918 had been a hard year, and killings were not unheard of.

Six days later, people noticed a bad smell emanating from the farm down the road.


Family seeks truth over mysterious death of British businessman in Ukraine

Police have reopened the inquiry into the death of a wealthy British businessman who is feared to have been executed by a contract killer.

Barry Pring, 47, was decapitated by a speeding car as he waited for a taxi in Ukraine in 2008.

Barry Pring
© Unknown
His ex-stripper wife, Ganna Zuizina, 29 - who had left the scene moments before the tragedy - is fighting for a share of his estate, estimated to be worth £1.5million.

Barry's family believe he was murdered and have spent £100,000 on legal fees to try to get to the bottom of the case and to stop his internet bride inheriting his cash until the mystery is solved.


France transfers sensitive warship technology to Russia

© AFP/ Eric Feferberg
French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ship
France has transferred to Russia all the technology it asked for under a $1.7-billion deal for two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy, a Russian arms exporter said on Monday.

Under the deal signed on Friday, the first warship will be delivered in 2014 and the second in 2015.

"The French side has transferred all technologies, including the Zenit-9 [command and control] system, as well as two other systems," said Anatoly Isaikin, head of the Rosoboronexport state-controlled arms exporter.

A formal contract for the construction of the two Mistral class ships will be signed separately at a later date, he said, adding it could take up to three months to compile.

Cloud Lightning

US: Around Tornado Deaths, a Nagging Tale of Shelter Denied

© Rob Culpepper for The New York Times
The site of the house where Annette Singleton, her son and two other boys took shelter on April 27. Her son says they were turned away from a church.
It was discussed openly and in whispers, over the phone and in the church pews. When it was brought up at school, the curious were quickly shushed. Eventually, the whole thing got pushed aside by other concerns, a bit of nastiness better forgotten, or judged never to have occurred at all.

But Madison Phillips says it is true. He says that he and his mother, Annette Singleton, both black, were turned away from a church shelter by a white woman on the afternoon of April 27, the day of the tornadoes. And within hours, Ms. Singleton and two of Madison's young friends, who had been huddling with him in his house within yards of that church, were dead.

Light Sabers

Russia: Woman passes unnoticed through Domodedovo Airport security

Moscow transportation authorities are investigating an incident at Russia's busiest Domodedovo Airport, in which a woman managed to pass unnoticed through security and document controls and board a plane.

The incident took place last Friday, the Moscow transport prosecutor's office said in a statement on Monday. The woman was reported to have boarded the plane bound to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe without undergoing any security procedures.