Facebook fined almost $1 million by British authorities over Cambridge Analytica data sharing

Facebook has been fined almost a million dollars by the British Information Commissioner for misusing users' data.

The Commissioner investigated how the details of 87 million users ended up in the hands of the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

The Commissioner said the company hadn't been honest to the public about how data was being harvested.

The two fines were passed down for breaches of England's Data Protection Act.

In the first quarter of 2018, Facebook made about NZ$970,000 in revenue ever five and a half minutes.

Source: 1 NEWS



US surgeon accused of removing wrong organ and not telling patient

An American surgeon denies he breached the standard of care when he removed an Iowa woman's healthy kidney instead of her adrenal gland.

Dr Scott Baker and The Surgical Institute of South Dakota responded to a lawsuit filed by Dena Knapp last month alleging professional negligence, the Argus Leader reports. The response acknowledges Dr Baker removed Ms Knapp's right kidney instead of an adrenal gland and an associated mass during her October 2016 surgery.

Knapp says she wasn't told about the mix-up until after she was released from the hospital. She developed stage-three kidney disease after the surgery.

Dr Baker and the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, hospital deny breaching the standard of care by removing the kidney, failing to remove the adrenal gland and failing to admit the mistake. They also deny that Ms Knapp suffered damages.


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Aussie scientists make genetic breakthrough in battle to eradicate cane toads

Australia's self-inflicted cane toad invasion may soon be over after scientists cracked the deadly amphibian's DNA code.

International scientists working with UNSW Sydney, the University of Sydney and Deakin University have unlocked more than 90 per cent of the invasive amphibian's genome.

The poisonous toads have wreaked havoc on northern quolls, freshwater crocodiles and several species of native lizards and snakes since their introduction in Queensland in 1935 to help control cane beetles.

Millions of toads now occupy more than 1.2 million square kilometres of Australia following a seemingly unstoppable march across the top end.

Virologist Professor Peter White says despite the pesky cane toad's iconic status there were major gaps in the scientific community's understanding of its genetics.

"But we've now got the blueprint as well as the plans to the factory," he told AAP.

Already Mr White's team has used the toad's genetics to find three new viruses that with further work may become biocontrols to stem the toad's march across the country.

"We're now going to see how prevalent they are in the population, going all the way back to South America, and then we'll see how pathogenic they are," he said.

"Hopefully, they're very pathogenic, and then we can begin testing them."

Mr White said the team needed to be sure any biocontrol created won't affect native amphibians.

"We don't want to introduce anything that's going to kill frogs or newts, it has to be cane toad specific," he said.

Viruses have previously been successfully used to control the European rabbit population.

The findings were published in the academic journal GigaScience.

SYDNEY, NSW - AUGUST 09:  A Cane Toad is exhibited at Taronga Zoo August 9, 2005 in Sydney, Australia. The Cane Toad, which is poisonous, is reportedly being blamed for the deaths of a number of Australia's most dangerous predator, the Salt Water Crocodile. A three-metre long crocodile was found dead by a local crocodile tour operator last week in the Adelaide River, with the tourism operator suspecting the reptile had been poisoned after eating a toad. The director of Wildlife Management International, Graeme Webb, says he suspects that up to "20 to 30 per cent" of fresh water crocodiles will be lost to cane toads in this way.    (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
Cane toad Source: Getty

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Malaysia urged to ban child marriages as man, 41, weds 15-year-old

Malaysia's government has come under renewed pressure to outlaw child marriages after another case of a child bride surfaced in a poor rural state, the second in weeks.

A 15-year-old teenager became the second wife of a 44-year-old Muslim man in northeast Kelantan state, the New Straits Times newspaper reported. It said the union was approved by the Islamic Shariah court in July after her parents consented due to poverty.

The latest case occurred in the same month when a Kelantan rubber trader married an 11-year-old girl as his third wife, but only became public this week.

Muslim girls under the minimum legal marriage age of 16 can wed with the consent of the Shariah court and their parents. Muslim men can marry up to four wives.

The case has sparked renewed outrage among rights groups. UNICEF in a statement slammed the latest child marriage as "unacceptable" and urged Malaysia to bring legislative change to ban the practice.

"A new legislation on child marriage should be accompanied by other measures, including compulsory access to secondary education, sexual reproductive health education and poverty reduction," said UNICEF representative to Malaysia, Marianne Clark-Hattingh.

The New Straits Times cited the girl's parents as saying that they wanted a better life for theirs daughter, a school dropout and the youngest of 13 children.

Similarly, the 11-year-old Thai girl, who lives in Kelantan with her parents, was also a school dropout from a poor family. A 41-year-old rubber scrap dealer, who has two wives and six children aged between ages of 5 and 18, secretly wed the girl in Thailand. The union became public after one of his wives lodged a complaint with police.

The man was later fined by the Shariah court for marrying without its permission but wasn't charged for underage marriage. He told local media he would formalise the marriage by applying for an official certificate in five years when his latest wife turns 16. The girl has reportedly been sent back to Thailand where she is placed under welfare care.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has said the government is investigating the latest case but that its hands are tied as the marriage was approved by the Shariah court. She said the government is seeking to raise the minimum legal age of marriage for Muslim girls to 18, same as under civil laws.

Malaysia follows a dual-track justice system. Nearly two-thirds of Malaysia's 31 million people are Muslims, who are governed by Islamic courts in family, marriage and personal issues.

Rights group Lawyers for Liberty urged police to probe the man in the latest case for "sexual grooming" as he reportedly knew the girl for several months before marriage. It warned that "pedophiles are now clearly using marriage as a shield to prevent prosecution for rape or sexual grooming" following the government's failure to act.

"This puts the children of this country, particularly Muslim children, in constant danger from perverts and pedophiles," executive director Latheefa Koya said in a statement.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia said it was concerned that parents can now legally resort to "selling" their children under the guise of marriage.

"It now appears that poverty can also be a reason accepted by the Shariah court to approve an application for marriage of an underage child, which in turn seems to treat children as mere commodities," said Chairman Razali Ismail. He called for social protection for children in poverty and echoed calls for the government to outlaw child marriages.

Government officials have said some 15,000 child marriages have been recorded in the past 10 years, two-thirds of which involve Muslims.

Malay wedding ceremony, Malaysia. Groom putting a diamond ring to his bride’s finger
(File picture). Source: istock.com


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Trump visits North Carolina as governor pleads for patience

The death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at least 37, including two mental health patients who drowned when a sheriff's van was swept away by floodwaters, and North Carolina's governor pleaded with thousands of evacuees not to return home just yet.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, arrived in storm-ravaged North Carolina on Wednesday.

Wilmington, population 120,000, was still mostly an island surrounded by floodwaters, and people waited for hours Tuesday for handouts of food, water and tarps. Thousands of others around the state waited in shelters for the all-clear.

"I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to," Gov. Roy Cooper said.

After submerging North Carolina with nearly 3 feet (1 meter) of rain, the storm dumped more than 6.5 inches (16.5 centimeters) of rain in the Northeast, where it caused flash flooding.

Cooper warned that the flooding is far from over and will get worse in places.

"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end," he said.

Addressing roughly 10,000 people who remain in shelters and "countless more" staying elsewhere, Cooper urged them to stay put for now, particularly those from the hardest-hit coastal counties that include Wilmington, near where Florence blew ashore on Friday.

Roads remain treacherous, he said, and some are still being closed for the first time as rivers swelled by torrential rains inland drain toward the Atlantic.

At least 27 of the deaths happened in North Carolina.

In South Carolina, two women died on Tuesday evening after a van taking the mental health patients from one facility to another was overtaken by rising floodwaters near the Little Pee Dee River, authorities said.

The risk of environmental damage mounted, as human and animal waste was washed into the swirling floodwaters.

More than 5 million gallons (18 million liters) of partially treated sewage spilled into the Cape Fear River after power went out at a treatment plant, officials said, and the earthen dam of a pond holding hog waste was breached, spilling its contents. The flooding killed an estimated 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs on farms.

In Wilmington on Tuesday, workers began handing out supplies using a system resembling a giant fast-food drive-thru: Drivers pulled up to a line of pallets, placed an order and left without having to get out. A woman blew a whistle each time drivers had to pull forward.

Todd Tremain needed tarps to cover up spots where Florence's winds ripped shingles off his roof. Others got a case of bottled water or military MREs, or field rations. An olive-drab military forklift moved around huge pallets loaded with supplies.

Brandon Echavarrieta struggled to stay composed as he described life post-Florence: no power for days, rotted meat in the freezer, no water or food and just one bath in a week.

"It's been pretty bad," said Echavarrieta, 34, his voice breaking.

About 3,500 vehicles came through for supplies on the first day they were available, county officials said in a Facebook post.

Supplies have been brought into the city by big military trucks and helicopters,

At Fayetteville, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) inland, near the Army's sprawling Fort Bragg, flooding from Cape Fear River got so bad that authorities closed a vehicle bridge after the water began touching girders supporting the span's top deck.

Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said it was unclear if the bridge was threatened.

"We've never had it at those levels before, so we don't really know what the impact will be just yet," he said.

Flood waters from hurricane Florence inundate the town of Engelhard, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Waters inundate a town in North Carolina. Source: Associated Press


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