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MPs urge Britain to step up IS fight

(escort) — Islamic Condition martial artists drive armoured automobiles through Raqqa Syria (30 June 2014)

The UKs role in eliminating Islamic Condition extremists is strikingly modest and really should be walked up MPs have stated

The Defence Choose Committee found the United kingdom had completed 6% of coalition air strikes from the jihadist group and stated it had been surprised and deeply concerned it wasn’t doing more

However it stressed it wasn’t towards implementing combat forces to fight IS

The federal government stated military action only agreed to be a part of comprehensive action through the worldwide coalition

Within their committee report the MPs stated the nightmare of the jihadist condition in areas of Iraq and Syria have been realized within an extreme form

IS has had charge of a lot of areas and been behind functions of brutality such as the beheadings of British hostages

The report stated IS was the most important threat to worldwide security to possess emerged in the Middle East in decades

The MPs stated the United kingdom can and really should be playing a larger role in eliminating it adding that authorities ministers and officials have unsuccessful to create out a obvious military strategy

RAF jets started undertaking combat missions over Iraq in September after MPs had backed action against IS for the reason that country

However Parliament wasn’t requested to election on military missions against Is within Syria

The UKs military commitment includes eight Tornado jets a Reaper drone transport aircraft and HMS Dauntless an aura defence destroyer

On a trip to Iraq in December people from the committee discovered there have been only three United kingdom military personnel outdoors the Kurdish regions of the nation in comparison with 400 Aussies 280 Italians and 300 The spanish language

Additionally they found there have been no United kingdom personnel on the floor with deep knowledge of the tribes or politics of Iraq

Their report advised the United kingdom to do a serious independent assessment from the situation on the floor and supply more air support when Iraqi security forces and also the Kurdish Peshmerga martial artists are prepared for major offensives

Committee chairman Rory Stewart stated IS had led towards the displacement of millions destabilising and threatening neighbouring states and supplying safe place for an believed 20000 foreign martial artists many devoted for an worldwide terrorist campaign

The role the United kingdom is playing in combating it’s strikingly modest he added

Talking with BBC Radio 4s Today programme he stated: It will be a real pity if Britain lurched from engagement to isolation We have to discover a way like a global energy of playing an accountable role

He stated that will not have to involve combat troops but should use Britains understanding and deep knowledge of the politics from the region that they stated have been developed throughout the Iraq war

The committee stated diplomatic participation with Poultry Saudi Arabia and Iran ought to be considerably elevated adding there is considerable scope for special forces procedures within legal constraints

There is a substantial gap between your rhetoric of england and it is partners and a realistic look at the campaign on the floor it added

A government spokesperson stated ministers have been absolutely obvious around the objectives for Iraq coupled with set these in the Commons on numerous occasions

We’ve completed the 2nd greatest quantity of air strikes among coalition partners gifted weapons and trained Iraqi security forces such as the Peshmerga forces in cooking techniques are gifting an additional 1000 counter-IED sensors and therefore are delivering various proper and abilities training programme he stated

The excellent approach being taken through the worldwide coalition against Can also be incorporated dealing with its causes of money and foreign martial artists he added

The MPs report may come as a document published online by female supporters of IS describes the function for ladies inside the jihadist group

The paper converted into British by United kingdom think tank the Quilliam Foundation states it’s legitimate for women to become married at age nine which women ought to be educated from age seven to fifteen only

Women including an believed 50 from Britain are thought to take into account about 10% from the 1000’s of foreign recruits to participate IS

US returns ancient artefacts to Peru

The artefacts were looted from pre-Columbian graves and smuggled into the US


The US has returned about 20 ancient artefacts – some more than 1,800 years old – to Peru.

The objects include pottery and pieces looted from ancient Peruvian graves dating back from before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th Century.

They were found during four separate investigations over several years by US the customs service.

A spokesman said the objects belonged to the people of Peru, and were part of the country’s rich heritage.

Investigators say a middleman in Peru bought some of the pre-Columbian items from local farmers in Peru who robbed burial sites. They were then shipped by post to a smuggler in the US.

Since 2007 the US authorities have returned 7,150 items to 27 countries including France, China, Poland and Iraq.

Broken robots learn to keep going

The robot had to learn to adjust to having one of its six legs broken


Engineers have taken a step towards having machines that can operate when damaged by developing a robot that can teach itself to walk, even with a broken leg.

Using intelligent trial and error their six-legged robot learned how to walk again in less than 2 minutes.

“This new technique will enable more robust, effective, autonomous robots,” the engineers behind the robot said.

They said the aim was to mimic the behaviour of injured animals.

The trial-and-error methodology could have ramifications for robots used in the workplace and for military purposes. A robot that can keep attacking – no matter how damaged – brings to mind the relentless android from the Terminator films.

According to one expert, adaptive robotics is the cutting edge of the field. Most robots currently sit in factories and perform very specific functions. Scientists want to get robots to understand new and changing situations.

There are lots of applications beyond the military… such as robots on the Moon and Mars”

“The real challenge we are pursuing in robotics is robots that can adapt to uncertain and unstructured environments,” Dr Fumiya Iida, of the Machine Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, told the BBC.

The scientists – Antoine Cully and and Jean-Baptiste Mouret of the Sorbonne in Paris and Jeff Clune of the University of Wyoming – published a research paper on their robot on Arxiv, a platform to release early versions of academic research that is overseen by Cornell University’s library.

When animals lose a limb, they learn to hobble remarkably quickly Arxiv said in a blog post on the research. And yet when robots damage a leg, they become completely incapacitated

The scientists robot has solved this by trying to mimic animals – by discovering which leg is broken and then then using trial and error to figure out the best way to continue walking.

Locomotion is a major challenge Dr Iida said. It’s an issue of energy efficiency. Robots are unusually very inefficient compared to animals

Other companies are also trying to mimic animals, such as Boston Dynamics, which is now owned by Google. It makes a variety of robots, including the internet sensation Big Dog, which can attain locomotion on a variety of different and difficult terrains.

Big Dog was funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) and Boston Dynamics contracts for the US military – which is an area where the trial-and-error algorithms could be applied, especially to machines injured in warfare.

But Dr Iida said that military use was only one aspect of better adaptive robots.

There are lots of applications beyond the military he said. You can think of robots in extreme environments, so not only in warfare, but in space such as robots on the Moon and Mars, and in nuclear power plants. Think of Fukushima, for example, where humans can’t go

While these engineers are focused on self-learning robots, others are developing robots and materials that can “heal themselves” when they are damaged.

BAE Systems said recently that in the future, it could build drones that contained a lightweight fluid that would allow jets to heal themselves from damage sustained in flight, as well as on-board 3D printers that can make new parts, while a new plastic that can fix itself has been developed by engineers at the University of Illinois.

Row over polish to detect rape drug

woman painting nails


Four male college students at the North Carolina State University are developing a new kind of nail polish that changes colour in the presence of date-rape drugs, like GHB and Rohypnol.

The goal of their company, Undercover Colors, is “to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves,” specifically against sexual assault, they said on their Facebook Page.

With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger, they said. “If her nail polish changes colour, she’ll know that something is wrong.

Undercover Colors initially garnered praise, with hundreds of thousands of likes and shares across Facebook and Twitter.

There are already bulky devices that can be used to test drinks for date rape drugs, writes Adam Clark Estes for Gizmodo .

But it’s not necessarily easy to carry these things around on a night out and whip them out at bars.”

However, the inevitable internet backlash came from a surprising source – anti-rape advocates.

I’m appreciative that young men like want to curb sexual assault, but anything that puts the onus on women to ‘discreetly’ keep from being raped misses the point,” writes Jessica Valenti for the Guardian.

“We should be trying to stop rape, not just individually avoid it.”

Valenti argues that promoting products like Undercover Colors is not only ineffective, but also can lead to victim-blaming, if women don’t take all the suggested precautions.

“Women are already expected to work hard to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of sexual assault,” writes Tara Culp-Ressler for Think Progress.

Now, remembering to put on anti-rape nail polish and discreetly slip a finger into each drink might be added to that ever growing checklistsomething that actually reinforces a pervasive rape culture in our society

Additionally, date rape drugs are not necessarily a factor in the majority of sexual assaults as much as alcohol

Writing for Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan says that improving education around sexual assault could prove more beneficial than colour-changing manicures

Teach men that having sex with women too incapacitated to consent is rape,” she writes

Wawrinka recovers to make last

Dates: 25 August-8 September Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on Andy Murray’s matches, plus commentary every day from 18:00 or 18:30 BST on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Swiss third seed Stan Wawrinka overcame a mid-match lapse to beat Tomasz Bellucci 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-1) and reach the US Open last 32.

The Australian Open champion went a break down in the fourth set, but recovered with some fine shot-making.

Earlier, fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska became the event’s first high-profile casualty, losing 6-3 6-4 to China’s world number 39 Peng Shuai.

The Pole has failed to advance beyond the last 16 in nine visits to New York.

Fifth seed and 2006 champion Maria Sharapova survived the loss of the first set to see off world number 95 Alexandra Dulgheru 4-6 6-3 6-2.

But American 21st seed Sloane Stephens also suffered a shock defeat, beaten 5-7 6-4 6-2 by Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

Wimbledon semi-finalist, and Sharapova’s off-court partner, Grigor Dimitrov made easier work of his second-round tie, dispatching American Ryan Harrison 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in a little over two hours.

After her second-round win over Madison Brengle, Sabine Lisicki has served both more aces (20) and more double faults (18) than any other player in the women’s draw.

Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz joins American John Isner at the top of the service speed standings after delivering a 140 mph rocket in his win over Dusan Lajovic.

Two-time champion Venus Williams, seeded 19th for in this year’s draw, made the third round for the first time in four years as she beat Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 6-1 6-4. The American will play Italian 13th seed Sara Errani next.

Johanna Larsson (Swe) beat Sloane Stephens (US) (21) 5-7 6-4 6-2

Missed opportunities said Stephens. I didn’t take advantage of the times I could have. That’s definitely something I will look back on, but I won’t dwell on it too much. There is room for improvement and I can do a lot of things better

Tomas Berdych (Cze) (6) beat Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) 6-3 6-4 6-3

“The conditions were extremely tough today. The heat, the wind, and facing Lleyton for the first round, it’s nothing that you really want to have said Berdych.

But otherwise, when you are prepared and feel good, that’s a perfect start

Maria Sharapova (Rus) (5) beat Alexandra Dulgheru (Rom) 4-6 6-3 6-2

We started under the sun and finished under the lights,” said Sharapova.

It was tricky conditions, a tough opponent so I’m very happy I was able to come back and come through and win this match

Venus Williams (US) (19) beat Timea Bacsinszky (Swi) 6-1 6-4

I feel like I play my best when my opponent pushes me really said Williams

Once we start to, you know, really start to get into a slugfest, I feel like I really relax. Sometimes I feel like when they aren’t pushing me as much maybe I’m a little too passive at times

Stan Wawrinka (Swi) (3) beat Tomasz Bellucci (Bra) 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-1)

I tried to focus more on my game and not on what he was doing Wawrinka said. I was playing a little bit smarter at the end of the match

Wawrinka’s next opponent is Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, ranked one place below Bellucci at 92 in the world.

Peng Shuai (Chn) beat Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) (4) 6-3 6-4

I didn’t play bad today said Radwanska. “I think it was just her day. Of course I could do something different maybe or try something else, but I really tried my best and I was fighting until the end. I just couldn’t do it.

Marin Cilic (Cro) (14) beat Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) 6-3 3-1 (Baghdatis retired)

Simona Halep (Rou) (2) beat Jana Cepelova (Svk) 6-2 6-1

I started a little bit too slow, but then I started to be more aggressive and hit the ball said world number two Halep, who won in 56 minutes. I feel great now that I could win so fast because it’s so hot outside

Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) (7) beat Ryan Harrison (US) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 6-2

Feliciano Lopez (Spa) (19) beat Ivan Dodig (Cro) 1-6 7-5 2-6 6-4 1-1 (Dodig retired)

Jelena Jankovic (Srb) (9) beat Tsvetana Pironkova (Bul) 7-5 6-4

Caroline Wozniacki (Den) (10) beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Bel) 6-3 6-4

“She wasn’t an easy opponent. She’s young and hungry,” said Wozniacki. “She didn’t have anything to lose, so she was going for her shots.”

The former world number one will play Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who she beat in the 2011 quarter-final, in the next round.

Ernests Gulbis (Lat) (11) beat Kenny de Schepper (Fra) 6-1 6-4 6-2

After defeat to Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the singles draw, Heather Watson was dealt a similarly swift exit in the doubles as she and Spanish partner Silvia Soler-Espinosa were beaten 7-5 6-3 by American pair Alison Riske and Coco Vandeweghe.

Ross Hutchins, making his return to the US Open since being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, in December 2012, secured a surprise win in the mixed doubles. The Londoner and his Taiwanese partner Yung-Jan Chan beat fourth seeds Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 (10-6).

Jonathan Marray, Britain’s Wimbledon men’s doubles champion in 2012, fell in the first round as he and partner Gilles Muller were beaten 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-5) by Australians Sam Groth and Chris Guccione.

Wednesday’s US Open results in full

Combining her tennis with training for November’s New York marathon is working well for Caroline Wozniacki who has won 15 of her last 18 matches So it’s only a positive when you go out on the tennis court. You know you can run out there all day if you want to, if you need to

It’s always a good sign that I don’t have much points to defend, so there’s always a good side the next year.” Agnieszka Radwanska finds a positive after extending her poor record at the US Open.

One brave journalist asks Lleyton Hewitt if he’ll be back next year: Don’t know. Get that asked every week. Don’t know. I haven’t even thought about it

He’s like, Hey, you’re that tennis player I’m like, Oh, my goodness Michael Jordan knows who I am After the basketball legend watched Roger Federer’s match yesterday, Maria Sharapova reveals her own encounter with Michael Jordan a few years ago randomly, unexpectedly, at an airport

The less you think, it’s easier. When you start to question yourself, What are my true goals in life?’ ‘What is my true motivation?’ Then you start to question Why am I doing this? I’m going to be 30 years old, and I’m still warming up like a 10 year old kid Ignorance is bliss for Ernests Gulbis on tour.

At the end of the day, they start to get a little bit drunk Stan Wawrinka on the evening session crowd at the US Open, one of whom he told to “shut up” as he prepared to serve against Tomasz Bellucci. It was OK. I had to talk to a few of them

Midway though a point in her match against Sasnovich Wozniacki found her hair had become tangled in her racquet.

The Dane did not let that stop her having an, admittedly unsuccessful, swipe at her next backhand.

Once it gets to a certain length sometimes it can get stuck in the arm or the racquet Wozniacki explained.

You know, I still tried to hit the ball. And almost took my head off

Senate passes bill to overhaul VA, sends to Obama

Passage of the VA bill was a rare example of swift bipartisan action.


(CNN) — The Senate on Thursday night easily approved a $16 billion bill to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The measure that won overwhelming House approval a day earlier now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

It is a response to the scandal over delayed care at medical facilities and allegations of alarming management shortcomings at the sprawling federal agency that serves millions of veterans.

A CNN investigation dating to November revealed key details of the crisis at VA facilities.

The legislation would provide money for new medical facilities, more doctors and nurses, and a new program that will allow some veterans to seek health care outside the VA system.

On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Robert McDonald as the new VA secretary. He replaced Eric Shinseki, who resigned in May over the scandal.

McDonald has promised to swiftly carry out reforms intended to speed up care for returning soldiers entering the VA system and eliminate bogus record-keeping and other problems that resulted in some veterans dying while waiting months or even years for appointments.

More VA employees said they were told to falsify data

Passage of the VA bill was a rare example of swift bipartisan action in the days leading up to the congressional August recess, which is set to begin on Friday.

Leaders meet to discuss MH17 access

International monitors and investigators have been unable to reach the MH17 crash site due to fighting


Heavy fighting around Donetsk again prevented international experts from reaching the crash site of flight MH17

The Malaysian and Dutch leaders will meet in the Hague later to discuss how to secure access to MH17’s crash site.

Trade between the Netherlands and Russia is dropping as Anna Holligan reports.

Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to EU: The Russian economy has been through challenges like this and it will survive

On Wednesday, Russia hit out at new sanctions from the US and EU, calling them destructive and short sighted.

But G7 leaders said Russia would face further economic sanctions if it continued to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

The EU is due to release details of its expanded sanctions on Thursday, targeting Russia oil, defence and technology sectors.

It has also added eight individuals, including several members of Mr Putin’s inner circle, to a list of people hit with EU-wide asset freezes and travel bans.

That list now includes a total of 95 people and 23 entities and features the heads of Russia’s intelligence agencies, the president of Chechnya, and two Crimean energy firms.